A few weeks ago I sat down with President Toone and he asked me to be the technology specialist. "I'm asking you to do something but I don't know what I'm asking you to do," is what he said. I said ok, left the room, and nothing happened. Facebook had just gone mission-wide and I was getting so many ideas I didn't know what to do with them. He told me that all these ideas I presented to him were answers to his prayers. That was humbling. This past Monday night at MLC he made the assignment official.
And with that assignment the week became un poco loco.
This was a crazy week. No, this was a hectic week. No, this was an insane week!
Because iPads went mission-wide. 205 iPad minis arrived in the mission on Sunday night. The church got a killer discount from Apple.
On Monday from 5pm-9pm we had a mission leadership council meeting (MLC) where we talked about the needs of the mission. On Tuesday from 8am-12am we had a special training for the MLC about how to use the iPads. Lee Donaldson, Director of Proselyting, came as well as the other leaders to introduce the technology and how to use it. From 1pm-4pm, three zones gathered, including ours, to receive the iPads and the training.
President Toone and Lee Donaldson asked me to be present at all the meetings. After the first day, Lee Donaldson came over to me, pulled me aside, and said, "Do you think you could do all of this?" At first it sounded like a job offer hahaha. He continued and said, "Can you replace all of us and do these trainings? We don't feel we need to be here since you can do this for us."
And so they all left.
They left me in charge of the training on how to enroll the devices in the program, how to train on the AreaBook app, and so forth. They downloaded the presentations onto a flash drive for me and said adios.
All day on Tuesday we were doing trainings.
All day on Wednesday we were doing trainings,
All day on Thursday we were doing trainings.
I've never spoken so much in my life. The phone has never rung so much in my entire life. Missionaries from every zone and area have been calling us with questions.
On Thursday morning we woke up at 5am to prepare to go to Casa Grande and Yuma. We were at the mission office at 6am preparing the car with 80+ iPads, four routers, a 100 foot long ethernet cable, a projector, laptop, and dozens of other materials.
At 6:15 we realized we had lost the 70$ cable that connected the iPad to the projector. The cable was one that the SLC reps had given to me and said, "send this and the routers back to use in a month." The presentation would be very difficult without it.
President Toone gave us his credit card and sent us to Walmart to buy a new one. Yesterday we found the old one and sent it back to SLC today.
At 8:00am we arrived in Casa Grande. There wasn't enough bandwidth and the internet was super slooow.
At 1:00pm we left to Yuma. At 4:00pm we arrived.
President Toone surprised us and the APs by putting us up in a hotel for the night. It. Was. Awesome. It was also the first time in 16 months I had been on an elevator! That was the best night sleep I've had in my entire mission.
The training in Yuma went smoothly.
I was fortunate enough to run into someone I had taught months ago in Yuma. When I had left something big had happened in his life and it didn't look like baptism would happen soon. Well in Yuma last week he told me that he had married a member and had been baptized. It was heartwarming and made the trip 5x better.
The drive there and back was a nostalgic experience.
We spent the night in the hotel, woke up at 4:50 the next morning, took pictures by the California state line, and started our journey back to Mesa. We arrived 1 minute before our Friday morning planning meeting started.
So yeah. Hectic week. Less than 12 hours of sleep in two days and each of those days was over 17 hours long.
I was reflecting on how cool this experience was the other day. It was one of the highlights of my mission. I got to train alongside the director of proselyting, someone who I have deep respect for. He was the Mission President in the District 2 videos and apparently a close friend of Grandpa and Grandma Johnson! He made a nice comment about them to me.
We also had the opportunity to go to dinner with President and Sister Toone and the assistants. That was a very special experience.
The vision of the AreaBook app is amazing. The ward mission leader and bishop will have access to the app and the missionary's planner. He will be able to make plans for them. All information will be streamlined and clearly visible. A progress report will be generated automatically and submitted to ward leaders.
We are already seeing miracles from the AreaBook. The sisters were putting in a former investigator from long ago and felt inspired to call him. He wanted to meet immediately. He is now on date for baptism. We found two new investigators in the home where one of our former investigators used to live but recently moved from. We never would have found them without looking at that sheet and digitizing the data.
Miracles. Miracles everywhere.
At church we only had one person we are teaching there. A decline from eight or so the week before. Not surprising since we barely worked our area this week. But he loved church. He got up and bore his testimony. He's from Kenya and everyone loves his accent. He offered one of the most powerful prayers I've heard in my entire life and we walked out of the lesson shell-shocked. BAM.