Monday, February 3, 2014

3 February 2014

Elder Diaz and I have been thinking a lot about deepening the conversion of missionaries, members, and people. We have had a series of events in the last month or so that has made us reflect a lot on why individuals serve missions and why they act the way they do or don't act. I'm not going to write specifics or probably even details here, but it has been a unique experience. I'll probably be thankful for it in 10 years. Things have been...exciting.

This last week we had MLC (Mission Leadership Council.) We focused on making it more of a council rather than just a "here's the direction of the mission, apply it to your zone and make it work." It was an exciting experience as we all learned from each other and shared things that do and do not work. Elder Diaz and I went into it with the idea to destroy zone baptismal goals. I've been thinking a lot about effective missionary work and a zone baptismal goal doesn't fit into it.

From a business point of view or a leadership point of view, to get someone "onboard" for something you need to sell it to them. Well, there isn't time to sell ideas to missionaries whose areas need something else. So, what we are focusing on this month, is sustaining the ideas and direction that the individual missionary has. Sustain their area baptismal goals. Sustain their district baptismal goals. And then do everything we can to help them learn how to achieve those goals. Zone goals just happen. We don't control those, it is the result of the efforts of an individual companionship. 

So I presented the idea and it sparked an hour long debate. No official conclusion was made but everyone left with something to think about. 

This last week I heard someone say, "I can be just as experienced living in ____ for my whole life than someone who travels the world. Everything they experience I can find in a book."

No. No. Noinonononononono. Nonononononononoonononononoo.

I was able to see some exciting miracles this past week through Facebook proselyting. I haven't had time to use it much for three weeks due to the...things that have been happening around us, but this past week I was able to get back to speed. Three people came out of nowhere and asked me how they could meet with missionaries in their countries (Tanzania, Ghana, and Pakistan.) Referrals were sent and missionaries were contacted. 

Just because I haven't written much about Facebook efforts in the last weeks doesn't mean it is slowing down :) Great things are happening. I've been talking to missionaries a lot about getting out of the habit of looking at the News Feed. Nothing destroys time and productivity faster than that page. Put your line in the water? Nah, I'll drop the net.

This past weekend we were able to go to the Gilbert Temple Open House again! President said that missionaries in Mesa are allowed to go since we're close. WORD! The very day he announced that was the very day that we went. It was a marvelous experience. We went in a Spanish tour which was much smaller. The family we took loved it and left with an increased desire to get sealed. This is the second family that we have brought.

Mesa zone interviews were this past week. The planned time was from 8:00am to 12:00pm but it went until 3:30. President always does us last. 

I was readmitted to BYU this last week.

At MLC President told us a crazy story about the new Stake President in the Tempe Stake. The stake is 50 years old and last week they called a new president.

He is 27 years old. Home from his mission for 6 years, never a bishop. WOWOWOWOOWOW. Part of me thinks, "Poor guy. His secular life will be stagnant for 10 years. No more school, no more work, no moving, no vacations..." The other side of me said, "This is a great man being prepared for great things." I haven't been able to stop thinking about him all week. During MLC, President said some pretty intense things about the future.

Spanish wards, Spanish wards, Spanish wards. Sometimes it is hard to be patient in Spanish wards. Yesterday during church someone got up and said, "And I am grateful for a living prophet, President Ezra Taft Monson!" [should have been President Thomas S. Monson, not Ezra Taft Benson-a previous latter-day prophet]


Hahaha. Goodness. I need to be patient with them since they're all recent converts. But even our investigators at church were like, "Wait, what? Did I miss something?"

No, you didn't miss anything...That person did though!

This was a tiring week. We went to WORK since we were sick two weeks ago. We finished with twenty lessons with members present - the third best week of my mission. It was exciting but it was exhausting.

Girl scout cookies are the worst. Well, they're the best and that's the problem. I bought two boxes from a family in the ward and 12 hours later the first box was gone. I felt so disgusting but so good....

This past Saturday we went to the visitors center with a family. I had forgotten about a lesson we set up for that night and totally missed it. Later that day it hit me! We called her and said, "We are so sorry!" She was a referral that we had called and she waited for an hour in the "cold" for us and we never showed up.

I felt so bad...

We set up another appointment for Sunday night and she was there. She is amazing. Super prepared. And I am 100% sure that that miracle came from our fast. 

Anther fasting miracle was a man showing up to church saying, "I want to get reactivated and I want my wife to come with me! She isn't a member!" 

We taught both yesterday and found them to be a great couple with a great future. 

We have been worried as things have been slowing down and the fast yesterday is what qualified us for more blessings and those two people were exactly that! 

I discovered a website this last week that I apparently wasn't supposed to discover. SLC is working on developing a website that missionaries access to manage referrals and their status. It is designed to replace the IVR system, the telephone based system that is currently in place. Well, I found it and told the entire mission about it.

The next day after MLC I looked at the phone and we had five missed calls from SLC.



RUN! was my first thought.

I called them back and they told me to get off of it since we weren't part of the beta testing. I never told them that I told the entire mission about it.

Later that day the guy in charge called and authorized us to be in the beta test. Hahah woops....

As a mission right now we are putting a focus on the Book of Mormon. President has given every zone space on how we do that. We will be dedicating all District Meetings in Feb as a get-together-and-read-the-BookofMormon-privately-for-three-hours. We will be learning from the great prophets of the Book of Mormon on how to teach effectively and how they taught using the fundamentals of preach my gospel.

The last month of President Howes' mission we did that and that was the month that the Arizona Tempe mission set a record for the most baptisms in a month. Lesson learned. President Benson's time as prophet was the time of the highest convert baptisms. What was his message? "Flood the Earth with the Book of Mormon." Lesson learned.

That is our plan on deepening the conversion of the missionaries, members, and others. It's what we need and it's what we'll do! 

Speaking of fundamentals, we are starting a weekly workshop with the Spanish ward members where we teach them how to use the fundamentals of preach my gospel to be effective member missionaries. Expecting miracles.

Miracles, miracles, and more miracles. Life is good!

Thanks for the letters this last week family! Love you all!
Elder Johnson

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