So we're changing plans. Starting this next week we will plan to visit members for almost every hour of the day. Paradigm shift. This is a long term investment since, looking short term, there are few results to show for member work.
So we'll be focusing on teaching the members the lessons, active or not. We will help raise their vision and their faith so that they can catch the wave. Hopefully it goes well.
For six weeks I've had the nagging feeling to work through the PM/OAY (part-member, out of area ?) lists. Every time I've asked for one I haven't been able to get them. So this last week we took matters into our own hands and sat down with the clerk and showed him how to do it. On first glimpse it was disappointing to see that the majority of people are out of our area. Oh well. I also, using LDS Tools, made a custom list of everyone in our area. It can then display the list geographically superimposed on a map. As we visit them we'll tap a button and take them off the map.
We have committed ourselves to continuing the private Facebook trainings as well. We have now done our entire district and the Sister Training Leaders. The results were mind blowing All of those areas taught 2x as many member present lessons this past week. One area tripled theirs. As a result the zone increased by almost 40 lessons taught with member presents. There is an energy and excitement going throughout the zone as everyone is catching the vision.
It's so important that other people catch the wave. Facebook is best taught on the individual level between companions. If we can train these 16 missionaries how to use it it will quickly spread throughout the mission.
This past week was MLC. It was all about goals and plans. Unfortunately I didn't leave too inspired, maybe I didn't prepare enough for it. In the middle of one of the presentations President Toone walked over to me and handed me an iPad and asked me to check it. The way he walked over was super intense haha. Then again, watching anyone who is 7 feet tall walking towards you is intimidating.
President and Sister Toone used some of the MLC time to reemphasize the importance of prayer language. They've asked all of us to teach the zones why and how to pray correctly. Afterwards I was reflecting on how the scope of their calling is far greater than the people the missionaries are teaching: mission presidents/wives prepare the future members of the church. President Toone has taught me much about the how and why of counseling, prayer, and priesthood keys. Relatively thinking you'd think those are small but I can see how they make all the difference for the stability of the church.
And it just enhances what I learned yesterday. Every month we meet with the stake presidency to discuss the work of salvation in the stake. Yesterday the first counselor told us something that Elder Bednar had shared in their coordinating council meeting. Summarizing, he said, 'If a mission has zero baptisms in two decades but there is lifelong growth in the missionaries, they have had a successful mission. We aren't just baptizing people, we're growing and shaping the future leaders of the church.' He also mentioned that every missionary is given two missions: to serve in the area and to be a companion.
Our ward is amazing. It is full of amazing members who love people. And they serve them. A week ago, a member invited our district to go caroling with him and his wife to some of the members for the following week (last night.) The hour came and we piled into his car and drove around singing, "I'm Trying to be like Jesus" to a list of members that he had selected. It was a surprise for every one of them. As we showed up it was exciting to watch their faces brighten. We're not the greatest of singers but the spirit was definitely present. Many smiles were left as we left their homes. Our visits were no more than 3 minutes: the hello, song, prayer, adios. Good times and good memories.
I've had some amazing experiences working with President Toone. I've also had some unique ones haha. This morning I had one of those. At 7:15 am he called and had some questions about Facebook. It is an interesting situation to be in to counsel with a mission president. He is such a humble person and has taught me so much about humility. He doesn't pretend to know everything even though he secretly does. I'll often text him random questions about scripture or church history and he always knows the answer. Apparently he used to give nationwide tours of church history sites. He knows everything.
Anyway, life goes on. And it goes on very well. Tomorrow is zone meeting and Wednesday will be interviews. Exciting week!
Thanks for the letters, family!