Friday, October 23, 2009

My Second General Conference While Serving in the Mission Field 10/05/09

I can't believe it's been six months since last General Conference!

Well family, this week was interesting. But that’s nothing new. We spent two days trying to get the car fixed. We had a flat tire one day. And then the next day, we found out that we have no brake pads left on the brakes. So unfortunately, a lot of our time was spent trying to fix mechanical problems.

There is a part member family that we’re working with. Both parents come to church pretty much every Sunday. The ward is very hopeful and so are we. At our last lesson, everything went exactly how we had hoped it would!

We also went to visit a “mystery name” the Elders left us (A mystery name is basically, a name and address written on a progress record without much of a story or history attached.) It seems promising, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Also, I don’t know what it is about General Conference, but both last April and this past conference, we’ve ended up having a minister come watch conference at the Stake Center with us! We had two people from a very popular church here in Albuquerque attend General Conference on Sunday afternoon. One was a member of that church that the elders serving before us had tracted into, and the other was the youth minister of the church, who he brought. He loved Elder Christofferson’s talk the most, and had questions about the Nigerian General Authority’s (Elder Sitati’s) talk regarding the Abrahamic covenant. So that was exciting! The fact that they attended Sunday afternoon also meant that they got to hear Jeffrey R. Holland’s smack down on those who deny the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. Wow! So, I’m interested to see how our follow up visit goes. It should be interesting. (Whenever I watch conference with an investigator I get so nervous, I listen from the perspective of, “What are they thinking about this?” I’m on edge through the whole conference! It’s an interesting way to listen to conference, but I’m excited to re-read the talks when I won’t be so nervous.) The man the elders before us tracted into invited us to attend their services, but with our rigorous Sunday meeting schedule as missionaries, it’s not even an option, nor good since the Lord has sent us forth to teach and not to be taught of the world. But even the extension of an invitation is pretty daring on his part. It’s basically comparable to asking a nun to attend a Baptist church. He teaches a Bible study class for young adults out of his home on Friday’s and invited us to attend his class. Maybe we’ll be able to visit. We’ll see. We’ll have to be careful on this one. But I can tell what amazing and genuinely good people they are because they take special effort not to offend.

We’re teaching a member who wants to get reactivated and prepare for the temple. She is super funny, and completely honest in her concerns and hold ups. The Elders left a note saying that “She is very fun to teach.” No. Corrections:

“She is an absolute riot to teach!” We lover her, she’s kind of like a teenager in an adults body."

The Hot Air Balloon Festival is going on this week. Our Bishop wants to take us, and it looks like we got permission to go later in the week (from the Zone Leaders). That surprised me. But I guess it evens out if we have a teaching appointment on preparation day.

President Anderson asked us to email him our notes from conference and ideas of how we can improve our teaching.

I loved the emphasis placed on relying on the spirit! Richard G. Scott talked about how we don't need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to teaching. He also talked about how we must respond to first impressions or else more revelation will not follow. I feel like receiving inspiration takes a lot of work. But the Spirit is so essential in this work, that I need to get better at it. I want to get even better at following impressions. I love how Elder Packer said, “The key to heaven is on our side of the veil.” In order to achieve heavenly and magnificent results in missionary work, we must get better at following the Spirit!

I absolutely loved Elder Osguthorpe’s talk on effective teaching. What stuck out to me most was the example of his primary teacher. “She had so much confidence in me that I could not refuse her invitation to give that talk.” I want to help people feel like they CAN live the gospel! This is the way I can extend better commitments, which is sometimes hard for me. But the key is to also help prepare people to live commitments. I loved how he described teachers as messengers of God.

I loved Elder Oak’s quote as well. “Real love does not support self destructive behavior.” We are devastated when investigators do not fulfill commitments. We need to extend powerful commitments.

Elder Bednar’s talk on consistence describes mission life so well. So often in our teaching and finding, we don’t have “masterpiece days” but we must remain consistent in order to both help people gradually develop masterpiece testimonies, and also find those golden investigators.

Following President Monson’s talk, it was clear that service can be an excellent teaching tool as well.

So many of these talks applied directly to our investigators! Sister Lamb and I are hoping to take our notes and develop lesson plans around them so they can be specifically applied to individual investigators.

Love you all!
Have a wonderful week!

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