I had my first ever zone meeting which was really interesting to say the least. It was really such a waste of time and was driving me crazy, so I definitely learned patience! Because President Revillo is new, he has implemented new rules, so there is a big confusion on the rules and on top of it, we have a new zone leader who is from Tacloban mission, and he wanted to include some of his rules and got them approved for our zone, one of them being wearing our socks during personal study hahaha. When president found out about that one he just laughed haha. But the new zone leader is really motivated for us to do our best so I am excited. It was just difficult with so many personalities saying what they think and I'm just over here with a former AP and he is going home in a month, and just whispering to me funny stuff about. Basically, we are missionaries and can use our best judgement, at least that is my opinion, but there really are missionaries who need exact rules, so I just need to do my best and follow them with a good attitude and be respectful and patient in meetings.
We got to teach a family this week that is a referral from a really awesome family in our branch. The branch that we are in is just awesome, and what is really cool is Elder Ardurn (Not sure on that spelling) from the seventy is comingto dedicate our renovated church building! He is the area General Authority, so that is going to be just awesome. But anyway, the family we taught is really cool. We arrived and the husband wasn't there, who Elder Masula taught on exchanges last week, but luckily we had a member with us and could teach the rest of the family. The family is the mom, and 3 boys, ages 14, 12, 6, and a toddler. The 14 yr old is really tall, he's 5'10 haha. That's just huge here, and I guess it is pretty tall, especially for 14 yrs old, and he loves basketball. He came into the lesson late, and am so glad he did. We were just teaching the mom and the 12 yr old, the younger ones were playing, and they were really shy to answer questions and wasn't really going well. But then Patrick walks in, sits down and picks up the pamphlet and starts reading and then answers the questions and was just awesome! Then the other two started to participate, and Patrick was just sitting on the edge of his seat and was just super interested! We challenged them to be baptized and usually people say sure, after we repeat what we say, but Patrick just said, OPO! (Yes) right away, it was awesome. Then the mom and brother said yes too. This lesson was really great for me, not only did it remind me of how great it is to share the gospel with people, especially when they accept it and you can see their desire, but because I don't know how, but I was able to understand the general overview of what everyone was saying, and when Elder Masula would tell me in english sometimes, it was what I already thought, and all week I was able to understand. Speaking is a lot different haha.
We attended a zone conference where 4 zones met and had some workshops and things like that, and president Revillo talked about converting ourselves, and in my personal study I read a lot about that in the conference talks.
I just loved what Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson said about conversion. Conversion is not an event, it is a process. That was taken from True To The Faith but she talks about how we need to live the principles in order to be converted. It is possible to have a testimony of them, but not live them, and we need to be converted. We cannot gain a testimony of commandments if we don't live them first, and a lot of the times that is what we think. We may not want to live the law of tithing until we know it is true, but praying to know if it is true without living it won't get us anywhere. "The Lord expects us to exercise our Faith" and after we have a trial of our faith, or exercise it, we gain a witness or testimony.
Elder Maynes talk goes hand in hand with it, and that is to endure. We need to be converted if we want to endure, and the only way to endure is by getting in spiritual shape. Just like we cannot watch a basketball game on tv and become fit and in shape to play, we cannot just watch conference and be in shape. We need to apply the principles, and like basketball, it takes dedication, perseverance, and self discipline. When we live the principles, it helps us do those 3 things, become converted, and able to endure in righteousness, that is the key, IN RIGHTEOUSNESS.
I love what he says too, that the quality of our eternal future is proportional to our ability to endure in righteousness.
And the ability to endure in righteousness will be in direct proportion to the strength of our testimony and the depth of our conversion.
Sister Oscarson goes on to say that when we are truly converted we will have no problem sharing the gospel naturally.
The theme of the conference was definitely hastening the work, and Elder Ballard's talk is really great on that topic, I encourage you to all read it, as well as all of the talks.They have so much awesome stuff in them, and I look forward to each day so I can read them, Im going to be sad when I finish soon.
Just some points from Elder Ballard's talk:
When we act in faith to fulfill his work, The Lord is going to help us do it, and we need to PRAY for opportunities and then LOOK for those opportunities he will give you. that is a promise, he will give them to you,
And then too haha, Elder Packer talks about the key to spiritual protection, and part of that is through regular scripture reading, and he just says, "Test it for yourself"
What benefit are the leaders of the church getting when we read our scriptures? None. So obviously this is for our benefit, and is going to help us.
Those are just a very small portion of the things I have learned and am just loving learning and teaching people and wish they would just read The Book of Mormon. Just test it. I just want to shake them haha, All we ask is to read it honestly and pray about it, and ask if it is true. That's it. If they want to know why there are so many churches and which one is true, they can pray, and they will find out. I just think it's funny how our only tool in helping people is to read and ask if it is true. We cannot do it for them, nor do we force, but we know how much it will bless their lives and when they start to keep the commandments and test them out.
To end, a funny story:
On Sundays the members have choir after church, and bring food to eat right after church and then go to choir. It's rice and meat, and they give us missionaries some. They had this dessert looking thing later after choir, and looked like fruit salad haha, boy was I wrong. So I was all excited to eat this american dish, and get a good amount, and then a lady says elder have more, so I say, sure! and she piles it on, so I have this big bowl. Well, I take the first bite, and it wasn't yogurt or whipped cream haha it was mayonaisse. AND, it wan't only fruit, there were apples, cherries, and then macaroni noodles, very thin slices of ham, and some other mysteries ha, so I finished it, and it was a big bowl, and the other 3 missionaries were just laughing and the members just asked if I liked it and I said yeah it's just different than america and they smiled and kept eating haha. Good Times!
Hope you all have a great Week!!