What a great week it has been for me here in Melbourne!
We spent a lot of time with President including a few dinners with him in his home. Two new missionaries came into the mission this week, one being with Sister Foster.
Like usual, we were able to go out on lots of short miracle exchanges across the mission which was very satisfying. The mission is doing really well at the moment, we had 21 baptisms this past week and are right on track to reach our goal of 163.
The big highlight of the week was Wednesday night. I got a call a few days earlier from Dallin, who told me he was recieving his endowments Wednesday night and asked if I would be able to come. After being granted permission, Elder Bellon and I were able to go to the 8:15 session. It was one of the best experiences I have ever had in the Temple. I was among so many of my close friends and the session was packed! I was in a euphoric state as revelation flowed to my
very alert mind. It was such a choice moment to be in the Celestial room with Dallin. I love the Temple!
Transfers are a week away, but we have spent countless hours this week with President sorting it all out. We're really organised which is great. Elder Bellon and I were blessed as we played a very big role in the transfer process; the confirming peace of the spirit we felt after several hours was humbling. We have 24 missionaries coming in, which means it’s going to be a very big transfer. By the end of September we will be over 270 missionaries!
The baptism of Mercedes didn’t end up happening this past week. The ward council isn’t completely on board so we held off. Although the keys don’t lie with the ward members, a recent lesson I have learnt is the importance of aligning with ward leaders. As a missionary we are only guests to a ward, so it is key that the ward council is behind an investigator being baptised. Otherwise there isn’t that ownership to help them to the Temple after you leave as a missionary.
We were happy to delay the baptism until the ward council is happy. If we are to work with the members we need to be on the same page, I’m confident that the baptism will happen in a few weeks.
I’m really looking forward to the coming week. I’m not sure if you know Brad Wilcox? I love his talks, he has written many books and published many talks through Deseret Books. He is a former Mission President, a professor at BYU and on the General Sunday School Board. He is a great friend with President Maxwell through some of the things listed above. He is in Australia for the ‘Time Out for Women’ in Sydney this past weekend. He offered to come down and see President so, he is flying down to Melbourne Tuesday to do a few firesides and a MLC with the leaders of the mission. We will be going out with President to pick him up from the airport on Tuesday and then we have been asked to be the driver and tour guides for Wednesday during the day, between the firesides, to take the Maxwell's and Wilcox's out to the 12 Apostles along the Great Ocean Road. We have a hard life don’t we! It’s going to be great to get to know him.
|12 August 2013|
After the ambulance arrived and gave him a few shots and hooked him up to a machine he became conscious again. Even in hospital he would randomly stop breathing but luckily he had a machine hooked up to him measuring his oxygen levels. It was not a good experience at all, but after a night in hospital and a quiet week he is doing ok now. He still has to go in to see the results of his brain scans and what not later this week but were praying for him. Although this could of happened in any sport I think sadly that’s the end of our footy matches!
19 August 2013
We put a bit of extra effort into planning transfers this past week just because we wanted it to run extra smoothly as it was President Maxwell’s first transfer. We were forced to have a huge transfer as we had to come up with 27 trainers. Regardless of the huge numbers that came in, it actually ran really smoothly which we were grateful for.
The rest of the week we have spent looking over the Zone Conference agenda that will be kicking off next week and exchanges across the mission. I’m still loving life doing these mini exchanges. I guess another success was that I have converted the Maxwell's to the ‘Tim-Tam slam’! haha!
I’m looking forward to zone conference, we're going to be training on working with the Ward Mission Leader, which is a super hard and controversial topic. It's black and white in the handbook what the relationship is between the full-time missionaries, the Ward Mission Leader and the Bishop, but in reality, for some of our Ward Mission leaders, the water isn’t getting to the end of the row… it's that fine line between assuring you have a great relationship with the Ward Council and not treading on the Ward Mission Leaders toes.. Good fun!
26 August 2013
We have had zone conferences every day and after the meetings we have had more meetings with President planning our upcoming meetings.
We are half way through zone conferences; we will be finished by the end of this week. Friday night we stayed overnight in a really nice hotel in Shepparton, which was nice, then this Friday we fly to Devonport for zone conference in Tasmania.
We have been able to think a lot about where the mission is over the past few weeks. We really wanted to have a big council this week at our Mission Leader Council (MLC) meeting on where the mission is at. We have talked a lot about the mission’s strengths and weaknesses and how we can capitalise on our strengths and minimise our weaknesses. We have a great vision on where we can see the mission a year from now.
The strengths of the mission are the quality of the zone leaders we have at the moment, but also obedience. There has been such a huge swing happen in the mission over the past 7 months. During the first year of my mission I could easily say that 70-80% of the missionaries in the mission were disobedient. Now I could easily say that 80+% of the missionaries are obedient with the other 20% only struggling on minor things like sleeping in and unapproved music. Our mission is really obedient at the moment. That has been our huge focus for a long time. We have strategically done a lot of things to promote this change, one of which has been isolating disobedient missionaries in the ‘bush’ areas to minimise their impact on other missionaries and flood other zones with very obedient missionaries. We have trained all of the new missionaries over the past 7 months in these obedient zones. We have had a lot of young missionaries train new missionaries just because they are very obedient.
Because we have had younger missionaries training and what not, we now have a lack of skill in the mission. 70% of our mission is under a year. We have been doing a lot to build the skill of the mission but something else we are going to do this next transfer is to get every Zone Leader to train. We need to capitalise on our strengths. The Zone Leaders are obedient and have a lot of skill. We are going to have every Zone Leader work in a threesome with a new missionary. There are a few logistics we need to work through, even though we would have a maximum amount of companionships working in the mission it will be so beneficial. We are hoping to do this just for a few transfers with the desired outcome of increasing the skill levels across the mission. These skills will naturally spread as transfers occur over the coming year. We are excited!
Well the dust surrounding my release date is starting to settle. It's locked in that my intake is now going home on the 30th of October… It will be likely that I will be coming home then. President is still deciding if I should extend or go home with the rest of my intake. Although I a more then happy to stay, I don’t feel a need to. I would feel very comfortable accounting to the Lord on the mission I have served. I have worked hard my whole mission, striving to be exactly obedient. I have not slept in past 6:30am once my whole mission. It has been my goal to be able to say that at the end of my mission.
I still have a few months left yet though. President is just a little worried to leave the mission in the hands of a young and brand new Assistant while he is in New Zealand for a week for a Mission President Seminar at the start of November. The new assistants will be fine though. There wont be a need for me to third wheel the new assistants for that week, I'll be more than happy to though if that’s what he would like me to do. We'll see, I will keep you posted.
My role as an assistant has changed dramatically with the transition of Mission Presidents. I am spending a lot more time in the office now, my area is really non-existent but that’s ok. There are many things I am learning with the responsibilities I carry at the moment.