Monday, April 27, 2015

Sunday the 26th was one of the most full days we have had on our mission, in fact this week was really full of good things. Sunday began in fasting and prayer with a 6:00 am stake council meeting to discuss how we can be most effective in "Hastening the Work of Salvation" in our stake. We talked about the City of Enoch and how the people were able to become of "one mind and one heart." We also spent a lot of time talking about Pres. Uchtdorf's talk on "Being Genuine." He talked about the tour of Catherine the Great of Russia in the 18th century who announced she would tour the southern part of her empire in company of several foreign ambassadors. The governor, Potemkin, of the area wanted to impress the visitors so he build pasteboard facades of busy villages along the route and busy peasants who created the impression of a prosperous economy. Once the visitors rounded a bend in the river, the men would pack up the village facade and rush downstream and set up the village again. This has become known as the "Potemkin village." The council discussed aspects of this story and how we need to create real growth in our stake and realize that there are some aspects of growth that cannot be measured, such as humility, testimony, and coming closer to the Savior. We need to be sensitive to the needs of those who are less active as well as those who are not members. One statement that stood our to me in the talk was,"With patience and persistence, even the smallest act of discipleship or the tiniest ember of belief can become a blazing bonfire of a consecrated life. In fact that's how most bonfires begin-as a simple spark." It was a great meeting and in the end the presidency decided we would hold these council meetings more often, probably monthly instead of quarterly. At the end of the meeting we had three returning missionaries report and bear their testimonies.
That was just the beginning of the day! We then went to a ward council meeting, then to the 13th ward where we stayed for the block of meetings. We returned home for a few minutes then went to a scheduled home teaching visit, then to our correlation meeting with the ward mission leaders, went to dinner, came home so our home teacher could visit us and then on to meet with a family which we taught about family history.
  A while ago, Ruth posted an entry on John Nicholson's Family Search Family Tree page. In response to that we received an e mail from a professor at BYU- Idaho who had studied Grandpa's life and written a couple of papers about him. He wrote to find out if we had any other historical documents in the family. As we contacted him, he sent us some 100 letters grandpa had written as he served in England in 1879. He wrote to his wives and children as well as friends and others he knew. I have been trying to read a few of these letters each day and Saturday morning after reading some letters I was impressed to write some of my thoughts to my siblings.
"I have been trying to take some time to read a few of these letters each day. This morning I was reading as he talked about a movement in the US government about restricting emigration of the saints from abroad. Of course his feeling were strong because he worked a great deal with those Saints who were immigrating from England. His feelings were stated strongly that his family shouldn't worry about his returning because when the Lord released him from his call, he would return home safely. He said some of those feelings were being felt in England and then said,” Satan appears to be angry. Until within the last few days no particular unfriendliness has been manifested toward the Saints, but suddenly there is a revulsion of feeling. The feeling of bitterness is already manifested in Liverpool and some other places, but the elders lift up their voice with much power and assurance and the prospects for the work were never better.”
If Satan was angry then, when the missionaries were few in number, I wonder how you could describe his feelings now with nearly 90,000 of God’s choicest young men and women in his service baptizing nearly 300,000 souls each year?  But the Lord promised long ago that the Standard of Truth has been erected and no unhallowed hand will stop this work, the Lord will declare when His work is finished.

What more assurance could we ask for as we daily try to do His will and bring souls unto Him? In our Zone meeting this week, we were reminded that every missionary should have at least one convert-himself or herself"
Working backward on this week, Saturday our home ward held a pot luck picnic in the park for lunch. The weather had been pretty rainy but we had a nice lunch with good attendance before the lunch as over. We had a visit with a fine family in the 14th ward as we discussed family history opportunities. 
  Friday we took our sisters to Ogden for a practice. They were putting on the mission musical fireside on Sunday evening. Since they planned to practice for about two hours, we took the opportunity to attend an endowment session at the Ogden Temple. After coming home we had dinner with the Pearce family that has recently been sealed in the temple and have a missionary serving in Missouri. Ruth had an appointment for visiting teaching later in the evening.
 Thursday we had one of the busiest days of our mission. We had six lessons including a home teaching visit to the Olson's. Those are memorable days for sure!
 Wednesday we had our district meeting. We discussed the takeaways from zone conference and enjoyed some other training. We had a few visits but it was a less busy day for sure.
 Tues. was a full day with zone conference. This is the last zone conference we will have with Pres and Sis Hier. There were several stake leaders in attendance by invitation as well as two new mission presidents with their wives from our area who will begin their service in July. We were trained in a number of topics important to our work. Pres and Sis Hier always have great topics for the missionaries. They talked about General Conference topics and our call letters and ministerial certificates and how we should use them in our ministry. One blessing is that "the Lord will bless you for the goodness of your life". The taught about the importance of the Book of Mormon and the righteous cycle of missionary work. There was also discussion about the use of electronic devices, and how to follow the voice of the spirit, and the benefits of prayer in missionary work.
  Monday was prep day because of zone conference. We had a nice dinner with a former ward mission leader and his family of four neat and busy children. After dinner we went to Logan and had cake and ice cream with Kaylene and the family to celebrate Kaylene's birthday.
  Sunday we were able to attend our home ward. A young lady from our ward Ashlee, whose family we have home taught for some time had returned from her mission in Georgia Macon mission. We had a meeting with a family preparing to go to the temple soon.
We are hopeful for another productive week this week.

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