Daily Archives: December 14, 2006

Lost in the Work

14 December 2006 – Thursday

Our last official day at the MTC – we will go back tomorrow to take in a day of training on how to teach ESL. It seems to me that it has been both a long and a short 11 days. That is it seems like we have been at the MTC a much longer time than 11 days, and at the same time it seems like we arrived yesterday.

Today Mary mentioned that she while she knows how long it is until we leave for Indonesia, she has to stop and think about  long it is until Christmas. When I told that in one of the classes a couple of other people said that they feel the same way. We seem to have truly lost ourselves in the work.

The presentations today were only made interesting because of the presenter. Sister Elkins was back and her great attitude makes even dull subjects pretty interesting.

After the classes we all met together for a wrap-up and testimony meeting. Our 9 couples have grown very close over the last 11 days. Four of us shared most of the same classes and the other five were in many of the ones this week. We have grown very close in a short time.

Each couple is very different. Elder Thompson is a gruff looking man with a very tender spirit. Sister Thompson is a delightful person with a great sense of humor. They are going to Salt Lake and will be in charge of all senior welfare missionaries throughout the world. So they will know where each of us are during our mission. I did not get to know brother Gillman very well, but his wife is a very quiet and very spiritual sister. They are successful farmers and she mentioned that she could drive a John Deere tractor with the best  of them. I find it hard to picture this neat older woman behind the wheel of a large tractor. They are going to South Africa as Area Welfare Agents – which means they will be over all Wellfare missionaries in their area.

The Nelsons are going to Boston as Area Employment Specialists. Sister Nelson is a spiritual rock. She is quiet but when she says something it is too the point and full of insight. Elder Nelson is another one who is very tender hearted. The Dunns are from up Provo Canyon. They are probably the most humble couple in the group. They are thoughtful and are close to the spirit. Their call has been changed a number of times and each time they have decided it was the Lord’s will. One of the things that sister Dunn really wanted to do was to go on a proselyting mission and when theirs was changed to India they had to sign a letter saying they would not do any proselyting. Today their visas came through and they found that it was marked with an ‘M’ – they will be allowed to teach the gospel. She said in her testimony that the Lord was too kind to her in granting all of her prayers. They are going to be Country Humanitarian Specialists and oversee all the humanitarian projects in India. They are going to be great.

The Wimmers are an interesting couple. I doubt if I saw them apart I would ever think of them as being married. But the complement each other perfectly. He is big and quiet – she is small and fiesty. They are going to Frankfort to work in Social Services. The Mills are going to Croatia to be Country Humanitarian Specialists and could be models for senior missionaries couples. They look like grandfathers and grandmothers should look. They are soft spoken and filled with the desire to do the work.

Of course the Kanes have become close friends. We have been able to help them in a few ways. Today after the testimony meeting we took them to Ross Dress for Less. They are a tall, handsome couple. They look like they are made for each other. They are always cheerful. Elder Kane is easily touched by the spirit and bears a strong testimony of the gospel. I am glad we will get to stay in touch with them in Indonesia – they will be only an hour away from Jakarta.

As I bore my testimony I could only get as far as my testimony of the Savior and his atonement for me. I feel that this mission is just a small way to start to thank Him.

After the meeting we all stayed around to say goodbye and to exchange a lot of hugs. Hopefully we will all stay in touch throughout our missions and even after we get back home.

Lots of New Missionaries

13 December 2006 – Wednesday

Since today was new missionary intake day, are awake at 5:00 am so we can get over the MTC early and get a good parking space in the church parking lot. Since no new missionaries will come in between today and the first Wednesday in January, the group coming in today is large – close to 500. During the day and into the evening we greet and talk to them when ever we get a chance. It is great to see the smiles on their faces and feel their spirits.

As we were on a break, two missionaries – not new ones – said hello to us. We stopped and spent a couple of minutes talking and we found out they had been here just one week. I was inspired to ask them to give us a 3-5 minute discussion on the Restoration. One of the elders had a hard time getting started so the other one jumped right in and gave a good presentation of the first four points, by then the other elder had recovered and finished up with the last points. As they spoke I could feel their spirits and I told them so. I reminded them that the Lord had promised them that if they would open their mouth he would provide them with what to say. It was an important part of my day.

The day was spent completely on learning how to conduct a Career Workshop. Jeff Foy was our instructor and he was very, very good. If I can learn to teach the workshop 1/2 as well as he did, I will be happy. Mainly he had us actually do a good portion of the workshop – just as if we were taking it. A full workshop takes about 12 hours. I found that parts of it was not easy to do – especially when trying to develop a good ‘Me in 30 Seconds’ statement.  It was a day of learning.

In the evening we had our last language lesson with Sister Tippetts. Since sister Kane was taking a class in using the computer – I am rather amazed at the number of couples who have no or little computer skills – we invited elder Kane to share our lesson. After an hour Dan was in information overload, so he left to try and digest some of it while we finished up. Although I am far from being able to communicate in Indonesian, I am always surprised at how much has actually soaked in. As I hear some one talking or while reading something, I often find myself trying to translate into Indonesian. Hopefully the learning curve will pick up and with the Lord’s help the language will start to flow.

I forgot to mention that a new intake of senior missionaries came in on Monday. We try to stop and say hello to as many of them as we can. We found a group of them were going to Nauvoo and we asked them to be sure to meet Nancy and Neal and say that the Piers say hello. Most of the senior missionaries who came in this week are going on proselyting missions. I am a little jealous but then realize we will have many opportunities to invite others to come unto Christ – we just have to be ready and able to do it well and with the spirit.

A Quick Look

We have just finished four days of classes on being Welfare missionaries.

Monday the group of 9 Welfare and Humanitarian Missionary couples took a trip up to Salt Lake where we got a tour of Humanitarian Center and Welfare Square. Although I already knew much of what was there, the sheer size of it was a surprise. The amount of clothing that is processed each day is amazing. But the important part of the tour was the spirit that was at each of the locations. You can feel the love that is there.

From Welfare Square we went to the Joseph Smith Memorial Building where we had our pictures taken and then had lunch with some of the leaders over our areas of service. They really did it well with a lovely luncheon and a minimum of talks.

Before lunch we called Bob and told him we were in SL and so he and Lisa came over and spent a few minutes with us. It was really good to see them.

Our final event of the day was to see the film Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration. Since we had seen it earlier in the year while in Nauvoo, I thought once the lights went out I could catch up with some of my sleep. But as the movie started I found myself once again caught up in the story that I know so well and I could not close my eyes.

 Tuesday was a day with 8 hours of 7 different presentations about subjects in Welfare and Humanitarian service. Some were more interesting than others but I learned some things that will be useful for us as we teach and train about employment. Our last presenter was the best of the day – sister Elkins was full of energy and made learning fun. Some of the other presenters could learn from her.

Tuesday night’s devotional was another great one. I wish I could come to each and every one of them. Elder and Sister Parkin – the church Relief Society President – spoke.

Elder Parkin told about an incident on his mission when he was a young man. He was working in a branch and while going through a list of inactive members the came across the name of Brother Johanson. The branch president said that they should forget about him because he had not been in the church for 30 years and the last people who visited him were physically thrown out of the house.

As they left the president’s office Elder Parking looked at his companion and said that he wanted to go to see brother Johanson because he thought it would be great to be able to write in his journal that they had got thrown out of a house.

To make the story short, they were allowed in and they taught the first discussion. Two dicussions later they asked brother Johanson if he would be baptized. He got up and walked into another room. He came back with a box that contained a pair of white pants and a new white shirt. 6 months after his baptism, brother Johanson dropped dead from a heart attack. 

Sister Parkins spoke about Attitude and for one of them she told about a sign she made for her home and later used while he was serving as Mission President. It had the letters A B Y and they stood for Are You Building. She suggested that when when we are having problems getting along with members of the family, church members or our companions that we ask ourselves the question Are You Building a better relationship or are you tearing one down.

She mentioned that after one zone meeting she and her husband were having an earnest discussion about something and a young missionary walked by and said President and Sister Parkin – remember ABY! She knew that her message was getting through.

She also told a story about an Elder that was spending some time in the mission office. She noticed that his shoes were really in bad shape and she mentioned that he should get something done about them. He replied that he was too busy teaching the gospel to worry about his shoes.

At this point she reached down and showed us a pair of shoes that were almost in two pieces from wear – they did not have holes in the soles they were worn all the way across. He had truly wore out his soles in the service of his savior. She said that one day she will return the shoes to Elder Gregson as a reminder of his mission service.

One last thing she mentioned that I liked was how hard President Hinckley worked. She challenged us with the thought “Will you let a 96 year old man out work you?