Random Thoughts and Experiences

01 January 2009

I managed to write the date without changing an 8 to a 9. Perhaps there is hope for me yet.

This morning as Mary is watching the Rose Parade on two channels, I was at my computer trying to find a new piece of music to listen to on New Years Day. It seemed appropriate at the time. To fill the time while some music was being recorded, I read from the December 2008 Ensign. After reading from page 54 to the end, I opened the magazine to page 26 and Elder Maxwell’s conference talk from 2002 titled “Consecrate Thy Performance.”

How appropriate to read this talk on the 1st day of a new year and just a few of weeks before leaving on our mission. In his wonderful and loving way he pointed out to me some of my weaknesses that I need to work on if I am going to a truly successful missionary and be fully worthy to be called a child of God. I count it as a tender mercy that the Lord had me read this today and I truly acknowledge His hand it this blessing.

Earlier today I ordered a book and cds to help us learn Zulu. Hopefully it will help us be more successful missionaries. Unfortunately the Book of Mormon is not translated into Zulu so Mary and I will not be able to spend our mornings reading and translating as we did in Indonesia. But I am sure there are some church literature that has been translated so we should be able to do some work. We also plan to find a member who can teach us on a regular basis – something we should have done for bahasa Indonesian.

Two Sundays ago – December 21 I think – we had our Christmas program in Sacrament. As usual the Primary and Choir singing was great. But the highlight for me was a talk by Tom Griffith about Christ as creator. It was one of the best Christmas talks I have ever heard. It went right along with a thought that I have been repeating in my mind for a couple of months that came to me as an answer to prayer – “Trust me.”

On the 28th there were two powerful talks by two young people who have been away for a while. Kenneth Brewer has been attending Harvard and then went to China. Megan Shumway has been in Oregon serving a mission. Kenneth talk was about his experiences of being a Mormon in Harvard and China. He recounted that one day at Harvard a young woman asked him “How much of a Mormon are you?” I thought that was a great question and I wondered how I might answer it. Reading Elder Maxwell’s article today re-inforced this question in my mind. As he points out to become Christ like is a step by step process. The important thing is not to be discouraged by my weakness but encouraged to do better.

Megan shared a number of inspiring experiences but one really hit me. She told about a sister they had tracted out and was baptized just before Megan was to come home. Megan got permission to go say goodbye. While they were sharing their love for each other Megan thanked the sister for allowing her to teach her the gospel. The sister responded with thanking Megan for knocking on her door. That really hit me and made me wonder what doors I have not knocked on that I should have. What neighbors did  not hear the gospel because I did not knock on their door. I decided that I would pray to know what doors I need to knock on – not only on our mission but also when I am at home. I need to make the idea ‘Every member a missionary” mean something to me.

Speaking of that I have been spending more time getting mentally and spiritually ready for our mission. I have been re-reading the information that we receieved from President Mann. I also wrote him about a couple of programs that are mentioned in the literature. He wrote back with two websites I could visit. http://durbanmission.blogspot.com/ is the blog Sister Mann keeps up about their experiences and has lots of good pictures. http://sadm.site50.net/ is a mission website that tells about some of the programs and ideas that are being used.

The “Walkabout” program sounds like one that could be used in almost any area of the Church. How great it would be if members and missionaries could work together to bring the gospel to those around them. I sent the website to President Marchant yesterday and I think I will send it to Presidents Barrett and Creer today. I am looking forward to getting involved in it and the other programs that are outlined on the mission site.

OK that is enough rambling for now. However I promise more to come as we get ready to leave on our mission.

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