Monday, July 19, 2010

Missionaries' World Flipped Upside Down

19 July 2010

Dear Dad,

I enjoyed reading your email this week. I can just imagine you, John, and Bro. Wright pulling up a pump! That would be a huge job. I can't believe you did that. I am glad that it was just a small problem and the three of you were able to fix it.

Speaking of John, has he grown very much?

Just send the money or suits whenever you can and don't worry about it too much. Things always work out, especially as a missionary. I'm excited to see what your book is like. That would be fun to look through.

I am really enjoying my new area. We are teaching a couple of families, although we could be teaching more. But people here in this stake seem to care a bit more about missionary work.

In my last area we went to a ward mission leader and asked him about the 15 names (that is a program that the Missionary Department asked us to do in November 2008) in his ward. He had them, but as far as we could tell no one had been invited to take missionary lessons (which is the whole point of the program).

So, on Saturday when Elder Meredith said we needed to go talk to a WML about the 15 names, I admit I was worried. But the brother was so kind, willing to listen, and thankful.

He said, "Thank you, elders, for coming and telling me this. I didn't know we were supposed to invite these people to take lessons. Now I know. Thank you so much."

In short, he was humble. I'm not the most humble guy on earth--I have learned a lot about humility on the mission--but I sure appreciate it when others are humble.

We had this three-day meeting in Pocatello this week. That was way cool. I will have to write home about it. But as our mission president said, "This [the simplified curriculum framework] is bringing Preach My Gospel to life." "It is unlocking Preach My Gospel." There are 8 lessons that the missionaries are taught. They are about being better missionaries. We were taught 5 of them while there. We will have a similar meeting in August but for only 2 days. We, as leaders in the mission, now have to go out and teach this to the rest of the mission. Basically our world as missionaries was just flipped upside down this past week. Everything is changing--from the way we teach to district meetings to interviews to zone conferences. It will be good. Rumor on the street (and this is strictly rumor, I have no idea if it is true) is that while we (the 50 or so leaders) were working with other missionaries in the Pocatello area Tuesday and Wednesday night, that 40 new baptism dates were set. I don't know if it was that many, but in one appointment we set a date. Elder Hernandez and his companions in American Falls set 4 in one night. So regardless of how many were set, a lot of people committed. This is changing everything and I am so stoked for it!

I pray for your work and the move to Missouri every night. I hope that it will work out. I think it would be neat to live in the Far West area. I will pray that the house sells. I know that whatever happens, it is the will of the Lord. We were taught something in this meeting about faith. It is imagining what the outcome is. Creating it in our minds first. That is the spiritual creation. Then we go about creating it, doing what is necessary. That is the physical creation. I thought that was an insightful perspective of faith. I need to work on doing that. (See Alma 5:15-21)

This mission is a very unique mission (I am sure that Provo is similar). I think that every missionary knows someone that is at BYU-I or will be, or has been, or lives in the mission. I also love it when I meet missionaries that were at BYU-I when they got there mission calls. Or elders that were in the mission that we see around--because they are at BYU-I. It is also funny when an elder has an ex-girlfriend at BYU-I, or a girlfriend at BYU-I who isn't really waiting, because he is here, but she kind of is too. It just makes for funny experiences. Or when elders guy friends/brothers are here also and "accidentally" run into each other. But it is really strange when you do run into someone, like Christina, in those spots where you don't expect to see them. You would think that with me hanging out in Rexburg every single p-day for 6 months straight, that I would run into someone from our stake. But then while eating at Famous Dave's in IF, one of the waitresses is someone I know. Weird.

The Webbs and the Burninghams are way cool people. Two families in the ward that I really liked. I am jealous that I never got Brother Burningham as my seminary teacher-he was way cool. Sister Evans was neat also.

I will never forget one 4th of July party we had at our house. At least I think these two things happened the same day (they were both the 4th of July, maybe different years). I was sitting there talking with Brother Burningham about playing basketball or something with us. He had that job with a bad work schedule, but he had just gotten a new one. He was saying something like, "Ya, with my new boss things should be better. It is a great place to work. It is a good job."

"Oh, that's good you got a new job. Who do you work for now?" I asked.

He looked at me with a really confused look on his face and said, "I work for your dad."

"You do?! I didn't know that." It was pretty funny.

Then when the Webbs moved in you invited them over for the 4th of July. Allyson was sitting across from me out back, not really doing anything or talking with anyone. She had these big sun glasses on and a cold attitude. So I thought I would be nice and talk with her. She would hardly give me the time of day, and only say "yes" or "no." After a minute or two of that I thought, "OK then. Never mind, I'll leave you alone."

She warmed up over the years though. Just not in the best of moods from being a new-move-in. I probably wasn't either.

Right now I think Dan is really the only good friend I have at BYU, so that would be a ton of fun if Allyson went there also. It seems like everyone always comes up here to BYU-I.

Elder Call

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