Sunday, October 11, 2015

Mission Letter 10/12/2015

Dear family and friends,

It's been another wonderful week, filled with many busy things! This past week, we had a Preparation Day, a Zone Training Meeting, Interviews with President, and two days of General Conference, which just took a lot of time out of our week. But it was still awesome!

We started the week with Zone Training Meeting. This was kind of the first time where I took the lead during the meeting (because since my companion transferred, I'm now in a sense "training" a new Zone Leader, but he's doing fine), and it went pretty good. At the end of each month, the mission holds a Mission Leader Conference that all the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders attend, and we receive trainings from President and Sister Jergensen, the Assistants, and the Temple Sisters (basically the sister equivalent of Assistants in our mission). Then, we take all of those trainings, and present them to our own zones, as well as adding in little things that we specifically plan for our individual zone. The meeting went really well.

They had this one part where they showed us a video of every missionary in the zone, and a picture of the time they were baptized. That was pretty special. It's been years since I've seen that picture, and it brought back a lot of memories. Their question to us was, what would your life be like without baptism? Why is baptism important to us, and to other people? It was a super good training, that gave all of us more motive to go out and invite other people to prepare for baptism.

We also had our interviews with President Jergensen this week, followed by an exchange with the Assistants. As Zone Leaders, we (are supposed to) go on exchanges with the Assistants once a transfer. Basically, it was a nice relaxing day out of my area where I got to see the Assistants' house. It's not exactly what you would call tidy and clean, but since they live down the street from where the mission stores all the furniture, they kinda sneakily took two small couches and placed them in their study room as the chair for their desk (as opposed to a regular chair). So now, they basically have "thrones" in their rooms. 

Nevertheless, it was an awesome opportunity to go teach some of their own investigators and less actives. Elder Huntsman used the word "friend" endlessly in talking to both of those we met with, which at first made me a little uncomfortable, just hearing him use the word in literally every other sentence, but I guess it made a point and an impression, that our investigators really must understand that we love them and have that at the center of our work, that we're trying to help them as friends, and not baptize them as businessmen.

We then had General Conference on Saturday (11AM-1PM, 2-4PM, 5-7PM, so basically the whole day) and Sunday (9-11AM, 12-2PM). The whole thing was awesome! A few of my favourite parts included these:

Elder Larry R. Lawrence:
Let's consider the New Testament account of the rich young ruler. He was a righteous young man who was already keeping the Ten Commandments, but he wanted to become better. His goal was eternal life.

When he met the Savior, he asked, "What lack I yet?"

Jesus answered immediately, giving counsel that was intended specifically for the rich young man. "Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and … come and follow me."

The young man was stunned; he had never considered such a sacrifice. He was humble enough to ask the Lord but not faithful enough to follow the divine counsel he was given. We must be willing to act when we receive an answer.

President Harold B. Lee taught, "Every one of us, if we would reach perfection, must [at] one time ask ourselves this question, 'What lack I yet?'"

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf:
Sometimes we feel discouraged because we are not "more" of something—more spiritual, respected, intelligent, healthy, rich, friendly, or capable. Naturally,there is nothing wrong with wanting to improve. God created us to grow and progress. But remember, our weaknesses can help us to be humble and turn us to Christ, who will "make weak things become strong." Satan, on the other hand, uses our weaknesses to the point that we are discouraged from even trying.

I learned in my life that we don't need to be "more" of anything to start to become the person God intended us to become.

God will take you as you are at this very moment and begin to work with you. All you need is a willing heart, a desire to believe, and trust in the Lord.

Right after the last session ended, after about 10 minutes, the broadcast switched to BYU TV which was broadcasting the football game, which was hilarious when that popped on the screen in the chapel, with full sound and screaming crowds. 

It's been a wonderful week. I'm really excited for this coming week, and helping our area get kicked back up again. 

The weather is getting cold. But if I think that this weather is cold, I'm going to DIE when I go back to Utah. 

Have a wonderful week!

Elder Sequoia Ploeg

Taiwan Taipei Mission