This week was pretty awesome. It was my first time ever meeting a General Authority [a member of Church Leadership] and I got to train in front of him.
We started the training at 8 and we all got to greet him and talk to Elder and Sister Grow for a minute, and take a picture (I don´t have that picture because they didn’t let me use my camera so maybe next week I'll have it) and then we started the training. President and Hermana Gomez [mission president and his wife] spoke to us and then Elder and Sister Grow spoke, which was then followed by a training by the other zone leaders--who took forever. According to the program, we were supposed to train before lunch, but then Elder Grow got up and took us all the way up until lunch. At that point, I thought we weren't even going to train, and I didn't know how I felt about that. We had spent a lot of time preparing it, but I was nervous to do it.
We went to lunch in the cultural hall [the multi-use area typically found in the middle of LDS church buildings—often containing a basketball court] and Elder Grow calls me over and tells me that we are still going to train, but he’d like us to change it a little to do what he had just trained on. In my head, I’m thinking: Umm alright, so I guess I'll just get up there and try to follow up a General Authority’s training on the very same thing he just trained on--with like no preparation. It actually went really well, surprisingly! We talked about the importance setting and completing goals and doing it the Lord’s way. It wasn’t exactly like how Elder Grow did it, which I think is ok, but it was the same idea. He told me good job as we were finishing and sitting down.
Elder Grow taught about goals, planning and working with the Spirit. He talked a lot about the work of salvation and a program that we have here in this area (Elder Grow is part of the Area Presidency). He also taught about the importance of the Book of Mormon in conversion. A couple of people shared their conversion experiences and a majority of them were centered around the Book of Mormon. It was pretty cool. That night, Elder Grow trained the whole stake [a geographic organization of several wards, or local congregations] on how to have a ward council [a meeting of local leadership] which was really cool. He also told us about his goal on his mission to baptize a stake president [a Stake President is the leader of a stake. He is a volunteer, called of God, and typically serves for a period of about 10 years. It is a tremendous amount of responsibility and so a Stake President must have a strong testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and provide a good example to the members of the Stake]. So I decided that was a really cool goal, which leads me to my next story....
Later in the week we were looking for families to teach. We were in a part of the area we rarely go, and where there are no current members of the Church. We were knocking a few doors (I don't do that very often anymore) and we see this guy get up and start talking to what appeared to be his children and said "now we’re going to read the Bible". The thought instantly came into my mind that he just needs the Restoration and this guy will be a Stake President. We asked if we could join them and they invited us in. We were there for a few minutes talking with them and we soon figured out that he was not the father of the family, nor was it even a family. He had invited children from off the street to listen to him and then he was about to pull out an envelope to collect offerings. We decided that it was better that we left at that point....it was probably one of the most awkward moments I've been a part of on my mission! I have revised my initial impression: I don’t think that guy will be a stake president very soon. Maybe it was a “had to be there” moment?
Also, this week we got to build a house in this swamp-like place...it was pretty cool. In the morning, we had called our ward misison leader [the local member of the Church with the responsibility to coordinate missionary efforts within the ward/congregation’s boundaries] to ask him for a hammer and a saw and he asked us what we were doing and then instantly offered to go and help us—remember, this is the guy in a wheelchair--that guy is just the best! It was the second house that I've helped build down here and I will just say that I love American made nails, they don't bend when you hit them with a hammer!
Love you guys and hope that everything is well!!!
P.S. I was telling Tyler that a mom of one of the sisters in his zone had contacted me this week, so I could see him in a few of her pictures on her blog, which was fun. He responded, “did you know that half of the new missionaries already know me and ask about my blog when they start the mission?” I don’t know if he considers that a benefit or a detriment, especially since he’s never even seen his own blog!