We've had some awesome experiences this week. The highlight event would have to be the Temple Conference we had on Friday. In our mission, we have the privilege of attending the temple twice a year. This past Friday was the first time I've been to the Temple since leaving the MTC. Wow, it felt soooo calming. I'd almost forgotten how strong the presence of the Spirit is there in the Temple and how its able to help clear our minds and give us comfort. One of the insights I realized is the the Lord is very patient with each and every one of us. Even when we sin, he still is holding out his arms for us to come back to him. This past week I'd been a little frustrated with myself because I haven't felt like I've been measuring up to what the Lord expects of me, and when I went to the temple, I just got this overwhelming sense of peace and comfort and love. I know my Father in Heaven loves me and is patient with my shortcomings. This mission is the best time for me to grow and I can feel myself being stretched every day.
President Taylor instigated a new study program during the conference. By next May, our mission is going to experience a 65% increase. This means more areas, more missionaries, more companionships, more apartments and more biking:) There was a great sense of excitement as President made this announcement The number of sisters in our mission is jumping from 17 to 56, and our mission size is jumping from about 135 to 216 or something like that.
And so to prepare for all of the incoming missionaries, who will be spending less time at the MTC, we all need to be ready to train. So President Taylor is going to have us read the whole Book of Mormon and Preach My Gospel from now until March.
Which brings me to a fun little analogy President Taylor used during the training he gave us. He asked us a serious question: "If I told you I had a book titled "How to Find the Woman of your Dreams in 90 Days" would you read this book? We all sheepishly nodded yes. He asked us if we would study it in depth, taking notes and really applying the principles taught in the Book. We all enthusiastically nodded yes. He then pulled out Preach My Gospel and said, this is that book. It has everything from Recognizing the Spirit, making commitments, and coming closer to Christ to Daily Contacting, careful planning and so forth. It was awesome. Needless to say, we're all very geared up to become Preach My Gospel Missionaries.
As far as our week goes, Elder Morrell and I have been trying a little harder to do Daily contacting as prescribed by Preach My Gospel. Obviously we haven't been able to keep in contact with all of our investigators. It's been hard to see some of the people we thought were strongly progressing two weeks ago stop having time to see us. It's been hard.
But nonetheless, we met the Vasquez family this week... and we've made it a point to contact them whenever we are in their neighborhood, even if its not a full lesson but just a few minutes to say hi... because honestly we love this family and desire them to come closer to Christ. We contacted this family 4 out of the 7 days last week in person and the difference has been incredible. Our trust with the family has grown immensely and the kids even go as much to ask when we will be coming back the next time.
That's another thing, we also focused on teaching the children. We had a lesson with this family and taught them the 10 commandments using the hand signals and we involved the whole family. The effect was very warm and delightful. And we established a stronger relationship.
And then it gets better, we've successfully had a member present at every lesson so far we've had with them. The members have made the difference. The father of this family really connected with two members of our branch when we brought them over. I'm starting to see that the role of the missionary is partly to help members meet people outside of the branch. Once members start meeting people, the missionary work starts to have meaning for them and they want to come out and help.
We plan to invite the primary president to our next appointment this Wednesday and hopefully we can start seeing the mom gain a few friends. Needless to say, we are really excited for this family and hope to see them progress. So far Elder Morrell and I are trying to really apply "Preach My Gospel" to this family because we don't want to lose them.
In other news, the sister missionaries in our district had a baptism yesterday. It was a great experience for the Branch because I don't think the Branch has had a baptism for quite some time. Hopefully this will help kick start the missionary effort in this area a little bit.
Well, that's about it for this week. If anyone has any fun ideas about how to teach the Plan of Salvation, the Restoration or the Gospel of Jesus Christ to children, let me know.