Saturday, September 19, 2015

Zone Conferences

Zone conferences September 15 – September 18
This past week we enjoyed being with all of our missionaries from Tuesday to Friday.  In this post I’m hoping to give you a feel for what transpired and then pictures will follow.
Every zone conference starts with singing “Let Zion in Her Beauty Rise”.  It is powerful and we don’t feel anyone sings it as well as the missionaries in the California Ventura mission.  Elder Stewart, the vehicle coordinator, talked about taking care of the cars.  We are fortunate to have so many cars but with that comes a lot of expense.  As the missionaries arrive, they park their cars in the church parking lot with hoods up and wheels turned so that the Stewarts and Floyds can inspect them.  We want our missionaries safe as well as in clean cars.  Following Elder Stewart, President Felix covered many topics.  They are the following:
Area books
Phones (using them properly and visible for companions to see together)
Apartments (keep them clean, no pullup bars, be responsible for any repairs that were caused by the missionary, never accept visitors in the apartment)
Mission evacuation plan (guidelines given out in case of a disaster)
Earthquake awareness
Flu vaccinations are available without expense – now is the time
JustServe (missionaries are authorized up to 10 hours per week for service and JustServe will provide opportunities)
Ward Councils (be on time, be prepared, be brief and specific, don’t tell members what to do, respect all participants, and remember confidentiality)
Meals with members (having meals with members is a privilege, not a right, a few etiquette reminders, rules from the mission president’s handbook regarding meal time, and then—“The California Ventura Missionaries will abstain from all meals, gift cards, food dropped off at the door, etc. that might be provided by members or non-members October 7 until October 14. No restaurants or fast food during this time.  Plan your meals ahead and cook in your apartments.”)  The missionaries understand it is a blessing for members to feed them and this will help them learn life skills such as planning, shopping, cooking, and budgeting.
Support funds (they are sacred and represent sacrifices by the missionary, family, and others; use them for groceries, personal grooming items, laundry, cleaning supplies, haircuts, postage for weekly letters, and fast offerings, any funds remaining after these expenses should be returned to the mission)
Bicycles (wear a bicycle helmet, other safety rules and if riding after dark there must be working reflectors, headlights and taillights)
Baptisms (remember the sanctity of this ordinance, prepare the candidate to dress appropriately, no picture taking during the ordinance and express appreciation for those who conducted, participated, and attended)
Companionships (stay together at all times and in all places, within sight and hearing)
Brother/Doctor Dunn in Santa Barbara came to zone conference in Goleta for a presentation on oral hygiene.  He made a jump drive for us to take to the rest of the zones.  He also provided a little bag of toothpaste, toothbrush, and dental floss.
The Assistants introduced the new Christlike attribute of Diligence.  The scripture is D&C 58:27  Diligence is working hard with a cause.  Elder Yager asked how many have mowed a lawn and to tell us how they did it.  There needs to be a point to where you are going.  Liken it to missionary work – do it all not just ½ way.  Elder Young quoted from PMG “Do many good things of your own free will.  Don’t wait for your leaders to tell you what to do.  Continue until you have done all you can, even when you are tired.  Focus on the most important things and avoid wasting time.  Pray for guidance and strength.  Plan regularly and effectively.  Avoid anything that distracts your thoughts or actions.”  Elder Young and Elder Yager asked how many of us had played on a team and had a coach yell at you.  Elder Young got into Elder Yager’s face and said “How bad do you want it?”  Do you want to be a good missionary?  Lack of diligence seems to come from selfishness.  Be humble and forget yourselves and go to work.  They admonished the missionaries that we have a reputation of being a diligent, obedient and baptizing mission.
During lunch we acknowledged birthdays from July to November.  Awards were given to the cleanest car in each zone.
Our afternoon session was very spiritual.  President Felix talked on the Book of Mormon being the keystone of our religion.  We saw an excerpt from President Benson’s talk regarding the keystone holding our religion together.  The Book of Mormon is the keystone of the witness of Jesus Christ, the keystone of the doctrine, and keystone of our testimony.
Missionaries were asked to prepare a 5 minute talk on “how the Spirit of reading the Book of Mormon has influenced their testimony”.  Everyone prepares because no one knows who will be called on.  All of the talks were fantastic.
Elder Floyd introduced himself, talked about his Book of Mormon experience in joining the church, and his testimony.  The missionaries liked what he said regarding yielding and submitting to the Spirit and that it is important now and throughout life.  In one of the conferences, he pointed out the importance of diligence and detailed planning being important with being flexible to the Spirit.
The EDPEP (role playing) was presented by zone leaders.  They were to teach using the first and last two paragraphs in the introduction of the Book of Mormon.
Sister Felix compared the word to a seed.  We discussed Alma 32: 28 and included verses 27 and 42.  Everyone received a book mark.

Our past stake president in Cottonwood Heights, Charlie McQuinn, would always encourage us to read from the Book of Mormon every day without missing a day for the rest of our lives.  Sister Felix issued a commitment that the missionaries read every day for the rest of their mission.  They all said they would.  Then, “Will you read the Book of Mormon every day without missing a day for the rest of your life?”  YES was the response.  There was such power felt in the room.  We feel if we will read daily and pray that we will stay active in the Church.  We want our missionaries to have joy and happiness from being active members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
President Felix trained more on the Book of Mormon being the keystone of our religion. “The Book of Mormon combined with the Spirit, is your most powerful resource in conversion.” PMG  “If the Book of Mormon is true, then Jesus is the Christ, Joseph Smith was His prophet, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true, and it is being led today by a prophet receiving revelation.”  We heard from Elder Kevin W. Pearson’s last talk in General Conference, “Stay Close to the Tree” – Read every day, every day, every day.
Time was given to all missionaries to share what they felt.  The Spirit was definitely felt during our time together.
President Felix left them with a commitment to have a Book of Mormon in hand as they are out and about and to testify of it.  Also in their weekly letters to share an experience in which they or an investigator received revelation or felt the Spirit by reading the Book of Mormon.
When zone conference was completed President kept the leadership for a short follow up. The rest began shopping and exchanging ties. 
We donated so much clothing to Goodwill. The missionaries from now on will be encouraged to take care of their unwanted clothes rather than leaving them behind in their apartments. 

1 comment:

  1. That sounds like such a wonderful Zone Conference! It made me want to be there too:) Thank you for teaching the missionaries and reminding them to be diligent in all they do as a missionary and when they return. Countless blessings will follow them and they will be "covenant keepers".