Thursday, March 31, 2016

Departing 3/30/16

March 29 was a very different day for the departing missionaries.  We had transfers that morning and many of these missionaries were in tripans for the day or helping with the driving of transfers.  They were to meet at the mission home at 7:00 for dinner and testimonies.  Thank goodness for crockpots!  
Let Zion in Her Beauty Rise
The Iversons and Floyds arrived just after 6:30 a.m. to drive the missionaries to the Burbank airport for the flights home.
Hermanas Hurley, Miller, Zurate, Griffes
Elders Wickern, DeCosta, Payne

After having prayer before their departure.
Sister and Elder Stewart left today for their journey back to Idaho.  They will be missed!  We are very grateful for their service but also for their love and friendship.  All of the missionaries loved them!
Sister Stewart loves sun flowers.  Elder Stewart has a sweet tooth. This cake could make both of them happy.

New Arrivals 3/29/16

Elder Nielson
Elder Atkinson
Elder Shaw
Hermana Hirst
Hermana Torrico
Sister Hardy
The six missionaries arrived just after 3:30.  We had a very tight schedule.

Because it was so breezy we chose to eat inside at the Santa Barbara Stake Center.  Elder & Sister Clark picked the food up for us from the Santa Barbara Chicken Ranch.
Our goal was to be on the road at 5:00 and we were.  The plan was to be at the mission office for a 6:15 meeting with the new missionaries and their trainers.  This is where they would meet each other for the first time.  Because of the time crunch we did not do an orientation or training.  They left and went to their areas.  Two days later we got together again at the mission office. 
Here are the companionships:
Sister Hardy and Sister King
Elder Atkinson and Elder Hales
Elder Haines and Elder Shaw
Elder Gregory and Elder Nielson
Hermana Hirst and Hermana Wright
Hermana Torrico and Hermana Green
After our meeting we drove to the mission home for a treat - oreo ice cream with hot fudge, cool whip and oreo crust.  The missionaries are curious as to where and what the mission home looks like.  That is why we went there.  We then drove to the Cross for the experience of having both feet in and being committed.  Here they are jumping off the step and shouting "I'm committed!"

Elder Haines and Elder Gregory are trainers now but they never went to the Cross as their group arrived in the mission very late when they came.  They are committed but they wanted the experience of jumping.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Zone Conference Thousand Oaks/Newbury Park and Simi Valley

I couldn't resist taking this picture of two missionaries "backing up"  Hermana Hurley.
The responses from the missionaries regarding humility:  putting the Lord's will before your own, lose yourself in the Lord's service, confident in the Lord -- we do through Him, receive correction, a strength, giving everything to Heavenly Father, recognize where the source of your strength comes from, is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.
President Felix asked the missionaries what did balance mean.  Their responses:  well rounded, things that are in harmony, even in weight, prioritized, and proper order. We hope after today our missionaries understand the importance of balance in their work.
Lunch consisted of several kinds of sandwiches, and a choice of four different soups.  Dessert was brownies and cookies.

Happy birthday to Elder Willis and Hermana Peterson.
Thousand Oaks/Newbury Park Zone
Front row:  Elders Crook, Pace, Snyder, Morby, Plummer, Chesley, Petersen, Gemar, Liddiard, Hermana Zurita, Sisters Fisher, Orme, Dye
Back row:  Elders Corbridge, Payne, Powell, Willis, Rosenlof, Peart, Garrard, Haines, Herrera, Hermana Hurley, Sisters Mortimer, Ulassin, Capener
Simi Valley Zone
Front row:  Elders Deem, Blaylock, Gardner, Hermanas Ames, Gonzalez, Sisters Scott, Mendoza, Elders Pierce, Holm
Back row:  Elders Dorius, Swenson, Carpenter, Hermanas Morales, Peterson, Mulloy, Sisters Houseman, Bosshardt, VanDerWatt, Elders Slaugh, Christenson

Elder Powell said a goal requires action.  What is your desire?  The worth of a soul is great.  Each goal is a soul.  He likes Captain Moroni - Alma 50:1-4 and how he set goals to protect the city.  If we understand the importance of setting goals, we will see miracles.
Elder Ruby and Elder Boyce did another great job talking about planning.  PMG "Do all you can to leave your area stronger than you found it.  Meaningful goals and careful planning will help you accomplish what the Lord requires of you."
Elder Deem likes Luke 16:1-4 in teaching accountability.  Accountability is being responsible for your actions.  The missionaries are stewards over their own areas.  The missionary accounts to their District Leader, the DL to the Zone Leader then they to the APs which account to President Felix.  
D & C 51:19 -- see success.
President and Sister Felix did a presentation on family history.  The missionaries will be workinig on their four generations and collecting stories.  President Felix gave them permission to go to the family history library and work on their history one hour a week.  They will be able to use their My Family booklet in proselyting.  The goal is to help newly baptized converts go to the temple within a month to do baptisms for the dead.  
Family history is not simply an interesting program or activity sponsored by the Church; rather, it is a vital part of the work of salvation and exaltation.
President Felix then shared with the missionaries a talk from Elder Hartman Rector, Jr. in a 1979 Conference talk "Following Christ to Victory." Elder Rector related 5 factors that will help overcome setbacks and accomplish goals.  1. Believe you can do it. 2. Look to the Lord for your blessings. 3. Make the sacrifice. 4. Expect a miracle. 5. Receive the miracle with great humility. It is a very motivating, humorus and positive talk.     

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Zone Conference V and C

It was such a beautiful day.  This is the Ventura Stake Center where we held zone conference for Ventura and Camarillo Zones.

This view is from in front of the church looking at the ocean.
Elder Iverson and Elder Stewart starting the inspection on the cars.  An award was given to the most clean and it went to Elders Herrera and Turley.  I talked to them after the conference and they were going for the award.  Elder Turley cleaned the apolstery with Resolve.
We followed the same format as yesterday.  President Felix gave opening remarks.  He encouraged the missionaries to meet one another as we have many new missionaries.  He talked about balance because there are many things we focus on in this mission, such as:  We need balance in working with members - 50 people to contact a week - Hallelujah initiative - we find, teach repentance and baptize converts - always ask so to find (such as:  "During this lesson we will be talking about a sacred message, names may come to you...") - follow up - when committments extended, follow up - both feet in - about others not oneself - we are missionaries in all places, in all things, at all times - we open our mouths D & C 100:5 - If you don't know what to say, testify of Jesus Christ - read from the Book of Mormon every day without missing a day - we desire the salvation of souls - we are consecrated servants of Jesus Christ - we strive to serve through our obedience - we are led by the Spirit as we find and teach.  How do we balance all of this?  God will work with you wherever we are.  President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said "Sometimes we feel discouraged because we are not 'more' of something -- more spiritual, respected, intelligent, healthy, rich, friendly or capable.  We don't need to be 'more' of anyting 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."
We had five new missionaries introduce themselves and bear a short testimony.  
The responses from the missionaries to the discussion from the assistants regarding humility:  being teachable, being repentive - realizing we can change, submittinig own will to God's will, recognize blessings are from Heavenly Father, being a child of God.  Why would Jesus use a child to represent humility (Matt 18:2-4)?  They are teachable, small and totally dependent, more willing to learn.  How do we become humble?  Repenting and praying; remember we are nothing without God; give up our will; it doesn't just happen -- always strive for humility and what you learn.
Seventeen missionaries shared their testimonies regarding marking the Book of Mormon in reference to the Doctrine of Christ before the departing missionaries shared their thoughts - Elder DeCosta, Hermana Miller and Hermana Griffes, then the Stewarts.
The spirit was so strong.  It's amazing to be in the presence of such wonderful missionaries.
Lunch was turkey and swiss cheese sandwiches with chips, fruit and candy on the tables as centerpieces.

Happy birthday to:  Elders Lallatin, Mulford, Brown, Barrios-Vega, Hermana Pirir, Sisters Barnum, Jones
Camarillo Zone
Front row:  Hermana Pirir, Sister Greding, Hermana Wright, Elders Hales, King, Judkins, Brown, Strom, Oakey, Barrios-Veg
Back row:  Hermana Scott, Sister Barnum, Hermana Miller, Elders Bailey, DuPlessis, Hatman, Mulford, Lallatin, Gregory, Taufatofua, McLane
Ventura Zone
Front row:  Elders Turley, Boyce, Jo, Weiss, McCurdy, Sisters Hopkins, Coulon, Hermanas Johnson, Kneip
Back row:  Elders Herrera, Ruby, DeCosta, Summers, Hull, Sisters Jones, Deitos, Hermanas Griffes, Hemingway

Elder King presented goal setting.  We should constantly strive to achieve.  It's faith that God will help us.  Real intent -- act.  It's for a soul.  Set goals with the Spirit.  He shared that he and Elder DuPlessis prayed for a date for someone to be baptized.  They felt it should be March 26.  They now have a baptism scheduled for that date.  They were inspired as to the date and did everything they could to make it happen.
Elder DuPlessis talked about accountability.  He said he loves the topic!  His presentation covered much of what Elder Kuepper did yesterday.  They were companions last transfer.  I liked when he quoted from PMG "Accept full responsibility for your efforts -- never blame others."
We all sang Hymn 291 Turn Your Hearts.  It was perfect to lead into President and Sister Felix's presentation on
family history.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Zone Conference SLO, SM, and SB

We had zone conference in Santa Maria today.  
The morning was filled with testimonies.  Eight new missionaries were given the opportunity to introduce themselves and bear a short testimony.  Elder Ruby and Elder Boyce presented the new Christlike attribute of Humility.  The scripture we will learn is D & C 112:10 - Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers.
What is humility?  Responses were:  teachable, real intent, be willing to give the glory back to God, thinking outwardly, think less about yourself, look to God, loyalty.
In PMG "humility is willingness to submit to the will of the Lord and to give the Lord the honor for what is accomplished.  It includes gratitude for His blessings and acknowledgment of your constant need for His divine help."
We need to be as a child -- teachable, dependent on God.  How do we become like a child?  Be observant and remember the perspective that we are God's children.  Express gratitude and recognize the Lord's hand in all things.  Cast out pride.  
When we are humble, we can be the instrument for the Spirit.
Mosiah 3:19 -- submit to Heavenly Father's will by yielding to the enticings of the Holy Spirit.  As we are humble, we will be led by the Spirit.
The assistants asked "How many of you have wanted to know God's will for your area?  Hands went up.  They said we have to be humble enough to follow the promptings.  We need to align our will with His.  Missionaries get stuck in a rut; therefore, we need to change.
In PMG pg. 176 "The Spirit is the most important single element in this work.  With the Spirit magnifying your call, you can do miracles for the Lord in the mission field.  Without the Spirit, you will never succeed regardless of your talent and ability."
Everything we have is from the Lord.  Be humble so as to be led by the Spirit.
Follow up on the Doctrine of Christ:
The missionaries were accountable for reading and marking the Doctrine of Christ in the Book of Mormon that was given to them in December.  Due to technical failure more time was allotted for testimonies of the experience.  Sixteen bore testimony and it would have gone on but President had to call time so that Elder Wickern and Hermana Zarate along with Elder & Sister Stewart could bear testimony.  These wonderful missionaries will be leaving us at the end of the month.
Elder Elliott sketched President and Sister Felix.  We thought it was pretty amazing.
March and April birthdays - Elder Marchant, Sister Aston, Hermana Zarate, Elders Routledge, Heck
We sang "Called to Serve"  to the sisters who prepared lunch for us (pulled pork sandwiches, salad, chips, and either Hostess treats or ice cream bars).

Santa Barbara Zone
Front row:  Elders Suarez, Hunter, VanSchlochteren, Sister Baird, Elder Wickern, Sister Clark, Hermana Zarate, Elders Valladares, H. Davis, Avalos, Bailey, Hermana Arkell, 
Elder Hubbard
Back row:  Elders Garcia, Harvey, K. Davis, Sister King, Elders Campbell, Clark, Hermana Garza, Marchant, Bradley, Mata, Allison, Hermana Frias, Elder DeGraw
San Luis Obispo Zone
Front row:  Elders Chatterton, Castro, Hidalgo, Endicott, Anderson, Heck, Sisters Meglen, Besendorfer, Elder Huston, Sister Aston
Back row:  Elders Gibb, Peisley, Peterson, Klingler, Bronson, Sila, Sisters McClure, Campbell, Elders Stewart, Aston
Santa Maria Zone
Front row:  Elders Bradler, Wayment, Sisters Cardon, Lambert, Hermanas Eames, Green, Elders Parkinson, Elliott, Levis
Back row:  Elders Lemus, Reed, Sisters Wing, Israelsen, Hermanas Ricks, Soriano, Elders Kuepper, Harper, Routledge

Our afternoon session was on planning and family history.
Sister Felix emphasized the importance of the Area Book.  
Elder Gibb's comments on goal setting:
Who wants to baptize?  Goals true purpose is rooted in deep desire.  How to set goals: 1.  Be realistic 2.  Be specific  3.  Be challenging  4,  There will be opposition -- "Some day" I'll achieve the goal is a trap.  Make it happen.
Elder Ruby and Elder Boyce covered planning.  (I will explain more in the next post).
Elder Kuepper talked about accountability and he asked three questions:  1. What does it mean to be accountable?  2. Who are we accountable to?  3. How do we give an accounting of our work?  His answers:  1. You want to do everything in your power to make it happen.  2.  To Christ and Heavenly Father.  Mormon 3:20 teaches to be accountable.  3. a. Prayer - many times a day. b. In your call in calls with key indicators (you are talking to a representative of Jesus Christ). c. Email to President Felix . 
d. Key indicators on the mission portal.
Learning to be accountable now will benefit you throughout your life.
In the next days I will post more about 
President & Sister Felix's presentation on family history.