Zone activities began up north in San Luis Obispo with the SLO and Santa Maria zones. There’s been a buzz around the mission that the training was going to be with IPads. Not so. We still have not received any word on our mission becoming an IPad mission. Each day last week we met with two zones. Santa Barbara and Ventura on Wednesday, Camarillo and Newbury Park on Thursday, then on Friday we met with the Thousand Oaks and Simi Valley zones.
The missionaries were divided into three groups, so we had three rotations.
Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
The focus of training from President Felix was to remind the missionaries of the importance of daily exercise as part of the morning schedule. Missionaries were asked to share their typical/favorite exercises. The Church recommends that the missionaries have 10 minutes of strengthening exercises three days per week and 10 minutes of stretching exercises the other three days of the week. It is then recommended that they have 20 minutes of an aerobic exercise daily. An app of the “7 Minute Workout” was shared with the missionaries so that it could be utilized in their routine. They also learned how to make the perfect ice pack and when to use ice versus heat.
A brief discussion of safe activities for district and zone gatherings was held. Reading from the Missionary Handbook on page 21, it was determined that contact sports such as football, rugby, and competitive basketball should also include the popular activity of “Bubble Ball”. A frank description of what happened to Elder Hoff was shared with a drawing of the cervical spine and identifying the injury. The missionaries all agreed that the risk of injury was too great to play “Bubble Ball” as missionaries.
President Felix shared with the missionaries the rest of the anatomy of the spine and the natural curvature of the back was identified. As many missionaries are involved in service activities where lifting and moving things is involved, they were instructed in a Back Safety training. They were taught things that they can do to better care for themselves as they go through life. Some of the safety items discussed included: lift with your legs, keep the weight close, wide base of support, don’t twist the spine, get help if needed, maintain a neutral spine and lift twice. Missionaries were involved in training about each of these items. It was felt that by understanding these elements of safety that perhaps they could avoid injury. Many of the missionaries understood that lifting twice was similar to doing a role play (EDPEP) and how this principle of lifting twice can be used throughout life.
Eyes, Ears, Mouth and Knows
Sister Felix shared scriptures to help us understand ways we can have good communication – Ephesians 4:15,
1 Corinthians 14:9, James 3:2, Proverbs 15:1, and
Eyes: When we communicate so much of what is communicated is not spoken. Four of the missionaries were asked to demonstrate through body language (no talking) some emotions (anger, joy, stressed, and boredom) as the rest guessed what they were doing.
Ears: We need our ears for listening. Three missionaries were asked to help with the demonstration of one being told a scenario while the other two were outside the door and could not hear. One at a time they came back into the room to listen and recite what they heard. It’s amazing how the scenario changed and details were left out that could help the missionary in fulfilling the assignment. We discussed what could be done to help remember.
Mouth: Our mouths are used for speaking. Giving meaningful instructions to others is much more effective when there is feedback for correct execution. Two missionaries helped demonstrate this. One of them was given 8 dominos and the other a shape diagram of the same dominos. Only the person without the dominos could see the pattern. (One faced the table with dominos and the other was back to back so they could not see each other.) The one with the dominos could not speak. They had 2 minutes to replicate the pattern. They saw that the two diagrams did not match. We discussed the importance of asking questions and evaluating to help in communicating. We talked about positive and negative criticism and the results, using “I” statements, and the importance of smiling.
Knows: We finished up with knows or understanding one another. One of the basic human needs is to understand and to be understood. We saw Dr. Suess’s The Zax and related the story to missionaries managing conflict. Learning to compromise with companions is important (no one is always right). Developing Christ-like characteristics will help us in our relationships. It was pointed out that they don’t choose their companions, the Lord does. There is something to learn from every companion.
To conclude from Elder L. Lionel Kendrick, “True disciples of Jesus Christ seek to follow His example in the ways they communicate. Their communications, both verbal and nonverbal, are to be kind, compassionate, and helpful, reflecting a love for Heavenly Father’s children and an understanding that all people are brothers and sisters.”
Elder Gibb and Elder Weiss have spent the last week training the mission on how to speak Spanish. Elder Weiss led a Spanish speaking session with the missionaries assigned to speak Spanish. They discussed why they have been called as Spanish speaking missionaries and how they can improve their language studies. “And hallow my [language studies]; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know [Spanish].” (Ezekiel 20:20) They also covered the finer points of grammar. They enjoyed poking fun at Elder Gibb, who doesn’t speak Spanish.
During the English session Elder Gibb and Elder Weiss taught the English speaking missionaries the basics of Spanish. Many times Elders and Sisters will attempt to talk with someone on the street who only speaks Spanish and they will hear, “no ingles” as an excuse to not talk with them. The purpose of the training was to teach missionaries some Spanish so they can talk with everyone. They covered vowel sounds, sang “Llamados a Servir” (Called to Serve), and practiced talking to people on the street in Español. Everyone was provided with a card that clips in to their planner with some common phrases to help the process along. “?No ingles? No problemo!”
We enjoyed seeing and being with all of the missionaries last week!