we had mission leadership council (MLC) with President Mortensen from and I was spiritually exhausted! I cannot even begin to tell you how inspired President Mortensen is. It is so crazy. I love him! Last year (2014) was the highest baptizing year since 2001 and we had a lot of discussion about this because President asked each of us to come prepared to talk about what we would need to do in order to double baptisms. He has been inspired to tell us that we can and we need to double baptisms. Just last month, we had 87 people scheduled to be baptized and only about 30 actually were. If we were to have the ones already on track stay on track, our baptisms would double. We counseled together and then he broke us up in zones. So, Elder Christensen and Sister Nielsen (the Sister Training Leader) and I talked with each other and felt like 7 baptisms would be reasonable for our zone. President Mortensen went around all 12 zones and asked us what our number was and then at the end he said this may sound arbitrary but I want all of you to commit to do all that you can to achieve that. He started on the opposite side of the room from me and he committed every person in there and everyone said "Yes." So, there was like 20 something yeses and then I was the last one and I was like, "I'm in!" And then President said, "So am I." The spirit was so strong in the room I can't even explain what I was feeling. Everyone there knew it too. So now it is not a goal, but rather a commitment and, believe me, I am committed. We tracted last night in the rain for 2 hours and for, whatever reason, people were being so rude to us, but we just kept on knocking with a smile on our face! :) Get this, someone called the cops on us and it was just after the last house where I saw a cop down in the distance (I could smell them). And I told Elder Christensen, "Great." and he was like "What?" Then I said, "We have company. That's a cop!" Hahaha.....well, it turns out it was a female police officer and she got out of her car and she was like, "How are you elders doing?" We looked at each other and we like "Whaaa??" She told us that she was in the Sam Houston 1st singles ward!! HAHA!! She was so nice to us and she told us good job for all we do and told us to keep going!! So sick! This really was a tender mercy of the Lord because we could have had some mean officer come and give us a bunch of grief.
We also were able to go back over to the Popes house evening and we read chapter 17 of 1 Nephi with Brenda and Morgan. Super sweet! Nephi is a boss! :)
we had zone meeting and we tried to bring some of the fire from MLC to our meeting! It was a good zone meeting and we felt like the zone received the training well. Sister Nielsen talked a lot about building our confidence and she did such a great job. After her training, Elder Christensen and I went up together and we watched a short clip from President Hinckley about when he said the with concerted effort, with recognition of our duty as members of the church, and with sincere prayer we could double baptisms! It was perfect! So we had a discussion on that and then we went in to Alma 17 talking about the sons of Mosiah and what they did in order to have the success they did and then we finished up in chapter 26 with why the Lord granted them what they had originally desired, which was to be instruments in His hands.
Do you guys remember the guy named Ryan that I mention a couple months ago that I originally met when I gave a "He Is The Gift" pass along card? Well he came to church yesterday!! Soooo sweet! We actually had stake correlation meeting yesterday so we missed our Sacrament Meeting which ended up working out well for Ryan because he wanted to come to something later than . We all went to Magnolia 2nd Sacrament at and then we introduced him to those elders and we had to leave after that, but Ryan want to start meeting with us after he returns from a trip that he is going on this week.
Okay, here is my favorite part of the week right here. We had a lesson with Morgan and Brenda again yesterday and we met at the Small's house. Great family by the way! So, we got there and we were talking about how her reading has been going and how the Relief Society activity went and what not and then a miracle question arose. Brenda was like, "Everything is going really well, but I want to know more about the temple." Everyone is always like, 'Temple this and temple that, but why do we even go to the temples?'" Elder Christensen and I looked at each other and just smiled because WE HAD PREPARED TO TEACH FAMILY HISTORY AND TEMPLES!!!! I actually got a little teary eyed when I said, "You know Brenda, that is such a great question and we have come prepared with a lesson that will answer your questions about the temple." I started out asking her about her favorite part of the Plan of salvation lesson, what she understood the goal to be, how it makes her feel to know that families are forever, and what the key is that unlocks the door for us to be able to return back to live with God. Hoping she would answer with baptism, she said she wasn't quite sure, so then Morgan was like, "Well, I think it would be baptism." And I was like, "BINGO!" Then I said, "So, if baptism is the key, what about those that passed on that didn't have the opportunity to be baptized? Would God punish them though no fault of their own?" She was like, "Well, I would hope not!" So, we turned to 1 Peter 3:18-19 in the New Testament and that tells us where Christ went after He was crucified before his Resurrection. He went to the Spirit World to preach. What did He preach? His Gospel (1 Peter 4:6). So, he preached His Gospel to those in the Spirit world. So they were taught, but what about the key? How are they baptized without their bodies? Then we went to 1 Corinthians where we read about Paul teaching about baptisms for the dead. It was like a light bulb went off in the room, but it was the Spirit! I want to bear my testimony that I know that this is true. I know that baptisms for the dead were done in Christ's church in biblical times, and I know that they are done now in His restored church. I have never felt the Spirit so strong in a lesson before. I truly believe that Brenda's ancestors were there helping us yesterday. I know it you guys. It was so real and she knew it too. Elder Christensen asked if any of their ancestors were on their minds lately and they both said, "Yes." His uncle has been on his mind a lot as of late and Brenda went to her parents house and they had out a scrapbook of her Grandma and she learned so much about her grandma THE DAY BEFORE THIS LESSON. I told her right then and there that it was no a coincidence that all of this happened the way that it did. This was the best lesson ever. She now has her mind set on the temple and baptism is just a means to an end now. The temple is where we all ought to be. We also talked about the Houston Temple grounds tours that the mission presidency has started, and we are all going together this . Be there or be square! Straight up, it is going to be legit. Last month, there were over 200 people that showed up, and they didn't even announce it all that they had desired to do.
This work is SO real you guys. I am strengthened each and every day. I am too blessed to be stressed as my good friend Elder Sumsion would say. :) I know you can't tell by the looks of my hair.....Anyways, I love you all and I wish you all a great week!
Elder Tanner and I at MLC! He is myoyy! I love him!!
It's a new style! Basketball shorts and tie around the head! Er' day!!
Those are the assistants and that is Sister Nielsen as we planned for zone meeting!