We had our Mission Leadership Council (MLC) and zone training and the weird part is that I had to give my departing testimony at both of them. It was super hard; a lot of you who really know me know I don't cry much and I don't like to, but during both testimonies I cried like a little baby. My mission is so hard to leave behind and we set a new 2015 mission baptism goal (of 850 baptisms) and it breaks my heart that I don't get to help labor to achieve that goal!
A tender experience happened as well this week. I was on exchanges last week again (which I've been on exchanges every week the past 3 weeks), but anyways my companion met with Josh and told me that Josh is going to be ordained to the office of a priest. I was so pumped when I heard the news! We went by last Friday and Josh (who has been coming back to church these past few months) asked me to ordain him. I was shocked and super humbled that he had asked me. He hasn't received an ordinance in like 9 years so this was special and he truly is prepared and ready. Josh has impacted my life so much. I've seen him on the bottom and now he is on top and truly has changed his life and become a wonderful man of God. I never get nervous giving blessings or anything like that, but when I put my hands on his head I could feel the Lord's love for this young man and knew how far he has come to get to this point; I began to get nervous giving the ordination, but after a few words I felt inspired of what to say.
For months I have told the zone about this idea I had of "Flooding" the ABQ West Stake with the Book of Mormon. Just like President Benson said a long time ago... we need to flood our zone with the BOM. The idea came when I was with my first companion here and I noticed we had like 2 shelves full of BOM'S and I asked why they are there, and he said they are the 1981 edition and just have been sitting there for awhile. So I pulled them all out and stacked them and counted it and had them on the floor for awhile. I then prayed for a few days what we could do as a zone to use the BOM to help us increase missionary work in this part of His vineyard and then the answer came ... "Flood the westside with the BOM." As I thought of it I was shocked about how little as missionaries and as members we really do use this powerful tool in our efforts to share the Gospel. This is the one thing that makes us stand out from every other church; our church hinges on if the book is true or not. The spirit that the BOM carries is like nothing else; people's hearts are changed when they read the words spoken in it so we need to use it better. Finally, after months of not doing it, we were finally able to do it and it worked out perfect. It is a new year and this is a new powerful challenge to go out excited to share it ... it was also my last zone training so it was even more special being able to finally carry out with this initiative.
Below I will attach the document we wrote and sent the high councilor over missionary work regarding this "Flood" and hope to bring this to the stake presidency this Sunday and see if we can get every member in the stake to join us in it. That also came to me... that if we don't have the members join in doing this with us we truly won't have as much success.
Ideas for Flooding the ABQ West Stake with the Book of Mormon:
In the ABQ West zone we have come up with the idea of "flooding" every area with the Book of Mormon. We had a lot of extra copies in our apartment that were sitting there not being used so we gathered them all together and had enough for each companionship to have 9 copies to start. We printed off a section from Preach My Gospel that has these “Questions of the Soul” that can be answered in the Book of Mormon. Also, every missionary is to record their personal witness of this book's divinity, as well as highlight scriptures that have impacted them. We feel as our missionaries are going out and talking with everyone while having a Book of Mormon in hand and using it to talk to people that many will be touched by it's special spirit as well as better know the keystone of our religion. We feel that the BOM is not used enough in missionary efforts both with members and full-time missionaries and we would love to have the members in the stake join with us in the Flooding the Book of Mormon.
-Have a stake commitment go out so that members know it is serious rather than just coming from the missionaries extending the commitment. Strive to pass it out by a specific amount of time, make it a challenge.
- Missionaries can follow up during dinner and member visits so there is more accountability as well as the Ward Mission Leader can help by calling and asking families if they have done the challenge yet. Also can come from the High Council following up with the bishops who will follow up with the WML on how the ward is doing with the challenge.
- Have members pray about a family in their neighborhoods that they can give it to, because that’s a big struggle we see here... not a lot of members are talking with the people that live by them but rather people who they work with that live somewhere else. Have every member record their testimony in the front cover so it’s more personal.
Say an average ward is 150 people and only 50 of them actually do the challenge. They really pray or fast about a friend or family that lives near them that they can give the greatest gift to and accept it. As well as invite at some point in time for them to learn more about this book and to have the missionaries at their house to explain more about its importance. Now say half of those people which is 25 actually meet with the missionaries that’s 25 new investigators that will progress because they already have fellowship. Break it down even more and say that 12 progress towards baptism. Break that down by half and you would have 6 baptisms per unit right there that will already have friends in the ward and proper fellowship; not because of the missionaries BUT because of the members. That’s not including families that might have 4 or 6 people in them already or that members might hand out more than 1 BOM. We hope that after they share it and see how easy it is and how great they feel sharing such a wonderful gift that they will see how amazing and easy sharing the gospel is to those around you.
This is just a few of our thoughts; you can change whatever you want to it but these are some ideas on how we could roll out with this.
We know that if members and missionaries together are using the Book of Mormon more effectively that there will be many who will join the church. Plus it will also benefit the members and missionaries who do share it with their testimonies of the book and its importance in their lives. PMG on page 104 says “The Book of Mormon, combined with the Spirit, is your most powerful resource in conversion.” This tool we have is our most powerful one and if we catch the vision both members and missionaries in using this resource for conversion more effectively we will bless the lives of everyone we share it with! "
I add my testimony that the Book of Mormon is true. I am finishing up reading it cover to cover for the 3rd time in my mission and in my life, and I'm forever grateful for the wisdom and spirit it has brought into my life. I know that each word in these pages are true. I know that this record is written in the ancient Americas and is the ancestors of some Native Americans and I'm grateful for serving on the reservation because I have seen those promises given to the Lamanites being fulfilled. I know the Savior visited the people after His Crucifixion and that He is the Savior and Shepard of all. I know that Joseph Smith did not write this book, nor could he. Find me any young man that could write a 531 page book and have the story, location, names and teachings all line up perfectly and carry such a godly spirit? Its not possible; therefore Joseph was used as a tool or instrument in God's hand to bring forth this powerful record that was written so long ago by prophets of God. I invite all who read this letter if you have not already done this to read the Book of Mormon and to pray and ask God if it is true... read and pray having faith that it can be and having a desire to know and I testify that you will find your answer. I have seen it first hand with people I have taught over the past 2 years. If you already have an answer why not pray often asking if its true to deepen your conversion and witness of the Book.
Love to you all. Next week will be my last blog letter.
Here are pics of how we did the "Flooding ABQ West with the Book of Mormon."
Read my blog it will talk more about it and what we did.
The other pics are of my last Mission Leadership Council. The pic with all the Elders is everyone of my companions! haha Crazy that I have so many of them at MLC.