Hey Family and Friends!!
Elder Jenson and Elder Rodriguez at the Santiago Temple February 25, 2014
So basically Elder Rodriguez and I have been going nuts for the last week and a half and haven't had time to take a P-day and rest. We were going to do it last Friday, but with Elder David F. Evans coming to the mission that next day, it was impossible with so much we had to do.
I'll just tell you a little bit about the week and what Elder Rodriguez and I did...
Monday was crazy since there were changes in the mission. The office was filled with missionaries who were trying to find their new companions and then headed off to their new sectors. During all of that chaos, Elder Rodriguez and I were with the President teaching the trainers how to be trainers. Elder Rodiguez gave me the agenda of that meeting about 20 minutes before it started so I taught all on the fly. After that, we basically worked on a bunch of office business.
Tuesday we went and picked up the new missionaries and then taught them about the mission norms, sectors, zones etc. That was from 10-4pm. From there, we had a meeting with the other sector that's in our ward, Los Olivos. President wanted us to basically change sectors completely, so we did. I remembered that this scenario has happened my entire mission where I get to a sector and there is absolutely nothing so that was pretty usual for me haha. Elder Rodriguez and I were able to leave the office at about 8pm to work for 2 hours that night.
Wednesday we attended district class in Zapadores (this is the Stake with the Vespucio Ward).Elder Rodriguez and I were there to support and teach the missionaries. After that. we went nuts trying to figure out all of the things we were going to need for Elder Evans. President told us that there were going to be some huge changes for the Conference on Saturday. He told us that it wasn't just going to be our mission but that now it was going to be the 4 missions in Santiago! President also told us that we were going to have another meeting after the big one from 9-1pm starting at 3 and it would end at 5pm. After that, we were now going to have another leadership council meeting and that we needed to cancel the leadership council meeting for next week. That was pretty nuts telling everyone about the changes. Everyone was like "WHAT?"...We had to literally set up everything...Elder Rodriguez and I were calling everywhere to figure out mics, keys, projector etc. No time to proselyte today...haha.
Thursday Elder Rodiguez and I had a meeting called Fase 2 where missionaries that had been in the mission for a little less than 2 months come in to the office to get trained a little more and see how things are going. Elder Rodriguez and I taught them a little about the 8 keys to baptize many and also the importance of language study. President taught the missionaries about how to think like Jesus Christ and other important items. We didn't have any time to work today either since we had to get everything ready for the leadership council and our training that we had later that day.
Friday: Elder Rodrigues and I did a lot of planning for our sector since we both had no idea where the members, converts or investigators lived. We had to get the agenda all ready for Elder Evans as well:who was going to say prayers, what hymns we were going to sing, the timing for everything, how much time Elder Evans was going to talk and make it all look good. That took a while. After doing this and a few more office items Elder Rodriguez and I were able to work for about 3 hours in our sector.
Elder David F. Evans (First Quorum of the Seventy and Executive Director of the Missionary Department)
Saturday Elder Rodriguez and I had to get to the Stake Center in San Pablo really early so we could get everything ready and set up. It was so crazy. Elder Rodriguez and I were basically in charge of this meeting with almost 1000 missionaries. That's a lot of pressure haha. We were there all day with Elder Evans. He taught us so much and it was awesome. Here's a few short notes about the meeting that President sent us (we now have to take these notes and prepare subjects, material and demonstrations that the zone leaders and district leaders can have so they can know what to teach their district classes each week) :)
1. Whenever possible, look for and teach families (especially with a father) and young men who could serve missions so that they can strengthen the Church. Favor teaching these over others, but not to the complete exclusion of all others.
2. Before baptizing a person, teach them the doctrine of repentance clearly and powerfully and ensure that they have fully repented of their sins before baptism. In the Mission President's annual seminar in Provo last year, the Brethren taught that the concepts on pages 4-7 of the pamphlet that goes with lesson three should guide us heavily in teaching this. A Church missionary DVD at the seminar showed the missionaries referring to and using the pamphlet while teaching repentance.
3. Before baptizing a person, often try to have them read the Book of Mormon beginning with the Introduction to the book and reading the pages in order afterwards.
4. Do not baptize a person who does not meet the requirements of Preach My Gospel Chapter 12 or who is likely to quickly fall away.
5. After baptism and confirmation, continue to help every new convert to fully receive the Holy Ghost, do family history work and make it to the temple. Let's try to not lose any new converts!
6. Missionaries should focus on 1) baptizing more converted people; 2) retaining more recent converts; and 3) reactivating more less actives. Our mission plan works on all three of these as previously instructed by our Area Presidency. We should follow step two of the mission plan to retain virtually every new convert. We should apply step four to our mission plan to baptize more converted people. We should apply step five to our mission plan to activate less actives. Consistent with the words of Elder M. Russell Ballard just two weeks ago, we should strive to have 20 contacts per companionship per day or 140 contacts per week.
Those are some of the key themes. I loved a few parts in particular where Elder Evans talked about how converts still need help after their confirmation to receive the Holy Ghost. Some converts don't receive the Holy Ghost right away for various reasons. This is a process and the confirmation enables the companionship of the Holy Ghost but doesn't guarantee His presence always with you until we do all that is necessary. For example, let's say that an investigator didn't fully repent before baptism. When this investigator is confirmed he will not automatically receive the Holy Ghost. This will come after a full repentance. We as missionaries have to help all the converts in our sectors receive fully the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Sunday was a good day meeting our new ward and then after working from 4-10pm. 6 hours of work was awesome!! Elder Rodriguez and I taught a few lessons and did a lot of contacts. We have many return visits lined up because of this.
Monday (yesterday) Elder Rodriguez and I had an office meeting for about 3 hours with President and his wife, the mission historian, the mission finance guy, the housing coordinators, the mission secretary and Elder Rodriguez and myself. We talked about all kinds of mission related items in the office and future events. After the meeting, President had an hour meeting with Elder Rodriguez and I about what we thought about different things in the mission, norms of the office etc.
It's been really cool working with President Essig on a daily basis. I have seen he is a very inspired man and knows what he is doing. President often calls Elder Rodriguez and I with things to do so we can help him out. We really work along side President a lot during the day. It has been an incredible experience to this point. I look forward to the next little time I have serving with him. As you can see there's basically not a lot of time to work in the field in our sector that Elder Rodriguez and I have. At least last week there was almost no time. In the coming weeks we should have more time, but there are always alot of meetings and conferences to prepare for. Our sector is not the priority according to President. All the other AP items come first. Its wayyyyy different than the field. My mind gets really tired sometimes with so much thinking about all I have to do. I'll have to get used to it.
Thoughts/Highlights of the week
I finally got my CO license sticker!
Got a letter from Brother Tasker! It was really great to hear from him!
Serving with President Essig
Going to the Santiago Temple to pick up the new CSN Missionaries at the Chilean MTC. There are 10 new missionaries this change (1 Sister and 9 Elders). That was a pretty sweet experience!
Don't have any more time to write. Hopefully everyone is doing really well!! I sure am :)
I'll be writing again on Saturday!