Tuesday, February 28, 2012

February 28th - Jeffery R. Holland Devotional

                                           An Apostle speaks to 2,000 missionaries

      Missionaries are loved of the people.  They want to be around you, be with you.  You missionaries are really loved by the people throughout the world where ever you serve. We love you, I love you, Your parents, relatives, friends, bishop love you. You are the Lord’s force, his army of missionaries.  You are apostolic with a lower case ‘a”.  I’m apostolic with a capital “A”.
You are the lord’s representatives.

      We expect a lot from you.  We really expect a lot from you so pull up your socks to your armpits and work.  Live the gospel.  Don’t come without it having changed your lives. The gospel should be committed and strong in you forever.  Don’t come and try to be who you were before you left on your mission.  Come home changed with the gospel embedded in you through and through forever. Live the gospel every single minute, radiate, exemplify the gospel, be absorbed in the r gospel as you serve.

      I reiterate how much you are loved by the people.  You have standards to uphold.  Don’t come home early. Don’t let the church down.  Come home a changed person forever living and upholding the gospel.  Just as you teach and invite people to come unto Christ, likewise must you  come unto Christ yourself being his messenger.  If you cannot come home changed and spiritually absorbed through the very core of your being, then why go on a mission in the first place. Are you going on a mission for your parents, your brothers and sisters, or for the bishop?  You go for the Lord Jesus Christ.  That’s who you go for.  You are the messenger of the Lord.  Live up to his standards.  Live the gospel with every fibre of your being or how else can you invite people to come unto Christ when you haven’t invited yourself?

      You are his messenger, his representative, his apostolic servant through and through.  Live up to his expectation. I’m concerned about the Book of Mormon not being read daily, studied, pondered and lived in your mind and heart.  You should all know the first fourteen pages of Nephi and be able to show the significance of revelation, prophets and scripture.  The Book of Mormon is they key to your teaching.  You must know, understand and communicate its principles and doctrines to investigators.

       Again we love you, I love you.  I wish I could be your companion on your mission.  I would love that.  You are not perfect but you will progress along the pathway as you so serve your mission.  There will be good days and there will be challenges, but through enduring and continuing forward with faith and commitment you will be blessed by the Lord in the service you render.  Seek the Spirit, live that the Spirit may be with you and lead you.  Be clean so the Spirit can teach through you.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday we were trained to teach Seminary and Institute Classes.  "Are you a sage on the stage or a guide on the side?"  Engage kids by asking them focused questions.  Do not lecture.  Teach your students to search, analyze and apply.  One interesting  fact:  A backward P symbol before a bible verse indicates a scene change.  We are impressed by the dedication of these senior missionaries.  The Homes, an elderly couple, are returning to Siberia.  It's their fourth mission.  The Millers, who will be serving in Cape Town, just sold and their home, all their furniture and gave their cars to their kids.  I had lunch with a sister today who contributes monthly to PEF.  "I've educated seven children. Now I'm going to educate seven more from developing countries."  Eighty percent of the LDS leadership in Mexico today received Perpetual Education Funds. Tom and I will be in SLC Thursday & Friday for PEF training.  We were told that  R. Kelly Hawks, Center For Young Adults, is our Assigned Administrator.  Now I'm not sure who we work for.  Seminaries and Institutes, PEF or our  mission president.

MTC 2/20-2/26

                                                EXPERIENCES AT THE MTC
                                                       February 20 - 26, 2012
  Tom:     Being at the MTC among some 2,000 missionaries is an awesome experience, one that I will never forget and always cherish.  We sing hymns about the Lord’s army in sacrament meeting, but it takes being among these 2,000 stripling young warriors and some 35 senior couples to fully realize the spiritual strength and impact of such an assembly of the Lord.  Singing at a devotional in a missionary choir of some 400 voices was another choice and special experience.  Engulfed in the bass section with college age basses resounding around me I felt privileged to be included in this talented group of singers.  Sister Stokoe, likewise, felt the same in the soprano section.  The total choir was superb and gave credence to the term “a heavenly choir of angels” singing from above.
     The MTC is a spiritual “house” of commitment and dedication to study, learning, and teaching. Enthusiasm ripples through the campus classrooms, halls, cafeteria, residential buildings and adjoining sidewalks.  All around us is the vitality of youth, young adults in the prime of life chomping at the bit of opportunity to go forth throughout the world and invite people to come unto Christ. The “Standard of Truth” is indeed erected and waves unto all the world.
    Youthful instructors, returned missionaries, savvy and experienced teach the golden oldies the “ropes of missionary work” from scripture and text “Preach My Gospel.”  A host of volunteers contribute to the cause both young and old and cherish the experience as we do. I do believe that if our Savior and Redeemer were to come to a place to teach, other than one of his temples, the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah could be it.  This is the place for boosting of testimony, the bolstering of spiritual strength, and the departing runway to deliver the Lord’s message to a  sea of humanity awaiting discovery across the earth.

     Diane:   We are receiving excellent training and instruction here at the MTC.  Tom has met seven of his former Mountain Ridge students (all new missionaries) as well as some Samoan missionaries including Viliami Hemaloto’s son, who has been called to the Chinese speaking mission in Seattle. Our trainers are both recently returned missionaries: Jordan Hawks (majoring in accounting) and Jordan Hepworth, an engineering major at BYU.
     Nikki’s former bishop, Mike Huntsman, from Ferron, and wife Camille are members of our group.  Also the Days (assigned to Member Services in Texas) and Brother and Sister Rhyms. Elder Rhyms recently served as mission president in Vladivostok, Russia.  They along with the Greers and  the Meiers are going to Cambodia.  That mission was opened by President Hinkley in 1996.  Today they have five districts and 25 branches. The plan is to strengthen the branches with senior couples so they can become wards.  The Greers presented the plan of salvation today using a pamphlet entitled: “The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”  We were inspired by the beautiful pictures and their simple explanations–techniques we can use in South Africa. They will be stationed north of Phenom Phen.  Elder Greer is a marathon runner.  The big international marathon race in Cambodia will be held with runners running around the famous ancient temple of Angor Wat.

  Tom:   On Thursday we had a practice session, a 45 minute meeting with a “inactive church member”, the purpose being to become acquainted and follow up on a previous visit by two full time missionaries.  It was a worthwhile rehearsal, a forerunner to how such a meeting might go in the mission field..  When it concluded Brother Rick Perry told us he spoke nine languages and had recorded parallels between the Bible and Book of Mormon in seven languages and was working on a Russian/English comparison.  He gave us two CDs of his work. His wife is, Ardeth Cap Perry, a well known LDS composer.

    Diane:   On Sunday Sister Kahatti bore her testimony in Relief Society telling of her conversion.  Born in New Delhi, she was raised in a Hindu family.  In her youth she was given a picture of Jesus Christ. He looked like the God of Love.  So she prayed to him and talked to him often while growing up.  Knowing that he was the “God of the Christians” she studied the Bible was baptized into the Pentecostal church.  She asked the pastor when she would receive the gift of the holy ghost?  He responded that he did not know and told her to ask God.  Unsatisfied, she spent the next four years searching for the truth.  Discouraged, she finally lost all hope and decided that life is meaningless until, on the verge of suicide, someone gave her a  Book of Mormon.  She began to read. Excited, she call the number on the referral card and two young missionaries arrived to teacher her and answer questions that none of the elderly pastors could answer.  They took her to a fast and testimony meeting.  She was the second person up to bear testimony,  “God had not forgotten me.  The Book of Mormon is true.  When can I be baptized?”  Her mother and cousin have since been baptized in India. Sister Kahatti will leave for her mission in Fiji soon.

   Tom and I talked with her during lunch.  Today there are two missions in India–New Deli and Bangladesh.  Missionaries in India may hold meetings, teach investigators and answer referrals but they may not proselyte.  The other young sister missionary from India has been assigned to serve at Temple Square.

    Our Sunday schedule: 8:00 a.m. Sacrament Meeting;  9:00 KSL Broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word; 10:00 Relief Society, while Elders attend Priesthood Meeting; 11:00 a meeting for all sisters new to the MTC on “Health and Wellness;” 12:00 - 1:00 lunch; 4:15 Choir Practice; 5:15 Departure Devotional – (Attended last Sunday at MTC); 7-8 pm fireside .  There are 57 branches here at the MTC.  Half of them are Spanish speaking.  About 400 missionaries are leaving the MTC this week, about 70, will all be serving in Mexico.  Tom and I were the only missionaries going to South Africa at the farewell devotional. Fifty three languages are being taught at the MTC.  (Two other couples who will serve in South Africa arrived at the MTC on Monday:  Elder and Sister Richins from Ventura will serve in Cape Town.  Brother and Sister Miller from Boise will  serve in Durban.  We all fly out together next Monday.)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

MTC Training & Travel Plans

  Today we discovered that seniors serving foreign missions need additional insurance.  So rather than being reassigned state side, we signed up for coverage with Deseret Mutual.  Tom registered with Veterans Advantage so we will be evacuated, via military transport, in the event of unrest or heaven forbid, a revolution.

We are almost packed.  I had a meltdown over the weekend while trying to figure out how to get our technology closed down here and up and running in P.E.  I bought Microsoft Word and a HP Mobile printer to take along but could not get the softwear properly installed or the printer to interface.  Credit Drew Barber for bailing us out.  I  transfered our home phone number to Vonage so we can Skype and talk to our kids.  Hope we don't have solicitors calling in the middle of the night.  Tomorrow is my last Zumba class with Shelly Schoell and the ladies of our stake.  Friday is my the last dance exercise class with Amy Rosevear.  I've had Dean film some of these classes so I can keep up.

We check into the MTC on Monday, February 20th.  We will be there through Wednesday, February 29th.  We return to Salt Lake for PEF Training at the Joseph Smith Building on March 1st and then another training at the Church Office Building on Friday, March 2nd.

It's a 19 hour trip from Salt Lake to Johannesburg.  We fly out on Monday, March 5th, at 9:45.  We will likely be in Jberg for a couple of days before flying on to Cape Town where we will meet with the mission president and collect a car.  Elbeth Melville, the owner of our unit in Port Elizabeth, writes that we will likely be driving to P.E.  "If you do, you will enjoy the trip.  Cape Town is beautiful and driving along the Garden Route is very pleasant and a good introduction to our Country." 

Last night Dave and Kristine Tanner hosted a farewell party for us and several of Tom's boyhood friends.  The Glenn Robinsons invited us to a luncheon at their home on Friday to meet some  returning S.A. missionary couples.  John Farley, my cousin, reports that his son, Elder Kevin Farley, was just transferred from Port Elizabeth to George.  Kevin keeps telling his dad that he loves South Africa and does not want to return.  Our former non-member neighbor Jim Smith, his wife Caren and  daughter Ani will be visiting there when we arrive. Caren notes, "Cape Town is magnificent and so is Port Elizabeth.  My entire family is in PE and we have family spread all along the coast."   It seems that everyone we run into lately knows someone there.