Friday, January 22, 2016

Jan 19 - A week with a 70!

Hey everyone!

So this was one of the most incredible weeks of my entire mission! It was highlighted by the visit to our mission by Elder Paul B Pieper of the first quorum of the 70. He is in the presidency of Mexico, so that was such a cool opportunity to be able to meet him. Pretty much all of my email is just going to be about the amazing opportunities we had last week for that.

So our big training with him was on Thursday we had four of the seven zones in our mission all come together to hear him that day. To start off Elder Penrod and I had to get up in front of everyone and talk about the vision that we have for our zone and what things we have seen that are going good, or not so good. It was super stressful, I honestly never thought in my entire life that I would talk in front of or report to a 70 but there it was. But afterwards he told us how professional we were and that he really liked our report so that was awesome. Elder Pieper was such a powerful speaker, he talked about how we need to do the Lord work in His way. He showed us a bunch of examples of how the Lord taught in the Bible and challenged us to become teachers like that! He shared a bunch of really cool experiences and pretty much told us is that a problem all over the world, is that the missionaries are converting the people, that we have more desire that they accept the gospel than sometimes they do, and that is not the Lords way. So he focused on how we can change our teaching style so that the people convert themselves, or better said so that it’s the Holy Ghost touching their heart that will change them, not the words of a 20-year old missionary. He focused a lot on how much importance we should place on DC 20 37 as missionaries but also how we should let the investigators know what the Lord expects of them, and let them be more in charge of completing those steps than us putting the timeframe. Something really profound that he said is that our testimony in the church doesn’t mean much, what is really important is our conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

After the training, President Mecham got up and explained that Elder Pieper was going to interview 10 missionaries that President had selected to represent our mission. He started reading off the list, and I couldn’t believe it, but I was one of the names that he read. I was the last one to pass through, and it was such an incredible experience. He has such a powerful testimony of Jesus Christ, and it was just radiating from him. He shared with me experiences about his life, and really challenged me not just to be a missionary like Jesus Christ but a leader like him, to apply everything that I learned not just to investigators but to all those that I serve. Wow, what an incredibly awesome experience!

Then, on Saturday we had a super cool leadership council with Elder Peiper. All of the Zone Leaders and the Assistants were there with him and President, and we made a plan for how to bring to pass all of the things that he taught us in the mission. He talked to us about the importance of revelation as a leader and to truly be involved with every missionary that we are serving. He told us that he has NEVER taught to another mission what he taught to us and that it was not what he had planned to teach, but that after prayer and fasting, he knows that the Lord is preparing special things for this mission. He commented on the strength and unity of the leadership in this mission and called it an example mission ´´not only for Mexico but for the world´´ the spirit was so strong in that meeting and I am so happy for the opportunity that I had to be a part of it! We also got to take a picture with him, so Hermana Mecham will probably be putting it up on Facebook this week.

Also, I had the awesome opportunity to spend a bunch of time with President this week. On Thursday night after the conference, he came out to work with Elder Penrod and me and we had some awesome lessons with him, every time he opens his mouth, the spirit testifies so strongly of his words. After that, we had what Elder Penrod and I are calling the van training, because before dropping us off, he just shared some very spiritual thoughts with us about what we are going to do as a mission. All about the importance of becoming united through love with the members, so Elder Penrod and I are working super hard on that. We were both practically crying the Spirit was so strong telling us that we need to bring this work forward in our zone.
Then, yesterday I had my quarterly interview with President, and a lot like Dad told me in his email, he asked me how it was to go from being in the refiner’s fire in Topilejo to being in paradise in Churubusco, and we just laughed about how big of a change it has been. It was an awesome interview where he told me that it wasn’t just him that trusts me enough to put me here, but that it truly came from the Lord, he gave me some councils on how I can be better, such as truly coming to know and be like our Lord Jesus Christ. We were supposed to have our interview for 15 mins and we took a little over 30 haha but it was so worth it.

I just had such a spiritual high this week. I am so thankful to God for the opportunities that He has given me.

Con mucho amor,

Elder Stout

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