Monday, April 11, 2016

Apr 3 - General Conference, Christmas for Missionaries

Hey all!

So last week was definitely a more down week than the last two have been! I will start from the cool things other than general conference!

First of all, we got to have a leadership council, and special zone leader interview with President Mecham. I have learned so much from him, and his leadership style; very simply in our interview he called us to repentance and let us know that we need to be better. Elder Penrod and I have felt pretty good these last few weeks, because our area has picked up big time and we are starting to have a bunch of success with even more to come. President asked us about those baptisms, and saw how pumped up we were, then asked a simple question, ´´so why did the Lord assign you two to be zone leaders? ´´ We thought about it for a minute, and said, ´´because He wants the zone to progress in His work´´ and he said, ´´how right you are. We know that you both know how to find, how to teach, how to baptize, that’s why you received this calling. But, as a zone leader, your personal success is not really your success, your success is measured by those you have called to lead; even though you may be baptizing, and finding and teaching, if your zone is not doing it then you are failing. ´´ Very simply, President in 5 minutes changed my entire outlook on leadership. We have decided to, saying it extremely, sacrifice our area. We are going to be spending so much time with the other elders from the zone, trying to truly strengthen them in all aspects of the work, and we both know that the Lord will protect our area and help us to make the best of the time that we do have there.
Also, today we had a nice American feeling today because we went to a big mall in our mission to buy Elder Penrod his going home suit! Just 3 weeks left with the guy! It was fun seeing some American stores, eating Burger King and Hagan Daz and just forgetting for a little bit how the outside world, like our area looks haha!

Lastly, for some sad occurrences in the mission, there were a bunch of special changes made in the mission. Only one affected our zone, but it brought Elder Bojorquez to the zone with us! The day before we did intercambios with the district leader from Estrella, so I got to work with Elder Bojorquez again! It was a super fun experience, I am pumped ot have him in the zone with us, it was honestly one of the funnest days that I have had in a while!

So onto general conference. All of our recent converts and our next few (fingers crossed) baptisms all came to church! Tamara and Rubi loved it! America came, and left with a renewed desire to stand for the ´´hard right´´ in her home with Adan. Elder Penrod and I got permission to get the stake high council room all set up with a projector and everything so that all of the English speakers could watch the conference in English because it is just so much better to hear their actual voices, and all of us gringos were all together in saying that this was probably the best general conference that we have ever seen. Especially the priesthood session just blew us out of the water! My favorite talk of all had to be Bishop Waddell´s talk about how we can always remember Jesus Christ, it just helped me with so many of the questions that I went into the conference looking for answers. Gary E Stevenson is becoming one of my favorite speakers as well, I loved his talk about keys! 
Everyone is looking for the car that will lead them back to eternal life with God, but so many of the cars, don’t have the keys to do it! Through the restoration of the priesthood through Joseph Smith, we have today the priesthood keys necessary! Then, as always Jeffrey R Holland brought home the show for me with that amazing talk on just giving it our all in the gospel! If we try to do all that God asks us, but we fall short, He will count it as if we did. We can´t give up, we have just to always keep moving and doing better. Then in the priesthood session, there was not one talk that did not draw my attention. Russell M Nelsons talked helped me to really refocus on the incredible blessing of the sealing power in order to have eternal families, there is no other way and there is nothing more important, I need to help the people that I am teaching get to that point! President Owen added on to the lesson that I learned from President Mecham this week and helped me open my eyes to what leadership in the Lords church really means. President Uchtdorf gave a great talk on charity, the most important attribute that we could ever acquire, in missionary work or anywhere else in life. President Eyring´s talk had a quote that pretty much all the missionaries went crazy about... something like ´´Celestial marriage is the most important thing that we can do...It is the priority of a returned missionary and should be very early in his post mission plans. ´´ Considering that 5 of the Americans watching the conference from our zone watched our last conference as missionaries, that quote with Uchtdorf´s talk really got a lot of attention from us haha. Lastly, President Monson´s talk was just a short but purely powerful testimony of priesthood power. I have learned in my mission, and will continue to learn my whole life, about the miracles that can truly come about through the priesthood of God.

Best wishes,
Elder Stout

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