Today we had our second Yakima Mission MLC here at the mission home. People often ask me how I like mission life, imagining it must be so hard. I don’t want to make anyone feel bad, but the thought that always goes through my mind is “this is like being on the best vacation EVER!” It’s like being on a Church Vacation. Imagine associating with the best people you know every single day in a beautiful place, with excellent people and excellent conversations and gatherings. We spend our time being happy with others who are happy. We plan events and prepare food and we try hard to be nice to everyone. What isn’t to love about this life we are living here in Yakima??
Today was another fabulous day. We met with our 26 Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders, who traveled here from all over the mission. They arrived this morning at about 9:30 and by 10:00 we got started. I love it when the mission home is filled with love and goodness and excited happy missionaries. I wish everyone could just be here to feel it.
We had lots to cover today. President Lewis greeted everyone and we talked a bit about our Zone Conferences last week and things we learned there. Then Elder LaFond, one of our masterful teachers shared his thoughts about using Preach My Gospel ch. 10 on teaching skills and how we can use PMG to improve our effectiveness bringing others to Christ. Elder LaFond is such a good example, of thoughtful good teaching.
Then Sisters Cannon and Leyva did an excellent training on understanding and meeting the needs of others. We did some role plays and practiced listening and asking good questions to really understand and access how to best help. Some good questions/ comments we talked about are “Tell me more about that,” or “May I ask you a follow up question?” The sisters said we can know if we are asking good questions if they invite the Spirit and guide investigators to feel the truth of a principle and know what to do next.
Then Elders Smith and Archibald did a really fun training on using simple, clear messages. They started by teaching us a very technical something about speakers and woofers and sound equipment that none of us understood. (I think Elder Smith was a DJ in a previous life.) We talked about Alma 13:23 and Jacob 4:13, and teaching in plain terms. They explained, “confusion hinders conversion.” So then we practiced teaching the Restoration lesson very simply and clearly in 30 seconds, then in 2 minutes to practice being clear and concise. Then they brought in a 10-year-old boy named Robert and had companionships practice teaching him in a way that he could understand it. It was a wonderful training.
They concluded with these points:
1. Use simple statements of truth
2. Adapt to their level of understanding
3. Teach doctrine, not opinion
4. Use scripture
5. Ask simple questions
6. Leave on a spiritually high note
After a great lunch we went back to work. Elders Oliver and Krogue did a training on companion exchanges. Every month, every Zone Leader companionship goes on a 24 hour exchange with every companionship in their zone (one with one companion, and one with the other). It’s a good opportunity to help teach by example, gain trust, share goals, improve skills, share testimony and personal experiences as we cheer each other on. We talked about how to make these exchanges more effective. It was a great discussion with lots of good ideas. I love how everyone participates in this group, making the whole so much better than we parts!
President Lewis took the rest of the afternoon to go over some really important things for our mission. We are fine-tuning our Value Statements and deciding on our mission traditions like our song, our scripture, and our logo.
Our song will be “Called to Serve” with an additional 2 verses translated by Sisters Cain and Larsen from the Spanish Hymn book (not found in our English books). It goes like this:
1. Called to serve Him, heav’nly King of glory,
Chosen e’er to witness for his name,
Far and wide we tell the Father’s story,
Far and wide his love proclaim.
2. Called to know the richness of his blessing–
Sons and daughters, children of a King–
Glad of heart, his holy name confessing,
Praises unto him we bring.
3. Called today into His heavenly service
Rise to testify of Jesus Christ.
Going forth into a world of darkness
To proclaim the Gospel light.
4. Called to walk the pathway of salvation
Holding fast unto the iron rod,
Joyfully and by His love, united
Bringing souls unto our God.
Onward, ever onward, as we glory in his name;
Onward, ever onward, as we glory in his name;
Forward, pressing forward, as a triumph song we sing.
God our strength will be; press forward ever,
Called to serve our King.
As soon as I get a digital copy of our logo, which we all LOVE, I’ll post it for everyone to see. It’s an image of an apple tree, symbolic of the Tree of Life, Fruit, roots and branches, and many scriptural images.
The day was an excellent one. We so love these missionaries! They are like sons and daughters to us. We can’t bear the thought of any one of them going home someday. We are all gearing up now for next week, when 26 new missionaries will arrive from the MTCs in Provo and Mexico. We only have one Elder going home next week. Then in October, we have 27 more coming. That number rose by 3 just today! We are so excited for the growth. This is a great place to be.
Here is a favorite recipe of mine from today’s lunch:
1 Can Corn, drained (or frozen)
1 Can Black-eyed Peas, drained (or white beans)
1 small can sliced olives
chopped Green Onion
Italian Dressing (fat free is great, or any Italian dressing will do)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Let marinate awhile
Before serving, add 2 chopped Avocados
Serve with tortilla chips (I like Tostitos Scoops)