Last Tuesday we had a special conference with Elder Walter F. Golnzaelz of the Presidency of the Seventy. Elder Octavio Tenorio of the Seventy also spoke. It was an incredible experience, and I learned a great deal. Elder Gonzaelez gave us three steps for talking with people when they have questions about the gospel -- three steps that he asked us to teach to the members. They are:
- Avoid contention
- Build upon common ground
- Talk about the Book of Mormon.
On Wednesday we had two meetings. First we had a council with the district leaders in our zone. There are three -- my companion, Elder Dudley, and Elder Castillo. It went well. We have great district leaders and we are going to work well together. Afterwards, we had our zone meeting. About half of the missionaries I had never seen before, so we started with a get-to-know-each-other activity. Then my companion and I taught the zone what we had learned from Elder Gonzalez. (We taught the missionaries from the zones in the border part of the mission -- only the zone leaders went to the conference because it was in Monterrey.)
Our zone is full of great missionaries. As I saw them all I saw our potential. To achieve that full potential, we need to work better with members, something that we have been emphasizing in the zone lately, especially since the members here are well-trained and excited about missionary work thanks to our recent MMTC. My companion, Elder Hernandez, is an excellent missionary. We work well together, both in the zone and in the area. We are working extremely hard. Our bishop wants to baptize ten people in the month of September, and we have commited ourselves and invoked the Lord's help to achieve that goal.
One of my favorite experiences this week was with a young woman named Raquel. It was the second time that we had taught her and her mom, Ludivina. Ludivina has been studying with the Jehovah's Witnesses for two years, but has never gone to their church because she isn't sure if it is true. They both expressed doubts about the large number of religions and the impossibility of knowing which one was true. How sweet the story of the First Vision must have been to their ears!
Usually, we use the second visit to verify if they understood the first lesson and if they kept their commitment to read and pray. When we asked Raquel to tell us about the First Vision, she said something like this, after describing in perfect detail the background information: "So Joseph went to a grove of trees near his house to pray and ask God which church was true. While he was praying, he saw a pillar of light, brighter than the sun, directly above his head. The light gradually descended until it rested upon him, and he saw two indescribable heavenly beings. One of them said, 'Behold, my beloved Son,' and then Jesus told him not to join any church but that he was going to be a prophet to restore the true church that had been lost." Never have I taught someone who understood so well so quickly. Yesterday we gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon and invited her to read 2 Nephi 28-30 and pray. I'm excited to hear about how it went.
* * *
It was great to see the pictures you sent. Pictures really are worth a thousand words. And not just any words. The pictures you sent were like one thousand words from Shakespeare.