Monday, October 19, 2009

Monday, October 19, 2009 -- My Week in Monterrey

This has been a very interesting week. As a zone leader, when the missionaries get sick, we have the responsibility of taking them to the hospital. That happened this week, with a missionary who got really sick because he ate something he shouldn't have in the streets. We ended up having to go to Monterrey, and so I spent a few days in the mission offices. I was there from Wednesday night to yesterday afternoon.

I had a lot of interesting experiences while staying in the mission offices. (For example, I got to drive the mission van! It was the first time in 16 months that I have driven.) The office missionaries do their office work in the mornings after their studies, then leave to eat the two o'clock meal and work from three to nine.

I helped the office missionaries with their jobs in the morning, doing things such as calling the families of missionaries who will be arriving home at the end of the transfer, helping with the mission periodical, and preparing a Powerpoint presentation for a training that Elder Rivera, an assistant to the president, is going to give.

The assistants invited me to work with them in the afternoon for a few days. I have to admit that I was extremely nervous. I thought that they were evaluating every word I said. But then I began to think. I don’t do missionary work to impress the assistants or any other man. I work to serve God and to bring souls to Him.

We had some great experiences working together. We were knocking on doors in a certain street. When it came my turn, a woman answered with a tomato in one hand and a cutting knife in the other, and with children running all-around. She looked busy, but I felt inspired to teach her about eternal families. Some missionaries, upon seeing her state of busyness, might say something like, "We'd like to come back some other time when you're less busy." But the Spirit told me to say, "Allow us to come in and share this message with you and your family." To my surprise, she immediately agreed. In fact, she called for her husband to join her.

It was a great lesson. We taught the message of the Restoration, focusing on families. And we taught a complete family. I love teaching families. Families can support one another in their efforts to live the gospel, and families can go to the temple to be sealed together forever. Whenever I teach a family I think about how much the gospel has blessed my own family, and my gratitude grows.

Another day I was working with Elder Holbert, the executive secretary, and Elder Sutton, the record secretary. They had prayed about which street to knock and had felt inspired to knock one far and out of the way. Despite the inconvenience, they followed the prompting. The first door we knocked opened and a woman named Teresa answered. As we began to contact her, she interrupted and invited us in.

We sat with her in her living room and began to teach the first lesson. She empathized with Joseph Smith. She too has been confused by the religious excitement that is found everywhere. As Elder Holbert was teaching beautifully about the Book of Mormon, Teresa asked "What do I have to do to be able to read that book?" Joyfully, Elder Holbert promised to bring her a copy in our next visit and bore his testimony of that pearl of great price.

In another experience, we were greeting all the stake presidents in the mission, who came for a meeting wth Presdient Mendoza. After the fact, I learned that one of the men I had greeted was Elder Benjamin de Hoyos of the Seventy and Area Presidency!

Lately as a mission we have been studying a Christ-like attribute from Preach My Gospel every week. This past week we studied charity. Preach My Gospel teaches that we develop charity as we strive to be obedient. It also teaches that when we have charity, we obey. In other words, the more we obey, the more we love, and the more we love, the more we obey. As [the late] Elder [Joseph B.] Wirthlin [of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles] taught, when we love the Lord, obedience becomes a delight.

Charity is a gift of the Spirit, a gift that is worth "all the energy of heart." When we are obedient, we are worthy of the Spirit's presence, which helps us develop charity.

My time is up.

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