Yes, it sure has been a very hectic week. It feels like I have been here for a while now. I think I totally forgot to tell you my companion's name. Elder Skinner is from Rigby, ID. Another Idahoan, right? He doesn't like potatoes. He is very diligent, obedient, and hilarious to be around. We are pretty similar as far as personalities go too. Oh, I am excited for it all. The past week was BUSY! I didn't go to bed before 12:30! We still wake up at 6:30 though, and Elder Skinner wakes up at 6 everyday to exercise a little longer. I don't know how he does it. We picked up the incoming elder, and then 2 days later sent off the departing ones. We woke up at 5. Phew...We made calendars for the upcoming transfer and did some other bookkeeping things for the rest of the days. We went out and proselyted on 2 nights. I should be able to do much more in the upcoming weeks. I'll answer a few questions first, and then move on to General Conference.
Yes, we live in the Mission Office, on Shaftesbury. The past week we spent almost all day every day doing various kinds of housekeeping things--from tracking Kilometer allotments for each mission owned vehicle, to a planning meeting with President Paulson. Because it was transfer week and General Conference we did not do very much proselyting, but in the upcoming weeks we should have a good part of each day to go out and find, teach, baptize--I hope we have time, anyway. We will do many exchanges with missionaries all throughout the transfer, and those exchanges and Zone Conferences will be the primary times we do training/teaching elders. We will make 1 trip to Saskatchewan this transfer in exactly a week, and for a week for exchanges, and Zone Conference, and then back to Manitoba for MB's Zone Conference. Then to Brandon, MB for an exchange and a few more the next week, and the transfer planning the next week and then transfer week and it will all start over again. Lots to do, people to see, sort of thing. I am still feeling inadequate, but I feel like I am adapting to many parts of it. I still struggle with certain aspects of evaluations. Like evaluating what needs to be worked on in the mission and how to best go about it. Working as a team and using each others ideas together is a challenge--not because of my companion, just the concept in general. Sometimes we have the same concept, sometimes not, but it all works out and things get done. To answer your question, there are only 2 Assistants.
General Conference. General Conference is like Christmas to a missionary out in the field. I make it to all the sessions, of course. I nearly forgot to approach it with questions, but I came with 2, and I feel like there were a few underlying themes that helped to give me some good direction with my questions. I need to be better at planning questions well ahead of time, kind of like preparing for the sacrament before Sunday morning, or even at church. I picked up what I thought were a few themes from Conference: Our beliefs in Christ and many uses of His parables, reactivity, love and charity, and marriage and family. I noticed that these subjects came up a number of times. I enjoyed many talks but will have to look them up again and review them. Possibly my 2 favorite talks were from Elder Holland and from Elder Nelson. Elder Holland's comments seemed to scream "Ontario" in my mind and I listened intently, hoping some members were listening. More specifics after the mission, of course. Elder Nelson's examples and description of the body being crafted and created by God were thought-provoking. Then he discussed the Big Bang Theory...just as plausible as an explosion in a print shop creating a beautiful mural (actually, a dictionary, not a mural). Incredibly unlikely, but even if so, could the ripped pages heal themselves? or the stained paper become clean by itself? Yet our bodies heal themselves of cuts, bruises, illnesses. I really liked that. If only people would stop and ponder about creation! No matter which way you look at it, God's hand is there. Simple. Science tells us that something cannot be created out of nothing. However it happened does not necessarily matter, but that we recognize God as our Father in Heaven and that he and Jesus Christ created the worlds. Similarly, during a talk I thought about the necessity of pondering. We all need to ponder about life, the scriptures, everything. Pondering is something I am terrible at, I will admit. I like going now, now, now. Even with the scriptures, I underline and highlight, but I like to read and read and keep going--it's that good! So...stop and ponder. Oh, and Pres. Uchtdorf's "Stop it" talk. Are we doing ______? Stop it. Easy enough. I really enjoyed the talk that described the difference between church and the gospel. Bro. Callens told us something about that in Young Mens once. I still remember the difference, but hearing it from Conference reaffirmed a few things to me. The Church is set up with God's authority to act in order to carry out the necessary ordinances of the gospel. The first principles and ordinances are faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism by someone who holds God's authority, the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end and keeping God's commandments. The gospel is simple, as they said. It is. Five steps. The Church is designed to help us to achieve those necessary steps, and also allow us to renew our baptismal covenants each Sunday by taking the bread and water, which we call the sacrament. I really enjoyed that talk. Wow, I did not think that I would write even half this much when I started, but look at that. General Conference is important. For any who would like to see or hear the messages given, go to lds.org and you can find them there.
I think that is about it. Mom, I hope you feel better! Poor Mom. Love you all,
Well, no pictures this week. Not that I have not taken any, but the computers in the office sure are being difficult. They do not want to recognize my camera or my memory card, even if put into Elder Skinner's camera. Sorry about that. Better luck next week, right?