Serving in Cambridge is a lot of fun. :) There is much to see and it's been fun to talk to so many people out here. We had a crazy week as well as a very uplifting and spiritual Zone Conference. (If the length of this letter is wearing out your eyes, at least scroll down to the main points from Zone Conference.)
Well, as I mentioned, there was more craziness last week! To sum up the beginning of last week (I mentioned we had to take care of some apartment business) we noticed Sister Scott was being bitten all over. We met with the mission doctor and found out our apartment had fleas! It was disgusting. We arranged for exchanges to happen so I wouldn't be exposed at all to the bug bomb fumes. So, the week started off with me spending a day with Sister Bailey as Sister Scott and Sister White finished up the preparations, sprayed the apartment, lit the bomb and ran. Sister Bailey and I had a pretty good day as we taught one of their investigators at Harvard Yard, had more appointments, and personal contacted for a while over at Harvard Square. The other Sisters then headed to the apartment we were at, where we all had a sleep over before Zone Conference. :)
While at Zone Conference on Wednesday, I couldn't help but feel tremendously blessed and grateful to be part of this mission at this time. Even though it lasted all day, I wanted to soak in every part of the meeting. It was spiritually exhausting but incredible, as it always is here. After a presentation was given on how to take care of our health out here, the Packards began with how the MBM (Massachusetts Boston Mission) is at an all-time high, as personal contacting has been a greater focus, even though it's still the mission's 5th out of our 5 priorities. However, there have been more baptismal dates lost, so the majority of Zone Conference was focused on the 3 venues of Conversion (lessons, church attendance, and personal worship.) They shared "the 10 Commandments for Baptismal Dates" they came up with to make sure they still take place. We attended workshops held by our mission presidency--President Clayton M. Christensen and President Haight--as well as President Packard's assistants. To be honest, I couldn't help but feel the sense of Deja-vu as it was similar to my first zone conference here in the mission (and I heard last year that there was a zone conference a year before that that was similar.) However, the breakout sessions this time were still wonderful and I took notes of new ideas.
After lunch and practicing for the musical number, a question and answer session was held. When, President Christensen humbly, with tears in his eyes, choked up, bore his testimony, the room was filled with a sweet, peaceful, powerful feeling. He is sure one wise, loving, sincere, and humble individual, as he does all he can to serve the Lord and build up His kingdom on earth, despite all the hardships he has quietly faced in life.
After we heard his remarks, we filed back into the chapel to hear from the Packards and some musical numbers. Sister Packard gave a presentation called "Sacred Time, Sacred Place" which went over the history with the church here in New England, and how special of a time it is to be serving now. She also shared more on how we need to love, support, and show confidence in one another, how we need to continue Zion as we should celebrate together as a mission and those we are with.
President Packard's turn came. He prayed deeply on what he needed to share. He began by quoting Ezra Taft Benson's "Beware of Pride" talk from 1989, as he said, "We must prepare to redeem Zion. It was the sin of pride that kept us from preparing Zion and consecrating ourselves" and how "Pride is the great stumbling block to Zion." President Packard used quotes, scriptures, and more to tell what pride is, how we live in a scarcity mentality, and how "we are born and socialized into a world of competition." He taught more on how we should always view one another as Children of God, what pride causes and how to prevent it. He too spoke about what humble people do, how to constantly learn from others and all around us, including our infirmities and hardships as the Savior did. He spoke on what humility is, and although he has by no means found the answers on how to be humble, he provided insights he received on how to gain humility. There was more on how gratitude is part of humility, which seemed to stand out more to me.
There was so much I learned and was touched by. Once again, the chapel was overwhelmed with the immense presence of the Lord's love, love for each other, and desire for self-improvement. After President Packard concluded, it was time for Sister Shields, Sister Scott, and I to do our musical number, accompanied by Elder Moore. My heart wouldn't stop beating rapidly, but we were able to do it together. The words of "Be Still My Soul" and the spirit carried seemed to touch hearts and triggered tears as we all were in deep thought, soaking in how we felt. Many missionaries complimented us after. I faced the fear and finally did it with the Lord's help. I learned a taste of how it is to be the Lord's instrument by carrying His revelations and love for others through song.
Here are some pointers and things said that stood out from Zone Conference:
-"We are looking for converts, not baptisms."
-"We are not waiting on the Lord; He is waiting on us."
-"There's one thing we can give to the Lord, and that is our will."
-"The door to reading the scriptures isn't at the beginning or the front. It opens with a question."-President Christensen
-"You can either serve a mission or build the kingdom."-President Haight
-"You specifically are meant to be here at this time."
-"When someone falls out of the lifeboat, we don't hit them with their oars. We give them a life jacket and pull them back in." (Sister Packard quoting President Packard)
-"We must prepare to redeem Zion. It is the great sin of pride that keeps us from preparing Zion and consecrating ourselves."
-Pride is the great stumbling block to Zion.
-Pride is the sin of comparison. It is the great sin of personal elevation.
-"You are valuable because you are all children of God and you have the seeds of deity within you."
-"To me, every person is my superior in some way, and in him, I will learn something." -quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson.
-"A humble person doesn't just look up for answers...they look sideways and all around them in every direction for answers."
-"A proud person is ungrateful. A humble person acknowledges how others play part in their success and what's around them. Acknowledge the contributions of those around you."
-"Your priorities change as you see others as children of God."
-"Suffering is not wasted if we learn from it."
-"How are we going to learn faith if we never had to wait?"
-"Humility is not self-abasement."
-"Humility and meekness is not weakness. The Savior was not weak."
-"Use compliments as a spur of self-improvement."
"You all have spiritual gifts in your life given based on the need. It is God who gives them."
-Every gift, every lesson, every miracle, every insight, every breath and capacity is from God."
-We see miracles all the time--miracles of healing, miracles of transformation."
-"Humble people are happy people."
-"You can live a life of new discovery if you're humble enough to learn.
-"Let us humble ourselves voluntarily. Let us wear out our lives in His work and stand still.""
The Insights to gain humility:
-Being self-aware is half the battle->as pain is a sign that something is wrong for the body, frustration is a sign of selfishness.
-Recognize the source of all your gifts--it is from the Lord.
-Gratitude is one of the most successful antidotes for pride.
-Listen. And be teachable.
-Let the spirit change your heart (Mosiah 3:19)
Now do you have a slight sense of why I loved this Zone Conference and why I love this mission? :)
There are so many changes that have been taking place. We are still working with the Moore's to continue creating Zion in this ward. It's been requiring patience to get to know everyone, figuring out the "T" system, how to become more involved with the auxiliaries here, and much more. Church on Sunday was awesome. Sister Scott and I invited many less actives and people we met and told them we'd be singing in Sacrament Meeting. We even invited our neighbors (yes, one of them was the one who kissed my hand...). When they told us they usually go to the beach on Sundays, we made an agreement that if it rained, they would come. So, we prayed for rain, and our prayers were answered! #makeitrain :) There were also 6 other non-members who came to church, 4 or 5 of whom the other Sister we were singing with invited, as well as 4 people who haven't come in a while. The members here have a fire and drive for sharing the gospel. We and the Moore's have already felt welcomed in by them. :)
I hope you all had a great Pioneer Day and are doing well.
I hope you all had a great Pioneer Day and are doing well.
I love you!!
P.S. I got the text on Thursday...CHRIS IS BEING BAPTIZED AT THE END OF AUGUST!!! I'm so happy for him! Sister Harris just got the news she is now being transferred out of Plymouth this week, (we pretty much shot gunned Plymouth) so I feel we both needed to be there to help his conversion come along and up to this special moment. :) And he wants to be baptized out on the ocean! I know this moment will be one of the highlights out here!
|One of the props for a member lesson|