This last week we got to use a car, so we continued to play a spirited game of Catch the Less Active at Home. Unfortunately for us, it appears that the ward roster had not been updated in a VERY long time, so the majority of people we were looking for had moved several years before. As we were trying one particular house, a man was in his back yard, so I said hello to him and he came to talk to us. I could only see the top half of his face, though, when he spoke, which immediately put me in mind of Wilson from Home Improvement, so I said "Hidy ho, neighbor!" and the man laughed. Elder Schauerhamer didn't get it.
We are currently in a time of transition in
Monroe. The area we live
in has kind of been worked to death the last few years, so we are scheduled to
move into a new apartment a few miles away, where there are more members nearby
and different people to talk to. Until that happens, though, we have to find
new ways to be effective in the small radius of our area that can be reached on
The largest event of note this week was Zone Conference last Friday. The main topics of discussion were:
1) How to give a talk
2) How to run a sacrament meeting
3) More changes that are happening in missionary work
And, of course, the obligatory training on how to use the Book of Mormon more effectively, how to ask people inspired questions, etc.
I thought possibly the most important training was how to give a good talk, since you'd be remarkably surprised how many people don't know how to do it. Most of the suggestions President and Sister Craven gave us I knew already, since I have been born of goodly parents (thanks Mom!) Just simple things, really, like how to stand when at the podium, not saying "I've been asked to speak about" or making fun of the bishop, not saying "um," not infringing on the presiding authority's time, etc.
Coincidentally, one of our speakers in sacrament meeting this last Sunday did all the things they told us NOT to do in Zone Conference.
To start off her presentation, Sister Craven quoted a few lines of Old English poetry and asked us if any of us knew where it was from. I said it was from The Canterbury Tales, and Sister Craven told me that I was only the second person in the whole mission to know that. Go me! (For your information, the other elder was ElderWhitaker, the actor for young Joseph Smith in Prophet of the Restoration.)
There are a lot of changes occurring in missionary work. The main item of business in Zone Conference was the change in missionary dress code. For example, we know can wear khaki pants, instead of just black or grey, and we can wear lighter colored suits. Additionally, we aren't supposed to wear backpacks anymore, and are instead supposed to use satchels. (i.e. MAN-PURSES.) Apparently the backpack thing was a subject of much fervent discussion among the Quorum of the Twelve, which I find amazing -- of all the things they have to do, they still find it important to be unified on things seemingly as simple as a backpack.
So, the last year has seen some massive changes in missionary work:
1) The age-change
2) Change in dress code
3) Opening up the churches for guided tours during the day (still to be phased in)
4) Use of Facebook to keep in contact with people (still to be phased in)
5) iPads for missionaries. This one I find particularly incredible, since even if it's just one per companionship that's still 35,000 iPads. (That's a lot of money.) The iPads will have your area book, scriptures, videos, planner, everything. And it's set up in such a way that people in authority can look at your iPad and see what your plans are for the day. Our mission starts getting iPads in August.
All of this just blows me away. It's clear to me that my second year of missionary work is going to be very different from my first.
It's at times like this that I start waxing dramatic...
...it's like I'm one of the last of a vanishing breed of missionaries, the old backpack-wearing generation of 19-year olds that went about all day, every day, knocking on doors and carrying scriptures and writing stuff in a little paper planner. In a while we will be replaced by a horde of 18 year-olds who wear satchels, use Facebook and wield iPads. The world has gone and changed on me, and someday the concept of a missionary will be very much different that what it was a few years ago.
Well, at least I arrive home at the same time the first wave of 19-year old sisters finish their missions.
Ultimately, all these changes came from the Top. Not just the prophet and Quorum of the Twelve, but from the Lord. I guess that it's time for things to change. AsElder Perry said in the broadcast a month ago, the world is a very different place than it was 80 years ago. People are busier, less trusting, less religious, less hospitable, and it's not as effective anymore to go shouting repentance from door to door. The next generation of missionaries must be younger, smarter, more obedient and stronger in testimony than any before to be able to change the world. The Lord is coming, and He's speeding up His work, and I guess this is one way that's going to happen.
I am so glad to be a missionary, especially at this special time of history. I am so grateful for Elder Schauerhamer, too. I have met few missionaries who are as obedient, diligent, humble, and patient as he is. He is quite possibly the most humble person I have encountered in the field. I am very happy to be his companion.
This simple conclusion came to me last week:
1) Humility is the prerequisite to all repentance.
2) Pride is the prerequisite to all sin.
This thought is not complicated, but it blew my mind. I'll let you chew on that for a while.
I love my companion, I love
Monroe, and I love my mission! Hurrah for Israel!