"We believe in meetings: all those that have been scheduled, all those that are now scheduled, and we believe that we will yet schedule many more meetings. We have endured many meetings and hope to be able to endure all meetings. If there is an opportunity to have a meeting, we seek after it." -- The Fourteenth Article of Faith
This transfer has been a transfer of meetings. We had General Conference, then zone meeting, then zone conference, then a mission tour last Monday with Elder Zwick of the Seventy and then another mission tour with Elder Kopsichke of the Seventy last Saturday, and then we'll have another zone meeting next week.
But honestly, I love them all.
It was interesting for me to keep track of how many different ways people pronounced Elder Kopischke's name. President Craven said it "Ko-pis-kuh." I originally said it "Ko-pish-kee." I also heard it said "Ko-peesh-kuh" and "Ko-pis-kee." Thankfully no one said it "Ko-pis-cha-kay" or else I would have had to firmly correct them. Finally I listened in to how Elder Kopsichke said his own name to settle the matter: "Ko-pish-kuh."
He had a lot of great things to say and a ton of practical advice. His accent is a lot better than President Uchtdorf's -- you can barely notice it. I nearly ran him down after the meeting so that I could introduce myself. Elder Kopsichke had worked with my dad about twenty years ago in Germany, so I had to bring that up.
My current district leader Elder Haskell is a Spanish elder, so this Wednesday I went with his companion ElderFacemyer to their area. It's interesting being on exchange with Spanish elders but I generally find ways to participate in a lesson even if I can't speak the language.
Introductions can sometimes be problematic, though:
Me: "Hi, I'm Elder Sinner."
Spanish Elder: "What my companion meant to say is that his name is actually Elder Fisher."
Another fun thing about North Carolina is that every restaurant or store here has a sanitation rating, usually posted near the cash register where people can easily see it. They're graded to 100. Rule of thumb: subtract seven from the total to get the actual cleanliness of the restaurant. If the posted number is below 85 or so, you're in trouble.
This last Sunday was the ward primary program, which is always one of the best Sundays of the year. Solid doctrine, pure and simple. Musical numbers that get me teary because I understand the principles inside the songs now. The other nice thing was that there were three nonmembers in the program. It's awesome seeing one your investigators' kids talking about prophets in sacrament meeting.
I have had a ton of spiritual thoughts this week but none of them are really surfacing at this moment. It has been shown to me yet again this week how truly important repentance is. Preach My Gospel calls it "the central purpose of our lives." And it's true. We have faith so that we will repent. We get baptized to commit to repentance. We receive the Holy Ghost to help us repent. "Endure to the end" is just another way of saying "Keep repenting."
Repentance is the "action step" of the Gospel. The Atonement is the message; repentance is the process. It doesn't matter how long it takes for us to repent. From an eternal perspective, all that matters is that weget there.
I am looking forward to another exciting week of repenting and helping others repent. Being a missionary is the most wonderful experience. I know that the things I teach about God and Jesus Christ are true.
I love my companion, I love my area, and I love my mission. Hurrah for Israel!
On the subject of the van...I see this thing cruising around in my area all the time. Driving it automatically makes you awesome.