Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I've been out 6 weeks!

Hello Everyone!
This Wednesday marks 6 weeks of me being on my mission. It has gone by so slowly, yet so quickly! The work is ever progressing.
I don't have a whole lot of time today. But know that all is going well.
I have been having more productive studies and as I'm serving and teaching and studying, I am learning a lot about myself.
Missionary work and life in general is all about giving up our desires or wants, giving up our will, and letting ourselves be an instrument in His hands, to bring peace and joy for all others.
These are a few of the scriptures that are my favorites right now:
  • Alma 36:3
  • D&C 4
  • Jacob 4
  • Alma 32:28
  • 3 Nephi 12:14-16
  • Alma 36:20
  • Alma 4:3
  • Alma 7:11-12
  • D&C 33:8-10
  • Alma 17:2-3
I hope they are able to bring some light into your life like they have mine.
I love you all and I hope you are living a life where you can fully experience the joy of God. I am not yet, but I intend to always be thinking in a way where I am giving myself up to God. Share your experiences with me!
Because it is September 11th, I studied some scriptures this morning that brought some Partriotism and enlightenment to my thoughts. Here is what I studied if you want to follow my path:
  • 1 Nephi 13
  • D&C 87
  • Revelations 5-6
  • D&C 135
Elder Zachary R McKenzie
D&C 6:34, 36
Doubt Not, Fear Not

Monday, September 10, 2012

My Mission Address

Here is Elder McKenzie's address:

Elder Zachary R McKenzie
Iowa Des Moines Mission
8515 Douglas Ave Ste 19
Urbandale, IA 50322
United States

If you send a package, please send it Priority Mail, it is the only service that will forward his package to his actual apartment address.

Week 2 in the Field

Hey Everyone!

It has been an interesting second week in Kirksville. I am actually starting to find it is rubbing off on me. I could see myself living in a place like this.

The highlight from my week was probably exchanges with Elder Prows. He goes home at the end of this transfer, and though he is trunky, he is working hard. I got to know him better and I actually got to do some knocking on doors. It freaked me out to be talking to people. I am shy at first when I talk with people, and because I am extra new at this with being shy, it makes things hard. But it was some good experience.

I was going to bring my journal to remember what has happened in the past week, but I forgot. I did bring my study journal though, so I will share some insights from both my mind and my study journal.

We had dinner at the Potter's on Friday night. And yes, Brother Potter's first name is James. Sister Potter made 4 different kinds of Stromboli, or homemade calzones, or whatever you want to call them. They were delicious. We then taught them the 400 lesson. The lesson about our goal of 400 baptisms in the Iowa Des Moines Mission for 2012. For part of the lesson we share this DVD that some elders made based on the efforts of member missionary work. The DVD first shows a story put to music of how a girl shares a Book of Mormon with her testimony in it with a boy from her high school. They take the discussions and then the entire family is baptized. This part ends with a quote from the scripture Alma 37:6 "By small and simple things are great things brought to pass..." Then it shows part of a conference talk from President Eyring about the importance of members doing missionary work. The Potter's have 3 little kids, Addison who is 4 and a half, Denton who is 2 and a half, and Mikaela who is 5 months old. They remind me of Paul and Eve and make me a little bit homesick each time we go see them. When we were watching the excerpt of the talk, the kids were in their pajamas, the girls were being held by their parents and Denton was playing with blocks. It was about this time that I could have curled up on the couch and been perfectly at home. The spirit in members homes and the cleanliness is amazing. Even if you don't think it is too clean, it is better than the houses/trailers we go into that are filled with smoke and random piles of garbage. Going into any member's home feels like home. But that is when it hit me that they are our homes away from home. The reason they have the spirit, other than their testimonies is their way of life. They abide by the precepts set in D&C 88:119, 124-126.

May I ask that you all read Jacob chapter 4 this week. I read it this morning for personal study, and through applying it to myself, and really paying attention to what it said, I received some choice words of wisdom through the spirit. A few things I gleaned from my studies are as follows. Humility is the key to our Salvation. Read verse 8 after reading the Bible Dictionary entry on Mystery. When mystery is used in the scriptures, it doesn't mean what the modern meaning is. Give our glory to God (3 Nephi 12:16 (14-16)). God has control of the earth, don't try and tell Him what to do, listen to Him. The Spirit teaches plainly. Don't try and over complicate things. The Spirit teaches the truth; the Real Truth. Learn how to recognize the spirit as Jacob did. Not to only recognize, but to act on it after you recognize it.

There are some of my spiritual experiences. Read the scriptures and treasure up what you find, so the spirit can use them later (D&C 84:85). "Scriptures are like packets of light that illuminate our minds and give place to guidance and inspiration from on high. ... They can become stalwart friends that are not limited by geography or calendar." -Elder Richard G. Scott (The Power of Scripture, Oct 2011 General Conference, Saturday Morning Session)

I challenge you to reach out and to have a missionary experience. And when you do, share it in your next Fast and Testimony Meeting. You will have one if you pray for it and seek for it. "Ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Amen." D&C 4:7.

Until Next Time,
Elder McKenzie

Week 1 in the Field

Greetings from the Mission Field!

My first area in the Iowa Des Moines mission is, drumroll please... the Kirksville 2nd Ward in Kirksville, Missouri. My trainer is Elder Haden Flint from Layton, Utah. He will be training me for his 4th and 5th transfers. He went to Northridge High. He is 6'5" and about 270. He played football, defensive end, for his high school. After his mission he has a scholarship to go play ball down at Dixie State. The funny part is, is his girlfriend's name is McKenzie.

The Elders in my district are pretty weird, but not too bad. Elder Flint is pretty normal. Then in the Kirksville 1st Ward, we have Elder Prows and Elder Smith. This is Elder Prows last transfer, and he is feeling trunky.

It is weird out here. Small town life. Kirksville has a population of about 17,000, but it is the "big city" for about 30 miles, so it feels extra small. There are outlying farming communities with populations of 400. So I should be grateful that I live in the big part. Although my area is pretty large.

There are 3 types of areas in my mission. One has cars all the time. One has cars every other week. One is no cars, and instead you bike or walk. My area is one with cars every other week. We switch off with the other Elders in our district each P-Day.

The ward I am in has a lot of young couples with a kid or two and they are in their late twenties. A. T. Still University is in Kirksville. It is a school for doctor management, so we have lots of mormon families from Utah or Idaho. They are quite awesome. I've already had dinner at a few people's houses and am looking forward to more in the near future. We get probably between 3-6 dinners a week. Me being here not a full week yet, I'm not sure, but that's what Elder Flint says. So you can get an idea of a little bit of the student demographic, there are 10 babies due by December and 2 due this week. I love seeing the little kids, and it kills me not to be able to hold them or anything. But it is the rules and I will abide by them.

Of course there is a Wal-Mart in town so that takes care of any needs I'll come across.

I walked into a baptism. It was pretty crazy. She is a nice 64-year-old lady named Margie. She was baptized Saturday and confirmed Sunday in church. So far we don't have any new investigators out here, but we're going to contact some referrals this week and get out there. We've been building member trust because there were some issues with it before my trainer was whitewashed in when he first got here. (Whitewash is when they pull both elders out of an area and put a new companionship in the area). And it has also been a little crazy with the baptism. I feel like we haven't worked our hardest yet, and I am eager to apply everything that I learned in the MTC. This week is looking to be a lot more promising. We have a good full day today and the rest of the week is looking like good time for spiritually finding and such. President Jergensen doesn't believe in tracting, because we pray about where to go and then go knock on doors. I'll probably say tracting sometimes, but know that spiritually finding and tracting are virtually the same. Spiritually finding is guided tracting.

So I finally discovered why we can only listen to MoTab in this mission. Last December they had a Zone Leader council and they discussed our mission goal of baptisms. For 2011 the goal was 500 and we only got about 350. President Jergensen asked everyone to pray about a number before the meeting and come to the meeting with their ideas. At the meeting they spent a long while having heated discussion about what it should be. Some said 500, 600, 700. Some said 250 so we can actually meet their goal. This went on for at least a half an hour. Finally, one of the Elders said, "This is the Lord's number, why don't we ask him?" So they quieted everyone down and this Elder said a very simple prayer, asking how many people the Lord had prepared to be baptized for this year. After that prayer, President Jergensen announced, "The number of baptisms is 400. And the sacrifice we will make for this goal is to only listen to MoTab this year." So that is why.

We are at 230 baptisms as a mission right now, with 67 baptism dates. Please pray for those in my mission that we may find them. We are working with the members right now. We go and help get them psyched to help us reach our goal. Elder Flint shared some statistics from a General Authority that astounded me. Statistically speaking, 1 in 1000 people tracted to will be baptized. 60 in 1000 people recommended that the missionaries see them from a friend will be baptized. 660 in 1000 people taught in a members home will be baptized. I didn't realize members were that big of a deal. But they are! Do your part at home to help others come to Christ. Invite them to come to your house and invite the missionaries to teach in your home. When someone is invited to their home, they already have that framework and support system of friendship before they are overwhelmed with the gospel too. We don't have that with people we tract. Be a friend first.

That is all from me this week. I love getting letters! I only promise letters to those that send me one first. I wish I could write you all, but I simply don't have time to send them all out.

With Love from Missouri,
Elder Zachary R McKenzie