Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Another week in Missouri

Hello Everyone!

This week has been a good one. Things feel like they kind of all roll together. It is hard to be a missionary and hard to help the investigators find the truths in the gospel. It is hard to listen, and it's hard. But as I've told many people since I've been here, anything worth doing is hard. If it isn't hard, it isn't worth doing. 

But a mission is worth it. It can be frustrating, but becoming like Christ is the solution. I'm glad He didn't give up. He gave us more blessings than we can imagine.

One thing that I remember a lot is Paul's famous saying, "I'm so confused." My little brother Paul, not Paul the Revelator. :) I get confused a lot and just think of my little brother and how he is 5 and is always "so confused." No matter how confused we are, we can apply and rely on the Doctrine of Christ. Faith, Repentance, Baptism, the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End. It is so simple, but it's not easy. If the only thing we know is the Doctrine of Christ, and we follow it, we will be ok.

It is wonderful. Might I recommend everyone to go watch Christ's life and ministry as portrayed in the videos at they are pretty awesome!

Elder Zachary R McKenzie

Iowa Des Moines Mission
    D&C 6:34, 36
Doubt Not, Fear Not.
Faith in 400 for Christ in 2012

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Open House


This week has been another good one. I think they are all good though... But anyway, the Open House was this week and we had about 55 people come each night. It was a pretty good turn out. Elder Flint and I were at the end where the cookies were to answer questions. We didn't answer a whole lot of questions because the members who brought their friends or the tour guides were doing such a great job. It's a good problem to have! We haven't seen any direct referrals from it yet, but we hope to see some in the future!

This next week we have 8 dinner appointments for the next 9 days. It is awesome! usually we get one or two scheduled ahead of time and we might pick up one or two more each week. So it's awesome to have so many scheduled!

We are working with our Spanish investigator, the man I talked about a few weeks ago in my email, and he came to church yesterday. We have many return missionaries that speak Spanish that are excited to help out. So we have a wide field of fellow-shippers to work with. The bummer thing is we have had to drop both of the baptismal dates we had because they aren't progressing and aren't doing the things they need to to be baptized. Hopefully they come around.

It's starting to get colder here in Missouri, but I found a coat that another missionary left in our house, so we don't have to worry about that!

We had a trainer's meeting that our Mission President trained us at about 4 hours away. So Elder Flint was super tired from driving 8 hours in one day. But it was a good training. I saw a bunch of missionaries that I came out to the field with and it was good to see them again. President talked about the new missionary age and how all the missionaries in the field are going to have to step up because there will be a lot more trainers and a lot more leaders in the mission. And all the missionaries coming out to the field will have to be more prepared as well!

It is estimated that our mission, as well as most of the missions in the U.S., will see about 250 total missionaries serving there. That is 70 more than we have now! It will be pretty crazy to see the influx of missionaries!

As for my words of wisdom, or my testimony this week. I have to say that the Atonement is real. We all have as many chances as we need to come to Christ and become more like Him. It is a commandment from the Lord. Jesus said, "Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect" (3 Nephi 12:48). We are told many times in the scriptures that "the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish this thing which he commandeth them" (1 Nephi 3:7). We can become perfect, because we have been commanded to be. 

The Atonement is the enabling power for us to become perfect. The only way we can become perfect is to follow the Doctrine of Christ. "We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost"(Articles of Faith 1:4). These four steps, followed by Enduring to the End, centered on the Atonement, is the Doctrine of Christ.

Endure to the End. It means becoming a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and remaining an active member for the rest of our lives. If we become inactive, we fail to endure. Alma warns us against becoming inactive. He says "O ye workers of iniquity; ye that are puffed up in the vain things of the world, ye that have professed to have known the ways of righteousness nevertheless have gone astray, as sheep having no shepherd, notwithstanding a shepherd hath called after you and is still calling after you, but ye will not hearken unto his voice!" (Alma 5:37). 

Christ calls for us, and His call is for us to be perfect, even as He is (see 3 Nephi 27:27). Let us Endure to the End and follow the Doctrine of Christ and remember the Atonement and to apply it in our lives. It's is hard, but no one said it was easy. How to endure? 2 Nephi 31:20.

From Your Imperfect Missionary Friend,
Elder Zachary R McKenzie
Iowa Des Moines Mission
    D&C 6:34, 36
Doubt Not, Fear Not.
Faith in 400 for Christ in 2012

Increasing Numbers

Hey All!

It has been another good week of progress here in the Kirksville 2nd ward in Missouri. Our key indicator numbers increased this week. We taught 20 lessons in all! We taught a new investigator and we found a new less-active family that wants us to teach them the lessons. The work is steadily growing here. 

This Thursday and Friday we are having an open house at our church. The church building here used to be full of 70s orange carpet and chairs. The church was entirely revamped, the parking lot extended, and new pictures were put in the hallways. This building is even going to be rededicated later this year or early next year. So we are doing an open house similar to temple open houses. Each auxiliary is in charge of a 3-5 minute presentation about what they do and how they help the progress of the church. The 1st ward elders are doing a presentation on baptism and Elder Flint and I will be answering questions at the end about the Book of Mormon with a table full of proselyting materials. They have been advertising it on radio, television, in the newspaper, by fliers, and word of mouth. The Bishop and the brother in charge of the event have sent out letters by mail to all the less-active members of the ward and to all the clergy of other churches, 70!, in Kirksville. They are expecting it to be a great success. We are hoping it will be as great as they are making it out to be and hopefully receive many new referrals and many new investigators and teaching opportunities out of this event.

The members here are awesome! There is a couple who had a baby the week after I got here. We taught them the following week. So I just wanted to brag I got to teach a lesson to a newborn baby, and shake his hand, when he was only about 5 days old. :)

There is a couple in the 1st ward with a couple of kids that are under 3. Kids come up with funny names for things. Their boy calls helicopters "flutterfly-tractors". I invite you all to use that word in the next week of your life.

I am just continuing to grow and learn more about the gospel. It is pretty cool to see how much the gospel really helps others, and especially myself. I continue to grow, and I only grow after I fail. So I am failing A LOT. But no worries. I am learning from it :)

I don't have much else to say today, other than the gospel is great and there is ALWAYS more we can learn. We won't know everything EVER. In this life at least. Carry on, read the scriptures, pray, be obedient, and learn something every day. Remember to PACE yourselves…"positive attitude changes everything" and to SMILE..."spiritually minded is life eternal."

With Love from Missouri, 
Elder Zachary R McKenzie
Iowa Des Moines Mission
    D&C 6:34, 36
Doubt Not, Fear Not.
Faith in 400 for Christ in 2012

October General Conference 2012

Hello Everyone!

Wasn't General Conference fantastic? How about that announcement of the new minimum ages of missionaries? The dynamics in the missions and at the BYU campuses will change a lot over the next little bit. 

Conference was easily the highlight of my week, I hope it was of yours too! For my letter this week, I am going to give a summary from my eyes as a missionary, of the talks. For each talk I will list the Speaker, what I think the title of the talk will be, and a few insights from the talk, whether from what they said or my own head. Please bear with me as it might be a little long this week. I hope you can gain some insight from my views and also that you can share some of your insights with me. :)

Saturday Morning Session
President Thomas S. Monson, "Opening of Conference"
   - There is room for improvement
   - Missionary minimum age change
Elder Quentin L. Cook, "Can ye feel so now?"
   - Alma 5:26
   - Isaiah 40:28-31
Sister Ann M. Dibb, "I'm a Mormon. I know it. I live it. I love it."
   - I'm a Mormon. Are you?
Elder Craig C. Christensen, "The Role of the Holy Ghost"
   - Moroni 10:5
Elder Shayne M. Bowen, "Families through the Resurrection"
   - Children don't need to worry about sin, they are not capable of it.
   - Destructive. Destractive. One letter difference
   - Feelings of despair turn into feelings of joy if we rely on the Atonement
Elder Russell M. Nelson, "Ask the Missionaries"
   - Blessings of a mission
   - The story of boys on bikes an answer to prayer
        - Required man to act
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "Living with No Regrets"
   - Living purposefully each day. Like Christ did. Lift others up.
   - Good intentions are not enough. We must do.
        - Good - Intentions
        - Better - Doing it
        - Best - Doing it happily
   - We can't change the past, but we can repent.
   - Take nothing for granted.
   - S.M.I.L.E. (2 Nephi 9:39)
Saturday Afternoon Session
Elder L. Tom Perry, "Parents of a Divine Order"
   - Give your kids an allowance
   - Cleave unto your wife.
Elder M. Russell Ballard, "The Service of a Beehive"
   - Our sustaining nectar ---> Faith, Hope, and Charity
   - Assimilating the Doctrines of the gospel deep within our hearts
        - Don't just fake it.
   - In our morning prayers
        - Ask for opportunities to serve someone with meaningful service
             - Then Act. Look for it
   - Have I Done Any Good in the World Today? Hymn #223
Elder Larry Echo Hawk, "The Converting Power of the Book of Mormon"
   - Say Yes without hesitation
Elder Robert C. Gay, "The Worth of a Soul"
   - What will a man give in exchange for his soul?
   - The Gifts of God vs the evils of the devil
        -evils of the devil - looking beyond the mark, self justification of petty sins
Elder Scott D. Whiting, "Living to Temple Standard"
   - Next time you go to the temple, Touch the temple and let the temple touch you.
   - Battlefield of Sin and Temptation
        -We will all be marred from battle
   - We can't cover our sins
Elder Neil L. Andersen, "The Trial of Our Faith"
   - Trust in the Lord. Confidence
   - Ether 12:6, Alma 36:3
Elder Dallin H. Oaks, "Taking Care of Children"
   - Marriages that don't occur
   - Ever increasing concern for the rising generation

Priesthood Session
Elder D. Todd Christofferson, "Men Must Be Men
   - Rescue
   - Family History and Temple Work
   - Rise Up O Men of God
Bishop Gary E. Stevenson, "Be Valiant in Courage"
   - Defining moments require courage
   - To click or not to click
   - On to Victory
Elder Anthony D. Perkins, "Stay on the Priesthood Path"
   - Beware
   - Deep Personal Conversion & Strong Family Relationships
   - Constant attention + immediate action = safety for the soul
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "Priesthood: The Sacred Duty to Serve"
   - A more perfect way
   - Do we comprehend what we say?
   - Arise and Shine Forth
   - Jacob 6:12
President Henry B. Eyring, "Shape Their Hearts"
   - Build their faith
   - The Lord will give opportunities for his righteous servants to be bold and open their mouths
   - Shape children's hearts
        - it isn't the activity that matters, but the feeling
   - Develop the gifts we've been given
President Thomas S. Monson, "We Can Change"
   - We have the capacity to see man not as they are, but how they can be with the church.
   - Courage to bear testimony
   - D&C 18:15-16
   - A woman needs to be told she is beautiful. Valued.
   - Everyone's experience is different
Sunday Morning Session
President Henry B. Eyring, "Removing Pavilions of Will"
   - We can't insist on our own timetable when the Lord has his own
President Boyd K. Packer, "The Light of the Atonement"
   - 2 lights
   - Hymn #335 "Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy"
   - Mosiah 3:19
   - 3rd Article of Faith
   - Hymn #127 "Does the Journey Seem Long?"
Sister Linda K. Burton, "First Observe, Then Serve"
   - "We are the Lord's hands here on earth." - President Monson
   - Love one another
   - Service is not always convenient
   - Listen with the heart
   - Serve the way He wants. Not the way We want.
Elder Walter F. Gonzales, "Learn Essential Truths"
   - Come Unto Jesus
   - Know of a surety
   - Take time to Be Still
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, "Do You Love Christ?"
   - Christ needs His disciples forever.
   - Love means Always Loyalty
   - Beginning of a Christian life. Not the end of it
   - We can't quit, and we can't go back
President Thomas S. Monson, "Answers to Prayer"
   - Take an inventory of your life and look specifically for blessings
   - 2 Nephi 2:25
   - Be thou humble
   - Journals help us remember specifics
   - "The Lord's purposes are often accomplished if we heed the Spirit."
   - "Never postpone a prompting."
   - "The Lord is in the details of our lives."
   - It is not chance. There are no coincidences, only answers to prayers.
Sunday Afternoon Session
Elder Robert D. Hales, "Christians: Come, Follow Christ"
   - Matthew 4:20
   - He blesses us with gifts. Through Him, we can go outside our comfort zone
   - Hymn #270
   - Don't be afraid
Elder Richard G. Scott, "Family History and Temple Work"
   - Family History and Temple Work are like baptism. Two parts. By water and by fire.
President Russell T. Osguthorpe, "His Word in His Way"
   - Focus on the needs of the learner
   - Key Doctrines, Invitations to Action, Promise Blessings
   - Learn and Teach for Conversion
   - read his article in the September 2012 Ensign
Elder Marcus B. Nash, "Faith is the Anchor"
   - Endure in faith to the end
   - My mission scripture.
   - "The future is as bright as your faith." -President Monson
   - Problem: Sin. Solution: Repent. There are 6 steps of repentance.
Elder Daniel L. Johnson, "Becoming True Disciples of Christ"
   - 3 Nephi 27:27, Abraham 3:25
   - A major trial in today's world is aspiring to the honors of men, or having pride
Elder Don R. Clarke, "The Sacrament: The Center of Our Worship"
   - Becoming Edified Together -D&C 50:22-23
   - An Attitude of Gratitude
Elder David A. Bednar, "Oil of Conversion"
   - Testimony and Conversion
   - Mighty change of heart, a firm determination
   - It is only gained one drop at a time, line upon line, precept upon precept
President Thomas S. Monson, "Closing Remarks"
   - How many gospel truths have been taught and reemphasized
   - Serve one another
        - First Observe, Then Serve
   - The Purpose of Mortality
        - Learn to Grow
        - Moses 1:39

Go ahead: Ask the Missionaries! Have an Attitude of Gratitude. Don't be afraid to grow, for the future is bright!

With Love from Missouri,
Elder Zachary R McKenzie
Iowa Des Moines Mission
    D&C 6:34, 36
Doubt Not, Fear Not.

Monday, October 1, 2012

2 Months Out!

Good Morning!

Today marks my 2 month mark on the mission. It is my second 'click day' (because I entered the MTC on the 1st, my click day is the 1st of every month). It also marks the end of my first transfer. I've been in the field for 6 weeks! Life is crazy!

There are two awesome experiences I have had this last week I want to share with you.

First Experience: We went to an appointment for a first lesson with a member with us, she wasn't home, so we knocked on her neighbor's door down the hall in the apartment complex. A girl, about 20 probably going to college, opened the door and I said "We are missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We have a message about Jesus Christ we would like to share with you. Would you be interested?" She said yes and welcomed us in. We talked for about 5-10 minutes about the basic summary of the Book of Mormon and what we believe. She told us that she was expecting a child in 8 months and she was looking for a faith to strengthen her child. She didn't look like she was pregnant at all. The cool part of this experience was that when we opened the door, I had the thought come into my head, "say we have a unique message about families." As I said before, I didn't say that, but God gave us a second chance to talk to her. And see that it was the spirit telling me to say that to her. But I thought twice about it and said what I thought made sense. But we got her number, and although she wasn't there for the return appointment we set up, she seemed genuinely interested and so we are going to try again this week.

Second Experience: A week and a half ago I had the thought to put a copy of the Spanish Book of Mormon into my backpack. I figured, "why not? it's just a little more weight." After I did I didn't really think about it again. When we were heading to an appointment with a Less-Active, I saw a man and had the thought "go talk to him." I ignored it and then we went and knocked on the door of this Less-Active. He wasn't home, so we went to go back to the car and I was backing Elder Flint when this man I saw before came up to us. He told us that he was told in thought "to go and talk to these men about God." So he came up to us. He told us that he was 70, and he was nearing death. He is a Mexican man and he was headed to Mexico the next morning for 15 days. He asked us to come by when he got home. He knew about the devil and that the devil has angels. Because God knew this experience was going to come, he told me days earlier to put the Spanish Book of Mormon in my backpack, I followed the thought, that I didn't realize was the spirit at the time, and was able to place that Book of Mormon. God gave me a second chance in this scenario as well to help one of His children and to show me He is talking to me.

The Lord is Always talking to us. Especially after we have had the opportunity to receive the Holy Ghost. But even before that, we have the opportunity to feel the Light of Christ and to experience "the power of the Holy Ghost" (Moroni 10:5, emphasis added).

What exactly is the "Light of Christ?" Elder David A. Bednar explains it beautifully and simply in a three-part series of Mormon Messages called "Patterns of Light." 
Patterns of Light: The Light of Christ (part one)
Patterns of Light: Discerning Light (part two)
Patterns of Light: Spirit of Revelation (part three)

Preach My Gospel, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints' Missionary Training Manual, describes the Light of Christ as thus (pg 90):
   A person is capable of receiving spiritual guidance before being baptized and confirmed. This spiritual influence begins with the Light of Christ, which “is given to every man, that he may know good from evil” (Moroni 7:16; see also verses 14–19).
   “The light of Christ is just what the words imply: enlightenment, knowledge, and an uplifting, ennobling, persevering influence that comes upon mankind because of Jesus Christ. . . .
   “The light of Christ should not be confused with the personage of the Holy Ghost, for the light of Christ is not a personage at all. Its influence is preliminary to and preparatory to one’s receiving the Holy Ghost. The light of Christ will lead the honest soul who ‘hearkeneth to the voice’ to find the true gospel and the true Church and thereby receive the Holy Ghost” (Bible Dictionary, “Light of Christ,” 725; see also D&C 84:46–47).
   President Boyd K. Packer said, “It is important for a . . . missionary . . . to know that the Holy Ghost can work through the Light of Christ. A teacher of gospel truths is not planting something foreign or even new into an adult or a child. Rather, the missionary or teacher is making contact with the Spirit of Christ already there. The gospel will have a familiar ‘ring’ to them” (“The Light of Christ,” address delivered at the seminar for new mission presidents, 22 June 2004, 2).

I hope we can all see the Light of Christ at work in our lives, and strive to follow it! Listen to Jacob's advice in the Book of Mormon. Read Jacob chapter 6 verse 12.

Remember to S.M.I.L.E.! (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi chapter 9 verse 39)

I love you all! And God loves you more!
Elder Zachary R McKenzie
Iowa Des Moines Mission
    D&C 6:34, 36
Doubt Not, Fear Not.


Hey Everyone!

So I took my first two trips to Nauvoo this last week. One was for Zone Conference and one was for Stake Conference. I didn't get to go to the temple or anything, but I have now seen the temple. 

Here is one random fact from Nauvoo that I thought was really interesting: back when the saints were there before they were kicked out, they had built up a prospering city and the population was anywhere from 8,000 to 15,000 when the saints were there. After they had left, there was a population left of 1,100. The population is now 1,100. It just goes to show that when the people aren't righteous on the land, there is no growth.

I sang in the Stake Choir for the conference because it was a choir taken from the Kirksville 1st and 2nd wards. We sang a medley of "Where Can I Turn for Peace," "Be Still My Soul," and "Our Savior's Love." It was a nice medley of three of my favorite hymns. Then we also sang a beautiful arrangement of "If You Could Hie To Kolob." It was fun singing in a good ward choir. Being in the choir, I was on the screen pretty much the entire conference. After the conference, I was on the stand and up the aisle I saw Alli Perkins from my BYU freshman ward. She was in Nauvoo visiting her fiance. It was weird! But it was great to see her!

This last week was one of great inspiration and receiving great revelation from both of those conferences. It was one of "improvement and progression" ("If You Could Hie to Kolob" verse 3. But really look at the entire song).

The Doctrine of Christ. The Gospel of Jesus Christ, focuses on 5 simple steps. I say simple because they are easy to understand. Actually doing them is another story. It is in the 4th article of faith, it is the purpose of a missionary, it is in lesson three of chapter three of Preach My Gospel. 
  • Faith in Jesus Christ
  • Repentance
  • Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins
  • Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost
  • Enduring to the End
These are the keys to living a gospel-centered life. All are centered on the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It requires an attitude of "willing to accept, and even seek, correction" (Elder D. Todd Christofferson, "The Will of God" Mormon Message).

It's tough, but always looking to the Savior is the key to life.

There is an article about teaching in the July 2012 Ensign called "The Lesson is Inside the Learner" by Sunday School General President Russell T. Osguthorpe ( It is a wonderful article that shows 4 main points of teaching the gospel "that all may be edified of all” (D&C 88:122). These points are:
  1. Conversion is the Aim.
  2. Love is the Motive.
  3. Doctrine is the Key.
  4. The Spirit is the Teacher.
It is a wonderful article and I am starting to implement these steps and I suggest that you try to use them too.

I love you all and I will update you next week!
Elder Zachary R McKenzie
Iowa Des Moines Mission
    D&C 6:34, 36
Doubt Not, Fear Not.