Salutations, It's been a great week!
We have some new missionaries in our district. It is us up in Story City and the 8 missionaries serving in Ames. Elder Newhouse and I are the only 'normal' companionship in the district.
In the Ames 1st Ward, they just added a new pair of Sisters in addition to the Elders already serving there. Elder Claridge, I served around him in Des Moines for 1 transfer and have been around him since I've been up here in Story City, is training Elder Hollan, who is a 2013 Grad from Timpanogos High School in Orem, UT. Sister Hill is training Sister Browne, who I went to high school with. She is from Lindon, UT and she went to PG and Timp. I had a Business Management class taught by Mr. Carter with her our sophomore year. We weren't very good friends, but we had a few conversations. It was funny when we met at district meeting because she said I looked familiar, and asked if my first name was Zach. I told her yes and asked if her first name was Laura. It was, so there is another familiar face in the mission for me.
In the Ames 2nd Ward, they also added a new pair of Sisters in addition to the Elders already serving there. Elder Kilpatrick, I served around him in Des Moines for 1 transfer and have been around him since I've been up here in Story City, and Elder Barger, I served around his trainer for 2 transfers and he was my district leader for the last transfer in Story City, are our Zone Leaders. Sister England is training Sister Paul. Sister England had served in Ankenny for her whole mission until she came up here. When she was down in Ankenny and I was in Des Moines, our companionships had an odd car share for a week until they got a full-time car. It was odd because Ankenny and Des Moines are in 2 different Zones in 2 different Stakes. Ankenny is in the Ames Zone and so we served in the same zone for the last transfer and now we are serving in the same district!
Needless to say, there is a lot of personal connection to the missionaries in this district for me. Lots of history there. It's really neat!
Brother Bennett is now technically reactivated! He has been 4 of the last 5 weeks! His wife isn't sure if she wants this right now. She wasn't really looking for the truth, she is a spiritual person, and so she is having a harder time having enthusiasm for joining or getting baptized. However, her son wants to be baptized and she will let him make his own decisions. We are going to keep working with them and make sure they have the best experience possible as they continue to coming to church.
We were able to volunteer at the Iowa Games all day this last Saturday. The Iowa Games are pretty much a tournament/Olympics for the state of Iowa "where YOU are the athlete." Elder Newhouse and I got to keep score for half of the 8th Grade Basketball games. It was fun watching and reminiscing about my days back when I played rec basketball. It was weird watching basketball for an entire day. The last time I got close to watching that many sports was last Summer during the Summer Olympics.
Our area is about 1015 square miles. Lots of farmland... There are bunches of little communities spread out throughout our area. The two biggest towns are Story City and Iowa Falls. Iowa Falls is about a 45 minute drive from Story City. A long way for members to drive each week to church. We just found out that Iowa Falls will be getting a pair of full-time missionaries. Roughly half of our area will be given to them to work. It won't happen until , but we have lots of preparing to help kick start that area. It is super exciting as we aren't able to spend much time up there, but there is lots of work to be done! A few of the major churches up there have lost lots of their membership. One had a pastor that retired after serving for a few decades, and they don't like the new pastor. One has a lesbian minister. One was caught in a Des Moines prostitute ring. And everyone up there thinks the Jehovah's Witnesses are too pushy; they knock the entire town twice a year. There is lots of potential up there, it is just a matter of unlocking it in the correct way, because tracting doesn't work.
In the last week or so I have been pondering and thinking about my faith. I am doing my best to fulfill and magnify the calling I have been given. I have become more aware of things to correct and have had a better attitude towards correcting them. I have been more introspective in the last week and I am doing my best to let the Lord work through me. I am studying how we as missionaries can better use the Preach My Gospel fundamental "Revelation throught Prayer" in our own personal lives, to help magnify our ability in helping others understand. 2 Peter Chapter 1 really hit me when I read it in my studies yesterday. Some ways to increase my faith and develop other Christlike attributes in the process.
I hope you all may think about your prayers, what you are praying about, and seeking for answers from God. Doctrine & Covenants Section 6 also has great counsel about revelation; receiving answers from the Lord.
Elder Zachary R McKenzie
Iowa Des Moines Mission
D&C , 36
Doubt Not, Fear Not.
550 Souls to Christ
550 Souls to Christ