Monday, April 21, 2014

General Conference! - April 7, 2014

"In our dispensation, the Savior Jesus Christ referred to a gathering of Saints as “my general conference” (Doctrine and Covenants 124:88; emphasis added).

"Wherever we are in this world, however we receive these proceedings, I testify that we are gathered in His conference. I also testify that we will hear His word, for He has said, “Whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same” (Doctrine and Covenants 1:38)."
- Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

What a blessing General Conference is! What a blessing this week has been. I will talk more about General Conference a little later on.

First off, Elder Schwendiman and I had what is called a "blackout week" this last week. Each week, we record what are called "Key Indicators for Conversion." Page 138 of Preach My Gospel says: 
"Perhaps you have wondered which of your many duties are the most important. To be able to answer this question, you must understand your purpose and know how effective use of time can help you fulfill this purpose.

"Your purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. Key indicators have been identified by Church leaders to help you focus on this purpose. As you focus on these indicators, you will help people progress toward baptism, confirmation, continued activity in the Church, and lasting conversion." 

These Key Indicators are:
   • Investigators baptized and confirmed
   • Investigators with a baptismal date
   • Investigators who attend sacrament meeting
   • Lessons taught to investigators with a member present
   • Other lessons taught
   • Progressing investigators
   • Referrals received and contacted
   • New investigators
   • Lessons taught to recent converts and less-active members
   • Lessons taught to active members

A blackout week is a week where every category has at least a 1 in it. This is the first time that I have had one of those on my mission. It was super exciting and it is incredible the ways that the Lord is moving his work forward in Ottumwa.

I finally got to play disc golf last Monday. It was awesome! We are going to play again today!

Tuesday was fantastic. We helped in the family history center as usual. and the rest of our day was actually all scheduled out and we taught a bunch of lessons. Tuesday we also got to meet Doug's family. They were up from Colorado for the week and they were able to see him baptized on Saturday. There have been difficulties with them coming up to see him, and it was an answer to many prayers that they made it up here.

Wednesday was fantastic. We had interviews with President Jensen! It was great to chat with him. And I even got my temple recommend renewed! Which is crazy because they are good for 2 years. So I have been a temple recommend holder for almost 2 years now! Wednesday was a busy day with many scheduled appointments as well. We even found two new investigators! That new family we found has a son that is friends with the most recently returned missionary to Ottumwa. So that was pretty great because he was with us!

Thursday was a much slower day, but we did have dinner with the Topolinski's. The Topolinski's are an older couple that was less-active for 15 years and they became active within the last 5 months. Brother Topolinski is a fantastic guy, and looks like President Eyring. He is super funny! Whenever his dessert doesn't have whipped cream on it, he says "this dessert is nekkid!" It is great. His wife gave him a bowl of ice cream. When he pulled out the spoon, he exclaimed "a shovel!" It was a larger spoon than one typically uses to eat ice cream with. This may not be funny to you, but Elder Schwendiman and I enjoy the small things here in Ottumwa. :)

Friday we planned for the upcoming week and taught Tim! Tim's initial excitement about the Book of Mormon was for the information about pre-Columbian American history. We were wanting to help him realize it is a spiritual book more than just a history. He began asking questions, so we answered a few, then said a prayer, and through scriptures and answering questions and the Spirit, he understood that it was a spiritual book. He learned it by the Spirit and he is VERY excited for it. He was super excited to come to Doug's baptism and General Conference Saturday. He ended up coming to Conference with Paolo!

Saturday morning before General Conference Doug was baptized and confirmed. It was a wonderful service and we had Steve come too! He finished the Book of Mormon! Faster than I have ever read it myself...

General Conference was amazing! I enjoyed all of the instruction and words about becoming true, consecrated Disciples of Christ. I hope you received answers to your prayers. I received answers to my questions.

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

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