Sunday, October 11, 2015

September 21, 2015 - Woodstock, New Brunswick

Elder Perkins and Elder O'Brien

Hello Family,

It has been a very eventful week. There has been a cold bug going around lately and Elder Evans and I seemed to have caught it. We are both feeling a little under the weather right now. It started on Saturday and it hasn't gotten any better. The temperature is beginning to drop here. Right now it is 11 degrees Celsius. This week the highest it will get is 23 and the lowest will be 17. More signs that the fall is coming and winter isn't that far away.

Well this week we had Zone Conference with Elder Perkins and I loved it! To start off this special Zone Conference when him and his wife walked into the room we all stood up in reverence and respect and he shook all our hands and we  introduced ourselves to him. I had a lot better view of him this time around. It was much nicer to see him up close rather then 100 feet away in a conference center with 20,000 men in it. Elder Perkins started off zone conference by talking about revelation. He said that we should replace the word "meeting" with "revelatory experience."  He says that will improve our attitude towards a church meeting. Telling people that they are going to a "sacramental revelatory experience" sounds a lot better than "I'm going to a sacrament meeting today." He said that "Agent's act, objects are acted upon", "If you want revelation, you need to ask for it." Then he had us each write down 2 questions (1 personal and 1 missionary orientated). He invited us to have those questions in mind throughout zone conference. That really set the tone for the rest of zone conference. Then he shared his testimony that we have been called of God and that he knows President Pratt has been called of God.

He shared a story of when he got to assign missionaries to a mission with Elder Hales. He said that they only had 22 seconds to assign every missionary to a mission. They did this for 3 hours straight one time. He said he doubted himself and doubted he could receive revelation that fast. But when one missionary popped on the screen, the words "Chinese Taipei" came into his mind and then 2 seconds later Elder Hales said "Chinese Taipei."From that moment on he didn't doubt himself. He said that some missionaries are assigned to a mission for the mission president, some are assigned to touch a soul in that area. He said that sometimes  missionaries never learn why they got called to a mission but some do. He told us that once a member of the Quorum of The Twelve assigns a missionary to a mission the prophet can reassign that missionary to a different mission if it doesn't feel right to him. So when you get your call you don't really know if it had been reassigned by the prophet or not. Then he closed his morning remarks by saying "I may not know which Quorum of the Twelve assigned you, I may not know if the prophet changed your call or not but I do know you have been called of God!"

In the afternoon Elder Perkins talked about the difference between tools and instruments. Instruments need to be tuned and calibrated. Instruments are precise. He likened it to us. He shared Mosiah 23:10 with us. The Lord is tuning us and calibrating us into the missionaries he wants us to become. 

Then he talked about Preach My Gospel for a while. Preach My Gospel explains 1. Who we are, 2. How we work, and 3. What we teach.

He told us that in order to find people to teach we need to be Christlike. In his own words "The more Christlike we are, the more people will be attracted to us." It takes more then skill to find people to teach. 

Then he went on about how our purpose is the center of missionary work. Everything we do comes back to our purpose which is to invite others come unto Christ. Our purpose as missionaries is the center of Preach My Gospel. He talked about our area books. "Keeping an area book is an accounting of the people for the Lord"

He shared how you can tell which prophet wrote a chapter in Preach My Gospel. For example Richard G. Scott had a large influence on Chapter 2. President Monson had influence over Chapter 9. President Uchtdorf had influence over Chapter 6.  If you look at other chapters you can take a good guess as to who wrote it. 

Then he explained the doctrine of faith:  Faith - Belief - Action - Testimony- Power (Remove doubt & fear).

What stuck out to me was faith being a power. He explained it as having faith that you'll find someone to teach, having faith that your investigators will keep commitments . Faith can be a power within us if we allow it to. We just need to remove doubt and fear.

The he talked about the section where it says "No effort is wasted." He shared a story of a missionary who knocked on someone's door and they said no. But 15 years later this person met with missionaries and got baptized. He said that that missionary who knocked on that person's door 15 years ago doesn't know that they got baptized. So our efforts are truly never wasted. Sometimes we won't even see the fruits of our labors but rest assured, "No effort is wasted"

He had us write down the Restoration in 10 words: "God has restored his gospel once again through the Prophet Joseph Smith". That is the Restoration in one sentence. "The simpler we teach the more powerful it is." He said that one time he was traveling with Elder Scott and they were doing role plays all day long with missionaries. Elder Scott was the one role-playing with them. He jokingly said "I saw a lot of stressed missionaries."

He said he shares an office with the junior apostle and he sees Elder Nelson quite often. He told us lately Elder Nelson has been jokingly saying that he is the President of The Quorum of The Eight. Referring to the fact that Elder Hales and Elder Scott are sick.

He closed zone conference by doing a Q & A session for 30 minutes with us. One of the questions was "What the process was calling a new apostle." He answered by saying each apostle submits 2 or 3 names of who they think should be called to the prophet and the prophet prays about it and makes the final decision. Whoever the new apostles are, Elder Perkins will share an office with the new Junior apostle. He referred us to Acts 2. It talks a little more about that process.

We picked up a surprise investigator on Friday. We were at the Church doing weekly planning when all of a sudden a man from Paris, France walks into the Church. So we walked over and he said that the Salvation Army sent him here. So we got confused. Then he asked us what he has to do in order to become a Mormon. We were caught off guard. We told him we would teach him a series of lessons and then he would decide for himself, Then he got very fascinated by the paintings in our Church. He was taking pictures of them with his camera and he was in awe. We proceeded to give him a tour of the Church and ended up teaching him most of the Restoration. He asked us about coming to Church with his family. He is going to come with his family to our Book of Mormon study on Thursday. We got his phone number and his address and everything. It definitely caught us by surprise. We weren't even proselyting at the time. He fell right into our laps. It was definitely a tender mercy of the Lord. 

There was a Harvest Festival in Houlton on Saturday that we went to. It was a great way to talk to lots of people. There were a bunch of booths set up including a Amish tent with homemade doughnuts . We weren't able to get any potential investigators from it but we did talk to a lot from people.

Elder O'Brien

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