Monday, April 28, 2014

Week 73

Hello family and friends.  This week was an exciting one in our zone. We have a district in our zone that has been pegged as one of the two wards that nobody wants to go.  Last year, this ward had (I think) 2 baptisms. This weekend, they had 3, bringing this year’s total to 5!

Another cool story.  I can't remember if I mentioned this in a previous letter, but at the beginning of March when I first got to this area, Pomona had not had a baptism in 3 months.  President came to our zone meeting and asked us, "Why isn't Pomona baptizing."  Our district leader had been in the area for 6 weeks and had had the assignment of district leader for 4 days.  Every companionship had just changed 4 days earlier.  We have seen everything change here in Pomona.  In the last 30 days, we have had 7 baptisms in this ward and every companionship has baptized.  We aren't dealing with thousands like Ammon and Alma, but we're on the right track :)

We had interviews on Tuesday.  President did something a little different with our companionship.  He brought all 3 of us in and we talked about planning.  Here's how the conversation went down:

President: "Who's one of your progressing investigators?"
Us: "Rosario."
President: "What is the biggest thing that you could see getting in the way of her getting baptized?"
Us: ...pause... "Not understanding that this church is Christ's church and not some other church."
President: "Good. Good. Very insightful.  Now, what have you done about that?"
Us: ...pause... "Uh. Well. Nothing yet."
President: "So I'm not picking on ya, but you're telling me that the Spirit has told you what this lady needs and you haven't done anything yet?  So what are you going to do?"

It sounds harsh, but he did it with so much love.  He amazes me.  He told us that we are doing well.  As a mission, baptisms are up.  Now this newer focus on planning is going to take us to the next level. This upcoming Mission Leadership Council he told us that we will be looking at the mission effectiveness report (or whatever it's called) and setting goals and making plans to hasten the work.

These last two transfers, I feel like I have been learning so many life lessons.  Working with different types of people, the power of a unified vision, the power of planning, and acting on those plans.  As described by my good friend Elder Andrew Woodruff, who is finishing his mission this upcoming week, the mission is the Disciple Training Center.  I'm so grateful to be here.

To close, here's an update on the Lopez family.  Last week, the Lopez family did not come to church nor to a church activity that we had. We talked with them Saturday night and we asked them if they have felt any kind of a difference this past week. They all said that they felt empty. We explained again the importance of the sacrament. They committed to come to church the next day and asked us to give them a call to help them be on time for the sacrament. They came 5 minutes before the meeting started (the earliest they have ever been). We stopped by for a quick visit after church. We asked them how they felt. They said that they feel normal again. I am so grateful that they now have an increased testimony of the importance of church and it was really the Spirit that taught them everything.

Love you all!
Elder Christensen

NOTE: I asked Tanner what they do to involve the members with the investigators/new converts. This was his reply:

In the ward I'm in right now, we have a monthly FHE as a ward where it is encouraged for people to bring their nonmember friends.  We also make a huge push to get our current investigators there.  Also, every week the members of our ward get together to play volleyball.  This is a tradition that has been going for a long, long time. We usually have around 30-40 show up so we end up rotating who is and isn't playing.  When we aren't playing in the games, we are introducing our investigators and less actives to the active members.  We think that this had a HUGE role in the Lopez family's social conversion.  Also, we are working with a prospective elder that hasn't been active for 7 years.  He has had a blast the last two weeks at volleyball and he came to church yesterday.  On his way out, he said, "I'm surprised how many people still remember me."
So ya, that's what we have done.  We haven't really started anything new, but we have made an effective use of what was already in place. 

Love you!

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