The Zone Conference went really well but was much different than I thought it would be. The Prestons are of course very spiritual and great people. I look forward to learning more from them as our time together continues. Needless to say, they are extremely different than the Bullocks and it will take some getting used to before I grasp it all. When we have our interviews with him it will help a lot to actually have a personal relationship with him. The most important part was coming to understand more fully why the Prestons were called here and how we as missionaries can support them in their calling.
One of the many items I noticed from the meeting was how much our work with members can and will change now that we have a mission President from the mission boundaries. It amazed me every time he said, "oh yes, I know the bishop of the ward so and so is serving in, he is a very wise bishop." President and Sister Preston know everyone!! Despite the many talents President and Sister Bullock had and the time that they spent getting to know the members of the neighboring wards and stakes, their relationships could not really compare to what the Prestons have done over their whole lifetime living and serving in our mission boundaries. This is an aspect of the mission that I am looking forward to seeing progress.
Something President Bullock said before he left has been ingrained in my mind because of recent experiences and the time period we are in as missionaries. He talked a lot about keys and why they are so important and what they actually mean. He said that he has had the keys and stewardship over the mission for the past 3 years and from that has been given specific revelation for the mission many different times. The very moment President Preston touches back down on English soil, the keys will have been passed and the revelation for the mission will go to him. PMG emphasizes as well how we are to follow those who are our leaders and support them in every way. Even though President Preston doesn't really know any of us or much about the mission by experience, he knows exactly what he is doing because he is being led by God. Come transfer time many missionaries may be thinking, he doesn't know where I should go, he barely even knows me or where I have served. How can he know? I have a strong testimony and knowledge that President Preston knows exactly what he needs to do and who needs to go where and do what. I am excited to have more than a year to get to know the Prestons and follow their examples.
During my weekly studies I was reading in Alma about the sons of Mosiah, specifically Ammon and his brother Aaron. One of the principles I learned you could title, "the difference between a hard working missionary and a smart working missionary." The reason I say that is that when I took Ammons story and pointed out the different aspects of his work that made him successful, (Service, Love, The spirit in teaching, etc.) and then looked at Aarons, (Hard work and Preaching) there was quite a difference. The results were quite different as well. Now maybe there is more to the story than it says, and maybe because the people Aaron tried to teach were more wicked, but the principle I learned was that sometimes we need to look at missionary work in a different light then just preaching and calling to repentance. We can serve and love them to change.
Too often I think to myself, "why am I having fun? I am a missionary, I am not supposed to have fun or think outside the box and be creative in our finding. We are supposed to knock doors, and street contact all day and that is it." This last transfer I have learned that not only does the work progress better but it is more enjoyable when you are creative in your finding activities and utilize the ward and what they know of the area. We were told by the bishop yesterday that the work on the Isle of Man is a bit different than other places, i am beginning to see that he is right. People in different places act differently and we should adjust accordingly. That doesn't mean the gospel changes or the truth changes. But how we teach, testify, and invite might need to change if we are to be successful as missionaries.
My new companion Elder Tellem is a very good and very humble missionary and I love him even though I barely know him as yet. He is from Wales in the South and is fluent in both English and Welsh. Together we can talk to all people.... almost. :) For me in my mission I have been extremely blessed with many great companions who have taught me a lot about the gospel and being Christ-like. I can tell already that Elder Tellem is going to continue teaching me during our transfer together. Some great strengths I have seen in Elder Tellem are his desire to serve everyone around him and his diligence in getting to know the members from the start. The first night we were on the Isle I was talking to a member on the phone and Elder Tellem asked if he could talk to the member as well to get to know them before he even met them. This is going to be an incredible transfer.
An interesting side note and funny idea is that at Zone Conference when we switched companions I was told that I would be the designated driver until Elder Tellem received his license (Elder Sturt drove last transfer). You could almost say that terror ran through me when I found out. I thought, "I have not driven in the past 10 months, I don't know how to drive manual, and I have to learn on the wrong (left) side of the road?!!" Ridiculous. So for the past 4 days I have been having a crash course in driving once again. Luckily that phrase has not been literal as of yet. No crashes have happened on the winding, curvy roads of the Isle of Man. You know how I didn't really like driving back home? Well I like it even less now. :) Like you would say mom, just another one of those learning experiences right?
Well, there is not much more to share, Kris will be baptized this next Sunday and Elder Sturt will be back with his family to attend. It will be another amazing missionary moment, one I won't forget. I am praying for all of you and hope you are enjoying your summer. Keep up the good work, have fun, and keep safe. I love you all.
Onward & Upward