Saturday, February 22, 2014

Mission President's Seminar in Mexico City

A couple weeks ago we had the wonderful privilege of attending the Mission Presidents' Seminar for the Mexico Area in Mexico City. Not only were we able to meet and be instructed by our very inspired Area Presidency, but we also received training from Elder Dallin H. Oaks and his wife, and Elder Craig Christensen of the Seventy and his wife. It was such a pleasure to be instructed by them and certainly an experience we will always remember.

In all of our meetings, working with members to find and teach investigators was emphasized. Elder Oaks told the story of how his missionary grandson observed that the members were praying for the missionaries to find people to teach and the missionaries were praying for the members to find people for them to teach and what was being neglected on both sides was the actual finding.

He also mentioned that when the Church began to strongly emphasize member missionary work, the missionaries "stopped rowing and waited for the members to push their boats to shore". He taught that missionaries need to be actively seeking new people to teach on their own by talking with everyone they meet, as well as work with members.

Some of my favorite quotes from President Daniel Johnson from the seminar are:

Elder Johnson quoting Elder Bednar--"If we want different results, we need to change the way we teach. If we keep doing what we are doing now, our results will be the same."

Don't ever ask an investigator to do something that you yourself are not doing.

Satan is hastening his work. If we don't hasten ours, we will be left very far behind.

Don't leave this meeting discouraged. We do need to do better, but we need to look forward with an eye of faith, trusting in the Lord.

The best protection missionaries have is obedience because then they have the guidance and protection of the Spirit. What worries me the most is knowing we have some disobedient missionaries without this protection.

Some principles that were emphasized in our training are:

1. Missionaries need to understand that finding and teaching are ONE activity not two separate ones. Most missionaries either focus on finding or on teaching, not realizing that they should always be doing both at the same time.
2. Missionaries need to understand that they are on their missions to help the members. The members do not exist to help the missionaries.
3. Missionaries should teach a gospel principle in every house they enter.
4. Missionaries should ask for a name in every lesson they give (which means ALWAYS).
5. Every missionary should read, understand and live every single principle they teach. They can not teach with clarity something they do not understand and they cannot teach with power something they themselves are not living.
6. Missionaries need to raise their expectations. God does expect us to do a lot more than we are doing, and with an increase in faith and obedience, God can help the missionaries baptize weekly.
7. We need to raise our sights. We need to teach more, teach better, and find better. And every night each missionary should ask him/herself, "What must I do tomorrow to improve over today?"

And from Elder Oaks . .  .

Our first priority is to increase baptisms. However, we should not set goals for the number of baptisms since that depends on the agency of the investigator. But missionaries can set preliminary goals that lead to baptism--such as how many lessons they will teach and how many new investigators they will find.

Here are some more pictures from our time in Mexico City:

One of the highlights of our seminar is visiting with friends. And it is nice to find out our challenges are not unique!

Here we are with the Calls from the Mexico City North Mission and the Reeves from the Mexico Puebla South Mission. We are so sad that both of them will be returning home this summer and we will miss them very much at our future meetings.

We stayed at an airport hotel but had our meetings at the old MTC on the temple grounds. The temple is closed right now for remodeling, but the visitors center just opened after being closed for two years! It was fun to see that. The center is beautiful and very well done.

And as you can see, we didn't starve. This was just a snack between meetings. Kudos to the chefs who did a fabulous job with the food. 
 And the decorations. I loved all their attention to detail. 

 Now we are just sad that we won't have another seminar until October!! But we are ready to put in practice all that we learned!

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful words! Thank you. I serve as ward RS President and I enjoyed your comments from Elder Oaks. Some will be useful in my ward council. :)