Monday, March 19, 2012

Heat Wave

So after reading letters of Elder Holmes and Elder Stutz  this week (both serving in Mexico) I can’t agree more that summer is here  .  .  .  relatively.  haha  I don’t know how warm it got this week but warm enough to shed the winter coat and put the summer shoes back on.  Editor’s note: still hasn’t been above freezing since November.

This week started off about as best as it could with an all mission conference with Elder Grow of the Seventy (Elder Bednar was already booked elsewhere, right STL?).  It was amazing to see all 86 of the elders and sisters in one room, including a lot of whom I had never seen before because they serve in the countryside.  Elder Grow was so personable the entire two days and just so easy going as he taught with power and love.  The over arching message of the entire conference was working with and finding  less active members.  He helped us realize the importance of less active members who have already made baptismal covenants who are now at this time cutting themselves off from the blessings of exaltation.  He helped us realize that bringing someone back into activity can be just as joyful as bringing someone into the church.  Elaborating on the importance of less actives he taught us that they are truly our greatest source for new people to teach.  Many times we enter the homes of members and ask for referrals only to be told that they have only member friends.  It becomes obvious that those who are less active probably have non member friends who we could teach about the gospel.  As we re-activate, we actually enhance our ability to find teach and baptize.  Along these lines, Elder Grow also highlighted the idea of real growth.  Though membership records in Mongolia have steadily risen, in order to see real growth we need to make sure that new members and old members alike progress to the temple. 

Tuesday night was a mission talent show which had a several awesome cultural numbers and songs, including yes my first live throat singing experience complete with horse head fiddle.  (Google Mongolian throat singing and watch a clip) The entire thing was well done and a great bonding experience for the Mongolian and American elders.

On the second day of mission conference Elder Grow took a few hours to answer questions.  Because so many of the Mongolian elders and sisters come from part member families many of the questions were directed to families and how salvation will work in such cases.  In other words, difficult questions.  It was amazing to see Elder Grow answer each question with such poise and grace.  Not avoiding questions but helping people to realize what is important and what we need to focus on.  Both days I was able to sit on the front row with my district and as Elder Grow spoke it was amazing to be so close and to almost tangibly feel his testimony.

As we finished conference Elder Grow gave us all a copy of Elder Bednar’s “Chose Not To Be Offended” talk translated into Mongolian (I’m almost positive he didn’t translate it, lol).  He gave us the charge to share it with less active and new members alike.  My companion and I were able to use it 5 times in the ensuing week!  As we talked about the concept of being offended, we also learned.  It’s interesting to note that the word for “to complain” and “to be offended” are the same word in Mongolian.  I didn’t really get that at first.  How are these words even related?  As we continued to teach through the week it became apparent.  It stands to reason that he who complains, he who finds the glass half empty and the fault in another will also be the one that will find reason to be offended.
Take home message.  It should be literally impossible for us to be offended.  People all around us will give us reason to take offense.  As members of the church at one time or another someone will say or do something that leads to an opportunity to be offended.  But it is always our choice to be or not be offended.  To act or to be acted upon.  When such circumstances arise it is my prayer that we answer in the words of Pahoran to Moroni  "It matterth not" Alma 61:9.

Have a wonderful week and look for the ways the Lord has blessed your life.  I know He has mine!

Elder Neuberger

PS  OK so I promised pictures and then I forgot my camera at home this morning  yack uu?  fail shuu dee

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