We've had a big week here, lots of things going on.
First off, Sunday was President and Sister Cook's anniversary, which was funny because he's a CPA. Sis Cook said they really have never celebrated on the day of.
Second, we had two 8-hour leadership training meetings (by the way, I'll never complain about a long class again, and certainly won't complain about church being 3 hours) last Wednesday and Thursday in C-bad and Vista. The trainings there were largely a duplicate of previous trainings I've had in my mission, but still things the mission needs. We practiced a lot in asking questions to teach principles, and in resolving concerns to help people accept baptism dates. Hopefully we see "fruits" of that soon. The only result so far is that we weeded Bobby out of our teaching pool after 2 lessons, since he wasn't very willing to change or do anything. During lunch and after both meetings, I got together with the two sisters and two elders that were singing in the quartet I accompanied and practiced. I actually played better with them there singing, which was nice. They sounded great. It was an arrangement of How Great Thou Art. Come Saturday's mission conference, I was pretty nervous about playing an instrument I don't play in front of Elder Nelson and Pres Hallstrom. We practiced when we arrived in C-bad, and said a prayer after the practice that we'd do well. When we did the piece for real, it was flawless and really pretty powerful. It brought the Spirit into the meeting and was great. Elder Nelson thanked us when he spoke, and again personally after the meeting. That was pretty neat! I'm glad it is over now though, so I can actually eat something at lunch instead of playing a piano.
The mission conference was really neat. Elders Nelson and Hallstrom, with Elder Haynie (area authority) and President Cook met with all the area bishops and stake presidencies, but they wanted to be with just us in the morning. It was cool to see Elder Haynie speak again. He was the stake president in Escondido when I was there, and invited us to his house for breakfast every few weeks. There are only a couple missionaries left in the mission that had breakfast at his house (he asked everyone to raise their hands who did).
President Hallstrom (who is deceivingly large in stature) introduced Elder Nelson, and spent the rest of his talk explaining how meetings are conducted in the church, and the Spirit will only be there if we're willing to change. If we don't change as a result of the meeting, then everyone's time is wasted. It was a really cool talk and was more positive than I probably made it sound. Elder Nelson was pretty wide in topics he addressed, which included:
-Listening with the intent to change (talking about Pres Hallstrom's talk--29 of D&C sections have hearken in the first verse, which is a translation of the Hebrew shama, which means to listen with intent to obey)
-What it means to cry repentance (repentence in its Greek form implies changing our mind, knowledge, spirit, and even the way we breathe to align ourselves with Christ)
-Told us we look good and people will notice that and will talk to us simply because of that (later that day, 2 people mentioned we look sharp and it's nice to be around people that look sharp...fulfillment of prophecy!)
-Told a story of how they almost didn't make it to our meeting because there was bad weather reported in Carlsbad (Palomar airport) so they'd have to go to SD and drive up. But they prayed and we prayed and the weather was clear enough for them to land safely, then it rained again
-How to work with less-active members and said "That's where the gold is, folks!" meaning that's how we get good referrals
-Helping wards and ward councils be more missionary minded
-Following our mission president and his example
-How to pick a spouse, and how they need to love God more than us. Before he said that, he said "oh, we're not supposed to talk about marriage.... Well, let's talk about marriage for a little bit!"
-Family will be blessed at home (D&C 31, which is a great section)
-Gospel will fill the earth, and we are charged to spread it with the Apostles, and are the frontlines of sharing it, since there are so few apostles
Then he left an apostolic blessing on all of us, which included blessing us that:
-We will feast on the words of Christ and be effective ambassadors, disciples, and emissaries of the Savior in bringing people to Him and to eternal life
-Safety (also with wisdom as we follow the law of the land and the law of God
-Blessing of healing of loved ones
-Joy & success
It was a really cool meeting.
Yesterday we had a lesson with Noah, who didn't come to church again. We had a bold lesson "throw down" on opposition, agency, and eternal life. He is letting his girlfriend control almost every move he makes and leaves all decisions up to what she wants to do, which is nothing. He took it to heart and we all are praying he'll be bold enough to come to church on Sunday, no matter what she does. It seems simple enough, in that the church is a whole 4 minute walk from their apartment.
We also had a lesson with Bella yesterday. We brought her copies of the Book of Mormon in Tagalog and Pompongan (sp?), and a pamphlet in Tagalog. She was thrilled at the Pompongan one, and said "they don't even have the Bible in this language! How did you get this??" During the lesson she was more content in reading the pamphlet than listening to more information, so we let her, and answered questions as she had them. So that's the good news. Bad news is that she and Priscilla are going to Nevada this week to visit Priscilla's other children.. for a month. We're going to load her up on pamphlets to read while she's gone!
Also had another lesson with Darrell. This is his last week in the USMC, and will be going to Delaware about a week from now. He agreed to meet with missionaries in DE, so we'll send his info off. We're having quite a stream of people leaving lately!
I can't think of much else. I hope y'all have a great week!