Week 50? What the heck!? Fun fact, my assignment says that my mission ends exactly a year from now.
Here’s the letter I just wrote to my mission president:
Dear President Tui’one,
First off I’m grateful for the assignment to train. It is definitely an opportunity to grow, for both the trainer and the trainee. Elder ‘Eukaliti is coming along really well. One thing we have been focusing on is effectively using study time. We usually use companionship study time to roleplay lessons we’re going to teach that day. I used to dislike roleplaying but I know how helpful it is now. Last district meeting we roleplayed Lesson 1 and it seemed like everyone was immediately happy with the experience. I plan on us doing a roleplay every week for district meeting.
Speaking of district meeting, I also set some district goals which everyone agreed to, which are (in the next two weeks) to reach: 5 baptisms, 10 baptismal dates, 15 investigators attending sacrament meeting, and 40 new investigators. We discussed the new goals that you set (2 baptisms, 7 baptismal dates, 7 investigators attending sacrament meeting, and 20 new investigators, per companionship per week) and I asked if we’d be able to reach them this week. My point was that I don’t think we’ll be able to this week, next week or maybe even not for a few months, but there will be a time that we achieve those goals if we work from where we’re at right now and build up the missionary work in our wards. In fact I’d be ecstatic if I could reach those numbers in just one week of my entire mission. I don’t know if those numbers are a goal, a vision, or an expectation but either way the only thing we can promise is how hard we’ll work and how obedient we’ll be. Everything else depends on the members, the investigators, and the Lord. I don’t mean to sound like I’m lecturing; really I’m lecturing myself on things I’m sure you have much more experience with than I.
The only question I have is on the gap between 7 baptismal dates and 2 baptisms. 5 investigators who accept the baptismal invitation but then don’t get baptized seems like a lot. Personally I wouldn’t want to commit so many people to a baptism they’re not actually going to follow through with. I guess the question is, is it always better for the investigator for us to set a baptismal date if it is unlikely they will actually get baptized? Is the significance of the baptismal invitation weakened if we extend it liberally to those who will accept but very likely not follow through?
I think I just realized while writing that maybe the method of my baptismal invitation is what needs fixing. If the invitation is not to be “baptized on this date” but to “prepare to be worthy to be baptized on this date”, then that is an invitation I want to give to everyone. Now the seemingly high number of baptismal dates compared to baptisms makes sense to me.
Thanks for all your service, President. Ofa atu.
Personal revelation is an amazing thing. I also just understood for the first time why humility is necessary for having the Spirit as a constant companion. If we always think our ideas are the best for us, then there’s no room for the Holy Ghost to suggest things that run counter to what we naturally think is right.
Another thing I want to touch on is journal writing. I think it’s so incredible how a lot of what we now consider scripture, started off as just a letter or a journal entry. The initial perception of scripture is that it is the word of God, which is literally true in many cases but just as often it is records and personal histories which an authorized prophet, like Mormon, was inspired to include into a collection of writings which would later become accepted as scripture. Not only are the sermons of mature prophets like King Benjamin inserted but also the recollections of those like Nephi and Alma from their pre-prophetic times, when they were weak and vulnerable and often made mistakes (Nephi breaking his bow, Alma the Elder as a priest of the wicked king Noah, Alma the Younger and the sons of Mosiah persecuting the church). When we write in our journals, I believe we can consider it our personal scriptures. That doesn’t mean that everything we write in them in true and inspired by the Holy Ghost, but like the early experiences of the prophets I mentioned before, they recognized their faults and their false beliefs. They were able to grow out of those experiences and apparently we can learn something too from reading them because we have them today canonized as scripture. Like scripture, our journals become more valuable as time passes. I recently went back and read some old blog posts, which was definitely an enlightening experience. The older entries seem to enrich the more recent ones as they provide a basis for comparison. That is why I believe and recommend the prophetic counsel to keep a journal, so we can have our own personal scriptures to study and benefit from just as we do with the standard works. Start one today if you have not already, and write even when it seems like there is nothing worth remembering, or record old memories from the past. I really regret having not written much in my journal before because it’s so unsatisfying relying just on memory.
Have a fantastic week. Ofa atu kamoutolu.