Monday, May 27, 2013

"Just...give me all of the bacon and eggs that you have." "You got it!" "Wait, come back. What you just heard was, 'give me a lot of bacon and eggs.' What I said was, 'give me all of the bacon and eggs that you have." Ron Swanson

Hey all,

This week was good, we worked really hard. We had 22 baptismal invitations, and we're happy about that because it shows that we're doing our job. We worked very hard from Monday until Saturday, super hard. And, shocker, no one came to church, so all our hard work amounted to nothing! Woo! It was frustrating, but oh well. As Jack Shephard says, "What happened happened." So, we'll be working hard this week to help people keep progressing and to get them to church. We do all we can to help them get there, and it's just so frustrating when they don't come. The worst is when we pass by their house, as planned, to go to church together, and they aren't even home. It's 8:30 in the morning! Where could you possible have needed to go so early? Oh, church. But you went to play with a monkey in the jungle. Bad call, my friend. The monkeys don't even come out that early...

We've been trying to figure out ways to get the members more involved in the work here. First, I would like to put in a plug for the missionaries in the wards you guys attend. Go out and do visits with them, it makes us really happy. Maybe the investigator isn't the best, but the lesson will always be more powerful with the member there. An invitation to church is way more effective when a member makes it and says that they'll be waiting at church for the person. They are much more likely to actually show up. So make a goal, maybe twice a month at least, to go out and work with you missionaries.
We are going to try something that we read about in the book "The Power of Everyday Missionaries," a great book that every not full-time missionary should have. There we read about a branch in Maine that did something called "U-Night." The branch president assigned three families to be "proselyting families," and they had a week to find a family to invite to church to see a video by the Church and to hear the branch president's testimony. After the first night, all of the families were baptized. Then, original three families found another family, as well as the new converts, and so on and so on, growing exponentially. In one year, they had 451 baptisms. We want to try something like that. It is a great way to get the members involved and to help the branch grow. It all came down to member participation and good leadership, and we need to help the branch develop both of those things. So, we're going to try it out the 8th of June to see how it goes. It can only help us. If you guys have any good ideas  of how go get the members more excited or more involved, that are legal and don't involve pirates, please let me know.

I studied a great talk by Elder Maxwell this week called "Repent of Our Selfishness." Elder Maxwell is a stud, I love his talks. In this talk, he focuses on how we all need to be careful with our selfishness. He quotes Joseph Smith as saying, "Let every selfish feeling be not only buried, but annihilated." He uses such great language in this talk. Another part I loved was this: "Long ago it took a Copernicus to tell a provincial world that this planet was not the center of the universe. Some selfish moderns need a Copernican reminder that they are not the center of the universe either!" Classic Copernicus slam. Need some ice to go with that burn? He quotes G.K. Chesterson as saying, "if we can be interested in others, even if they are not interested in us, we will find ourselves under a freer sky, and in a street full of splendid strangers." He then moves on to say how we can finally get rid of selfishness. "Meekness is the real cure, for it does not merely mask selfishness but dissolves it!" I feel like I'm just quoting his whole talk. You guys should all read it, it's really good. Basically the message is that we do stupid things because we are selfish and only think of ourselves, and that we need to become more meek to avoid selfish, stupid decisions. So stop being so selfish!

Being a zone leader is fun, but it's a lot more stuff to do than a district leader. We need to receive and send more reports and we have more missionaries to worry about. Plus, the other district is far away, so we lose a lot of time going out there to help them. But, it's good. The offices are a little different right now preparing for the mission split. There are four assistants and four secretaries, instead of the normal two of each, with the two old ones training the two new ones. When the mission splits, it'll go back to having just two of each. I can't believe that the split is so close. When I first heard about it, it seemed so far away, and now it's about to happen!

I hope you all have a good week coming up, can do fun things. We will be working hard and reading talks by Elder Maxwell. Love you guys tons, thanks as always for your support and for your prayers. Remember that you aren't stupid.

Also, I saw on a box of Oreos that the new Superman come out June 14th. What's the word on that? Good, bad, buff?

Con amor,

Elder Thomas

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