Sunday, November 30, 2014

Week 70 - Powerhouse Stake Conference with Elder Liemar


Hey guys!  So I will send a long email this week because I only got emails from family pretty much!  

This week went really well, but it was absolutely insane!!!  We had a lot to accomplish over the weekend, and it absolutely killed me and Elder Nordfors.  We were dead this morning when we woke up and we didn't even workout cause we were so tired.  Oh well this week should be good, cause we only have 1 exchange and then MLC on Wednesday.  At stake conference we had a general authority come whose name was Elder Axel Liemar.  He was originally from Germany but has lived in the states a lot oh his life.  He was baptized as a 22 year old in 1985 while working in the states and then served a mission in Maryland a year later.  He was awesome!!  We got to talk to him a bit, and he was a really cool guy.  In conference he spent like 45 minutes just pleading with the members to give us people to teach, which I thought was so great because nowadays missionaries are pretty powerless when it comes to getting people to be interested in the church.  I was thinking today about how in our mission, missionaries have pretty much been proselyting here for over 150 years, and we still only have 7 stakes and 1 district in 3 countries.  I just really strongly feel that the only way the work in these countries will ever move forward is if the local members do all of the finding and we as missionaries become perfect teachers and just teach.  It's just like how we have to do it in the states as well, but it's just really apparent here that the traditional Mormon missionary style of proselyting that you always think of when you talk about missionaries doesn't really work anymore  It's evidenced in the fact that there are apparently over 5000 members of the church in Northern Ireland, and at stake conference I would say we had about 600.  Weekly across the stake there is an average of 800 members out at sacrament meeting.  So there's over 4,000 inactive members of the church, just in Northern Ireland alone!!  For the most part they were found by missionaries, taught and baptized, never really got to know any members, and then fell away after the missionaries left.  It's just so crazy how much that happens here!!!  Just like back home, members have to do their part to fellowship new converts.  Member missionary work is the only way anything is going to actually move forward here.

So Mom I thought it was cool that you were looking at those essays that the church has put out!!  I actually have read them all a while back, (I think in Irvine?)  cause if you remember that was when I was way into church history and studying that out!  It is really good that the church has put those out there, because there is way too much confusion about it all.  We get questioned about that kind of stuff almost every single day now, and it's good to try and point people in the right direction of where to find real answers for it.  

So this past week our training at zone conference went really well!!  We did a ton of work on it because we wanted to really make an impact on people and for it to be a training they remember, and so hopefully that's how it went!  We trained on how prayer and revelation are key in missionary work, and we talked a lot about what revelation is and how we get it.  We read from John 21: verses 3 and 6 and talked about when we do the work on our own we went be led to find people to teach, but when we listen to the voice of the lord to guide us as we find, then we wont' even be able to handle the amount of investigators we find! (the fish we said represent investigators in our little analogy we did with it)  We also did a cool activity where we had everyone sit quietly for a minute and think about what they could change as missionaries.  We then explained that the type of thoughts and feelings they got that were telling them they need to change was personal revelation from the Lord.  We used Stephen R. Covey's BYU devotional called an educated conscience to talk about how these messages we get from the Holy Ghost about what we should change are of a higher order than if an angel appeared and told us to change these very same things.  We also talked about prayer being a key part in it and then used the star of David to sort of hammer that point in.  The star of David is made up of 2 triangles, and in our church we actually use the star of David on some of our buildings.  It's on the assembly hall in temple square and on a few temples as well.  It has a few different meanings for our church, but one is the relationship between us and God through prayer and revelation.  The star is made up of 2 triangles, one which points up and one that points down.  The one pointing up symbolizes our prayers going up to God and the other pointing down symbolizes revelation coming back to us from God.  It was a really cool demonstration and I think everyone liked it!  

Also I found out my release date for you:  It's July 8th, so I'll actually be back like 2 weeks earlier than my 2 year mark.  But there you go, hope that helps with planning out stuff for when I get back!

Well I want you all to know that I love you and pray for you guys a lot!!  Keep being an awesome family and have a great week! 

Elder Benesch