28 May 2013

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

Elder Holland spoke this week to the missions in Monterrey. These two missions will become three the first part of July. We were blessed to be able to sit at the feet of an Apostle of God and hear inspired, personal messages tailored for each mission's needs. Monday was our preparation day and so all of the temple missionaries attended the conference with the East Mission. Tuesday, John and I worked the late shift and so were able to drive to Saltillo, about an hour away, to participate with our mission (the West Mission) and another senior couple before our shift at the temple. The following are some of our notes and photos from the two meetings--you will get the words, but the power of his teaching is impossible to describe!

Monterrey West Mission--Elder Holland Conference

May 20, 2013

What is your purpose as a missionary? It is to take investigators to salvation. How do we do that? We teach doctrine: First, we take them to the restoration, then to the Doctrine of Christ: Faith, repentance, baptism, and the Holy Ghost. As missionaries we must continue to go deeper and deeper and not just brush the surface of these crucial doctrines. (As he was writing these points on the board in Spanish, he had trouble spelling repentance--arrepentimiento. He said, “This is a very big word in Spanish, and it is a very big problem--in any language.) 

We read together 2 Ne. 31:2, 21, 10, 9, 12, 13, 17 and 2 Ne. 32:6 in that order. More fundamental than the Doctrine of Christ is the life of Christ--more than what you teach is what you are. Christ came to turn doctrine into action. Look at His life and follow Him (2 Ne. 31:13, 17). All of these words we have just read were written on metal plates. Why did he keep repeating the same message over and over when it was so difficult to engrave by hand? Because this was a very important message--the only message: Live as Christ lived. 

Obedience is the first law of Heaven--and obedience is the first law of everything. If you want investigators to have more faith, then you need to have more faith. If you want them to repent, you need to repent. Every principle you ask of them, you need to put into practice. Do everything you know how to do to follow Christ. That is the most fundamental missionary message that there is in this life. We begin to understand, when we would rather die than disappoint Christ; when we have nothing in us that would crucify Christ again. 

In Mosiah 27 we read about how Alma and the sons of Mosiah were “astonished” by the angel (vs. 12). You don’t need to be an angel to astonish--just live as Christ lived. Now that takes a great price; but living a Christ-like life means being obedient to the laws of God--all of them. That obedience bestows upon you power and authority. And that combination astonishes! (see Hel. 5:17-19) 

“Why is the work so hard? Why isn't it easier? If this was so easy,” Elder Holland said, “I would do it better and so would you. I have thought about it for 50 years. It is not easy for us because it never was easy for Him. There was not one earthly thing in Christ’s life that was. The road to Salvation always goes through Gethsemane.

“Being a disciple of Christ is the most joyful thing in life and the most difficult. I love the Lord with all my heart--with every fiber, muscle, cell, and chromosome of my being. The gospel has given me everything! I bear witness of the divinity of Jesus Christ and of the Father. 

May 21, 2013

Elder Holland began his talk with these energetic words: ¡Tengo gozo en mi corazón hoy! (There is Sunshine in my Soul today) ¡El evangelio es verdad! (The gospel is true)¡Hermana Holland es mi esposa! (Sister Holland is my wife)

I want you to love every single minute of this mission--the good, the bad, and the ugly--it should be the Clint Eastwood mission! On a graph, the excitement and commitment at the beginning of a mission are a steep angle. Later in a mission the angle lessens and sometimes flattens out, or even declines. Maintain an upward angle and continue to get better and better until the very end of your mission. 

  • Keep the Book of Mormon in the center of your study every day, no matter what else you study. 
  • Continue to have powerful scripture study time
  • Develop a new love of the scriptures
  • Persevere vigorously with language study
Don’t just live your mission going up--live your life going up vigorously! After your mission, always dress, look and act like “the best time in your life!”

You can’t teach the Doctrine of Christ until you live it--you need to bring it to the teaching. In the Doctrine of Christ, we are His investigators. None of us are home yet. He wants you to have more faith, repent more, study more (the same things you want your investigators to do). Pray with greater urgency, change your habits, put it all on the line. Do all you know how to do to emulate Christ. When we love Him and reverence Him, then we can teach with power and authority.
  • 2 Ne. 31:13--You must live with real intent, without pretense or hypocrisy
  • You must have integrity in what you are doing here.
  • We need you forever! You can’t go inactive! We can’t lose the shepherds!
  • If you come to teach this and testify of this truth--you must believe it. We need you to be your best convert. That is the only one I insist you bring to the Lord!
  • Don’t ask your investigators to do something you are not willing to do for the rest of your life.
    • Pray less like a child and more like an investigator
    • Study with more intensity
    • Clean up bad habits
God wants you to stay true forever because you are God’s investigators. He feels about you like you feel about the people you are teaching. Bring your life to Christ and others will follow.

19 May 2013

A new couple arrived this week, Arturo and Guadalupe Priego. They were originally called to serve in the Mexico City Temple, but just before they were to leave he had to have a six-way heart bypass.  He recovered in record time--only four weeks of therapy instead of eight. They were reassigned here and are so grateful that he is well and that they are able to still serve.  

Hermana and Elder Priego

They stayed with us one night while we helped find them an apartment and get them set up. What troopers they are! Our extra bedroom has no air con and it is now over 90 degrees on a daily basis. They just smiled, turned on a couple of fans and told us the next day that it was perfect--that they were actually cold when they woke up! 

We found them to be absolutely delightful people and are excited to have them "on the team." They are originally from Hermosillo, but they've lived in Provo for the past 20 years and have dual citizenship. They are parents of 8 kids. Hermana Priego raised her own children and then took over tending grandkids and great-grandkids while the parents worked. She says her job was to teach them Spanish and then they could go to school to learn good English. Consequently, it has been hard for her to be away, buy she is very happy working in the temple. Arturo retired from teaching in Mexico before they moved to the USA and then worked for NovaTek in Provo. We probably won't see a lot of them since they will be working the opposite shift from us and will attend a different ward nearer their apartment. They are very committed to their mission work. Prior to leaving, Arturo handed his bishop all of the necessary funds to cover his rent and utilities for the 18 months they will be here. That's commitment! We have had fun getting to know them and seeing their great love for our Heavenly Father.  

Back in the "Casa"

A Peek into the Last Two Weeks: 

Family, painting, parties, family, barbecue, ice cream, family, flowers, hugs & kisses--and did we mention family? 

XOXO to all who made it so memorable!

We were surprised as we boarded one of our flights to be greeted by Elder and Sister Christensen (who were over us in Mexico City) and Elder and Sister Bednar. They asked if we were coming or going to our mission--we explained that we were on "leave" while the temple was closed. While John picked up our bags, Sister Bednar found me and introduced herself. We had a short conversation about their trip and our work. In the last 12 days they had been in Bolivia, Columbia, and Peru--it had to be exhausting. As we parted she said,  "Enjoy your time with your grandchildren." 

We were so happy to be home for a few days, but are very content to be back at work and engaged in our service. It was great today to hear the reports of our ward's little choir for Ward Conference and how well they did. That was a fun project--finished up for us by our dear friends the Jones who took over as pianist and director in our absence. Thank you, dear hermanos. 

01 May 2013

Temporarily Closed

The temple is closed for maintenance for two weeks. We will return to posting at that time.