Thursday, April 2, 2015

March Zone Conferences

     On March 18, 19, and 20 we held Zone Conferences--three wonderful days of spiritual uplift and insights as well as laughter and fun interacting with all of our missionaries. This experience was a little different because the other Zone Conferences we've had were held for specific reasons--"Meet the President", Mission Tour with Elder Bowen, and celebrating Christmas.
     Our Conferences included a variety of instruction and activities. We began with a DVD highlighting activities from the past three months. It's always fun to see the photos that the missionaries send in; although sometimes I wonder if they do anything besides take selfies! Our office couple did a challenge where all of the missionaries began by standing up and then the couple asked questions that had to do with missionary life and following the White Handbook and if you could answer "yes" you remained standing. Here are examples of the questions: "Did you arrive with a smile on your face?" "Have you gotten up at 6:30 a.m. every morning for the last month?"; "Did you OYM (Open Your Mouth--share the gospel) on your way to Zone Conference?"; "Did you clean and mop the CR (bathroom) on Monday?" The last two standing got a treat. It is fun to watch who keeps standing and who sits down (and sometimes a little discouraging to see those that aren't obeying some of the White Handbook).
              After the fun of the DVD and Challenge we had the departing missionaries for March, April, May, and June bear their testimonies. As always, it was a sweet experience to hear the testimonies of these wonderful missionaries. I gave a talk/presentation on "Matching His Message" using M&Ms (the basic idea was from another mission). I had a missionary come up and I gave him some "M&M" out of a bag but they were actually Skittles. It was fun to watch the surprise as they chewed them and realized it wasn't chocolate. I found out after the first day that I couldn't ask if they were disappointed when it wasn't M&Ms because there are people who prefer Skittles. So I asked if they were surprised. Anyway, I taught the importance of Matching our Savior's Message through appearance, thoughts, words, and actions. It turned out to be effective and we have had some fun feedback from it. I also taught that once we are no longer set apart missionaries we are still disciples of Christ and have covenanted to be His witnesses so we may dress different and get to do different things but its important to always represent Him by keeping our covenants. When the conference was over we gave the missionaries a small bag of M&Ms with a quote attached.
              The Assistants did a great workshop and taught about how to testify and invite others to attend Sacrament Meeting. They taught the principles of how we start with Hope (Moroni 7:41-42) which leads to Faith (Mosiah 3:17) then to Testimony (Preach My Gospel, p. 198) and turns into Personal Witness (I neglected to write the reference). They are great teachers and had the missionaries involved in activities for each of these areas. 
              President Mangum (Bart) started by introducing the Because He Lives initiative that the Church is using. He gave a few personal Because He Lives statements and asked the missionaries to be thinking of some. He then went on to teach about the Sacrament. He began by showing the "Always Remember Him" video. He asked the missionaries to share the feelings they had as they watched the clip. It is always wonderful to listen to their comments and insights. Bart taught about Christ's suffering by having the missionaries imagine the greatest pain they had ever experienced and then multiply that by everyone in the room's greatest pain; then multiply by everyone ever born or who will be born. Then add not just your worst pain but every pain, heartache, weakness, sorrow, etc. and multiply. It's overwhelming to even start to comprehend the suffering of our Savior for each and every one of us!
              In preparation for Zone Conferences we asked each of the missionaries to study the sacrament and prepare a 5-7 minute talk on the sacrament and "How They Will Always Remember Him" (the Savior). During the meeting he chose two of the missionaries to share their talks. The missionaries at each conference gave great talks and it was interesting to see the difference in what they had studied, learned, and felt. One of the principles Bart taught was the difference between trying and striving. To try is to make an attempt or effort. To strive is to make great effort; struggle or fight vigorously. He used the example of swimming across a pool and "trying" to get to the other side when you know you can stand up and touch the bottom versus swimming in a lake or ocean to shore and how much effort you would exert in swimming to the safety of land. It is a great visual of the effort we need to be making to keep our covenants and return to our Heavenly Father. It was interesting because each day his talk had some different points he was inspired to talk about it. He ended his part with having missionaries volunteer to share their Because He Lives statements. It was amazing to here them and there was a great spirit as they shared and Bart concluded his talk. 
               We also had a nice lunch which the missionaries always enjoy and three rotating workshops on budgeting and taking care of your apartment; medical concerns, particularly rashes (we've had cases of chicken pox recently); companionship language study and preparing to take the English certification. They were taught by some of our wonderful senior couples.
                We ended the day by showing "Meet the Mormons". The missionaries enjoyed the movie and it was a fun way to end the day. We enjoyed each conference and love being with our missionaries!

Zone Conference in Lucena on Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Marinduque Zone

Lopez Zone
Lucena Zone

Zone Conference in Lipa on Thursday, March 19, 2015

Mindoro Zone

Batangas Zone

Lipa Zone

Zone Conference in San Pablo on Friday, March 20, 2015

Siniloan Zone

Santa Cruz Zone

Cabuyao Zone

San Pablo Zone



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