Kyle has been serving his mission for...

Kyle has been serving his mission for...

Monday, September 9, 2013

Canberra Zone Week 2

Dear everyone,
Happy Tuesday! We had transfers yesterday, and so that is why I am writing today instead of yesterday. Once again, a large portion of our zone left. Many trainers were split from their companions part way through training and those trainees are now trainers. It is remarkable to think of how well prepared these missionaries are. We have 3 areas in our zone now that are being run by a missionary who has only been out 6 weeks and is training a brand new missionary! It is quite remarkable to think of how they can do it. I know it would be a very large trial for me to be responsible for my area at that early on in the mission.
Things continue to go really well here in Canberra. It has been a mad house in our flat with zone meeting on Friday to where we had 8 elders stay in our flat that night with only 1 shower, and then the same thing was repeated on Sunday night because of transfers. We had to wake up at 4am yesterday in order to drive up to Sydney on time for transfer meeting. Even though Elder Ah Fook and I weren't transferred, we had to carry other Elders' luggage to and from, but it was good because we got to stop by Goulburn which is normally too far to drive to unless we are heading up that way. We visited one of our recent converts up there and his family and helped to strengthen them. They live about an hour drive from the Chapel, so it is really great to see them come to mutual and church every Sunday when its quite the drive for them.
So to explain a little bit more about what I do here as a Zone Leader:
1.) Rebuke everyone! haha no, just kidding, but that, unfortunately is what others think. We are really trying to change that image though. Many times in the past everyone "shapes up" when the ZLs come around because they are intimidated or afraid I guess, but Elder Ah Fook and I are really working hard at not having the elders view us in a negative way, but we want them to wish we are always there even though we cant be. We want them to #1 feel our love and gratitude for them. It was really great actually to see this pay off with one of the elders who got transferred. There was some times where we had to remind him of mission rules that he needed to keep, and it seemed that waking up on time and being to studies on time was always a struggle for him. However, as we kept just "loving the problem out of him." by being good examples and encouraging him, it payed off. As I was sitting with him the night before he left and we were sharing our testimonies with each other, he told me how thankful he was to have us as zone leaders because his trainer was not obedient and it was hard for him to start off right and thus, he has to overcome bad habits. But he said that us waking up and showing him that he could do it gave him inspiration to do it. Now, he wants to make sure when he trains, that he doesn't make the same poor choices his trainer did. I was really grateful for this. It was a great example to me of how being patient and loving always overcomes the motivation of fear and punishment. In Jacob 5:65 it mentions how we cannot "take away all the bad at once, let the tree die" This is an interesting theory. Often we think that we must "purge" all bad things from us as quick as we can, but in reality, if we change too much too quickly, we wont survive. If we cut off all the bad branches at one time, there may not be enough good branches to allow the tree to still grow, and thus the whole thing dies, likewise, if we try to correct every bad thing in someone or ourselves, we will very quickly realize how overwhelming of a task it is, and give up all together. But as we slowly work on improving one day or week at a time, we can change greatly over time.

2.) Being a zone leader involves a lot more planning and organization, which is good! I need to be better at this. We plan a lot of activites for the zone, help individual areas with things they need, do exchanges with each of the District Leaders for 24 hours to help them in their areas or see what work is like in our areas, and coordinate with the Assistants to the President regarding upcoming trainings, baptismal services, and other mission correlation.

I really like the work, but it definitely is a lot more work.
I need to jump off now, but I will post my email to President:
This week has been really good! We had a great zone meeting last Friday that helped me a lot to learn more about the zone members and the strengths of our zone. I really like it down here. The area is very different from where I have served in the past, but it is a good different :) Elder Ah Fook is the best! This week we saw a lot of miracles, but in relation to "preaching by the way" we have a very cool miracle. We were walking to an appointment and had a hard time finding the block because of how many different apartment buildings there were in that street. We saw a man taking a rest in his car and so we walked up and asked if he knew where the address was and started talking to him for a little while. He didn't know where the address was, but ended up giving us his and said that we could come back this week and talk with him again. It was a great miracle for us, but it was also an awesome opportunity for the new missionaries I was with. I was on a power exchange with Elder Howse and Elder Shelton who have both only been out for 6 weeks while Elder Ah Fook worked with their trainers. They really wanted to get some more experience talking to people since they are still a bit shy about it, and so I took them right down town and we street contacted for a little over an hour before heading to some other teaching appointments. This small miracle was right at the beginning of our exchange and really helped them to see how miracles can occur as we are always opening our mouths. I love these types of experiences! So many people around us are prepared and waiting, they just need the right time and invitation to make them say yes.
Another great experience we had was last night at a Family Home Evening. There is a family in our ward who is preparing to go the temple and be sealed next month. They invited us over for dinner and then to share the message for their family home evening. We centered it on prayer and asked how prayer has changed their lives, and then discussed how others could be beneffited by our prayers. At the time that we left, we asked who we could pray for so that they would be willing to join us for the next FHE. We walked away with 2 names that we can now pray for, who, with time, the family feels would say yes to joining them in the next FHE with us. Both of these experiences have been great as we are trying to implement the trainings received. We are becoming better at always opening our mouths, and always inviting as well as always seeking referrals whether they be non-member, less-active, or service oriented, we are helping the members here see that the missionaries are here to serve EVERYONE, and that all people need to come closer unto Christ.
Love you all!
Elder Shafer

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