I am in the Scranton Stake, and in our last zone training we were told by the ZLs that the Scranton stake is doing some cool things. So first off, our ward/branches cover a LOT of area, they are very spread out. And our attendance is sorely lacking compared to the names on the records. Some of that is due to the fact that church is so far away for people. Over the mountain (which here is just a really big hill) and often people don't have cars. So we are taking the church to the people.
The Stake President Hubbard is meeting with a 70 today to approve small group meeting places.
In PA there are churches everywhere. Most of them are dwindling and dying off and now their church buildings are sitting empty. So President Hubbard is proposing that we rent their church buildings and have small group meetings. These meetings will be spread through the ward area strategically so that we can get more people to church every week. At these small group meetings they wont have a Bishop or President but they will have a group leader who conducts the meeting. Tithes etc. still go to the Bishop but now it will be easier and more accessible to get to church.
With each of these small group meetings we are going to have a set of missionaries assigned to that group. Which means they get tiny areas! We are getting I think 6 groups in the Valley, which is two different wards, and our biggest wards with the smallest percentage of attendance I believe.
This means we are getting 4 more sets of missionaries to our zone. The two wards in the Valley will be big enough to be their own district. They already split one area in our district last transfer and put in sisters, which they elders have grumbled about because their area was cut in half. But now its getting cut again. Seriously these areas are tiny. Can you imagine having 3 or 4 sets of missionaries in one ward?!
Scranton Stake is ready to grow. And big things are coming.
President Hubbard has been feeling quite strongly about this and I am so excited to be a part of it.
President Hubbard has high goals. We have a goal as a Stake to get 153 baptisms this year. So far we have around 45 I think and were half way through.
The number of members in our Stake are 1,003. By 2015 President wants 3,000. So that they can petition to have a Temple built in Scranton in 2017. This Stake is amazing. The members are hard working and they want it bad. The Stake is awesome and every time we have a meeting with the missionaries I leave so uplifted because we know what President wants and is expecting.
The work is moving. Its growing and spreading. I am so blessed to be able to be a part of this work. I cant even express my gratitude to my Heavenly Father for bringing me here and now. We want to work, we want to share, His work will go forth, and I will try to do my part.
Thank you for your letters and support! I love you guys, I miss you guys, and I pray for you every day! Keep me updated on everything! Thank you for your examples, you have made me a stronger person and have helped my testimony to grow. And now your leaving Rexburg so get out there and share the word!
Okay okay, here is an invitation for you. Do you share uplifting messages via facebook? Try to post an uplifting message on FB once a week. Post a video from LDS.org, a quote from a talk, or an experience you had that can strengthen others. Its kinda odd but my mission is converting me to missionary work via technology. We can reach so many people and touch so many more lives through the internet. Let us be a force for good among the evil of the world. Go share what you have!
And oh how I LOVE Montrose! The people here are amazing. We just got a new branch mission leader and he is going to be AWESOME! Ill tell mom more about it so check out the blog, and make sure she is updating that!
I also realized that another hard thing about the mission so far is that my weaknesses have been blown up in my face, and some of my strengths I have not been able to use as much because I have a companion.
For instance, I am NOT in any way shape or form a scriptorian. I cant even tell you all the stories in the scriptures let alone where to find them. My strength in the gospel is that I can pull the principle or doctrine out of any story or scripture. And my companion is a scriptorian. It is a good thing because we work together, I can talk about something and then she will think of a scripture that goes with it and knows the reference. One day maybe I will know that... maybe. But not now. And that is something that she does all the time. Its good, but it is just so prevalent in what we do that sometimes I feel like I am not helping the companionship. I know that I am, but it seems often that I have to rely on her to pull us through and I am trainer, I am supposed to be the one showing her and picking her up when she trips. Not the other way around!
But this week we also had exchanges with our Sister Training Leaders (basically the district leader but she is over all the sisters in multiple zones b/c we are spread out). I talked with her for a good hour and I didn't realize the questions or concerns I had. But she pulled them out of me as we were sitting in her car and talking. I realize that I am a person who has to talk things out.
Okay total side note, that is related. But one of the goals I had when I came out was to never say a bad thing about my companion to anyone else, other than leadership who needs to know about issues. I have been told my whole life that when you get married you want to keep issues within the marriage and not go to your girl friends or your mom and complain. Because then you go back and talk to your husband and the issue is resolved and you have forgiven him, but your mom or girlfriend has not. But I know that when you have an issue you are supposed to take it to the person and not the world. So I figured I should learn to do that now, and make it a habit so I don't have to learn it the hard way once I'm married.
And I think Satan knows my goals and makes those what he works on extra hard. I try to look at the situation and before I confront anyone think, is this something I need to just ignore? Or is it an actual issue? Is it me being nit-picky or is it something that is causing contention.
So I guess I am working on that balance of not taking it to other people, actually talking and confronting an issue (which whether or not you believe me I really do hate and it makes me uncomfortable) and what things I need to just get over. So I am learning a lot I guess.
Lindy, I loved what you said about your telephone experience. I love that because your exactly right! The message that we often leave with people is that God loves us, we are his children, and we can be eternal families as we follow Jesus Christ. That is something that everyone agrees on. And when all else fails that's exactly what I teach them. God loves you. And I love that progression you talked about in sacrament meeting. And I like the thought of preparing every day to be what he needs me to be that day. I have never thought about that before. I have often thought about preparing to come on a mission, and becoming a better missionary, and preparing for the future. But do I prepare for that day? I like that. I'm going to work on that.