couple days this week we were able to teach people in the evenings
when I was feeling a little better, but it has been a long ten days. I
did call our mission Doctor this morning though just to make sure
nothing too crazy is going on. He thinks at this point whatever virus
I had is probably gone and now I just need to slowly start eating
again so that my body can recover.
Highlight of the week though, God is so good and sustained me through
an all mission conference we had up in Morristown on Saturday! Clayton
Christensen and his wife came down from Boston to train us on more
effective ways to do missionary work and work with our ward and branch
councils. Brother Christensen is a professor at the Harvard School of
Business, and the author of the book "The Power of Everyday
Missionaries". The zone leaders and sister training leaders had an
hour long mission leader council with him before the rest of the
mission got there. He talked about what it is that motivates people.
In his Harvard professor way of explaining it, "people 'hire' things
to help them get a job done". For example there is a significant
consumer group that "hires" McDonalds milkshakes to accomplish the job
of filling their stomach and occupying one of their hands on a daily
long, boring commute to work. The main jobs that people hire religion
to accomplish are: 1. To feel a continuity with their ancestors and
family, 2. To feel God's love, and 3. To have an opportunity to serve
others and have an impact for good in the world. He also talked about
the fact that people have a need to feel successful on a daily basis.
With this in mind we tried to come up with ways that we can help
missionaries be more motivated by feeling successful on a daily basis.
One big thing we are going to try to implement is focusing on goals
based on church attendance, rather than mission and zone baptismal
goals. Church attendance is something that can be measured on a weekly
basis and we can make specific adjustments to improve in the next
week. Baptisms are a lot less frequent and much of it is not in our
control so it can be un-motivating when we aren't able to meet the
Then we had a morning session with the whole mission where we studied
"the Susan Fulcher case" which is a case study he wrote about a sister
missionary that served in his ward in Cambridge in the 80's. We
studied the things she did that turned the ward from somewhere
missionaries dreaded serving in to a ward that was excited and
supportive of missionary work. We identified the principles behind
many of the unique things she did so that we can apply them in our
wards and branches.
We had lunch after that and I was able to eat some rolls, so that was
good, and then we had an afternoon session that all the members of the
ward councils were invited to attend. No one from our ward made it
because it is about two hours away, but I was able to see a couple
people from former areas! The afternoon session was mostly based on
the Everyday Missionaries book, and I would encourage all of you to
read it! I read it a couple years before my mission, but it was a
great reminder of ways that we can effectively share the gospel with
our friends. Probably the most important thing I can identify that you
learn from the book is that as long as your friendship isn't
conditional upon them accepting an invite to church, then it can't
really go wrong! If they accept that is great, if they decline then
you are still friends and they will likely be flattered that you
wanted to share something that is so important to you. The only real
danger is if you stop being friends with them because they aren't
interested in joining our church. DON'T DO THAT! That sends a message
that they were just a project to you rather than a friend. I have seen
way too many times that that has happened before my mission with my
friends who are not members of the church or are not actively
involved. Someone treated them like a project and as a result they are
even less likely to accept a future invitation. If I have ever done
that I apologize!
I guess this email did get pretty long, haha I guess I had to
throughly cover my one productive day! Don't worry, I'm not dying and
I am being well taken care of by my wonderful companion and the ward!
We weren't able to go to church yesterday but our elders brought us
the sacrament, and the ward has been blowing up our phone for the last
two days offering any possible assistance!
Beautiful clouds on our drive back from Morristown!