So due to a change in president´s travel plans for a meeting in Frankfurt next week, we had to bump two zone conferences up to this week. Normally this is one of those weeks where things slow down, and we can focus on our area, but instead it turned into more of a mad dash to get things ready for all of the conferences this week. Monday was pretty normal, just lots of things to print and get ready as well as getting a new presentation ready to be taught. Tuesday was more of the same, and Wednesday we left in the afternoon to drive all the way up to Hamburg to stay the night for zoco the following morning. We woke up extra early the so that we could all go down to the church and play some basketball for our morning sport. It was super fun. I´m still super out of shape, but lately I´ve been running about 5K every morning when we aren't traveling, and I´m starting to feel a lot better again.
Anyway, the theme of our zone conference came back really to time, coupled with agency and the atonement. We talked about the doctrine of time, and how God gave us time, agency, and the atonement to succeed in this life. President related a story of when he took his family to NYC and the Empire State Building. He talked about how he stood at the front door and had his kids watch taxis go by. The one right in front of them as they were watching was the present, the one that had already driven by was the past, and the one which you knew was coming, but couldn't see, was the future. He then took them to the top of the building and had them look down. From that vantage point they could see both the taxi directly in front of the building, the one that had driven a block away, and the one that was on it´s way to the front of the building. He taught that how from God's higher vantage point, the past, present, and future are all present to him. He can see everything, and even though he doesn't compel the taxis to drive a certain route, he remains omnicient because he sees where they come from and where they are going. He then showed us some math, and that in our average life span, we have over 1 million half hour time segments, while awake, in our life. He told us we were all millionaires and that the key to our future happiness would be how we invest our time. It was a great presentation. His wife then taught that principle by hanging a big piece of string across the chapel and then hanging a pen on the middle of it and saying how the string was eternity and how that tiny point where the pen hangs is our time on earth. She taught the importance of using our time wisely and doing the smaill and simple things which would help great things come to pass in our lives.
Then our job was to teach how we could put all that into practical application and become effective missionaries. We talked about magnifying our calling and about how magnifying your calling is really focusing spiritual light through your calling so that that light shines brightly for other people to see. And how do we magnify our callings? President Monson said, "by simply performing the service that pertains to it." We talked about how so much of the time, we get caught up in thinking we aren't magnifying our calling when we aren't doing extra things other than what we were simply called to do. It´s good to go the extra mile, but we can be sure we are magnifying our calling when are simply doing the things we are supposed to do, and doing it consistantly. So we went through the day of an effective missionary and talked about how every day we start right, work hard, and finish strong. Starting right includes the basics- getting up on time, doing sport, and doing good study. Lots of people take Prophet Benjamin's words, "Man should not run faster than he has strength," as an excuse sometimes, when in reality our attitude should be, "How can I build up more strength so that I can run faster?" I think everyone would like to run faster, and starting your day right gives you more strength to run faster throughout the day. We talked about working hard, and I talked about my time with my first companion in Dresden and how our motto was, "Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven." As we find ways to sacrifice throughout the day, it brings the blessings of heaven. For example, our mission has never taken a dinner break. We sacrifice that time so we don't miss prime finding time to find more people. It´s a sacrifice to only eat lunch and then stay out the entire day, but it brings the blessings of heaven. And for finishing strong we talked about the importance of planning and staying organized at the end of the day- area book, etc. We ended by passing out 2 posters we made for every apartment in the mission that say, "Will I be obedient, diligent, and clean today?" and "Was I obedient, diligent, and clean today?" and told them that if they asked themselves these questions at the beginning and end of every day, they would know they were magnifying their calling. We had a fun little movie we shared as well, and everything went really well. Most of it was like I said, practical stuff, but those were a few of the doctrinal points we taught.
So ya, that was all really good. Next week we have two more zoco´s so I hope it continues to go well. It´s been kinda a bummer not being around a whole lot. I almost feel like we´ve taken a 3 week trip out of our area with this special little schedule change, but our investigators are doing alright. I just hope they keep improving. We´ve been doing better at getting other missionaries to go by on them in our absence and I think that will help a little bit. The good news is this will really free up the last week and a half of the transfer, so hopefully we can build a lot more during that time.
So yes, life goes on. Still happy, healthy, and blessed. This will be our first full p-day in 2 weeks, so we´re excited for that. It will be nice to get caught up on some things.:) Hope you are all doing fabulous back home. It´s so good to hear from you and to hear that you´re doing well. Love you all lots and hope you have a wonderful week!