We had Zone Conference yesterday so sorry about no email until now. I got my last email from Elder Hummer today - it is weird that he will no longer be a missionary. I can't wait to see him again. Thanks for the inspiration you shared with me Dad. Sometimes I forget that righteousness isn't always happiness. I really like that quote from Elder Ballard and your comments about wisdom vs learning. I am not sure if I have shared this before but I have had many studies based on what wisdom is. My studies have produced a large list of references, a lot of questions and prayers too. I seem to keep coming back to that same fact - the smarter we get the more we need to realize that God is the wise one, not us. We can be smart and understand things but it should lead to the fact that God is omnipotent and omniscient and we are nothing without him. We can never consider ourselves wise either but only other people can recognize it in us, and they will only recognize it if it is from God. My companions in the past can all tell you that I love wisdom and they probably are sick of me talking about it during our comp studies.
Anyways back to the email. The stake and ward activities I have realized on my mission take a lot of planning and preparation and it is cool to see how much behind the scenes work really goes on in the church. I am glad that the fair was successful. I looked at the pictures before I read the email as I usually do and I was trying to figure out why I recognized the lady in the picture with mom and then I read the description and it was kind of funny, I know all those Elders! Sam Hansgen is actually pretty good friend with Elder Wall - don't know if that came up. The homecoming plans seem really early. It still feels like I have a long time left, I guess I don't really (haha). I don't know if the Church can move my flight if it is too late or anything but I was actually hoping to get permission to stay in NZ for a few more days, one of the members who served in our mission who I am really close with is getting sealed to his wife on the 18th of Nov and I want to see if there is a way that I could attend that before I fly home, I don't know if I can get permission and I have to talk to President Balli and see. Copper is a really good name for that dog.
This week had some interesting things happen but overall it was a pretty good. I entitled my email from a statement that we recite every morning and at every meeting as part of the NZAM mission vision. I have had some interesting experiences working with the Leaders in my ward this week.
So the first experience that I want to share has something to do with our gospel principles class this week on Sunday - it was probably one of the worst lessons I have had in my whole mission. One of the leaders in our ward invited an investigator family to church and they were in our gospel principles class we didn't know they were coming but of course we were excited, then this leader announced that they were investigators to the whole class of about 10 people most of them converts and 4 of them was this family The mom, her 14 year old daughter, and a small toddler age niece and nephew. It was our first time meeting them and he promptly announced that they were Seventh Day Adventists and we were going to have a lesson on the Sabbath Day and prove to them through the Bible that Sunday is the real Sabbath day. Then he turned the time over to me and my companion. We had not planned this lesson he announced. We didn't know they would be there and we would never have proposed that as the lesson. It created an awful teaching situation. We invited everyone to share what they like about the Sabbath, tried to focus on the reason we even have a Sabbath and tried to explain that we don't believe it is so much the day that is important as the purpose of the Sabbath. The reason we believe in the day being Sunday was because Heavenly Father, through his prophet, through modern revelation, has revealed that it should be Sunday in D&C 59. We were closing up and we asked if anyone had any questions and the investigator mother raised her hand and asked us what verses we had from the Bible to prove that Sunday was the Sabbath, we had not done what she had expected us to do. I cited a couple of verses that I knew, explained the Sabbath was Saturday but we believe that when the Lord was resurrected the day changed. Then this certain leader in our ward took the lesson over and started a Bible bash for the next 15 min about all the scriptures proving his point. I was very upset with the leader that put us in this situation. It was awful. No Spirit and there is no way that the family had a good experience at church - at least during Sunday School - in a situation like that, I felt awful about it all. I shouldn't have let it get to that point, I should have just stuck with the lesson we had planned.
The other experience I had was one with our ward mission leader. I am not sure if you remember but at the beginning of my time in this area I expressed that I was trying to get along with our ward mission leader and sometimes he is hard to work with. I still stick by that sometimes he is hard to work with but other times, like yesterday, he was a really good person trying his best to do missionary work. A couple of weeks ago he told us to do his neighbors lawn - didn't ask us, told us. We happily did it, played a game of touch rugby with the kids that lived at the house afterwards, and then we left and got back to our work. He told us that we should go and visit the family again this week and we tried but we weren't able to until last night. We visited them and the single mom invited us right in. We went to over to our ward mission leaders house next door to see if he could come so we could go in. He left the middle of his Family Home Evening to come with us and we had a good lesson getting to know the family. The mother, her name is Cassi, told us that her kids were really keen on us coming over and she was very grateful that she had such a good neighbor to invite her to church. She was grateful that we could do her lawns for her. We invited them to begin learning and had a short lesson on how to pray. They said Maori repeated prayers called karikias before but the kids don't know anything about who they are praying to. It was awesome! Now we have a new family to begin working with. It was an amazing experience and I am grateful for our ward mission leader being the man he is. Even if he does a couple of things that are a little different than the way I would do them. It was all due to him that we found this family.
I have learned that we need to work well with our leaders no matter what experiences we have. They are called of God and it has taken me a long time to really just be a humble follower and try to do things a different way. We need to work in unity for the work to hasten.