Before the meeting began Elder Cook and President Gifford Neilson shook all 300+ hands of each missionary.
In his remarks,, Elder Cook told us that missionaries are "ward and branch builders, not the marketing arm of the church" and we "succeed when we INVITE, no matter what the outcome".
Sister Mary Cook spoke and reminded us "You are your very first convert".
President Coward, an Area 70, said, "Your heart has to grow while you serve. In all your doing, are you becoming disciples of the Lord, FOR THE REST OF YOUR LiVES"?
David J. Thompson, another Area 70, quoted Joseph Smith as saying, "When the Lord commands, do it." And then he said, "Let us always be that person who is willing to step forward."
Craig is loving immersing himself in the scriptures, especially using the new IPad he got for his birthday to cross-reference. It's like rediscovering candy again. I am in charge of the scheduling, making phone calls and texting on my "primitive" phone, along with the normal domestic chores, so Craig can get in all his study time. He does do the vacuuming though, which I'm happy about. I just finished the Book of Mormon and yes, loved it even more, and I'm ready to read it again! I love that President Monson said simply, "If you haven't read the Book of Mormon (or if you aren't reading it), READ IT!"
Every other week we attend Family Home Evening with the other 18+ senior couples who live in the city of Auckland. It is held at the Area Office in Takapuna, which is about a 40 min. drive in traffic. We all take turns as couples planning the lesson and hosting dinner. It's fun to get to know each other and learn about all the different assignments the Seniors are doing. Two couples arrived last weekend, one from Utah and one from Wyoming. New Zealand was only a stopover because they soon left for Fiji and Samoa. Their assignments were to work in the high schools helping students move on to further their education, which is a huge need here as well as all over the pacific area.
Service project #2 was last week at the home of Dollie, an older, very fun Chinese widow. We painted the railing on her back deck. Sister Palu and Sister Gila helped, as well as Brother and Sister Keung, who know Dollie and set it all up.
Dollie isn't a member, but we hope to see her again at the Keungs home. She rewarded us with a dinner of Chow Mein and Din Sum, that she made afterwards. She was very appreciative of the great job we did.
Today we gave talks in church for Missionary Sacrament Meeting, which I hear is every 3rd Sunday. (Maybe we will be speaking every 3rd Sunday!). Us and the Sisters had 5 minutes to talk. My talk actually was 5 minutes, which may surprise you, but do you think Craig's was? Five minutes is a tough amount of time for him to keep to (and he went over). I was worried we might have to tug his suit coat. It was also homecoming for a darling girl who just finished her mission to Hawaii, so we needed to give her most of the time.
I downloaded "Meet the Mormons" on my IPad and we show segments of it all the time with our lessons in people's homes. If you haven't seen it (or have only seen it once) rent or buy it and WATCH IT! Show it to your friends and neighbors! Each segment is entertaining and has a powerful message that touches people's hearts. We showed the last segment about the missionary mom to a woman (with a son on a mission) and her male partner (common word and situation here for a live-in companion), and they were both so emotional, wiping away tears. They wanted us to return to do a FHE with their family.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ changes lives, and I'm finally doing what I should've been doing all my adult life, but I made excuses, was too busy, and too uncomfortable. I'm ashamed to think of how much more I could've done to lift my neighbor, with not that much effort. Missions change lives too!
Here is paragraph 3 of the missionary pledge:
"My pace is set, my gait is fast, my goal is Heaven. My road is narrow, the way is rough, my mission is clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, divided, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity."
We love you all, and thank you for your prayers!
Elder and Sister Martin