Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Multi-zone conferences, stake conference, and youth firesides: Happiness fills our week!

Sun City
Wow! What a glorious week Joanne and I visiting the four multi-zone conferences this past week. We hope the missionaries enjoyed as much as we did. The musical numbers were fabulous! We have great talented missionaries.

Hemet and San Jacinto zones

Moreno Valley Zone

La Sierra Zone

Mt. Rubidoux Zone

Corona Zone with President and Sister Hansen

Jurupa Zone

Riverside Zone
Our zone leaders gave trainings on “Short and Powerful Lessons, “Seeking with Faith,” and “Companionship Inventory.”

Elders Steed and Williams

Elders White and Patterson

Assistants, Elders Anderson and Dew

Elders Day and Balls

Elders Fairbanks and Doi

Elders Sorensen and Willes

Elders Langley and Clark
The sister training leaders presented “Seeing Yourself as Heavenly Father Sees You.”

Hermanas Alvey y Hernandez

Sister Goodwine

Sisters Price and DiPietro
President Norman and President Hansen each took two days out of their schedules and presented on “Making Your Preparations Spiritual.”
President Norman

President Hansen
Joanne provided a wonderful presentation on “the Divine Companionship,” a talk that came from the Seminar for New Mission Presidents we attended at the end of June. I enjoyed presenting on the “Atonement of Jesus Christ, Repentance, and Godly Sorrow.

Us at one of the multi-zones
Brother Gibson, a counselor for LDS Family Services discussed “Adjusting to Missionary Life.” His presentation was different for each multi-zone conference, depending on the needs of each zone.

Brother Gibson
Many thanks to the Relief Societies from the host stakes. The food was delicious and plentiful. 

Sisters Bartschi, Reagan; Elders Frisby and Frazier; Sisters Price and DiPietro

Elders Yang, Olsen, Sorensen, Brown, and Willes

Lots of food; lots of missionaries to eat it!
Tears came to our eyes each and every time the missionaries sang. What a touching moment.

Food galore!

Sisters Moran, Tonini, Diamond, and Rossignoli
Joanne and I attended both the Saturday night and Sunday sessions of the Hemet Stake Conference. The theme was “Therefore, walk with me (See Moses 6:34). We spoke in the Saturday evening session; I gave my testimony in the Sunday session. Also, we met Paul, one of the investigators that Elders Andrew and Beatty are teaching; and Michael, one of the investigators that Elders Olsen and Brown are teaching. Great people. Sisters Hern├índez and Coffeen and Elders Escobar and Bailey did all the translating for both sessions. Whew! I know how tiring and difficult that is.

Sister Hammon with Sisters DiPietro, Ford, Chandler, Pierce, Bartschi, Reagan, Coffeen, and Hernandez
 Sister Hammon and I had the wonderful opportunity to be with the young men and young women, their parents, and their leaders on Sunday evening at the Jurupa Stake Youth Missionary Fireside. Our presentation was “Spiritual Self-Reliance: Preparing to Serve a Mission.” We spoke about five principles we felt they needed to become spiritually self-reliant. We wanted to share the five principles:

Principle #1: We gain spiritual self-reliance as we ultimately understand and come to know and feel we are sons and daughters of a loving Heavenly Father.

Principle #2: We gain spiritual self-reliance when we come to realize that the Lord will require hard things of you.

Principle #3: We gain spiritual self-reliance as we come to know, understand, and incorporate the Doctrine of Christ into our lives.

Principle #4: We gain spiritual self-reliance as we become worthy and stay worthy

Principle #5: We gain spiritual self-reliance when we read, feast upon, and ponder the scriptures daily, particularly the Book of Mormon.
Outside our front door
We have just been having a marvelous time this week. We loved being with the missionaries in the various multi-zone conferences. We do not know many things—other than being with your family—that are better than being with missionaries, especially those in our California Riverside Mission. Thanks to all the parents for raising such incredible young men and young women.

We love you all!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Training and Training and multi-zone activity: What’s there not to like?

Evening from our backyard
Multi-Zone Activity (south zones)
Every couple of months, the mission divides into two multi-zones and gathers for an activity. Sister Hammon and I were able to go to Monday’s “south zones’” activity. She had purchased four spike ball kits, and we set them up. Plus, we also provided a space for “gratitude” where the missionaries could create thank-you cards and such with card stock, stickers, and other paraphernalia. It turned out well. We think the highlight of these activities is two-fold: 1) getting together with other missionaries and 2) basketball.

Selfie of missionaries in the south part of the mission

Elders Willes, Simpson, and Brown--wanting to play BB

Spike ball, anyone?

Sisters Carson, Gray, and Greenhalgh

Loving spike ball: clockwise--Elders Holyoak, Jensen, Saxton, and Phister 

The creative ones: Clockwise--Sisters Hernandez, Price, Bartschi, Butler, Ford, and DiPietro

More creatives:  Clockwise--Troncoso, Harper, Hernandez, Grover, and Carson

Sister Harper

Elders Roper, Baum, and Dew

Elders Rose, Anderson, Olsen, and Yang

Sisters Butler, Troncoso, and Bartschi

Sisters Ruggles, Chandler, and Hernandez

Sisters Regan and Goodwine

Sister Ford, Elders Maughan and Watson
Mission Leadership Council (MLC)
Every mission has a Mission Leadership Council (MLC), comprised of zone leaders and sister training leaders. We had a wonderful MLC this week. What is delightful about this Council is we are able to share doctrinal subjects and participate in training to help our mission. I initiated the training with “A process of learning, teaching, sharing, and being accountable.” Sister Hammon followed up with “Seeing yourself as Heavenly Father sees you!” (or “Comparing yourself to others is not part of the plan!”). Our Assistants, Elders Anderson and Dew, discussed “Accountability: The Lord’s way. President Norman, a member of the Mission Presidency, spoke on “Relying on the Lord and Just Serve. Sisters DiPietro and Goodwine and Elders Anderson and Dew spend time discussing and showing “Studying, finding and teaching with the Book of Mormon: A missionary’s perspective.” Hermana Hern├índez and Elders Steed and Fairbanks focused on “Seeking with Faith” and did role plays to show us various ways to seek with faith. Elders Anderson and Dew shared “Companionship Inventory: A positive revelatory experience.” I then gave a burst of leadership and doctrine. Overall, it was a revelatory session with so many people participating. 

Zone leaders, Sister Training Leaders, and our new Mission Counselors, Presidents Norman and Hansen
Plus, we had traditional MLC lunch of pizza (biggest pizzas I have seen!), brownies, and salad. 

Sisters Wilde, A. Harris, S. Harris, Goodwine, Moran, Garcia, DiPietro, Hernandez, and Ruggles
Note: The MLC ate all of these pizzas and salad!

Trainer-Trainee Training (T3)
Each new missionary in the mission goes through 12 weeks of training. After the first four weeks, they attend a Trainer-Trainee Training. We were able to have one of those this week as well. The trainer missionaries have done an exceptional job. Sisters Goodwine/Carson; Greenhalgh/Gray; and Elders Peterson/Beddes; Briggs/Carlisle; and Overman/Kocherhans spent some time explaining how the first four weeks went and how they have utilized the Book of Mormon in the teaching, studying, and finding. It is amazing how well everyone is doing in their companionships. Elders Anderson and Dew discussed companionship study and expectations of trainers. Sister Hammon shared her thoughts on the importance and purpose of missionary work. I spoke on the Doctrine of Christ of coming unto Christ. The spirit was abundant. Sister Hammon and I appreciate all the training missionaries and the new missionaries who are doing so well.

Our new missionaries of four weeks and their trainer missionaries--Awesome group!
Lake Elsinore Stake Conference
Sister Hammon and I attended both the Saturday night and Sunday sessions of Lake Elsinore’s Stake Conference. Exceptional and revelatory! Saturday’s session’s theme was “Become and help others to become true followers of Jesus Christ and enjoy the blessings of the temple.” Six members of the Stake discussed their conversions and experiences in the temple and how they were able to go to the temple. Incredible stories? We spoke afterwards with Brother Michael Morton. He had been a less active member of the church for many, many years. On Saturday morning, just before Stake Conference, he went through the temple with his brother and received his endowment. His wife had been baptized just a year before. He told us how appreciative he was for the missionaries, particularly Sisters Palmer and Wilde (who was with him and his wife in the temple) and what incredible missionaries they were to help him and his wife. His story—and the other stories—made our hearts swell. The influence you all have on members, less actives, and investigators/converts is enormous. Remember that: Your companionships along with the Holy Ghost, the third member of your divine companionship, help people come unto Christ. How powerful is that feeling! Thank you for being such great examples.

President Wilson with us and some of the Ward Mission Leaders in Lake Elsinore Stake
 The Sunday Session was equally as wonderful! One of the sisters who spoke has been a member just for two years and was sealed to her husband only six months ago. She said that the Church through temple has the “ultimate message of hope and love.” President and Sister Northcutt, who are the San Diego Temple President and Matron, spoke about temples and how we can be in the temple, and the world just goes away while we bask in the spirit and truth. President Wilson spoke on “Emotional Congruence,” a type of alignment when we are able to feel in the moment the emotions and feelings of those who we are with. It’s like the people at the Waters of Mormon who understood about what they need to do to mourn with those that mourn. It is also about feeling happy when someone is happy. In essence, we need to be completely present during any conversation sans any digital device.

Sister Hammon and I are loving our calling and being with the missionaries, the members, and those who are being taught the gospel of Jesus Christ. We met a high school senior, the captain of her cheer squad, who is investigating the Church at Lake Elsinore’s Stake Conference. What a wonderful example of a young woman of virtue who is seeking truth.

And thus it is, every single day! The Lord is definitely watching over us and our family.

Our sweet Avonlea posted this week.

Anna Rose and William posted this week.

Emiline and Anna Rose 

A painting spree!
This is what these angels really look like at Church!

The Johnsons having fun in the hot tub

We love you all!

President and Sister Hammon

In our backyard