Week 53; November 10, 2014: Small Miracles

Not a whole lot happened this week. Went on exchanges on Tuesday with Elder Christainsen and went into his area. One cool thing that happened was that at the start of the exchange we visited this less-active lady and it turned out that she wanted to call us, but her phone got stolen a few days earlier. She wanted to call and ask for a blessing because of some struggles she was dealing with, but because she didn’t have the phone, she had no way of doing so. So here we just happened to have stopped by at the right time to give the blessing. So that was a really cool miracle. After that one visit, the rest of the exchange kind of went downhill. Literally NOBODY was home. Nobody was outside, and nobody would answer the door. And the one appointment that they had (doing service for someone by moving their piano) stood us up and it didn’t happen. So that was pretty frustrating, but oh well.

Then Thursday was Zone Conference and it was just the San Tan zone and the Ironwood zone that was there. There was lots of training given there of course, but the biggest thing that stood out to me a discussion President Nattress started. He drew on the chalkboard a family and then the three degrees of glory. And he talked about how back as a stake president, he would do this exercise with the youth where he would ask them, “Based on where you are right now, where do you think you’re going? How many think you’re going to the Telestial Kingdom?” And a few would jokingly raise their hands trying to be funny, but nothing serious. Then he would ask, “How many feel like you’re going to the Terrestrial Kingdom?” and a lot of kids start raising their hands. And he asks, “How many feel like you’re going to the Celestial Kingdom?” and nobody would really raise their hands. And so President talks to us and he asks us, “What do we need to do to get this family to the Celestial Kingdom?” The overall responses were, “We need to build their faith.” Then “They need to know how to repent.” “They need to be baptized and have the Holy Ghost.” And then President said, “Now what if it just stops there. All they did was they got baptized and it never went anywhere after that, where would they end up?” And nobody really knew what to say out of fear of giving the wrong answer. But President answered, “They’d go to the Celestial Kingdom, wouldn’t they?” And reviewed the requirements again for the degrees of glory. The Telestial Kingdom is for really bad people who didn’t accept the Gospel and were just really wicked people. “None of you qualify for this,” he said. Then the Terrestrial is for those who lived good lives, but did not accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Celestial is for those who lived good lives and accepted the Gospel of Jesus Christ and received the saving ordinances such as Baptism. When people are baptized by the Priesthood authority of God, the doors of the Celestial Kingdom are being opened to them. And he talked about how that is what we are doing as missionaries. We are literally opening the doors to the Celestial Kingdom to our investigators. Which is a really cool way of looking at it.

In other news, Kerry is progressing very well. We met with Brother Flake (Ward Mission Leader), and a few others and her to discuss the Baptismal program and all the details for the Baptism. So far, everything is going well and the Baptism should still be happening, so that is exciting.

Also the Chadwick’s are doing great. Yesterday, we met with them at the Bishop’s office after the block and Brother Chadwick got ordained to be a Priest in the Aaronic Priesthood. They also got their Limited-Use Temple Recommends to do Baptisms for the Dead and the recommend to go to the Phoenix Temple Dedication. So that is really cool. In a couple weeks, he’ll get to bless and pass the sacrament and then they all will be able to do Baptisms for the Dead in the Temple. They’re progressing very well!

Yesterday was also a meeting for the entire Queen Creek Chandler Heights Stake at 4:00 PM. Every single ward in the stake had some sort of split in some form and they created two new wards. The “Country Shadows” ward and the “Seville Grove” ward. The Seville Park ward didn’t have too much happen to it, we lost a small corner and a small handful of families that I know of. Seville ward lost 25% of the members there and we ended up losing the Mabees (Ward Mission Leader) to the new Seville Grove ward. So that’s a little disappointing. So Seville ward is going to need to call a new Ward Mission Leader soon. And we don’t know who will be covering the new “Country Shadows” and “Seville Grove” wards. They will most likely split it up between two companionships in the zone and each companionship gain an extra ward (for example, they could have us cover Seville, Seville Park, and a third ward). But we don’t know yet. For know, we’re just going to temporarily visit people we still know even if they were lost to the other wards just because we don’t know which missionaries will be covering which wards yet, so until we are informed otherwise, we’ll just keep treating it like the boundaries haven’t changed. I have no idea when they’ll give us the information, but I’d assume they tell us as soon as possible. That’s gonna suck a little bit… we’ll have to wait until next week when all the boundaries are updated on lds.org and then print out new maps and new ward directories. When it comes time for Transfers, I’m gonna have a lot on my plate to deal with…

I guess I forgot to tell you about this finding idea that the mission came up with several months ago. So you know the Stake Center right next to the Gilbert Temple? Well, on Monday, Thursday, and Friday evenings, they turn that Stake Center into what is called “The Gilbert Temple Reception Area.” Basically, it’s kind of like a mini Visitor’s Center. You can go there to take a tour around the Church building, there’s a room where you can watch Joseph Smith The Prophet of the Restoration or On The Lord’s Errand (The life of Thomas S. Monson), there are a couple computers in which you use FamilySearch.org, etc.

And so to add to that, for a while they have been holding a Choir Performance every Thursday comprising of the missionaries of the mission who want to be a part of it. They hold a 30-minute performance in which people can invite their friends, family, etc. to. But because of scheduling conflicts with the wards that meet at that building, we had to change it from every Thursday to being the first Thursday of every month. So last Thursday, there was a Choir Performance based on the Restoration of Gospel through Joseph Smith. And then on December, there will be a Choir performance based on Christmas. And I don’t know what the theme will be for January… but they’ll have a new theme for each month. I don’t sing in the choir, but Elder McGonigal does (and so do a whole bunch of other missionaries), so I always have to go there for the performances and for Choir practice whenever that happens.

Anyway, that is pretty much how the week went. All is going well. Hope you all have a great week!

Love,
Elder Foxx
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