Good morning everyone!
I had another great week in Maribor and two days ago marked 18 months as a missionary… yikes! It’s a big milestone (I’ve now served a sister mission) and I can’t believe how quickly it’s come. I can remember so well my first few transfers in Celje and to think that I’ve been away from home for a year and a half is hard to believe. Before I know it, those 6 months I have left will have come and gone. Time flies when you’re doing the Lord’s work.
Our week wasn’t too out of the ordinary and we did the usual – street contacting in center and tracting out where the homes are. Although there was nothing too miraculous, we found success doing both. On Thursday we went tracting in a town called Lenart (20 or 30 min outside of Maribor) and Elder Pickard and I found two different people who agreed to let us come back this week to teach more. During our street contacting in the city we were able to talk to many more. So not a bad week!
One of the highlights though was Wednesday evening. For the past 2 years the church has been focusing on working with the big fluctuation in the number of missionaries after the age change, and they now finally feel like the effects of that age change have been “digested”. The numbers of missionaries are stable, there aren’t really new missions that need to be created right away, and a sense of normalcy has returned. With this, the Church decided to do a worldwide missionary broadcast to refocus the efforts of missionaries and start to move the work forward. The title of the broadcast was “Teach Repentance and Baptize Converts”, and that titles reflects the new push of the missionary arm of the Church.
It was a two hour broadcast on Wednesday evening (well, Wednesday morning in Utah) and was watched simultaneously by the missionaries all over the world. It was so cool to know that there were tens of thousands of other missionaries watching, singing, and praying with us. We heard from Elder Oaks, Elder Bednar, Sister Dew, and a number of Seventies from the missionary committee. All of their messages were focused on one central theme – teach repentance and baptize converts.
This “new” focus of the Church isn’t actually anything new at all, but is an effort to refocus us on the basics: faith in Christ which leads us to want to repent which gives us a desire to be baptized. In Mosiah 18:20 it says “Yea, even he commanded them that they should preach nothing save it were repentance and faith on the Lord, who had redeemed his people.” Later, in our day, the Lord stated in D&C 6:9, “Say nothing but repentance unto this generation...” This is the Lord’s admonition that we help people focus on the basics – faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.
I love the new focus on teaching repentance and I’m excited to start doing that with the people we talk to. The word “repentance” has such a negative connotation sometimes and people often think of confession, guilt, pain, anger, embarrassment, etc. The truth though is that repentance is a beautiful gift from the Savior which gives us nothing but feelings of peace, love, acceptance, cleanliness and closeness to God. It is a wonderful process of change. Why wouldn’t we teach this to everyone we meet!
I love you all and hope you have a great week back home. You’re in my prayers always and I can’t wait to hear from you soon.
PS I’ve been terrible with pictures… I’ll do better this week!