Oh my GOODNESS this is has been one amazing week!!!
B____ was baptized!!!! :'D There's always SOMETHING that goes wrong just before a baptism- I guess it's Satan's last ditch effort to ruin things? It's always that someone forget a record, or the font didn't fill, or the water is ice cold, etc. This time.... none of that happened. Sister Archer and I were like, "Ok.... so... where's the last minute trial? Will this really be the one and only flawless baptism?!"
The ____ Ward is more like a branch- they struggle a lot. They hadn't seen a convert baptism in over 7 years, so no one knew what to do! Not even the Bishop! Or our Ward Mission Leader! THAT was terrifying. We explained super last minute how to conduct a convert baptism and helped the Bishop understand he was presiding over the ordinance... phew. By the grace of God everything went smoothly and without a hitch. That was one problem I've never run into before!!
I've learned so many things this week. They showed a worldwide Missionary Broadcast this week and they talked about how important it is for missionaries to understand the basics of the Doctrine of Christ. As they were talking about how faith and repentance and such all tie together, it hit me like a freight train- I DO understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ!! Living it is the harder part that takes a lifetime of practice, but I understand the basics! Mostly!! Haha it was so cool to see :D
My mission experience has all be one crazy revolution! Our mission split first, then we had a temple open house we got to help with, and now we'll be helping with the Idaho Falls Temple open house in April, and NOW even our daily schedule and reporting tools are all being changed!!!! Oh my GOODNESS so much is changing!!! But I love it. They're giving us missionaries so much more freedom, and helping us to really follow the counsel in D&C 58:26-28 which says: "26 For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward. 27 Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; 28 For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward."
**Here are more details in blue of the changes she sent me (her mom) in another email**:
We used to have 9 Key Indicators to report on- like how many "other" lessons we taught, how many "member present" lessons we taught, how many "less-active or recent convert"..... BUT NOW we only have 4. They reminded us that all the other indicators are still really important, but the most important ones they need us to focus on are the new investigators found, investigators who made it to sacrament meeting, investigators with a baptism date, and how many we baptized that week.
So many missionaries were getting caught up in numbers (Sis. Clark included) or feeling pressured by numbers or losing focus on our Purpose because of numbers.... so the First Presidency changed it!!!!! There's so many new things, my mission has been a time of such a revolution!!!!!
They want us to choose our own schedules for our missions, like in Africa they wake up at 6 and are out proselyting by 7 I think, but they come in at 6 and do their studies at night. In Latin America they wake up at 7:30 and go in at 11, For us, we'll have a Winter schedule and a Summer schedule. We're still waking up at 6:30 in the winter, but we'll be coming inside at 8:30pm. And our studies! Wow! It's so different! Instead of personal study at 8, and companionship study at 9, we only have a checklist of what to get done in the morning before 10, not a rigid schedule! So now we choose for ourselves if we study first or exercise first, etc :D They're taking away the guilt from missionaries if they're 4 minutes late to studies, but in the long run- does that matter to the Lord? Not really!! PLUS they want missionaries to take their study habits home with them. Missionaries were going home and definitely not following the daily schedule they had to before, but then they wouldn't study either and then they'd flake out and drop out. NOW we'll have freedom to choose what we'll do when so it'll be 2nd nature to take it home and continue on with the good habits we're learning!!!
I'M SO EXCITED!!!!! And so is the First Presidency!!!!! They "applaud this new schedule enthusiastically". A lot of missionaries will be tempted to abuse this freedom, but I think this is a HUGE learning opportunity!!!!!!
I love being a missionary so much :D And I really LOVE Sister Archer! We have so much fun. I can't really put my joy into words, and I'm out of time, but just know that I know HE LIVES and He directs the Church today!!!
PS this is how Sister Archer prays. She's my inspiration.