I will be serving in West Point, English zone leader of the Clinton Zone with Elder Harper. I have talked about Elder Harper; he was my favorite district leader while I was a zone leader. I have wanted to serve with him for a while. He is very bold, knows how to baptize, has one of the nicest apartments in the mission, and he loves to lift weights at the high school gym up the street.
This week has been great! A lot of awesome things happened. I guess every week is great, though. Anyway, we had a mission tour this week from Elder Clark. I guess I can start with that.
Elder Kipp and I ended up going to the conference for the north half and the south half of the mission. It was basically the same training, but new revelation the second time. So it was a six-hour training; most of it was done by Elder Clark. They are in the process of trying to get a senior couple in every stake and aren't even close, but the few that were there he had stand up. He then rebuked everyone that hadn't recently bought his wife flowers not including holidays or anniversary's and made them all promise to buy their wife flowers. Then he thanked them for their service and told us to start working with them.
He brought Sister and President Hiers to the front and had us all say things that we have learned from them in their mission. You could see how happy it made them. I was really glad he did that. Then he went on and trained on pretty much every basic aspect of missionary work. He really emphasized talking with everyone and how to get referrals from members. He also talked a ton about diligence. Overall, it was really good, and I learned a lot and got ideas of things that I need to be doing better.
Then we had the leadership meeting for all the zone leaders of the mission, and he trained us for a few hours. It was very, very different from the first training. With the zone leaders, he talked just about getting more baptisms. The day before with the whole mission, he focused on retention and doing less-active work. He is a businessman, and you could definitely see it. He talked a lot about making money and basic leadership attributes.
The last week traveling was tough to endure to the end. We could feel how close the end was and just wanted to be done! President decided yesterday to discontinue traveling trainers for now. We did what was needed, so he will hold it off until it is needed again. He doesn't want the mission to rely on them, or the zone leaders to not do their job just expecting the traveling trainers to do it for them. They dissolved two zones this transfer. Also, President is changing things so that missionaries stay in areas longer, closer to 6, 7, 8 months.
Elder Clarke made a lot of changes like that. He wanted us to have bigger zones and bigger districts, so that's what they are doing. He also had everyone switch to wearing nametags on the left side, because that's where President Hiers' wears his. Also casual pants aren't allowed, I am sure Mom and Dad are happy about that, ha-ha. So no more khaki's. We have to wear suits all year unless we are proselyting outdoors in the summer when we can wear just suit pants which is too bad, because then the suit pants wear out faster than the jacket! Elder Clarke changed it to that, because there are lots of leadership in Utah, and he said we need to be an example. He also changed it to where we now set baptismal goals monthly instead of every transfer. He cracked down on other dress code things like wearing pins (which I am pretty happy that finally happened).
There were a few other minor changes. They are trying out what they call zone leader buddies in a couple areas. The zone leaders aren't companions. They have companions that are struggling and get together for zone leader type things, but have two separate areas, kind of like what assistants do. Elder Ward is one of the ones trying it out, but in his case, the two companionships (zone leader/ buddy and zone leader/buddy) will be sharing the work in one area. In that case, Elder Ward will do the tracting type stuff since he likes that, and his other zone leader and other buddy will work more with members. They are trying out both types of zlb's to see if it helps the struggling missionaries and helps numbers go up since usually the zl areas have really high numbers compared to the rest of the zone.
Elder Clarke also changed that he wants us as zone leaders to meet all of our missionaries’ investigators which will take a long, long time. He also wants us to go on regular exchanges with missionaries for up to three or four days to show them things rather than teach it. I don't know how I feel about that. Four days out of my area would be pretty hard.
This week we spent the night at one set of missionaries that has a sauna this week-which was great! I jumped around everywhere this week. Elder Kipp had one exchange, and I had to pick-up and help him with a missionary It went pretty awful. Neither of us was patient as we have been trying to be. I guess I just need to work more on it. Other than that we had a great week.
Yesterday, we had the pre-transfer leadership training for new and current leaders. It was good; we focused on The Book of Mormon and the leaders working together better-especially with sister training leaders. (STL's) We still have no idea how to work with them; they are basically there to take care of emotional problems with sisters (thank goodness we don't have to take care of that). We do the more missionary work side of leadership.
So this week we went to a restaurant and got something called the hot mess. It is a hamburger with a donut instead of a patty and they give you plastic gloves to eat it with, so good! We got also got deep fried cookie dough balls, which were all right. We were the first customers to ever buy them (new on the menu) so we got to give them feedback which was fun.
I also was with the Spanish missionaries this week and an older lady told me I looked like Ken...Barbie's boyfriend, because she said I just have a perfect white face. Older Hispanic ladies really like young blonde haired guys; it's kind of weird. Ken is tall and has brown hair, so I have no idea where she got that, but there is a first for everything, I guess?
This week I will start serving as an English zone leader with Elder Harper in west point. Our zone is the Clinton Zone. The three missionaries that I talked to from the zone all said it was their favorite area of the mission. There are a lot, lot, lot of struggling missionaries in our zone; so it'll be fun. Elder Harper used to be a DL in my zone when I was a zone leader several months ago, so I know him well and really like him. He likes to work out, too, and we have a gym close by so that's pretty nice. I am very excited for this five-week transfer. Pray that Spanish sticks to me, because it probably is going to get worse…oh well. I love you all!
PS I bought a blender today. The lady at GNC gave me 60% off, so I got a little protein too, but I need to start over on grocery shopping