Monday, November 17, 2014

Nov 17, 2014

I have had an enjoyable past few weeks in AZ. The weather is improving greatly which has been nice. No more heat for another 5 months or so!! It's actually been pretty cold!
We were able to have a baptism a few weeks ago of our investigator O. He has been investigating since early August after one of our members gave him to us as a referral. It is a really neat story actually:
We had been (and still are) pushing a lot for our members to help us by doing the finding. After several attempts with different families, one family came through with several referrals of families in their apartment complex. Concerning O and his family, the members told us that they would never accept the Gospel of Christ, but that we might find service opportunities if we knocked. The first time we knocked, O opened and allowed us to share a message with his family. I was able to baptize him 2 weeks ago.
Even when we don't think people are ready and willing, they might be. God has a different idea and plan than we do in many aspects of life, and we have to conform to His will in order to accomplish His plan.
For our monthly Mission Leadership Council, we were able to hear from Elder Larry R Lawrence yesterday. He is in the Second Quorum of the Seventy. We discussed many things that we've seen in the mission, both good and bad. We discussed several topics of concern and decided that our 'mission culture' needed to be changed. After some discussion and even dispute, this is what we sustained:
1. We are exactly obedient missionaries
-Perfect study schedule
-In/out of bed on time
-Avoid all forms of worldly entertainment*Music: The only artist we may listen to is Mormon Tabernacle Choir (No more 'MoTab'); We may only listen to hymns or children's songbook by them
-Never waste time
2. Our missions are spiritual experiences
-Live up to our baptismal covenants (Mosiah 18:8-10)
-Be lovingly bold with commitments
-Read the Book of Mormon by the end of the year, marking all references of Christ
3. We are accountable
-Each mission leader (me) will help each companionship to be exactly obedient by:
*Going on exchanges with each missionary to help them meet their goals and live up to the mission culture
-Inform our branch/ward/stake leaders of what we are doing
4. We are dignified and joyful representatives of Jesus Christ
-We use dignified language
*Refer to missionaries as Elder or Sister
*Refer to members and investigators as Brother or Sister
*Refer to leaders by their appropriate title (ie; President Monson, not Tommy)
-We are light hearted with great reasons to rejoice
I can't describe the joy I have with this new standard! It may seem difficult to follow, (especially with the music), but I know how much it will help each of us and our mission as a whole too.

We were able to gather as a mission on Wednesday and discuss these things. We were also taught about certain doctrine in the scriptures for several hours by Sister Lawrence that morning. I never thought I would be so mesmerized from a lecture on scriptures, but it was incredible.

There have been changes in companionships for me this week too. My companion who I was training became really sick at the beginning of October. He had struggled with this illness for over a month until the decision was finally made to send him home. He left late Thursday night. I hope the illness will be diagnosed at home and that he will have another chance to serve.  I was moved in with Elder Call and Elder Swanson (again), and we will stay in this companionship until the next transfer, which is December 9. The chances of me staying another transfer after this one has shot up now! If I stay one more transfer, I'll complete a year in this ward. They might as well give me a calling. ;)

If you'd like to see what we do on Pdays, check my facebook for some great shots of cricket! If you've written me in the last month and I haven't gotten back to you, I'll do that soon :)
 Keep the Faith
Elder Pilkington


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