August 23rdElder & Sister Ardern from the Area Presidency came for a Mission Tour. Elder Ardern is also a member of the 1st Quorum of Seventy. He & his wife served as mission president in the Fuji mission. They are from New Zealand (I love his accent!). I had spoken with him on the phone a few weeks earlier. He is such a personable man and I felt like I had known him for a very long time.
We had the privilege of meeting with him for about 10 minutes to tell him a little about us and what we do in the mission. He told us that our family will be blessed for our service. That hit me pretty hard coming from a General Authority. He also asked if we would please tell our friends back home about our service and to encourage others to serve. He told us of the great need for Senior Couples. We also had lunch with the Arderns, the Martinos and the Assistants. It was wonderful to get to know them on a more personal level.
We attended the mission tour meeting in Cabanatuan. This was very much like our regular Zone Council meeting. What a wonderful spiritual experience! First thing on the agenda was a short meeting for all of the sisters. We met with Sister Martino and Sister Ardern and were taught by them. Sister Martino is using the theme for all of our missionaries to 'sparkle' and let their testimonies flow from their heart. She is such a great example of this. Sister Ardern asked the sister missionaries to ask any questions that they had. They were a little timid, but a couple of them did ask a question or two. One of the things that she told us was ~ a couple of years ago she decided to pick one verse in each chapter of the Book of Mormon and write her feelings in a small notebook. She can now open it up on a moments notice and have a talk ready to give. She is a very down to earth person and made us all feel at ease.
President Martino taught about how we need to concentrate our efforts on "rescuing" those who have been baptized and have become less active. (I will tell later about a family that we visited who we hope to rescue.) We were told that we need to include our Heavenly Father in this effort . . . D&C 88:118 " . . . seek diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith."
Sister Ardern taught us to Match the Message. As missionaries, we represent our family, the ward we come from, the church and our Savior. We testify, we teach and we need to as as our sacred message. We are agents of the Lord. She told of a plaque the President McKay had seen in a church. The plaque red, 'Where ere thou are, act thy part'. The church was being torn down, but the plaque was saved and is now in a case at the Provo MTC. We should ask our selves, 'Am I the way the Lord would have me be - am I neat and tidy?'
She also spoke on Obedience. D&C 93:1 "Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me and calleth on my name and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am". We need to repent and be obedient so that we can return to live with our Heavenly Father.
Elder Ardern message was ~ What is a successful mission? Missionaries are called by God. You are here because the Lord . He told us to pack what we have learned in our bags and take it home with us. (We all know that hose who teach learn the most from their teaching.) We need to 1)Feel the spirit and testify; 2)Love the people & desire their salvation; 3)Obey with exactness ~ O3 = obedience opens opportunity; 4)Baptize and Confirmation
What must I do to obtain the gifts of the Spirit? D&C 46:8 " . . . seek ye earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given" How do we seek earnestly? Ask with sincerity / faith; Desire; Work / search; Worthiness; Humility - be teachable; Charity / Love; Share the gospel; Appreciation / give Thanks
We also have been given teaching tools. 1)Our scriptures ~ The Book of Mormon, the most correct book; it draw man closer to God; It is the keystone to our religion. 2)Testimony - share it often. 3) The Holy Ghost ~ it will testify of God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ, it will give comfort, it will bring clarity, it will cleanse and it will give a voice of warning.
Needless to say, we came home spiritually fed and uplifted with a resolve to be better missionaries!