Sunday, August 30, 2015

August 2015

     We had a great Mission Leadership Council this month.  The district leaders were invited to the first half where we studied charity together and discussed how we could develop that gift.  Among other things, we also talked about how an additional part of the missionary purpose for leaders is to help those in their stewardship fulfill their purpose as missionaries.

    (Front:  Sisters Peacock, Sharp, Halford, Flamm, Webb, Pres. & Sis. Eaton, Sisters Hill, Jeffrey, and Singer; Middle:  Elders Andrasko, Mathews, Johnson, Noh, Graham, Lewis, Jones, and Tavo; Back:  Elders Mousser, Downing, Willardsen, Anderson, Taliauli, Holtry, Maekawa, Anderton, John, and Lemmon)

 Zone Conferences centered on the doctrine of Christ.  We have found that preparation increases learning exponentially, so missionaries received a preparation assignment.  Each missionary studied 2 Nephi 31, chose one of the elements of that doctrine, and prepared a 3 minute talk.  They studied chapter 1 of Preach My Gospel and watched "Your Purpose" from the District training dvds.  They were also invited to ponder, pray about, and discuss these questions:  As the missionary purpose becomes written in your heart, how should that affect every aspect of missionary work?  Which aspects of your own work should it change more than it has, and how?  

     Our mission photographer, Elder Nowlin, has been released so we didn't get pictures at zone conference this time.  We did have one of the sisters in Kent/Renton--Sisters Hill, Lucky, Clement, Bailey, Ripplinger, Cauley, Frischknecht, Dodson, Lyman, Killingsworth, Stewart, Jeffrey, and Eaton.

We said goodbye to these dear missionaries--front: Sister Walker, Sis. & Pres. Eaton, Sisters Sharp and Ripplinger; back: Elders Mathews & Albrecht, Sisters Ballard, Webb, and Jeffrey.


We welcomed 25 new missionaries this month--
Front: Sisters Westover, Beazer, & Gafa, Pres. & Sis. Eaton, Sisters Herlin, Jorgensen, and Rimer
Middle: Elders Latimer, Fuller, Snook, Wingle, Sullivan, Larsen, Miller, Lowry, Jeong, and Willoughby; Back: Elders Duffin, Healey, Richards, Richards, Davis, Asper, Beaudette, Anderson, and Riley.

Maintaining High Expectations Even When Expectations Aren’t Met

            This month’s newsletter article is written mostly by my daughter Elizabeth Eaton, who served in the Washington Seattle Mission, Russian speaking.  Many of you have heard me say that she was one of the best missionaries I have ever known.  I judge her success not by her number of baptisms, but as the Lord does—by her commitment to find, teach, baptize and retain all those she could.  Indeed, the faith and effort she put forth when she saw little fruit was what was most impressive to me.  Here is what she wrote me recently when I asked her how she managed to keep her faith and intensity up, despite not seeing much in the way of fruit.


Sometimes, I experienced days when nobody seemed to listen. Even people on the street would shut us down almost immediately. It was hard to find anyone who would be willing to have a short gospel conversation with us, let alone new investigators or people ready for baptism. This could be very discouraging, especially as we tried to raise our expectations and those expectations weren't always met.

My wonderful companion Sister Bruening thought of something that really helped us stay positive. When lessons were falling through, people were rude, and nobody wanted to listen, she'd say, "Sister Eaton, I am so grateful for today! Today is a gift day."

On days when we saw results, when we had powerful lessons or found awesome new investigators or committed someone to baptism, it was easy to remember the joy of missionary work. We could feel the blessings. But on days when nothing worked, it was a little harder to still be consecrated, to still give the Lord everything. We decided that when we worked hard without seeing results, that was when we were truly showing the Lord our faith. That is when we were giving a gift to Him.

We worked every day as if we were going to have a baptism that week. For me, that only actually happened once on my mission (my very last week). But I was able to continue hoping and working hard. I knew that if I worked as hard as I could and still exercised my faith even when nothing was working, I would be giving my greatest gift to God. (Also, if nothing's working, try something different! "To reach a goal you have never before attained, you must do things you have never before done." Elder Scott)

Being a consecrated missionary all the time, not just when we see the obvious miracles, is how we show love for God. And whether He blesses us with baptisms or not, He will bless us with the miracle of the Atonement in our lives. And He will bless us to be instruments in His hands. And, you certainly are more likely to help people get baptized if you are doing everything you can to make that happen. (As Elder Bednar taught, "Meaningful prayer requires both holy communication and consecrated work.")