Tuesday, December 22, 2015

November 23, 2015 - 'Tis the season to have meetings - Joshua, Texas

Elder O'Brien with his trainer (center) and his trainer's trainer

Hello Family!

I had a week full of meetings and conferences so not a lot happened with our investigators. It's alright though, sometimes missionaries just need a week of figuring out what they can do better and this was one of those. We had Elder Falabella from the Seventy come for a mission conference and the Fort Worth Stake conference so I heard a lot from him. It was pretty funny because all the Spanish-speaking missionaries started pronouncing his name "Fal-a-bay-a" because usually two Ls make a Y sound in Spanish but he kept correcting them because he's always pronounced it "Fal-a-bell-a." There were some confused missionaries.

Anyway, he first spoke to the mission on Friday and mainly focused on teaching families. The next day was the adult session of stake conference so we got to hear him again. This time he mostly talked about the Sabbath and the temple. On Sunday he spoke some more about the temple and having faith to do what the Lord has trusted us to do. I also got to hear from President Ames all three days which was awesome! Rarely do missionaries get to hear from their mission president that much. From all the talks given, I've decided to open my mouth and speak more, invite everyone in a household to hear the gospel rather than just one or two, and help make salvation a personal experience for everyone I teach.

Oh, and I guess I should mention that I also heard from President Ames at the new trainer meeting on Wednesday. You can take a couple seconds to reread that if you need to. I know I had to hear it twice before I was sure. I will be staying in Joshua this transfer and I will indeed be training a new missionary. At about 6:30 Monday night we heard the super intense ringtone that is reserved solely for President Ames by most companionships and we're like "WHAAT?!" When I answered he told me "I'd actually like to speak to both you and Elder Simmons." He then proceeded to tell me that he felt inspired to call me as a trainer this transfer. After we were done talking, President Ames asked to speak to Elder Simmons and told him he would be a district leader in Saginaw.

I thought a lot about why the Lord would want me to train so early in my mission and I think the answer came to me when, at the meeting, I saw six other new trainers who barely finished being trained. This includes Elder Brinkerhoff and Elder Newey from my MTC district. It seems that the Lord is building a foundation of strong missionaries by forcing both us trainers and our new missionaries to rely on Him rather than our own experience. Elder Simmons explained it this way: Most missionaries come during the summer or early fall. These missionaries are soon going to make up the majority of the mission. The Lord wants all his Texas Fort Worth missionaries to fully rely on Him. So, what group of missionaries would he start this with? What's the best way to do this?

The answers are 1. the biggest, newest group and 2. by having them train. I'm a little nervous about training a new missionary but I know it's what is best for me right now. It's easy to slide into the background when your companion knows what he's doing but that's not how missionaries improve and become who God wants them to be. Plus, history shows that both my new missionary and I will most likely make it out alive. It'll be a crazy few weeks but I've made it through harder things.

You can look for a picture of me with my new companion on Facebook this week. Hopefully I don't look any more terrified than he is... You'll have to let me know. Have a good week!

Elder O'Brien (the younger)

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