It was a packed week for me with the giant service project, Tuesday P-Day, and the Worldwide Missionary Broadcast. On top of that we also interviews with President Ames on Friday which ends up being almost a full-day deal.
I guess I'll start with P-Day. After shopping, emailing, etc. we went to the Fort Worth Water Gardens in downtown and spent some time with the two Fort Worth zones. I got stuck driving around downtown because of this so that was fun. It made me a little nervous at first but it went fairly well. Back to the gardens though. They were actually really cool and picturesque which is quite rare for Texas. It was a super nice day too so I definitely had fun. I'll send a few pictures. Also, right as we got there this younger couple walked up and the guy said, "Hey, I saw your nametags. Are you in the Fort Worth mission?" To which we said yes. He then told us that he finished his mission here a year and a half ago and that he was visiting with his wife. He sure didn't do a good job of defying stereotypes, but hey, it was cool to see him.
As Eric mentioned, we had a Worldwide Missionary Broadcast on Wednesday. The trainings they gave were definitely worth the couple hours from our day. I loved how they emphasized baptizing converts. We discussed that as a zone later and decided that it sounds redundant at first but it's really profound when you think about it. Our purpose is to help people become converted to the Gospel BEFORE baptism. When they are baptized it should be out of a complete understanding of the Gospel. They also need to have lived the parts of the gospel up to that point, namely faith in Jesus Christ and repentance. I also liked the training that was given about finding as you teach by asking, "Who do you know who..." and then filling in various life is events that may cause a softening of the heart.
After the broadcast we had to take our car in to get that dent fixed from last month. The Burleson Elders gave us a ride back from the repair shop and from there we became a bike area. It wasn't too bad the first couple days because we got rides everywhere and mostly did planning but it got a little rough on Friday when we had to get up early and bike five miles to church. All I can say is that you don't realize how hilly Texas is until you have to bike it. The reason we did this is because we needed a ride to interviews from Burleson but they were low on miles. We had to compromise somehow and us biking five miles one way, literally up hill both ways, seemed to be the best solution. I'm sure if I was in shape it would've been fine, but alas, I was not.
Interviews went well though. President Ames is just awesome so it was a good day. At lunchtime our district was talking in the kitchen about some of the missionaries who just went home and Elder Luke mentioned that his previous companion kept joking about doing disobedient things (nothing serious) and said, "What are they going to do, send me home?" Elder Luke said he would just think, "Noooo! They'd send me home too!" As soon as he said that, President Ames walked in and said, "Nobody's
going home, not on my watch!" It was hilarious.
The actual interview was awesome too of course. My favorite thing from it was when he told me about Neil L. Anderson's training for mission presidents a couple years ago. He said that Elder Anderson pulled all the wives aside and told them, "Sometimes I come home from a long day and tell my wife 'I feel like such a loser.' She always lovingly tells me with a smile, 'You're not a loser,' and that makes me feel better instantly." President Ames said that since then Sister Ames has always used that same line when he feels like a loser and it always makes them both laugh. So, he told me to imagine him, Sister Ames, or somebody saying "you're not a loser :)" when I feel down. I've tried it and it totally works. Mom and Dad, I encourage you to smile and do the same when the other is feeling down. Try not to have happy thoughts then! I also came up with a cheesy statement to go along with President Ames' "Fire burns wood but tempers steel. I am made of steel." Mine is, "I always feel like the wood--until I look back and realize the fire made me stronger." True statement.
Anyvays, I love ya'll and you certainly are not losers!
Elder O'Brien (the younger)