Hey sorry it's been a while since I've written! I'll try and give you a rundown of what has happened these last 2 weeks...
First of all, shout out to my cousin Henry for getting baptized this weekend!
Way to go!
We had a great group of missionaries come in 2 weeks ago. One included Elder Wagner, dad's college basketball coach's son! He is starting his mission down in Quartzite, AZ down with all of the snowbirds. Also a missionary that is from St. Louis and that is going to pitch for Kansas State after his mission came in! I hope I can serve around him sometime!
This transfer is a zone conference transfer so it's very very busy. Because President Snow is a genius, for all of the zone conferences we are inviting the Stake Presidents to come and train us on what they want from us to help the missionaries and local and stake leaders and members work more closely. Is has been a huge success so far and all of the Stake Presidents are really excited and have gave some great trainings. After they train, I train a stake on planning. So I take the vision that the stake president gives us and then, with all the missionaries in that stake, we "set goals and make plans" to achieve that vision. We had 2 zone conferences (1 in Kingman, AZ) and also MLC (mission leader conference) this week so I was running on Dave Faldmo sleep (that means very little).
Training all of these new missionaries! Can you find me in the back?
Elder Sawyer and I trained on consecration at MLC this past week. We used the story that Coach Squier told my football team before the season started my senior year. It is about Hernando Cortez the conquistador from Spain who conquered the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico and took over the world's largest treasure. What he did was burn all of his boats so that the only was he and his army would return to Spain would be on the opponents' ships. It raised all of their level of commitment and they came out victorious. I'll send you the full story in a different email (below). We talked about how we can't have any boats out of the mission and need to be fully focused on the now in Las Vegas! Everyone, think of the boats that are still holding you back from being a better mom, dad, son, daughter, friend, or disciple of Jesus Christ and burn them!
So general conference was the best thing ever wasn't it? Favorite talk for me was Elder Holland's about the divine calling of mothers. "No love in mortality comes closer to approximating the pure love of Jesus Christ than the selfless love a devoted mother has for her child." -E. Holland
It was cool to relate to his talk because the missionary he was talking about was from one of the wards I've served in here in Warm Springs, the Las Palmas Ward. Elder Holland's son used to be the Bishop right before I went to that Ward. Also, to go along with that talk, my mother Robin aka Rockin' Robin is my hero in all aspects of life. She is my example for unconditional Christ-like love and I hope my kids can have a mother just like her! She is one of the biggest
reasons that I'm on a mission. I love my mom!
Besides Holland's talk I loved how my boys Elder Foster and Montoya talked right next to each other. They were both just down in Vegas a few weeks ago for the mission presidents conference here and are a huge part of President Snow's coalition. I felt honored just because I was able to transport their bags to their hotel when they came and now was watching them at conference speak :)
But for real Elder Foster is one of the coolest guys I've met. He is a really great leader! Go reread his talk, specifically the story about Pablo. Now, we are applying this to the missionaries in our mission. We are counseling the zone leaders and district leaders to let new missionaries know up front what their challenges might be and tell them to come to us when they run into that problem.
Another talk that I want to talk about real quick is Elder Christofferson's talk "Why the Church." I get frustrated when people think they don't need organized religion to be spiritual. The purpose of the church is to give us, sons and daughters of God, the ordinances and tools necessary to prepare to return to live with our Heavenly Father again with our families. Don't forget that we do NOT come into Christ without His ordinances by His Priesthood. (D&C 84:20-22)
Remember Krysta? I baptized her almost a year ago. She came to both sessions of general conference on Saturday and watched it with us! She felt the Spirit really strong during Elder Holland's talk on mothers and started to tear up and told me after that that talk was for her. Also, we are teaching a 23-year-old girl who just had a baby so, Krysta came to a lesson with us and shared her awesome testimony of the Book of Mormon! It was cool because Krysta was in a similar situation almost a year ago. These are the blessings of coming back to a stake you’ve already served in.
My mission is going great! Just a little too fast right now.
Love you all!
NOTES from training I gave:
1.) In February 1519, Hernando Cortez set sail on the final leg of a voyage that was to take him from Cuba, a stopover, to the shores of the Yucatan. He commanded 11 ships, with more than 500 soldiers, 100 sailors, and 16 horses, bound for Mexico to take the world’s richest treasure. The precious jewels, gold, silver, and sculptures sheltered on this limestone peninsula had been hoarded by the same army for 600 years.
2.) The quest for these riches began several years before in Spain. Cortez, already a wealthy man, had heard about the treasure. For centuries people had tried to take it, to no avail. But ambitious Cortez knew that he could take it—if he had the right kind of help. He decided to get more people involved. He wanted to build an army that could accomplish something that one man could not. So Cortez began to travel around Spain to talk to people and build a dream in them. Since he was already rich and successful in their eyes, as he told them of
the bountiful treasure that was theirs for the taking, they believed him. (Cortez was a practice extender!)
3.) Oh, other people had tried, he told them. Columbus, Vasquez, DeSoto, Vespucci-all had gone to Mexico seeking the fortune. And all were ordinary people, just like those Cortez was trying to persuade.
“They are just like us,” he said to his listeners. “If they can do it,
we can! And we will succeed!” This got them excited.
“Let’s do it!” they agreed after Cortez’s persuasive speech.
4.) Of course, a few said, “I don’t really believe there’s treasure there,” or “I don’t think it’ll work. But the majority of the people enthusiastically embraced the idea, and before long, Cortez’s ships were in place. The soldiers were in position, the sailors were prepared, and the horses were aboard. And together they set sail for Mexico and the richest treasure in the world.
5.) But once out on the ocean, it didn’t take long for Cortez to realize he had a problem. Some who were excited before the journey, had now turned into whiners. There are always whiners.
Cries of “I shouldn’t have come,” “This isn’t what I thought it was,” and “I didn’t know we were going to have to work this hard,” began to circulate among the people. Yet Cortez persisted, in spite of them, and made it to Cuba, where he took on water, food, and supplies. After resting his men and letting the quitters get off the ship, he began the final leg of the journey, formulating an idea that had never been used before. He created a system to motivate and train his soldiers and sailors that was unheard of in the history of the military. When
they landed on the shores of the Yucatan, Cortez began training, coaching, stoking them, even. He would hold “seminars” in the afternoon and “pep-rallies” at night. They were reminded constantly of all that they were about to accomplish. Cortez painted a panoramic picture of the magnificent treasure that would soon be theirs. And as they marched up and down the beach, honing their skills of warfare, they were told, “This is just one of the beautiful beaches we’ll be able to walk along when we get that treasure!”
Oh, but they were fired up! They were eager, animated, energized, and as they waited, trained, and prepared for victory, their conviction grew.
6.) But there was one more level of commitment that Cortez wanted to take them to, and they arrived at that place on that last, historic day, as they lined up to march inland. Before they would be allowed to seize the treasure that no army had taken for 600 years, Cortez would speak to them.
They were probably expecting something like, “OK, guys, we’re gonna get out there and win today, and when we do, we are going to par-TAAAY! . . . Oh, and if it gets too tough, we’ll just meet at the oak tree and come back to the ship.” But that’s not what they heard.
As they listened, Cortez leaned in and said three simple words that changed everything: “Burn the boats.”
“Excuse me?” they must have said.
“Burn the boats,” he repeated, “because if we are going home, we are going home in their boats.” And he torched them. He burned his own boats, and by doing so, he raised their commitment level to new and astounding heights! And an amazing thing took place: they fought well! For the first time in six centuries, the wealth changed hands. Cortez’s band took that treasure.
7.) And why did they win? The answer is very simple. They had no choice! It was “take it or die”—no options. Their boats were burned. Theirs is the attitude you must embrace in your heart and mind: you must burn your boats. What are the boats in your life that are keeping you from accomplishing what you really want? What vessels in your mind are keeping afloat the fear and doubt and frustration that hold you captive? Whatever prevents you from achieving your goals and dreams is a boat that must be burned.
Unfortunately, when the bullets start flying, we make for the boats. It’s just human nature. Doing anything else really require a decision on our part. It’s attitude more than anything— A willingness to work without the net, to burn the bridge—or boat. What boat do you need to burn? It can only happen one way: by embracing a level of commitment that sees sacrifice as a positive thing.
So many people think of sacrifice as something that is taken away, and it’s gone forever. Nothing could be further from the truth. Sacrifices of time, money, and effort are what we give to the game. How badly do you want that final result? Are you willing to sacrifice more than anyone else? If so, then your triumphs will be consistently greater than anyone else’s. Greatness—your greatness—will always be measured by the sacrifices that you are willing to make!