Sunday, June 8, 2014

That's the high I think of this week. 108 degrees. Are you kidding me?! I've literally never felt anything so hot in my life! It probably got even higher, it's just that when we checked it was 108. I couldn't even believe it.... Well, I definitely can believe it being out in the sun. But man, it's like standing in front of a fire. All day. It's fun though, at least we have a car and aren't biking around all day. Sheesh! It's getting up there though. I drink so much water but I hardly ever pee because I'm sweating so much! Tmi? All well!

So we had MLC (Mission Leadership...Council?) the other day. I went to one before when they "randomly" selected a bunch of the younger missionaries to attend, so I guess technically it was my second one. But basically in MLC we'll analyze the statistics for each of our zones and council on what we can improve on, what we can do to help missionaries, etc. etc. So it was pretty cool! It makes me feel like I'm a manager in a big business or something, and I have to have good statistics or someone gets fired or something. Okay, not really, but I can definitely see the practical skills I'm getting being a zone leader. I can see how I could use these skills later on in life. It's really interesting! But President Toone has extended the challenge (did I mention this already...?) that every single companionship in the mission baptizes this transfer. It's a pretty awesome challenge and a lot of the missionaries are getting set up for it. We had 5 baptisms in our zone just last week, which is pretty decent! The goal is that we all baptize someone this transfer, and it will get us on track to be able to achieve weekly baptisms in every area. That's the vision of President Toone, and so we have the task as zone leaders to help train and motivate to help achieve that vision. Another thing they brought up in MLC is a personal mission plan that's designed to help us work better with the members. The idea is that you brainstorm a list of anyone and everyone that you could possibly share the gospel with. Then, prayerfully pick 2-3 names. After that, you set a goal as to how you're going to help these people come closer to Christ, and set a date for when you'll have it accomplished. So, that's what we've been doing is going around to all the members of our ward and encouraging them to do this. Should set us up for long-term success!

Tomorrow is our zone meeting, which is basically like district meeting only... for the zone. So Elder Bressler and I have been preparing a training that we're going to give our zone that's going to help them roll this mission plan out. We've decided that we're going to do everything we can to lead with love rather than fear or something else. So far it seems like we've gotten pretty good feedback whenever we praise our stewardship. We just find ourselves talking about various missionaries in the zone and how awesome they are, so I had the thought that if we think they're awesome, we should call them and tell them they're awesome. So, that's what we've been doing! It makes me feel good, and I'm sure it helps them feel good as well. I'm sure that's how Christ would do it! That's really the trick, trying to do everything the way Christ would do it.

We have some really awesome people that we're teaching that are ssooo ready for baptism! The catch? They don't live in the boundaries of our area, or the boundaries of our mission, for that matter. Even more ridiculous, the missionaries in the other missions aren't contacting these people, so they've just kept coming to church and meeting with us. We seriously have two people that could be baptized tomorrow if we had the authority to do so. We're planning on asking the bishop for his blessing on going forward with their baptisms.

I've really re-learned how awesome prayer is lately. I was reading in PMG about how prayer should be energizing and uplifting and super awesome and I realized that's not exactly how it was for me. I have a tendency to pray for the same things over and over without really putting my heart into it, so to speak. But as I've changed that and prayed with "real intent" and actually putting my heart into the things I'm saying, I really notice a different feeling in my prayers. I think I forget sometimes that it's not just a laundry list of things you need from God, then you stop. It's actually communication where you can receive the Spirit and revelation. Just goes to show, it can be really easy to take the basics for granted. We always hear pray, read, go to church as the things we need to do but we don't really think about it. It seriously makes such a huge difference! I dunno exactly where I was going with that, but it's true.

Anywho, I'm still having a blast down here in Tempe. It's nice and hot, the work is great, the Spirit is strong and the baptisms flow forth! I love the work! And I love YOU!

-Elder Cox

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