Saturday, September 17, 2011

Brazen Serpents (posted by mom)

We had an incredibly regular week. It has been a long time since we've had a ordinary week. In fact, it is rather out of the ordinary.

No meetings, no trainings, no mid-night calls, no ground shaking changes to the mission. It made for a good week of exchanges, and that is what we did.

This week we went on 5 exchanges, Tuesday to Saturday. We spent our time in the south. We went to Ping Dong, Gaoxiong, and Tainan.

In Gaoxiong, I got to go on an exchange with Elder X. We had a lot of fun, and got a lot done. He and his companion work well together. He works hard and is really helping out his zone and the missionaries there.

Just last night I shared with some missionaries a story I love from the bible. It has to do with a brazen serpent. I like this story because I feel like it is very representative of missionary work. We truly carry a gospel of healing and salvation. If only people would but look and live. (Alma 33:19-22.) A lot of people do look and live, and it truly is a miracle.

I like this story because I feel like it portrays the urgency we should have towards this work. We should do all we can to help people accept this message and look. It should show in our faces, in what we do, in what we say, and we should be persistent about helping others know the truthfulness of these things. We all know someone out there who is dying spiritually and desperately needs the gospel. In fact, we are in a world of people who are dying spiritually and know not where to look for help.

So I resolved with the missionaries to be more urgent in helping people look to Christ and live.

I love this gospel and I know it is true. Elder Spencer Harris

Sunday, September 11, 2011

24 New Missionaries! ...and becoming a principled people (posted by mom)

What a week! 24 new missionaries came to our mission. That is the largest group for as long as anyone here can remember. When we had our trainee/trainer meeting there were 50 plus people in the room. It quite nearly filled up our small chapel. These new missionaries are so much fun. As assistants we are with them the whole time, we run with them in the morning, we take them to all their trainings, we teach them, we eat with them, we contact with them. This group was a good group, there is a lot of fire and zeal to get out and do the work!

In president's welcome presentation, he has a slide show that his family put together for them. In part of his slideshow, there are pictures of him and quotes from letters he sent home. One of the quotes was, "I really groove on my mission." haha...

President Bishop did groove on his mission, and he still does. I do to: I really groove on my mission. (Someone will have to look that up on 60s 70s online slang dictionary and tell me the exact translation.)

When the new missionaries were about to arrive, we realized that we needed some more mission rule books. President Bishop told us that he had been pondering and praying about getting rid of the rule book for a while now, and mission presidents had been counseled to do so in a previous mission president's seminar. So in the end, this new missionary group does not have any mission rules. They only have a list of phone use guidelines that keep missionaries within our cell phone contract.

In a matter of two weeks, the mission has a whole new landscape. It is not the mission I knew growing up. But it's groovy, and I like it.

I guess when they re-did the mission handbook of instructions; they cut a lot out of it and emphasized principles. President Bishop wants us as missionaries to become a 'principled people' and be anxious to live the rules as we understand them.

The church is true. The mission is great. Love, Elder Spencer Harris

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Two Big Changes and a Typhoon (posted by mom)

This next week we have 24 new missionaries coming to the mission. WOW! That is a lot of missionaries. We are having to make some changes to our plans to accomidate such a large group. We are really excited for all the fire and faith they will bring.

This week was a big week. We announced 2 big policy changes at zone leader council. I thought the zone leaders would be hesitant, but they all took it fine.

Change one: In the past our mission counted people from the street as added investigators. Now investigators need to have sat down with the missionaries once and accept a return appointment. President Bishop, also decided that we only count those who actually come to the church, or let us in their homes, to meet and accept a return apointment. Currently our mission adds over 2,000 investigators a month. Next month it will be a totaly different story. It will be interesting to see what happens. We are hoping that the change will help missionaries focus more on their purpose.

The second change: Our mission for as long as anyone can remember, has contacted on the street separately, as individual missionaries. It is actually very efficient, twice the work can get done. The rationale was that missionaries were still within sight and sound of each other. However, President Bishop has felt the need to change this also. From now on, we will be more align with the teaching of the scriptures and the missionary handbook in preaching the gospel two by two on the streets of Taiwan. It is a big change for a lot of missionaries, but it will be good.

President Bishop is a very obedient person. He does what he thinks is right. These two changes are pretty big, but he felt that these were things that the Lord wanted him to do and so he changed accordingly. I am very impressed by his willingness to submit to the will of God and his obedience regardless of the consequence. We are really glad that the zone leaders were positive in their feedback and excited about the changes.

This last week we got stuck on the freeway with no gas in a Typhoon. Luckily we were in Tainan where we know some very willing members who came and saved us. We plan to write them a "thank you" letter tomorrow. They really did help us out of a bind.

I am loving life, and I'm loving my mission! Elder Spencer Harris