Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Ramos Mejia- Week #58

General Authority Week!

Welcome to the Sean Gilmore Show,

Do you ever wish your life is a movie, or TV show, like the Truman Show? I would probably watch this last week on re-runs. Actually, this week was kind of a hard one. Everyone was really stressed out with the three conferences, we didn’t get a lot of time to get out and work, our baptism fell through, and the second counselor in our bishopric died, which has hit the ward pretty hard. He was 29 and had cancer. He has a wife and three children, one only eight months old. Last week was testimony meeting, and everyone was just a mess. It was hard, as a missionary, this is my ward, my home ward for six months, and you build relationships and get attached to people. When you spend long enough with anyone, you can learn to love them, but it is even easier when they are great people trying their best to live the gospel.

Anyway, regardless of the trials, there were so many great things that happened. I call it General Authority Week. You know General Authorities are on your mind, when they start appearing in your dreams. Last night I dreamt that L. Tom Perry came to our mission and we were talking with him. Do quotes from a General Authority in a dream count as modern scripture? That wasn’t a serious question...

I will get to the Elder Zivic stuff later on, but we got the Church News this week and it had summaries from the talks at the New Mission President Seminar. It was just chalk-full of amazing quotes that everyone has to read! I liked it because the General Authorities understand better than anyone, what being on a mission is. They understand it isn’t a breeze, but that there are a lot of grinding times, when you think you will break. President Uchtdorf gave some advice to the mission presidents when he said,

“Please help your missionaries to understand that the fruits of their labor will reach far beyond their present horizon. Generations to come will be grateful and bless their names for their faithfulness and dedication. As these noble missionaries endure rejection, loneliness, self-doubt, homesickness and exhaustion, the Refiner’s fire will purify their souls. They will increase in wisdom and GROW UP in the Lord, and their confidence will wax strong in the presence of God.”

I love the term, Refiner’s fire…I have started to use it too much…but one thing is for sure, if I am not doing any other thing on that list, I am growing up. I liked what you said Dad, that there will be time after the mission for other things, but this time only comes once, and I have to use it as best I can. Anyway, President Uchtdorf goes on,

“A powerful jet reaches its true potential in the air only after the landing gear and takeoff flaps are retracted. Missionaries might experience a similar experience in their labors. They might arrive in the mission field a little clumsy, timid or even cocky, but as you help them to get rid of some early drag, as you guide them to develop some added acceleration and extra lift, they will discover their true potential and become what they were meant to be. They will become true servants of the Lord, following His promptings and magnifying their callings—climbing during their mission to greater spiritual heights and reaching out to faraway goals.”

Then Elder Holland put into words what I have felt, but couldn’t really express, about when you meet someone who is progressing and finally ready for baptism.

Elder Holland: “Spirit will prompt testimony and an invitation to be baptized. There comes such joy and peace in the room, such a near-tangible atmosphere of divinity, that neither the missionary, nor the member, nor the investigator experiencing such a moment would choose to be anywhere else in all the world at that time.”

They understand! Anyway, just a few more quotes and I will write about me. Elder Holland is pretty famous in the MTC for his talks that he has given there, and there are some classic lines from his messages. He always ends them in a powerful way that just makes you think, “Wow, did he just say that?” So here is how he ended his address to the missionaries, just before sitting down.

“The Godhead will bear testimony of you and your companion—frail, little uncelestial souls that you are—when you have earnestly tried to become part of the Divine Order…If you try to live this way—try with all the best that is within you—the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost above you will smile and say, ‘It is enough. We will let these missionaries and their investigators feel a portion of the power of heaven. We will let them feel the touch of our unity and our divinity. …’ Welcome to the work of angels. Welcome to the work of divinity.”

Haha I like the frail little uncelestial souls part. It is so true though. You just can’t have another experience like a mission. Like he said, it is the work of angels; it is the work of divinity. You can’t go on a mission, and put the least little bit of effort into it, and not come back better. All young men go on a mission. Shoot, all young women go on a mission. Everyone go on a mission, I don’t care who you are, how old you are, or your circumstances. You aren’t making the wrong choice if you choose to go on a mission. Senior couples, go on a mission…ok so I can’t really order senior couples around…but just my opinion. Alright so enough of that little rant, on to the Elder Zivic stuff.

Did everyone know that Elder Zivic was a mission President in the Spain…Bilbao mission! Cool huh? Brett is serving in the mission Elder Zivic used to preside over. I told him my best friend is there right now. Also, he is the new financial Secretary, cool stuff Brett! So the interview with him was pretty interesting. He told a little about his story. He lives here in this stake, and has all his life. He helped build the chapel I serve in, and the one the offices are attached to, here in Ramos Mejía. Get this too; he met his wife…in Primary…yeah! That is SWEET! I don’t even remember any girls from Primary. It was really interesting though, I thought he would talk about how important getting out of the offices is to go do missionary work and all that, which he did, but most of it was counsel to enjoy and take advantage of the time spent in the offices. Take advantage of the close relationship being developed with President Benton, because other missionaries just don’t get that opportunity. He said the offices are like Logistics, in the Army, making sure the troops on the front lines can work to maximum efficiency. So that was kind of cool. He really loved his office elders in Spain, and said sometimes they don’t get the credit they deserve. I think the missionaries here are pretty nice to us. They usually are appreciative and send us brownies and stuff…well…the sisters do anyway.

In the big conferences I took about 6 pages of notes. He talked a lot about how we get these “mindsets” about what is possible, and we refuse to think outside that mindset and do new things. He talked about an experiment that some scientists did – they put 4 monkeys in a large cage, with a staircase leading up to some bananas. Once they let the monkeys go, they all obviously ran for the bananas. Once they were almost at the top of the stairs, the scientists hosed them down with cold water, soaking the monkeys (not a very nice thing to do, if you ask me) and made them run back down the staircase to avoid the cold water. Every time they tried to go up and get the bananas, the scientists shot the cold water at them until finally the monkeys decided that they didn´t want to get wet anymore, so they stopped trying to get the bananas. Then the scientists took out one of the monkeys and put in a new monkey that knew nothing about the cold water. Obviously, the monkey went straight for the bananas, but when the three other monkeys saw where he was going they thought that surely the cold water was coming, so they grabbed him off the staircase and carried him away, and started punching and kicking him until he stopped trying to go for the bananas. He thought, well, I guess I shouldn´t go over there. Then the scientists took out a second monkey and put in a second new one, and just like the rest started running for the bananas. I probably would have, too. The two monkeys who remembered the cold water grabbed him off the staircase and carried him away, then started punching and kicking him, and the first new monkey didn´t know what was going on, but started punching and kicking anyway because that´s what happened to him, so he figured he would join in. The scientists changed out the third and fourth monkey, with the same thing happening, until there were 4 monkeys that knew nothing about the cold water, but none tried to go get the bananas. Elder Zivic said that we as people laugh at that story, but many times we get caught in a mindset that is just as ridiculous as the monkeys and the cold water. It happens a lot in missionary work. We don’t try things, because it is not how things have been done, and generations of missionaries have said not to do it that way. Moral of the story, don’t be a stupid monkey. Be a smart monkey and go for that banana! Never mind the cold water. So we also noticed that you don’t have to be an Apostle to have good quotes. Here are a few from him.

Elder Zivic quotes:

“Satan, you have awakened me, and now you will see me work – and it will make you tremble.”

“In the moments when we plead to God saying, “Why don´t you do more to help me?” I can sometimes imagine Heavenly Father say, “Remember that it is you, not me that have to achieve divinity. I already have.”

“When we have a positive attitude, 50% of the work is already done.”

So it was a pretty uplifting week in the sense of learning from the General Authorities. I got my package, thanks a lot! I ran out of peanut butter so that was welcome. Even though I am in the bigger city now, I have still yet to find peanut butter in this whole country. I did know Elder Tyler Larson, he was my district leader in Merlo for a few transfers, and we did divisions together. I would love to hear about the Education week stuff, and discuss it. Glad to hear everything is going well with Lacey, and she had a good time in Livingston. I can’t believe Kim Larson is already getting off her mission…she just left…a few months before me, haha. Well, that is about it. Just to end General Authority Week with a bang, here is another Elder Holland quote that I found a while ago that has quickly become one of my favorites.

“When things aren’t going well, remember that God loves broken things. He especially loves a broken heart. We still live the law of sacrifice. Christ died of a broken heart. We are put in situations to break our hearts. So try to be as good and as big as you can be and see it through, because we get it back, all of it! Everything that was dead and gone. We are given a new life. We all have to give a broken heart sometime. It is our Holy walk: the road to salvation goes through Gethsemane. Endure and save yourself for days of happiness ahead-because they are ahead. Endure! Just stand there and take it! Where else will we go? Peter said, “Lord, to whom would we go?” This gospel is the only hope you’ve got! The sun went down on a very black Friday (as it will for all of us at some point during this test) and it didn’t rise again, but it will. Don’t cave in the middle of the three days. Christ did it. You can do it too!”

Love, Elder Gilmore

P.S. It is amazing how long an email can get, when half of it is quotes copied and pasted into a word document.

P.P.S. There are rumors that an Apostle could be coming to the mission in November, but nothing official.

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