I hope everyone had a great Halloween! The first picture of me and Elder Burden explains our night pretty accurately. Mtn. Dew. Lots of it. We had to be in by 5, so we bought some soda to stay active. We got a call from the AP's telling us that we were going to be housing the Prescott zone leaders, Elders Anderson and Nelson, who were coming to the valley to stay the night for zone leader council. So at about 8:30 pm on Halloween, we drove to Glendale to pick 'em up at the transfer building. I wanted to make a pit stop on the way back, so I drove to the mission home to trick-or-treat President and Sister Taylor! The four of us rang the doorbell and hid. Sister Taylor opened the door and sounded a little confused. We jumped out and said "Trick or treat," and she got a kick out of that. She invited us inside for some candy. Slow night at the mission home. They only had 5 kids knock on their door the whole night. President and Sister Taylor had a bunch of snacks and food on the table, including two whole pizzas. We gladly finished those off for her. We spent the next hour or so chatting with them about the mission, stories, successes, questions, all that fun stuff. It was so much fun, probably one of my most memorable Halloween nights. I wish I had taken some pictures. I love that we can have those experiences with our mission president. We made it back home by about 10:30.
The next morning, Tuesday, we had to be up at 5:30 for zone leader council. We did another hike up Sunrise Mtn., just like my first ZLC back in March with Elder Angelos. I enjoyed this one a lot because I knew more of the zone leaders. Elders Johnson and Buttars were there too, which made it a blast. We took a few pictures from the top, one of me and Elder Allred with Surprise about 10 miles behind us. Everything at the foot of White Tank Mtns is Surprise. The last picture is of me, Elder Anderson, Elder Nelson (Prescott ZL's) and half of Elder Buttars' face. The zone leader council itself was great, and definitely set the stage for the mission leadership training the next day. At the training, President played a talk from the new mission president's seminar in the MTC called "Becoming a Preach My Gospel Missionary," by Elder David A. Bednar of the Twelve. It as amazing. We set so many goals as a zone, and the talk alone shaped the structure for our zone meeting this Friday. It might be one of the least planned zone meetings, but we feel like it will be one of the most effective. If it's anything like the combined Surprise district meeting we had this week, it will be great. Elder Allred and I led a skills training about the importance of the progress record, a form we use when presenting information to the ward and stake. We wanted everyone to understand just how important it is. A huge discussion began about how we use it, information we need to present and accountability. At the end of it we drew a mock-progress record on the board and had everyone fill it out with the information of one of their investigators. By the end of it, it was beautiful. Nobody really said anything because we were so proud of it. I think this is going to help the missionaries in Surprise stake build the trust of the stake presidency just that much more.
Yesterday was our mission tour by Elder Kevin R. Duncan of the Seventy. It's broken up over the course of three days, kind of like a zone conference. Yesterday was our zone, Peoria/Peoria N. and Goodyear/Buckeye. In the morning, he did a special training with the district and zone leaders in the zones, about 15 of us total. What a great experience. It's difficult for me to recall all of the things he said because I was too busy writing down personal revelation in my notes (which he told us to do). In the meeting with the rest of the zones, he spoke a lot about what is referred to as "My Doctrine" in the scriptures and how that helps with goal setting and planning. I loved it! My mind was a little blown by all of it but definitely a spiritually uplifting experience. Once again, hard to describe, but take a look at my notes!
I'm sure everyone's wondering about what happened with Bonnie. We met with her on Thursday night. The first thing she said was that she apologized for the way she reacted last week when we informed her that her baptism should be pushed back. We talked a little bit more, and really helped her understand the principle of repentance. She seems to understand it a little bit more, but I fear that she may actually have to go through it to fully grasp its meaning--"learning it the hard way" so to speak. She understands why her baptism had to be pushed back. She's still upset, but at least she understands. We asked if this was something she still wanted to pursue, and she said yes. However, it won't be happening here. She told us that she'd been doing a lot of thinking and praying, and will be moving back to Florida. She said that's where her dad is, and she wants to be closer to him. Plus, she knows the area, she can get all the medical attention she needs and can even get around on foot. It's just better for her there. She'll be leaving this weekend. We're sad to see her go, but like I said, it's in her best interests. She asked if we could help her get in touch with the missionaries in the area, and we can. I think that night I felt more love for her in that one lesson than in any other lesson prior to that.
With Bonnie leaving, we're back to where we started at the beginning of the month. We're not discouraged at all, because we know great things are going to happen. Elder Allred goes home in three weeks and I want to help him see a baptism before he leaves. High bar? Probably, but the Lord will provide. We've been working hard and changing our finding efforts to working with families, and we feel that's how we can best live our purpose as missionaries. Let's get to work! Until next week, take care and be good.
Elder Eric James Turner
|Mt. Dew on Halloween with Elder Burden|
|On Sunrise Mountain overlooking Surprise, AZ with Elder Allred|
|With Elders Nelson, Anderson, and Buttars on Sunrise Mountain|