It was super busy as we had leadership council and started zone conferences within the same week. In leadership council we prepared a part on the responsibilities of leaders - specifically focused the zone leaders and sister training leaders. It was fitting because there are so many new leaders this transfer as many went home in the last.
Our zone conferences are going well so far. Elder Garcia and I give our presentation on working with new members of the church. It's a 45 minute presentation that we have given 7 times now so we've got it down pretty well. That being said, everyone single one has been different as we receive little bits of guidance and direction from the Spirit in each one to meet the specific needs of the individual zones.
As we prepared the presentation we got together all of the notes we took from the meetings we had with Elder Viñas to see apply what he taught us. He spoke a lot about the "My Family" booklets that the church is using now to jump-start family history work with new, uneducated (me being one of them), and less-active members of the church. We decided to take a good 15 minutes to talk about that and Familysearch because, in the end, the information in those booklets is supposed to be entered in Familysearch. It's perfect for Argentina because members feel comfortable doing stuff like that in their homes and then we can take them to the family history centers where they can enter in the information and work with those assigned to family history.
While preparing and presenting I have realized more and more the importance of family history work. There are many aspects to it in which I have been enlightened but one of which I will share right now. New members of the church are often full of joy for the new knowledge that they have come to know. That joy often leads, as it did for Lehi in his vision, to the desire to share it with their families. When the new members learn they can share this message not only with their living relatives but give the opportunity for the ordinances for those beyond the veil it brings a new depth to their understanding of the Gospel and becomes an anchor for them. Giving them the opportunity to search for family members not only brings to surface memories or new found knowledge of family members but bring them the desire to go to the temple and perform the work for them there. If someone achieves that step of going to the temple to perform the first saving ordinances of the Gospel for their relatives they are well on their way to "enduring to the end." It's a good indicator that they are converted and will only help them in their further conversion. The next step would then be to continue faithful in the Gospel to, when arriving at the appropriate time and after being a member for at least one year, continue performing the later ordinances in the temple.
I have often asked myself on the mission, "How do I help this new member continue progressing and to one day arrive to the temple?" Unfortunately, I have often discounted the importance of family history but now I can see, very clearly, that family history has a direct correlation between helping people get to the temple. I am very grateful for the opportunity I have had this zone conference to prepare and teach on this subject. It was a big aspect of the Gospel that I was missing in my life. I am looking forward to working more on my family history when I return from the mission.
Hope all is well for all of you back home!
- Elder Rainock