This week has involved a lot of planning as we prepare for the busiest week this mission has ever expereinced... Let me give you the run down.
Sunday: Missionaries going home come in to have their final interviews, verifying numbers for the week with the zone leaders
Monday: President finishes the final interviews and the missionaries going home have their final dinner with president
Tuesday: Missionaries go home and new missionaries come in. They eat dinner and are taken to their locations to sleep.
Wednesday: Transfer day, trainings with new missionaries and their trainers and they leave to their areas
Thursday: Day of prep for Friday and Saturday
Friday: Leadership Council in the morning and then a training with those who arrived to the mission last transfer in the evening.
Saturday: Meeting with Elder Christofferson
Sunday: Day of rest!
Leadership council is usually about 2 days of preparation in itself and the meeting with Elder Christofferson has taken several weeks to prepare (with plenty more things to do). Planning for these meetings includes what will be taught, travel of missionaries, where missionaries will sleep (if coming from far away and need to come in the day before), meals, and a number of other things. It's been quite the deal! For me, the mission has not only been spiritual preparation for a life dedicated to serving the Lord but also preparation for running a Fortune 500. Ha!
Aside from that this week we have been fortunate enough to work a decent amount in our area. One evening we decided to go by the Patriarch's home to ask if he could visit an investigator with us later on in the week (the appointment ended up falling through). When we walked up to their home they were just arriving from the stake center after spending the day there doing family history work. They invited us in and we sat down. Them being an older couple, and being Argentinians (Italian roots), really like to talk. So we did what we do best and listened.
They both come from some of the original member families here in Mendoza. They told me the first missionary came here by himself from Buenos Aires in the late 1940's. He found moderate success but upon returning 50 years later he came to find several stakes full of active members.
Both of their families joined the church in the mid 1950's and have been pioneers in sharing the gospel and establishing the church here in Mendoza. It was very interesting to learn more about the beginnings of the church here and how far it has come in a little over half a century. It also made me feel lucky because I feel like I'm in a place that is in its beginnings. I look forward to visiting the people again one day and seeing how it has grown.
What really stood out to me in the conversation is this couples purity. When you are in their presence and when they speak there is neither anything negative nor crude. They are continually involved in doing good and set themselves apart from the things of the world as much as they can. They talked to us about how they have to make efforts all the time in order to keep themselves in holy places. If there is any activity or place that is questionable they don't get involved.
Seeing them was another reminder to me that the things of the world really aren't what bring happiness. They are one of the happiest couple I have ever met while having a handful of struggles at the same time (he is going blind). They only participate in wholesome and uplifting activities and for that being with them just makes you feel happy and safe.
The teaching of living righteous lives and doing going continually is one that I've since been using in the teaching opportunities we've had this week. I think we all just need a reminder sometimes where true happiness comes from. For example, a church service project may not seem as enticing as going out to a movie. But I don't remember any movie that has left me with that warm, enduring, satisfying feeling that comes from serving others. It's something that only takes a little bit of reflection to realize but for some reason the choices can still be difficult.
I hope that everyone is doing well and that you have a great week!