This has been an interesting week. We had the meeting with Elder Kearon (area president of the Europe Area) and Elder Nielsen (Seventy serving on executive board of directors for the missionary department.) It was a good meeting. They talked a lot about agency, repentance and faith. They were there to train us on the use of iPads, but it was not any technical stuff- it was all spiritual stuff. It makes me think of the scripture in Doctrine and Covenants 29:34- “Wherefore, verily I say unto you that all unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal; neither any man, nor the children of men; neither Adam, your father, whom I created.”
Basically we were smart enough to learn to use iPads, but they were training us on the spiritual understanding and doctrines around protection. The iPads are made in partnership with Apple and the church, so they are extremely restrictive, any time that we get an app, President Jordan will get an email saying it. There is an app catalog similar to the App Store, which has all the apps that are approved. We are able to access any church websites, but nothing else. But as they said, the first filter is not the built in restriction, the first filter is your using your agency for personal righteousness. It was a super good meeting.
The meeting was from 9 to 4. We were told we were given the iPads for two reasons.
1- To preach the gospel to all nations, connecting with people previously missed by more traditional missionary work.
2- To learn good habits on the Internet and on this technology that will benefit us throughout our lives. In that way a mission really is to prepare you for life.
With one full day in a neighboring town for that meeting, we had a couple of full days of appointments back in our area. We were able to catch up with one whom we have not been able to see for a long time. Then we had a long day with the Zone Meeting- the longest in the mission. That’s when we actually got the iPads and it took a long time to get all 18 of them set up. Met another guy with a lot of questions all based on anti Mormon things. Following a discussion with him, we testified to him and told him to go read the Book of Mormon and then to come up a list of questions from there. It was a pretty good lesson. We have a couple of other investigators who are progressing along nicely as well. And a couple who cancelled their appointments this week.
Sunday was good in the ward. Monday was a banking holiday and so the kids were out of school. We were able to do some service for a family in the area. And because of no school the ward had a little 5k run/walk. It was super fun. Just a fun fact, I won- with a time of 23:35. No one expected it, not even me. The ward is full of people that run marathons and compete. It was super fun. I love this ward- it is awesome!
We got phone calls from President earlier than normal on Monday. And I am moving. I have been called to be a Zone Leader in another area. I am very sad to leave this ward, there are a lot of mixed emotions towards it. It will be fun and a great opportunity for me, but I would have loved to stay here for my last 5 weeks. I found out on Sunday that I have a far distant relative that is buried in the cathedral in the area where I have called. How crazy is that!
Things have been going great, I am in love with my mission. I never thought it would come to this point, but I was just talking with some members yesterday and he asked what my thoughts were with my mission. I was like, it’s all I know really. I don’t remember very much of my home social life. The three things I remember are working on the farm, my family and missionary work. It’s just been part of my life for the last two years so it’s going to be a big change when I leave it all behind.
I am so proud of the District and who we are becoming, I have gotten very attached to this District and the ward. Putting all my mind and heart into them, and I am very sad to leave them. I actually cried as I think of leaving them. I love them and will miss them. But the new area is where I need to be, so here I go!
Thanks for all you do! And I will see you in five weeks.
Love, Elder Stevenson