Monday, March 16, 2015

We went to the Mesa Temple last Tuesday, and wow, that temple is amazing. It is, by far, the most different temple I've been to. But that's probably because it was the 7th temple dedicated in the world's a bit older.

Our zone had a meeting last week and we discussed our zone goal and what it should be. After an hour of discussion, we decided that we should focus on teaching members how to be missionaries (or at least do their home teaching). That decision we reached how? We kept running into the problem of having massive ward and branch records, but church attendance not matching. The number of investigators is fairly low right now across the mission, but the less active numbers are high. Therefore, that is our focus.

Our mission president is so supportive of the deaf work here. It's wonderful. He's given attention to our special needs, is very supportive of our leaders and is willing to change things and make them work. He really is wonderful. As for my MTC companion's mission president, I see now why my dad felt that he should write this in my last letter, "One more thought that just came to me and I’m not sure how this applies to you at the moment but I know if one feels impressed by the spirit to say or do something, you should always do it, so here it goes: some may find fault with the gospel, the church, its leaders, their actions and complain and even rebel against-this leaves them on unstable ground and often they are left unto themselves, to kick against the pricks, to persecute the saints, and to fight against God (D&C 121)-be steadfast in sustaining the gospel in every way!"

His mission president just recently got rid of one of the ASL areas in his mission. So now for the whole of Seattle and beyond, his area was more than doubled, without any increase to mileage, there's less than half of the ASL missionaries now (the rest were sent to do English work), their pool of investigators/less-active doubled, and they have no way to teach all of those people.

I know that the mission president is called of God, and that he really does receive revelation for the missionaries. I am so grateful that President Sweeney is so supportive and meeting with our branch president and branch mission leader monthly to discuss how he can better help the missionaries and the branch grow according to their vision as well as his. I really am going to miss him.

I guess that brings me to the next point I have not told any of you about. A few years ago there was only one deaf branch for the Phoenix/Scottsdale/Mesa area until it got big enough for Mesa to be its own branch (some of the members were traveling for an hour and a half one way, just to go to church every week). Our building was centered to accommodate the center of the Phoenix/Scottsdale/Mesa area, it will soon be moved to be the center of the phoenix/Scottsdale area. Such a location will be outside of our mission boundaries and since we are tied to the branch, we will, in the next coming months, be moved to the Phoenix mission. So, I will be in a different mission, with different missionaries, and a different mission president, but it will be the exact same area. It will be quite interesting.

On Sunday, we had a couple high councilors speak (yes, 2 at one time) and one of them spoke about the temple in such a beautiful way. It really made them, and the spirit they possess really come to life. He reminded me of my dad in many ways. First, he was just a couple years older than my dad when he converted to the gospel. He was married soon after and his story really mirrors what my dad went through. I really saw that in him when he spoke and could feel the power of his testimony as he bore it to his family who he had invited to that Sunday service.

I know this church is true and that the Lord has put us down here to learn powerful, valuable lessons that will be for our benefit and good.

Elder Sands