From October 13. (this is late as we had some problems with the blog)
Life is still great and just some great things are continuing to happen. We still had another full week of interviews. The interviews have been pretty good though. On Tuesday we were back up in college Station, and then on Wednesday we were north east of College Station in a city called Madisonville. It was so cool because on Tuesday we asked to carpool up to Madisonville with President Mortensen. And so for the 1 1/2 hours up we were able to talk with him about a variety of different things.
But he just really helped give us great suggestions about how to be successful in life and he tied it all back into the gospel of Jesus Christ! It is just so inspiring to see the things he has done, and really just ponder more fully on how I can continually improve. It was just a great chance to also discuss with him what things we can do in the mission to help get the missionaries working even more effectively.
Those interviews went great, and after being in Madisonville we traveled down to Huntsville to the Sam Houston State University. We went around the campus and toured the instituted building. We met with the senior missionaries over the instituted program, and they are doing great. We also recently added another companionship in that area to assist with the work. We are really making a big push to get missionaries on college campuses.
So many young people are receptive to learning from the missionaries and we have fun some great success. So we talked with the instituted director also and talked about what there plans were for increasing the number of members in the program. And they set a goal to help expand there vision even more. It was a great day to be there and to just see another way we see the Lord moving his work forward.
So interviews went from Tuesday to Friday, and then Saturday we took a big amount of time to get a full weekly planning in. Weekly planning has been the emphasis we are also pushing for in the mission. Not just weekly planning but chapter eight of preach my gospel. The average amount of investigators needed to be found in this mission for just 1 baptism is about 23. And in other missions that are using chapter 8 effectively it is only about 5 new investigators. So we are striving to improve in that aspect. And we are already seeing much more success.
Going into these trainings we had about 270 progressing investigators and only about 70 with a baptismal date. Now obviously there is a big difference there. So we have been working on always inviting people to be baptized in the first lesson when they come to the knowledge that it is true. And giving them a date no later than the 2nd lesson. Now the reason for this is because the church did a survey with about 3500 recent converts. And they asked them what was the most spiritual moments when you were being taught by the missionaries. And almost of of them said it was the first vision, and the plan of salvation.
Now these principles that we teach are found in the first 2 lessons. These are going to be the principles that will allow the holy ghost to help them have a spiritual witness. But we will also not move on unless they are keeping there commitments! This is another big thing we are changing here in this mission. And just since we have been doing it in these last couple weeks we have seen miracles. As missionaries have been more bold in there work they have set more dates for Gods children to enter into a promise with God that will change there lives forever. It is such a blessing to be able to be apart of missionary service.
On Sunday we had stake conference. And we had Elder Schwitzer of the 2nd quorum of the 70 come along with Elder Southerland an area 70. And they came and created a new stake. The new stake is called "The Woodlands Stake." And the new stake president is one of the members I got to know really well while I was serving in The Woodlands. The spirit was so strong and as we sustained him and the new stake presidency. It helped my testimony grow on how much of a blessing it is for us to be able to sustain church leaders. It made me ponder alot about General conference 2 weeks ago, and all the talks that were given about sustaining.
After sustaining the new stake presidency Elder Schwitzer had an amazing talk about the Book of Mormon. It was just an all around great day yesterday!
Things are going great and I am just so grateful to be here in Texas! It is a wonderful place! I would just invite yall to keep look and praying to be able to strengthen the wards that you live in and seek out friends and help them feel God love for them. I promise you as you do these things you will experience so much joy with in your lives. I know that to be true because I see it from day to day. I love being a missionary and I wouldn't change it for anything!
Well I hope y'all have a wonderful week!
Elder Joshua V. Christensen