May 4, 2015
So this first week was kinda amazing. My companion and I are sister training leaders, so we had to go to Queretaro on Thursday for leadership council. And oh my goodness, it was amazing. Presidente has decided to do a new ‘format’ and I absolutely love this new direction in which the mission is heading. So just a heads up – this letter is gonna be a long one.
To start things off, Presidente gave us a bit of a rundown of the history of the Mexico Queretaro Mission.
He spoke of his experience when he first arrived to the mission and all of the different problems and challenges he and Hermana Mejorada faced. They spoke about the times they got lost, how they didn’t know the missionaries, how they didn’t know the area, and just a bunch of stuff that comes when we face changes in our life. I really loved this part because it helped me realize that Presidente knows exactly what we go through as missionaries.
Transfers are always exciting, but there’s also that part that’s a little stressful and frustrating as you try and learn a new area. Where you don’t know anyone or where anything is and all of that jazz – and that’s kinda what I’m facing right now. So when Presidente shared this with us, it just brought me a lot of comfort. Because I see him now with so much confidence and expereince, and not the nervous newbie he was almost 2 years ago. And it was just a reminder of hope for me, and a reminder to be more patient with myself and trust that everything will come in its due time. So yeah, that was nice.
Then Presidente began to talk about one of the biggest challenges he had the first year of his mission – finding leaders.
He told us how in the very first leadership council, there were only 8 zones, 16 zone leaders, and 2 sister training leaders, and how it was like World War Three. The Queretaro mission is a combination of the former Leon and Mexico City North missions, and at the beginning, there was a HUGE division between the missionaries. During the councils, the missionarires from Leon would sit on one side of the room and the ones from Mexico North would sit on the other. They’d argue about how ‘their’ mission president did this, or that ‘theirs’ did that, and it was just a bunch of chaos. Presidente even told us that at one point, he almost had to break up a fight between two elders.
Yeah, it was pretty intense.
Then Presidente began to talk about how proud he was of the progress the mission has made, and I testify to his words. The mission has grown and matured SO much. We now have 11 zones, 22 zone leaders, 16 sister training leaders, and instead of getting into fights for differences of opinions, we’re able to discuss and develop ideas and come to conclusions for the whole mission. The new problem is that instead of not having enough leaders, we now have so many with the capacity to lead, that it’s hard to figure out who is needed at this time. There are now so many options, but that’s honestly more of a blessing than a burden.
It’s kinda amazing.
We also spoke a lot about the ‘culture’ of a mission and how each mission is different from another. He taught us that ‘the culture of a mission is what happens when the mission president isn’t there‘ and then told us how when he went away to his annual seminar with the Area presidency, he was really proud of us because he didn’t receive a single call. He spoke of other presidents who had to constantly be on their phones because of missionaries who had problems or emergencies, and how he was able to enjoy the seminar in peace.
He then said how this was a sign of our culture as a mission. The Mexico Queretaro mission is a self-governing mission. It’s a mission where the missionaries know how to manage theirselves on their own and how to resolve their own probelms with the Lord. I was honestly surprised when I heard this, but at the same time, so happy because it’s just proof of how far we’ve come.
The Mexico Queretaro mission is also a mission of councils, something I realized that not every mission does. Presidente has always said that the way the heavens are governed, is by councils. And so he’s been teaching us to have councils from the start. Whether they be as companionships, districts, zones, or as leaders – everything we gotta do as a council. Turns out that this was actually the ‘new instruction’ that Presidente received from the Area Presidency during his seminar, and he was just like ‘Glad I’ve been doing this my whole mission’.
But yeah, I love this about my mission because it’s helping us be way more prepared for life. We’re learning how to be leaders and we’re learning how to work with others.
And that’s where the new format comes in.
After about 2 hours of listening to Presidente, he then divided us up into 4 groups and gave each of us the same 6 questions that we were to answer and figure out solutions. After we discussed them in our small groups, we’d get back together and put them all on the table and make the final decisions for the mission.
Yeah, I flipping loved this part of the council!
Now, everyone was able to have a say and voice their opinion on what they thought the mission needed. Usually, it’s always the same six elders who talk and participate, but now, there was way more participation. It was also way more efficient and way faster. It’s serisouly an exciting time to be a part of the mission.
After the council, we broke our fast (Presidente now asks all of us to come fasting to the leadership councils) and had lunch. The bus that would take us to Celaya didn’t arrive until 6, so that gave us like, 4 hours to hang out with Presidente and all of our mission friends before going back to our areas. It was so great catching up with everyone. There were quite a few missionaries from my generation and also former companions of mine there – most of which I haven’t seen in like, 8 months. So of course I just had to take a bunch of pictures with everyone.
This kid, for example, I haven’t seen for more than half of my mission. Elder Atwood is from my generation and he is seriously like a brother to me… probably because he reminds me a lot of JD. But yeah, heart of gold that one.
I was also super stoked to see Hna Kelsch again! I haven’t seen her since I finished her training 6 months ago, and it just made me so happy to see how much she has grown and learned since then. Seriously, one of my favorite parts of the mission is seeing people progress towards their eternal potential – whether they be investigators, members, or missionaries. It’s seriously a beautiful thing.
Elder Komatsu!!!! He was AP for the last two transers, so I’ve seen him around a bit. But since he’s the only Asian in the mission, making him slightly famous, I had to take a picture with him…. jk, he’s actually been a friend of mine for a while now. Another elder who I arrived to the mission with.
And of course, Elder Arvanitas! Only one of my favorite zone leaders ever. This kid’s a spiritual powerhouse. Makes me cry every time he bears his testimony, not even kidding.
These missionaries have seriously become like family to me – I love it!
And yeah. So I didn’t mean for this letter to become a rave about my mission, but I can’t help it. My mission’s awesome. Tomorrow is zone council and Presidente has told us that instead of giving us specific instructions of what we have to teach, we gotta do it by revelation and focus on the needs of our zone and their priorities. So we got a lot of work to do, but that’s what I came here for so it’s all good!
Until next week!