YIKES! What a week! It was such a fun week… but I am glad that we have started a new one. I’ll explain.
Thursday evening we commenced our 4-5 hour train ride to Berlin. We took a train from Neumünster to Hamburg, from Hamburg to Berlin Hbf., and then to the Zone Leader’s apartment in Tiergarten. And all despite the striking train drivers! I really was not all that surprised to here that there would be nation wide train strikes (again) from Deutsche Bahn on the one day our ENTIRE mission comes together to learn about a digital tool that will improve or missionary work dramatically. Satan is not stupid. But we always win! Everyone got there safe and punctual.
The whole meeting was really super. Elder Patrick Kearon, of the Europe Area Presidency and Elder Brent Nielsen from the Missionary Department were there. The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve named their visit to us Disciples in a Digital Age. While I thought we would be talking about how to use iPads in missionary work and what they actually do, the Brethren actually ended up speaking about US and THEM. We are the ones we control. We train OURSELVES on how to use these new devices.
The material we have received on using iPads and internet in our work is, for me, a pearl of great price. Not only are the gates opened up to the Germany Berlin Mission to have access to even more people than ever before, but the skills that come along with such great trust and responsibility are skills that I wish I had learned as youth – and which will soon be taught to the youth of the church as well. The Internet is merely a tool given to us – not just to us as missionaries, but also to mankind. What a great blessing it is to be able to Facetime, Skype, and conference call with one another so simply. I can access scriptures, talks from General Conference, and even record my own thoughts so much easier now. But these (iPads, smart phones, laptops, etc.) also have the potential to take over our lives if we allow them to.
Developing plans with spouses and family members on how we are going to use these can help us not become addicted or to venture off into enemy territory. How often, when we are bored, do we simply pull out our smart devices? I know I did that a lot at home, before my mission. It actually took some getting used to: not checking my Pinterest when I am bored or not posted a funny comment I came up with on Twitter. Something that we as missionaries will be doing when we receive our iPads is only going online when we having a specific purpose: to message an investigator, to look up a teaching record, to record something, add something to our to-do list, and so on.
We received two packets to study. One frames the actual duties we have and what we can accomplish on these devices. The other shows us how we can make a plan that will help us use these to fulfill our missionary purpose during these 18 months/2 years. These skills will also prove to be an immense blessing for when we return home. I am very grateful for a Heavenly Father who leads and guides and gives the council we need in this day. God knows what the Internet is and how we should use it properly. He speaks and reveals things even today.
For more on being a “disciple in a digital age,” I recommend these talks:
- “The Hearts of the Children Shall Turn” by Elder David A. Bednar
- “When the World Will Be Converted” by President Spencer W. Kimball
- “To Sweep the Earth as with a Flood” by Elder David A. Bednar
- “Seeking the Lord” by Elder Josè A. Teixeira
I am really excited for this new phase of missionary work!
After the meeting I got to see so many missionaries whom I have met on my mission. A lot of them go home this transfer though. I am excited to see them all again after our time here in Germany is done. Even President Kosak only has a transfer and a half left (about). But I will see him before he goes.
Our train did not leave until 6PM and our meeting ended around 2 or 3PM. Since the Tiergarten Chapel in Berlin is very centrally located, we went and visited the Brandenburger Tor and the Holocaust memorial nearby with the Flensburg Sisters and the Heide Elders. We all ended up being on the same train. That was a fun adventure! It was such a beautiful day!
On Sunday we the most wonderful opportunity to teach the youth class… well the 4 young women and the one young man. We were asked to prepare a lesson on the Apostasy and the Restoration. The foundation of our lesson was what Elder Andersen extended to the youth in the October 2014 General Conference: “Joseph Smith” by Elder Neil L. Andersen.
I am so grateful to be a servant of the Lord at this time on earth, when not only the fullness of the Gospel is again on earth, but when we have so many great tools to share the good news. The days of Paul going by boat and foot are gone. The day of being spontaneously called to leave your family and farm for 5 years are also gone.
I refer to one of my previous blog posts on this topic: #ShareGoodness