Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Family and Friends

We had a great week this week. A whole lot of strange adventures though. On Sunday, Monday and Tuesday we were inside all day because of the cold weather front we were having. And today it is currently 30 degrees or so. So I have been feeling so warm! But the weather has been ridiculous this week. Up and down and high and low. It has been interesting to try and stay warm. But surprisingly I am doing fine. On Tuesday we taught Jose and Jessica and had the Gillespie's come with us. we talked about the Law of Chastity and The Word of Wisdom and they accepted to live both of the commandments which was great. We are still working towards getting them married. Jessica is really growing as well. She is excited to be back in the church and Her testimony has really been strengthened as we have gone over there more and more and invited the Spirit into their home. A fun fact for ya, Jose has read all the way to Mosiah in the Book of Mormon. He gets up at five every morning and studies and it is amazing to see his progress. And I love his dedication. Spiritually he is ready to be baptized and wants to be, we just have to change the physical situation that they are in. And get them married but they are progressing. We also taught them on Saturday, and we showed them the Restoration DVD and talked about following the Prophet. And it's amazing to see how just the simple DVD of the Prophet Joseph's life can change people. It is such a miraculous event in the course of history and it strengthens testimonies. We talked a little more about getting them married and we ran into some roadblocks. Jose was going to use Emmanuel's birth certificate to get his passport so that he would have something in his name, but when they received it in the mail this week his name wasn't on it. And there was a note that said that his license wasn't valid. So we are stuck and He is really getting discouraged. So we called President Jensen Saturday night and he gave us some advice on how to move forward with things. 
On Friday we had Zone Training Meeting and it was the best one I have ever been too. We talked a little bit about our 2013 goal for baptisms of 550. And we talked about how to measure success since we got 545. And I think we kind of think about things different than we should sometimes. Rather than dwelling on the five souls that cold have been, President wants us to focus on the 545 souls that we brought to Christ. What a great gift we gave to the Savior this year. 545 more people are headed home. What an amazing thing. 
We also received some pretty amazing news at zone training as well! Everyone was anxious to hear what the baptismal goal for 2014 is going to be. So here is the story:
President Jensen was sitting in on a coordination meeting with the stake President in Cedar Rapids (President Hodgeman) and the Zone Leaders in the stake. President Jensen in the middle of the meeting mentioned something about our goal of 550 in 2013. And President Hodgeman said straight up, "President Jensen, I do not care about your goal." And President Jensen really to that to heart. And after a lot of praying he received revelation that we shouldn't exactly have a goal this year. The way it works is that each Branch or ward submits the baptismal goals for the upcoming year to the Stake President, and then the Stake Presidency uses those numbers to make a goal and then all of the 6 Stakes submit there goals to President Jensen and He would normally pray about it and figure out what the mission goal should be. But this year our goal is the ward and stake goals in the mission. So combined the number is 732. But really we are pushing for 24 baptisms in the Manchester branch. And we are the first mission in the world to ever do goals this way. And President Jensen had to receive permission from the Prophet in order to do things this way. The Prophet has asked the mission to pilot this new way of setting goals. We are making history in the Iowa Des Moines mission. This new way of thinking will bring the missionaries and the members so much closer together when they realize that their goal id our goal. I love President Jensen. He is truly called of God. I love this mission  and I love the wonderful things that are going to happen in 2014. I love being a missionary. Thank you all so much for all that you do. You are my strength.
Elder Caleb James Wardle