Missionary Zone Conferences arrived again this week, in Antwerp and Utrecht.
The first hour of our morning is a familiar one…
Group photo, welcome, hymn, prayer, motto, standards etc.
Then, it’s time for the most anticipated moment of every conference…
The surprise “toespraak” or talk/address, in Dutch.
The theme for their 5-minute talk, shared a few days earlier was 2 Nephi 31:20 – “How can I be steadfast in sharing the Gospel?”
The assignment, simply come prepared to speak!
Many choose to follow a well-known verse “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear” (D&C 38:30)
Others are prone to take a few unnecessary risks!
No-one is safe.
I sat looking at all the young missionaries.
Some make eye contact with me, and I give them a little wink.
Others keep their heads bowed and are anxious not to make eye contact, just in case!
There is a real sense of uneasiness and tension in the air, mixed with a little excitement too.
With a sense of foreboding everyone awaits!
Then, we invite at least 2 missionaries, to give their surprise toespraak.
Their faces are always a picture to behold.
Apprehension fills their entire being as they rise to the podium to speak.
Taking a deep breath, they compose themselves and launch into their talks.
For those who remain seated, nervous anxiety is instantly replaced with a sense of relief, so much so for many, that it swiftly fills the entire room.
In Antwerp, we heard from Averi Hanny and Luk Vanderlinden
In Utrecht, we had more time and heard from Alyssa Walker, Ian Schwab, Jelle van Vriesland and Emily Hodder.
All did really well.
Experience has taught me that the best preparation for tomorrow, is by doing your best today.
Later in the day, 1 or 2 departing missionaries, mentioned that they’d “escaped” their entire mission, and despite their regular periods of anxiety, were noticeably sad that they’d never had the opportunity to speak!
“Sorry you missed out” I said. “But I hope you kept all of those prepared talks up your sleeve, so that you can give a talk at a second’s notice.” “Oh yes” they replied, “I’d never thought about that!”
How has being prepared helped you succeed?