Tag Archive for: change

Questions of the Soul

The autumn winds of seasonal change are blowing.
Leaves are whirling and twirling, falling to the ground.
It was a chilly wet morning in Rotterdam on Wednesday.
Monic and I were already in the church, snug in a comfortable room, busy with coaching conversations.
Upon finishing one conversation, I went to find the next missionary.
And there they were.


The Sister Missionaries were a little tired and cold.
Huddled together, wrapped in their jackets, they were warming themselves, comforted by the toasty radiator.
All week long, like their colleagues, theyโ€™d been boldly sharing messages about the Book of Mormon, outside on street corners, busy high streets and in parks filled with fallen autumnal leaves.
Physically, their hands and feet may have been a little cold, yet spiritually, their hearts and souls were glowing, filled with a flame of fire, burning brightly, fuelled by their faith in God and their knowledge of Him.
Thawed by the radiator and warmed by our conversation, they were ready to start all over again.
Doing what, you may ask?
Providing answers.


Daily, missionaries are asked lots of questions about life โ€“ ๐’’๐’–๐’†๐’”๐’•๐’Š๐’๐’๐’” ๐’๐’‡ ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’”๐’๐’–๐’.
โ€ข Is there a God? (Alma 22)
โ€ข Does God know me and care about me? (2 Nephi 26:24)
โ€ข Does God answer prayers (Enos 1)
โ€ข Why is life so hard sometimes? (1 Nephi 17:3)
โ€ข How can I find peace and joy? (Mosiah 2:41)
โ€ข What is the purpose of life? (Alma 34)
The Book of Mormon addresses all of these questions and more.
It is my witness that The Book of Mormon brings warmth and comfort in times of difficulty.
Perhaps you are whirling, twirling, tired or cold, physically or spiritually?
Are you in search of an answer?
Then speak with a missionary today and read the Book of Mormon.

Hand in Hand

As I sat listening to the testimonies of 16 departing missionaries heading home in a few weeksโ€™ time, my thoughts returned to a memory, a clear image from my childhood.
I was 4 or 5 years old.

To the store…

My mum had asked me to go to the corner shop, to buy a loaf of bread.
I duly did so, returning with the bread, and chewing a toffee.
She asked, โ€œWhat are you chewing?โ€
โ€œA daintyโ€ (a toffee), I replied.
She had given me the exact money for the bread.
At that point, I confessed, Iโ€™d stolen it and chewed it all the way home.

And back again…

Gently and lovingly, she took me by the hand, and escorted me back to the corner shop, to confess my guilt and pay for the stolen goods.
In those few minutes of real need, mum was there… to help, support, guide, lead me along, and walk with me, by my side.
That day, I learned an important lesson in life.
Rushing into my mind, came a reflective connection.
I thought about each of the 16 missionaries and the one-by-one moments Iโ€™d had with them.
As each of them stood to share their personal testimony, I had a very bright recollection; a specific thought was impressed upon my mind.
Metaphorically, I took them by the hand to help them find their way, like a parent with a child.
Gently and lovingly.


A coaching conversation, a walk around the park, kneeling in prayer together, in studies with one another, a role play, a priesthood blessing, a telephone call, talking at the dinner table, having a meal in a restaurant, or simply travelling in the carโ€ฆ

Moments, just like mum had helped me to face a struggle decades ago, I was now there for each of them in their time of need, trouble, or distress.
I felt gratitude.
I felt privileged.
I felt honoured.
In our times of need, we were there “hand in hand,”ย  side by side, for each other.
โ€œA new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.โ€ (John 13:34)
As we freely show the Saviourโ€™s love through our actions and service to others, we too can feel the same love in return.
How can you feel the Saviourโ€™s love?


I am a witness to the power of missionary service.
Serving in a foreign land, learning a new language and adjusting to a different culture makes a tremendous difference in the life of every young missionary.
Departing from home, they arrive in the mission with many childish characteristics and behaviours.
Itโ€™s time to grow up!
Time passes.
Change happens.
Far from home, they become adults.
โ€œWhen I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became an adult, I put away childish things ” (1 Cor. 13:11).
Unlike childlike, childish suggests irresponsibility, being self-centred and immature.
Each of us will not mature spiritually until we choose, as the Apostle Paul phrased it, to โ€œput away childish things.โ€
Missionary service is intense, demanding and frequently filled with hardship.
Yet, filled with a new purpose, each young man or woman, learns about being credible, reliable, accountable, disciplined and builds relationships of trust with God and others.
They develop their faith in God, they acquire wisdom through experience, they understand how to serve and love others.
They work hard, recognising that obedience, consistency, and endurance are all keys to success.
As they also learn to lead others, they must first master themselves and be steadfast in their service.
They choose to become Christlike and follow in His ways.
Over and over again, I watch each of them mature into adulthood.
How have you chosen to โ€œput away childish thingsโ€?

Conversation Buddies

At our recent zone conferences, we held a communication activity.
We created a safe space to talk out loud and recreate a companionship council.
It was fun to observe, as each missionary verbalised their thinking.
They each taught one another something they didnโ€™t know!
I noticed too, sometimes, we donโ€™t listen to each other at all.
We may speak at each other, or past each other, rather than with each other.
Part of the exercise was to learn how to talk with one another in honest and effective ways.
Communication is an essential part of daily life, itโ€™s like a lubricant for all our relationships.
Entering a conversation, we join with our own opinions, feelings, and experiences.
Conversations can hold immense power, create connection, and help us to grow.
With their conversation buddies, missionaries learned how to communicate more effectively, in turn leading to the need for some change.


Change is hard.
Weโ€™re all human, and we all have our struggles, right?
Your biggest rival to change is most likely some internal obstacle that is going on in your head!
– A lack of confidence
– Laziness
– Procrastination
– Stubbornness
When we attempt to change, sometimes we may apply the wrong tactics.
Yet, daily, seemingly small decisions, can all add up to make a big difference.


As I watch each missionary arrive at the start of their mission, over time, I see them develop, and change.
As each of them humbly turns to one another, and then ultimately turn to Jesus Christโ€™s great example, He increaseโ€™s their capacity to change.
Exercising their faith in Jesus Christ, it is only through Him, that they are all given the strength to make lasting changes in their lives.
He literally changes their hearts, because of His great love and empathy for the people He served.
He can and will do the same for each of us, as we accept His invitation to โ€œCome Follow Himโ€.
Week in, week out, I am a witness to many, who have experienced a โ€œchange of heartโ€ (Alma 5:26) as they learn more about divine communication.
Why not seek out a new conversation buddy, and speak with a missionary todayโ€ฆ
How can faith in Jesus Christ help you to change?


In the Netherlands, noise pollution is a huge challenge.
One of the main sources of environmental noise in the Netherlands is road traffic.
There are statutory limits for road traffic noise.
The government encourages โ€œquieterโ€ tyres, silent asphalt, the installation of many different kinds of sound barriers and the insulation of homes.
Why? Because in a flat land, noise can carry over a very long distance.
We live in an area, known as the โ€œRandstadโ€, and I am a witness to that noise every, single day.

Too Much Noise

Too much noise can be distracting and even overwhelming.
Yet, mild background noise can improve focus and creativity.
Many years ago, as a young salesman, I sold lots of different products, including public address systems for Premier league football stadiums.
I learned a lot about noise.


Using a ๐œ๐š๐ฅ๐ข๐›๐ซ๐š๐ญ๐ž๐ sound meter, Iโ€™d often conduct surveys with a technical engineer to check on background or ambient noise levels.
A calibrated meter was an essential tool, to understand the levels of background noise.
It was calibrated regularly.
To ๐’„๐’‚๐’๐’Š๐’ƒ๐’“๐’‚๐’•๐’† something means to rectify, to correct, to change and to standardize, to adjust precisely for a particular function, and to re-measure against a standard to measure accuracy.
I especially like the definition given by the Cambridge English dictionary which is โ€œto make small changes to an instrument.โ€

Personal Calibration

In a like manner, our missionaries are asked to recalibrate or re-examine their lives as disciples of Jesus Christ, daily.
Each of them carries a small booklet entitled โ€œMissionary Standards for Disciples of Jesus Christโ€.
Sometimes divine adjustments can be painful, and circumstances can compel us to change.
Like the calibrated sound meter measures noise levels, often we need to re-calibrate our personal lives and
– our relationships with our spouse, children and other family members.
– our relationship with other friends and neighbours.
– our relationships with our brothers and sisters in the gospel.
Recalibration is important in every aspect of humanity, including our relationship with Jesus Christ and with others.
Most of us are aware of areas in our lives that need correction and adjustment.
What needs re-calibrating in your life?

Change Your Life

Earlier this week at FSY, I used one of my favourite icebreaker activities; โ€œA conversation with a time travellerโ€.
It goes something like thisโ€ฆ
In pairs, one participant plays someone from the early 1600โ€™s and gets into character/mindset.
The other participant selects a modern-day object/something from our day and explains it to the individual posing as someone from the 1600โ€™s.
I suggest they try and explain any of the following:
– A carry out pizza
– A Smartphone
– The Cinema
– Disneyland
– Netflix
As participants get into character, the results are always fun and insightful.
Participants switch roles and repeat.
There were lot of smiles, laughter, and bewildered faces on show.
Followed by a realisation that times, things, and people have ๐’„๐’‰๐’‚๐’๐’ˆ๐’†๐’… โ€“ substantially!
There is nothing so unchanging, so inevitable as change itself.
Everything around us seems to be changing at an accelerated pace.
Most changes in the world seem beyond our control.
Yet, you can ๐œ๐ก๐š๐ง๐ ๐ž.

You can change your life…

Each of us have the power to change our lives.
โ€œEvery effort to change we makeโ€”no matter how tiny it seems to usโ€”just might make the biggest difference in our lives.โ€ โ€“ Michael A. Dunn
You can be a little better.
You can stand a little taller.
You can love a little deeper.
You can pick a different path.
You can walk a different walk.
You can find forgiveness.
And joy.
You can become your best you.
Because He gave His life, you can change yours.
I have experienced change first-hand through the actions Iโ€™ve taken.
As I have relied on Jesus Christ, He has helped bring true joy into my life.
He can and will for you too.


Itโ€™s been an emotionally charged week in the mission field.
Change is an inevitable part of missionary life. Itโ€™s also tiring.
Every six weeks missionaries come and go in the transferโ€™s process.
This week 5 new missionaries arrived and 13 returned home.
๐‘ป๐’‰๐’Š๐’“๐’•๐’†๐’†๐’, who were the backbone of the mission for so long.
As the backbone, each of these missionaries provided great strength to many others.
Indeed, they were a great support to the entire mission.
We all experience change and in the mission field it is a frequent visitor.

Stretch Zone

As change happens, routines are disrupted, and it takes us out of our comfort zone.
โ€œIf you’re growing, you’re always out of your comfort zone.โ€ says John Maxwell.
Missionaries grow a lot, and often!
Change requires rebuilding and others to step up.
New companionships, new areas, new trainers, and new leaders.
Emotions have been running high.
Kindness and compassion take on new meaning during times of stretching change.


C. S. Lewis indicated there is often discomfort in change when he wrote of Godโ€™s expectations for His children…
โ€œImagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought ofโ€”throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palaceโ€.
As a โ€œliving houseโ€ several missionaries have been asked to step up, to train, and others, to lead.
Rebuilding in the mission is underway (again), as another โ€œnew wing, extra floor, towers, courtyardโ€ are being added.
How do you step up during times of constant change?

Anxious About Something?

Everyone will experience anxiety feelings from time to time – its a normal human emotion!
However – “too much anxious opening of the oven door and the cake falls instead of rising. So it is with us. If we are always selfishly taking our own temperatures to see if we are happy, we will not be.” – Neal A Maxwell.
So – what can I do to change?
In recent coaching discussions and from experience – its wise to slow down a little and pay close attention to what youโ€™re thinking!
Doubtful, fearful, negative, unrealistic, or self-critical thoughts can trigger anxiety.
Stop what you’re doing for a while, sit still, close your eyes, and breathe deeply.
Make a firm commitment to focus on healthy, positive, determined and realistic thinking.
What can you do to leave the oven door closed today?


โ€œWhat do you mean by reframing?โ€…asked the missionary.
In response I said, โ€œWell, what I mean by reframing, is that you see a current situation from a different perspective.โ€
Essentially, reframing can help you see things differently, all of which can be really helpful in problem solving, decision making and learning.
Over many years in my coaching practice, Iโ€™d often use reframing to help someone become unstuck.
Similarly, I find it regularly in coaching interviews with missionaries too.
For example, a missionary may say, โ€œI really doubt that I can do anything about this issue.โ€
In response, I know Iโ€™m likely to say something such as โ€œSo, what is one small step that you can take?โ€
I often find myself moving from the past to the future with missionaries too.
Oftentimes Iโ€™ve heard a comment like โ€œIโ€™ve never been good at speaking with people.โ€
If I hear that kind of comment, my response is something like โ€œIf you imagine yourself being successful in speaking with others, what would that look like and feel like?โ€
Changing the language you use is helpful.
For instance, a missionary may say โ€œI am really struggling with my new companion, I donโ€™t understand him, and we just donโ€™t connect at all.โ€
Reframing that could look like this โ€œGetting to know a new companion can take a lot of time and work. I have done it before successfully. Itโ€™s very rewarding and a great opportunity to learn something new about myself and others.โ€
Reframing is allowing yourself the opportunity to reinterpret a situation in a way, that is going to help you move through the challenge faced.
By reframing a threat to a challenge, can help us to feel courageous.
In summary, reframing an experience can give you access to more productive and positive thoughts, feelings, and behaviours.
What is your favourite reframing tactic?

And we’re off! (again)

The ๐จ๐ง๐ฅ๐ฒ constant in life is ๐’„๐’‰๐’‚๐’๐’ˆ๐’†.
Fasten your seatbelts everyone!!!
Change in the mission field accelerates at an unprecedented speed.
Yet, our six-week mission transfer cycle ensures that the pace of change is also predictable.
While this is overwhelming for some, it isnโ€™t going to stop anytime soon!
If you are serving as a missionary in any one of the 416 missions around the world, youโ€™ll need to keep up!
The work of salvation is hastening even faster, there is an increased urgency and speeding up of the work, is an absolute, it is a given!
So how do you keep up?
Maintaining a regular constant regime of learning, through daily routines can really help.
In our mission, like others, there is a strong focus on ๐ฅ๐ž๐š๐ซ๐ง๐ข๐ง๐ .
We decelerate on a few occasions too, in order to accelerate once more.
Slowing down in our Mission Leadership Council, Zone Councils, District Councils, Zone Conferences, weekly huddle calls and 1-1 personal coaching sessions with every missionary, allows each of us to catch our breath just long enough, communicate, have some deep dialogue, get aligned, then set the right attentions and intentions for the remainder of the transfer.
I have experienced that our environment of constant change is as natural as breathing.
But, like anything else, it takes time to adjust and find your rhythm.
Weaving agility, flexibility, adaptation, and resilience into our personal DNA help us feel comfortable.
Ultimately, change happens through people.
I have learned that if you want to keep pace with change and tackle future changes, then the ๐ค๐ž๐ฒ is to ๐’‰๐’†๐’๐’‘ ๐’‘๐’†๐’๐’‘๐’๐’† ๐’•๐’ ๐’„๐’‰๐’‚๐’๐’ˆ๐’† ๐’•๐’‰๐’†๐’Ž๐’”๐’†๐’๐’—๐’†๐’”.
How do you manage to keep up with change?