“Let’s get in the boat” I said.
However, it wasn’t quite the trip the Mission Leadership Council (MLC) members were quite expecting!
It reminded me of a talk given by Elder M. Russell Ballard some years ago entitled “Stay in the Boat and Hold On!” I highly recommend it.
In his talk Elder Ballard said, “In searching the scriptures and the words of past and current apostles and prophets, we should focus on studying, living, and loving the doctrine of Christ.”
Staying true to Jesus Christ is like staying safe in a boat.
Yesterday we did embark upon a few adventures of our own and held on!
We welcomed five new members to the MLC.
The mission home was filled to capacity. We loved having everyone here.
In our council session, we spent time understanding the doctrine of Christ, discussed the Lord’s timing and completed a team building activity on balance, to strengthen our collaboration together.
In addition, we also learned about earnest fasting, searching the scriptures, supplication in prayer and looking smart in our missionary endeavours.
Oh, and lunch was delicious too. Echt lekker 😊
Working with the missionaries is not only a spiritually edifying experience, but also a lot of fun too – the pictures below testify of that!
We laughed, we cried, we talked, we listened, we played, we counselled, we prayed, we sang, and we learned lots together.
Our discussions were like the essential supplies, safety guidelines and instructions required to make our way down the river of life to our final destination.
There is nothing quite like these gatherings, frankly, they are an inspiration.
You can depend upon the missionaries.
If any one of you have fallen out of the boat, or want to get into the boat, we will do our best to find you, minister to you, and pull you safely in.
Why not join us and jump on board “Old Ship Zion” – you’ll love the journey!
Do you listen to your heart?
All week long one word has played continually into my thoughts.
I’ve felt as if it has been etched not only upon, but also into my heart and mind.
No matter where I went, or what I did, it would always return.
It’s an unusual word.
Indefatigability…! (Dutch – onvermoeibaarheid)
I wasn’t even too certain what it meant, so I looked up the dictionary definition.
“Tireless determination, incapable of being tired out; not yielding to fatigue; untiring.”
I reflected upon the definition for a while.
I questioned myself and asked “What does this word mean for me?”
After a while, I began to understand.
Day in, day out, week in, week out, I am surrounded by young missionaries who possess the most remarkable indefatigable spirit.
I am with them, constantly.
Being with them one by one, in group training sessions and large conferences, I am reminded of the desire of their hearts to share their witness and testimony of Jesus Christ.
They all take several knocks – daily.
Yet, each of them possesses grit!
True grit! And I’m not talking about John Wayne!
A toughness, an indefatigable resilient courage, to bounce back, again and again and again.
As defined by Angela Duckworth, grit is “Our passion and perseverance to reach long term goals.”
I am so grateful for my association with each and every one of them.
They have been called from many different countries and cultures all across the world to bring a message of hope and peace to a world that is in constant peril and commotion. (2 Timothy 3:3/D&C 45:26)
Through my personal interactions with each of them, I am a witness to the fact, that they possess an indefatigable zeal and testimony of the message they share.
It is a message of great hope, peace and centred in their love of Jesus Christ.
I know that when the focus of our lives is on Jesus Christ and His gospel, we can feel joy, regardless of what is happening—or not happening—in the world or in our lives.
As President Russell M. Nelson has said “the joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives.”
If you want to find real joy, peace, purpose and meaning in life, then I suggest you listen to your heart.
Reach out to one of these indefatigable young men or young women today. They will help refocus your life.
Why do they do it?
The Process of Studying…
The example of the Prophet Elijah
Recently, I have been asked this a few times; “What do you do as Mission Leaders?”
My response was “Many things!”
One of our key responsibilities that Monic and I share is for the well-being of our missionaries.
Let me explain further….
Mission life is segmented into a 6-week transfer cycle.
Each cycle starts and ends with arrivals & departures of missionaries.
In between our days are regularly filled with preparation, planning, training sessions, conferences, leadership meetings, travel, medical issues, phone calls, zoom sessions and much more, not forgetting of course, our precious regular catch-up time with family time too, via Zoom!
Professionally, as a coach and counsellor, one of my favourite things to do in life has always been 1-1 coaching sessions. During the 6-week cycle, every missionary in the mission (currently 51) has personal 1-1 time with each mission leaders. In mission lingo, they are called interviews, but essentially, having sat through thousands of coaching sessions, that is exactly what they are.
The last few days have been filled with these sessions.
Each interview (mini coaching session) begins and ends with prayer.
In between, we slow down, talk, laugh, cry, catch up, share, consider, counsel, challenge, soften, teach, learn and ultimately, we listen.
In fact, we listen a lot.
Then we listen a little more.
Some time ago, I shared a thought about the word “listen”.
The word has six letters. Rearrange them and the word “silent” is formed. In Dutch the six letters become even shorter, with only four “stil”
Frequently, I find as I listen, oftentimes a missionary will suddenly go quiet. Years ago, I used to feel a little awkward when the first quiet spell sets in, but now I understand that these are the moments of real inspiration, when they are thinking.
I don’t know what they are thinking, only that they are thinking!
Experience has taught me that it is in these very quiet active times, when the least seems to be happening, that the most is actually happening.
In those quiet moments one missionary recently shared this verse of scripture, found in Psalms 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God…” Regularly, we hear the whisperings of the Holy Ghost to guide each of us in our missionary work. It is beautiful, reassuring and fills our hearts with love and pure knowledge.
Learning to be still
To listen and to be silent (still) are inseparably connected.
These short interview sessions are by design an opportunity to learn, to listen and grow.
What I have learned most in my life has come in many ways, but the largest part has come from listening to those with much greater experience than me. Generally, it tends to be those who have lived longer and learned many important things that I needed to know – one of which is learning how to be quiet, to be still and to listen.
Now however, we are being taught frequently by those much younger than ourselves. Daily we find, tender mercies from the Lord, as He has prepared these young people (18 to 26 years of age) to preach the gospel to the world. Indeed, it is a mighty miracle.
We are off to do some more mini-coaching sessions.
Please choose to slow down, be quiet, learn to listen, listen to learn, then you too will hear the whisperings of the spirit of the Lord.
“Don’t just do something, sit there!”- is a phrase I have stumbled across several times recently.
It’s extremely difficult NOT to do something these days. In the frenetic pace of life, whether it is a work task, an urgent assignment, homework, something needs fixing, the school run – taking time to “sit there” and think, rarely (if ever) tops the list of things to do.
We think far too seldomly. Conversely, we tell ourselves not to think, by saying “don’t just sit there, do something!” In several coaching sessions and workshops recently, this theme has been a topic of some healthy conversation. Ultimately, our discussion peaks at the realisation that we need to think, before we act. The lesson is that we need to put the thinking in before the doing.
In my own life, there have been many times that I have felt a bit harried, time poor and harassed. Then, some years ago, I decided and chose to change. I realised that I needed to simply “sit there” for a while every day and declutter my noisy mind. As an early riser, the first hour of every day is my precious contemplation time. Those 60 minutes of thought and study are a daily gift to myself.
A little time set aside daily to think about what really matters makes all the difference.
When will you “sit there?”