This week was probably the most bitter-sweet zone conference to date on my mission. On the one hand it was a great chance to see so many of the friends and people that had impacted me on my mission again, until I realized that for the majority of them it would probably be the last time I would see them as a missionary. My time is quickly running out and this zone conference marked a big landmark in missionary-age. At the end of zone conference they have "departing testimonies" where all the missionaries that will go home before the next zone conference (which occur once every 3 months) give a final testimony in front of all the other missionaries. For so long I had always seen it as something far away that would never occur and then I started seeing my fellow companions and friends get up and before I knew it I myself was walking up. I still can't believe it happened.
But in other news, the conference itself was great. We had the Head Global Fleet Coordinator come in from Salt Lake City to introduce to us the new, amazing, one of a kind, Tiwi box (hold your applause). So what does a Tiwi box do, you might ask. Perfectly valid question. It’s what I asked myself. Long story short, it’s a little black box that tells you how bad you are driving. Little bit longer, it’s a little black box stuck to our windshield complete with a GPS, accelerometer, and a cord to connect to our car's computer. It measures how fast we accelerate, how hard we brake, how fast we go, and, most importantly, if we have our seat belts on. It sounds like a lot but overall it really isn't that bad. It’s not meant as a big brother type program, rather to help mentor missionaries' driving. It gives a lot of leniency and is surprisingly hard to trip (or so my zone leaders tell me). The reason behind this is that the church has over 10,000 mission vehicles (which, if the church were a commercial organization, would be the 6th largest fleet in the United States), all driven by 18-28 year old young men and women and so, as you can imagine, leads to lots of accidents which winds up being a lot of money. Hence, the box to help crazy missionaries not be crazy in the vehicles. Who knew that missionaries could do such crazy things in a Corolla?
And in other news, on an exchange this week I went with my zone leader to a lecture held at the local community college and run by I'm guessing the YSA [Young Single Adults]. It’s set up as a club on campus where various people come in once a week and lecture on subjects ranging from gospel topics to what they do for work. We show up because there’s a lot of people that wind up being interested in the Restored Gospel because of it. The free pizza is just a bonus. This week was, in her words, "a glorified telemarketer" for a newspaper company. She sells ads for the company and calls different companies asking if they want to advertise in the paper. Apparently actual paper newspapers are still a thing.
In the random department, walking around last night we saw someone cleaning out the inside of a goat. If you get a call to a stateside mission and think you won't ever see anything like a foreign mission, let me dispel that myth right now. Disgusting, yes. Frequency of a foreign mission, no. But nothing like what I had imagined getting called to central Washington.
Yesterday we also had the 'privilege' of singing in church yesterday with the other 2 sets of missionaries in the branch. It made me really appreciate all the practice I had done in high school. We sang “All Creatures of Our God and King” (in Spanish) but since our time to do anything is limited we didn't have the chance to practice much. From what they told us though it turned out okay. I guess the Spirit is a pretty good singer.
The quote this week comes from the Global Fleet Coordinator when he was giving his introduction to the Tiwi boxes. He was actually quoting one of the Apostles who in turn was quoting something he saw on a castle somewhere in England I believe. It reads:
"What e're thou art, act well thy part."
Quite a fitting quote for a group of missionaries who go out and represent Christ day in and day out. I don't know if it was the old English and having to think it over for a few minutes to understand what it said or if it was the principle, but it has stuck with me and made me reflect on our service.
And with that, I wish you all a happy Memorial Day weekend!