Lesson #12 of the the Gospel Doctrine class in the doctrine and Covenants this year was about “The Gathering of My People”. We are here in New York, along with 220 other Missionaries, helping in the Lord’s desire to “Gather” his children and we feel, constantly, the need to work hard and to hasten this work along. As we do this, part of the “Gathering” is to bring us together, in strength of numbers, to teach one another doctrine of the kingdom…D&C 88:77. This past week we have enjoyed the company and teaching at our District meeting and Zone Conference.
On Monday we traveled to Poughkeepsie for our District meeting. This meeting is alternated between Poughkeepsie and New Paltz so that the distance some travel is reduced each week. On the week it’s held in Poughkeepsie it is held at the Ward building. The following week it is held in our little apartment. It awesome to witness the power in these young men. One minute every bit the same young men as when they were home, joking with one another and having fun, and then a prayer is offered and an assigned topic covered that teaches, motivates and inspires “all”. Our little District continues to grow. We are now (with two senior couples, soon to be one) 14. It is the biggest District in the Mission, and also the most spread out in distance. Pictured below is our District, minus the picture taker and our Zone leaders, who are also in our District but were attending another District meeting:
After each meeting the Sisters and Elders have a meal. When the meeting is held at the apartment the meal is provided by us, when the meeting is held at the Ward building all pick a spot and meet there for lunch. Now you know why they like to come to New Paltz for District meetings. This week the senior couples left the Elders and made a quick trip a few miles north back to the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) for our lunch. Sister Howes and Elder and Sister Wells love this place. Elder Wells took an opportunity during their time here to take a short class here. Sister Wells runs a Bakery back home and Sister Howes is just fascinated by this place. Pictured: one of hundreds of class rooms, looking into a working kitchen
We then traveled just a few miles north to look at one of the Vanderbilt Mansions and drove by the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library in Hyde Park, New York. Pictured below is the Mansion and pictures from the grounds with Sister Howes and Elder and Sister Wells
During the week we continued our trek to find the less active around the Branch boundaries. We have met some incredibly nice people. Most embrace the gospel but struggle coming to grips with two fundamental concepts of the Church; lay leadership, teachers and changing there traditional Sunday habits. They love the church but don’t understand that they should come every week and hold callings and continue to learn, that wasn’t what they did in their last church(es).
During one of our trips to and outlying area of the Branch we found a dinning room table and chairs. Not in the same place of course. However, we now have a place to have meals without holding our plates and while setting on the sofa. Before and after:
I’m quite sure that we’re not done yet, since we still have 16 months left in the Mission field but we’re getting close to not having any more room. (Hope you like what you see Kristi. It’s coming your way.)
On Friday we traveled to Ossining New York for our first Zone Conference. There are three Zone conferences held within a three day period which bring together zones within an area. We receive instruction from our Mission President, eat lunch and then break into training sessions. Each of the sessions are very informative. Sister Howes and I were certainly out of our comfort (zone) as after each training, we participated in the role playing. Each time we do this we get better and realize that we must study more a role play more. May I say to all that read this, that as Bishop of the Bell Canyon Ward I invited the Missionaries to our Ward Council to do this, to my recollection, only once, what a mistake. While this is uncomfortable, at first, this is how the Lord helps us prepare, learn and break down our fear for the important activities of Missionary work. Here and there. Invite the Missionaries over regularly and ask them to role play in your homes, Presidency meetings and classes. You’ll become a Ward and family better prepared for missionary opportunities.
Pictured above: tip left; the Elders and Sister of this Zone Conference, top right, birthday recognition for those who’s birthdays were in the past three month’s, and bottom left, from left to right; President and Sister Morgan with the Stake and Ward Relief Society Presidents from Yorktown.
We had a great experience and look forward to being better prepared for our next one.
We had nearly 60 people in our Easter Sunday services, a record for our time in the Branch and we made good use of our dinner table and chairs after the meeting with all the New Paltz missionaries at our for dinner. Hope your day was one pondering the importance of Atonement and Resurrection of the Savior Jesus Christ and it’s meaning in your life.