Monday, March 3, 2008

2008 02 March - Are we there yet?

(From the President)

Well friends and family, I’m sorry I haven’t written for a while. It has been a busy, rather hectic last 6-8 weeks, but a really rewarding time in the mission. In that time, in addition to the normal busy schedule, we:
* created two new districts
* created one new branch
* reorganized 4 branches
* held a fantastic couples conference
* held 30 min interviews with all the missionaries to review their new goals
* created powerpoint training programs for branch presidents, elders quorum presidents, YM, YW, primary and RS presidents as well as membership and financial clerks
* and this week we participated in leadership training and the reorganization of the Durban Stake presidency with Elder & Sister Parmley and Elder & Sister Hill

While all this was going on the missionaries met all their targets: for new investigators, investigators at sacrament meeting, lessons taught with members present and (almost) investigators with baptism dates.

All across the mission miracles are happening. In addition to meeting all the key indicator objectives:
* we have moved from teaching 80% young girls to teaching 80% families and men over age 18. (note from Susan: this is very good...)
* two branches have nearly doubled attendance in the last 4 months
* two sets of Elders are teaching pastors and one set is teaching the pastor’s congregation
* last week Swaziland had 17 baptisms and most were families
* Stanger, a small town up the coast had 15 investigators at sacrament meeting
* Mpumalanga had a blitz with about 30 missionaries and members to seek out the less active and on Sunday had 20 of those less active came to Church.
* and these are just a few examples

We are being incredibly blessed as a mission and it is due to the faith, hard work, obedience and listening to the Spirit of the missionaries. They are the greatest miracle. They come full of excitement, sometimes get a little discouraged after about two or three months of dealing with the realities of Africa and missionary work and then something happens. They transform from young missionaries into men of God who contact fearlessly, teach by the Spirit and devote all their energy to serving the people of this area. Getting called to the office or to be an assistant is almost viewed as punishment because they can’t be out teaching all the time.

In case you can’t tell, we are loving the mission. Even Hunter and Morgan seem to be at long last settling in.

For those of you who have not yet gone on a senior mission, you don’t know what you are missing. Our couples are the backbone of this mission. They write and deliver training programs, they coach branch presidents, auxiliaries, and district presidencies, they serve on district councils and as mission area specialists, and most importantly they minister to the people in a thousand different ways. I think you could ask any of our couples and they would tell you that being on mission has far exceeded their expectations and blessed their families. Many left difficult family situations at home but they are getting resolved. The Lord blesses those who serve.

Well, tomorrow starts this cycle’s series of Zone Conferences. Our theme is the Book of Mormon and we are taking key scriptures that answer questions of the soul and EXPANDING them, which just means looking at every word and reference and context. Then we EXPLORE them, telling the story through a whole series of scriptures. Then we STUDY them by having chapters and passages for the missionaries to study that would answer investigators questions. Susan and the assistants have put a lot of work into getting this ready with a lot of research and some amazing powerpoints. Wish us luck.

We are in the middle of summer here, hot and humid. From what we hear, however, this year has been far better than last year. We have had rain every few days so it breaks up the heat. What all the rain does is make everything grow. Some areas make Hawaii look like a desert. For those of you with four feet of snow, eat your hearts out.

We miss you all.
Dad, Grandpa, Steve, President Mann

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