We have had a very eventful week, the Highlight of which was Saturday when we were taught by Elder Dallin H. Oaks and Elder Gong. Since we are in the part of the mission, the desert, where Redlands is an hour drive, the majority of our Saturday was devoted to the meeting and the accompanying travel time. The whole mission was there. We were told that the count was 165 full time missionaries. Because of that the opening Hymn was amazing. We all sang "Behold a Royal Army" and it just felt powerful. Also, right after the picture, we all shook hands with Elder Oaks and Elder Gong. Then Elder Oaks basically said that by shaking our hands he was able to discern us and our lives. That was interesting. He said that he did not have a thesis or talk prepared for us so he was just going to throw fragments at us. He covered a few points and one of my favorite quotes was "It is better to be ten miles from hell going away from it, than one hundred miles away from hell heading towards it." He told us that the greatest difficulty as an apostle is trying to measure up to the expectations that missionaries and members have of him. He explained that he was just an ordinary man with a very big mantle put on top of him. He emphasized being honest a lot. In interviews with president and with all other people. He mentioned that the missionary department heard about a mission that had developed a culture of dishonesty. This story led to another thought that "The devil has many tools, but a lie is the handle that fits them all." He also mentioned, like Elder Anderson did in last year's missionary conference, about always having the name of Christ on our lips and focusing on our purpose of helping others receive the restored gospel. To go with that he mentioned a funny/true story. In some mission conference in some mission the mission president challenged each companionship to knock 200 doors in 2 days. A few weeks, or days, later he checked to see if anyone had succeeded. Only one pair did and he praised them and held them up and basically put them on a pedestal. Then he asked them how they did it. Which is when the senior companion said something along the lines of "we could have done more, but people kept wanting to talk and so slowed us down" That just showed how we should not get confused about what our purpose is. We are not here to knock doors, but to teach repentance and baptize converts. We are here to convert them to Christ, not the church. He also told us that the most common mistake that he ever did while teaching, whether law or the gospel, was to assume too much. In other words, starting at step 4 and skipping steps 1-3 because you assume they know them already. Like thinking that investigators already know how to pray. He also mentioned that The Lord does not grade you on your prayers. A thing that I wish a lot more people know.
Anyway, others things happened as well this week. Like Sunday. Sunday was hard. Remember, the mom and son that I mentioned that walked into Church off the street a few Sundays ago? Well they came to church this last Sunday and stayed only for Sacrament. We went hiking with them my first Monday here and she told us then that they didn't want to be taught yet, because she did not want to force her son to participate so they would just come to Church. Right after the meeting ended she told Elder Layton that they were going to look at other churches because there was nobody their age at our church. So we speedily worked on getting a lot of people her age to talk with them. Including someone to tell her son about the YSA, young single adults, in the area. But he told him about how bad the area's YSA was and how there was no one around to do things with! So I do not think they will be coming back.
On another note we do have a baptism this upcoming Saturday and so we are working on getting all the final preparation done for that. The other people we are working with are still having health problems. Also, we were able to get Carlos, a recent convert preparing to go on a mission, to a YSA meeting on Saturday with Elder Oaks after a ton of calls. We had given up hope, but then we got a call from a member who arranged a ride for him. We got the call half an hour before we got to Redlands. It was a miracle and he really enjoyed it. Also, this Saturday we are having a ward party, with part of the evening being a showing of the old Johnny Lingo movie.
Also, today for preparation day this morning we went to the Palm Springs air Museum. Which was great, because I like museums and Elder Layton is all about flying. There were going to be two other Elders, but they ditched us to play soccer so it was just us. Also, we were about to pay to get in when the desk guy, who was in his seventies, turned out to be member and let us in for free. Then when we were going to leave he asked us if we had had lunch and when we said "no" he then told us to go eat and give the cashier guy a note about how he would pay. He was an awesome member as are many of the people in the surrounding stakes. So we got pictures.