February 5, 2009

How’s everything going at home?  We just got a really good snow “storm”.  Once again, the most snow I’ve ever seen! When people hear that they think I’m nuts.

Highlights of the week?
On Monday instead of having District Meeting we had Zone Training Meeting, which was really nice. It was a lot shorter than they have been in the past,this one only lasting from 10:30 to 1:30pm.  It was pretty rapid fire with some nice talks and great role plays helping us all sharpen our sickle. Our focus lesson this transfer is The Plan of Salvation (Happiness). Most of the role plays we did focused on tracting and teaching right after you get into a door, a very critical time. This zone consists of the suburbs of Philadelphia but also takes in the Pennypack Ward and the Frankford Branch, only 8 companionships total. Pretty small.
Then on Tuesday we shot back down to the Pennypack building for our interviews with President and Sister Murray. That went great! I really love them and learn so much from both of them when I see them.  President Murray is a spiritual giant and is always teaching. We went over some things that I am really focusing on now. Things that I know I must improve quickly because I only have so much time remaining. President was very encouraging and always gives great advice and is full of so much love. He reminded me that I am where I need to be and I’m with who I need to be to help me aquire the attributes I am trying to attain. That was great.
That night we went and taught a ward family home evening. It is focused on the Empty Nesters and Singles over 30 but we invite everyone. Our lesson was focused on inviting the spirit into our conversations with everyone we come into contact with and bearing simple testimony. We role played and talked about different situations that members commonly come upon.  One of the couples in our ward got me thinkin’. The sister said that she was in a great spot to share the gospel but it was pretty hard to start a conversation. They have a son on a mission and a daughter who is getting married in the temple in a couple months.  To myself I thought, “I know another couple in the same situation…”  So, I hope you are taking advantage of every opportunity that you have to talk about your son on a mission (a mission? what’s that?) and your daughter getting married (where? in the Los Angeles Temple. What’s a temple?) hummm.. You better be taking advantage of every missionary opportunity you have, it really doesn’t get much easier.

Today we are going back to Pennypack to play Volleyball with Elder Moorhead and Elder Foketi. I served in the same district with them when I was in the Logan Ward. Elder Foketi just was Emergency Transfered up to take the spot of a missionary who went home because he was sick. He goes home at the end of this transfer so we are taking every chance we can to see him. He lives in Tonga so there is a very slim chance I’ll see him again. Hopefully we can get the Pennypack and Frankford districts to come play as well.

The end of last transfer I wrote letters/christmas cards to the parents of all the missionaries in my district. Since then I’ve received some very nice thank you notes from their parents. We had such an amazing district and all the missionaries are still doing wonderful even though we are all spread out now. But I thought it was nice to get a thank you note.

Near the beginning of the week there was a planet that was really bright next to the moon for a couple days. Do you know which one it was? We were curious.

The ward is doing wonderful. I’ve actually been learning a lot because we have been taking members to every appointment and they are able to bring such a powerful spirit into every lesson. The knowledge and testimony of a member adds so much to the lessons we are teaching investigators and less active families. They are always around too, missionaries move so by taking a member you have so much more support and the chances of retention are so much greater. Our mission’s retention is shooting up too. President Murray is doing amazing in helping every unit improve. Last year at this time our retention percentage  was in the teens. This year we are looking at over 75%! That is an incredible feat!

Everything is going great. I hope you are staying warm and dry. Washing our car this morning was tough. We take it to one of those do it yourself places. The water coming out of the hose would just freeze as soon as it hit the car? That makes it pretty tough. But we got it done.

I love you.
Have a great week.

Love,
Elder Michael Oakford

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