One thing that stood out to me this week is that some of the initial stages of irritation and cynicism start to peek out. I’ll say that this becomes a theme for many of these. These feelings are sometimes directed at individuals and sometimes at groups. I suspect some people might be put off, annoyed, bothered, or even offended about some of the things that I say. I make no apologies about what I write. If something that I write bothers you or seems familiar, take a look in the mirror, because, to be honest, I am probably writing personally about YOU.
This was a difficult week for me as far as ministry work but a good one spiritually. First, I was asked last Saturday night after getting home from Dayton if I would be willing to be the Assistant Ward Mission Leader. Second, I was able to work the the Elders to teach a gentleman who is very interested in joining our church. Third, I was able to start the process through the military chaplain on my base to set up a LDS service member group on the base. Overall, however, I feel like we made good progress through the week, but it was difficult for us to find a good volume of work to do.
Saturday was an interesting day for the LDS church in general. This past Saturday and Sunday was what we call General Conference, which in my limited understanding, is quite different than what the UMC calls General Conference. Ours takes place every six months and basically two days worth of sermons from our worldwide leadership. Saturday always has two, two hour sessions for the general membership and one two hour session for the male priesthood. The Saturday sermons were generally all related to missionary work. After the priesthood session at night, I was talking to my bishop about what happened in school when he asked me if I would be willing to be the assistant Ward (congregation) Mission Leader. Of course I said I would, especially considering I all ready do the majority of the work that will be involved in the position. This should give me a great variety of work going forward this semester and into next semester. Spiritually, this showed me that often times we are provided with new ways to do work that we were not expecting. Sometimes all that is needed is for us to make an effort to do the work and move the process along.
Second, I helped teach a lesson to a very interested man on Wednesday. We taught him about our general process to salvation within our theology. He was very interested and enthused about learning the lesson. Even if he chooses not to continue with baptism and membership in the church, he has a tentative baptism date for [date removed], it was very uplifting to teach someone so willing to learn our message. While it would surely be a disappointment if he does not continue coming to church, his initial reaction was enough to keep me highly motivated for a while. With regards to him joining, however, we have another problem within our congregation that would need to be addressed and that is our general lack of fellowship for new members. As a ward, we must be more willing to reach out to new members and make them feel welcome so these people will continue coming. As invigorating as it is to see him so happy about the lesson, it actually saddens me to think how members will react and treat him if he joins.
Finally, I started work with our chaplain on base to form a LDS member group. I am not exactly sure what is involved with this process. The definition of the group will make a significant difference because we do not want to be able to have actual sacrament (communion) services on Sundays, but only to have military permission to hold a weekly bible study meeting on the base among the few of us who are LDS members (right now, I know of 3 and we all attend different wards due to geography). A secondary goal, beyond bringing us closer together as members, is missionary outreach on the base. Given the fully inclusive nature of the military, direct proselytizing is prohibited, but after getting approval from the chaplain to hold a study during the week, we would be able advertise on the base and possibly get people beyond our small membership to attend.
Beyond these things, we are starting to see some yield from other works. We have a baptism at the church tonight (Saturday) and I am conducting that service, though not performing the ordinance. We have also established an LDS Student Association at the University of South Alabama which allows us to do missionary work on campus. This should be starting within the next month. I am hoping we can all do good work on campus because I have seen good work done in new member conversion at North Carolina State. Also, this coming week I hope to sit down with our full-time missionaries and work with them on some time management issues that I feel like we are having, hopefully with some time I can better phrase what I want to mention because to be quite honest, I am very irritated right now.
Overall, we had a fairly good week, but one where I felt more could have been done. On to next week, I suppose.