Saturday, April 9, 2016

Week Twenty-Eight: Much Work to Do

Hello my loved ones,

This week has been very busy. So much work. And so much more to come.

First of all the work in the Lord's vineyard has increased with the wonderful news of the temple coming to Harare Zimbabwe. It is by far the best news a mission could receive.

Secondly, the Mission Office work has increased for the 4 elders serving here because of the lack of Assistants to the President. We have all taken different responsibilities, added onto our original workloads. Last week was transfers, very busy. This week was MLC (Missionary Leadership Council: where all the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders come to Harare for a meeting with President Mkhabela). Last Friday President Mkhabela authorized an office-exchange. It was thought that it would last from Friday until Tuesday, when MLC was finished. However because of the large workloads it continued until last night, Friday.

Elder Gundani, the Flats Manager became my temporary companion and we spent last Saturday making the MLC agenda. We also attended and conducted the MLC on Tuesday. In addition, we had many Flats errands to run all over Harare, bringing supplies to missionaries, sometimes not getting home till after 10pm (I know, the horror, but as President Mkhabela has said, Mission Office Elders have different responsibilities, and sometimes a schedule change is needed).

Also yesterday, we started a huge project. President Mkhabela decided we should make Binders for every missionary to keep trainings, talks, etc. throughout their whole mission. This sounds like a good idea. I designed a pretty awesome cover sheet on the computer, and printed out enough for each missionary. We even decided to make them personalized with their own names. Sounds super cool, right?

We have 124 Missionaries In-Field currently. And 43 more called to Zimbabwe. I made 167 different versions of the cover sheet, and printed out 124 of them, full color pages. Our printer waits a couple minutes before printing a full color page. It took over 2 and a half hours to print everything. But that was just my printer.

Elder Shepherd was busy printing the talks to put in. There are 6 talks * 125 copies. See the attached picture. Notice the box next to it that the reams of paper came in. We used 3 different printers/copiers for hours. We left the office after president left at 6:30pm.

Now look at what the binders we have completed so far look like. This is only 12 of them. When we have all 124, it will stretch 25.6 feet or about 7.8 meters. I can't wait for that picture.

Oh yeah, and the Binders are wanted for the Zone Conferences, which are on Tuesday (here in Harare) and Thursday (in Gweru). And we are likely to get the rest of the binders on Monday. It's gonna be super fun. That may sound sarcastic, but seriously, it is pretty fun.

I know there is always things I forget to mention in the weekly emails. But I write so much anyway that I think its okay. I don't want to write too much that people won't read.

Let me end with my testimony. I know without a doubt that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the Lord's true church reestablished on the earth. I know even more so now that the Lord's church is a church of order. Never before had I realized how much organization and planning goes into the organization of the church. There is so much more to the missionary effort than people see on the streets. But the greatest thing is that all missionaries have the same purpose, to invite others to come unto Christ. Whether they are out their working in the field, or they are working in the offices, all are needed for the Lord's work. Just as Paul said in 1 Corinthians 12, all are needed for different responsibilities, and all are just as important.

I know Jesus Christ lives and that he loves every single person on this earth.

Until next time, may the lord bless you in all that you do.
-Elder Wilcken

Week Twenty-Seven and a Half: Special Email Home Relating to the Temple Announcement

Hello my loved ones!

It is so very exciting! The greatest news in the church in Zimbabwe! President Mkhabela gave me permission to send one email home today since my P-day already passed.

This is the most exciting thing ever. You have no idea how much joy we have here.

Last night we (the 4 office elders) had a Dinner Appointment with a family in our ward at 5:00pm. They told us at church that we'd have dinner then we could stay and watch conference live with them. (The Sunday morning session).

Now this family is the greatest, every Sunday they have us over for Dinner. The Husband works at the US Embassy and the Wife is from Brazil. They both served missions so they know all the rules we must follow, and they make sure we do.

We ate dinner quickly, then all sat down on the couches. Then President Monson came to the pulpit. Then he said 4 new temples, and my mind thought "What if he said Zimbabwe" Then he said it. "Harare Zimbabwe". And then we all lost it. We actually didn't hear about the Brazil or Peru temples because we were too excited.

So much excitement, immediately texts were sent to zone leaders. The pure Joy, we could barely stay seated. High fives and hugs (between the Elders only). It was wonderful.

The funniest thing to us was when later it was talked about the excitement in Thailand. Because that was almost exactly what happened. Within minutes most of the mission knew. By the end of the night, everyone knew.

Now for events of the past that all connect and make sense now:
In the MTC we all talked about the potential for a Temple in Zimbabwe, and how cool it would be.
When Elder Cook was here for Mission Tour, he talked multiple times about "When Zimbabwe has a temple of it's own" or the future "Harare Zimbabwe Temple"
President Mkhabela has been trying to move all elders out of the transfer house (which resides on the church property next to the mission office and chapel) for the past few weeks.
I've heard many stories of General Authorities coming to Zimbabwe and mentioning how this property would be wonderful for a temple.
And twice this week we have had pipes burst in the transfer house, as well as many other problems arise which could all be solved if it was demolished.
We have no idea for certain where the temple would be. The common theory for everyone is that it will be where the transfer house is currently, because the church property here is huge. But if it is here, I can say along with 3 other elders, that we were the last to live on the temple grounds.
But it is all speculation at this point.

I love you all, thank you so much for your prayers and support. Please continue to pray for the people of Zimbabwe.
-Elder Wilcken

Week Twenty-Seven: 25%

Hello my Family,

This week marked a milestone in my mission. I have completed 6 Months of Mission. I have 18 Months left. I am now a Sister Missionary. However once I have 6 Months left I will no longer be a Sister Missionary because I will have surpassed a sister missionary.

And because there was no Assistants to the President, Elder Shepherd and I went to the Airport to pick up the new missionaries. It was so exciting. Looking through the Window down and them coming through customs and getting their bags, it was like looking through a nursery window at the new "baby" missionaries. They were so green. Haha

There were 5 new sisters, and in case you haven't figured out the math, these are the ones going home with my group. So it made it feel like time has flown by. In fact, the missionaries coming in after this will all leave after I do now!

Also there was a baptism last night! The baptism of Claudia! She's the one in the middle with the flowers. Auntie Sheilla is the Mama next to her who knows how to take care of missionaries. Every week for a looong time, she has had missionaries over for Dinner Appointments and lessons. Elder Oleson, the one between me and her, is the "Oldest Living Child" as he used to visit often. Elder Shepherd and I are the youngest children currently. There is a wall in her house with all the Elders she considers her children. We call it the "Wall of Fam(ily)"

This was by far the best baptism I've been to in Zimbabwe. It was by far the best organized and planned. This was the first one ever to have a program.

Anyway, this week was good. The Lord has certainly been blessing us. The Mission is growing, the office is productive, and the workers in the field are happy and healthy. I know this is the Lord's work that he would have me do.

I love you all, have a wonderful week.
-Elder Wilcken