On November 10 – 12, Sister Sweeney and I joined Sister Laurel Lawrence and her husband, Elder Larry R. Lawrence of the Second Quorum of the Seventy on a Mission Tour. A Mission Tour is an annual event where a General Authority of the Church (typically a Seventy) visits the mission to meet with the Elders and Sisters, review mission performance and (if possible) lift mission performance.
Last year we felt incredibly blessed to have Elder Teh visit our mission. This year we feel equally blessed.
Sister Lawrence started the two-stop mission tour (one meeting was held for the 4 Mountain Zones, one meeting for the 7 Valley Zones) with a dose of doctrine. She taught for 2 hours on the House of Israel, explaining how this doctrine applied to the missionaries and to those they would find. In a demonstration to illustrate how Ephraim and Manasseh, the sons of Joseph, were leading the latter-day gathering of Israel, the missionaries stood when Sister Lawrence called the name of their tribe as declared in their patriarchal blessing. Most were from Ephraim, 10% or so from Manasseh and one or two from other tribes (those Elders and Sisters of Polynesian or Latin American ancestry).
With great skill, Sister Lawrence painted a picture of the New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage as the modern-day equivalent of the Abrahamic Covenant – the way to return to live with God and have a God-like life. Over and over she stressed the importance of living true to their pre-mortal covenants to be faithful and (for the Elders) fulfill their pre-mortal promise to gather the House of Israel; to be covenant keepers.
Elder Lawrence joined Sister Lawrence by working with the Mission Leadership Council (on Monday, Nov. 10) to raise the bar and define what being an “exactly obedient” missionary meant. The missionaries agreed it meant getting up/out/in on time, listening to music that was clearly at or above the standards in the Missionary Handbook (and for clarity, defining it as Mormon Tabernacle Choir music of hymns or out of the Children’s Songbook), and using time wisely. In the Mission Tour Mountain and Valley meetings that followed, those commitments were accepted by all 206 missionaries.
It was a glorious time of refreshing and re-dedication to living up to our privileges.
Coincident or not, this week, the mission also had a baptism of a family of 8 in one of the Mountain Zones! Sisters Hogenson, Lords and Krutsch being the missionaries that are serving in the Clay Springs Ward of the Show Low Stake.
Here are multi-zone pictures for your enjoyment!