The Conferences begin with a hymn, an invocation, and a spiritual thought. The meeting is conducted by the Zone leaders. Then Pres. Albright has a presentation on "The basics of our Purpose, and the Invitations (he is inspiring, as always). Then I talk about The importance of Inviting Everyone. The Zone Leaders present a council on Preparing for Commitments. They have all been trained how to hold councils. They get everyone involved in great discussions and get them excited about the subject. At each conference they have presented it a little different, but they have been exceptional. Next they watch a DVD from Preach My Gospel on Planning.
Next, we have a little more relaxing activity. Elder Fuller, from the office comes and talks about CARS. He is wonderful. They all love him. They have all left their cars unlocked in the parking lot, with trunks open. He has checked them all for cleanliness. He comes in and Shows a really funny video the church has put together about "backing up". In all missions it is the rule that when they are backing up, one missionary has to be outside the car watching and directing them as they back up. After the video, he presents awards for the cleanest cars, with 100 extra miles as a reward for 1st place. (The elders are kept to a strict mileage allowance.) He gives gigantic candy bars to the winners. Then the iron man award goes to the Elder who has been on a bike longest. After Elder Fuller, I give a health update. This time I talked about Benefits of Water. Since it is summer and very hot, they need lots of water. I found a fun worksheet and we try to make a game of it. We follow with a break and homemade goodies (oreo cookies that they love). After the break The Assistants give an exaggerated example of how not to get a commitment and then show a video they made with Pres. Albright doing a good commitment approach, one they have called " The window to the Soul" Approach. It involves, making sure you pause and give the Holy Ghost time to communicate and for the investigator to feel the spirit and respond. You ask questions of the soul that are appropriate to the person, express love and promised blessings attached to the needs of the investigator and then ask for a commitment in the direct way outlined in Preach my Gospel. After the Assistants explain and demonstrate, the Zone breaks up into districts and they roleplay the approach. It has been fascinating to watch how incredible they are at learning and mastering this idea. We all return to the room, have a musical number. (every zone has had beautiful numbers. I am so impressed) Pres. gives closing remarks, getting them excited about the work. Then we have a song, prayer and it's time for lunch. At each one, the Relief Society supplies the lunch. What sweet women they are and what nice lunches they make for the missionaries. After the lunch, the missionaries line up and have the RS sisters come into the gym and they recite their purpose to them and sing Called to Serve. It is very moving. After Lunch is over, the Assistants have an activity in the gym called "entering the school of the Prophets". During this activity Pres. Albright is interviewing each one individually while I visit with their companion and get to know them. This has been the highlight for me as I have been blessed to visit and enjoy hearing about each one of them. They are all so different, yet so incredible. I love them all more each day. Following are pictures of the 4 conferences we have had so far. I will add pictures as we attend the other conferences this week.