Our weekend was a working weekend. We studied and prepared on Saturday morning for an in-service for seminary and institute teachers in the Johannesburg I and Johannesburg 2 wards. We left early to make sure we could find the chapel and it was a good thing because it took a while and was in a difficult place to find. The “Joburg” building, if I understood correctly was the first large meetinghouse built in Johannesburg and at one time was the stake center. As in many large cities, the affluent population has long ago moved to the suburbs so the buildings that now surround the chapel are high-density housing and inner city businesses. The chapel is still beautiful though and you could see that it was a refuge to the members of the two wards who attend there. Even on a Saturday, it was busy with various meetings and with members coming in and out. The feeling in the in-service meeting would be impossible to put into words. All of the teachers were there and all participated with such powerful testimonies of the work that they are doing with the youth. Not only were the teachers present, but both bishops were present, one in his traditional dress, which I loved. Both bishops are such powerful leaders and so dedicated to the youth in their wards. Our CES director also came and took a small part of the meeting. The more I am around him the more impressed I am. He is such a wise man and in all of my experience with teachers, I have never seen a better teacher. Sunday, we attended an outlying ward where we spoke in sacrament meeting about the Seminary and Institute programs. The bishop also spoke to encourage his youth and he is also an impressive leader. The same is true of the people who led and/or taught the Young Single Adult meeting and other meetings we attended. The picture above is of a young sister who so skillfully taught the Relief Society lesson on families even though she herself is not yet married.
It has been only two weeks and we are already in awe of the members here and of their great spirits. It is evident that we are here to support the work they are doing and not to show them how to do it. So to any of you who are thinking of serving a couples mission, here are some thoughts:
- If you think that you are coming on a mission because your are a great teacher with much knowledge to impart, prepare instead to be taught
- If you think that your area of service will suffer without your great leadership experience, prepare to learn true leadership from great men and women who show the way with wisdom and love.
- If you think that you will go to a foreign land and show them how the church should operate, prepare to have hear them not just explain the programs of the church, but to live their underlying doctrines and principles, sacrificing so much more than we do to do so.
- If you think that your great insight will allow you to explain how church members can solve their problems, prepare to watch as they brilliantly map their own destiny, overcoming great obstacles that might have defeated you. Prepare to be grateful if they let you be a part of their progress.
- If you are a senior missionary thinking of coming on a mission, don’t come thinking that they won’t be perfected without you, but that you might not be perfected without them. Prepare yourself to be humbled, to gain knowledge, to understand wisdom, to learn patience, to be challenged, to be grateful, to be happy and to be amazed.