Us Seniors

Elder et Soeur Arn & Jody

Thursday, September 11


We had a wonderful Zone Conference today. Elder Paya, who is an Area Authority Seventy for our area, and his wife spoke and introduced some changes to the current missionary program of the Church. They are a wonderful French couple. When we first came to France, the mission gave us a set of CDs with "Preach My Gospel" read in French. This is the couple who were on the CD. At first we thought they were another Senior Couple and were so impressed with their French accents. We learned later that they were native speakers and that he was an Area Authority.

Most of the conference was given in French, but there was about a third in English. Sister Paya gave her part in English to, as she said, give the translaters a rest. There were several fairly new missionaries who needed some help from other missionaries to understand the French. One sister had only been out for two days.

Sister Paya told several experiences that really helped any of us who might be discouraged thinking that we haven't been as successful as we would like. The Belgium Mission is especially hard as most of the Belgian people are not at all interested in anything to do with religion. The missionaries work very hard but do not have the large number of baptisms that many other missions do.

She told that when she was young her family met with the missionaries but after awhile they decided that they really liked the missionaries and would love to have them come to dinner or to visit but they didn't want to talk religion with them any more. Sister Paya was touched by these missionaries, but because of her parents' decision, she did not pursue it further. When she was older, she again became acquainted with some missionaries and was baptized. She now has been a member for many years, her children have all served honorable missions, and she and her husband are serving the Church in Europe and bringing many souls to our Heavenly Father. She said that those two Elders (she can't remember their names and doubts if they even would remember teaching her, but she remembers their influence) probably never will know of the "success" they had in teaching that young girl or the far-reaching blessings that have come from their efforts. But they were doing what they knew was right and had taught with the Spirit.

Sister Paya also told of her friend that was walking down the street one day and saw two young men walking toward her. They were well dressed and, even though she could tell that it was not their native language, they were speaking French to each other. She was so impressed with the way they looked and the way they conducted themselves - she said it was as if they glowed. She thought at that time that she hoped that her sons could be like that when they grew up. Years later when missionaries came to her door, she remembered those two fine missionaries she had seen before, and welcomed these Elders into her home to teach her the gospel. She joined the church and since then her two sons have indeed gone on missions and have had that same glow from the Spirit that she had witnessed those years earlier. Those first Elders would have no way of knowing the influence they had on this woman or the "success" that resulted. They were doing the Lord's work and had the Spirit with them so that it touched the heart of this woman and laid the groundwork for her conversion. If they had not been doing what they should have - if they had been speaking English loudly or been ill kempt or rude, it never would have happened. We never know what influence we have on others. We need to always be doing what we are supposed to be doing and know that all of our "successes" are not necessarily known to us.

She gave us a motto from one of the missions they had recently visited. It is:

Love is the motive.
Obedience is the price.
Faith is the power.
The spirit is the key.
Christ is the reason.

Our Zone! There were two Zones at the Conference, so we took turns getting our pictures taken. The front row is Elder and Sister Miller, Sister and President Woodland, Elder and Sister Paya, Sister Orton (new missionary who spent the last year in Summerlin - small world) and her companion. We still don't know all of the missionaries names in our zone yet. They keep changing them and unless we work directly with them, we don't get to know them very well. The second row is Elder Wakefield, Elder Gonzalez, the next 4 Elders we are not sure of their names, the next two sisters we don't know the names but the first one is a wonderful singer and has provided music for the last 2 conferences, the next Sister is the brand new one, Elder Kam is next, and we don't know on the end. The third row is unknown until the seventh, he is Elder Nielsen, Elder Peterson, Elder Scott and another we are not sure about his name.

A funny side note: when we went into the cultural hall for lunch it was dark in there. Several people were doing different things to get the lights to come on. JoAnn said, "Let there be light" at the same time snapping her fingers. At that precise moment when her fingers snapped the lights came on full force. Sister Woodland's mouth dropped. We all got a good laugh out of the power we senior missionaries possess.

It was a wonderful day and really helped to recharge our spiritual batteries.


Blogger Jay said...

Hey that is cool that the Payas are now area authorities. I was "mentored" by their son Matthieu in the MTC before he shipped off to New Caledonia, then met him again when he came home several months before I left. They were always the shining stars of the Cote when Fr Paya was the Stake Pres in Nice.

10:27 PM  

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