Monday, November 4, 2013

Coimbatore Zone Conference

Last week we drove (actually we rode, while our driver drove) to Coimbatore for Zone Conference. Coimbatore is about 360 km (225 miles) from Bangalore, but the trip takes about 5.5 hours.  We traveled with the Assistants to the President, as they had part of our Zone Conference program.

We were in Coimbatore from Thursday night to Sunday. I conducted temple recommend interviews on Thursday night, held Zone Conference all day Friday, conducted additional temple recommend interviews Friday night, interviewed missionaries Saturday morning, and then spoke at District General Priesthood Meeting Saturday night. Terry/Sister Berrett participated in the Zone Conference, counseled with our Sister missionaries, and spent time working with the Sisters on Saturday. We attended Church on Sunday, and then traveled back to Bangalore Sunday afternoon. I guess we do not need rest, as we do not seem to find much time for it.

On our trip back Sunday afternoon, I asked Sampath, our driver, to take a route through the Indian countryside, including several small villages. The trip home was longer than the trip to Coimbatore, but we were able to enjoy a beautiful Sunday afternoon drive. The pictures below are from our return trip. (Click on the pictures to open a full sized version.)
Sunday Afternoon Street Market, Coimbatore
We really enjoy Zone Conferences. We have a great opportunity to interact with the missionaries. I focused some of my instruction on lessons from the past General Conference, relating to missionary work. I also taught “The Doctrine of Repentance.” Terry spent time on food preparation and avoiding illness. She also was the key presenter of our instruction for missionaries on managing the stress of missionary work.
Rice, Bananas, Sugar Cane and Coconut Trees
Two sets of missionaries asked me to join them in visits to homes of less active members. In each home, the head of the house indicated that he had some concerns which were keeping them from attending.  Apparently each felt the need to vent his feelings to the mission president. I agreed to go.
Entering a rural village
The first visit was with one of the district leaders and his companion. I was introduced to a husband and wife who have been members of the Church for 25+ years. They are some of the literal pioneers in India. He is about 70 years old and she is a few years younger. Their home is large and well furnished. It is one of the nicest Indian homes I have visited. They live with their daughter and one or more of her children. They told me of their family and of their past involvement in the Church. They also told me of how they had been offended by the actions and inactions of some of the members of the Church.
Rice Fields
As we visited, I felt impressed to apologize that they had been offended. However, rather than simply inviting them to return to Church, I told them that I felt impressed to call them to serve a full time mission. We need senior couples, and they are needed. I then said I did not have the authority to call them, only the Prophet has that authority. But, I want to recommend them to be called. I extended the specific invitation to pray about the issue, and let me know within a week. They told me that there were several problems which would need to be resolved. I assured them that I thought most issues could be taken care of. They agreed to prayerfully consider my request and to report back to me.
Goat herder with his flock
I also invited the husband to attend the District Priesthood meeting which was to be held within about 2 hrs of our visit. He did not do so. But, the next morning as we sat on the stand before Sacrament meeting, I noticed him enter the room in the company of his grandson. He was well dressed, in a neatly pressed white shirt and tie.
Buffalo herd walking through village
The second home I visited was with two sister missionaries. It was much more humble – only two rooms (a kitchen/misc room and a bedroom) and about two or three chairs. Again there was a lengthy recitation of reasons for lack of attendance at Church. I listened and offered apologies. I then felt impressed to challenge the family to prepare to go to the temple in the next 6 months. Since the husband currently is unemployed, this will be a stretch for them. I also invited the husband to attend priesthood meeting. By this time we were 20 min past the starting time for the meeting where I was supposed to be presiding. He agreed to attend, and so we bundled into our car, and drove to the Church. We arrived late – in fact only about 5 min before I was supposed to speak.
Village dweller with her goat
 There is great power in inviting Church members to return to activity. Heavenly Father loves all of His children. We are blessed to enjoy a small portion of that love.
Rural Indian Home

1 comment:

  1. I Like This Page... It is nice to see all these but i would like to see more updates about the great things like this. im impressed the way you have prompted to invite those people to serve a mission. this reminded me of President Jackson whom i love more than any one.
    President Great work here in this great country. I would love to see Sister Dhikao Photos Soon.