Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Testamony

This Easter season, we take the opportunity to affirm our personal testimonies of the reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We are grateful for the fact that our mission gives us the opportunity to join with all of our missionaries in declaring: “He lives.”

We know that the resurrection of Jesus was an essential part of His sacrifice and vicarious suffering on our behalf and on behalf of all of Heavenly Father’s children. We join with the poets in declaring;

I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me
Confused at the grace that so fully He proffers me.
I tremble to know that for me He was crucified,
That for me a sinner he suffered and bled and died.

I marvel that He would descend from his throne divine
To rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine,
That He should extend his great love unto such as I,
Sufficient to own, to redeem, and to justify.

I think of His hands pierced and bleeding to pay the debt!
Such mercy, such love and devotion can I forget?
No, no, I will praise and adore at the mercy seat,
Until at the glorified throne I kneel at his feet.

Oh, it is wonderful that he should care for me
Enough to die for me!
Oh, it is wonderful,
Wonderful to me.
(Hymns, #193)

He is risen! He is risen!
Tell it out with joyful voice.
He has burst his three days’ prison;
Let the whole wide earth rejoice.
Death is conquered; man is free
Christ has won the victory.

Come with high and holy hymning;
Chant our Lord’s triumphant lay.
Not one dark-some cloud is dimming
Yonder glorious morning ray,
Breaking o’er the purple east,
Symbol of our Easter feast.

He is risen! He is risen!
He hath opened heaven’s gate.
We are free from sin’s dark prison,
Risen to a holier state.
And a brighter Easter beam
On our longing eyes shall stream.
(Hymns, 199)

We love this season. We joyfully join with all Christendom in celebrating the hope which comes to all of us because of the atonement and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

We invite all persons to share in this hope and to receive His love and grace.

With love,
The Berretts

Friday, April 18, 2014

Zone Conferences

19 Apr 2014 - found an error. I had the wrong picture for Hyderabad Zone. That now is corrected.

Each quarter we conduct zone conferences with our missionaries. As part of the conference, I try to interview each missionary.

This week, we have been on the road to conduct three conferences for five zones. It has been a rigorous schedule, with three conferences, and many missionary and member interviews in each city.
Hyderabad Zone 
On Sunday evening, we traveled to Hyderabad, where we had our first zone conference on Monday.
 Our emphasis for this quarter is on recognizing the Spirit to aid missionaries in their work. We did some scripture study exercises, and some practice teaching situations. I shared the following experience from two of our missionaries, which illustrates recognizing the Spirit. (I have edited the story slightly to smooth out the English and to protect privacy.)

So last week, on Tuesday, we started our day with effective companionship study and personal study. But I was thinking about the zone training meeting and about what you said that "we need to learn to recognize the spirit." As I was thinking about that I was praying for the help. We left the apartment and our first appointment cancelled. The whole day all our appointments got cancelled. We didn't know what we need to do. At that time, I was thinking like ok, we can go and meet the branch president. We called him and he said he is not free. I was about give up, but a strong feeling came to me saying "go for finding." But we know tracting won't be effective. But I followed that impression and we started to walk, finding Christian homes. As we did, I felt like I need to talk to a brother who was standing outside of his home. I went and spoke to him. He said he is not Christian. We left that home and continued to walk, not knowing where we are going. But I was sure that we were guided by the spirit. After walking for long time we turned to each other and I said "I think God wants us to be more humble." My companion said "its true." Then in my heart I said a prayer like "Father I'm sorry for the things I have done. Please help us." As I finished my prayer, I heard a voice from the next building. A brother called us like "Hey brothers, over here. Are you from the Church of Jesus Christ?" We said "yes." Then he took us to his home. At first we felt uncomfortable because he was drunken on that time. But we shared a small message with him and got a return appointment. On Friday, we got a chance to meet with him. As me and my companion shared restoration of the gospel with him, we felt the spirit so strong and we understood that he is prepared by the Lord. Now, I understand more clearly how the spirit directed work will be. I'm so grateful for this experience

This is exactly the understanding we are trying to help each missionary reach.

On Tuesday, we traveled to Visak for a very uplifting meeting of the combined Visak and Rajahmundry Zones. I did some missionary interviews on Tuesday, followed by several hours of member interviews. 
Rajahmundry and Visakhaputnam Zones
Wednesday after Zone Conference, I finished missionary interviews, conducted a few more member interviews, and then we traveled to Chennai.

On Wednesday, we enjoyed a wonderful conference with the combined Chennai and Coimbatore Zones, followed by some missionary interviews and more member interviews. When we have districts, and not stakes, most of the interviews which would be done by the stake president have to be done by the mission president (or one of his counselors).
Chennai and Coimbatore Zones
Friday brought more member interviews, 8 missionary interviews, and travel back to Bangalore.

Next week we will finish the conference schedule by meeting with our Bangalore missionaries.

Terry (Sister Berrett) is a great help in our doctrinal teaching, in working with the missionaries on health and apartment cleanliness. This round of conferences, we have been encouraging/instructing the missionaries to have a small "emergency" supply of medicines sufficient to treat a few days of the most common ailments (pains, diarrhea, colds, and bacterial infections). While I am interviewing missionaries about their spiritual and emotional welfare, she often is discussing their physical well-being. She often will have several missionaries lined up to see her.

We both are able to keep very busy and involved. We really enjoy meeting with our missionaries and the members around the mission.

I think we will not have much trouble sleeping tonight.