It is amazing to see how the brethren from the General Authorities are able to exert the energy it takes to teach and train all day without showing that they are tired. Even when I drove him and his wife to the train station, they insisted on carrying their own luggage through the Bahnhof
to the track where the train would pick them up and take them to Frankfurt. Our Zone (for two Zones) conference was the last one of three that were held in our Mission. He (Elder Robert Oaks is the European Area President) arrived on Tuesday evening in Hamburg, held a fireside and then held a Zone Conference on Wednesday, on Thursday and then completed his mission tour on Friday here in Dortmund. It is a great experience to be taught by one who spoke as directed by the Spirit and kept our attention from ten (10:00) in the morning to 4:30 PM. We did have a short lunch break and enjoyed the food that was prepared by the Stake Relief Society Sisters. When they (Elder and Sister Oaks) were finished there was only enough time to take a quick picture and than off to the Hauptbahnhof (main train depot). We will be talking a long time about the teachings we received among us missionaries.
It was of interest to hear from Elder Robert Oaks of the Seventy why the "bar" was raised a few years ago. He said that that move cost the church 10,000 missionaries, but it was necessary so that the Missionaries could be led and directed by the Spirit. That can only happen when the missionaries are worthy to receive the Spirit.
Only for the Grandchildren: We would especially hope that all of our grandchildren take note of that truth that was taught to us. Never, ever do anything that would take away the opportunity to be able to serve a mission. It would break our heart for you to throw away that experience for a moment of excitement and worldly pleasure. Please take a moment and think about it.
There are a whole page of notes in my planner. Let us mention only a couple points of interest. Because of what we heard we could give a good Sacrament Meeting talk about the scripture that is found in Matthew 11:29. We are on the one side of the yoke with the Savior on the other side. We were taught about the "principle of the yoke". It all has to do with "leverage". (It will take to long to explain in writing like this, perhaps as we talk to you family members on the phone, we will give you a 3 or 4 minute explanation.). Elder Oaks said in summary to the missionaries that: "The more equally we are yoked with the Savior the more effective we are as missionaries." In another hour of our conference he started with this statement: "Missionaries, you are incredible credible." Think about what these young men and women have been asked to do and are accomplishing. In a later segment of the conference he talked about the image of the Church in Europe. He said that in an actual survey some 20 years ago the image of the Church was "Polygamy" and today it is "Two young Missionaries". He also told us that after years of decline, which the Baptism Rate is on the rise in Europe.
A picture of some of us at Zone Conference in Dortmund, Friday 13 February 2009. Sorry we did not have more time to take a better picture. On the front row from left to right is : Elder and Sister Duerksen, Elder and Sister Diederich, Sister and Elder Oaks and President and Sister Thompson.