Wednesday, August 17, 2011

One Legged Man Takes a Stand

Hello Fines Great and Small,

This week was exceptional.  First of all, Tony got baptized.  Tony is a one-legged black man from Chicago with a strong evangelical background.  I've been working with him since March.  He's been dropped and retaught by missionaries 3 times, twice by me.  He's disappeared, re-appeared, quit smoking several times, along with several other vices, and has just generally been very difficult in his progression.  And last sunday he was confirmed a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I'm not sure what changed, but he just made a decision and actually took it seriously.  Super cool.  Baptisms generally make your week good.

Secondly, we were visited yesterday by Elder M. Russell Ballard of the quorum of the twelve apostles, accompanied by Elder Gay, the area seventy.  Elder Ballard taught us about becoming master teachers and being ready at any time to teach any lesson to any person and really focusing and knowing Preach My Gospel.  As much as I agree with that, and plan to refocus my efforts to do so, that wasn't anything new to me.  What really struck me was Elder Gay's talk.  Elder Gay used to be a professor at Harvard.  He graded thousands of papers. 5 percent received excellence, 10% received low pass, and the rest of them received satisfactory grades.  About 2 percent of the students were ridiculously brilliant, no question.  Another 5 percent were the opposite extreme.  The rest of the students were about equal in their ability.  So how do you make the distinction between mediocrity and excellence?  It's easy.  Organization and planning.  Most of the students that got A's on those papers were not any superior in capability to the vast body of satisfactory Harvard students.  What pushed them above the rest were their organizational habits.

Planning has been one of my biggest focuses as well as one of my biggest weaknesses in the past several months of my mission.  I've learned a great deal about planning in my mission that I had no idea about before.  At this point, I consider myself a "satisfactory" planner.  I would like to reach excellence.  Planning is an eternal principle.  Everyone on this earth planned to come here, and agreed to God's perfect plan that he came up with to ensure that his spirit posterity could return to live with him in perfected glory.  All things are first created spiritually, or planned, before they are created physically.

Anyway, I'm not giving a talk on this, but you get the idea.  It was impactful.

Comic relief:  Photo of Elder Fine curled up on the couch (after we came home from the mission conference, I decided to read Jesus the Christ for a little didn't turn out so well)

Have another great week!  Love you!

Elder Fine

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