Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Zone Conference!

This week was a good week! We had stake conference on saturday and sunday! that was interesting! I went to all 3 sessions because of my asignment in the ward and I sang in the choir! It was all very Inspired! The stake presidency was changed and the new stake president was the bishop of his ward for 15 years!!!! If that isn´t preapartation I don´t know what is! 
      that was all great but the really cool day came on monday! We had Zone Conference! It was So great as usual! I want to share a story that Hermana Cook shared with us that was SOO Awesome!
           A man walked to a construction site and saw three men working and asked the first man "what are you doing?" the worker said "I am laying bricks." The man then walked on to the next worker and asked the same question. The second man said "I am building a wall" he then walked on and asked the third man. He responded "I am building a temple." 
          Each of the three men were doing the same thing but each had a much different vision of what they were doing! 
         Sister Cook then said to us I can walk and ask three missionaries what they are doing! The first might say "I am trying to get people to listen to me." the second "I am teaching about Christ." and the third "I am partnered with God to do his will and build his kingdom!" 
        What a difference our vision has on each of us! I give you the same challenge she gave us. What is your vision? and how can you try to see the kingdom we are building together?
This Elder Groen is doing Great! I am so grateful for all of the support that I have recieved from each of you and the prayers that have been given on my part! Thank you All!!!
  Love Elder Ethan Groen! 

*From Mom, 

President and Sister Cook send a weekly email to the missionaries and their parents.   I wanted to share a bit of what President Cook sent to them this week. 

THE WIDOWS MITE El Mensajero #96, 29 April 2015
Both Mark and Luke tell the story of the widow’s mite. Jesus and his disciples sit near the Temple and see an impoverished widow put in two coins that in and of themselves are not worth much, but represent a significant portion of the woman’s resources. In fact, the two mites were the equivalent of 6 minutes of the average daily wage during Roman times.  Jesus responds to this scene with the line: “Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.” (Mark 12:43-44)  

 We cannot read the story about the widow’s offering without taking into consideration the few verses that immediately precede this text.  In the course of his teaching Jesus said to the crowds, “Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces, And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts: Which devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation.”  (Mark 12:38-40)  These are incredibly strong and insulting words.  Jesus is painting a much starker picture, which is as much or more about the wealthy scribes than it is about the poor, destitute widow.  I would venture to say that if you think that this Gospel passage is only about the widow or about how honorable the poor are for being generous, you’re missing the point.  It is likely that this was one of the “hard doctrines” that caused some, like the rich young man, to “walk no more with him.” (John 6:66)

So what does this have to do with you?  You recently received training at zone conference on budgeting.  This is not just so you can better manage your money but to help you understand more about the sacred funds that support you.  Your monthly support comes from the sacred funds of the Church, funded by donations to the missionary fund of the Church.  You must never think of these funds as yours, even if you or your parents contribute to those funds to help support the missionary effort.  They are not yours.  They have been freely given to the Lord.

Let me share a story from the mission of a friend of our family.  Our friend was a very frugal young man.  He did not come from a wealthy family.  He served in Uruguay and throughout his mission he was very careful with his monthly allotment and every month saved part of the funds. In a zone conference towards the end of his mission, his mission president gave a message similar to this one.  The young missionary began to ponder the money he had saved.  It was a substantial sum and he planned to use it to buy an inexpensive car when he returned from his mission.  At the end of his final interview he took out of his pocket an envelope of cash and presented it to his mission president who accepted it with great emotion.  Later the mission president counted the money that amounted to more than $1000 USD.  I did not know his mission president at the time but met him several years later.  When we realized our mutual friend he told me this story with great emotion.  

I am not suggesting that each of you should present me with an envelope of cash at the end of your mission.  I am saying that there are times that you need to consider how you are utilizing these funds.  You do not need to spend everything in your allotment simply because it is available to you.  Likewise, at the end of your mission you should return any leftover funds.  The question is – Is this a hard doctrine for you?  Do you realize what consecration requires of you?  Do you remember the covenants of the temple in this regard?  Please do not misunderstand; we do not want you to suffer.  But we do want you to be wise.  Every time you utilize your funds for something that is not a necessity, remember the poor Latter-day Saints throughout the world that are giving of their means because they love the Lord and want to support his work. Remember their consecration.  As you do you will become more consecrated in every aspect of your service.  

President & Sister Cook

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