Sunday, December 21, 2008

Our Calling

This is a picture of our apartment building. Ours is the one on the top-left. The front of our chapel Eglise De Jesus Christ Des Saints Des Derniers Jours
Our chapel is also the Stake Center. The Lille and the Villenueve d'Ascq wards meet here. We will be working with both wards. We will alternate going to sacrament meetings and R.S. and Priesthood. This picture is taken at 9:00a.m. You can see how dark it still is. Today was a lot warmer and lighter too.

I thought I would write a bit about our mission call today. I actually wrote for about an hour the other day and then the pc erased everything. Maybe it had something to do with everything being written in Dutch on my pc. I may have pushed the wrong key.:( Anyway, I think I have most everything switched over to English now.
We thought we would be going on a proselyting mission, but when we got here we were given the real scoop. We are here to open and organize a new program called Outreach. The night after Pres. Hinckley asked Elder L. Tom Perry to come to Central Europe, he (Elder Perry) awoke to what he described as one of the most powerful revelations of his life. It was made known to him that the future strength of the church in Central Europe would be among the age group 18-30, and that is where the missionary success would be achieved.
The Outreach initiative builds on the institute program and provides an enriched and expanded emphasis on young single adults. It is directed by the Stake Pres, Area CES coordinator, and Mission Pres.
Our job will be to set up a Center that will provide a place for young people, members and non-members alike, to congregate, to have FHE, institute classes, activities, games, service projects, etc. It will be a place of studying, of learning gospel principles, and a place where the spirit will be felt. It will be a place where the youth will feel love and will be comfortable. They will learn to be worthy, productive, moral, and useful adults. They will learn to love the Lord and to feel His spirit.
This program began in Germany and has been very, very successful. It is also in several other countries in Central Europe. It will be our job to put this wonderful, inspired work into effect.
Our first priority is to set up the center, set up budget, buy equipment, call staffing and achieve this by working with the Stake Pres, Bishops, Area Instit. director, Miss Pres, and the youth executive committee. Secondly we will be working with the active youth in seeking out the inactive youth, which in each of our 2 wards there are about 400, and inviting them to back into activity. Thirdly we are here to teach the leaders how to lead. In addition to this we will also be doing some proselyting and teaching. Oh what an exciting, marvelous, but also very daunting and scary prospect. We will surely have to rely on the Lord to show us how to get this done. DH will be wonderful in this calling, but I am worried about me. I hope I am up to it. I will have to be doing a lot of praying of that I am sure.
There is already a great institute program running and we have met some awesome young people who are full of fire. The class pres. is a young man named Mannu. (nickname for Emmanuel) He is a recently (3mos) returned missionary from the Paris mission. He is a wonderful young man. The vice pres is a young woman named Natasha. Another member of the council is a young man named Guillaume who happens to be a disk jockey. That will be so helpful in starting up some dances. I am barely communicating with the youth, but they are very patient with me. Along with sign language and lots of smiles we can barely understand one another. Luckily DH is fluent and often must come to the rescue.
We do not know the full extent of the program yet, but we are studying, going to some meetings, and trying to understand all of what we must do. The church is in the middle of an area where there are 3 universities with over 40,000 students. Most of the youth with whom we will be working will be university students.


nikko said...

How exciting! I got goosebumps reading your post. What an inspired work!

You will be in our prayers.

allison nadauld said...

This is Aaron, I am using Allison log-in so I don't have to create my own.

When I was in Europe for 6-8 weeks while my parents were serving in Switzerland I would go to the Geneva institute/young adult center a few times a week. There was always something going on including foos-ball, ping pong, movies, food, cooking lessons, institute lessons, weekly outings etc. It was the only place in Geneva that I could meet people (besides bars) my age and "hang out" while in Europe. I am sure you will find a lot of success as you implement this new center in Belguim. I will always remeber the Murphys and the Delamars who were called as the CES/young adult missionaries. My only advice is to have a big food budget. You can always attract young men with food. And where there are young men there will always be young women.

The Wendler Family said...

What a call! You two sure have your hands full. :) Don't worry. I would be nervous too. You know to pray so you'll be fine. The Lord is mindful of you and will help you do His work.
It totally makes sense that the strenght of the church will be with the young adults. The two of you are the right ones for the job! Its so great for the details and pictures!