Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Week 35 - Happy Easter

  I have been working in three different Niagara Chocolate stores the last three weeks. Elder Schaff likes orange milk chocolate sponge candy, and I knew that he would not be able to find any in CA, so a couple of weeks ago, I mailed him a package with sponge candy, jelly beans and milk chocolate foiled eggs. So, he and Elder Lopez should have had plenty of Easter treats. However fun it is to have candy and dye eggs and participate in egg hunts and Easter baskets, the true meaning of Easter should revolve around our Savior, Jesus Christ. The fact that we can have peace and happiness in our own lives, if we come to know Him, believe in His gospel and try to live in a way that would be pleasing to Him is amazing to me. I hope that all of you had a wonderful Easter celebration, and that at some point, you were able to reflect on our Savior, and remember that he died for each of us, so that we can live. I am so proud of Hayden for choosing to serve a mission, and for wanting to bring people to a knowledge of Jesus Christ, so they can find peace and joy as well. If you click on the link below, you can watch a two minute Easter video about the Savior. I hope that you enjoy it. This is what Elder Schaff wrote home this week-

Prince of Peace Video

  "This week has been a roller coaster. It was terrible and then fantastic, and I went through several phases of joy and frustration. In the end the good outweighed the bad, but I'm working to overcome that. I can't seem to get it together, to be consistently happy. I always want more, more investigators, blessings, or praise, but like Alma: "I am a man and do sin in my wish; for I ought to be content with the things the Lord hath allotted unto me."

  Nonetheless, I'm going to focus on the positive, because sitting in the negative profits nothing! 😀   (We usually don't use the faces but I needed it! Smiling now.)

  So Mon-Fri was very slow, but Fri-Sunday gave us miracles yet again. I learned an important lesson of truly having faith in the Lord's promises and his support. (Even though I've said I've learned that the last few weeks, at least in my journal.)

  Elder Lopez and I are doing good, sometimes he corrects me on what I should do better and usually misses an ideal time or way to say it, but I know he just wants me to be a good missionary, so I try not to be annoyed. 
I've been feeling well, I'm trying to remove any clouds of doubt from my life that are slowing me down! Life, and the mission, are significantly better and more fulfilling when you reflect on the positive. I spent a bit too much time for my liking this week being upset or disappointed in some small things. One of such was that "Ana's" mom got sick, and she could not attend church, so we had to push back her baptism date. And I got myself all sad in my mind because transfers are the 23rd or the 24th and I probably will not be in town....but I remembered that it shouldn't matter to me: she's getting baptized regardless of if I'm there or not, and that's my purpose. So sometimes I'm making this harder than it should be because I'm seeking personal praise. I decided yesterday that God knows what I'm doing. So even if crazy things like that happen and all my baptisms happen when I leave, I can be super positive and have joy!

  Alright, so things from the week, "Ana" is getting reading for baptism at the end of April. She couldn't come to church this week because her mother was sick, but felt bad about it, and asked if she can still prepare for baptism. She really wants this.

  Leaving her apartment from one of our lessons, I slipped and rolled my ankle into the curb. The ankle came off uninjured, but I splashed some murky water onto my suit pants. It smelled like manure, so worse than murky! I'll need a dry cleaner now. That's just a laughable experience looking back.

  We did not have any new investigators when Friday began. We decided that if our appointments cancelled, we would just walk around and talk to people. When we did that, we found 4 people by the end of the week who were interested in the gospel! Our goal was 4! The Lord does provide for His children if they will only have faith in Him and His promises.

  President Clark held a mission-wide conference call on Saturday, and he explained that we have had a statistical dip in baptisms ever since we stopped challenging people on the first lesson. So he invited us to more closely follow the Spirit. (We changed in February because the missionary broadcast said to try it in the context of the plan of salvation.) We might try the first lesson method again.

  More importantly, he taught us about how to teach the Sabbath Day, he said he felt the Lord has revealed to him through our report numbers that this mission will be blessed by clearly teaching the Sabbath day. I'd love to elaborate on this, but I am running low in time. I will definitely type it all up next time, but I will give the list of scriptures he guided us to. He discussed with us that we must see the Sabbath Day more as an opportunity to come closer to Christ instead of solely thinking about going to church. That is very true.

Sabbath Day Observance scriptures for your study and learning:
Genesis 2:2,3
Exodus 20: 8-11
Leviticus 26:2,4-7
Ezekiel 20:20
Deuteronomy 32:13,14
Exodus 31:13
Doctrine & Covenants 59:16-21
"The Sabbath is a Delight", Russell M Nelson, April 2015 General Conference
Moroni 4:3
Moroni 5:2
"This Do in Remembrance of Me", Jeffrey R Holland, October 1995 General Conference
Mosiah 5:8
Doctrine & Covenants 18:24

  Additionally, something I completely forgot from Zone Conference was this talk from a BYU Devotional that President showed us, Craig Manning on mind mapping. I'd invite you all to find this talk and check it out.

There is something about saying "Today is my day!" in an Australian accent that just motivates you to be as awesome as you can be for the following moments.

The Power of Your Words (Excerpt) - by Craig L. Manning:
BYU Speeches, January, 2017
What is potentially the greatest lesson the Lord has taught me is that faith begins with how you talk to yourself.

From the Lectures on Faith we read:

It is by words . . . with which every being works when he works by faith. God said, “Let there be light, and there was light.” Joshua spake, and the great lights which God had created stood still. Elijah commanded, and the heavens were stayed for the space of three years and six months, so that it did not rain. . . . All this was done by faith. . . . Faith, then, works by words; and with these [words] its mightiest works have been, and will be, performed. [61 (7.3)]

As I continued my education, my passion for wanting to understand the application of true principles and facts continued to grow. I was fortunate that BYU hired me as the women’s head tennis coach, and I worked hard to apply what I was being taught. As the time arrived to do my dissertation, I wanted to study how attentional control, or focus, impacted human performance. While working on my dissertation, I would awake early in the morning and pray for guidance from the Lord. It was a draining experience; having a full-time job, four kids, and a dissertation to write did not come easy for me. I will forever be indebted to my wife’s sacrifices during this period of time.

Out of this experience the Lord taught me how to take principles, facts, or ideas and break them down into actionable knowledge. This process is called MIND MAPPING or coding the mind, turning knowledge into an action or a skill, and it applies not only to physical skills but to mental skills. MIND MAPPING is accomplished through the creation of RELEVANT CUES. A RELEVANT CUE is two to three actionable words that act as triggers and that are exact enough to HOLD AN INDIVIDUAL'S ATTENTION UNDER EXTREME PRESSURE OR EXTREME BOREDOM. These CUES enable an individual to direct his or her attention to very specific actions, rapidly creating relevant skills.

I applied this process to my coaching and was amazed by the dramatic increase in performance from the tennis players I was working with. Prior to using relevant cues, I would work hard during a one-hour tennis lesson to have the athlete hitting the ball well by the end of the hour, only to have the athlete return for the next lesson and have to spend the first twenty to thirty minutes going back over what we had last worked on. Retention was not where it needed to be.

When we used relevant cues, the athlete’s ­retention increased to the point that it would take a maximum of only five minutes to review the skills the athlete had learned in the ­previous ­lesson, as the skills had been retained. This increased retention allowed for rapid progression to the next skill. I started applying this process to other sports and then to business, then to music, and now to addiction recovery.

One athlete I worked with using this method was a U.S. Olympic mogul skier who, seven months prior to the Vancouver Olympics, was on the C team and was not ranked very high. Her coach approached me and asked me to work with her with the hope that she might be ready to compete at the Sochi Olympics four and a half years down the road. I remember the conversation. The coach wanted to test the effectiveness of mental strength training. He said to me that this particular athlete would do what I asked and that she was my guinea pig.

The athlete worked hard on training her thoughts to be positive and proactive and on using relevant cues to purify her thought patterns. She did everything I asked. On November 19 she called me in tears. She had just made the last discretionary position on the World Cup tour. This was a subjective coaches’ decision to bring someone onto the World Cup team who had minimal professional experience.

As the season progressed through the early winter months, this athlete continued to develop her skills rapidly to the point that, by the time the World Cup at Deer Valley came around at the end of January, she was sitting in tenth place on the tour. She had achieved several fourth-place finishes to get to tenth in the world, but she had never finished on the podium.

One of the tools I like the athletes I work with to have is a POWER STATEMENT. A POWER STATEMENT is a tool (CAN BE A RELEVANT CUE) to use when doubt comes at critical moments. It floods the mind with positive, strong thoughts and instantly squeezes out any negative thoughts and emotions.

  Check that out, it can bless your life! The more you do for the Lord, the more blessed you will feel by His hand. That's how I'm feeling this week.

  I'm really seeking to do His will, and not mine at all times, because that is what brings the perfect joy from the Holy Ghost."

--Elder Schaff

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