The highlight of the week was our zone interviews on Tuesday. We had to arrive by 7:40 to set up and unlock the building. We didn't end up leaving until about 6pm. You could say it was a long day. Our interviews with President Riggs were first. In my interview, we mostly talked about my plans for after the mission. That was a bit strange... He asked if I am still planning on playing football and when I am going to start school. He really wants me to start school as quickly as possible when I get home, so I am not just sitting around. I can tell he really wants the best for me.
Each interview was scheduled to be 15 minutes. While one companion was being interviewed by President Riggs, it was our responsibility to interview their companion. We took that time to get to know each member of our zone better. I was very grateful for that opportunity. Sometimes it is hard to find time to get to know each of the missionaries individually because we are so busy and there are so many missionaries in our zone. Knowing everyone better helps us to be better leaders and allows us to minister to their individual needs. The one topic question that we focused on was this: What motivates you to do missionary work? We wanted to see what it was that motivates everyone to get out and work hard. There were a wide range of responses from "it is my duty" to "because I love to help other people".
I have been thinking about this subject a lot recently. I believe that a missionary’s motivations change over the course of their missions. When I came out I worked hard and was obedient. Looking back my motivations for doing that were mostly selfish. I wanted to be seen as a good missionary by others and I felt it was my obligation. I also had a desire to share the gospel with others because of the happiness it would bring them, but it wasn't my #1 motivation. I feel like over time my motivations have shifted more to a desire to help other people and fulfill the commitment that I made to God when I came on my mission. I am definitely still working on it and always will be. The highest form of obedience comes from a pure love for God and for others. That is what I am constantly striving for.
For lunch during interviews President Riggs took us to Firehouse Subs and then for dinner we went to a local Hispanic place called Guapos. They were both very good. We had several appointments set up for the night and we were really excited to have President Riggs come with us to teach some of our investigators. Like any other classic missionary night, both appointments fell through... We then went to our back up plans to stop by some potential investigators. I love watching the way President Riggs does missionary work. He is just so natural, confident, passionate, and loving when he shares the gospel. I want to be like that! Everyone he talked to was engaged and listening to what he had to say. They all wanted to learn more! He also has tons of fun and jokes around with people while doing missionary work. It is my goal to be like that by the time I go home. It was a great experience.
We had Mission Leadership Council this week and got our new iPads. I also went on my 8th exchange to a Spanish area. Which means I have spent just over 1% of my mission in the Spanish program! (haha) While I was on exchange, Elder McInerny had a great lesson with Matilda (our African investigator). We have had several spiritual experiences with her while reading the Book of Mormon. She has told us she knows it is the word of God and is now praying about baptism. We feel she is a little nervous to make changes. We have a lesson with her tonight. Jeff is one of our lessons that cancelled when we were with President. He has been working and we didn't have a lesson this week with him. We have also started teaching a less active member and his non-member girlfriend.
The work is going well. We are praying for miracles! Love you lots!
Elder Braden Miles
Washington DC South Mission