Saturday, July 29, 2017

Broke an addiction?

July 29th

Hey everyone, how're you doin? This past week was pretty cool because it was Zone Conference week. We had 2 of them here in Ribeirao, and another one on the other side of the mission in a city called Sao Jose do Rio Preto. During the conferences, President Scholz had us read a talk called The Greatest Leaders are the Greatest Followers by Stephen W. Owen, and it talks about leadership. He really emphasized the point that we don't need to have the title of "District Leader" or "Zone Leader" to be leaders. We talked about what it means to be a leader in the world and what it means to be a leader in God's eyes. In it, Elder Owen says something that I really like:"If I were to ask you, “Who is the greatest leader who ever lived?”—what would you say? The answer, of course, is Jesus Christ. He sets the perfect example of every imaginable leadership quality.
But what if I were to ask you, “Who is the greatest follower who ever lived?”—wouldn’t the answer again be Jesus Christ? He is the greatest leader because He is the greatest follower—He follows His Father perfectly, in all things." 
It's true that actions speak louder than words. As a missionary now, I have to always be conscious of what type of example I'm setting, because on the mission I've learned that people really do pay attention! Members, other missionaries, investigators, people that we talk to on the street, all of them are watching to see what we are doing. Sometimes out here it feels like there's just too much to do, and that I can't do everything that's expected of me. But then I remember that it's okay if I can't do everything! What matters to Heavenly Father is our effort, He knows, and we know, how much effort we're giving, and if we're doing our best then that's what counts. It's times like this that I just have to keep trying to be obedient and depend on the Lord to pick up the slack that I can't alone. I'm grateful for the example that Christ set, He really is the greatest leader who ever lived because He's the greatest follower!

Something else that happened at Zone Conference: Every time we have one, the Executive and Financial Secretaries each give announcements for things that we need to tell all the missionaries. A few weeks ago, Sister Scholz told me about 3 things that she wanted to talk about during conference about health, and so I put it in my announcements because I work with that. The 3 things that she wanted to talk about were Coca-Cola, energy drinks, and..... Top Ramen. I'm going to be honest, I wasn't expecting the ramen! Coke and especially energy drinks make sense, but the ramen was a surprise. The reason it's so bad is because of the packet of flavor that comes with it. The noodles are fine, but the flavor packet is just a bunch of chemicals and preservatives. She wrote out a bunch of stuff that are terrible about these 3 things and had me translate them. It was super funny, when we got to those slides in my PowerPoint announcements everyone went crazy! There were a bunch of people who got super scared that they couldn't drink Coke or eat Ramen anymore (there aren't very many missionaries that drink energy drinks, but there still are some). So Sister Scholz got up and read what I translated telling everyone how bad these things are, and at the end we told them that it isn't a mission rule, we only wanted everyone to know about what these things are doing to them and let that make their own choices. So... Spencer David Odom, who was almost addicted to Coke at home and for the first part of the mission, has now stopped drinking it. It was a sad moment letting coke go but in the end it's good for me, and I'm going to be grateful for it. So no more Coke for me, or top ramen! But other than that it was just fun to talk to all the missionaries that I know that I don't see a lot because they're not in Ribeirao. Another cool thing was driving to the other city Rio Preto for conference with President. Talking with him and Sister Scholz the whole time was sweet! We talked about basketball, college, gospel stuff, our families, and other things. Once again, I'm super grateful for the opportunity I have to work close to president and learn from him. It's awesome being able to see him all day almost everyday! He really is a man inspired of God. He and Sister Scholz are great. Sister Scholz also said that that she is going to send a text or an email to Ty's mission president and his wife to keep a special eye on him and welcome him because he's my bro! 

This week we had a really cool experience with finding. Last Sunday, we were on a split and I was with another missionary. We were walking down a street and I got a little thought to go and knock on a certain door. We passed the house and then after a few more steps I stopped and said "Let's go knock on that door back there," so we did. A man answered and I started to talk to him and find out about what he thinks about God, if he goes to a church, etc. He showed that he doesn't have a lot of trust in churches because he's already been to a bunch and didn't like them that much. When I asked him why we have so many churches today in the world, he had no clue. I told him that we could explain exactly why, and he got super interested. At first he didn't believe that we had an answer, it was funny! He kept asking us to tell him but it was already late and we needed to start heading home, so we marked to go back on Wednesday. So that next Wednesday we went back and  we found him, 2 of his kids, and his brother at home! We taught them the Restoration and they all paid attention and liked the message. It's been awhile since I've found a family to teach, so I was super grateful to Heavenly Father for helping us find them! I'm excited to see where we can go with them.

Okay, that's it for me. A packed week with lots to get done but it all worked out. Shout out to my brother Tyler as he starts his mission this week in Fortaleza! I'm so proud of you, you'll do awesome!! 
Have a good one everybody!

-Elder Odom

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