23 December 2016
When we had the special meeting this past Sunday (18 Dec 2016), and it was announced that our mission name will change from the Family and Church History Headquarters Mission to the Utah Salt Lake City Headquarters Mission — and, then, the changes in organization and structure were announced — I was impressed by the spirit of this change, and, with how right it feels. (Elder Craig C. Christensen of the presidency of the Seventy, presided, and President Warren G. Tate, our mission president, conducted the meeting.) Previously, we functioned independently from the Missionary Department, but, now, we’re under the Missionary Department ecclesiastically, (the newest and largest mission in the Church – though one of the smallest geographically) yet in our day-to-day endeavors most of us will still serve under the Family History and Church History Departments.
Part of this change will enable us to offer support to wards and branches in the area, as well as to provide community service in the inner city. (It feels like they’re preparing us to serve in the offices during the day and proselyte and give service on nights and weekends.)
On the stand were three members of the quorum of the 70, the three men in our mission presidency, each of the branch presidents (whose branches were dissolved as part of this change), and, the two stake presidents involved. (Those of us who are full-time missionaries will still attend church in two branches on Sundays, but now we aren’t part of any stake and our branch presidents are Pres. Larson and Pres. Hansen, the two counselors in the mission presidency.)
Our closing hymn at last Sunday’s meeting was “I’m trying to be like Jesus” and I was struck with how amazing it is to see a row of 10 strong leaders singing about being kind and gentle and loving, like the Savior. Where else but in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ would you see this?
Brochures were printed to explain the changes. Zone leaders will now play a larger ecclesiastical role in ministering to those serving in each of the 20 zones of the mission (especially to meet the needs of the single, senior, sister missionaries) – and the brochure lists each of the zones and zone leaders. So, Bob was named in the brochure as part of this historic change — as one of the zone leaders serving under President Hansen. (see below)
We also had our monthly mission conference this week, and, at the conference, they had us perform the small ceremony of officially moving our name tags from the right shoulder to the left – as all other missionaries wear them. Somehow, it felt bittersweet to do that. Ah, well. . . onward and upward!
This weekend we get to talk to most of our family. Looking forward to that!