We arose early so that we could be at the mission office by 8:00 am for a special training meeting for all of the mission. It is unusual for the entire mission to gather for a training meeting, though this is the second one since we have been here.
Presiding over the meeting was Elder W. Craig Zwick of the First Quorum of the Seventy. Brother Michael Hemingway of the Church's Missionary Department was also in attendance. The purpose of the training was a "reset" of the mission's use of iPad minis. Our mission is one of 28 worldwide that have been working with the iPads. The missionary department has been learning as have the missionaries. In the next few weeks, our missionaries will trade in their old iPads for new ones with additional filtering and monitoring software installed.
It was an excellent meeting. Elder Zwick spoke about his missionary experience in traveling from Argentina to Bolivia to begin teaching in some small villages with the assignment to construct a church building. It required him to change his thinking and perspective and to do things in new ways. That is the challenge that our missionaries have in working with digital technology. There is great potential for using this technology in learning and teaching the gospel. However, there are also risks.
He stressed the need for complete obedience to the rules in the Missionary Handbook. He said those rules apply just as much in working with the iPads. He stated that exact obedience brings miracles. He said that the brethren want the missionaries to learn how to use the digital technology because after their mission no one will be controlling their iPad. We must have it in our hearts to avoid wasting time on the internet and in seeking inappropriate materials. He quoted Elder Nelson, "If we can engrave the doctrine in our hearts, we can raise a sin resistant strain of missionaries."
Bro. Hemingway explained the transition from the old iPads to the new ones. He referred to the Finding section in Preach My Gospel and asked how many of the suggested methods could not be done online. The missionaries could find only one, tracting. He explained the filtering levels with the most important being our personal testimony and righteousness.
Elder Zwick concluded the 4 1/2 hour meeting by stating that missionary work is hard work. He emphasized that we are on the Lord's errand, and He will help us do hard things. He said that we need to be willing to change and do what the Lord expects. This is the Lord's time, we should use it wisely.
On an unrelated matter, it continues to be cold here. Last night there was a freeze warning for Sarasota. I know that isn't cold by Utah standards. But since we didn't bring much cold weather clothing, it is cold to us!