This entry is for two days since we basically did the same thing on both Thursday and Friday. We arose early, drove for an hour+, met with the missionaries for a 6 hour zone conference with Elder Zwick of the Seventy, and then met with ward and stake councils for a meeting on member and missionary efforts. They were very long days, but I thought the instruction was excellent. Elder Zwick is an excellent teacher.
On Thursday, we met in the Brandon Stake Center with missionaries from the Sarasota, Brandon, and Lakeland zones. On Friday, we met at the Tampa Stake Center with the St. Petersburg and Tampa zones.
The speakers were Elder and Sister Zwick, and President and Sister Cusick. Elder Zwick spoke on the importance of companions and on the divine nature of their callings. He said to develop lasting relationships with companions. He explained the process the members of the Quorum of the Twelve follow in assigning missionaries to specific missions. He taught that we can improve our teaching by simplying and intensifying. Don't try to cover too much. He had the missionaries present using the format of statement of principle, experience and testify, doctrine/scripture and testify.
Sister Zwick spoke about the power of prayer.
In the afternoon, Elder Zwick emphasized that we are not just engaged in missionary work, we are building the foundation for the rest of our lives. He stated that if we are willing to change to accomplish the Lord's work,we will be successful.
In the evening meeting, Elder Zwick noted that the bishop holds the keys for missionary work in each ward. He also said that the ward councils needed to be involved. He said that each week the following questions should be asked in ward councils: 1) what are the names of progressing investigators who will be attending church meetings that day, 2) what are the names of those investigators with baptismal dates, 3) what are the names of members working closely with investigators, and 4) who will be taught in your home next week. He was emphatic that the investigators should be taught in members' homes.
The program for both days was similar. Some of the stories were different, but they basically taught the same principles.
Between the meetings, the missionaries did an iPad exchange where the swapped their old iPads for new ones. The new iPads have improved filtering software. However, as Elder Zwick emphasized again, the best filter is one's personal commitment to integrity and following the commandments.