With today's wonderful use of technology in spreading the gospel, President Spencer W. Kimball must surely be smiling down from heaven.
Back in 1974 he said: "I believe the Lord is anxious to put into our hands inventions of which we laymen have hardly had a glimpse." Then he spoke about devices not yet invented four decades ago that would enable church members to connect with each other immediately.
Such prophetic insight came even earlier. More than 150 years ago Brigham Young said, "Every discovery in science and art that is really true and useful to mankind has been given by direct revelation from God. We should take advantage of all these great discoveries and give to our children the benefit of every brand of useful knowledge to prepare them to step forward and efficiently do their part in the great work."
In a previous blog post (May 31) we mentioned that the Texas Fort Worth Mission would be getting iPads for all our missionaries. That has now happened, and the impact is exciting.
Most of today's young people are quite tech savvy. They've grown up with keyboards and smartphones. Social media platforms are second nature to them. So introducing iPads to their missionary work is a natural extension and use of skills that most them already have.
Here are just a few of the many things our missionaries are now able to do with their iPads:
- Maintain a digital version of teaching records, calendar, key indicators, goals, plans, to-do lists and investigator and member lists.
- Keep real time records of collaboration with ward and branch council members.
- Use social media (such as Facebook, Skype, Facetime) in reaching and teaching investigators.
- Download videos from Mormon.org for use in teaching situations.
- Keep a blog that’s focused on gospel subjects and missionaries activities.
- Sharing links from LDS.org, Mormon.org, MormonNewsroom.org, and MormonTopics.org.
As you might expect (and hope), there are very specific "rules of engagement" in effect regarding appropriate use of this technology. There are also robust privacy directives.
This iPad program, which so far is being used in only 84 of the Church's 400+ missions around the world, is still evolving. The apps seem to get updated and improved on virtually a daily basis. Users are encouraged to provide feedback and suggestions.
Our mission is one of only four in the world where senior missionaries are using this technology. Rean and I are finding it to be comfortably user-friendly. We expect it will be quite useful in our work with the three congregations and the entire stake where we are assigned. It will also help us in coaching the younger missionaries on their activities.
On Friday we had another Zone Conference. This time it was in Killeen, about an hour south of Waco. That's the location of Fort Hood, the most populous military installation in the world. As you might imagine, a significant percentage of our church members in the area are military personnel.
Rodney and Kimberlee love our
"Kermit game." Here's what we
found in their shower.
The Zone Conference started at noon, with instruction and discussion going up until dinner. The meal was provided by the wonderful Relief Society sisters of the Killeen Stake. To show our appreciation for their generosity, we (all 60+ of us) sang "Because I Have Been Given Much I Too Must Give" and "Called to Serve."
After dinner, our mission president and the missionaries from the Killeen area met with Killeen leaders for additional instruction. On Saturday morning, a similar meeting was help in Hewitt for leaders in the Waco Stake. A treat for us was a Friday overnight stay and Saturday breakfast with our good friends Rodney and Kimberlee Ames (he's our mission president). We love their visits with us.