Zone Conference

Gilbert Mission Hosts Extended Zone Conference to Teach Members to Expect Missionary Work Miracles

The chapel and cultural hall of the Queen Creek West Stake center were filled to capacity on the evening of April 21, for a zone conference of the Arizona Gilbert Mission.

At an extended zone conference, Rachel Begleman shared her family’s conversion story, saying they encountered the Church when they had been experiencing trials, both individually and collectively. Shown (l to r) are Elder Cash Hancock, Terry, Rachel, Madison (top), Adam (son), Ryan (daughter) and Elder Jakobe Swenson.

At an extended zone conference, Rachel Begleman shared her family’s conversion story, saying they encountered the Church when they had been experiencing trials, both individually and collectively. Shown (l to r) are Elder Cash Hancock, Terry, Rachel, Madison (top), Adam (son), Ryan (daughter) and Elder Jakobe Swenson. Photo by Jeana Reed

Zone conferences are typically for the dozen or so full-time missionaries in that particular zone. However, in this case, in addition to the full-time missionaries, all of the youth and all ward missionaries in the Queen Creek area were invited to attend and to be taught how to be more effective as missionaries.

The focus and general theme of the meeting was based on the Apostolic Promise spoken by Neil L. Andersen in April 2013 General Conference, who said, “…as you pray to know with whom to speak, names and faces will come into your mind. Words to speak will be given in the very moment you need them. Opportunities will open to you. Faith will overcome doubt, and the Lord will bless you with your very own miracles.”

Gilbert Mission President K. Brett Nattress impressed upon the group the idea that imperfect people can have perfect moments.

Rachel Begleman, of the Pecos Park Ward, Gilbert Williams Field Stake, shared her family’s story, saying that they had been experiencing trials, both individually and collectively.

“The missionaries saw my husband sitting outside his counselor’s office, smoking a cigarette. They took the time to talk to him. That was a miracle to me. They eventually came to our home and taught us the gospel … missionary work is truly a miracle … our family has done a 360 degree turnaround since joining the Church.”

Sister Begleman adds, “We were living day to day when they found us. We started taking the lessons and learning about the Church. We felt the spirit. We went to the temple, and I could tell there was more.”

“I met with President Nattress, and I said to him, ‘I felt a light turn on that I never knew I had. Please let me get baptized because I never want that light to go out.’”

Shortly after that, the family was baptized and has since experienced the blessing of being sealed in the temple. Sister Begleman says their family has experienced great happiness and peace from living the gospel.

After Sister Begleman’s remarks, the meeting continued with the audience participating in an object lesson. President Nattress invited several missionaries to lift a piano using only two fingers. They were unable to budge it. Others were invited to help lift with their two fingers, still nothing. When the bishop, the ward council and various members pitched in, the lift was easy and successful. He added that, like moving a piano, missionary work takes a group effort to be truly successful.

Additionally, the entire congregation practiced role playing with the person sitting next to them. They practiced inviting member friends to share the gospel with nonmember friends, and they practiced how to start a gospel conversation with a nonmember.

After the full-time missionaries facilitated a question and answer session, attending stake presidents offered closing remarks and bore testimony of the principle of missionary work and the importance of each member doing his or her part.

President Nattress closed the meeting, again referring to Elder Andersen’s Apostolic Promise, then asking participants to “expect miracles. Let’s do all we can to help others know He lives,” he said.

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