Today was a remarkable day in our mission, not just for us, but for our mission, and I want to tell anyone who is interested, about it.
Von and I feel like we have come into this mission at the perfect time. I think most of you know that the Church has a pilot program where missionaries are using Ipads to help them in their efforts. My niece, Dalaney is in one of the test missions, we are in another mission of 30 in the United States that are test missions. Now the Church is in phase two and there will be 66 in the United States. The Ipads are used to journal, report, learn, and teach. Of course, the thought of 18 - 20 year olds free with Ipads conjures up all kinds of problems. Will they rely too heavily on the Ipad to teach instead of using their own testimonies? Will they rely on it enough to teach properly? Will they use it properly. Will it be used for inappropriate reasons. Will they keep track of them and take care of them. And the questions go on.
Think of all these missionaries on Ipads
One attitude the decision makers have is that EVERYONE needs to learn to use electronics without getting in trouble. You can't force people to use them correctly, but you can TEACH them to use them appropriately, and what better place to teach them to use them than while they are on a mission. Of course there are a few safeguards in place, but we all have agency, and we can learn to use electronics to enhance instead of degrade our lives.
Fill their stomachs before you teach !
Next week our missionaries will be getting new Ipads, with more capabilities, and more memory so they can be more effective with them. That means that so far, most of the missionaries have demonstrated responsibility in using their Ipads.
Food goes fast with this crowd
Today, we had Elder Zwick, one of the Seventies, and Elder Hemminway (head of the church's OnLine Proselyting Department) come from Salt Lake to do a Conference on the 2nd phase of the Ipad experiment. They came to re-emphasize the teachings of responsible use the Church is advocating. They handed out two booklets, one tell how the Ipads can further the work of the missionaries, and one telling how the missionaries can personally safeguard themselves from using the Ipads inappropriately.
All our missionaries met in one building (seldom do we get a mission wide meeting) where they had lunch brought to them by part of the office staff. It was fun to see them running around hugging old companions, introducing new companions, and making themselves known to all of us Seniors. The mission wide meeting meant more than 200 people attended.
Sights like this gladden a Senior Missionary's Eyes
We finally ended up in our huge chapel with rows of missionaries - shoulder to shoulder - where we heard from our guest speakers. Such wise and well thought through advice and admonitions. I believe every missionary left there today wanting to please the Lord with their efforts. I know I did, and I don't have a Church Ipad. The missionaries were told very explicitly that they have agency to make the decision of how to use the Ipad, and that their decision will affect the rest of their life.
The third phase of the Ipad roll out will be that the missionaries purchase an Ipad through the Church when they come out on their mission at a very reasonable price, and they can take it home after their mission is over. That should begin in August sometime as I understand it.
This is so exciting. Some of the seniors who are going home wish they could stay longer because it is such a remarkable time in missionary work. I already have a testimony of how electronics can help us not only in our everyday lives, but as missionaries, and especially as family historians, so this was very meaningful to me today.
The Lord is hastening his work, using 18-21 year olds to preach the gospel, using senior missionaries to support them, using electronics to get the word out, and using all those who love Him as examples to the work. I am so glad I can be in this part of the vineyard and this time.