The road of discipleship is not easy. It requires sturdy, all-weather souls who are constant in every season of life and who are not easily stalled or thrown off course. When Karen read this statement by Neal A Maxwell that President Vest gave us to study, I thought it said we needed sturdy, all-weather in shoes. While Elder Maxwell had the other kind of souls in mind, I've decided we need sturdy, all-weather souls and shoes to keep us moving forward so we are not stalled or thrown off course.

Ali started his road of discipleship last Saturday when he was baptized. He is originally from South Yemen, but has lived in the United States for 48 years.

Elder McOmber, Ali and Elder Nielsen. Ali was baptized last Saturday night! Ali responded to a Church sponsored ad online and was originally contacted the beginning of March 2019 by the online missionaries and then started meeting with our Elders in mid April.
Zone Conference - Karen and Mark (and Elder Sudweeks). Great things happen at Zone Conference every 6 weeks - definitely lots to smile about. We were in Rochester this time.

Morning Hours Dictate How Your Life Will Go
Elder Jeffrey R Holland - (Seminar for new mission presidents, June 26, 2011)
"I frequently say to missionaries in the field, 'You make or break your mission every morning of your life. You tell me how those morning hours go from 6:30 am until you are on the street in your mission, whatever time it is; you tell me how those hours go, and I will tell you how your day will go, I will tell you how your month will go, I will tell you how your year will go and how your mission and your life will go.'"
This is good advice for full-time missionaries AND every-member-a-missionary missionaries!

Elders McOmber & Nielsen
Elders LeBaron & Sylva - the Missionaries that serve in the Spanish Group in our Buffalo Ward. (Back row on the left.)

We had a discussion about Discipleship in Zone Conference.

The Pathway of Discipleship
Elder Neal A. Maxwell – Ensign, September 1998
But this road of discipleship which we are considering here is not easy. It requires sturdy, all-weather souls who are constant in every season of life and who are not easily stalled or thrown off course.
The daily discipleship to which I’m referring is designed to develop the very attributes which are possessed to perfection by Jesus. These attributes emerge from a consciously chosen way of life, one in which we deny ourselves of all ungodliness and we take up the cross daily—not occasionally, not weekly, not monthly. If we are thus determined, then we are emulating yet another quality of our Lord, of whom we read, “And there is nothing that the Lord thy God shall take in his heart to do but what he will do it” (Abr. 3:17). True disciples are meek but very determined.
Once we are settled in terms of the direction of our discipleship and the gross sins are left firmly behind—“misery prevention” it might be called—then the major focus falls upon the “thou shalt”commandments. It is the keeping of the “thou shalt” commandments which brings even greater happiness. True, as the scripture says, “wickedness never was happiness” (Alma 41:10), but neither is lukewarmness full happiness. Failing to be valiant in Christian discipleship will leave us without significant happiness. Therefore, our active avoidance of wickedness must be followed by our active engagement in righteousness. Then we can come to know true joy—after all, man is that he might have joy.

One of the Elders in our Zone created this to use as his Home Screen on his phone and shared with the rest of the Zone.

Your Great Adventure
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf – Ensign, November 2019
And yet, mortal life has a way of distracting us, doesn’t it? We tend to lose sight of our great quest, preferring comfort and ease over growth and progress. Still, there remains something undeniable, deep within our hearts, that hungers for a higher and nobler purpose. This hunger is one reason why people are drawn to the gospel and Church of Jesus Christ. The restored gospel is, in a sense, a renewal of the call to adventure we accepted so long ago. The Savior invites us, each day, to set aside our comforts and securities and join Him on the journey of discipleship.
If you hesitate in this adventure because you doubt your ability, remember that discipleship is not about doing things perfectly; it’s about doing things intentionally. It is your choices that show what you truly are, far more than your abilities.
Even when you fail, you can choose not to give up, but rather discover your courage, press forward, and rise up. That is the great test of the journey. God knows that you are not perfect, that you will fail at times. God loves you no less when you struggle than when you triumph.
Like a loving parent, He merely wants you to keep intentionally trying. Discipleship is like learning to play the piano. Perhaps all you can do at first is play a barely recognizable rendition of “Chopsticks.” But if you continue practicing, the simple tunes will one day give way to wondrous sonatas, rhapsodies, and concertos. Now, that day may not come during this life, but it will come. All God asks is that you consciously keep striving.

Sisters Johnson & Weaver (served with us in Massena), Karen and Sister Mahaffey - they are serving as a trio in Rochester. (Sister Mahaffey also served with Sister Black who served with us in Massena.)
Another Trio: Sisters Mayer, Graham & Olesen (Sister Graham served in our Potsdam District in Canton and Sister Olesen served with us in Massena. It is so much fun to see the missionaries that previously served with us.

Do NOT Invert the Two Great Commandments
Matthew 22:36-39
36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Elder Oaks says sometimes we get these two commandments inverted.
We sometimes try to please others and are disobedient.
Our zeal to keep this second commandment must not cause us to forget the first, to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind. We show that love by “keep[ing] [His] commandments.” God requires us to obey His commandments because only through that obedience, including repentance, can we return to live in His presence and become perfect as He is.
Disciples of Christ do not invert these two principles.
If we don’t invite people to change, we are actually helping them move further away from Christ. Our calling is to invite others to come unto Christ.
Always put God first. Do what is right, let the consequence follow.

Sister Vest taught us about maintaining good mental health.
One of the exercises Sister Vest had us do is SMILE for 17 seconds - it's supposed to do wonders for being happy. And who is in the middle with the biggest smile? Sister Weaver!!! And there's Elder's McOmber and Nielsen hanging out in the back.

President Vest taught us about Love and Obedience.

Which quadrant are you in?
Elder Sylva - he's still smiling - Sister Vest would be proud!
Let it snow - time to leave Zone Conference and it was snowing!!! Sisters Mahaffey & Weaver with Karen.

Beware of Pride
Ezra Taft Benson - April 1989 General Conference
We reviewed this talk also - here are just a couple of high points - go find this talk and read it and then read it again - I'm old, I remember when this talk was given, it is definitely a classic:
Pride is essentially competitive in nature. We pit our will against God’s. When we direct our pride toward God, it is in the spirit of “my will and not thine be done.”
God will have a humble people. Either we can choose to be humble or we can be compelled to be humble.
The proud make every man their adversary by pitting their intellects, opinions, works, wealth, talents, or any other worldly measuring device against others. In the words of C. S. Lewis: “Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. … It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone.”
There is so much good doctrine and teachings in this talk - jump in - there's a lot there.

President Vest always stands out in the parking lot when Zone Conference is over and tells everyone goodbye as they leave. It was windy and snowy - but we're all still all smiles - Zone Conference is always a great spiritual pick-me-up!
We didn't actually get to see Sisters Penrod and Potts - this is a picture from a different Zone Conference - but when I saw that Sister Vest had posted it on Instagram, I knew that I had to put it on our blog! We miss them.
Igor is our awesome Ward Mission Leader - we were meeting with him in his office at the University of Buffalo where he teaches music theory - school hasn't started back after winter break, so things are still casual. We went over the Ward list to see who would be good to visit.
The day after Zone Conference, President Vest asked us if we would take Sister Snow to MLC - Mission Leadership Conference. We picked her up in Freeport to the north of us and took her to Rochester where she rode with other sister missionaries to the MLC in Syracuse. (And then we picked her up in the afternoon.) Check out Karen - she brought cinnamon rolls - no wonder the missionaries love us!!! Pictured: Sisters Mahaffey, Johnson, Snow, Weaver and Karen.
After we dropped Sister Snow off, we stopped for breakfast at a little hole in the wall cafe - check out all the pastries - I think I was focused on trying to decide which one I wanted to sample - I should have been smiling!
The Cafe was called the Mad Hatter - this mural was on the wall. The food was great!
This is the Sign in sheet at the Church Distribution Center in the Spokane Valley. Duane Anderson was with his son who is preparing to serve a mission in Ecuador and saw my name on the list, so he snapped a photo and sent it to me. I went to the Distribution Center just before we left to buy copies of the new Preach My Gospel that had just come out.

Another busy week in our NEW Paradise. Non-pictured activities:

Sabina finished translating chapter 9 (the Relief Society chapter) of Handbook 2 into Swahili.

We went with the Elders on several teaching appointments including Abdallah and his family, and Esterina. The life of a missionary – we went to several other appointments that were no shows.

We did lots of member visits including Deborah T., Laesgaws dad, Eddie & Morgan and kids, Christina and her kids & her mom. Took dinner to Sonnefelds – Sister Sonnefeld was not feeling well.

Gave rides to Young Women's Activity

Visited Chalimpa a couple of times, we took him a bed, sheets, table, chairs and some miscellaneous kitchen items.

Missionary Coordination Meeting Wednesday night. Lots of things to review

BYU PathwayConnect Gathering on Thursday. It’s going to be a fun semester in the Religion class – lots of difficult case studies to review and discuss.

Made multiple trips to church on Sunday

Fed the missionaries at least twice!!! We love having them and it makes it easy to do some planning.

And lots more…