Monday, September 7, 2015

We also help the Self-Reliance initiative . . .

I recognize that many of our blogs so far make it appear that we are simply turning into tourists, visiting amazing places and enjoying the experience.  In reality, the above is true, but it is only a small part of our mission experience.  Most of the time we are working closely with our Self-Reliance Services Managers throughout Europe, sharing best practices and teaching the doctrine and principles of self-reliance.  As we visit the different regions or countries, we ask to participate in the different aspects of the work, so we can learn from their challenges and at times we have something to offer that may even help with the challenges that they have.  Mostly we love working with these managers who treat us so kindly and teach us so much..

To be truly successful, the Self-Reliance initiative must be Priesthood Led, that is it must be a tool that priesthood leaders use so they can help their members become self-reliant.  The number one priority of our SRS managers is to support the priesthood leaders in their region.  Often during our visits we are able to meet with Stake and District Presidents or at times even with Area Seventies.  At these times, we (including our SRS managers) work to help them to understand how the Self-Reliance initiative can help them in their priesthood stewardship of helping create a Zion society within the Church.  This is where the members dwell in righteousness, are of one heart and one mind and have no poor among them (Moses 7:18).

While in Frankfurt or in Utah, we spend a significant amount of time holding video conferences with the managers, in our joint management councils or individually.  During these meetings, we share principles, policies, tools, experiences and success stories.  Hopefully, this helps each of us to have better ideas to help implement this initiative with all of the stakes and district in Europe.  We have 163 stakes and districts and so far, less than half of them have successfully implemented this initiative.  We have tried to identify specific steps that should be taken by each of them and then encourage and train them to accomplish each step.  Step by step we are making progress.

In my feeble efforts to explain this process, let me share a few slides of a presentation that I recently shared with our Area Self-Reliance committee, showing success stories in some of the key processes. Many of these experiences were part of our recent visits:

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