This week was a Zone Conference week. Our mission has six "zones". Each geographic zone has about 20-25 missionaries in it. We combine three zones for a Zone Conference. We held these all-day conferences on Wednesday in downtown Philadelphia and Friday in Broomall, PA. Our missionaries often travel up to 2 hours to attend these conferences. The purposes of Zone Conferences are to train, inspire, motivate and minister to our missionaries.
We always have 3-4 break-out sessions in our Zone Conferences. Each break-out session focuses on a chapter from Preach My Gospel, the training and instruction manual for missionaries. Each break-out session typically consists of 5-10 minutes of instruction, followed by 15 minutes of role playing. We find that our missionaries learn very quickly through role plays.
Usually our break-out sessions are taught by our Zone Leaders. This week I got into the act and taught our missionaries how to interact with bishops and branch presidents. Following brief instruction, the missionaries paired off with one being a "missionary" and the other being a "bishop". The missionary was enlisting the help of the "bishop" in regards to "handing-off" a number of recent converts and other members with whom the missionaries had been closely working.