Elder Jenkin's Funeral

I'm fairly new to the funeral scene. I've only been to a few ever in my life. My mom's cousin Denise died of Crohn's disease when I was like 10. Last Spring Uncle Roe died after suffering years of Alzheimer's. Both funerals were beautiful, in the spring and expected. Yesterday, I wen to share my condolences with the family of Joshua James Jenkins, and Elder I served with in Thailand. He got home just over a month ago and died in an avalanche last weekend. He was just a greenie when I served with him and you could tell snowmobiling was in his blood. Our district theme became "Braaap" (the sound of a snowmobile cruising through the back country) and "Keep er wiked" (basically the 'Pedal to the Metal' of snow machines). We had a district wave where when me and Sister Greer saw he and Elder Blood we would raise our hand up and waved it like we were pushing hard on a hand accelerator. I even have basketball shorts that saw Braap on them both in English and in Thai. Elder Jenkins was full of life and I could see that as soon as he mastered the language he would be a missionary force to be reckoned with.

The funeral could not have been sweeter. When we arrived the family asked the 20+ Thai RMs to sing Called to Serve in Thai. The Eulogy told silly stories about Josh and Elder Laing, a senior missionary who served with Josh, came home a day early so he could talk about Josh's mission and read a letter from President Dodge. I became emotional several times during the service, and felt particularly touched when several times speakers told us that Josh was surely continuing his mission in the Spirit World. I know that this is true. What a blessing to know the plan of salvation and be at peace with such an untimely death.

I'll admit it was great to get together with some great mission friends.

Somehow the sisters still ended up divided from the boys. Just like Zone Conference...

What a great crew!


MTC Training

After three weeks of seemingly endless class observations and training meetings, I feel almost competent enough to be teaching at the MTC. I thank my lucky stars for Tommy Jones, the supervisor who Sister Hunter and I used to semi-stalk when I was an MTC missionary. (We definitely broke into his cubicle and took a picture of his wedding picture. I'm not sure why. The MTC warps what you think is funny.) He is an inspiring leader and I look forward to learning from him.

My teaching companion is Robby Parker and I think we'll be a good team. He has the same off-the-cuff, real-to-life teaching style as me. He is realistic but positive and a total goofball. He is a little bit incoherent when he's explaining things, but that's just fine with me. He is sincere and he genuinely loves the missionaries and the gospel.


Notes from Indianapolis Jan 4-7

Indianapolians are proud to be American!

The AHMI crew


After a long day at the conference

American Humanics is an organization whose mission is to encourage better-prepared Non-Profit leaders. The Independent sector has built a lot of momentum in the last thirty or so years and is just now reaching the point where it has enough credibility that people in the field are taken seriously and not simply as bleeding hearts and do-gooders who don’t know how to function in business or within the government. The field now requires a workforce that is trained and ready to take advantage of this momentum to make philanthropy more effective while keeping it grounded in its most basic purpose of social change.

The American Humanics Management Institute, oh so professionally referred to as AHMI (ah-me) is a three day conference hosted by the organization that brings students and Non-Profits together to work out the kinks that the last decades of non-profits are working on perfecting. Indianapolis is the home of the Center on Philanthropy, an arm of Indiana University that focuses on everything to do with non-profits. These and other leaders put on workshops on everything from fundraising and board management to the psychology of giving and how to best utilize resources.

The conference was actually quite fun. It was a very different feel from the Model United Nations conference I participated in about 4 years ago- a very different crowd. MUN was poli-sci go-getters who love suits and schmoozing. AHMI, on the other hand, was made up of the more homely do-gooders who just want to make a difference. Not hippies necessarily, but the kind of person you picture staffing a summer camp. Good people, fun people. There was not quite as much inter-university mingling or site-seeing as there was at MUN, but then again, that was in New York and this was in Indianapolis- the most average city in America.

A great thing about the non-profit world is that is houses SO many different kinds of interests. There were many at the conference who were all about youth agencies. Others, environmental causes. Me, international development. I see the difficulty for the hosting organization to appeal to the interests of such a variety of attendees but when it come down to it, regardless of what the missions of various organizations are, they are fundamentally the same. Just like most businesses fall under similar business models, so too can non-profits be grouped together by administrative function.

The highlights of the conference to me were a handful of very capable, very experienced non-profit professionals. Dave Sternberg, VP of Achieve Guidance (a NP consulting firm) , gave a frank intro into best practices of non-profits. Robert Egger, Monday's keynote speaker, is a total hippie still living the dream he smoked up in the 70's about changing the world one person at a time. He gave a raw perspective that helped remind me that regardless of your business savvy, passion can carry you far. Jim Morris was just the opposite. He served as President of the World Food Programme (but now owns the Indiana Pacers) and had a very information-driven perspective. I realized from his address that food aid is a band-aid. A necessary part of development, but not one that I really want to spent my time with. There were many other great keynote speakers and workshop presenters. Some amazed me with their experience and others were just okay.