Day One of District Conference

In parts of the world where we have stakes, we have Stake Conference. Where there are districts, it’s District Conference. But it all amounts to the same thing. Every member of the district is supposed to attend and receive spiritual edification from the district leaders.

Today, the meetings were mainly leadership training meetings.

Being the Relief Society President in Colombo 1st Branch, I was supposed to attend the Relief Society Training Meeting, as was my Education Counsellor, Shanika, and my Homemaking Counsellor, Eashani. But Shanika is also the District Primary President, so she had to head that training session, and me being the District Family History Consultant, had to head that training session, which left Eashani our sole representative in Relief Society.

I gave Eashani firm instructions to take good notes. I have no doubt that she did.

It was organized differently than I had originally expected. First, the men were all meeting together for the entire morning. Well, sort of. From 10.00 until 12.30, the men were meeting together – Priesthood. Then from 12.30 to 2.00, all adults were meeting together. So what were the women to do from 10 until 12.30?

Originally, nothing was planned. Then Sister Merrell caught wind of this and requested that we have our leadership training sessions during that time. Primary – children from 3 until 12, Young Women – 12 to 18, and Relief Society – 18 and up, and Family History.

Because not all of the women who were present needed to go to the other three meetings, I volunteered to take not just the family history consultants of the other branches, but anyone who wanted to learn more about family history. I had six women.

Only two of the branches have family history consultants still. The other two need to call someone, but haven’t or did, but it was someone who since left, ie one of the missionaries who’s now in Malaysia. One of the family history consultants who was supposed to be in my section had to be in another leadership training session. That leaves one. But five other women showed up because they also wanted to learn.

I spent a few minutes going over things specific to a family history consultant, and the rest of the time, I opened up for questions and discussion. What I found is that these women are interested – really really interested – in doing family history. Their questions were intelligent and relevant, which can only mean that they have been paying attention and starting to work on their family history.

All in all, it was completely valuable.

One of the women, Ilani from Kandy, is completely fluent in both English and Sinhalese, which means it’s going to be much much easier communicating with her. I was warned that I could not expect anyone to be called who could read and write English, never mind speak it. This women is completely fluent – both verbal and written – which is a tremendous benefit to me.

After the adult session was over, a man from Negumbo, Royce, asked me about a computer problem he was having with PAF, and could I please help him out? It turned out that he’d brought his laptop with him, so we grabbed a room. His wife and another man came along and watched, also very interested in the whole thing. Royce, it turns out, is the 1st Counsellor in the Branch Presidency in Negumbo, and he is the only person in the branch with a computer, and he’s willing to help the rest of the members with computerizing their family history records. Wow! This is fantastic! And he has email, which of course means much easier communication.

We figured out what was going on, I pointed a few things out to him, but then the bus to Negumbo was leaving, so he had to go with the plans for him to come down in a week after church and I’d give him more training.

Buses. See, the people here are so poor that they can’t afford to get themselves to district conference, so the district hires a bus for the day to bring them all down from both Kandy and Negumbo. So when the bus was leaving, Royce really had to go.

I, of course, nagged him – but in a friendly way – about getting a family history consultant called. Hopefully, it’ll happen soon.

Author: LMAshton

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