Week 40: Keeper of the Gate

My family, friends, and fellow servants,

I missed you! Week has gone by way too fast. Every moment is but a fleeting moment here in the mission field. Perhaps most of you have a variety of work to do, but our purpose here remains ever the same—to invite others to come unto Christ! But it’s fun and fulfilling.
Several weeks ago in my weekly letter I told you how I admire my fellow missionaries who are already reaping success from their labours and serving in various missionary leadership positions. I would say I was wading in insecurity and in self-doubt that I can never get to where they are right now.
Surprisingly on May 5th, just right before transfer day, my mission president called me on the phone and told me that the Lord wants me to be his district leader for this cycle. I’m surprised that the only words I could say were, “Wait, are you serious?” After no less negotiation I agreed to accept the calling.
District leaders are called to assist the mission president in carrying out the plans for the mission, delegating these tasks all the way to his two assistants, several zone leaders, then ultimately to us district leaders. Every zone has from 2-4 districts and each district has from 4-10 missionaries. District leaders have many responsibilities such as supervising, teaching and inspiring the missionaries in his district, planning and conducting weekly meetings, interviewing baptismal candidates and generally looking after the well being of the missionaries of his stewardship.
Throughout my mission life I have mostly been companions with district leaders, so after the call was extended I already have some ideas on how to get the work running. 
Perhaps one of the challenges about being the district leader is that you have to set a high standard of obedience and diligence in the work, though I’d like to think my mission president gave me this calling so I could stretch myself and expand to my full potentials. Another thing is having four sister missionaries in your district, which warrants me frequent travels to the Los Baños area to settle sister dramas. That causes me a lot of fare for travel.
I also love doing the Sunday Night Calls! At the end of the planning session every Sunday the missionaries under my district would have to send their numbers in to my phone and I would record them in my area book. It’s an opportunity for me to keep track of their progress and personal welfare and concerns to make sure that they are making the most of their time and spending energy in the work. Most of the time typical district leaders only call and follow up on them for only 5 to 10 minutes, but I’d love keeping the calls from 10 – 15 minutes. I love talking to my fellow missionaries and hearing their stories that have happened in the week. They inspire me to also follow their example from the outside in and to receive counsel from them as well.
On Friday last week I had my first baptismal interviews. It was for Los Baños sisters’ part-member investigators. Their names were Clyde and Hermione (cutest names) and they’re the smartest kids I have ever known. Although I was not totally sure of what to do, I let the Spirit guide me throughout their respective interviews. They answered the baptismal interview questions fairly well, and I couldn’t see any reason for me to fail them! The influence of the Spirit hit me to the bones, telling me that they are just as ready to get baptized! I hope to attend their baptism on Friday night this week.
Only then did I fully understand why a district leader is called “The Keeper of the Gate”.
I literally and honestly feel like I’m nearing towards the end of my mission. I simply couldn’t ask for more. But whether the Lord wants me to continue and finish the whole 24 months of my missionary service or not, I can only say that I have been giving my best to his divine demands in order to keep His work progress in the areas under my supervision as a district leader, and to make sure that every worthy and repentant souls can enter the gates of baptism and make solemn covenants with our Heavenly Father.
God grant that we may all press forward with steadfastness in Christ. I shall be home soon!
Elder Poblete
Philippines San Pablo Mission
PS: Enjoy the well written weekly letter. You all deserve it!
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