Conference was FANTASTIC here in the mission. We're glad the Quorum of the Twelve is back up to it's full strength/capacity and I can't wait to see how Elders Rasband, Stevenson, and Renlund make us all proud! What a bunch of fantastic guys! I definitely loved Elder Holland's talk as well... Holy cow, it hit me hard. It made me think of the times right before my mission that you helped me through. All of the help that you gave me and all of the love that you displayed. Honestly, Elder Holland is right. I don't know of a more accessible, potent, and ever-present way that anyone can feel the love of the Savior than through a mother's love. I actually was really touched by the talk for Mikaila's sake as well. Mikaila and I email back and forth and in some of the emails she has been explaining the joys, struggles, challenges, and goodness of being a mother. When Elder Holland said that he was going to speak about mothers, I wrote at the top of the page in my conference notebook "This talk is for Mikaila." I'm grateful for all of the Mothers in my life. Especially the 3 I grew up with ;D
Yeah, I was pretty much waiting for President Nelson to dive out and catch President Monson, but I guess he didn't need to. Honestly, I'm with Elder Bednar. I don't see the physical weaknesses of the prophet as a faith destroyer. I see them as faith builders. It's amazing to see the Lord preserving these brethren so that they can impart every ounce of wisdom to us that they possibly can before they cross the veil. I love it. I love the gospel. I think that Elder Bednar was pretty key in explaining that even though the senior leaders of the church are "just a bunch of old white men" (as said by many), they are the leaders and guides for our spirituality.
I did indeed have an amazing birthday! It honestly was pretty uneventful, but conference has always been my greatest birthday gift:) And I did get the packages! I wore the shirt and the tie that grandma gave me to conference. I loved the card Grandma! I told my companion "Hey! Do you wanna listen to some un-legit music?!" And then I burst open the card and started jammin' out to the guitar solo from "We Will Rock You", haha. It was more or less funny to him, ;D And I love the little flip-book that I got from you! I am using it for my "Ponderize-ing" scriptures;) This week I'm starting with Alma 26:22! I think it will help me move the work forward. Thanks for the birthday cash, too:)
Cierra going to homecoming?!?! Geez.... this is all just too much.... She's not supposed to be going! I mean she's only like what..... 12? ;) I love you, Cierra!
Alright, now for my update:
So things are going well this week! We've had a lot of opportunity to be around President Miles over the past couple weeks, and I can honestly say that it has been incredibly inspiring. He is an amazing man that is teaching me so much. Learning from him has been an amazing experience.
We have been extremely busy and this assignment can be pretty tedious sometimes. For instance, for the next two weeks I will hardly see Elder Roberts at all because we will be on exchanges for the full two weeks. On Sunday we drive to Medicine Hat and do exchanges there, and then we'll work our way across the south. After that week is over, it's going to be board week, and then transfer week after that. It's going to be INSANE. A whirlwind. Time is passing so fast I can't even hardly comprehend it.... I can't believe conference is already over.... It's nuts. Anyway, that's what we've been up too.
Now, my "spiritual update" comes in two parts this week. With the first part, I'll share a story that shows how the Lord can put us in EXACTLY the right place at EXACTLY the right time.
So this week we went on exchanges down in the south with the Lethbridge East Zone Leaders. Elder Fairbanks - the elder I was exchanging with - told me about how we had an appointment in Magrath that day. I was of course thrilled because that was my first area and I miss it so much! So we drove down there the next morning. We taught the lesson that we came to teach - which went really well, by the way - and the appointment was over faster than we thought. So we were driving through Magrath, and I all of a sudden got the impression to visit the Spackman's, who we lived with when I served there. We were already running a bit late and it was out of our way, but I felt so strongly that we needed to stop by. So we did.
I walked up the steps to the house and knocked on the door. Their front door has a window in it, and so I saw Sister Spackman turn the corner to come answer the door. She saw me, and she immediately burst into tears. Elder Fairbanks and I entered the house and she gave me a big hug. Brother Spackman was lying on the sofa because he just had his knee replaced. Then the hard part came. Sister Spackman described to me how her daughter had taken her life back in May. She had taken it really hard, and though she was recovering she still was having trouble. Elder Fairbanks and I spoke with her about the Plan of Salvation and how comforting it was to have a Father with a Plan. Before we left we asked if we could leave a blessing on their home. We prayed as we left that they would have the spirit and comfort of the Savior. As we were saying our farewell's, Sister Spackman said to me that she knew everything was going to be okay. She said that if God sent us to them, he would take care of her. She said it was as if two Angels came to the door.
Jesus Christ prompts us to heal people on our way. He will ask us to heal the sickness of the souls of others, and even in some instances their physical sickness. We need to be sure that we are ready to accept the call, follow the prompting, and as President Monson says, go to the rescue.
"If you have eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to feel, you can reach out and RESCUE others." - President Monson
I have a testimony of that, and that it is through Christ that we receive Eyes to See, Ears to Hear, and Hearts to Feel.
The other part comes from a talk that I was reading from Elder Holland entitled "Come Unto Me". I highly recommend reading the whole talk, but here is a portion of it:
"“For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed,” he said, “but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed [from thee]". I love that. The hills and the mountains may disappear. The seas and oceans may dry up completely. The least likely things in the world may happen, but “my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed [from thee].” After all, he has, he reminds us,“graven thee upon the palms of my hands” (1 Ne.21:16). Considering the incomprehensible cost of the Crucifixion, Christ is not going to turn his back on us now."
I want everyone who reads these words to know that they are not abandoned by Jesus Christ. He is the Captain of their Souls and will help everyone no matter what. Like Elder Holland says, the least likely things in the entire world could happen, but still his kindness will not depart from us. If you struggle with your testimony, that's fine! Everyone does. The only way that we'll ever grow our testimony is through struggle, heart-break, trial, and pain. He will help us.
I bear testimony of the Savior of the world. My witness of Him is strong and it burns within me. I love Him with everything that I am, and I didn't just wake up one day with that testimony. I worked for it. If we look for Him, we will find Him. Whether that be for the first time, or the second, or the third.
I love you all!