Alright, now for my update this week. This one is particularly amazing because on Saturday we met with Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles! I can't even describe the experience, but I'm going to take a whack at it.
Elder Hopoi and I were fortunate to have some connections with Elder Christensen and Elder Cervantes, the Assistants. Because we were so far away in BC, they let us come up the day before and work their area. We had an appointment with the McLachlan's and I got to see them again! That was really awesome. So we stayed overnight in Woodbine, and then the day finally came! We arrived at the Foothills Stake Center at around 7:30 to help the Assistants set up. That was perfect because we consequently got really amazing seats! Eventually, 200 missionaries - the entire mission - showed up at the stake center, and then Elder Christofferson arrived. There we saw him stroll up the aisle with President and Sister Miles, as well as Elder Martino and Elder Larry Spackman, the area seventy, in tow. He then indicated for everyone to sit down. President Miles conducted the meeting and announced that the first thing to happen would be Elder Christofferson shaking all of the missionaries' hands! BOOYAH! So one by one, every single missionary in our mission lined up and shook the hand of an Apostle. It sounds so fan-girly, but I seriously still remember it vividly. He is a very sincere, laid back, and incredible man. After we had all shaken his hands, they returned to the stand and the meeting really began. We heard testimonies from President and Sister Miles, as well as Elder and Sister Spackman. Then we heard a talk from Elder Martino. It was great. Honestly, I feel like we were all just kind of waiting for the "main event." :) Finally, Elder Christofferson approached the pulpit, and the funniest thing happened!
Elder Christofferson got to the pulpit and told everyone to stand and stretch. He himself started to stretch, raising his hands high above his head. Then, with a grin, he put his hands on his head, then his shoulders, then he went for his knees, haha! That's right. Elder Christofferson almost started the meeting with head, shoulders, knees, and toes! It was really awesome. His humor was a treat the entire time. He opened up by telling us how President Miles owed him! He said that he had to pull some strings in order for things to be approved for the entire mission to be able to gather. He then told us how well he knew President Miles. President Miles had been Elder Christofferson's Stake President for 9 years. He told us that we had the best that they - the church - had to offer. It was incredible to hear how highly he spoke of President Miles. He said we had the best. And then he said "I don't know why you deserve it! You probably don't, but that's alright you've got him anyway!" :) That was awesome. He then told us about how he wanted us to pay close attention to President and Sister Miles. He said that oft-times a missionary is assigned to a mission simply because of the Mission President they will be serving with. One of my favorite things that he said in this section was "You can learn much from someone who has overcome by faith, when they had nothing else to turn to." That was extremely powerful to me, because I feel as though I've been surrounded by people like that my whole life. Elder Christofferson spoke of a lot of amazing things, but I'm just going to relate a few of them:
1. Elder Christofferson taught that we - the missionaries - are quite literally companions to the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He taught us from Doctrine and Covenants section 112 about how we are fulfilling the Apostolic commission to preach the gospel just as they are. He spoke of how important the Book of Mormon is. He said it would be the key to our faithfulness for the rest of our lives. He taught some amazing things.
2. It wasn't long when Elder Christofferson turned the meeting into a question/answer period. It was incredible. There were some missionaries with some really amazing questions. One of the questions was "what is the key to receiving personal revelation and revelation for those in your stewardship?" Pretty awesome! Elder Christofferson responded that we need to be prepared to receive what is coming. He explained that one of the greatest places that we could stand ready to receive is when we are in the scriptures. He said this is key. He told us that sometimes an answer will come to our minds while we are reading, and it will have pretty much nothing to do with what we are reading. Sometimes we simply just need to be in a position to receive, and the scriptures will always provide that position. This was a huge relief to me because I think I often want to go to the scriptures with my questions, but I feel like I need to read somewhere in particular to find it. But that apparently isn't really the case. I just need to be in a position to receive. That was inspiring! He also spoke about how we should not worry about how fast or how much we read. It doesn't matter. We only need to focus on our questions and put in the effort to receive our answer.
3. Another questions was one asked by Elder Todd who lives in our house in Cranbrook. He asked the question that he and I had come up with as we talked pretty deep with each other one night. "How do we incorporate the characteristics of those we admire into our own character without losing who we are?" It was amazing how he answered. He started off by saying "I wouldn't worry too much about that." LOL Well okay. He then explained that it is a good thing to try and mimic the positive attributes that we find in others. He also said that we shouldn't worry too much about becoming overtly "unique", because he said eventually we'd just cross the line and become weird, haha! That was hilarious! He said that he encouraged adopting the positives into our character, but then he said something incredibly powerful. He got serious and told us that NOTHING would ever change our identity. Nothing. Nothing would ever change who we really were, so we don't need to worry about it. That was a huge answer to my prayers.
4. Elder Christofferson also talked more on the Book of Mormon. He told us that if he were ever in court - because he used to be a lawyer - and were asked for evidence that Jesus was the Christ, that Joseph Smith was a Prophet, etc. he'd say (Holding up his Book of Mormon above his head and then thumping it down on the pulpit with surprising force) "Your Honor! Exhibit A!" It was awesome! He outlined how the Book of Mormon really was the evidence of the Messiah-ship of Jesus Christ and the evidence of the gospel message. It was really great.
5. The last thing I want to share is Elder Christofferson's testimony. Honestly, there is something different when you hear an Apostle bear their special witness of the Savior. Coming from one who knows him so personally, it really changes a testimony. Especially since that is part of being an Apostle. He gave his special witness to us, and the spirit was incredibly powerful. It testified to me that this truly was a man of God, and that Jesus Christ truly is the Savior of the World.
Overall, it was one of the most spiritual experiences I have ever had.
That's all I've got for this week, but I love you! Thank you for all you do for me!