Monday, October 3, 2011
General Conference ... A Connection To Home
So … yesterday was Conference and it was awesome!!! I never really had the same appreciation for Conference before my mission. Now … oh man … I left there so excited and so happy.
We watch the different sessions at the Stake Center and it was way cool because there were tons of members there. Mostly everyone that watches Conference, watches it at the building. I’m not sure if they get it on TV or not. Someone said they do, but someone else said they don’t, so I have no idea. We watched both the Saturday and Sunday sessions there, and during the interval, just hung out at the church. Lots of people stayed there in between the sessions. We stayed because if we were to walk back to our area … by the time we got there, we'd have about 10 minutes to teach, and then have to leave again. We figured we could do more good at the Stake Center.
The first session started at 1 pm and the second started at 5 pm. However, the Priesthood session started at 9 pm and ended at 11. We didn’t get to watch that because we didn’t have a ride home and it's not safe to walk home at 11 at night. I wanted too, so it was a little disappointing. We were able to watch both sessions on Saturday and Sunday. I was so sad that none of our investigators came. :( On the positive side … some less active members that we talked to were there. Also, they had a room set up at the Stake Center that had it broadcast in English so I got to watch it in English!!! That was awesome. The guy that set it up came up to me once he was done and was like, "Hey I got that room set up for you." haha I didn’t even ask if there was going to be an English room. He just knew I was American and let me know. Basically all the American missionaries in my stake were in there, and every session there was a different member that wanted to watch it in English.
Conference was awesome! That analogy that Elder Tad R. Callister used with the dots and drawing lines to illustrate the Bible and Book of Mormon working together was really cool. Every one of the missionaries in the English room grabbed their notebooks and wrote that down. (I later found out the missionaries in the main room did also.) I think missionaries everywhere have a new example to use from that talk. I also loved Matthew O. Richardson’s talk, when he spoke about that little girl that said, "Grandma are those real missionaries?" That happened to me twice. Once at the MTC during a temple walk on Sunday and then again in my ward I’m in now. My Bishop’s little daughter came up to me and Elder Henrique and asked, "Are you two real missionaries?" We responded, “Yes!” and she looked at us like we were the coolest guys ever. haha.
My personal favorite parts were both by President Monson. I loved his talk on prayer, his experiences he shared, and especially how he referred to prayer as “his relationship with Heavenly Father” and how he wants everyone to have the same relationship as he does. That really stood out to me a lot because I want to have a good relationship with my Heavenly Father … just as the Prophet said … just like he does. I want to have a relationship with my Father in Heaven just like I do with someone I’m with here on my journey through life. You have to have a good relationship with your companion or the members we serve … but what’s the most important relationship to anyone … especially a missionary? The relationship with our Heavenly Father. That talk stood out to me a ton. It gave me something to strive for.
President Monson’s closing remarks really hit me. It wasn’t even a talk, just his finally words of closing at the end, but I think I felt the spirit the strongest during that part. I could feel his love for everyone and Heavenly Father’s love for us too. I know that my Father in Heaven speaks through his prophets and I know I am greatly loved by both. When President Monson looked straight into the camera … it felt like he was speaking straight to me. The spirit testified strongly to me, that what he was saying, was true! It was sweet.
Probably the thing that I liked most about General Conference, and that really got to me … was the connection with you guys. That was the one time that I knew for sure that my family was doing the exact same thing as me. I knew you all were watching the same talks … hearing the same music … and folding your arms, bowing your heads, and listening to the same prayer that I was. Even though I’m all the way over here .. for that little moment … I felt close to you guys and that was really special to me.
It was also funny seeing the stuff after conference. You know how they film Temple Square and show everyone walking around. Seeing that was awesome but at the same time it was kind of weird. There it was still sunny. Here it was night time and pouring rain.
When we were getting ready to go we didn’t have a ride. My companion wanted to try and find someone last minute but I had this feeling we needed to walk home. I told him I wanted to walk and he looked at me like, “Are you crazy?!!” I told him again, “I want to walk. I feel right about it.” He debated with me a bit so I said, “Try and find a ride, but if not, we’re walking.” Well, he didn’t find a ride so we set off on foot. To be honest though, I really liked it. I never really got to walk in the rain before my mission, and I was happy from Conference too. So everyone I saw, I greeted and said, "Boa noite!" with a big smile on my face. Mostly everyone looked at me like, "Who is this guy stuck in the rain, late at night, that’s so happy?" We walked past this house where less active members and some investigators lived, and I got the thought, “Let’s stop here.” I said that to my companion and he just said, “Elder, it’s late. Let’s just go home.” I insisted on stopping and he reluctantly agreed. We went to the house and I was thinking, “Ok. This is why I felt so strongly that we needed to walk home. If we got a ride we wouldn’t have thought to stop here.” I was ready to go in there and be this “Super Missionary here for the rescue” … but when we got there … well … everyone was fine and there wasn’t really any reason we needed to be there. After teaching a bit, we set off for home. Now it’s coming down even harder. I continued saying, “Boa noite!” to everyone and continued getting crazy looks. However, some people seemed genuinely happy to hear that though. When we got home we were soaking wet and until now I have no idea why I felt like we needed to walk home … or why we should stop at that house. I was ready for one of those huge missionary stories and nothing happened. Then I started thinking about it and a thought came to me. I think the important thing isn’t what happens when you get a feeling … it’s if you follow it or not. Who knows if we even helped anyone that night. Maybe I drove my companion nuts making him walk in the rain. But I felt really good that night, had fun walking in that rain, and listened and did what I was prompted to do. We don’t always know why we are asked to do the things we are asked to do. It is not for us to question and analyze in our heads. We just follow the spirit, and we will be blessed. And who knows … maybe we planted a seed here or there … maybe the house we stopped at just needed to know they were loved and thought about. I just followed the feeling I had and did what I was asked. Hopefully someone’s life may have been blessed that night along our pathway home. I know mine was.
Well, I have to get going. I’m almost out of time and I have to write the President still. I love you guys so much and miss you guys a ton. Mom, I hope your leg gets better!!! Love you all!!!