Monday, October 8, 2012

Revelations and Lessons Learned During General Conference

(As Elder Fox explains in his letter ...)

Dear Family,

General Conference was kind of crazy at the beginning this year.  We show up for the first part of the Saturday Session and … no power in the church.  We're waiting and waiting and a bunch of members are now starting to show up.  The announcement is finally made that conference won’t come on at that building for awhile.  If we wanted to watch it, we were supposed to go to another building.  Oh man!  The craziness got started!  For the members, it’s all good.  They just get in their cars and go to another chapel.  However, we can’t just leave without permission from the President.  The Sisters in our Zone had already called up President and asked if they could go.  For the rest of our Zone to be able to go, either everyone would have to call President, or me and my companion because we’re the only ones with authority to give the whole Zone permission to leave the area since we’re the Zone Leaders.  We called up President, and after talking a little while, he gave us all permission.  That’s when the race started.  We had to get rides for everyone to the other chapel.  We helped some other areas get rides and once everyone was all set up with a car, we realized that we had a problem.  We helped everyone else out, but didn’t have a ride for ourselves.  Now it was time for us to race around but … all the cars were full.  Finally, a member saw us and asked if we had a ride.  We responded in the negative and he offered to give us one.  So off we went to the closest chapel.  And which one is the closest?  Trujillo!  My last area!!

We got there and helped put some chairs up because they needed more with the sudden arrival of all of our Stake.  While I was helping out with chairs, I was also greeting many people that were from my ex-ward.  I asked the Stake President if there was an English room.  There’s always a room with the transmission in English for the Elders and the members that speak English because it’s 100 times better in English.  The translation is so monotone and in English there’s expression.  The Stake President said they weren’t able to get it up.  I was a little bummed but, oh well.  Once we went and sat down, we got a call.  It was from one of the companionships in our Zone!  We went out and answered it and they said, “Where are you guys?”  In all the craziness, we didn’t realize that there was a companionship missing.  They went to the Stake Center in our Stake and were basically the only ones there.  We told them to go to Trujillo.  A little after, they called us and said the power came back on and the transmission was up and running.  We were already in Trujillo so we decided to stay there.  While my companion was on the phone with the other Elders, the Stake President came up to me and said he went and gave it another try and now the English room is up and running.  I went and grabbed the other American Elders and we went and watched it in English along with one of the Stake President’s sons.

Once we were settled down, and the craziness ended, I sat down to watch.  It was the end of Sister Dibb’s talk.  I missed President Monson and Quinton L. Cook’s and only caught a minute of her talk.  After her talk I asked the Elders, that were already there at that chapel, who we missed.  They said just Quinton L. Cook and the Prophet and then one of the Elders said he announced two temples and … “Dude!  You won’t believe it!  Elders can leave when they’re 18 and Sisters when they are 19!”  I think my jaw dropped to the floor.  Oh my goodness!  I couldn’t believe it!  Like, that revelation is cool and all for the people getting ready to go and are at home … but it’s kind of bad for us that are here on our missions already.  My first thought was, “Who am I going to have as a friend back home?”  A majority of my really good guy friends from before the mission, will be on their missions … Jarin, Dallin, Craig … all these guys.  The others, I didn’t have much contact with or are married.  Now all the guys that I was friends with, that were a lot younger than me, will also be taking off.  Then all the girls my age are going to be taking off too.  I’m not going to have any friends.  There was only one positive side I could see in this all … it’ll probably be a bit easier to get into everything I want for school.  Haha  Either way … who’s still going to be home?  Not to make a trunky comment since I’m a missionary, but it was one of the subjects brought up when we were talking … who are we going to date?!!  Haha  Even here in Brazil, there were tons of people that were saying, “I don’t think I’ll go on a mission.  Maybe if I make it to 21 and am not married I’ll go.”  Now all of them are saying, “I’m going on a mission!”  I can only imagine what it’s like back home.  Like I said … it’s cool for the guys going out on missions because they’ll get back right when the girls are getting back from theirs.  And it’ll be neat for those who decide to leave someone because while he’s on his mission she can take off on one too and they both get back around the same time.  I also think it’s going to be strange for the number of Elders.  There are going to be huge fluxes of Elders in June, July and August … and then the rest of the year there will be hardly any.  At least when it’s 19 … year round people are getting ready to go.  But at 18 … as soon as High School gets out, there’s going to be a swarm of Elders and the rest of the time it’ll dwindle to nothing.  But in all seriousness ... it’s awesome for the people getting ready to go!  I wish I could have gone at 18.  I would have loved to have taken off after high school.  That year between 18 and 19 … you really do get lost and put in an awkward spot where you don’t fit in anywhere.  And that is the year that you lose so many guys and they end up not serving.  So for the Elders … it’s awesome!  But for the girls … I’m not sure how I feel about that.  More so for selfish reasons, but seriously … who is going to be home when I get home???  : )

Returning to General Conference … after the first session, we took off to our chapel again, but not before I ran around and talked to a ton of people from my last area.  I loved that area so much and I miss the members.  I also saw that investigator of mine that was baptized a couple of days after the transfer.  We got back to the chapel and ate some food.  We always buy a bit of food and eat it during the interval.  (Interval?  Is that right?  In Portuguêse it’s intervalo so I’m assuming that’s what it is but I’m guessing because I forgot.)  Then one of our investigators showed up and we watched the second Saturday session.

Unfortunately, this Stake is one of the only Stakes here in my mission that doesn’t do an English room.  Conference in Portuguêse is kind of bad.  In English, there’s tone and it catches your attention.  With the translation, it seriously is like one of those lessons where someone is just reading from the manual.  Either way, I liked it a ton!  My favorite talk was by Elder Holland, the first session on Sunday talk by President Monson and Russell M. Nelson’s talk.  Also, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf had a great one when he talked about not having regrets and Boyd K. Packer had a really good one too.  I hope Russell M. Nelson’s talk ends up online.  That was awesome!  The only down side is the fact that now a bunch of members, to be funny, are asking us everything.  He made a huge list, and said basically ... "if you have any question, ask the missionaries."  Now a bunch of members are asking us tons of craziness.  It’s kind of funny though.

I really liked President Dieter F. Uchtdorf's talk.  It made me think a lot.  Everyone always says to serve a mission so that you’ll have no regrets.  So far, I have no regrets, but one thing I started thinking is how important all this truly is.  I think about our lives as a mini “Plan of Salvation“.  The life on earth is the mission.  It’s so short compared to the rest, but it makes all the difference.  Pre-mortal life … your life before the mission … you choose to follow the plan just like you choose to serve a mission.  That choice carries on the plan.  We have an expression that you’re born in your first area.  Kind of like birth and the start of your mortal life.  That's your mission.  Then comes death and the spirit world.  When you finish your mission, you die (so to speak).  I would put the Spirit Would as the airplane … Resurrection when you’re released … and based on your choices in Mortal Life … you have your eternal reward.  Based on the way you served, it will set up the rest of your life.

So, I thought of two things during the talk.  One - there are lots of Elders that say I’ll treat my wife amazingly and never fight with her.  But they fight with their companions all the time.  They also say that they’ll serve in their calling with all their heart.  But they don’t serve their missions with all their might.  If they don’t serve missions that way, how will they do that in their callings?  All our choices here, bring consequences and set us up for the rest of our life.  Just like the scriptures say, the same spirit we have here we’ll have there.  Anyways, “no regrets” I think will be more than, “Oh man.  I wish I would have done this differently.” or “I wish I didn’t screw up.“  But “no regrets” will really come into play the rest of our lives and how we choose to live them.  Like how you treat your wife / family and how you serve one another and in your callings … everything.

The second thing I thought of was the final judgment.  I’ve always been trying to figure out what the final judgment would be like.  In my analogy of mission life … I thought it would be your last interview with your Mission President or your interview with your Stake President.  Now I’m thinking it goes back to that thing of “no regrets“.  If you keep all the rules and do what you supposed to, but that’s as far as you go … and your not striving and reaching to use all your potential … then that’s how you’ll probably be for the rest of your life.  Of course you can change, but it’s best to learn it here.  It‘s best to go to the maximum and give all your heart and then you’ll be ready for the rest of your life.  Well … those were my thoughts at least.  Hopefully it made sense.  I’m writing really fast.

I have to get going.  I already sent off a letter explaining about my week so you’ll find out how the rest of the week was.  :)  I love you guys!!


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