Thanks for continuing to keep in contact with me; it really means a lot that there are people outside of the mission that remember that I exist... ;-)
Tell Sister Opel congrats, and the Barsdorfs that I say hi!
As for how the week went, it was a pretty interesting one. It started off a little slow, as it has been for a while now. Then, things started picking up on Friday. That evening, we had a ward talent show, and there was a lot of really cool acts (along with some that were just for fun). One of them was a light show by a recent convert (well, a 3 year convert) named Nick Smith. If you know what rave gloves are, he used those and a bunch of colored light balls on a cord in a really cool dance. The coolest part of all of that was the fact that his girlfriend, Lindsey, and her family all came, and they're not members. I'll get back to her in just a little bit. For now, the only sad part of the show was the fact that I had signed up to sing, but then we thought that we were going to be driving down to Baker City that night, so I scratched my name off of the list, and once we found out that we were going to be able to stay, I didn't get my name back on in time to perform. Oh well, it is what it is.
The next really awesome thing happened was on Saturday, the reason that we thought that we would have to be traveling that night. We had a mission-wide conference in Nampa, with all of the missionaries in one big chapel. There were a few keynote speakers at that meeting, namely Elder Brent Neilson, of the 70, Sister Neill Marriot, 2nd councilor of the General Young Women's Presidency, and Elder L. Tom Perry, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. It was really cool. Before the meeting started, they gave us all a chance to go up and shake each of their hands, and the whole time, Elder Perry was cracking jokes with all of the missionaries. He's tall, too! He was almost as tall as my chin when he was sitting down.
Once the meeting got under way, Elder Neilson was the first speaker. He spoke on the fundamentals from Preach My Gospel, that we learned in the MTC, focusing on The Commitment Pattern (we teach, we invite, we testify, we follow up) and receiving revelation through the Book of Mormon, and through coming to church. He also used the story in 3 Nephi 17, when Christ was closing his "first discussion" with the Nephites, to teach us about Teaching People, Not Lessons. One of the lines that stuck out to me during that part of his talk was, when Christ looked on the people and saw that they wanted Him to stay for a little longer, Elder Neilson said, "And I think that it's safe to say, that Christ [rescheduled] his appointment with the Lost tribes of Israel."
He stayed, and blessed and healed the Nephites, and blessed their children. That's something that I have a really hard time doing, messing with our schedule, especially canceling or rescheduling, so I think that's why that line stood out to me so much. Anyways, it was a really good talk.
Sister Marriot spoke on her conversion story, and it hit a little hard home. She told how she was a combative, devout Methodist, that a member had introduced with her friends to the missionaries. She said that she was one of those investigators that loves to debate and was going to use her English major as an excuse and an answer to all of the questions. She told us that it took her 5 months to finally be honest in her prayers, and that was because of the last lesson that they were going to have. Right before the group of members and missionaries was going to leave, one David Marriot (unknown future husband) said that before they left, he wanted to go around the room and ask all of the girls a question, "What do you think about the Book of Mormon?"
Sister Marriot said that she'd had her answer all planned out, that she was going to say that, as an English major, she found it very poetic. When he got to her, she said instead that she thought it was true, because she had already been having experiences that were helping her to learn, but she had been hiding them from everyone, so that she, "could go on being a Methodist, and still believe in the Plan of Salvation!" But, that didn't happen. Instead, David asked her what she was going to do about that, and she said that she would pray honestly if it was true. She said that her prayers had all been along the lines of "They have a good message, but I'm not going to change!"
This time, she prayed that if it was true, she would do what she needed to do. She said that she immediately heard a very soft voice, just in her head, that said "It's true." So, she jumped up, said out loud, "It's true!!" and went to bed "without even an Amen." She was baptized the following day.
The thing that really hit me was that, when she had allowed the missionaries to teach her, she had said that if they ever mentioned baptism, they would not be allowed back, and they agreed. She then told us, "Never do that." I have a real problem with doing that. I get afraid that I'm going to push the people, that I've grown to love, away from the gospel that means so much to me. I tend to dance around things that are important, because they "might be offended." More then all of that, my biggest problem, as it has always been, is that I get scared of messing up, of saying the wrong things, or that they wont like what I say. I still get far to scared of what other people think of me, and I don't know how to share these things that I love with the people that have grown to mean so much to me, without losing that bond that has grown. I find myself going overboard when I actually do start, basically overcompensating for my lack of confidence in myself, and spitting out a bunch of words that, though they are all true, are too much at once to handle.
Like I'm doing right now.
Anyways, that talk really hit home to me because of that. I want to be able to share this gospel that has changed my life with those around me, but I want to do it in a way that will mean the most to them, and will be right for them at that time. If anyone has any suggestions, they would be very appreciated. How would I share this with you, if you were the one that I was going to share it with? What would be the best way for me to touch your heart? What would mean the most to you?
Well, I've still got a lot to write, but I don't want to take up more then the hour that I already have, so I'll save it for next week, and just preface it be testifying that I know that Jesus Christ cares about all of us, that he died for us, and that we can have access to the Holy Ghost to teach us the truth, as long as we are looking for it. I know all of this, and have seen it in my life, with more surety then that I am typing this now.
Thank you for being patient with me, and for putting up with my rambling.
Love and Insanity,