Imagine this: you're in a chapel surrounded by missionaries. Some are old friends you haven't seen in months. You've changed a lot since you saw them last - your love of the Lord has grown. Some are new faces. They look around with wide eyes, trying to soak in everything. All of the missionaries in the country have gathered together for this special day. There is a special excitement in the air. It's hard to remain calm. You secretly want to just let out a squeal (but then of course you remember you can't, for you are in the chapel). Everyone sits down quietly and studies their scriptures. There is a strong Spirit and peace in the air. After all, the Lord's army in this part of the vineyard is finally together for the first time in years. Mission conferences are very, very rare. This is a special day.The doors open and in walks an Apostle of the Lord, his wife, the Area Seventy, his wife, and your Mission President and his wife. Everyone stands with one accord. The power in the room almost knocks you over. You then get to spend the next 3 hours with David A. Bednar, an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ! This was my experience this past week. And let me tell you, it was so much more glorious than I can even describe.
We got to sit in the same room with an Apostle and bask in the Spirit that was there. He had asked us to read three talks beforehand in order for us to prepare for this special meeting. He started by saying "I bet you thought I would come lecture at you for 3 hours. I'm not going to do that. We're going to have a discussion." It was amazing. For the next 3 hours we had a discussion with an Apostle! He asked us to share what we learned from the talks. He went around the room, choosing people as the Spirit directed. He had them share what they learned then asked amazing follow up questions. Then he had us discuss what we noticed about the pattern of his teaching. He said this is how classes in church need to be taught. Instead of teachers just preparing and then giving their lessons, they need to truly allow the Spirit to dictate their lessons. Then he opened it up and allowed us to ask any questions we wanted. It was amazing. The Spirit was so strong throughout the entire meeting and so many of the things he said I felt were directed straight towards me. Plus he was so fun and personable. He made all of us feel so comfortable (he started by saying "the job of an Apostle is to make everyone else in the room feel nervous" haha). Basically it was a once in a lifetime experience. The Spirit was incredible. Because our mission is pretty small, we were all able to fit in the chapel with no problem. It was such a close, personal setting. I love being a missionary for the true church of Jesus Christ. A church that is led by our Savior himself. That He has called Apostles and Prophets to lead us today. Before Elder Bednar left, he gave an incredibly powerful testimony. He especially focused on Jesus Christ. He also said that as we face the future, we must have faith. As bad as the world is now, it is as good as it will ever be again during our lifetimes. We must be strong. We must remain truly converted. Throughout the meeting, he talked a lot about true conversion. He talked about how people go home from their missions and "find out about some questionable event in church history" or they get angry about something in the church and fall away. He said it's because they were never converted in the first place. If we are truly converted, if we give our ALL over to the Lord, especially our will, than we will be strong and never fall away. We can't, because we are firm. It was truly amazing. I can't fully describe the feelings that I felt within my heart, but it caused me to rise to a new sense of purpose as a missionary but more importantly, as a church member and follower of Jesus Christ. So many of the impressions I received apply to my life after the mission. When I go home, I will never ever fall away. I will defend Jesus Christ my whole life. I won't make excuses. I won't make up reasons. I will put God first. I will defend Christ. I will be His disciple. I want to be happy.
We also had so many miracles in our missionary work this week. So I've told you guys about A, our awesome friend from India. Well we taught her this week and asked how she felt about getting baptized on. She stopped and said "I'm really excited :)))!" Ahhhh it was sooo cool! So she is preparing to be baptized then! Her lessons are always so amazing. During our last lesson, she said that she really feels like it was the will of God that we met and that this is what He wants for her. She has been reading the Book of Mormon daily and praying daily. She also watched the Restoration video multiple times with her little daughter. Her faith is such an example to me. I am so grateful that Heavenly Father has allowed me to witness this amazing miracle. To help a family come closer to Christ.
Another huge miracle happened yesterday! We had 12 NONMEMBERS IN CHURCH. We had met a girl at the train stationfrom Taiwan. She is sooo cute! We invited her to come to church with us and she agreed! Right there on the spot. MIRACLE. We quickly got her info before she got off the train. Then she actually came ! and brought 2 FRIENDS! Also from Taiwan! They were soooo cute! I was dying! And this guy from Liberia that Sisar Heggie and Woods met while on splits here came! and A came! And these two teenage girls came so they can write a paper on it for school! And also a family brought a Japanese girl with them that the mom works with, the elders brought 3 investigators, the nonmember husband came of one of our members, 1 of the less actives we're working with came, and a less active that one of our members has been working really hard with came for the first time in YEARS! IT WAS A MIRACLE . Bishop was going crazy! He was like "Sisters! This is amazing! The work you are doing is amazing!" Last week, another member came up to us and was like "Sisters, you rock! Every week you have investigators in church. It's so cool to see!" It's awesome that the members are recognizing how hard we are working and it's making them get excited about doing missionary work themselves. THE WORK IS GOING FORWARD.
Oh also, a fun moment of the week was seeing my MTC COMP Sisar Dayton for the first time since last December! It was so fun to reunite! We also got to have dinner at our President's house to welcome the new sister that just arrived (and Sisar Dayton is training her) so that was quite a treat. I love President and Sister Watson. They're so great.
So long story short, my life is amazing. I love it! I love being a missionary. It's going by way too fast, but luckily I will always be a missionary, because I am truly converted unto the Lord. So when I end up going home, the journey will just continue. The opportunity to defend my Savior and build the kindgom never ends. This is one of the talks Elder Bednar asked us to read and study before he came. READ IT. STUDY IT. It's amazing. https://www.lds.org/
general-conference/2012/10/ converted-unto-the-lord?lang= eng
I love you all. Church is true! Become truly converted unto the Lord.