Alright that doesn't even begin to cover the excitement that I felt watching General Conference! It was seriously so amazing! I love gathering and hearing a prophet's voice. It is such a testimony to me that this really is God's one true church on the earth. It is lead by living day Apostles and Prophets. They shatter the myth that the heaven's are closed and God no longer speaks to us. GOD SPEAKS. What a joyous message that truly is. I hope you all go back and review the things that happened in General Conference. Watch the talks. Read them. Apply them. Hearing the uplifting and inspired messages doesn't do us much good if we don't actually apply what we heard and read and live it. Make goals and plans, choose little things to work on, and make those changes. As Elder Hale said: "We gather to hear the word of the Lord, and then return to our homes to live it". So live it :)
Miracles. That word could sum up this week. Alright, so maybe I say that every week, but as a missionary I seriously witness so many miracles every single day. A is doing amazingly! I got to watch the women's session of conference with her this week. IT WAS INCREDIBLE. She loved it! The whole focus was the Temple and how we need to prepare for it. And ok why is Elder Uchtdorf just like so amazing at speaking right to my heart?!? He talked about how sometimes we feel like God has locked all these blessings up in heaven and is withholding them from us, but in reality, they are constantly raining down and it is us that puts up umbrellas to block them. As we lower our umbrellas by being obedient to God's commandments and coming closer to Christ, that is when the blessings really come. In A's closing prayer, she said "please help us to put down our umbrellas." Something we truly all need to do. It made me stop and think about what are some of the things I can do to put down MY umbrellas. It truly was a great self assessment. I encourage you all to do the same. Also, we were over at their house earlier this week and her 6 year old daughter said the closing prayer. She said "thanks for the church. thanks for the sisters. thanks for the happy." How adorable is that?! My word, the church is true!
S came with us to watch conferencenight (because of the time difference, we can only watch the S morning session .) It was amazing! And S LOVED it! She wrote her notes about it in Chinese and in English. I looked over at her notes and she had written on one of the lines "Jesus will heal us". So simple, but so powerful. She really is the cutest thing ever! We've already talked about how she's going to have to come visit me in Utah and come out to conference with me :). We watched the women's session with her as well and the Spirit was so strong. She is progressing amazingly and is excited for her baptism on the 25th. Pray for her. Also we found out that there is a Temple in Taiwan 40 minutes from where she lives! WE WERE ALL FREAKING OUT. How cool is that?? Heavenly Father sent her here to find the gospel so she can go back and be a powerhouse there. I just love her.
T finally had a break through. So apparently, his buddist traditions have been messing up some of his understanding this whole time and he basically thought that if he were to get baptized, he would go straight to heaven. We were having a lesson this past week and we asked him if he believed that this church was true and if God lived. He said he had received an answer after he prayed and that he believed that it was. My comp then asked "so what does that make you want to do about it?" he proceeded to explain that he must take a break from learning because he has stuff he still needs to do on this earth but that he will return to the gospel afterward. That's when I finally understood that he really thought he would essentially be translated when he joins. I was like "uh, T, the gospel is all about helping us LIVE our lives. Heavenly Father gave us this beautiful world and everything on it to bless us and help us to be happy. The gospel helps us navigate through life, it gives us life. It doesn't take us from it. The prophet is 87 years old! Do you think he has been following Jesus Christ his whole life?" to which he interuppted by saying "so he's being living the gospel his whole life??" and I said "yes! he has! And he's still here!" T got really excited when it all finally clicked! He turned to my comp and said "ask me that question again!" we all laughed and he is now set for baptism on the 18th! I think one of the coolest things about that lesson was watching the Spirit teach T. There was one point that we sat in silence for over 2 minutes. Everytime I went to go speak, I felt "just wait". I could literally see on his face his understanding grow and his testimony increase while we were sitting there in silence. All of these stories I write home, all of the miracles, teaches, baptisms, everything is all the Lord doing His work. I can assure you that none of it is me. It is so humbling to be in that moment and really see how much the Lord loves and communicates with His children. Heavenly Father loves us. He loves you. I hope you feel that.
The leaves are changing and it is magnificent. Fall in Finland is gorgeous. I'm shocked it's lasted this long and I hope it continues. It's been kinda cold and rainy but nothing horrible so that's been a huge blessing. Sometimes I just stop and breath the fresh air and still am in awe that I live in this gorgeous land! And that I get to represent my Savior here. One of the things I loved from conference was just the way I felt myself come to know and understand my Savior better. My relationship with Him has become so much more real during my time here as a missionary. And so much more meaningful. God lives. Jesus is His son. He is your Savior. He is your Redeemer. While teaching T this week, a metaphor came into my mind that really helped T understand the Savior better and in turn, taught me. So basically, my family means the most to me. I love them more than words can say. It's been hard being away from them, it was hard to leave them, but I knew that I needed to and that it would be worth it. What would happen if the day I go to go home, I show up at the airport and they say "sorry, in order to leave you must pay a $15 million fine." I don't have that much money. I could work all my life and never have that much money. I would feel heartbroken. I would plead. I would argue. I would feel helpless. As I go to leave, feeling my world is shattered, a man walks up and says "I will pay it. Give me what you have, and I will pay the rest. Then you can go and be with your family." I would jump for joy. I would thank this kind stranger through my tears. I could never pay him back, but I would we eternally grateful to him. And that is what our Savior does for us. When we came to this life, we left our Heavenly Father. We knew it would be hard, but that we needed to leave. After this life, we will be brought to stand before Him again. We will long to enter heaven with our families and God forever, but in order to do that we must be perfect. And none of us are. But the Savior walks up and says "I have paid the price. I have paid the price for her so that she can walk through and be with her family forever." If I feel that a year and a half away from my family is a long time, I don't even want to think about eternity without them. The Savior of the world has done all this and more for YOU. Remember how great your soul is worth in the sight of God. He loves you.
I love you. Church is true.
ps we got serenaded by a rather drunk man on the train coming home late one night. he even did an air guitar and said we were beautiful and he wanted to buy sister heggie's boots. ah man. i have strengthened my testimony of the word of wisdom so much while i've been here..... hahahaha