Thursday, November 25, 2010
Little update- I am staying in the Shoal Creek Valley Ward in Liberty and have a new companion....Hermana Holbrook! Spanish speaking! I am going to have to learn Spanish but it's so good because we have many Spanish speaking investigators.
Words cannot describe the things that happened to my companion and I this past Saturday at our all mission conference with Elder Richard G. Scott. We arrived and saw our investigator Ben (who was given a personal invitation by our mission president to come to the conference). He was dressed really nice and very excited. We sat down and a little while later, stood as Elder Scott entered the room with President and Sister Van Komen as well as Elder Hillier (of the seventy). We were all able to come up and shake his hand. Sister Card and I had happened to sit on the front row and were the first to be invited up. It was so incredible looking into his eyes as an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.
First thing Elder Scott said when he got up was "Where would you go in the Book of Mormon to prove the validity of the restoration?" He had us, with our companions, plan out a 5-6 minute lesson on how we would tell an investigator how they can come to know the book of Mormon testifies of Joseph Smith and the restoration. We were given about 5 minutes to plan this and then he would have some missionaries come up and have a practice. Sister Card immediately turned to me and said, "Sister, we're going to get called on! Things like this always happen to me! I have a track record for things like this!" I felt in my stomach that we'd get called on too but Sister Card then said "But, the chances of us getting called on out of all of these missionaries (250) is pretty slim". I agreed with her - nonetheless, we planned that we would talk about
a) how the book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion
b) that we need to ask Heaven-sent questions to find how they receive answers to their prayers
c) we'd bear solemn testimony
d) and we'd be sincere
So Elder Scott got up and said he would choose elders to come up. The first set actually volunteered. They practiced with other 'mock' investigators and were critiqued by Elder Scott. He called on another set of elders and they went up to practice. The first thing these elders heard when they got up to practice was "Now I don't want you elders to fail." ha ha it was pretty funny - ya, try not to fail in front of an apostle. Finally, Elder Scott said "We'll have one more set of missionaries" and he had President call on another set of elders. All the sister missionaries let out a sigh of relief but I could because I still felt an intense anxious feeling...like this was happening to us.
The third group went up and were critiqued. When they sat down, Elder Scott got up and said "Okay President, let's have some sisters come up." My stomach dropped. Earlier I had seen Elder Scott whisper something to President and he in turn whispered to his wife who looked at Sister Card and I. We were doomed. President Van Komen got up and said "Okay, they might be mad at me but let's have Sister Card and Sister Love." What. In. The. World. are you doing to us President?! I was so nervous and felt like dying ha ha This is being a missionary in front of an apostle of the Lord. We walked up to the front of the chapel and sat. Up until now, members of the church had also been picked out of the audience when it came for them to practice. I was wondering who they would bring up to have as our investigator. As I turned to look, I saw our investigator Ben and our ward mission leader walking up to the stand. In the microphone, they said "We have a real seeker right here!" - My heart was filled with unexplainable joy - I have never felt that much happiness and joy as a missionary before. I felt so much joy and thankfulness for having met Ben and teaching him that I was overwhelmed with emotion. I just started crying. It was the most amazing feeling. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I tried to pull it together. I was no longer nervous and had the faith that the spirit would guide and direct us. And He did. I don't remember a lot of what I or Sister Card said but that's because it was the spirit speaking through us. We bore testimony and told him we loved him. We promised him blessings if he read the book of Mormon and prayed. After we had our practice, I looked over at our mission president and he had tears in his eyes. It was such an amazing feeling to make our president proud and to try to represent our mission well.
When Elder Scott walked back up, he said "It's like being taught by angels." That was priceless. He asked for comments from the audience to say what they liked. One Elders said "No pun intended, but there was a lot of love." I realized that that is what missionary work is all about. Love. If we don't love the people then how can the spirit be there and in turn testify to them. Everyone had really nice things to say and after that Elder Scott said, "I would ask you to tell me what they could work on but I don't think there is anything." What an incredible man. I would have loved to have gotten some advice on what could be better but the spirit was strong because we loved him and had that connection with him. I later talked to Ben and he said he knew that there was no coincidence that he was there that day and that he got picked on to be in the practice. An incredible experience. Being able to be a true missionary, teach a true investigator, one I love, in front of an apostle of the Lord. We are so blessed and I don't know what I ever did to deserve this experience.
Elder Scott asked President and Sister Van Komen to share their testimonies. After that, Elder Hillier got up and talked about how we obtain truth and read Alma 5:45-46. He turned to us and said "Sister Love and Sister Card, I felt something as you were teaching. In 2 Nephi 32:3, it says 'Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore they speak the words of Christ." He pointed out the first part and said "As you were teaching I was willing to do whatever it took to do what you asked because it was by the power of the Holy Ghost, it was the words of Christ. Elder Scott said today that it was like being taught by angels and it was - because you spoke by the power of the Holy Ghost." That was really neat to hear.
We had a 20 minute break and then Elder Scott got up to the microphone and said "Can we have Sister Card and Sister Love come back up to the stand?" Gaaaah. What?! Now what?! Mmmmkay. We're coming Elder Scott. My heart started beating faster - I couldn't believe this was happening again. We walked up and "Make sure you write down your name and address and give it to me before I leave. I would like to send you a copy of one of my paintings for doing this." That was neat but I was thinking "What is he going to have us do.....sing?!!" He had us come up to the microphone and asked us to answer four different questions about why we came on a mission, what the hardest thing about serving a mission is, what brings the most joy from serving a mission, and they he asked us to bear our testimonies. After we had finished, Elder Scott said "These are two very special and beautiful sisters. I can't help think that there are two young valiant men somewhere being prepared for them. Making themselves worthy for them." Sister Card was really cute and said "I'd like to know who he is!"
Elder Scott afterwards, shared some amazing stories with all the missionaries and bore his testimony. We were able to talk with him afterwards and he let us go to lunch with him. What?! I don't even know. We were in shock all day. It was a special experience and I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for allowing Sister Card and I to have the experience of not only spending time with Elder Scott but by being able to have the spirit with us so strongly while teaching.
Afterwards, our investigator Ben got to go up and talk with both Elder Hillier and Elder Scott. Elder Hillier gave him his e-mail address and asked him to e-mail him before and after his baptism. Ben's wife is still threatening to divorce him if he gets baptized. Elder Scott told us to take our time with him. That his wife needs to be brought into the church too. We'll see. Afterwards, Elder Scott gave Ben a hug. Oh. My Goodness. It was priceless to see. I felt like a proud parent watching that.
As we left Elder Scott, he said "Can I take a picture with you two sisters? I will want to remember this. You sister have been an inspiration to me this meeting. It was joy working with you." But it wasn't us. It was the Lord and His spirit working through us. He was such a sweet person. I am so grateful for this experience we had! The church is true. I want to end this e-mail by typing what Elder Scott said at the end of our meeting:
"This I declare with every capacity of my being....I want you to all remember when there stood in your presence someone who does hold keys...Jesus Christ guides His church personally...He is a loving, glorious, resurrected being who can communicate love so intensely. I know He is our Savior, Redeemer, a glorified, resurrected being because I know him."
I know this is true. Thank you for your love, support and prayers. I love you all!