Conference... Whew... talk about a spiritual feast. I just love conference. And on the mission, it's even better. All of us gringo missionaries just sat in one room and feasted... spiritually and literally... Hermana Beckstead and I made french toast for everyone. It was pretty sweet. It's amazing to me the way the spirit communicates to the speakers what needs to be said; what needs to be heard. And how every one of us can receive some type of inspiration from the words spoken. Also, let's just mention those three new apostles... I totally called Renlund. They're going to be great.
I particularly enjoyed Elder Christofferson's talk about the institution of the church and why it's necessary that we have a church. It answered perfectly a doubt that Andres had expressed earlier in the week. It was a shame he missed it... Andres did make it to the Saturday evening session and told us afterward that he LOVED it. We knew he would.
Earlier in the week, we were amping up the conference, going off about how excited we were, Andres asked us why we were so excited; why we were "fan girling"
over old church leaders. Well... now he understands. That's the word of GOD right there man... THAT'S why we were so excited. Ugh. So good. Can't wait for next conference.
Earlier this week, we planned to go up to one part of our area we'd never visited before: Barrio Arce. It's up in the very corner of the area and feels a little sketchy sometimes so we generally avoid it. But, in the morning, it's okay. So, we headed up, hoping to find someone to teach... as always. But, after a good hour and a half of nothing, we became a little discouraged. We were about to turn back. But, looking down the wind-blown dirt road we were on, we noticed a little passage we hadn't seen before. "Well, might as well go see who's down there..." I mumbled... And then we found Monica.
Monica told us that she'd investigated multiple religions but that none of them ever felt right. She told us that she'd noticed the frequent appearance of false prophets preaching the doctrines of man and was tired of the lack of God and Christ in their teachings. She wanted the truth. She wanted Christ. So, we explained to her the Restoration. As we recounted the First Vision of Joseph Smith, she paused, staring at the photo we showed silently. "Wow..." She said, beaming. We testified of the reality of living prophets and apostles and that the priesthood of Christ had in fact been restored to the earth. But the only way we were going to know, was by asking Him who knows all. She loved it. We gave her a Book of Mormon and Moroni 10 to read. (Classic) And of course, invited her to conference to listen to the prophet's voice and see for herself. Nobody could have watched that conference and NOT felt the spirit. But, unfortunately, she couldn't make it to the conference because her baby was sick. But we have plans to go back and see her soon. I know she's going to feel it.
One of the themes of conference that really touched me was that of the grace of the Atonement. At times we feel that we're not good enough. There's just no way we can be perfect. So we give up. But the Atonement isn't just for perfect people. It is for everyone. Christ doesn't expect us to be perfect. He expects us to try. And if we try our best and ask for His help, He's going to help us go the rest of the way. He's going to be at our side, holding up the cross we've been trying to lift ourselves. He's already done it once. And He's willing to do it again. Trust in the Lord. Trust in His love for each one of you. He lives. And the Atonement has the power to lift us out of our darkest places. We don't have to be perfect. We just have to try.
Lots of love,
PS - Mum here... because Jenessa is still having troubles with her photo card, I thought I would drop in a picture of her getting dropped off at the MTC, a year ago on October 8th. I don't sound trunky....