We were blessed to be a part of a multi-mission meeting this Friday, and guess who was there! Elder Neil L. Anderson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles! I got to meet him and shake his hand! :) It was a great meeting, and I just loved being there. He has an amazing way of talking. It's so loving and gentle, but at the same time very powerful and direct. He has always been one of my favorites! :) And he is a funny man! We were all laughing through a lot of it, because he would constantly crack jokes. ha He shared with us how President Packer always reminds him that he is the last and least of the twelve haha and how they are always joking around. He mentioned how whenever he tries to talk how Elder Holland does, Sister Anderson tells him he shouldn't talk that way. I know that as I explain this, it's not funny at all..........ha......guess it's one of those "you needed to be there" moments. Sorry, but it was really well done!
I love how personable he is! I learned a lot from him. He talked about how everything we do out here needs to be focused towards increasing the faith of everyone, no matter whether they get baptized or not. I LOVED that. There are so many missionaries our here that are focused on baptism and numbers that they look past the purpose of it all. We are not going to be able to baptize the whole world while we are out here. As amazing as it would be, the circumstances just don't allow it. People still have their agency, so what we need to focus on his helping these people in any way possible. As he said, if they get baptized, all the better because it shows that true desire they have, but even if we are to increase their faith by a little bit, we can be comfortable in knowing that we helped a soul closer to God. There are a couple elders I know that have been so caught up on the fact that they have not had a baptism yet, and I have been trying to help them understand that there is more to just baptism. We build faith. Plus, we are only baptized once! ;) The rest of "our baptisms" are their baptisms and baptisms for the Lord. They are sacred promises that our investigators make with the Lord, and never should we try to get in the middle of that. Yes, we were the messengers, but the Spirit is the real converter, and we should never take away from the power of the investigator choosing to act on that themselves. I am so proud of each and ever person I have helped towards making that covenant, but I know that I have done more than just that. There are many seeds that have been planted by my hard work, and I look forward to someday being able to look back and see how those seeds grew into strong trees. :) I loved what he shared with us, and I hope it helped other missionaries see the work that way, too. :) As long as we do our best, we are leaving it up to them to make that choice.
It was basically like our own General Conference! ha Another thing that stuck with me was something that I am glad to have heard towards the end of my mission. I know there were many things that were meant for me to hear. He shared that we need to work as hard as we can all the way up until the very end, but that we also need to be prepared for what happens after. That caught my attention, because I have been wondering to what extent can I think about or talk about home without others thinking I am trunky. haha He shared that this time is a time of preparation. Many missionaries think that if you even think about home before your mission is over, then you are trunky and unfocused. I think the contrary! I need to be prepared! haha This just affirmed my thoughts on that. It's not that it is a distraction for me if I make plans for what will happen after my mission, but rather, it helps me feel more comfortable in knowing that I won't just be sitting at home watching all the movies and TV shows I missed as I take time to bounce back to life. That would just set me back further than I already am from everyone else around me. ha So that brought me comfort. :) Of course, everything has it's time and place, but there is a huge difference between being trunky and prepared. Still going to be crazy going home, but I've got to be ready! ha So don't worry if I talk about home or returning, it's not that I am distracted, I'm just getting ready. ha
There was SO much more that I got out of it, but I just don't have time to share it all, I will be sure to share more later, for sure! :)
Another cool story from the week really quick was that of Guadalupe. I have mentioned her a couple times now, but she is the one from Chicago. Well, we hadn't heard from her this week, and we thought she was done with listening to us (we were sad, because she was SO prepared and solid), but she responded to us Sunday morning and said that she was coming to church. We were so surprised. To add more to our surprise, apparently she had been spending the whole week with our Relief Society President and she was helping her with finding a job. Well, she got a job, and Hna Montiel drove her all the way to Pasadena to help with the interview process and she got the job right away. It was exactly what she was looking for, but sadly she has to move there because it is an in-home care job for a disabled man. So, she is leaving, and it's sad. :( HOWEVER, she met with us after church and told us she wants to be baptized before she leaves! O.O We were so caught off guard, but she has been listening for long enough and apparently Hna Montiel has been talking to her about it all week, too, and she really loves the gospel. She is already following the commandments and all. We are not sure if it is all going to be possible since it will all need to be taken care of tomorrow before she leaves, but we will see! Please keep her in your prayers that she can be sure in her decision. We'll see how it goes! Talk about miracles. I love this area. :)
Well, other than that, it was a pretty normal week. We worked, and worked, and worked. If all goes as planned, Guadalupe, Ely, Heidi, Daniel, and Henry will be getting baptized this Sunday. :) They are all doing REALLY well, and have received their answers. Heidi still needs to be married, and that may be happening this week, too. Crazy stuff! So much is going on, so please pray that we can keep up with helping all these people come unto Christ. :) Love you all very much, and thank you for the package, I sure loved it! I hope you all had a Happy Easter and that this is a good week for you. Sure love you! Take care. Pictures to come soon! :)
"Honesty is the start of spirituality." Elder Neil L. Anderson