What an awesome week this was! I would love just to skip right to Saturday, but I will try and contain myself and give you a little update on everything else going on.
So Monday evening we met up with Silvestre. During the middle of the lesson we had a little interruption from a woman named Maria (yes, another Maria), that wanted to meet with us, so I’ll share more about her later. Back to Silvestre. He is preparing for his baptism coming up, but is really feeling that opposition. We talked with him a lot about more than just believing in the Savior Jesus Christ, but truly living His Gospel.
So on Tuesday we met with Maria from the day before. What had happened is she had this dream that caused her to look for answers. I honestly didn’t understand the dream, but what I do understand is how incredible God’s timing is. He planned her to walk right past us and stop us and gave her the courage to open her mouth.
Wednesday we went to see Leni and Manuel. They were both so excited when we showed up so they could tell us that after a long, ugly divorce, Leni would have her final court day with her ex-husband in 2 weeks. That means hopefully a wedding and a baptism coming soon! This couple deserves some peace after fighting through a long line of trials.
It was a hard week in the fact that many of our investigators weren’t able to meet due to all sorts of problems. Jose Manuel was out of town taking care of his mother. Fernando was stuck working and other family problems. Linda was sick all week. But we tried to help them in any other way possible and looked for more people to teach and kept our heads up with knowing we were going to Madrid that weekend to see Elder Bednar!
So to the juicy part of the email! Friday night we took the bus down to Leon, and then Saturday morning we caught the train down to Madrid.
So the experience really starts with all the preparation. A couple weeks ago, President Pack had encouraged us to review talks from President Bednar. And then a couple days before the conference we received an email with 4 specific talks Elder Bednar wanted us to read. All the missionaries read, marked, examined these talks diligently. I’ll speak for myself at least 😁
We were asked to show up outside the stake center right at 3. And then were escorted into the chapel. I can’t describe how the feeling was walking in and then an Apostle of the Lord right after!
Sister Pack said a few words and then Elder Bednar came to the pulpit and gave us 2 rules. 1) We were only allowed to write spiritual impressions. 2) That he was going to treat us like agents and that he wanted us to participate. Then he simply just asked the question what we learned from those 4 talks and opened it up to discussion. Wow. I wish I could go more into the discussion or say something more than just how inspired this man is. Then he let us ask any other question we felt inspired to ask.
At this point my hands are clammy and my heart is beating really fast and I have a question in my mind that I had never really thought of before in this way, but summarized a lot of my worries lately.
I rose my hand and asked him how I could develop the attribute of hope better and how I could transmit that to those I teach and the members in the branch I’m serving in.
First Elder Bednar gives some time over to Elder and Sister Kearon (who are over the area). Then Sister Pack gave a little bit of her insight, and then Elder Bednar finished it all off.
Now I can’t re-explain everything they said to me or put it even close to how beautifully and perfectly they said it, but I’ll try and share the sum of the answer I received.
They helped me strengthen my testimony that Heavenly Father has a truly perfect plan for us. That includes that we will all become perfected like our Savior Jesus Christ, no matter how far off or impossible it may seem. Each person I meet on the street, every weakness there is in me, all of it, will be made strong and perfected through Christ’s Atonement. And as a missionary, or really just a disciple of Jesus Christ, I can bring that message to others. To people that think there’s no way out, there always is!
That may have seemed completely insignificant to everyone, but to me it was exactly what I needed. I also learned that as incredible it is for an Apostle of the Lord to come and tell me that, by reading the scriptures and paying attention to the Holy Ghost, I can receive that same answer.
The church is true. The Gospel of Jesus Christ brings so much hope into our lives and is the only way to give us everlasting happiness.
Love you all,