Monday, June 10, 2013

Meeting an Apostle of the Lord

BRENTWOOD, Pa. — Thank you so much for the notes from everybody!! Even though a bunch said, "Your mom is making me..." Thanks, I'm glad they wanted to write me so desperately.

I LOVE to have your talk and hear about the experiences at Girl's camp! It looks like you enjoyed yourselves immensely! What was the theme this year? Here, one of the girls' camp themes was "May the Spirit be ever with you" and it had the outline of the Young Woman Torch girl with a braid hanging down the side (so hunger games if that wasn't clear!) I thought it was interesting.

I can't believe Parker is leaving this week! Little does he know! I'm sure he will be fine. It just is a huge shock to your system no matter where you go. We think it is because we are forced to live on a spiritual level so our natural man can't cope. Some give in to that and become less effective missionaries and some go with it and choose to soar with the help of our Loving Heavenly Father.

This week:

On Tuesday, we had to drop off Faith's phone because she left it in the car of some members who were able to help her get to church last week. When we gave it to her she was really happy and sat down and looked at us expectantly. When we didn't say anything she got a huge smile on her face and said "So what lesson do you have for me today?" and just starts laughing. Let me tell you, the difference from Faith now from the time we first met her is astounding. She is so light and happy and you can see a glow about her. It is so great!!

We then went to visit an 87-year-old woman who we have sort of been teaching. Mercedes is super nice, but she can't remember anything so we thought she wouldn't be progressing at all. When we showed up at her house, we had every intention of dropping her but much to our surprise she had followed through with EVERY commitment we had extended. Of course, she couldn't remember that she had studied the Plan of Happiness, but she had done it nonetheless. When we told her we wouldn't be able to come back and visit with her, she became very upset and sorrowful. I looked at Sister Montgomery and she just nodded. We agreed to come back and teach her some more about where her husband is and where she could expect to go at the end of her life. We left her house and Sister Montgomery and I both said at the same time "We just can't." She is still one of our Heavenly Father's precious investigators.

Wednesday was SUPER tough. Every plan we made fell through, including our back-up plans. We walked everywhere and nothing happened. No exciting experiences there :/

Thursday was another pretty tough day. Bishop asked Sister Montgomery to play at a funeral of a lady we didn't know, and I was asked to give the closing prayer. Can you say AWKWARD. Plus, there were less than 15 people there. It was the weirdest thing I have ever been to. The lady was cremated and her family was inactive. Not exactly a great morning. We went over after the funeral to talk to Faith again and that was nice. She is really starting to brighten up and we are excited to see her growth! Then Sister Montgomery got sick again and it was POURING rain. What a crazy night.

Friday, not much happened here, either! We finished weekly planning super quick and traveled to the mission office so we could drive to Harrisburg for our mission conference. We drove over with the Buehners (Bean-ers) who work in the office. They are so hilarious and treated us like their kids. It took us about 5 hours to get there and we stopped for dinner at this cute little diner called Soda Jerk. The food was great and Sister Montgomery and I shared the HUGEST milk shake I've ever seen! It was SO good!! (: Then we stayed the night at a member’s house in Hummelstown, which is super close to Hershey and Harrisburg. They were super nice and it felt like we were home again for just a little while.

Saturday was nice. We had a good time. No big deal. ;)


That was one of the craziest experiences of my life! Before the conference even started our district leader, Elder Nelson, comes walking in with his companions, Elder Belk and Elder Brinkerhoff, and they all are freaking out. Apparently they were in charge of helping park Elder Bednar's car and I'm not really sure what occurred when Elder Bednar got out because they all started talking gibberish. Elder Nelson was practically crying and the other 2 were in shock. Elder Nelson just kept saying "Those eyes. What they've seen!" It was quite amusing from our side. They had completely lost their composure haha!

But the most amazing thing happened. There was a sudden hush in the chapel and I felt the Spirit pour over me. Before I even turned around to see them walk in, I felt the power of his calling. We stood as President and Sister Topham passed followed by Elder David A. Bednar, Elder Rasband, and Elder Hamiliton of the Seventy. They took their seats on the stand and we all just sat there in silence.

The conference commenced with the Seventy bearing their testimonies, and then Elder Bednar beginning the discussion. 

Discussion. Not talk. Not lecture. 

He talked with us, not at us. He said he would treat us as our Heavenly Father treats us, as agents, not objects. People who must act and not wait to be acted upon. It was amazing. He gave us time to tell him what we had learned by reading and studying his talks, of course that was if you were brave enough to stand up in front of the entire mission AND an Apostle. I, of course, did no such thing! I was way too chicken, and just wanted to soak it all in. 

He gave an example of ACTING in faith. It started with a prayer we all typically hear in sacrament meeting: "Please bless the people that weren't here that they will have the desire to be here next week" but he said, "Where is the faith in that?? It should go more like 'Please help the people that aren't here now. We are going to leave right now and go and get them. Now I know the Bishop is feeling a little anxious but please let him hear me out if it is Thy will. At the end of my prayer let us leave and find those lost sheep. All we ask that we may not all receive the same inspiration and go to the same house.'" He said THAT was acting on faith. That was doing what was expected of us and magnifying our calling.

Elder Bednar also promised us that if we took a clean, inexpensive copy of the Book of Mormon, and took a question in to it, we would receive more revelation than if we had talked with the Prophet himself. He said he has a bookcase at home with about 12 copies of the Book of Mormon all with specific questions written in it. On several occasions his sons have asked if they could read them and this is his reply every time "Don't touch those. If you touch them...I'll cut your hands off. You start your own, and I'll by you a bookcase but you will not touch my copies." 

We all just laughed and he said, "I'm serious. You can ask them! And the promise goes to you too. I'll buy you a bookcase but don't think you can sponge off other people." 

His sons asked him if they could read them when he dies and he said "With my last breath, I will strike a match and take it to those books. And before I enter the Spirit World, I will make sure they are good and destroyed."

So even though he was hilarious, and became a real person as we sat there and we were discussing the things we had learned, we realized that we didn't need an Apostle there to teach us. We were learning more on our own than if he had been lecturing us from the pulpit. One elder, when asked what we had learned from the pattern he was using to help us learn, said, "I think this is how the Council of Heaven went. Everyone sitting in a room and Heavenly Father at the head directing it and He asks for who will be the Savior for His children. And everyone is quiet at first, and than the Bravest One stands to give the answer 'Here am I; send me.'" The room hushed again and the Spirit was so strong after that comment. Elder Bednar didn't say anything. He just nodded. It was so powerful.

At the end of the conference, we all had the chance to hug Sister Topham and shake President Topham's hand. As I walked slowly toward Elder Bednar to shake his hand, he looked me in the eyes and said "Sister Crockett, thank you for serving."

Again, the Spirit testified that this man, because that is what he is, just a regular man, was called of God and that he had the Mantle of Apostleship on his shoulders. It was so amazing and I'm grateful for the opportunity I had to have this experience at the BEGINNING of my mission because he taught us so much about teaching investigators and being agents, not objects. I wish I could send my notes, maybe next week, because it was so great!!

I hope all of you are doing well! It has been a slow week, but this week we will be busy! Transfers are next week and apparently with so many missionaries coming in (a good portion of them sisters) no one is safe from being transferred...fingers crossed Sister Montgomery and I get to stay here!! (:

Lots of love,

Sister Crockett

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