I hope you are all doing well! Mom, thank you so much for the donuts! My district is very grateful as well. You take such great care of me, even when I am hundreds of miles away from home!
|General Conference, October 2013|
What an awesome Conference weekend! I wish you all could experience it here in the CCM. The energy in the CCM auditorium was incredible this morning. I’d like to compare it to the NFL season opener a few weeks ago. At the season opener the stadium was electric. Up to that point in my life, it was the most energized event I think I have ever attended. I have never been in a stadium that loud. There were thousands of people yelling at the top of their lungs. They were all cheering on the Broncos literally, like their life depended on it. It was really cool to experience that type of energy. However, the energy in the CCM this morning trumped it by far. It was a different type of energy. I’d describe it as pure energy. It was a direct result of the spirit that was present. It was the result of 800 missionaries; one in purpose and ready to learn. It was so powerful. It was one of those moments where the spirit is so powerful you cannot deny it. At that moment I received another strong witness that this Church is true. I know that what I am doing is right, and I know that the Lord is aware of me. It was incredible. I felt overwhelming joy and great peace. That spirit stayed with me throughout the rest of the sessions. It was so comforting to hear the prayers for the missionaries. I felt so happy. In all honesty, I nearly cried in the middle of each prayer because it was so powerful to me. The talks were awesome. I found so much that applies to me.
Some of the highlights were Edward Dube, Elder Bednar, President Uchtdorf (both talks), Elder Packer, S. Gifford Nielson, Elder Holland, Elder Ballard, Elder Perry, President Eyring (both talks), Elder Oaks, Richard Maynes, Elder Scott, President Monson, David McConkie, and Elder Nelson. I know that really narrows it down.
I loved Edward Dube’s enthusiasm and optimism. It is so important to look forward. The simple, subtle blessings promised by Elder Bednar are so sweet. I really enjoyed his talk because I feel like I often expect the Lord to answer my prayers in a specific way. From Elder Bednar I learned to be more open. I also loved what he said about the assurance and peace that was given to the Stripling Warriors. I hope I can obtain these same blessings. I love the Stripling Warriors, they have so many great qualities that I love. Later Randy D. Funk talked about how the Stripling Warriors were blessed because of their obedience. They obeyed every command with exactness. I loved that as well. Claire and Emma look for boys that have Stripling Warrior qualities.
I loved President Uchtdorf’s talks, especially the one he gave in priesthood meeting. That was my favorite talk in the entire conference. What a great message. I make so many mistakes every day and it is very frustrating for me because I want to be perfect. I make errors in my teaching and especially in my Spanish. President Uchtdorf reminded me that we become champions by learning from hundreds of mistakes. It is a gradual process of growth. Becoming a champion requires humility and hard work. I need to forget my pride and accept my mistakes. I loved how he encouraged us to rise up to our full potential and talked about how we can be lifted through the atonement. I also think it is important for us to lift others as we seek to lift ourselves. I also loved the skiing reference.
I also really enjoyed President Packer’s talk. I have always struggled with scripture study but I really believe it is the key to spiritual protection as President Packer taught us. Will you guys do me a favor and really try hard to do family scripture study each night as well as personal scripture study each day? You are all much better than I am, and I am sure you are already doing this. S. Gifford Nielson gave a great talk as well. I loved his enthusiasm for missionary work. Dad, I am excited for you to get the ward rolling. I also want to promise you that when I get home you will want to get my shoes bronzed. I will work extremely hard these next two years.
I loved Elder Holland’s message of hope. Yesterday, we taught some Latinos and the missionary I taught shared Deuteronomy 31 verses 6 through 8 with us. It is so important for us to remember that the Lord will never forsake us. He loves us all equally and will do everything He can to help us. Trust in Him. As Elder Holland was speaking I remembered the advice Grandpa Paul always gives me, to never run faster than you have strength. Then, moments later, Elder Holland gave the same advice. I thought that was pretty cool. Throughout my mission it will be important for me to adopt Elder Holland’s advice of square shoulders and positive thinking. Sometimes we just have to tough it out and pray for energy and strength. I loved how Elder Oaks got up there and told the world how it is. That was great. I also really enjoyed Richard J. Maynes talk. I seek the spiritual strength to endure my trials each day. I loved the three principles he shared of Dedication, Perseverance, and Self Discipline. These are key characteristics for missionaries to develop. I also learned the importance of focusing on the fundamentals. While he was speaking about spiritual strength I thought about the pioneers. I want to develop pioneer spiritual strength. David M. McConkie answered a lot of questions I had about teaching. Conference was so awesome and I learned tons!
|Will on the beautiful Mexico MTC campus.|
I have had a great week. I love teaching! I just feel happy when I teach. I love our investigators, they are so great. We have been talking with a lot of Latinos lately to help our Spanish. They are the greatest people. I sometimes wish I were serving in Mexico because these people are so awesome. I can’t wait to meet the people in Chile. I am so excited to be able to get to know them. Spanish is very difficult. I can do pretty well when we talk about gospel topics but I really struggle when it branches outside of that. I have a really hard time understanding Latinos as well. All of their words seem to blend together and it is hard to make them out. I have a whole new respect especially for Meisha, Adelide and Peter! It is so frustrating for me not to be able to communicate better with the Latinos. I love them so much and I wish I could just talk about everything with them. I want to be their best friend.
Yesterday we watched a fantastic devotional featuring Elder Holland. It shook me up a little because he was so powerful. He talked about our duty as missionaries, the Book of Mormon, and the Spirit. It shook me up more than any halftime speech I have ever heard. It made me realize how important it is to savor every second of my mission. I only have two years to only focus on teaching the gospel and I need to get everything out of it I can. NO REGRETS!!!
I have continued to focus on learning about the spirit. Lately there has been something that has been bugging me a lot. It has gotten better this week, mostly because of General Conference. Last week I heard some elders using language and choosing topics of discussion that I felt were extremely immature and inappropriate, especially for missionaries. The language they were using was very crass. They used words that offended me and offended the spirit. This language doesn’t include swear words, but to me it had a similar effect. The topics of conversation were unpleasant and inappropriate. I cannot understand how they can talk about such things and expect to have the spirit with them. It is frustrating for me because I am doing everything that I can to invite the spirit. Though I am far from perfect, I do my best to direct my thoughts towards God and Jesus Christ. This language is a blatant distraction and it offends me. The blessings that we can receive through the Holy Ghost are so incredible. I feel that I must do all that I can to receive them because they are so powerful. It is hard for me to understand why we choose to engage in behavior and indulge in false pleasures that are offensive to the spirit. Though it is hard for me to understand, the answer is simple. The natural man is an enemy to God (Mosiah 3:19). Here in the MTC I feel like I have gained a whole new perspective of the importance of the Holy Ghost. I feel like I cannot afford to not have it with me. In the very same scripture were we learn the natural man is an enemy to God, we learn that we must yield to the enticings of the Holy Spirit and putteth off the natural man. Even when we do not choose to live righteously the Holy Ghost reaches out to us. Why do we not embrace it fully? I know the Holy Ghost is one of God’s greatest gifts. I recognize the fantastic blessings I receive when I embrace it. I hope that I can always embrace it. Those are some of the thoughts I have had this week.
I loved hearing all about you guys this week, thank you for all being so amazing!
I think the world of all of you and find great joy when I think of you! I know that I am a son of God. I know that what I am doing is right and I know that I have great potential. I hope that I can live up to this potential. I know that what I am doing is the very same work Jesus Christ does. I know that it is the most important work on the earth today. I love it. I love thinking of the good that I can do. I love meeting new people. I know this Church is true and Joseph Smith is a Prophet of God. I know that God loves me and all of His children. I know the Book of Mormon is true and that it blesses lives. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Oh Esta Todo Bien