We got to hear from Elder Bednar this weekend, which was all we had hoped for it to be. The whole mission came together for the event, which is a thing that literally never happens, so it was so crazy to see all the missionaries in the whole mission together instead of just a half or a quarter or something. The whole event reminded me a lot of Alma 17:2, where Alma and all the Sons of Mosiah finally meet up back together again after splitting up 14 years prior to go among the Lamanites to preach the word of God, and they're all just filled with JOY. Not only are they seeing their friends after such a long time, but it was magnified because they had all been serving God and had seen miracles and were all still faithful. It felt like that seeing everyone. It was so cool.
|The six Alpine sisters from the MTC -- reunited.|
Our conference was incredibly interesting and beautiful. It was almost completely unscripted -- Elder Bednar would pose a question and ask people to just answer it -- and not to try and guess what he was thinking, but really answer it for ourselves. The poor office Elders were practically running laps getting the mics to everyone. But I got the opportunity to contribute and he listened to what I said and responded to it, which was cool. But one of the first things Elder Bednar said was simply, "This is not about iPads. Let me repeat. This is not about iPads." That seemed a little odd at first since this meeting wouldn't be occurring if we weren't going to be receiving iPads, but we talked the whole time about our purpose as missionaries, and partly how we can use this new and beautiful new tool to help bring even more people closer to Christ. They asked everyone to bring questions we wanted answered (like you would for General Conference or something,) and I got mine answered, which was cool.
So, iPads. They aren't here yet, but they're officially coming. There is this whole thing with how they'll come in phases (when we receive them, they will be more for scriptures and media usage, but we won't be on Facebook in the beginning, for example.) Also, the more-media-for-missionaries program (my name, not the church's,) is still very, very new -- so they told us that they're still testing how this is all working. So we're not exactly sure how they'll be implemented, or how we'll be trained -- but it's all new and exciting and I'm glad that I get to be part of this really cool step in hastening the work of the Lord. But one kleinigkeit (little thing): in Europe, the iPads won't actually belong to us. They'll be the church's, and we'll get to borrow them, and when we go home they'll go to other missionaries. So it's like using the laptops in high school, which I thought was great. I think it will help people take even better care of the iPads since they belong to the church.
That whole beautiful weekend was by far the most exciting part of the week, although some other fun stuff happened. Like, I did something super scary and went to a German doctor! I'm fine, I just needed a prescription and they wouldn't fill my American prescription at the Apotheke (drug store), so I had to go and get it converted. But man, did I not know medical-vocabulary. That charades doctor's appt. was pretty funny. And Sister Bishop and I got lost in this tiny dorf (village) because we didn't have adequate maps but then randomly found a castle, so it was fine. (what the heck, Germany? I love this place.) And we got stood up for an appointment with someone but when we realized that she wasn't coming, we ordered some Pommes for an Imbiss (snack) because we were starving -- and ended up having a half-hour conversation about the gospel with this man who was in front of us in line. All over a dish of french fries. And I realized that the food-stuff I miss most from America is super random. Like, someone asked this week if we wanted anything from base, and do you know what I asked for? Cream of chicken soup. Half of the delicious recipes ever made need cream of chicken soup, and we haven't seen it. Cracks me up.
But to end on a more serious note, there was a really beautiful topic of conversation at Mission Conference that I wanted to share. Media had been a large topic, and an Elder (who was about to go home,) asked how he should respond when he encountered Anti-Mormon and false information about the church on Facebook and other internet sites. And Elder Bednar talked about how the absolute best thing to do was to ignore it - and just fill the internet and the world with light. And it made me think a lot about life itself. If you're in a dark room, can you just take out the dark? Of course not. It's physically not possible. What you do is light a candle and fill the room with light - and it shuts the darkness out. And that's what we should do as missionaries, as parents and children, friends and disciples of Christ every day.
Have a light-filled week!