Tuesday, June 13, 2017

President Nelson!

Wow, what a week!  The other weeks are going to seem slow in comparison.  We had a lot go on but the major highlight of the week was being visited by an apostle of The Lord, President Russel M. Nelson !  We got to shake hands with him and hear him speak to us about The Book of Mormon and his testimony of the gospel.  So cool.  He is the president of the quorum of the Twelve Apostles.  He could possibly be our next prophet which makes it so much cooler that he came to visit our mission !!  He originally was going to come up to Alaska to visit with the youth of the church, but decided to come a day early to visit the missionaries.  Most missionaries who were in driving distance to Anchorage got to see him in person while missionaries in remote places and in Fairbanks and Juneau watched a live feed.  Something to tell the kids in the future.  Here are other highlights:
Hiked the Butte again:  This was my third time up this mountain, but my first time up the steep side.  Normally we've taken the stairs side, but it was a lot more fun climbing the rocks up.  Faster too.  We had Brother Henson come with us, as well as, Aaron, the investigator friend whom we passed off to the YSA elders.  They came along as well as a way to get to know him better.  We had a lot of fun and it is starting to become easier to hike this mountain.  Hopefully that means I am getting in shape.

Haircut:  So we were texting one of the YSA elders about getting the baptismal font key for a baptism we had to prepare for and he asked us if we knew of anyone who cuts hair.  Well Sister Williams went to beauty school to learn to cut hair but he was meaning someone who could cut his hair. He said that one of the elders in our district gave him a bad haircut and he needed it fixed.  We say him the next day to get the key and from the front, it didn't look bad, but the second he turned around, we both gasped.  Sister Williams said it was probably the worst she has ever seen someone's hair cut.  Well one of our members, luckily, cuts hair so she got him back in better condition but that was later that evening.  That means he spent all day visiting people and having the YSA fun day at the park with his haircut.  He was a good sport about it and it'll make memories for him in the future.
Fastest Baptism:  It wasn't fast in the actual ordinance of the baptism (thought it only takes a second to go under water and back up), but fast in the preparation of this baptism. Normally when we have investigators getting baptized we plan at least a week in advance of arranging people to speak and other logistics of the baptism program.  Well we were told about this youth baptism on Sunday and the baptism was occurring that Wednesday.  They asked people to speak that day and we made the programs and got the other parts all planned out in time to fill the font that day and have her baptism.  It was a great turnout and all went well.  Great preparation for when my children get baptized!
Talk:  So Saturday morning we get a call from the executive secretary of the ward pleading for one of us to give a talk in sacrament meeting the following day.  I answered the phone so I volunteered.  He asked how come I didn't pass this on to have Sister Williams speak.  I told him that she would have not like me if I did that to her and it is her last two weeks on the mission; I don't want to stress her out even more. Besides, I don't mind giving talks, especially when I have a talk already prepared. Lately for our zone conferences, President Robinson has asked us to prepare a 3 minute talk about something in particular.  I am always afraid I'll get called on, so I prepare a talk.  Comes in handy when you are asked to speak in Church.  I spoke about how the Book of Mormon has influenced my testimony of Jesus Christ.  In the scriptures, the prophets are always talking about calling people to repentance - "repent ye, repent ye" - and yesterday giving my talk, I felt a little taste of that.

I truly feel the Book of Mormon will help us in our trials and is our guidance from The Lord to us if we but study his words DAILY.  I know we all have lives that keep us busy and struggles we go through that take away our focus, but if we put The Lord first and read our scriptures daily, everything else will fall into place and we'll be surprised how we have the time to get all accomplished.  "It won't be enough for you and for me" to be occasionally reading the scriptures.  We can't brush our teeth once a week and think we are good.  It doesn't work like that.  It has to be holding fast to the word of God.  People struggle with understanding the Book of Mormon.  A girl we are teaching said it best:  "It is like Shakespeare:  once you understand Shakespeare, you can understand anything he writes."  Scriptures have their own language.  Not that it is in a foreign language, but that it is still foreign to comprehend.  Their use of symbolism and whether we take what they say literally or not is confusing and that is why there are so many Christian churches when they supposedly teach from the same Bible.  But once you understand it, it becomes easier to read.  I am starting to feel this way.  I definitely read some things to help clarify the culture or what the prophets are trying to say to help, but now I can see the pattern and how The Lord communicates.  Music, they say is a different language.  But once you can read and understand music, you can sing anything from any piece of sheet music.  The Lord has his own language. Once you understand Him, it becomes easier to understand what He is trying to communicate to you through the scriptures.  Read it, everyday, even if it is just 20 minutes.  I sometimes wished we could study from the Book of Mormon 2 hours a day.
Sent from ALASKA!
Sister Shelley Willden

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