What great news with the twins! I am so happy for Mary and Craig! And what is even better is that mom gave me an accurate count of the nieces and nephews in her email so now I know how many there are. This is crazy, I haven't even been on my mission a year and there have already been 5 nieces and nephews born. That puts us on track for at least ten before I get home. Good luck to everyone with that.
We had Stake Conference on Sunday. It was one of those that are broadcast from Salt Lake. I think it was all of Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. We were able to watch Elder Scott and President Eyring. It was incredible. Elder Scott gave a talk on the sanctity of womanhood and of course told very touching and emotional stories about his wife. One of the stories that struck me powerfully goes as follows:
He had been on a business trip for two weeks and returned home on a Saturday afternoon. The washer had been broken nearly the whole time he was gone and his wife had thus been washing the clothes by hand. He only had 4 hours from the time he returned home before he needed to be at a church meeting. He decided to spend the time fixing the washer. His wife Janeen, gently told him that she would rather he played with the children during that time. He resisted but she won out in the end. He said he had a wonderful time playing with them and then went to his meeting. He said he would have forgotten this experience except that that night around two in the morning, he felt two little arms around his neck and a gentle kiss on his cheek. His four year-old son then whispered in his ear, "I love you dad. You are my best friend."
It made me think of all of you. Especially with all the new babies. What a wonderful opportunities is ours to be members of this church and to have the Gospel in our lives. I continue to be amazed by the blessings which are found specifically inside the family. With the events of Spencer Jorgensen's accident (which dad informed me about) it brings in an even greater light the importance of being sealed together as a family in the temple.
Another really interesting story that came from Stake Conference was from President Eyring. He said that he was travelling in Europe one time and was with whom he considered at the time a trusted friend not of our faith but one who knew of the standards that members of the church enjoy. He said that he was then shocked as his friend led him into a building where President Eyring saw terrible pornographic pictures plastered on every wall. He said that though he had only seen them for a moment. They were burned into his mind and that no matter how hard he prayed, the images would not go away. After a number of days, while continuing in near constant prayer to have these obscene images removed from his memory, he was preparing a Family Home Evening lesson on prayer that he was going to share with his family when he returned home. He said that during this preparation, the Holy Ghost spoke to him and said, "I have protected you from temptation these many years and you have not been grateful for it, so now I have taken away this protection for a time so that you will be able to appreciate what I have given you". He said that the images were then gone and have never returned. He spoke of the Lord's prayer that says, "And lead us not into temptation". It really made me think about two things. 1) Do I pray and plead with the Lord to "lead me not into temptation" (or as the JST states, "let us not be led into temptation")? 2) Do I express adequate gratitude for the answers to prayer that I receive and have received.
Both of these thought have been on my mind. And have helped me to recognize the great dependence I have on the Lord and just how blessed I have been.
I love this work. We are seeing many miracles. We should have some more baptisms in March. I have the chance to do four baptismal interviews this week. I love having that opportunity because I feel like I have some small chance to participate in the conversion process of one of God's children.
Sister Ball, the one who was baptized on February 2 has a limited use recommend and is going to the temple with the youth on Friday. I am so excited! She keeps saying that she can't wait for her year to be up so that she can be sealed to her deceased husband.
I love you all. This Gospel is true. What a marvelous time to live. The final dispensation in which we will welcome the Savior. What a powerful reality.
P.S. NASA was the coolest!