|Serving at Elder Nielsen's Farewell Party|
|Elder Gifford Nielsen|
|We got the leftover food!|
This is Benji. An awesome youth that comes out with us all the time. The bird he is holding talks to you in English and Spanish and nearly killed me when I was knocking on the door to the home he guards.
We had a wonderful week and were very blessed. Thank you for your prayers. On Monday, Elder Nielsen had his farewell party since he goes on assignment pretty soon. The party was in our financial missionary's home and she asked for our help. We, of course, were thrilled. We just helped serve and get things set up and we were able to be around and chat with all the stake presidents in the Houston area, President Crane and his wife (Houston Temple President) and just enjoy the Spirit.
President Ashton shared some words and then Sister Nielsen spoke followed by Elder Nielsen. I couldn't help but remember conducting the youth meeting for him a couple years ago the day after I had my wisdom teeth out. I remember my cheeks being swollen like a chipmunk and all the youth in the stake making funny faces at me. At last I had a chance to redeem myself.
What Elder Nielsen spoke about was fascinating. He spoke of being companions with Elder Holland two weeks ago in Canada and how Elder Holland taught that all throughout the Bible there was only one temple. Solomon's temple was built and detroyed, built and destroyed, time after time. Elder Holland then explained that in the Book of Mormon, we know of three temples. He then said for those of you who might not understand just how marvellous of a work this really is, there are now 141 operating temples covering the world. How cool is that? It is amazing to think of being companions with Elder Holland. He said that this past weekend he was going to be companions with Elder Oaks.
But what Elder Nielsen said that was really interesting was about the age change. He said that he spoke with President Eyring and that President Eyring told him the "real story" of the age change. President Eyring said that seconds before President Monson stood up to make the announcement, he leaned over to President Eyring and said, "Will this strengthen marriages?" to which President Eyring responded, "Yes". President Monson then said ok and made the announcement.
Elder Nielsen then explained the whole process and all the revelations received in changing the age. But every decision that was made comes back to the same question and matter. "Will this strengthen marriages?" It is just interesting to know that that is what is on the Prophet's mind all the time. I imagine that that means that it is the most important thing to Heavenly Father.
Anyways, after the whole shindig, everyone had left but us and Elder Nielsen and a few other people. We talked with Elder Nielsen and then right before we left he looked at us and said, "there is something big coming in missionary work really soon but you don't know about it". It made me wonder what the worldwide training will bring this weekend. All the missionaries in our mission are required to attend.
Two quick stories that were really powerful this week. One is from my exchange. We were teaching a young man named David that just graduated high school. The elders I was with had taught him the Restoration already and we taught the Plan of Salvation. One of the elders must have promised at least 10 times that the Spirit would be present and teach him and it happened. We asked him a question and he pretty much quoted a scripture from Alma as his response. It was just amazing to see the Spirit teach him. And made me think of the many times that has happened on my mission. It is so much better for the Spirit to teach because then they not only understand but also believe and have a testimony of that principle. Very powerful.
The other story was on Thursday night. We just didn't know where to go and so we stopped and prayed and I felt like we should call someone and as I began looking for their contact, Elder Leavitt said we should go visit the same person. He has been less-active for a long time and his excuse is that his wife works on Sundays and he doesn't like his daughters being distracting in Sacrament Meeting. We taught him about the Atonement and how we just cannot access mercy unless we repent. We then talked about what he needed to do to repent and were very bold and upfront with him. He committed to come to church and he did. It was just interesting to me how bold we were in the lesson and then I realized that we were because we were on the Lord's errand. We knew we were supposed to see him at that moment and so we could testify with more power. It is very empowering to do the Lord's will.
We took a missionary home this morning. He has only been out 4 weeks. It was sad to drop him off but his last words were, "I will be back in six months". I sure hope he does. Back to the airport right now to bring to visa waiters who are leaving for Australia. Fun times.
Hope everyone had a Happy Father's Day!
I love you,