Hey hey everyone!
It's been an awesome week! We had another Zone Conference last Wednesday, and I wish I could explain how incredible it was! One thing I want to start doing is record some of the talks given, especially those by President Packard. It will happen someday! I flipped through my notes I took this Zone Conference, and even though there may have been some doodles or larger notes for certain pointers or insights to stand out :) 21 pages of my composition notebook were filled from that day.
It all started when President Packard emphasized his love for the Book of Mormon and how much we can get out of it. He actually read it cover to cover every month on his mission, and continually studies from it. He presented a slideshow focusing on Mosiah and his experiences, then he led into King Benjamin's speech--his farewell speech to have the people live under covenant with the new king. He broke his speech into the seven sections and included how scholars have seen the chiasmus pattern for every verse--in which is the literary technique for parallelism is shown as King Benjamin desired to get each central purpose of each message made known. There was a lot more work that he put into his farewell speech than I would have ever known. The main central focus of it all was the sanctification of the Atonement--mainly in Mosiah 3:17-22. As President tied all of his thoughts, discoveries, and powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon, a quote from his testimony that stood out was "The Book of Mormon is not only a source of revelation; it is a source of transformation." There's so much truth to that statement. :)
For the rest of Zone Conference, Sister Packard focused on family history and temple work and how we are here to focus on the conversion process for each person we teach. The rest of Zone Conference focused on our 5 priorities--1. Progressing Investigators 2. Bishop and Ward Leaders 3. Work with members. 4. Participation in meaningful community service 5. Personal contacting. All of the workshops were so good and Sister Nielson and I received greater insight on how we can lift up and build the Plymouth Branch. We honestly couldn't get enough of the information and spiritual nourishment we were fed that day.
At the end, President Packard asked us all to stand and sing the hymn the Spirit of God--like a fire is burning! Wow. Everyone billowed their voices and at that time, I had a very spiritual experience which moved me to tears, which also made singing the rest of the hymn impossible. After the conference ended, I met one on one with President Packard to share the experience. He sat there quietly, soaking it in. Tears started to well up as he continued to lock his eye contact. Not much more came out than a simple "thank you" as he nodded, then sat in silence for a moment. Although I won't share the experience, I know it was exactly what he needed to help him bear with all on his plate. I'll never forget how even for a moment, we silently sat there in tears over the tender mercy from the Lord.
This area is booming! It's so awesome! The work is picking up--we had a couple that moved from Wyoming show up to church--one came up to Sister Nielson and I yesterday, asking, "What do I need to do to be baptized?" #shocked #excitedbeyondwords #saywhaaa We are also teaching a mom and her 11 year old daughters named Beth and Amy. We had a beautiful lesson with them earlier last week on the Plan of Salvation. Once we taught a little more of our purpose here in earth, we led into the Atonement.
It took me a while to understand while teaching that they had a hard time understanding the Atonement because they didn't know much about it at all! We began with the very basics of Jesus Christ.
Sister Nielson then went up to the board (we were at the church) and began to write the sufferings He faced. As we gave input and soaked in what was being written, we were moved to tears. Beth and Amy, through the serious hardships and difficulties they've encountered, began to understand how Jesus Christ experienced and suffered for all that they have and still go through. We continued to teach about the crucifixion, and how the resurrection allows us to live with Heavenly Father again. We closed with Alma 7:11-13, and how He knew according to the flesh how to succor--run to, help--his people. He desires us to follow him because He's been there before and doesn't want us to face some of the pains that He felt. It's only through His experiences that He came to know how to run to us. I've never had to teach the Atonement from the very basics before, but I was able to see how gaining the knowledge and sound understanding of it allows doors to open, wounds to be healed, and hearts filled. The lesson took a slight different turn than planned, but the Lord led it into what Beth and Amy needed.
I also feel that I am getting a better idea and feel for this area. I'm constantly having to seek help from the Lord with what each individual's needs are--whether they be for investigators, Branch leaders or members. It can be challenging trying to seek out how to meet their spiritual goals, needs, and how to help them grow in the ways they and the Lord desire, but it is all going well. It' requires patience and time, but at the same time, I know the Lord knows all the details in His plan for this area.
My love for the individuals and families here is growing and connections are developing. For instance, we were meeting with a Sister from this branch who was baptized last year. We were teaching more about enduring to the end as part of the lesson reviews. Once I sat next to her and read one of my favorite scriptures 2 Tim 2:2, she sat silently, then looked at me while saying in a hushed voice, "I am so glad you are in this branch. It's interesting…I feel that I've known you from before." Her response took me by surprise, but it touched my heart. Had we known each other before we came to earth? It's definitely possible. It helped me remember how the Lord's plain contains no coincidences. I hope to be the help the Lord desires me to be in this area.
Everything else is going well. As for other happenings, here's to post-cold antibiotics, a good follow-up visit at Boston Children's (and a whammy of a bruise from a blood draw),
drilling in dry wall in a home, and heart attacking doors. It's definitely been a good week. :)
Keep being awesome, and see what you can learn as you further dive into the Book of Mormon and find ways to more deeply apply the Atonement in your life.
I love you with all my heart. <3
Peace and blessin's
|Blood draw=whammy of a bruise. No bueno.|
|Sister Nielson finds amusement in nails.|
|Screwing in an extra layer of floorboard in bathroom before tile laid|