Monday, June 22, 2009
In PMG we are taught that our Savior, Jesus Christ often asked questions to help people ponder and apply gospel principles. His questions prompted thought, soul-searching and commitment. In every situation, whether we were together as missionaries, as Stake Presidents and wives, as the general membership of the church in the Leon Mission or alone with our dear Apostle, Elder Bednar taught by asking questions. It was an amazing experience and we continue to search our souls and change our lives so that we can live more in accordance with the sweet, peaceful spirit we felt as a result of our meetings. Elder Bednar arrived Friday afternoon, June 19th. He squeezed us into his schedule, for which we will forever be eternally grateful. He needed to be in San Clemente California for a Stake Conference early Saturday so he only had this little window of time for us and we jammed packed it with everything we could to get the most of his visit. It had been 12 years since an Apostle had been in this mission area. So the people were excited.
Elder Mickelsen, our Area President and Elder Carlos an Area Seventy met President Cox at the airport to await the arrival of Elder Bednar. P. Cox took Elders Wille and Elder Maxwell to drive the backup car. Security became quite the issue in this visit....due to some recent problems with church leaders. So we took every precaution to assure Elder Bednar a safe visit. Meanwhile at the Stake Center in Leon all 164 missionaries had gathered....transported by buses from their areas of service. It was a joyful reunion for all the missionaries to be in one place at one time....Lunch was served (we prepared with the help of the office missionaries and Sister Morales and Marlene early that morning). Elders Robles and Escobar, Hines and Moss were responsible for the activities at the Stake Center and the code we awaited to hear from Elder Wille was the "eagle is in the nest".
Elder Bednar arrived on time and was escorted into the High Council Room and served lunch along with Elder Mickelsen, Elder Carlos and President Cox. That was quite the dilemma, what do you cook for an Apostle of the Lord? But all went well and they were all very appreciative of the home-cooked meal. The next 3 hours went by so very quickly. Elder Escobar conducted the meeting and Elder Schow translated for Elder Bednar. They both did an amazing job. Elder Williams played the piano and Hermana Jimenez conducted the music. When it became Elder Bednar's turn, he taught us about the important role the Holy Ghost plays in missionary work. We are only the instruments....and if we are worthy and serve with all our H,M,M and S....miracles can take place. Truly we have experienced mighty miracles in our mission and hope to move forward and continue to improve and learn how to be better able to Serve the Lord. The missionaries asked pertinent questions of their hearts after careful study of two talks they were asked to study as directed by Elder Bednar. The only disappointment of this whole experience was that Elder Bednar, like President Cox, sees little need for pictures...so even though every missionary was privileged to shake Elder Bednar and Elder Mickelsen's hand...we have no group pictures with him.
We left the Stake Center at this point and we were escorted by security to the Poliforum of Leon; a facility that would accomodate the 2500 members that were expected to attend the general meeting. The wives of our Mission Presidency and Stake Presidency worked together to prepare an area with food for the mtg with all the Stake Presidents/wives and Area Seventies/wives in attendance for a mtg prior to the general mtg. Again, Elder Bednar was primed as he questioned these leaders of the needs of their members and then later addressed the the general membership using this same method. It was powerful as he took each individual question, many from the youth of the church and taught principles that were applicable to all of us. The time went by quickly...before we knew it, we were escorted off the podium and loaded into cars once again and escorted to the mission home. We made arrangements for security to patrol the area all night...but before our home was locked down.... we were able to squeeze a picture with Elder Bednar and all the office elders and one with President Cox and I. We have so very much to be grateful for. I have hesitated writing this post because it is hard to do justice to the special feelings I have in my heart at this moment. I feel like the prophets of old, I am not mighty in writing....my words can't adequately convey the strengthening affect this visit has had on my life....my desire to more worthily dedicated my time, talents nd energies to building the kingdom. I am amazed at the possibilites that await us as we open the scriptures and seek direction for our lives personally as sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. I know that we have Apostles and Prophets on the earth today that lead and guide the church and testify of our Savior's love for each of us individually and I have felt that special love as Elder Bednar has sat in our car, at our dinner table, in our mtgs and allowed us to experience for ourselves what it means to be a Special Witness for our Savior Jesus Christ. At times....I wonder if this is all a dream. Why am I so blessed to have these special experiences and then I know to those who are given much...they too must give. I am so very grateful for this privlege to serve the Lord in Leon Mexico and I pray my service will somehow make a difference in the life of another.