Monday, October 6, 2014

General Conference... In Spanish!

The missionaries after conference

6 October 2014

Four months! This Saturday I completed four months in the field. Hermana Gomez and I celebrated with ice cream between sessions of General Conference.

I loved Conference. I missed home. It was strange to see so many gringos congregated. I forgot how they dressed and how they do their hair. I forgot what Utah looked like, which is why I love Adria's week in photos every Monday. It's weird to watch General Conference in a chapel, especially a mostly empty chapel. We watched it from 1 to 3 and 5 to 7, later in the day than for you. It was also strange to watch in Spanish. During one talk the translator sounded like she was crying. I thought she might be imitating the speaker but the speaker didn't look like she was choking up. I think the translator was honestly emotional. The choir is still in English, obviously. I loved hearing the people who spoke in Spanish natively. In case you are wondering, yes, I can understand that now. I was disappointed that I couldn't hear the Portuguese or the other (Asian?) language because there was a Spanish translation for that instead of subtitles like the conference center. Could you hear them at home on the TV? Richard G. Scott translated his own talk into Spanish and that was one of my favorites to listen to because it was in Spanish but it was still his voice!

Some things I liked from Conference. Translations by Hermana VanCott
Uchtdorf--Do we believe that God knows something we don't?
Once we understand the nature of God and the Plan of Salvation, our desires change.
Put your selfish desires on the altar of sacrifice and service.
Esplin--The enabling power to give more service than we can give on our own.
The priesthood holder who passes the sacrament represents the Savior reaching His arms to us.
Wong--Christ has the power to forgive sins. Don't we wish this could happen for everyone? We can help those who are spiritually paralyzed and can't come back on their own.
Uchtdorf--There is light I don't have yet. I can know for myself because God, the creator of this universe will talk to me and give me answers for my personal life.
Hales--Kindness is powerful. Patience doesn't work alone.
Anderson--Spiritual questions merit spiritual answers.
Hales--We do what is necessary to know God. Eternal life means to know God.
Godoy--Evaluate your patriarchal blessing. If I continue living the way I am, will I fulfill the promises?

On Friday we planned a Family Home Evening to watch the President Monson documentary that Hermana Dodds left. Thank you! And yes, I'm still going to write Hermana Dodds even though I know you're Jaylen now. We invited one of our investigators, but at the last minute he told us he couldn't come because of work. We did have another there, a less active single man who has been feeling very depressed recently. Sister Cortes also invited a family, which was great. I was disappointed that our investigator didn't come but we gave him a copy of Doctrine and Covenants and he has read up to Section 18. He didn't come to General Conference, though.

We found another one of the investigators we have been teaching finally! We talked briefly about prophets because it was late and invited him to come to Conference. He didn't come to Conference either. He is also depressed about his girlfriend and he says that's why he is never home, because he isn't happy sitting around alone all of the time. He and his son were interested in living prophets. He asked, "If there's a prophet and apostles, why haven't they been on the news?" "That's why I'm here!" I told him. They aren't popular. They aren't famous. They are humble servants who are not seeking fame, but are serving others. Missionaries spread throughout the world to testify of Jesus Christ and explain about the prophet and apostles who represent him. 

Wednesday I was feeling really discouraged after district class because we presented our weekly numbers and it's clear that our numbers were not superb this week. However, we went to teach a young mother and my whole attitude changed. Hermana Dodds and I taught her every Wednesday for many weeks. She is a mother with two daughters and we always teach when the littlest daughter is home. We had promised to watch the Restoration video. I remembered that last week Lauren had written about how there is always a distraction during the part in the sacred grove. It's usually true. Something always happens to distract from the most important part. I was worried this time because the little girl is especially darling and likes to talk a lot. I was praying in my heart that she would be still for that moment and stop running around and offering treats to people. My prayer was answered. That moment was silent and the mother watched intently. I prayed that she would be able to feel the Spirit.

After the movie we asked how she felt. I knew before she even spoke that she had felt the Spirit. She tried to explain it, holding one hand a few inches away from her heart and telling us about what she felt inside. I was able to testify and tell her that what she was feeling in that moment was the Holy Ghost. I explained that the Spirit's role is to testify of truth and that's why she felt it. I told her the way I knew was because I have felt it too, and believe me when I say I felt it in that moment. I said, "That feeling is why I'm in Chile. I want to share it with your family. I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet. More than a marvelous story, it really happened." I don't remember much more that I said. I know there was nothing profound about any of my words but I bore my testimony and everything flowed. I didn't have to worry about what to say or how to say it because it was right there. I felt the Spirit in a powerful way that I wish I could send in an email to you. Something filled me and strengthened me. It felt like an electric current was running through me and into her. I'm like the wire, ordinary and boring. With electricity wire becomes something else. It still looks like the same wire and when the electricity stops it's the same wire. However, when that power is present you can feel it. I cried. The mother cried more. The best part was knowing that she felt the same thing. I can't tell you how I know, but I did. I have watched people cry and share their testimonies hundreds of times without being fazed by it. It's not the crying. It was something incredible because we both felt the same thing, although it was impossible to communicate in words. 

Preach My Gospel has a brief section called "A Successful Missionary" and the first point says, "Feel the Spirit testify to people through you." I read that many times before my mission and was curious about it. I never knew that was possible before my mission but I hoped it was and I wondered how it felt. I wanted that. My question was, how do you know if someone else feels the Spirit? I knew when I felt it myself. I knew when someone else spoke with the Spirit, like in a talk or a lesson. Sometimes my investigators have described feelings. This was the first moment I can think of exactly like this, though. I was the one speaking but I knew unmistakably that she could feel it too as she listened to my short testimony in a foreign tongue. I just knew.

Lots of love!

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