Sorry, I don't have much time. But I wanted to tell you all of how AWESOME of a week I had! Holy moly! Sorry for the lack of organization.
So bright and early, we met at the Tucson North Stake Center, ( )
We took a mission photo with Elder Holland, Elder Lynn G. Robbins, and Elder Heymore and his wife (Area Seventy over the Tucson area). SO COOL. He is a lot more intense in person. But man, when he walked in, the Spirit just flooded the entire gym. Almost like Jesus Himself just stepped into the room. We all got quiet. But he walked right by me! Man. So after the photo, he said, "Let's start the meeting right now. Before we go into the chapel, be reverent, and prepare to be taught by the Spirit. I will be at the door to shake your hand, and I want you to tell me your name, and where you are from."
So we each, individually, were able to look into his eyes, shake his hand, tell him our name, and where we are from. It was my first time meeting an Apostle, and especially Elder Holland, so before I even shook his hand, I was fighting back tears, I was filled with emotion. So I shook his hand, and looked into his eyes (They are a very pretty bright blue color and pierce your soul) and told him my name and where I was from. He said "It is good to have you here."
We then shook all of the other general authorities' hands, and the Passey's.
Due to lack of time, I will just share a few of my favorite parts:
First off, I was sitting on the front row. (Right? So lucky!) But he came down with a clip on microphone and walked around. He said "I don't normally do this, but I am going to today."
"I wouldn't miss this opportunity for anything. Aside from my family, of all of the places and people I would rather be with in the whole world, I would choose to be with missionaries."
"My mission was everything to me. I had a thousand reasons not to go. I have thought about my mission every day for 54 years. It should mean EVERYTHING to you. 50 years from now, still testify of the same Gospel the way you do now. That is how I am able to testify with such great conviction today. When you get home, don't get up there are tell jokes. Don't tell about the time when you pulled a prank on your companion, or the funny stories. You TESTIFY OF THE GOSPEL and ACT LIKE A MISSIONARY. There will be younger kids there, where you might be the very thing that gets them to go on a mission. Be the missionary that will inspire my grandchildren to look up at you and think, 'Wow, I want to be like that."
"YOU determine what the church looks like. YOU represent the church. You do not have the RIGHT to break and destroy the trust that the Church and its leaders and people place in you. They think we are perfect. I do not have the RIGHT to destroy that image. You and I have the exact same assignment. You are apostolic! The work we do is the same. We are witnesses of this sacred message."
"Do not miss ONE SECOND of this opportunity. You will NEVER get it again. Except for cases like me, where I have to die to be released, you will not have this opportunity ever again."
"I can't always yell and scream from the pulpit, but that's another reason I love being with missionaries, because I can." :)
"My future as an Apostle rests in your hands. The future of this Church rests on how well you represent it."
"YOU NEED TO TAKE. THIS. SERIOUSLY." (pounds his hand on the podium)
The second part of his conference was like a classroom almost. He used a whiteboard, we studied the scriptures together, and we came to understand the Enabling power of the Atonement better, as taught by an Apostle, through the Holy Ghost. Wow. We had participation from different missionaries, too.
He also told us, "Do you know why we shake your hands and look into your eyes individually? Because the eyes are the window to the soul, and it allows us to interview you. Do we really care to know where you are from? We looked into ever one of your eyes, and I can tell that you have some amazing missionaries here. Not perfect, none of us are." (He then made eye contact with me and said "We all have imperfections, don't we?" Ha! talk about scary. I shook my head yesss. He then said, "I do know that about 3 of you Elders are struggling. You can work through this."
But he interviewed each of us and listened for the Spirit to know who we are on the inside. Maybe that's why he seemed sort of in a daze? So cool. I wonder what he saw in me...?
Then after his discussion, he had to leave early to catch a flight, but he pushed back his plans to make sure to be here with us. Super honored.
We then were instructed by Elder Robbins, and that was SO COOL. Exactly what I needed, and everything that was said this day changed me. I'll tell you more about it next week.
Well, that's all I have time for. We had lots of miracles this weekend, and I know that the Lord prepares His children in ways that we don't always understand!
Stay strong, I love you all! I am excited for Chauncey to join our family, and I am so proud of you all for all of your accomplishments and successes I hear about!
Have a great week, and I will SEE you next week! (Skype)