Monday, May 7, 2012

Wonderful Stake Conference

Andrews Baptism from Last weeks letter.
I will call around 5:00 my time for Mothers Day!!!  I'M SO EXCITED TO TALK TO YOU!!!!!!!!!! :)

This week has been good, but pretty boring as far as lessons go.  As in, we had ZERO lessons with investigators or just people letting us in after knocking on their door.  We had 3 less-active/recent convert lessons and 6 active (from dinners) and that was it.  But we did find a lot of potential investigators this week.  Hopefully we will be able to turn them into new investigators soon!  Because we are really struggling for a teaching pool right now.  Sister Carlton and I are doing well though and are as happy as ever together.  She is seriously hilarious and cracks me up on a daily basis.  It's great :)

Stake Conference was AWESOME!  We got to go to the Saturday evening session, because we had a potential investigator who was able to attend.  His name is Charley and he's been going to church for 3 months in the Soldier Field area (I think that's somewhere in the City??) but he lives in our area, so the Elders just told him that he needs to be taught and baptized in our area!  So we met him for the first time on Saturday, and will hopefully begin meeting with him officially very soon.  He is super busy though, so it's going to be hard to schedule things.  At least we know he has the desire though!  So back to Conference.  Elder Oaks is really funny.  All the talks were great - there were a lot about parenting, which is kind of fun, because the principle totally relate to teaching investigators about the church! And the things that don't apply now, are good reminders for the future.  And then Elder Oaks got up and was commenting on all the other talks and adding his bit to what they all said and throwing in random stories all over the place.  It was great.  He did the same thing on Sunday :)  As he was speaking on Saturday though, after a while, he paused, and then said that unrelated to anything that had been talked about and not concerning anything he had thought he would talk about, he felt impressed to talk about Family Prayer.  He said that we need to be having DAILY, KNEELING family prayers, and that as we kneel in prayer, we are able to overcome the formality of prayer "which won't help God at all, but it will sure help you!" 

Sunday, he talked about the Sacrament and how if we truly take the name of Jesus Christ upon us, we are promised that we will ALWAYS have the Spirit to be with us.  Then he talked about the difference in the two Sacramental prayers and how that condition and promise is only given together in the prayer for the bread.  It was pretty cool.  Along with that, he had a big emphasis on the NAME of Jesus Christ and said that there are over 1500 references to the NAME of Jesus Christ throughout the scriptures.  He said that Apostles are not special witnesses of Christ, they are special witnesses of the NAME of Jesus Christ and that it is by the NAME  of Jesus Christ that we are saved.  I'm not really sure what the full significance of all this is yet, but it really stood out to me.  I need to study it more and I would love to hear all of your ideas about it!  

He also talked about Tithing.  In our "Tithing" pamphlets that we use there is a story about Elder Oaks mom, so it was really neat to hear him share the experience himself.  His mom told him that there might be some people who were rich enough that they could afford not to pay tithing, but that they were poor, so they needed to pay their tithing.  

Then he gave this little formula:  90% + Blessings > 100% without blessings.  

It's so true!!  We NEED the Lord's help in our lives.  None of us are rich enough to get along without his blessings.  We ALL need to pay our tithing.

On Saturday, he also talked about the Articles of Faith and compared them to other "supreme expressions in the English language" such as the Gettysburg Address, the Declaration of Independence and parts of the Constitution.

He told a story about when he was serving as President of BYU and Elder Maxwell in one of their meetings asked all the men present to think about "What do you want to be remembered for when you are released from you current calling?" and then related it to parenthood.  I think it's a great question to ask ourselves in ANY situation we find ourselves in.  

Elder Payne of the the Seventy also came and one really profound thing he said was, "The first element of Testimony, is gratitude." and then talked about how if we feel like our testimonies are waning, we need to work on being grateful for all that our Heavenly Father has given us, and then our testimony will grow.

One of the funny stories Elder Oaks told was about a letter that he got from a little 10 year old girl after speaking at a Stake Conference in England a number of years ago.  At the end of the letter she wrote, "I know you are an Apostle, because you are clean and your head is shiny."   Hahaha!  It was great. 

So yeah, Stake Conference was great.

Sadly though, we found out Saturday night that our District Leader, Elder Harmon, is being transferred.  We are really going to miss him.  He has been a FABULOUS District Leader and we have had a lot of fun together as well.  He really cared about us and our investigators, and it was nice to feel that love and concern.  

Oh!  And the very exciting news of the week, is that President Doll gave the WHOLE mission permission to go to the Cubs game on May 29th!  Woohoo!  We're super stoked :)

Can't wait to talk to you!  LOVE LOVE LOVE!
Sister Ali

p.s.  Do you by chance have any news about Juliette and the wonderful Soelberg family?  I haven't heard from Jette since December...

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