Well everybody, I have officially decided that the best two days of my mission so far have been when Elder Nelson came in November, and Saturday when Elder Oaks was here.
Haha, Ok, maybe not, buuuuuuuuuuuuut there are up there! Listening to an Apostle speak (especially when it is directed right to you) is the coolest experience EVER.
I started out the day just on cloud nine, because the whole mission was together and I got to see all my favorite people and friends, and old zone, and just, so many people that I love. Hermana Schroader was like, Hermana Shelton, your eyes are glowing! and I just told her, its cause I am just so happy to be here, with so many people I love!
And then it just got even better. Elder Oaks is SO COOL. I have about a bajillion things I want to tell you that he said, and I hope it all makes sense cause I don´t have a lot of time, but here we go.
His wife spoke before him, and finished by telling us all to say a prayer in our hearts and ask for guidance that we needed, or a question that we wanted answered, and that we would receive an answer through the words of Elder Oaks. So I did. And then Elder Oaks got up, and told us about an experience he had where the spirit taught HIM while he was the one giving a talk. He said that as he was talking to an audience (I don´t remember where) He shared something that he told them wasn´t Church doctrine, but was more of his personal opinion. He said in that moment he received a very strong spiritual impression that he wrote down as soon as he finished talking. And that impression was, ¨Never share your personal opinion. As an Apostle of the Lord you are not entitled to that anymore¨ It was cool to hear him say that because it affirmed my testimony that everything we hear from him (and the other apostles) are words directly from God. They are words that we can trust. He then told us that in meetings like this he never prepares a written talk, his only way to prepare is by reading the scriptures and prayer. Because every audience is different and needs different guidance. Even the Peru Cusco mission that he spoke too on Friday needs a different message then the Lima North mission needed on Saturday.
So, before I tell you the next part. I´ll tell you what my question was. It was along the lines of, ¨what can I do to be a better missionary? How can I make these next six months even better than this last year? How can I be more diligent, more obedient, more focused, etc....¨ It’s something I have had on my mind for a while because I felt a little stuck, and frustrated, because there are so many things I want to do, but sometimes the natural man gets in the way. And I get frustrated with myself and get down, which is something that never helps. So I asked for help with that.
Well, after he finished telling us a funny story (Elder Oaks is really funny, he told us some funny stories and jokes and we were all just laughing, and laughing. he told us that God gave us a sense of humor to get us through the hard times. :)) He paused for a moment, looked upward, and then told us this.
There are a lot of missionaries that when they talk about their mission refer to it as ¨My Mission¨ and that isn´t necessarily bad. He said he wouldn´t necessarily correct someone if they said that. But, he said that if saying that impacts our point of view, then we shouldn´t refer to it that way. For example, if we are thinking more about what WE get out of the mission (learning a new language, living in a different country, etc...) then we aren´t allowed to say My Mission. Because the truth is that this isn´t our mission. This is HIS mission. It doesn´t matter what we gain because we are here to do the Lords work. Knowing that and focusing not on what we can gain, but what we can gain for the Lord, helps us to be more obedient, more diligent, continue on when we are tired, etc...
Like it says in Alma 17:9 we are instruments in the hands of the Lord. He used the example of a pen. A pen doesn´t say to the hand he´s in, ¨I don´t feel like writing for you today, or, I´m too tired to write right now¨ A pen writes(shares) the message of the hand it’s in.
And he said so much more that I don´t have time to share! Ah! As he was talking I was trying to write as fast as I could to write it all down when he blessed us with the memory of this day for the rest of our lives, and the strength to keep our commitments according to our desires and faith.
This helped me so much. Every time I feel tired, or discouraged, or whatever other feeling that impedes the work, I just think ( and will think) This isn´t MY mission. This is HIS mission. I have done that the past two days and have already seen a difference.
After the meeting I was like, man, I must have been the only one who asked a question because he was talking directly to me! But during lunch Elder Rosa, one of the missionaries in my ward, said that he felt that same. That he answered exactly the question that he had asked. It was so cool to be in that room and feel the Spirit, and power, and authority and see the Spirit work through him to teach us all what we needed to hear in that moment.
I know this Church is true and is led by a Prophet and Apostles called of God.
Ugh. They are kicking me off. Sorry I don´t have time to respond to anyone individually. Happy Father’s day dad! I love you! Thank you for everything you do for me! Also, Jess I loved all your girls camp cheers. They are super clever. I loved reading about your adventure with Grandma. We need to do one just like that when I get back. :)
Ok! Love you all so much! Have a wonderful, wonderful week at Girls camp!