So, we had lot of business this past week with zone conferences and everything. It's a pretty busy time in the mission with everything going on. To answer Dad's questions from last week, we drove with President to the conferences that were outside of Warsaw. Both of them made for early mornings, so we stayed at the mission home the night before and had breakfast made by Sister Edgren both times :). That makes for happy assistants! It was a real blessing seeing all the missionaries. I love being able to do that as an Assistant.
I learned a lot about how to put a zone conference together. Luckily, not too many of those lessons had to be learned the hard way, for nothing major went askew.
|Elder Lanham, President Edgren and Elder Veron|
|Elder Gibby (the tallest missionary in this picture) with 8 of his companions.|
Throughout the course of zone conferences, I found myself reflecting on my personal connection to the Book of Mormon. I worried that I hadn't done enough in reading it and that I myself wasn't connected deeply enough to the teachings and answers which it holds. When Elder Lanham and I had started preparing our segment for zone conference, I had made a goal to have personal, spiritual experiences with the Book of Mormon. I felt like I hadn't made a whole lot of ground in my preparation nor had any deep spiritual experiences with the Book of Mormon for a time. As I stewed over it, I realized that much of my preparation had come long before we had decided to teach about the Book of Mormon. Through my last few weeks in Szczecin, along with my first few weeks here, I had sought a lot of guidance and help from the Lord. I had always done so by reading the Book of Mormon. I had recently received a new set of scriptures, and I had marked all the scriptures which contained answers to my questions in orange. Well, in looking back through my scriptures, I found more orange markings than I had realized. It struck me that God had already shown me the power of the Book of Mormon in my life. It didn't come from overwhelming spiritual experiences, but in finding my "daily bread" by reading a little bit at a time one day at a time. That testimony is much more powerful than one based on a single event or occurrence. I feel blessed that the Lord has helped me to gain a deeper testimony of the power of the Book of Mormon, and that this testimony came not in an instant, but over time.
I had a poignant experience at the Katowice zone conference on Friday. As Elder Lanham and I prepared to leave, Sister M stopped me and said goodbye. It had occurred to her that it was probably the last time we would see each other before the end of my mission. She had some nice things to say and thanked me for the friendship which I had shown her and the work which I had done. I was taken back. During the course of the "arguments" and different disagreements which we had, I hadn't realized the friendship which had been formed. I put arguments in quotations because although we went back and forth from time to time, they were more in a joking manner than they were anything else. I guess what I'm trying to say is it was a comfort to me that I've had an impact here and the Lord has helped me to do His work, even with people with whom I may not always see eye-to-eye.
Elder Lanham and I are excited to go to Wrocław for our exchange this week.
On our exchange, we'll be going with Elder F and Elder G. I'm excited to talk with him for a while. Since I've already served with Elder F, I'll probably be with Elder G, who's a tall lanky kid from Georgia. He's a good missionary, just super young in the mission. He is still a trainee. It'll be an adventure, for sure!
Emms, I think you should run the 400, but that's probably just me being biased. You'll do superb in whatever you do, I'm certain of that. I don't remember you ever telling me, did you make varsity for lacrosse?
Hannah-bear, it sounds like you love Starszy. As for new friends, Elder Lanham and I were invited to dinner by a new american family that just moved in to the branch. It turns out, they had lived in the California Arcadia mission, and even knew Elder Judd! Connections!
Heath, I hope you get feeling better. You'll do well on your AP tests. I'm not too stressed. Let me know about Sterling Scholar!
Dad, Thanks for all the updates on scriptures and what not. I enjoy it. I've been thinking about your statement about John 16:33 (you'll want to check that reference) when Christ says, "Be of good cheer. I have overcome the world." It still stumps me that it's before Gethsemane.
Mom, thanks for being so diligent with housing and everything. I appreciate it. If you find out anything about classes, I'd love to take a polish language class, some sort of music theory class (if possible), an intermediate racquetball class, and I don't know what else. Those are just some ideas.
Well, give Starszy a hug from me. I love you all. The gospel is true!