Well, I just finished watching the priesthood session of general conference. We have Pdays Saturday and well on Sunday there is literally nothing until 3 o clock, so I think we will actually watch conference here. If I wasn´t there with Dad in body I was definitely there in spirit. Conference was excellent. I can´t believe just how good and spot on these last conferences have been. I did what you suggested and came in with a couple of written questions and two of the three have been answered so far. Hopefully tomorrow I´ll be able to know what the answer to the third is and be able to recognize it more than anything.
Today, I especially enjoyed Elder Lynn G. Robbins talk about focus and not pleasing man but pleasing God and Elder Jörg Klebingat´s talk about achieving self-surety through the atonement. I can´t really not mention Elder Holland´s talk or Elder Perry´s talk...or the entire priesthood session. Ha I guess it all just rang really true to me and being able to watch it was a really pleasant surprise. (In Peru, this weekend was elections. This meant that congregating for any purpose, even church, was illegal. So they watched in the offices or in members homes when they had internet. Next weekend, the congregations will gather and watch at their buildings.)
First about Elder Robbins talk. Wow, it was like he had been listening to President Erickson for the last month and a half or something. President has had this HUGE focus on making sure we are direct when inviting investigators and not fearing but just completely losing that fear of man so that we can focus on being the best missionaries. Something else that was common between Pte Erickson and Elder Robbins theme is that Pte has said basically the whole mission that we cannot short sell or offer discounts on the price of salvation. There´s really only one way in and that´s through faith, repentance, baptism, following the holy Ghost and enduring to the end. Elder Robbins said something similar to (translating) lowering the standards or the doctrine to the level of personal conduct leads to the self satisfaction, but not to growth or spiritual progress nor repentance. I thought that was so important. We cannot become satisfied in the gospel, once we feel we are comfortable in the church it means we have stopped feeling the spirit because the spirit always urges us onward.
Elder Klebingat´s talk came off as a little bit of a "quemada" like a lecture in Spanish, but I could really rescue that he detailed a self evaluation on how to attain success. It was supercomprehensive and something that honestly you could print off and use as an abbreviated life plan. It echoes a lot of personal philosophy and will help me continue to develop Christlike attributes here in the mission and afterwards. I felt a little like he might have been quoting something like 6 habits of highly effective people but I know that what he said was so applicable and true, I just have to do it (I have somewhat lost a good focus on the physical health what with the package and all haha).
All in all I just came away from conference (during which I never slept not once) excited. I can´t wait til next weekend when I think we will watch them again but in English so I can go from getting doctrinal principles to connecting them with the absolutely genius linguistics of the general authorities. That´s something that I miss and I know my English has died a little bit while here. I figure there´s time enough to figure that out later, and that it´s better right now to focus on being able to communicate the gospel clearly and with power that´s only possible through excellent language skills. I still learn more about Spanish every single day. I learn new words and correct my grammar a little bit more.
I love general conference because it gets me excited to participate in the whole gospel. In some ways, as a missionary, we participate in a very large part of it, which is the obra misional. I mean if we think about that in Peru it also means the Sunday school program ( a lot of times we are the teachers for classes) and also serving in ward councils and helping form the church. However, those that are living in their own ward or in their own branch have a very often overlooked responsibility to live the whole gospel. When I say that I mean to magnify their callings, establish good spiritually edifying habits that aren´t mandated by a schedule, make meaningful visits to assigned families for home or visiting teaching, and all the other wonderful parts of being a full-time member of the church includes. Being on a mission has taught me soooo much about the actual value of those things, especially as pertains to how important it is for the Aaronic priesthood holders to participate as much as Dad helped me. I remember that he was faithful to a T about visiting every single month, and that it was never an option to go to the priesthood sessions of conference. Being here, I realize that even if I wasn´t the type to resist very much those things, that´s because I saw that Dad just did it. He never really stopped to question if he had time or if there were other things to do, he would just go and do it because that´s what a priesthood holder does. I am so grateful for your example.
I have been hugely impressed in this conference with the tidbits of advice, one after another that show me how very blessed I am for living and having lived in the circumstances that I did and do. In short (because it´s late) I love my family because it´s the best and I empathize with those who haven´t had the awe-inducing familiar experience I have been blessed with.
I love you guys so much and I know that the rest of conference will be written just for the needs of each of you. Listen up and don´t doze off because you´ll miss something important for sure. I think the temptation to sleep comes right when we are supposed to pay the most attention!