Tuesday, May 17, 2016

First of 3 Temple Zone Conferences

Last week was one busy, wonderful week!  On Monday we unexpectedly had to drive to Brooks, which is about 2 hours away, to deal with some issues there, and so by the time we drove there, did what we needed to do and drove back our whole day was over!  We didn't have our usual office staff meeting with our Senior Missionaries at the office we usually hold on Mondays about 10:00.  Then Steve went out teaching with some elders and had just a great night out teaching with them.  We learn so much when we go out with our missionaries...we are able to truly see them 'in action', and then it also helps us know better how to help them become better teachers.  They always have a great spirit with them, and they love the gospel and sharing it.  We are still working on teaching with simplicity.
Tuesday we were able to attend a district meeting in Calgary with our Cranston district where Elder Ajeman is the district leader.  It was a great meeting--well prepared, and good participation.  We are so proud of these missionaries as we watch them conduct and train in these meetings.  They are really growing not only spiritually, but in lifeskills, such as learning to stand in front of people and conduct and interact and lead discussions.  And even leading music!
Wednesday we drove to Cardston and both Steve and I went out teaching with our missionaries that night.  He went with elders and I went with the sisters.  I was involved in two great lessons, one with a less-active young adult, and one with a non-member young adult.  Both were such great lessons, and the non-member committed to be baptized in June!  The sisters are very excited about this as they have been teaching him a long time.  This is my first lesson I have been on where someone committed to baptism.  It was pretty thrilling!  Steve was also involved in a great lesson with a whole family from England.  They are all (with the exception of the Mom), anxious to be baptized...but they are going to wait for the mom to come around.  They came to the Saturday evening session of Stake Conference and I was able to meet them--and they were so awesome.  The dad (Matt Freeman) even spoke in the Saturday session!  That's pretty unique for a nonmember to speak in Stake Conference.
That meeting was so touching.  A young adult man shared his re-activation story that was so tender.  He told us that most of his teenage years he was involved in drinking, drugs, immorality and even some stealing.  His parents were both very active in the church so of course this was a huge heartache for them.  Then one day he just wondered if there was more to life than what he was doing.  He happened to have an amazing YSA bishop who began to work with him, and then the full time missionaries, Elder Hill and Perfilli also spent time with him, and had a great influence on him.  And now he has a mission call to England and leaves in a month.  He spoke of the atonement of Jesus Christ and that it is only through Him that we are changed and can become new and clean again.  He was so grateful for the atonement and shared a sweet, but powerful testimony of it.  As I sat on the stand I could look out into the congregation and see many tearful eyes as he shared his story.
On Thursday we had the absolutely wonderful experience of taking 90 of our missionaries through an endowment session in the Cardstson Temple.  To be in the temple with 90 of your missionaries is quite amazing.  It was such a thrill for us.  The Cardston Temple is the most unique temple I have ever been in.  I would encourage anyone coming to visit to be sure to go to that temple--it is beautiful.  And of course after days of good weather, the day we have all these missionaries drive in we have a huge snowstorm!  It was beautiful--but wet!  Our poor senior couples were out doing car inspections during the storm--they were soaked!!
Following the temple we went to the church right across the street and had lunch prepared by a Relief Society from Cardston.  They made a Cafe Rio lunch and our missionaries loved it!  After lunch we went into the chapel and Steve and I both spoke and shared some thoughts and then we had an open discussion about the atonement and what we have learned since we have been studying it the past 2 months.  The insights our missionaries gleaned were incredible.  It made us know that it was worth taking the time to put the atonement books together and study it as a mission.  All of us have gained a greater love and appreciation of the atonement and how it impacts our lives.  And a greater love for our Savior and what He did.
After that discussion we had a wonderful testimony meeting to close out our Temple Zone Conference.  It was an absolutely wonderful day.  We left Cardston about 4:30 and drove to Lethbridge for Steve to be at  his coordinating council meeting with Elder Evanson, our Area Seventy in the south and the 11 stake presidents in the south.  I was able to grab a bite of dinner with Jody Evanson, which was really fun.
Then on Friday we met with our Lethbridge West district to discuss their needs and how we could help them in the work.  You feel so bad when your missionaries are discouraged.  So we hopefully gave them some hope and discussed things that could help them.
On Saturday and Sunday we participated in the Cardston West Stake Conference with Elder Rulon Stacey of the Seventy.  We have been with him before at a Raymond Stake Conference, and we really enjoy him.  He is so genuine and down to earth--yet full of great insights.  We got home from Cardston just in time to throw in frozen pizzas to eat with our assistants, and then we were off to speak at a youth fireside in Calgary.  We were asked to address 'Preparing for a Mission'.  There were about 50 youth between the ages of 12-18.  It was really fun to be with them, and hopefully we shared something of worth for them.
This week we will hold two more Temple Zone Conferences at the Calgary Temple with the rest of our zones in the north.  We are really looking forward to it.
The lunch line in Cardston!

Sisters and elders enjoying a "Cafe Rio" lunch

We teased Elder Coe about being the only elder with the sisters-he said his companion  was in line!

Singing our thank you song for the food.

This was our snowy day at the temple!  

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