Monday, April 24, 2017

A Visit with President Nelson

So on Friday was our conference with President Russell M Nelson. Everyone was really excited to have an apostle visit our mission and also to be with all the other missionaries of Concepcion Sur (the other mission below Concepcion). Right before the conference was about to start the church was packed full of missionaries and the sense of excitement was overwhelming. When President Nelson walked in the room everyone stood up. As he walked by us, he had a huge smile on his face as if he had been reunited with over 350 of his own children. Everyone had to opportunity to shake his hand along with Elder Teixeira (Area President) and Elder Packer and their wives. After the prayer, I went up with the choir of our mission to sing a special musical number and it was super awesome! We sung Jesus the Very Thought of Thee and it was suuuuuper spiritual. We heard from Hermana and Elder Packer, and then we heard from Hermana and Elder Teixeira, and then Hermana and President Nelson. When President Nelson began to speak he asked for 10 volunteers. He said, "To make it easier, I´m going to pick 10 volunteers from the beautiful choir...". Now there were only about 16 of us in the choir, so I was like "well shoot". So with 9 other people I went up front with President Nelson. He says, "Lets play ´Lets pretend´ and say that the Book of Mormon doesn't exist. Now each one of our volunteers has to say something that they don´t know because the Book of Mormon doesn't exist". I literally forgot what the Book of Mormon was in that moment haha I couldn't think of anything to say!! I finally thought of something right when the first volunteer started, but he said exactly what I was going to say! I thought "well great, I´m going to look like a noob in front of everyone". The second before in was my turn I thought about Alma 36 and how it teaches about the repentance process. So I say to about 350 missionaries "without the Book of Mormon I wouldn´t know about how to improve my life from all the sins that I´ve committed. There was about a 5 second pause and President Nelson, an apostle of Jesus Christ and most likely the next prophet of God, came up next to me and put his arm around me. I wanted to pee my pants in that moment. He commented on what I said and then said "thank you Elder", shook my sweaty, gross hand and I went to sit down.... IT WAS SO AWESOME!!! Hahaha! The whole conference was way cool and we learned a ton. It was focused a lot on Family History and the Book of Mormon. So then it´s obvious what we need to do. Do your family history so that you can go to the temple and do the work for your ancestors, and read the Book of Mormon every day!!

In the third picture below is Elder Burrows. He is a good friend of Elder Evelo and is serving in the Chile Concepcion Sur Mission. I wanted to added what he wrote about the conference with President Nelson.

And on Friday, we went up to Concepcion to... SEE PRESIDENT NELSON!!! My mission and Concepcion mission- about 400 of us. It was so great to see old mission friends, especially Elder Labra my mission mom. Then, out from the crowd, comes this handsome half Mexican guy running toward me!!! I was SO SO happy when Carlos (or Elder Evelo) came a hugged me! The weirdest part is that we greeted each other initially in Spanish without thinking, and it was so cool! Haha, the weirdest part is that his voice has dropped a ton! He talks lower that Max now! He has journeyed from boy to man :) Man it was great to see the guy, though oh too brief. Luckily, I had written him a 5 page note and handed it to him, warning him about not being married before I get off my mission and that the South will always be our home but that we will surely spend time together out west. How crazy it was to see him and talk Spanish with him!

And 30 minutes later, as we are quietly studying- the big man walks in :D We all stood up for him, and it was so cool to see President Nelson in person!!! 
A cool note- Carlos and a small group of missionaries sung a beautiful hymn. He was one of only 2 basses when there was like 8 on every other part, but that boy has learned to SING! His loud bass voice completely balanced with the other oversized voice parts! How cool!

Then after the Packers spoke (the son of the apostle!) and Sister Nelson spoke, he did. It was so cool! And so directed completely at us! He talked about us preparing the souls for those who enter into the under-construction temple. He talked a long time about what we would not have if we didn´t have the Book of Mormon. In fact, he picked 10 people from the choir (including Carlos!) to help him. He then told us to all imagine if the Book of Mormon didn´t exist. He then asked the 10 missionaries to tell of one thing that they would not know now. They all gave great responses (especially Carlos, the sharp kid), from the Plan of Salvation to the purpose of the Atonement to agency and faith/works and the judgement, etc. He after each would ask them a brilliant and rather tricky counter question, which would usually make them think, then give an even more complete answer often requiring them to use a scripture! It was amazing to think of all the things we would not have without the book, and how the world is not ready for the 2nd coming until the world all has this book. And after their response, Pres. Nelson would testify of what THEY had said! So basically shorter said, I saw Carlos´s own words testified of by President Nelson!

It was great to see your boy! He and Gaby are great friends."

Tuesday, April 11, 2017