Yesterday’s All Mission Conference was the fulfilment of a dream I have long had to get all the missionaries together in one place with an Apostle. What made this even more meaningful is that the reality was better than the dream, which is often not the case. It was a memorable, inspiring and moving experience. Can I share a handful of things that particularly moved me and that I will not forget:
· Reciting Section 4 and Our Purpose together.
· Hearing all 185 of you sing two of my favorite hymns – Redeemer of Israel and Hope of
Israel sung with fervor and conviction!
· Seeing the joy in your faces as you met Elder Stevenson and heard him teach the gospel
of Jesus Christ.
· Feeling the power of the Spirit throughout the meeting and seeing the effect it had on you.
Highlights from Elders Hallstrom and Stevenson
Below are some of the things that stood out to me as I listened to Elders Hallstrom and Stevenson (These are directly from my notes and the quotes may not be exact.”)
Elder Gary E Stevenson
“Sometimes miracles happen spontaneously, but most of the time they happen after great work and effort are expended.”
If you have PMG, the scriptures, the White Handbook and a Mission President with the keys, you have everything you need to be a great missionary.”
“We need to keep ourselves unspotted from the world. We need to be clean and pure.”
“There are people here that need you… Just as Peter and Cornelius came together… If you are unspotted you can find your Cornelius.”
“When you are obedient you are blessed…Every rule in the white handbook will lead to a blessing. Wickedness never was happiness. It never was and never will be. Disobedience never was happiness and never will be.”
“This is a unique time in your life. You are given authority to promise blessings!... Does the Lord forget to promise blessings? D & C 4:7 without blessings is ‘Ask, knock, amen’”
“Every companionship should be a threesome. The third member of the companionship is the Holy Ghost.”
“I bless you that you will know in your hearts that the Lord is aware of your challenges and he will bless you. I bless you and your families…”
Elder Donald L Hallstrom
8 And now, behold, I give unto you a commandment, that when ye are assembled together ye shall instruct and edify each other, that ye may know how to act and direct my church, how to act upon the points of my law and commandments, which I have given.
Instruct and edify (means to lift or strengthen) through feeling the Holy Spirit (we are instruments in the hands of the Lord). To be edified is our responsibility.
“We want this mission to change you forever, not just for the time you are here… We want this to be a foundational period of your life…”
“You are the miracle of the church. Most people your age are into self indulgence. You are doing something completely unselfish and in that service you find yourself…”
ROW 1: Sister and Elder Clarke, Elder and Sister Samuelson, Sister and Elder Canaan, President and Sister Johnson, President Wahlstrom, Sister and Elder J. Christensen, Elder and Sister Thompson and Sister Casler
ROW 2: Sisters Dixon, Pena, Faamaile, A. Smith, Terry, Roper, K. McDonald, Birch, Penrod, Stimpson, Palmer, Fenton, Nelson, Carr, Bowden, Maya, Schofield, Volk, Beckstrand, Dean, Campbell and Simpson
ROW 3: Sisters Chambers, Thorson, Durfee, Hegewald, Simonsen, DeMille, Kelley, R. McDonald, Durrant, A. Hansen, A. Anderson, Mackelprang, Allen, Hansen, Roberts, Brunner, Kwasney (behind), Ewell, Morrison (behind), Wall, Kelly, D. Smith, B. Anderson, Jackson(behind), Belnap, Nelson, Roden, Bartlett, Yorgason, Taunima (behind), Morgan and Jacobson
ROW 4-5: Elders Loreto, Smith, Dagal, Baker, Adams (below), Argyle (above), Van Leuween, Ibarra, Renteria, Andrews, English, Camp, Gull, McGee (below), Bledsoe, Marcum, Gray, Rich, Heywood, Bryan (behind), Swisher, Li, Boyes, Moon, L Anderson, Ord, Bryner, White, Synder, Cooper, (Sister Jackson), Rawle, P. Wilson, Cuthbert, Rogowski, R. Cook, Manley and E. Haroldsen
ROW 6: Elders Dunkley, Kinman, Nuttall, Huff, Gneiting, Segon, Furniss, Holdaway, Caleb Nelson, Chafin, Zubeck, Bates, La Fon, Butikofer, Richens, Colten Cook, Ramos, T. Walker, Kotter, Holley, B. Payne, A. Wilson and S. Walker
ROW 7: Elders Rayburn, Bryant, Smedley, Selfridge, Hatch, Johnson, Story, S. Payne, Mills, Foster, Averett, Cahoon, Harper, Wilkins and Williamson
ROW 8: Elders Teoyotl Rojas, Aguinaga, Jones, Robertson, Whitehead, Cowan, Goeckeritz, Aitken, Noyes, Torgerson, Halls, J. Haroldsen, Carter Nelson, Condie, Olsen and A. Christensen
ROWS 9-10: Elders Riggs, Gardiner, Goulding, Winfree, Madsen, Cannon, Herzog, Ross, Syndergaard, Daines, Richardson, Parke, Spencer, Elliot, A. Hansen, A. Taylor, Montgomery, Davidson, D. Taylor, S. Hansen, Stock and Wood
IMPRESSIONS SHARED BY SOME OF THE MISSIONARIES:
Missionary Wisdom & Insight
“I am really going to try to be more obedient, (not that I'm not obedient, just have to mention that!) but to obey with more exactness, and to be more positive about following the rules. I don't want to look at them as rules, but as opportunities the lord has given me to be blessed. What a beautiful perspective!”
“I know personally Elder Gary E. Stevens is 10000% a special witness of the name of Jesus Christ, it was as if he was speaking directly to me when he spoke to us on Saturday because he answered my questions. He was the mouth piece and I had the ears to listen, learn, grow, and know how I need to improve and change to become the servant, warrior, and daughter of God my Heavenly Father wants me to be.”
“Elder Stevensons training was wonderful. And you know what, i loved the training. But the best part was the end of his time. When he began testifying. And the room went silent. And after that 20 minute testimony, there was just a silence of awe. It might have been one of the most spiritual experiences I have ever had.”
“I really felt the power that Elder Stevenson had and felt a strong witness that he is an apostle of the Lord. He taught me so much. I can't even begin to write about what I learned. But more importantly than what I learned was what I felt. I felt Heavenly Fathers love for me and for his children, I felt joy, peace, and a desire to always follow Heavenly Father.”
“This was the main theme I got from the past two days:
We need to:
1.Have Faith and not worry
2.That faith should lead us to obedience
3.Obedience brings the blessings.
4.Blessings bring joy.”
“This was truly the best weekend of my mission! The Spirit was felt a lot, I got to see my best friends (missionaries), I got to meet an Apostle of the Lamb, my testimony was strengthened, my motivation was increased, my faith grew, my soul got fed, my perspective about the mission and the impact it's going to have in my life after I go home changed too.”
“Saturday was amazing. That was the shortest 2 hour meeting I've ever been in. It seemed like 5 minutes.”
“Last week was probably one of the greatest moments of my mission. I'll definitely remember the weekend we had with an Apostle of the Lord for the rest of my life.”
“I also loved how they talked about using the white handbook, PMG, and the scriptures and if we use those things under your direction we are good. I love that because I had been feeling kind of stupid this week for following the handbook even when other missionaries don't and one of my questions was, "Am I being overly worried about being obedient?" And then they talked a lot about how we NEED to be obedient to have blessings and it reassured me that I was doing the right thing :)”
“I also loved the mission wide conference and it was so cool to have everyone together! I thought the counsel we received was excellent. I love how simply and beautifully they taught. It was nothing new or revolutionary, just simple truths of the gospel. I think the best thing I learned was Elder Stevenson's instruction on promised blessings. I love what he did with D&C 4:7. The Lord never forgets to promise blessings and I do a lot. That's something I need to improve in my teaching. I've been studying Ch. 11 and I hope to implement more promised blessings in our teaching this week.”
“What a great and super spiritual meeting! It almost brought tears to my eyes singing that first Hymn with 185 other missionaries, I haven't heard a Hymn sung with so much heart and power in a long time! This was for sure an experience I will never forget!”
“And what I learned from Elder Stevenson is exactly what we have learned so many times before "PMG, the white handbook, and are scriptures is what we need to succeed!!”
“I needed to hear what Elder Stevensen said about letting the spirit teach by bearing testimony and promising blessings. A few times last week it was like pulling teeth; trying to get people to make commitments. We made sure to bear testimony and promise blessings in our lessons on Sunday and they were completely different! It works!”
“It was so interesting to here Elder Stevenson talk about fighting bad, becoming worthy for the spirit especially as the Lords servant and a whole section on virtue! I felt as if he talked directly to me. He couldn't have been more personal if he had sat in front of me in an interview! It was so great to see all my mission friends as well! What an inspiring occasion. I teared up multiple times.”
“My mission means the world to me. It has changed me into someone far better than I have ever imagined and I am excited to see the continued growth that will come over the next year. It is my privilege to be here and I will work as hard as I can to return even the tiniest bit back to my Lord, although I will never be able to return the blessings He continues to give me. I want to serve Him to the end of my life. Like it said in "Savior, Redeemer of My Soul": "Let all my life reflect Thy will." I hope when I go home I can say with President Monson, that when God needs an errand run He knows He can call on me to do it.”
“One thing that I will change is definitely how I study PMG. I'm going to take it a lot more seriously and not just read it to check it off the to do list. I'm going to study with more intent and utilize it more often in my missionary efforts.”
“President the Mission Meeting was among the most spiritual experiences I've ever had. I recorded much of it in my journal. One of the things that I learned that really made an impression on me was choosing today what I want to be in the future. There are so many great things written in my patriarchal blessing and I know that if I choose this day to stand in holy places and fill my mind and heart with virtue, those words will become a reality. I was heavily motivated by the spirit to make a choice. It's going to be a choice I'll make everyday. But because I'm choosing now, I know it will be easier when I'm home. Elder Stevenson brought such an astounding spirit that I could not deny. I know the Lord Jesus Christ lives and I'm positive that his witness is true.”
“Reciting D&C 4 and Our purpose, singing our "mission" hymns- truly was an experience I will forever cherish. I got a bit teary eyed during our closing hymn simply because those hymns will forever be sacred to me because they were sung during the most sacred and special time of my life- my mission.”
“One of the many take-aways from this revelatory experience was the importance of testifying and promising blessings. I loved when he read d&c 4 and read the scripture without the promised blessings. Last night, when we were at dinner with a family, I made a more conscious effort of promising blessings. It was cool to see how their faces lit up a little more when I promised an even greater abundance of the spirit and joy in their life as they looked and prayed for missionary opportunities. The spirit was present and I just felt so lucky that I have the authority to promise them those blessings! It's the coolest.”
There were so many things to learn, and I am thankful for some good notes that I was able to take. One thing that I loved was when Elder Stevenson shared his thoughts about how obedience brings blessings and blessings bring happiness. That has kind of been my motto as a missionary that I have come to realize is that "obedience brings blessings" and it was so cool to hear those exact words from an apostle! So that is something I am goin to work hard on with myself is to be as obedient as possible. I also love when general authorities teach out of PMG. Those men teach so powerfully out of the same manual we do. I was able to see Elder Oaks do it in the MTC, and Elders Perkins and Stevenson do it in PA. It's a huge testimony builder to me of the power of that book of we really dove into it and use it!
“One thing I learned from that meeting is that as missionaries, just as we plan what commitment we will leave with someone we are teaching, we can also plan what blessings we can promise. I havent ever really made "what blessings are we going to promise?" a part of my preparation for lessons, but I know that as we prayerfully plan what blessings we can promise, those promises will be stronger and more spirit filled in the lessons. Just as everything else goes in missionary work - the better your planning, the more successful you will be. Im excited to apply this in our lessons this week.”
“It was so great to see all the missionaries and meet the general authorities and see you and sister Johnson. An unforgettable experience. It Is a blessing to be a part of this work. There is nothing of greater worth of value in my life right now. Nothing else could provide me with the changes and experiences I need to become perfected in Christ.”
“The spirit that I felt during the meeting was an indescribable one. I will never forget the feeling.”
“It was so great to see all my mission friends as well! What an inspiring occasion. I teared up multiple times.”