On Saturday, February 21, we were blessed to have a mission conference with Elder David A Bednar from the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, Elder Lynn Robbins and Elder Kevin Pearson and their wives. It included both the Sydney North and Sydney South Missions. We have known the Robbins since Vaughn was just a toddler and they were our neighbors. They saw us on the front row when they came in and looked surprised and pleased that we were there. Sister Robbins in her testimony mentioned us by name and said how nice it was as they travelled the world to see people serving who they had known elsewhere. It was amazing to hear the hundreds of young elders and sisters sing “We Are All Enlisted” with vigor.
We felt the warmth, comfort and peace of the Spirit in the meeting and we were so happy to be there. We were instructed to come prepared having studied and marked three different talks by Elder Bednar (Seek Learning by Faith, CES Educators, 3 Feb 2006; Ask in Faith, General Conference, April 2008; and Converted Unto the Lord, General Conference, October 2012). The meeting was interactive, with questions and answers going both ways. Elder Bednar first asked us what we learned from our reading and studying, and many courageous young missionaries raised their hands and answered with great insights. One of our Elders stood and answered he had learned that sharing our testimony builds our testimony. Elder Bednar said when an investigator says, “I feel good when I read the Book of Mormon”, that is a testimony. As the investigator shares his testimony, the Spirit bears witness to him that what he is saying is true.
Later, Elder Bednar encouraged us to ask questions. One of our young sisters asked how she could be assured that the Lord was pleased with her service as a missionary. Elder Bednar had us all turn to Doctrine and Covenants 97:8, “Verily I say unto you, all among them who know their hearts are honest, and are broken, and their spirits contrite, and are willing to observe their covenants by sacrifice-yea, every sacrifice which I, the Lord, shall command-they are accepted of me.” He suggested we memorize and ponder this scripture. He stated, “The Holy Ghost will help you know who you really are”. He encouraged us as women not to be too hard on ourselves. We are not perfect, but we can be worthy.
Elder Bednar didn’t call out or embarrass anyone and worked throughout the meeting by the Spirit asking questions and then answering questions. The pattern he used in itself was instructive of how the missionaries were to teach their investigators. He didn’t answer all the questions himself, but called on the other general authorities and their wives at various times when he felt prompted that they would have an answer to the question. The time flew past as we were together for over three hours.
He said, “I testify the Lord know your name. I know this from my experience assigning missionaries. You are where the Lord wants you to be.”
Living the gospel is not hard, not living the gospel is hard.
Analogy: the Priesthood is the umbrella protecting both a man and a woman. Men are assigned to hold the umbrella.
Paul and Alma were not converted by the light and the angel. They learned line upon line after their remarkable experiences.
In a special comment to senior couples, Elder Bednar said The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve are deeply grateful for our service. He said one of the biggest impediments for seniors serving is leaving their grandchildren. He promised that our children and grandchildren will be blessed by our service. The prayers that your grandchildren say, “Bless grandpa and grandma on their mission” will bless their own lives. Elder Bednar looked right at Dave and I and said, “Your grandchildren will be better off because you are serving. There is nothing that you could do with your grandchildren that would be better than leaving them and serving a mission.” It was sweet tender mercy to hear and feel the truth of his promise! We wish we could convey how strongly we felt the Spirit at that time. It was such a blessing.