"For those of you who are not paying your tithing...I invite you to consider your situation and repent."
-- Elder David "the Boss" Bednar
We met a man named Jeff sitting on his porch last Thursday and sat down to talk with him. A few minutes into the conversation, I felt prompted to say the following:
"Jeff, let's say that you walk into a room. You close the door, and turn around, and there is the Savior, sitting there. He says to you, 'You have five minutes.' What do you talk about?"
It was an unusual question, one that I'd come up with myself and had only used once before in my entire mission. I'd invite you to take a moment and ponder about it yourself. I'll get to my own thoughts later on in this email.
Jeff paused for a long moment, and then responded, "I'd talk to Him about all the bad choices I'd made in my life."
I nodded at that, and then asked, "And what do you think He would tell you?"
Again, Jeff stopped for a good while. Finally, his voice soft, he replied, "That it's never too late to change."
For a brief moment I got to see inside this man's heart. It was a sacred experience I will not forget.
My new companion is Elder Herr from
I am already in the process of making a massive pun skit using his name. The
scene would easily work, since we also got a new sister missionary in our ward
at the same time. Tuscon, Arizona
Elder: "We have a new missionary in the ward. Would you like to meet Herr?"
E: "Okay. *searches* Where is Herr?"
M: "Where is she, you mean? She's right there."
E: "No, where is Herr. Herr is my companion."
M: "It's said 'she is my companion,' Elder. And since when were sisters companions with elders?"
E: "They're not. Oh, golly, don't tell me I lost Herr."
M: "She's not lost, she's right there. Where's the other missionary?"
E: "I don't know."
M: "We'll need to find him, then."
E: "Herr. We need to find Herr."
M: "We don't need to find the sister! We're looking for the other one. What's his name?"
M: "I don't need to know the sister's name. What's the elder's name?"
And so on, and so forth.
Andy, the young son of an investigator we've been teaching, got bitten by a Brown Recluse on the tummy not long ago and had to be taken to the emergency room for surgery when the bite got infected. We had given him a blessing and were quite relieved when he was back on his feet and smiling again.
"Wanna see the bite?" he asked us eagerly. He lifted up his shirt, displaying the gruesome hole in his stomach.
I regarded it.
" 'Looks like ol'' Shelob's been havin' a bit of fun,' " my brain said.
"It looks great," I replied.
I had a lot of insights at Conference, but for the sake of time I'll just share some select highlights:
1) A common theme this conference appeared to be compassion. Ponder this.
2) Christofferson's talk about women was amazing.
3) I had prayed for weeks that the Choir would sing "O Divine Redeemer" at conference, and they did. I was very thankful to Heavenly Father. They also sang "When He Comes Again," much to my delight. The only one that was missing was "This is the Christ," my favorite song of all time.
4) Elder Nielsen, who gave the "Exclamation Point!" talk, came to our mission last June.
5) When Elder Nelson began his talk by saying "I recently heard a chorus of children sing 'I Am a Child of God,' " he was probably referring to how he made the children stand up and sing for him at the Stake Conference at Pineville in February, which I was present for.
6) Terence Vinson's talk really stood out to me: God's work and His Glory is that something as imperfect and flawed as a human being can become like Him. He glories in the fact that He can take a being so frail and weak and make it godly.
Were I to walk in a room and the Savior be there and I had five minutes with Him, what would I do? I've had a lot of time to think about this.
My first response would probably be to fall at His feet. But, assuming that I couldn't do that, I'd probably just listen to what He had to say. If I had to find something to talk about, things get a bit more difficult. At first I thought that I would ask Him what I needed to do in my life, what I needed to know, life choices I've made, who I should help, what I should say to them, that I love Him, etc. etc. Or possibly doctrinal questions, like where we go after we die and what it's like there.
Upon further thought, I realized that none of these are good questions, because I think I already kind of know in my heart the answers to them. I know what I need to do in life. I know what things I must learn. I know what choices I've made that have been bad. I know who needs helping and what needs to be said to them. I already know all of these things because of His light that is inside me, the Light of Christ. I do not have a perfect knowledge, but the Spirit has already revealed most of the answers to me, if I stopped to review.
As for the doctrinal questions, like if there's life after death...if I had already believed by hearing them from regular people, then it wouldn't make any difference hearing them from Him. If I had not believed those truths coming from a regular person, I wouldn't believe them coming from Him.
I got a pretty good idea of things I wouldn't say. Selfish or disrespectful or trivial things, like "At what point were you suffering for me in the Garden?" or "Did you ever get sealed to someone?" Or stupid questions, like "Do you love me?" or "Can I be forgiven?" or "Will I make it?"
I guess, besides listening, the only thing I could really think of to ask is "What do I need to hear so that I may strengthen my brethren when I go back?"
As Elder Nelson taught last Sunday, all of us, someday, will have a personal interview with the Savior. On that occasion, however, some very specific things will be discussed. This hypothetical situation is not the Last Judgment; it's a preliminary, preparatory "review," you might say. A question and answer session before the qualifying exam for the
. Celestial Kingdom
I hope to be ready for it. I don't think I ever will, but if I do, it will only be because He has helped me.
I love the Savior. I love my mission. I love my companion. I love all of you. Hurrah for