Can I just tell you something? Our church is amazing.
This week has just been crazy. I’ll be telling you a bit of what Elder Holland told us this week as we received a visit from him and were able to meet and shake hands with him, and receive 2 days of wonderful inspiration and instruction from him. You know his talk, “Safety for the Soul” where he gives one of the most aggressive, most sincere, and most well-known testimonies of the Book of Mormon? He gave us one of those 🙂 But I’ll tell ya about the rest of my week first!
Monday night we were able to teach a new investigator named David. He’s a great guy who has gone through some struggles in his life, but we had a good lesson with him, and he has accepted to take this rest of the lessons. To be honest, that’s about all we had happen this week in Oban. We did go out to a place called the Isle of Seil, which you actually just have to take a bus to, and we knocked a whole lot of doors out there. Is was a cool experience, but not much fruit came of it.
We then left Wednesday night for Glasgow, and Thursday we had a West-Scotland Conference, which involved Glasgow and Paisley zones. It was an amazing and edifying experience. It was our last time hearing from President & Sister Brown personally, and it was probably my favorite Zone Conference I have been to my whole my mission. Plus, I had to give my departing testimony which still hasn’t hit me. I shared what is probably my favorite scripture now, Moroni 9:6. I’ve shared it before on my emails. We have an important work to do, no matter the circumstance or how “hard” the people may seem.
Friday…Friday was a loooooooong day. We were supposed to be on exchanges all day, but to cut a long story short, a missionary I was with (who will remain unnamed, but whoever reads this, just know he’s just fine now :D) had 3 seizures in the space of 5 hours. It was terrifying for the other 3 of us, because the first one was in the shower and we couldn’t get in. We got the Paramedics to come. Let’s just say I’m grateful for Priesthood Blessings and the medical knowledge that is now available to us to get through these things. 🙂 So the rest of that day involved hospital visits and lots of travel. haha!
Saturday and Sunday are two days I will never forget. On Saturday we had the privilege of having a missionary meeting with all the missionaries in Scotland, and meeting an Apostle of the Lord, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. In the meeting was Elder Teixeira of the Seventy, our current Area President, and his wife, and also Elder Herbertson of the Seventy and his wife, along with Pres. & Sis. Brown.
So, before the meeting started we were all able to shake Elder Holland’s hand and tell him our name and where we are from. So that was cool 🙂
Then he gave probably one of the most aggressive, loving, sincere, and spiritual instructions I have ever heard given. He didn’t stand at the pulpit, but he walked around the chapel, yelling, making jokes, and staring us down in the eye, all in the most Christlike way possible. It was amazing, and the Spirit was so strong in that room. He just told us that he “gets so fired up about these things” because of his love for missionary work and the change it has made in his life. From the way he described it, he came out on his mission in the same mindset that I and most missionaries do, scared and unprepared. But it has forever changed his life.
I’d just like to share some insights from that meeting.
He said (and in all of these I am paraphrasing and trying to quote at my best) “Can you imagine an organization or a government that puts their future in the hands of 18-25 year old young men and women?….We expect you to save the church!”
He said “You are engaged in the Salvation of a Human Soul. It is the most important thing you will ever do.” And he made it clear that this is the most important thing we will ever do in our life.
He also warned us, “Don’t you dare leave this gospel after your mission!! If you do, I’ll hunt ya, I’ll find ya!” haha it was quite funny the way he said it.
He talked a lot about how Preach My Gospel was designed on the principle that we have to go where our investigators go, and what they go through, in order to see any change. He shared how in John 3, Jesus taught a Pharisee, a “master” of Judaism who could not understand the simple Doctrine of being Born Again, and then in John 4, he went to the lowest of all people, a Samaritan Woman (if you look at the history of things, Samaritans were the lowest of the low classes in Israel) and taught her simple doctrines. The lesson learned is that we do not get to decide who learns. It can be a Master of Religion, or a rejected sinner, it does not matter. It is not our choice. Our responsibility is to talk with everyone. Everyone. It was an amazing meeting and an amazing experience for all of us.
The next day, Sunday, was a multi-stake conference broadcast from Edinburgh to 56 stakes and 4 districts, across the UK, Ireland, and Scandinavia.
Elder Herbertson spoke about how the Holy Ghost is not the only source of comfort and peace. As disciples of Christ (who all of us promised to be once we were baptised) we are obligated to comfort and bring peace to those around us.
The Edinburgh Stake President, Alan Freed (who looks like Clark Kent and is a man I very much look up to from serving in that stake for 6+ months) spoke about the “Miracle of Dunkirk” in 1940 during World War 2. He drew one of the greatest gospel lessons from that I have ever heard, that I will attempt to explain in the limited time that I have.
It was a time when 338,000+ Allied troops were stuck in the North of France trying to get away from the advancing German military. There needed to be a rescue effort to free all of these troops, but the only way to do it was by boats. Now, wherever they were in France was difficult for the much bigger Navy ships to get to, so the Allied Forces called out to the citizens to help. Over the next 8 days, with a force of 800 smaller ships, fishing boats, and pleasure yachts, all of them were rescued.
It was not the “Experienced vessels” that made the rescue. It was the “smaller, less-experienced vessels” that made the biggest difference. No matter who you are or how insignificant you may feel, your impact, the “small vessels” will make the biggest impact in the lives around you. Disciples don’t wait to be asked to help, or to even ask if they can help, they just help. Just do it. 🙂
After a few more speakers, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, addressed us. He said that in 20 years of the Apostleship, he had never attended a greater meeting than the one he attended that day. Now we don’t know if that included General Conference and everything, but he said it! 🙂 And I have to echo that statement. In my 20 years of living, I have never attended a more uplifting and inspiring meeting.
He said “Changing of the age for sister missionaries will change the future of this Church.” And it has!
He then began to speak about Spiritual experiences he has had throughout his life. He said he has had thousands. He even said “Some of these spiritual experiences I would not be allowed, I would not even be permitted to tell you about!!” But they all started with one thing, and that was with the reading of the Book of Mormon, to testify to him the reality of Jesus Christ.
And from that point on, the next half hour or so, was the most amazing testimony of the Book of Mormon I have ever heard! He asked us: “Have you ever tried to write such a Book as the Book of Mormon?”
I’m not even going to try and describe to you how he said it. This man has a dictionary in his mind, I swear!
But he said: “If Joseph Smith did not translate the Book of Mormon, then I would move Heaven & Earth to find the man who did!” Someone who claims to have written the Book of Mormon is a far more impressive miracle than the young boy translating is.
He said that as he lies on his death bed, the last thing he will declare to the earth is that “This is God’s Truth.”
Like I’ve said before, this meeting was amazing. I wish you all could have been there. I’m sorry that this was such a long email, I just wanted to share what I learned! And I’m now out of time because I took my whole time to write this email! 😦
I just have to tell you one more thing that Elder Holland, in a sense, prophesied of for this area. In a Priesthood Leadership meeting before the missionary meeting, he was asked the question: “As a seer, what do you see coming for this area?” and his response was this (taken from my President Brown’s email):
“Whatever the miracles of the past have been, they are nothing to what we will see in the future – the work has only begun in these islands!” He said that the scripture quoted by Moroni to the Prophet Joseph 4 times from Joel 2 “has scarcely begun to be realised” and that this generation would live to see the manifestation of it – he also said; “We’ve only seen the beginning” – and he repeated that statement twice for emphasis.”
I know that this work is true, the Gospel is real, and I love being here in Scotland and Ireland serving my Lord and my Savior. I love you all!
-Elder Skylar Starr 🙂
Can I just tell you something? Our church is amazing.