This week was General Conference and it was crazy. Luckily, I survived to serve another day. I'll start with some of our preparations before the weekend. On Wednesday we did exchanges with our Zone Leaders. I went with Sister Barcellos my MTC contact! She is the sweetest. We did a few tours together and I learned so much from her. It's all about sharing your heart and your testimony, helping people understand why we love the gospel so much. I am still trying my best to improve each day in bringing others, and myself, closer to the Savior.
On Thursday we saw the exciting church announcement. Witnesses to baptisms are no longer held only by priesthood holders. Any worthy person can serve as witness. The continued revelation to the prophet and apostles is amazing. They are teaching us many important lessons. It is important we remember that doctrine never changes, instead the church adapts to fit the times and the doctrine. If there is one thing I know it's to follow the prophet in all we do and we won't go astray. Later, that day I had a feeling that we should walk around the grounds rather than go online with our free time. We don’t usually go around because less people are interested in talking to us. As we walked toward the tabernacle we saw one couple who waved at us and beckoned us to come closer. The Smith's as we later discovered were recent converts to the church and had been sealed in the temple a month earlier. They were so excited to talk to missionaries and tell them all about the love they had for the gospel. We learned of their grown children who do not want the gospel and their one grandchild that is seeking to be baptized. They had the light of Christ all around them, and I hope one day there family will see it as clearly as I did.
Friday was the final prep day for general conference. Calls came in nonstop from guest services with people asking for information. We had a flagpole tour today, the walk in tours in front of the tabernacle every hour, and a special surprise awaited us. Our zone leaders dressed in street clothes pretending to be tourists. Along with all the other people they took the tour to evaluate how we were doing. A little exciting, but we went through everything pretty well. They gave us some nice feedback, and I am happy for the opportunity to learn and improve.
Final Conference! We got to the square bright and early and a local stake had breakfast prepared for us. We are quick and rushed to the square. There were thousands of people. We talked to as many as we could to get referrals and encourage them to share with others what they are learning. It's always sad when we approach someone only for them to say, "we are members, we don't need anything." Whether you are a member or not all people can benefit from a spiritual message every now and then. Even all the visiting missionaries we try to encourage them about their work and help them out. Our goal is to share with ALL people not just non-members and investigators. Surprising this is the time of year when the members actually outnumber the non-members usually we have more visitors on square then members. It was so fun to share messages with people at every corner. We gave out many Book of Mormons and hopefully they will become interested later on in hearing more from missionaries. Later in Saturday was women's conference. I didn't get to go, but Sister Sims did. All sisters 9 months and further were able to attend. I did exchanges with another member of my district Sister Donovan. I heard they announced 8 new temples during the session along with the changes to the young women's program. We were fed lunch and dinner by other local stakes and final went home at around 9:30p. As we were walking home we passed the Joseph Smith Memorial building and Elder Gong of the Twelve came out. He said hello to us sisters passing by as we went our separate ways. Yeah, that happened. After he walked away I'm pretty sure my eyes were very big in surprise at just seeing him walking around.
Sunday morning we got up early again and were fed breakfast. We participated in the announcing in all the many languages. President Fisher even announced in Navajo. We were later able to attend the Sunday afternoon session at 2:00. We sat in the front section on the floor. It was the section all the way to the left facing the stage. Very much a side view, but I was able to see the speakers and of course listen to there words. All the speakers were great! Elder Anderson for his funny jokes about being last before the prophet. There was a lot about remembering prayer and scripture study to increase our testimonies every day and taking of the fruit of the gospel. At the end President Nelson announced the special conference to be held April 2020. The first thought in my mind "you just guaranteed it to be 10 times busier next conference!" Oh, well. I'm still excited about it. I can't wait to be here next year to see the amazing things to go on. We went home around 7p to give us a break from the crazy days. The senior couples took care of the square and we were able to sleep a little extra which was a great blessing.
Monday was back to the regular schedule we know and love. We were able to contact the referrals we received and get back to what we normally do. This morning I took my driving test. Thankfully, I passed and I will now ne allowed to drive on the mission. I was told, I was the best driver they have seen in a while. Do know if that's true or not. Later today, our district will be traveling to the Pumpkin Patch to have some P-day fun. Not really sure what is there, but I'm sure it will be great.
Usually we have relief society on Thursdays. It starts at 7:30am. This Thursday our relief society meeting will start at 6:00a. We get to get up extra early, because we have a special guest speaking to us. Before his regular Thursday meeting in the temple with the twelve, Elder Holland will be coming to visit the Sisters on Temple Square. Don't know why, but I will let you all know how it went next week!
Until next time,
Sister Emily Christensen
Sorry I didn’t include pictures this week. For some reason it wouldn't allow me to attach pictures to my emails anymore. I had a problem last week and now I can't get any to attach. Hopefully I will be able to send a few pictures later today.