Tuesday, September 6, 2011

August 22nd, Temple Dedication

August 22nd:
Well, I´ve got a whole lot that I could say this week so we´ll see if I can even scratch the surface of the experiences of this past weekend. On Friday, my mission along with the Santa Ana/Belize mission had a special meeting with President Eyring, and Elder Christofferson. There present as well were Elder Martino, Elder Amado, and Elder Falabella from the quorum of the seventy. I can´t even begin to describe how it felt to be in the same room as all of those men and see them interact. When we first got there, we had to wait a bit for the members of the seventy to arrive, and a bit longer for President Eyring and Elder Christofferson. While we were waiting for the latter two, Elder Martino and Elder Amado spoke to us. Elder Martino talked about how we always need to ask first to be able to receive. He made the example of the first vision, later with the revelation concerning baptism, and later the revelation concerning the kingdoms of glory. All cases in which they asked God before recieving. He applied that to us missionaries and our investigators. He then spoke of how can we expect our investigators to stop doing things so difficult like drinking, smoking, law of chastity ect. if we don´t complete with our responsibilities or if we aren't obedient ourselves. Elder Amado then spoke for a bit and said something I liked. He said "what is seen, touched, and heard doesn't count and doesn't matter. What matters is what is felt." He then spoke a bit about the organization and responsibilities that members of the 70, quorum of the 12, and first presidency hold. He spoke about how great a privilege it was that we were going to have the privilege of hearing from President Eyring. Well the moment arrived and President Eyring and Elder Christofferson arrived with their wives. Even their presence was very powerful, everyone was just watching them! A choir from the other mission sang "divina luz" or "lead kindly light". It was actually really good! Then Elder Eyring got up and spoke with the help of a translator. He started off commented that his ride on the way here was quite interesting, that "The people here are great, quite aggressive on the streets!" He said he had a police escort in front of them and that a few people decided to get out of the way, and others decided to get behind them and just join the parade haha. He then began saying he was with President Monson just a few hours earlier, and that he sends his love. he said "he really wanted to be here, and this weekend is his Birthday! That only comes around once a year and of all places he wanted to be here was with you. He sends his love." He said they were having to deal with some difficult things. That often members of the 12 will come to him in the weekly meetings that they hold with big problems, often very sad and complicated. He said President Monson will often listen respectfully, wait for them to finish and finally just say "things will work out" with a smile. He said that is the exact same attitude that President Hinckley had, and the same attitude we can have; we just need to have faith. And that for us as missionaries the faith that God truly called us. He went on to explain the process of assigning a missionary a mission call, and how it was different for every apostle. He explained how he receives revelation through a map, that´s what helps him. At the end of the process it is very clear where the missionary needs to go. He said through this process, he has been able to feel and understand how perfectly and personally god knows each and every one of us. He knows our fears, our weakness, our strengths, and most of all our potential. He said through this process he must not look at the picture of the missionary as how he seems or appears, but (choking back tears) how god sees him. He said, "he knows our name. He knows us perfectly. And that is manifest in your mission calling." He then asked Elder Walker (70 in charge of temples) and Elder Christofferson to bear their testimonies. Elder Walker made the comment that there could not be a better time to be a missionary in El Salvador than right now. That´s the truth!

Elder Christofferson then spoke (in really good Spanish) and said we often forget to express our thanks to those who serve us and to those whom we serve with, " So thank you". He said that sometimes he thinks of Peter and what he would say looking at our times. He said he would say something like, "man, if I had planes, cars, telephones, internet and TV I would have converted the whole world in 10 months!" haha. He said he feels good working with us missionaries side by side, and that he hopes with feel the same. He also aid,"It doesn´t matter what anybody else thinks or says... this is the truth."

President Eyring got up and spoke again. He said our greatest testimony must be that Jesus is the Christ, and that we should testify of that most often. He counseled us to go to the Book of Mormon often in profound and sincere prayer, and promised if we do that our testimonies of Christ will increase deeply and profoundly. He said "Be true witlessness of Jesus Christ. It is more than just saying it; it is feeling that as your are obedient, dedicate yourselves, and live the Gospel, you will notice you will begin to change. You will be a living witness that the atonement of Jesus Christ has the power to change even our very nature. That we will no longer desire to do evil, but to do good continually, and begin to reach our potential." What a humble man. I don´t know anyone like him. I wanted to write everything down that he was saying but I eventually just had to stop and listen to what he was saying and enjoy the spirit that was there. It was an experience I´ll never forget!

Then Saturday was the cultural event and we watched it at the stake center. Sitting next to me was a Sister missionary from my zone that is from here El Salvador. It was cool to see her get emotional and cry druing much of the presentation. All the young men and women participated in the culurtal even and every stake and a special segment where they danced a national dance. It was pretty sweet and everybody loved it.
Then finally yesterday was the temple dedication! There were 3 sessions, and we saw all 3 in the stake center. In each session there was a choir, 3 or 4 speakers, and the dedicatory prayer given by President Eyring. He spoke in the first and last sessions. He did great in both occasions despite the inconvenience of having a translator having to interrupt every sentence. I especially enjoyed his talk in the last session. He spoke of the blessing of the temple and a few personal experiences of grandchildren that had passed away as little children and the blessing they have in greeting the celestial kingdom thanks to the atonement. Many spoke of of how the members of the church used to have to travel to Arizona to go to the temple, then Mexico, then Guatemala, and now the long awaited day of having one in El Salvador.

Sylvia Allred who is from here spoke in the second session. She moved to the states when she was like 9, which is quite clear because she doesn´t have a accent from El Salvador at all haha. I can´t remember all that was said by President Eyring, but I do know that the spirit was strong and it was clear that he is a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator. In the dedicatory prayer, he specifically prayed for the missionaries and the work here. Hearing that and knowing it was specifically directed towards me was something very special and touching. I guarantee there will be a noticeable increase in success in the mission because of that prayer. He blessed the temple especially with protection from those who desire to do it harm, or evil ones you attempt to enter.. Much needed for this country! He prayed for peace and opportunity of the country. The whole country is going to be blessed because of the temple, no doubt about that. All in all it was a great end to a weekend that I´ll never forget!

My ears have gotten quite a bit better. It was funny I talked to the area doctor and was telling me how they wanted to give me IV´s and he was like. "Giving IV´s for an ear infection is like tossing an atomic bomb to kill ants. I don´t know what it is about Latin doctors, but they love to overdo everything. It´s how they sell themselves to the people." haha kind of a funny guy. Well I better go but love you all thanks for everything I hope you have a great week!
Love Nick

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