Right after the last update y'all received, I decided to invest in a little bottle of cologne called Preferred Stock. It was literally an insta-buy with a name like that! I use it in meetings to leave a scent of authority. Not sure if it's working, but I prefer it. ;) I got to revisit my old area of Burnaby this week as we went to a meeting to discuss the needs of the Chinese missionaries in our zone. It was odd. But fun because I got to see my legendary old companion, Elder Robinson. I snapped a shot of the Burnaby skyline as I fled the scene of the meeting. Good ol' Metrotown!
It was a very busy week for us. The zone conference with guest star Elder Teh of the First Quorum of the Seventy blasted through the mission, and ended in a climactic finale at the Templeview chapel here on our homefront of Langley. Because we were the closest elders to the venue, we had to make sure that everything was "bristol ready" for the meeting, etc. On top of the entire Lower Mainland's missionaries being assembled for this mammoth of a meeting, the Terrace zone decided to join us as well. Yeah...they're clear up North...so they flew down, and we were assigned to go and pick up the elders from Smithers all the way at the Vancouver airport...way late at night right before the zone conference. It was intense. But I got to be with Elder Vo and Elder Tolman, so that's always nice. Elder Vo is also from Arizona. We represent!
The zone conference was incredible. At one point, I found myself sitting in between two spiritual giants: President Burt and Elder Teh, on the stand. To help you visualize what that looked like in my mind, imagine a guppy in between two great white sharks. Yeah. Pretty intense. Conducting the meeting was hilarious, but hopefully I didn't fumble on my words too much.
We talked a lot about true missionary work vs. missionary things that we can sometimes find ourselves doing, the importance of the Spirit and of teaching people, not lessons. It was an amazing conference and I got a lot out of it. Go Elder Teh! He's a master teacher.
As we went through the week, we saw so many miracles. One of the elders in our zone, Elder Swallow finished his mission after extending for a full month past his original departure date. He was such an asset to the zone, and so it was hard to have to see him leave. He served a really honorable mission, and was such a Christ-like leader. In fact, back in "Nam-naimo", he was Elder Gawrys and I's zone leader. The legacy he left behind was incredible. He's going to do great in the post-mission existence. Moving on to whatever lies beyond that mysterious veil...
I feel like the highlight of the week, however, was a lesson we had with one of our incredibly solid investigators, C. This guy is literally a Preach My Gospel miracle. We found him a little while ago by a skytrain station, and he missed his first appointment. We didn't think he was too interested, but we called him again after a little while and he was excited to meet up. We met with him, taught the Restoration, and he ate it up. We left him with the pamphlet we had taught the lesson with to study, and committed him to read 3 Nephi 11 from the Book of Mormon and to pray about it, among other commitments.
We met with him again a couple of days ago in a small, incredibly noisy Tim Hortons (Candian donut/hot chocolate shop). His Restoration pamphlet was filled with notes, indicating his intent in studying. We talked more about the Book of Mormon, and where it came from, and why it is so important. He expressed to us how he didn't quite feel the same feeling from reading the Book of Mormon as he did when he read the Bible, but he wanted to believe it was true. We showed him Moroni 10:3-5. And taught him how in order for us to know that the Book of Mormon is true, we need to ask God in prayer and listen for His Spirit to answer us.
We committed him to pray right then and there, at the end of the lesson, and to ask God specifically if the Book is true.
He accepted the commitment and began to pray in such a heartfelt way. He thanked Heavenly Father for the opportunity that he has had so far to learn more about the restored gospel, and for the Book of Mormon. Then, he paused and added, "God, please help me know if the Book is real..." and then he paused for his answer. Nothing. Just the rushing sound of Tim Hortons customers. He kept waiting. And then, he spoke again, "God: is the Book of Mormon true?" with so much sincerity, faith and such real intent. He paused again, Elder Gawrys and I prayed that he would receive his answer. And suddenly, the entire Tim Hortons grew silent. For a moment in time, everything seemed to stop. The Spirit was palpable, and I felt the peace and warmth it brings to my heart. C closed his prayer, thanking God for the answer, and then looked at us. "I felt a heaviness in my heart..." "That is the Holy Ghost," we said, amazed. "That is how we know it is true."
"I know. I know it is."
That's what it's all about. We are here to guide others to God. This is not a program, it is a cause. The cause of Christ. I know without a doubt in the fiber of my being that the Book of Mormon is true. And I know that we can all know this. But we've got to be like Cody, and ask specifically, sincerely, faithfully, and with real intent. I am so grateful for the restored gospel, and for a Heavenly Father who loves us all so much. He's not giving up on us. We are His children, His joy. I hope and pray that we can never forget that and that we all can remember the answers we receive as we kneel before our Maker in mighty prayer. Because He'll answer back.
You know, when you want cologne....
you need to get something that you really prefer...
The Burnaby "Metro Town" skyline.
What a beauty!
Gettin' ready for a picture with Elder Vo
The Elder Vo
Stock and Gawrys goof shot!
Elder Haase and I taking pictures at the temple!
Elder Swallow the Legend!
The Willoughby squad!