This week was similar to my shirt size: extra medium. We did interchanges with the Zone Leaders this week, and for the first time in my mission, I worked outside of Valle Dorado! I went off to Pithayas with Elder Carlson, and Elder Castro came here to work with Elder Gonzalez. I swear, it was the most disorganized day I've ever had. It seemed like we were just aimlessly running around the entire day! We didn't contact a single new person (the mission rule is 10 new contacts every day), and I wanted to learn from Elder Carlson to see if there was a more effective way to contact people... I didn't get to find out. Fortunately, Elder Gonzalez learned a lot from Elder Castro, so we've been working to apply said teachings.
Last week, due to the story of the exorcism, I was unable to write about Elder Bednar coming to the mission. It was simply amazing. We were all poised and positioned to take our mission picture with him, and we were just talking a little bit as we waited for him to arrive. As soon as he walked into the room, an immediate silence fell over everyone. Now THAT is power. He actually looks a lot older in person than he does in General Conference.
Anyways, we took the picture, and then I was super excited to play the prelude music for him. I got up to the piano and started playing, and President Egbert almost immediately walked up to me. He told me that Elder Bednar didn't want to wait until 9 (it was about 8:45) to get started; he just wanted to get going, so when Elder Vique got up, it was my cue to stop. As soon as I finished playing that first verse of the first hymn, Elder Vique stood up. You cannot even imagine my disappointment. I expecting to be able to play the piano for an apostle of the Lord for a good 20 minutes, and I got to play one verse of one hymn! I didn't even get to show off. Hmph.
Fortunately, his "talk" made up for it. I put talk in quotes because it was effectively a giant Q&A between us and him. First, he asked us what some of the things we learned were, and I answered mainly so that he would talk to me for a little bit. I don't even remember what I said, but I remember thinking for the next 5-ish minutes, "Oh my gosh... An apostle of the Lord is talking to me... This is awesome!"
Then Elder Bednar opened up the discussion to questions from us. He gave us an example of a good and a bad question. The bad question was, "Elder Bednar, where's the sword of Laban?" His response: "I don't know, and I don't care." There were two questions that really caught my attention. One was asked by Elder Clark. He was an assistant last cycle, and he's training for his last two cycles in the mission. He asked how we could better understand the Atonement and apply it in our lives.
I'll be paraphrasing here, but I'll put it in quotes: "That's an excellent question, and the answer will take you a lifetime. First, take a Book of Mormon. Just a cheap copy that the missionaries use. I'm rather confident you can find one of those. Then, read it cover to cover and mark any scripture that talks about or mentions the Atonement. When you finish, write on a sheet of paper a one page paper on what you learned about the Atonement as you read the Book of Mormon. Then put that Book of Mormon on a shelf... and do it again with the same one-page paper at the end. When you've done this a few times, you can look back and read your one-page summaries and see the difference in your understanding of the Atonement. You can do this with any principle of the gospel, and when you get to be my age, you'll have several copies of the Book of Mormon with different labels on the spine about a wide variety of gospel subjects."
It may take a while to do, but I completely agree with Elder Bednar; the best way to learn anything is poco a poco; line upon line, precept upon precept.
The second question was asked by Hermana Cardona, who was a sister trainer leader trainer (we call them las asistentas). She asked how we can know the things we need to improve upon to be better missionaries and better people in general.
Once again, paraphrasing in quotes: "Do you really want to know the answer to that question? I draw your attention to Moroni 10:5, a verse many people know. 'And by the power of the Holy Ghost, ye may know the truth of all things.' All things includes ourselves. As human beings, we put up walls in our minds that prevent us from seeing into the deepest, darkest corners of ourselves. We don't let ourselves see us as we truly are. This is something you should never do casually, but something you should do at some point in your lives. You can pray to our Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus Christ to have the Holy Ghost allow you to see yourself as you truly are, and you will be shocked. You will know completely, wholely, and bluntly the things you need to do better, and you can proceed to find the way to do them better. Now, as I said, you should not do this casually, but it should be done at some point in your lives. And the Holy Ghost will tell you the truth; that's his job."
Woah... I have to think long and hard about that little bit of council. I want to do it, but I don't want to do it at the wrong time in my life. I know I need to improve, and I know a few of the ways in which I can be better, but I don't know if I want to know all of them just yet. I suppose that's the key to life, though. Figuring out what we need to improve upon or change and then going to work to do so. That's the purpose of the mission: change the lives of other people as well as our own. Poco a poco, I'll continue changing, maturing, and improving, and above all, iré y haré.
There's no Q&A this week
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This blog is edited by Elder Groesbeck's amazing, beautiful, younger sister Aubrie. I will post any update I get. Enjoy :)