So this week was the mission tour. I spent the last week with a general authority and it was pretty much amazing. I don't even know where to start right now. I'll just give you some of the highlights. It all started on Tuesday with a mini MLC. Elder and Sister Ardern addressed all the zone leaders and sister training leaders. He taught us some very valuable skills about leadership and how we can reach our potential as missionaries. The truly amazing part started after the meeting was over when President Ostler invited Elder Limocon and I to have lunch with them and the Arderns. Holy crap. That was quite the experience. Having lunch with a member of the quorum of the seventy, a mission president and their wives. I kinda felt out of place. It was a great, awkward experience. Then, Elder Ardern grabbed President Ostler and us, took us to the other room and began to give us instruction on how to fulfill our calling. We received 30 minutes of direct instruction from a general authority in person about how to magnify your calling. Wow!!
The next few days were spent addressing three large groups of missionaries. One conference per day. We were able to attend each one. The first stop: Palawan. Man, it was great to be back in the Celestial kingdom again. Unfortunately, the only sights we were able to see were the airport, the zone leader's apartment, and the chapel. However, just being in Palawan was amazing (we'll be heading back in less than a month for another conference. I'm stoked).
The teaching that we received was quite inspiring. I attended three conferences and each one was different. Elder Ardern commented to us that he "teaches people, not lessons." The way in which he was able to teach was quite impressive. These are not short conferences either. He taught for about three hours in each conference and it was based 100% on the spirit. A few of the secrets to being a master teacher are to ponder continually the words of life, to prepare every needful things, and then be willing to let it go and follow the spirit when prompted. There was not a moment when Elder Ardern was not teaching. When we were eating, flying, driving, he was always teaching. What was truly inspiring was he didn't only teach through his words, he taught by example. Whenever he taught us something, he would demonstrate it.
As you can see, my thoughts are kind of all over the place. There are so many things going through my mind and it's difficult to organize them. Here's a couple more random events that occured:
I drove a general authority through the city of Manila. I had two emotions and thoughts going through my head. 1st: This is terrifying, there's a general authority sitting in my van as we speak and I need to get him from point A to point B safely and I’ve only been driving in this city for a week. 2nd: I have nothing to worry about. The lord will never let anything bad happen to the car that his general authority is driving in. I'm happy to report that we made it safely.
A recurring theme in the conference was finding a spouse. More specifically, what to look for in a spouse. hmmmm
I've never been so sleep deprived in my life. We woke up at 4:30 am three times last week. The other days we were out of bed by six . Didn't go to sleep till 10:30. Exhausting.
Well that about sums up mission tour. I wish you guys could just have been here to experience it with me. It was such a blessing witness the things I witnessed and learn the things I learned. I learned a lot of life lessons that will never be forgotten.
I have one more experience that I would like to share with you today. I occurred yesterday as we taught the family I told you a couple weeks ago that randomly showed up to church. We finally had the opportunity to teach them for the first time yesterday and it was one of the most amazing lessons ever. Emma, the wife, is Chinese. She grew up in China and has no Christian background whatsoever. This is the very first time of my entire mission that I’ve taught an investigator without a belief in the God that we believe. Her family was Buddhist, but she's been looking for something else, something else that would be better for her own family (don't you love it when people are looking for that?). Well we spent the first lesson talking about God and his role in our life. We explained how we are all children of our Heavenly Father and that he loves us. She wasn't really buying it. She was completely open to our message, but years and years of Buddhism had taught her differently. She truly wanted to believe, she just couldn't. We then focused in on how we can ask our Heavenly Father directly if He's there and if we are his children. We taught her how to pray and asked her to offer a prayer. She agreed and we all knelt in humble prayer. The words that came out of her mouth amazed me. It sounded like she had been praying for years. Half way through the prayer she began to cry. The spirit filled the room and we were surrounded by the love of our Heavenly Father. As she closed her prayer, we all looked up with huge smiles on our faces. He husband (whose been a member for 2 months) exclaimed, "She's been touched by the spirit." We were all touched by the spirit in that moment. No one could deny the things that we felt.