Sunday, November 2, 2008

Stake Conference...

This has been such a wonderful weekend! Todd and I were able to attend the Temple on Saturday afternoon, which is always such a treat. I love the feelings I have there, and how I notice something different every time I go, depending on the answers that I need for that day--or on what the Lord would have me learn. The Temple is such an amazing place to spend a few hours. I need to attend more often!

Saturday night we were able to attend the adult session of Stake Conference, which was just amazing. We really have such inspired leadership, and great members in our stake. The testimonies were amazing--my neighbor was called on to bear her testimony on the spot, and she did such a good job (I would freak out--but she was so calm). She is a convert of just 2 years now, and I am her visiting teaching partner. I am amazed at her faith and her testimony, and how she seems like she has been a member all of her life. She is so inspiring to me, and makes me want to be better. President Gulbrandsens wife bore her testimony on the spot as well. Todd's parents used to be neighbors with the Gulbrandsens for a few years, and I always remember her being so beautiful, so kind, and so gracious. Her testimony, too, was amazing. She has been through so much in her life, including losing a child, and even through her trials she is still such an incredible servant to the Lord. She has great faith, and a great love for Him. I enjoyed all of the talks, and went home determined to be an instrument in the Lord's hands. To try to be more obedient, more kind, more loving. Then it's just crazy that when you walk through the door--the chaos hits, with noise, and kids, and fights, and all of the sudden you go--here we go--back to reality!

Today's regional Stake Conference was just wonderful. I was so inspired by each talk. They made me want to try harder, to do better, to be "truly consecrated", as brother Hafen said. I need to come off the fence, out of my comfort zone and be a servant to the Lord. They talked about the importance of marriage--and why this is such an important issue. I have heard people say that the church should stay out of these issues--but President Packer made an important point when he said that this is more than a political issue--this is a moral issue, and one that we need to speak out on. Satan is using every weapon he has in his assault on marriage and the traditional family. If we don't speak out--who will? We need to stay strong, to keep the faith, and to not fear, for everything is in the Lord's hands. I needed this encouragement!

The most wonderful experience for me today was during the closing song, "The Spirit of God". As I sang, and read the words to that wonderful hymn, I was so touched by the spirit as I remembered being in Kirtland in August of this year, and sitting in the Kirtland Temple where this song was sung by the saints for the first time. I could see in my mind's eye, those few hundred saints, singing this hymn, and I can't imagine that they could possibly know how prophetic this song really is. How could they even imagine that 200 years from that time, there would be millions of saints around the world, there would be over 120 temples that have been dedicated, that truly the prophesies in that hymn are coming to pass now. Read the words to this hymn:

The Spirit of God like a fire is burning;
The latter day glory begins to come forth;
The visions and blessings of old are returning;
The angels are coming to visit the earth.

The Lord is extending the saints' understanding—
Restoring their judges and all as at first;
The knowledge and power of God are expanding
The vail o'er the earth is beginning to burst.

We call in our solemn assemblies, in spirit,
To spread forth the kingdom of heaven abroad,
That we through our faith may begin to inherit
The visions, and blessings, and glories of God.

How blessed the day when the lamb and the lion
Shall lie down together without any ire;
And Ephraim be crown’d with his blessing in Zion,
As Jesus descends with his chariots of fire!
We’ll sing & we’ll shout with the armies of heaven:
Hosanna, hosanna to God and the Lamb!
Let glory to them in the highest be given,
Henceforth and forever: amen and amen!

This gospel is truly a miracle! It started in a grove of trees, with a young boy--who had the faith to pray to his Heavenly Father--then had the courage to be obedient to his instruction, no matter the cost. Now it is truly rolling forward, filling the earth. I had my eyes fill with tears as I thought of the sacrifices the early saints made to bring this gospel to where it is today. Where is my sacrifice? Am I willing to truly give all I have to the Lord? They were--they did--and now it is our turn. We must stand up, we must choose sides--we must say, as Joshua did: "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." It will become increasingly difficult to do with the evil that surrounds us, that surrounds our children. But I know with the Lord's help, I can be faithful and not fear. I am so grateful for the spirit that I felt today, and the way that my testimony was strengthened. What a beautiful Sabbath Day!


Kathy P said...

It really was a wonderful weekend!! Thank you for the post.

Erin said...

My sentiments exactly. I had a great weekend as reminded me of a story I once read, hope you don't mind if I share...
A man was sitting on a fence trying to decide whether to follow Christ or Satan. He watched Christ come gather the people on one side of the fence and then they were gone. Satan came and gathered the people on his side of the fence and led them away...then turned around and walked back to the fence to get the man.
The man was confused, he said, "but I didn't choose a side, why are you going to take me?"
Satan replied, "I own the fence."
I have always thought of this little story when I am too scared to jump off the fence and take a stand...I sure don't want to have my choices made for me because I didn't stand up!

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