Monday June 8 to Saturday June 13
The language training continued this week. It is coming along pretty well, we are learning more each week. We are sure glad that we have had this opportunity to have some language training prior to arriving in the country. We can not image arriving in Uruguay without having some language training. We have just 2 more weeks of language training and them we officially enter the Missionary Training Center (MTC).
We attended the Devotional and as usual they did not announce the speaker until just prior to the meeting starting, but this week was a bit different, one of the head ushers announced that usually we do not stand to sign our Hymns but we do stand when an Apostle of Jesus Christ comes into the room. (he said now aren't you glad you came early and got a seat). A few minutes later Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve apostles came into the room. Usually the Senior Missionary couples have a few of the rows reserved for them in the front of the auditorium. We had arrived early to make sure we got a good seat ( 2nd row center) . We looked around and found that we were the only Senior Couple in the room. It turns out that all the Senior Couples were asked to watch the Devotional from another room at the MTC. This time it really paid off not being an officially entered Senior Couple. We were so close the the Bednar's we could see the color of their eyes and see and feel the spirit they both have.
Sister Bednar spoke about how the Gospel is one eternal round meaning that the missionaries will convert someone who will raise a family and send missionaries that will convert others and we will all be blessed by those that spread the gospel.
Elder Bednar spoke about how when he travels he usually answers questions from the congregations. One of the most asked question is “ How do I know when it is the Holy Ghost giving me prompting or is it just me” His answer was a very simple and direct answer. He said “stop worrying about it, if you are living the commandments, keeping your covenants the Holy Ghost will be there to direct you as long as you are moving forward. You have to get off the couch and do something and the Holy Ghost will be there to direct you. If you are not moving the Holy Ghost cannot direct you! He gave and example of how when he was a stake president in Arkansas. President Boyd K. Packer was visiting Elder Bednar's region for a region conference and the Stake leaders had the opportunity to share a meal with Pres. Packer. When it came time for Pres. Bednar to introduce himself he said his name and then mentioned to Pres. Packer that you may not remember this but when I was 20 years old I was serving a mission in Germany and you and your wife came to visit. When it came time to leave the airport was shut down due to bad weather and my companion and I picked you and your wife up at the airport and took you to the train station. President Packer then interrupted and said and do you remember you brought us back to the mission home and made you a simple meal and arranged train tickets to allow us we could continue our journey and then took us to the train station and just prior to us getting on the train you gave me a 20 mark note so we could purchase food on the train. Did you also know that while we were on that train ride we entered into East German territory and the East German guards came on the train and were inspecting the Visa's of all the people. President Packer's Visa was okay but Sister Packers was a 3 year Visa that had been extended to 5 years. The guard had a very dark evil spirit about him and was not going to let Sister Packer continue on the train. President Packer gave his Visa with the 20 mark note slipped inside and his wife's Visa. The guard went away and returned with the Visa's minus the 20 mark note and they were both allowed to proceed on their journey. Elder Bednar did not remember giving the 20 mark note to Pres. Packer but was where he should have been doing the things he should have been so the Holy Ghost could prompt him and use him to help Pres. Packer and his wife during their time of need. Later out they found out that the East Germans were taking people of the of the training during that time because of the 2 year extensions to the Visa's and some the the people were not heard from again.
Elder Bednar shared another experience that happened at another Stake Priesthood Leadership Meeting that he was presiding at. His son was playing in the State basketball championship against the son of one of the Elder's Quorum Presidents that was at the Leadership Training Meeting. Elder Bednar felt prompted to leave the meeting and take the Elder's Quorum President with him. He asked his councilor to take care over the meeting and asked the Stake executive secretary to ask the EQP to arrange for someone to drive his car back home and to meet the Stake President in his office immediately so they could drive the 2 hours to the place were the ball game was to take place. The EQP arrived at the office looking terrified until the Stake President told him of the plan to go to the game. Elder Bednar really felt uneasy about leaving the meeting and going to a ball game. Even his wife told him that this was a stretch. A few weeks later Elder Bednar received a phone call a 4:30 AM. It was the EQP telling him that there had been an accident and would he please come to the hospital to help give his son a Priesthood blessing. Elder Bednar went to the hospital immediately and when he arrived he was met by the father who said that his son had just passed away. He also said how grateful he was to Elder Bednar for taking the time to go to the ballgame which was the last game that he would see his son ever play. Elder Bednar then knew that he had made the correct choose by leaving the leadership meeting and going to the ballgame. He was doing the right thing and the Holy Ghost directed him to what he needed to do.
Elder Bednar also shared how he had prepared his talk for General Conference early and submitted it to the editing department. He then left for an assignment out of the country. When he arrived home he felt uneasy about the topic he had chosen so he prepared another talk and submitted it to the editing department just in time for General Conference. The topics are not assigned and are not arranged prior to the meetings. His topic was on temples and the talk prior and the talk after were on the temple as well. Everything was so wonderfully orchestrated by the Holy Ghost to make sure everything went well in General Conference.
When Elder Bednar left the Devotional he went to the front of the stand area and gave the sign language sign for “I love you” to all the people in the auditorium. The spirit in the building was very strong and we were very touched by it. It was such a wonderful treat to be there. So now we just need to keep the commandments and our covenants, press forward and the Holy Ghost will direct our paths.
After our afternoon session of tutoring we met with Bro David & Karen Nemrow (from Canab Utah) that had just returned from the Montevideo, Uruguay mission due to medical reasons. We went to the BYU Creamery and talked about the mission for 3 hours. It was great to learn more about the mission and the people and the country. They shared many wonderful experiences about the time they had on their mission.
We met a couple that is going to be serving in Greece as the new Mission Presidents. Their names are Chris & Rasheed Charles, they are from a town 30 miles south of London England. We mentioned that we had a missionary that just returned from the London South mission. They indicated that that was them mission they lived in and asked the name of the missionary. We told them it was Sister Nicole Halversen and they both exclaimed she was our favorite. Sister Charles in her cute English accent said, she was just like “Tigger” so much energy and just bouncing around. They indicated that it was the Sister Missionaries that had turned the mission around. They said every where they would look they would see the Sister Missionaries out meeting with the people. Thursday at dinner they indicated that they needed to do some shopping. We volunteered to take them to the store and on the way I had the idea to call Nicole Halversen on the cell phone and let the Charles's speak with her. It was very fun to listen to Brother and Sister Charles surprise Nicole on the phone. Nicole was surprised really enjoyed the flash back to her mission. Janice spoke with Emily Halversen and told her to tell her Primary Class that she missed her Primary Class of which Emily is a member.
Friday- Monday we went to visit Janice's Mother and Step Father ( Paul & Sherma Radmall) in Cedar City, Utah. We went to the orchard in La Verkin and picked cherries and few apricots. It was great to spend time with them. The cherries were very good and we both ate more of them that we should have.
We picked enough that we could bring some back to our tutors. I hope they like them.
We went to church with Janice's Mother and Stepfather Paul & Sherma Radmall. While in the sacrament meeting Janice was trying to find the hymn we were signing in Spanish. There was a man (Steve Chamberlain) sitting next to Janice that looked over and seen the Spanish Hymn book and asked if he could help. He served in Bogotá Columbia 20 years prior. While we were talking he asked where we were going to go serve our Mission. When we told him he said that he has and uncle that just returned from the Montevideo Uruguay mission. We ask his uncles name and it is David Nemrow mentioned under the Wednesday heading. The world is really small as we have found that many people we meet are also acquainted with others we know.