Monday, December 2, 2013

November 18, 2013 -- Elder Ballard, Stake Conference

Our conference was incredible! It is a privilege to be in the presence of one who is called of God to be a special witness of His Son, Jesus Christ. Elder Ballard talked during the Saturday evening session about the hastening of the work, and it sounds a lot like he talked about similar things during your Sunday session. On Sunday he talked about becoming better by doing those small and simple things - studying the scriptures, praying, etc. He said "If you members would do the basics, then we could worry about where Kolob is." (Talking about why, during general conference, it seems like we hear the same basic doctrine over and over again.) He talked about how we need to live our lives for spiritual experiences, constantly reaffirming and growing our testimony through spiritual experiences, seeking spiritual growth. He talked about the Gospel appealing to some logically, but for it to truly become a converting force it must also appeal to their heart, and how we can help those who have wandered return by giving them spiritual experiences.

After the Sunday session of stake conference, all of the missionaries went into the Relief Society room to have him speak with us for a few minutes. I was in the front row, and while I didn't get to shake his hand, I got to look into his eyes. When Elder Ballard walked into the room and each time he looked at me, I felt the Spirit strongly and undeniably confirm to me that he is a man of God, that he is a witness of Christ, and that he holds great power and authority. What a privilege and an honor to be so close to one who is so called of God!

Oh, another thing: indirectly, Elder Ballard knows dad's conversion story. Let me tell you why. On our second night here in 5th ward, Sister Keihle and I went and visited Sister Rock, who is one of the ward missionaries here. Her husband, President Rock, is in the stake presidency. They were asking about our families and President Rock asked if we came from convert families or what, and so I told him about Dad and how he was asked by Brother Perry to take the discussions and all of that. After I finished, President Rock thought for a moment and then said "Can I use that in a talk?" I was a little taken aback but said "Sure!", and he did! He started it and I was just amazed. His talk was about not judging others based on if they're ready for the gospel or not, just ask, even if they've been asked before. And at the end of the story, he said "And this man's daughter is now serving a mission, and I don't know if she's here tonight, but she was recently transferred into our ward, and her name is Sister Noakes." So yeah, that's something that happened in my life this week. An apostle knows my dad's conversion story.

The rest of this week was pretty great! We now have one investigator! Pretty awesome. We also have appointments set up with 3 potential investigators this week, and one of them is SUPER promising. We see miracles happen as we work hard. The 1st ward elders gave us a referral for this solid potential, and she has been reading the Book of Mormon, is dating an LDS guy, loves what she's learned and wants to learn more. So exciting! Sister Keihle and I also tracted into a member from Utah, in a condo. Well, she's having an investigator who's on baptismal date move in with her next week! I can hardly believe the blessings that come from my loving Heavenly Father, but that's what happens when you "forget [your]self, and give it all to Him." We're excited for this upcoming week. I love this ward, and I'm having fun!

I love you guys!!!!!!

Photos followed ...
First is me and the Gyllings! Well, most of them. Brother Gylling is a ward missionary and Sister Gylling is just awesome. She has 3 daughters (one, obviously, not pictured) and one on the way!

The other is me and Melanie and Sondra :) I saw Melanie on Saturday at stake conference! She was excited to find out that I was still in GJ.

First is the 1st ward missionaries of last transfer. My face is dumb and I'm laughing at the distance between me and Elder Jacobson. Missionary life.

The second is our district last transfer. The beloved Grand Junction East district. From left to right, Sister Masima, Elder Rollins, me, Elder Austin, Sister Cope, Elder Jacobson, Sister Joslin, and Elder Mortenson. Elder Rollins and Elder Mortenson were our zone leaders, but Elder Mortenson got transferred to Denver and so our new ZL is Elder Jessee.

The last picture is Elder Jessee, wearing high heels post hymn festival yesterday. It was pretty hilarious.

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