This week was awesome!! On Friday we had our two-mission conference with all the missionaries in Nicaragua, in both the North and South Missions, about 400 missionaries in total. Only about 3 years ago, we were all one mission. We met in the nicest chapel in Managua (in all of Nicaragua), which is, thus, of course, in Mision Sur, because all the fancy things are in the other mission. I got to play a (super fancy upright-style) electric piano/organ for about 3 hours, if we count practice, prelude, performance, and postlude. Not to mention I heard from Elder Soares, one of the presidents of the seventy, and Elder Ochoa, President Collado and President Russell (the two mission presidents in Nicaragua) and their wives. And the coolest thing, okay, there were lots of cool things, but at the beginning of the meeting, when Elder Soares and Elder Ochoa entered, they cued the choir and me to begin playing "Hark, All Ye Nations!", and when they entered, I started with the organ, the choir came in singing the first verse, and all the missionaries in Nicaragua joined in for the chorus. Boy was that powerful. And when Elder Soares and Ochoa passed by me at the organ, I just felt, without a doubt, that those men are called of God and are powerful witnesses of our Lord and Savior, doing His work in His church. What a marvelous work this is! And what a blessing to be a part of it! We all went fasting, as a mission, to receive the revelation we needed for ourselves and our area. And boy, did the Spirit deliver. It was a feast, but only a few hours long, unfortunately. The wife of President Russell, who doesn't speak Spanish but read her talk in Spanish nonetheless, crying tears of nervousness, spoke on the importance of choosing to act now, that the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, and the second best time is right now. That means I'm going to choose now to change the things that I wish I already had changed, or already were. And I'm going to change a little at a time, so that I won't get overwhelmed. Because there's so much I could or should do that right now I don't. But I can't change all at once, and, honestly, no one expects me to. What they do expect is that I serve with the best I can.
It was also really cool to hear Elder Soares talk about how all of us were called to be here by a prophet of the Lord, and that it could be for various reasons, but one that hit me was that here, the church is basically being built for the first time. It was only about 30 years ago that the war ended and the church members could start meeting again, and not until years after that missionaries reentered. I am basically living the Restoration here. How cool is that? I've always been fascinated by that time, by the histories of pioneers and the life of Joseph, Hyrum, and Brigham, and stories of people like Heber C. Kimball and James Mormon Craig. Now I get to be one of them. And it's sometimes frustrating that the church looks/functions a little differently here. But that's what happens when the church is young in a country and people still don't understand. I know that I can acheive remarkable results here, if I have the faith and I'm working well and the Lord chooses to give them to me. But it's also remarkable to see the church starting, here, and see who is touched by it and who chooses to accept it and stay.
Perhaps the most important thing the Spirit taught me in that meeting was simply to remind me that I love my Savior. So much. And this is what He asked me to do. He asked me to represent Him. What a privilege. Am I willing to fulfill His request? Do I love him that much? Of course I do! So I'm going to love this mission, because I can represent my Savior.
I know this is His church, and this is His work. He gave His life to provide a way for me, for each individual and each family, to overcome the woes of this world and attain the happiness that Heavenly Father now enjoys, and that He desires for each one of us. I owe Him my all, as do each and every one of us. And as we, I, and those I teach learn to recognize that fact, and choose to come unto Him, the blessings start pouring out. Not the least of which is that we begin to recognize and understand His love for us. Aren't we lucky?
One pumped up missionary,