Today we had Stake Conference and had the chance to gather with all the other congregations in our area and listen to our great Stake Leaders plus some of the general leaders of our church came to visit and speak (we have these Stake Conferences twice a year). Elder Porter from the Quorum of the Seventy and Elder Perry, one of our Apostles, spoke to us.
Here are some impressions I took away from the good talks given:
- It's vital that we learn things for ourselves. Joseph Smith restored our church after learning for himself the truth. Adam and Eve had to learn for themselves. We can be told and told and told something but ultimately, learning it for ourselves is the most poignant. I need to do a better job asking my children questions and helping them learn things for themselves so they can really own their behavior, their beliefs, and their choices.
- We need to work to understand our heritage and learn from our own ancestors while keeping record of our own lives and choices and lessons learned and blessing received. D&C Section 2: We must turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and vice versa "lest the whole earth be wasted." We must build on the past and build for the future. We've slacked off on ancestor stories lately and I'm going to make it a point every Sunday to do ancestor stories with the kids while Jared is at Bishop meetings on Sunday mornings. And I'm going to share what I put down in these scripture/spiritual learning posts and more about what I'm learning in my life with my kids (and I'm glad I've got this blog to help me keep my own history for posterity).
- We need to prepare ourselves and our children economically, educationally and spiritually. There are great organizations in the church and in the world to help. But ultimately, the buck stops with parents. This is our great stewardship.
- All of us have the right and responsibility to search out and receive personal revelation. The Lord will talk to us through nudges and scriptures and words others say. The Lord is in the details. He's right there and has the answers if we'll but ask and listen (and sometimes ask and ask and ask and be patient).
- We are so blessed to have temples near us. It will give our children a great sense of security and a sense of excitement for their own future if we make sure they see us go to the temple often and get to see the peace and joy we bring home with us each time we go.
At the close of the meeting, someone told me that Sister Porter was looking for me - something about how she'd babysat me when I was little. When I was led over to where she was, it turns out that she was one of my parents' star sister missionaries back when I was 6 and 7 and my parents were presiding over the England London South mission.
She had all these great memories of me and my siblings as little children and as she talked, so much came back to me. I remembered how the missionaries were always at our house and seemed like a bunch of fun young uncles and aunts, the elders giving us "horsey rides" on their backs, the sisters chatting with us and watching us do the dances we always had prepared for anyone willing to watch. My mom was always making big delicious meals for mission meetings and my siblings and I would sit at the top of the stairs listening to great gospel discussions happening in the living room below. I was lucky enough to go with my Dad when he needed to speak at meetings and my mom needed to be home with the other kids. He'd often have me get up and sing a song or answer questions about the gospel or share my testimony - I always had to be on my toes.
It was wonderful growing up in the mission home and I loved all the missionaries but Sister Cox was a special favorite. She was smart and quick and - important and noticeable to a 7-year-old like me - pretty and stylish. My parents were often talking about all the wonderful things she did as a missionary. I wanted to be like Sister Cox and in the end, her example helped propel me to go on my own mission when I finished college.
How fun it was to tell her about my life and hear about hers and re-connect. And I was grateful for the chance to tell her about the influence she was in my life while she shared what a huge influence my parents and family were on her life. My kids got to meet her and her great husband and hear some good stories.
I love those "full-circle" moments we get once in a while. And I realized how important it is to be a great example and to let people know what their example has done for you when you get the chance.
As far as scriptures this week, I skipped around a fair amount but did receive a nice little personal reminder or new insight each day in my reading. Nothing earth-shattering. But a lot of little thoughts that helped prepare my mind and heart to get a whole lot more out of Stake Conference than I would have otherwise.