This past week has been a bit of a different experience in comparison with the rest of my mission. For those that do not know the schedule of missionaries on the training schedule in a foreign language mission, we wake up at 6:30, have personal study from 8-9, companion study from 9-11, and then later on in the day we have an hour of language study. That is a lot of study time and for most of my mission, we have been very lenient in our hacking away at that to go do the "more important" things. Well, for quite a while I have been called to repentance and especially with this opportunity to train have really re-thought about things and realized that it is important to get that study in. I guess I used to think of studying as the Lord giving us a break from our labors, but instead it is truly a period for us to be prepared. It is not a break but a preparation period. It is truly an act of faith to take time to prepare our spirits before going outside, but it allows the Lord to work so much more through us. 5 minutes with the Lord's help is much more effective than hours without it. So, as we have worked to be diligent and obedient in our studies, I have found the need for a different kind of endurance and it is definitely building us up as missionaries.
Conference was wonderful! We were counseled to have all of the sessions at the church building and to attend all of them, something that has not happened before here. When there were people there we watched it in Albanian, and when it was just missionaries we watched it is English. I remember watching conference after 1 month in the country, and I proudly announce that it was significantly better this time! Thank goodness.
I really loved the talks of Elder Anderson, Elder Bednar, and everyone else. It was cool to hear the stories about the Ivory Coast and Haiti. It was inspiring to hear about those areas that in 30 years had grown enough for the Lord to see fit that a temple be built there. It helped me find a new desire to help this people work towards obtaining that blessing. I had written down a few questions to look at while I watched conference, one of them being to know how much to expect of all those with whom we work. I was grateful to receive the answer that though we do need to expect everything of them, we need to love them. A lot. I am so grateful that the Lord didn't "drop" me the 5 billion times that I made a mistake, but that He has continually worked with me. He is so patient with us and works with us even when we don't want Him to. There is so much to learn from His redeeming and enabling love.
We are currently working with a man named Tonini, and he is really cool. He has Catholic roots and he is really just trying to figure out which church is right. He really liked conference and we will have an opportunity to go out and meet his family this week, so it would be wonderful if you could throw out a prayer that he can receive and understand the answers to his prayers about which church is the Lord's church.
One wonderful thing that was in General Conference was President Uchtdorf's testimony of why he does what he does in the Church. It wasn't for anyone else or even out of a feeling of duty. Rather, it was because he loved the Lord and wanted to do what He asked. In a similar line, Elder Nelson talked about when he thinks of the activities he participates in on the Sabbath, he thinks about the message that those send to God and the love they transmit through his dedication. He said that when he bases everything he does on his love for God that everything is crystal clear. I am glad to be walking down a road in that direction that is based upon love rather than anything else.
Have a wonderful week everybody!