So. An apostle of the Lord came to our mission this week. He gathered up every single missionary serving in the state, put them all in the West Columbia Stake Center, and did not teach a single thing.
It was amazing.
When I heard Elder Bednar was coming, I expected him to stand up at the pulpit, and speak to the missionaries… deliver a wonderful, inspiring address on how to better do missionary work. That’s not what happened at all.
He did nothing, all night, but ask us questions. ”Those that were here when I came last year, what happened? What did you learn? What do you know to be true? What did you learn from the 3 talks I sent you to read before I came?” We got to stand up, one by one, and talk with a prophet of God. And then he would let us ask him questions, and answer us with more questions. He never once gave us a straight answer, but he would point us to scriptures, tell us stories, and guide us to figure out an answer for ourselves. He got out of the way of the spirit, and it was so cool.
A few quotes/thoughts/topics:
-The Bednar Book of Mormon. His answer to most of our questions was “I want you to get an inexpensive, paperback copy of the Book of Mormon, and read it with that question in mind. Mark it with the answers you receive from the spirit. Then write a 1 page summary of what you learned in the front, and then put it on the shelf and start a new one with a new topic.” He told us that he has hundreds of copies of the book of Mormon, each with a different topic, sitting on a shelf. His sons often ask him if they could read them. His response was, and I quote “if you so much as touch those, I’ll break your arm.” We all laughed and then he went on to say “but…. I’ll buy you a bookshelf. I want you to learn it for yourself, otherwise it won’t stick.”
-The Lord’s pattern. Basically, the way the Lord teaches. He calls something to our attention, asks us an inspired question, and keeps doing it, gently guiding and shaping our thinking. (Also the current topic of the Bednar BOM I started yesterday J) see D&C 88:122
- “The same person never goes into the same river twice”. We are constantly changing, and so are our surroundings. That’s why we need to continually be learning, and that’s why we can read the book of Mormon so many times, and still learn new things. A cool promise he gave us “if you stay close to the Book of Mormon, and keep reading it for the rest of your life, you will never fall away.” Never is a big word…. Especially coming from a Prophet of God.
-“Let go of the scripts.” He called the western world too scripted, with these visiting teaching conferences and family home evening programs you find on the internet…. They are not that important. “come with me to Africa” he said “where they think their biggest problem is ‘Elder Bednar, we have thirteen to sixteen conformations every week, and we run out of time… should we hold a separate meeting?’ I told that dear brother ‘Count your blessings! You don’t have to listen to sacrament talks! The conformations are important… just get rid of Sunday school! That’s better done at home anyways. What are important are the ordinances of the sacrament and those conformations.”
-“If you can find an answer, that’s better than me doing it.”
-“My only agenda is that you need me less, and the Lord more.”
-“I’m preparing you for your future, not just telling you stories.”
-when investigators ask you a question, invite them to find the answer. “Let’s see if we can find something in the scriptures helpful to you.” Ask “what do you already know about the answer to your question?”
-The Lord asks us to be like Peter, and walk on water. In order to do that, we must jump out of the boat, out of our place of safety and comfort, and keep our eyes on the Savior. We must trust that he will never let us completely drown, but that does not mean that I won’t sink and choke on some water. So many people fall away because they lose that trust.
Throughout this meeting, I have never prayed so hard that I wouldn’t forget anything. The spirit was so strong, but not because of Elder Bednar. It was because of the missionaries, who asked and prepared for it. Elder Bednar just stepped out of the way. That’s the most scary, vulnerable thing I can think of… no agenda, no plans, just go. It was so wonderful!
Y’all have a blessed week!
p.s. on a super random note…. Dad- remember a couple years ago when you were teaching the youth about Mormon.org profiles? You made a joke about using it as a pickup line… “So….. Sister Derrick….. I saw your Mormon.org profile….. ;)”
That totally happened to me this week. Way funny J
Haha it was a ridiculous Elder.... made me laugh :) dumb joke, I guess :)
It doesn't matter what age they are if you give a girl a dress with a full skirt they will twirl!
Some cute kids that kept wanting to touch their hair.
Exchanges with Sister Simmons, Bryndee, and Sister Stout.
Exchanges with Sister Lester, Sister Mcneece, and Bryndee.
Sister McNeece and Bryndee modeling their South Carolina T-Shirts.
(It looks like they found a place to hang their zebra picture)
Bryndee and Sister McNeece enjoying the beautiful weather by studying on the balcony.