Tuesday, October 20, 2015

October 5, 2015 - Woodstock, New Brunswick

Dear Family,

It has been quite the weekend between General Conference, My Birthday, Transfer News, and a unexpected death of a less active member in the middle of the last session of Conference. More on that later. 
For my Birthday on Friday it was like any other day. For dinner the Seaboyer's invited us over for my Birthday. They asked me what my favorite meal was and I told them. They fed us BBQ Ribs, mashed potatoes and carrots. Then for dessert we had a cake with a question mark candle on top. It was a great meal. I was so grateful for all that they did for it. They really like us. They have told us that if it weren't for the presence of missionaries in their lives they wouldn't be active. But the focus on me quickly shifted that day when all of a sudden when we were driving in the car, I got a prompting to call the Houlton Sisters and ask one of the sisters if she would like a blessing. She had been battling a bad cold all week and her voice had been getting worse. But sure enough we acted on that prompting and called her and she said she would love one. So we went over to Houlton that night and proceeded to give her a blessing of healing. This experience humbled me. Giving someone a blessing who is in need is more important to me than any birthday dinner, birthday gift, and birthday wishes. That experience was the highlight of my birthday because I followed the spirit and was an instrument in the Lord's hand.

It was a very inspiring General Conference that we just had. The sessions seemed to go by really fast though and I don't know why. That sums up how I feel about the days in general nowadays. This General Conference had a quiet reverence and respect to it. It was cool to see 3 new apostles sustained. I sustain the 3 new apostles that were called: Elder Ronald A. Rasband, Elder Gary E. Stevenson, and Elder Dale G. Renlund. They have been called of God and will be great apostles of the Lord. I thought that their testimonies were so moving. I liked what Elder Dale G. Renlund said in his testimony about how God calls the weak and simple things to serve him. Then he talked about how missionaries know this first-hand. It is about the Lord's work and doing it his way. Elder Gary E. Stevenson seemed nervous but that is to be expected of a newly called apostle. As each of them were speaking, I felt the Spirit confirm to me that the Lord has called them.

I really liked Elder Bednar's talk about the 6 apostles he's seen pass away during his time as an apostle. He gave me a powerful testimony of each of his former apostles. I loved what he said about heeding to the words of senior apostles and how following their words helps build faith inside ourselves.

I liked the emphasis on the importance of the role of women in the Church from the messages from Elder Holland and Elder Nelson. I really feel like the sisters in the Church needed to hear that. I was particularly moved by Elder Holland's talk on Women, "Behold thy Mother." The story he told of the missionary and went home 9 months in. Then after 5 years of bearing him and helping him get through his trial he went back out in the mission field. It made me think of the process I went through to go on a mission and all the discouragement and the trials we faced during that faith-testing trial. Mom "bore me" and it was hard on her. It was harder on her than it was on me. It was a very touching talk. All of the missionaries there were crying and rightly so. Our moms play a big role in us going on missions.

I also liked the follow-up on Sabbath day observance from some of the speakers. I liked what President Uchtdorf said about making discipleship more difficult than it really is. I liked how he said it is simple and leaders need to protect the simpleness of it. I also enjoyed the talk he gave in the priesthood session about Daniel and Babylon.

My favorite talks were from Elder Oaks and Elder Andersen. I liked how Elder Oaks went into every affliction that he could when he talked about the Atonement. I enjoyed Elder Andersen's illustration of the flame and our faith.  "Faith comes by choice not by chance."

I was seriously concerned though about President Monson during his talk in the Sunday Morning session. He started out fine but he kept on sinking lower and lower and his voice was getting really low. It looked like he was about to pass out. But sure enough he didn't give up and he was able to give the rest of his talk. 

During the last session of Conference we were sitting peacefully for the first 2 speakers when all of a sudden a member walks in and asked us "Do either of you know Brother B?" I didn't but Elder Evans did. Anyways it turns out that Brother B was standing on his roof during lunch and he slipped and hit his head on the concrete. He wanted us to be with his family and say a prayer with them. So we rushed over to the hospital and saw Brother B all bandaged up on life support. We were able to spend some time with the family for about 20 minutes and said a prayer with them. He passed away an hour later. There was a quiet peace in that room. It was sacred. I could sense angels surrounding him. It made me think of Ayla in her bed as she was passing away. I never met this man but Elder Evans said he was a very spiritual man and the sisters worked with him quite regularly. Elder Evans said that in his last visit with him he talked about how he didn't fear death and that he wasn't afraid of dying. It's like he knew what was coming. The Houlton Sisters were quite shaken up by this though.
So we missed the majority of the last session.

Yesterday morning we received transfer news. I am staying in Woodstock and Elder Steimile will be my new companion. I came out with him. He is very sincere and a really good guy. This will be the 3rd companion that I've served with that I came out with. I was saddened to learn of the transfer news. Me and Elder Evans have gone through a lot together. Sure we have had our rough patches but we had good times together. He was the heart and soul of Woodstock and I will miss him a lot. I think it's safe to say that he has been the most energetic companion that I've had. Some of his energy even rubbed off on me. I have grown close to him and I have been pretty emotional about it too. We shared a lot of cool experiences together. Elder Steimile will be coming from Newfoundland so I'm sure he'll have a lot of stories to share.

Have a good week! Keep me in your prayers!

Elder O'Brien

No comments:

Post a Comment