Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Welcome to Conference

In an attempt to be ahead of the game, I decided that I'd start the Pursuit of Excellence Reading Challenge today. Our family missed the Saturday morning session of conference, so I decided to start at the beginning; a good place, don't 'cha think?

First of all, I want to say that I've never truly appreciated President Monson before now. I think we all have our favorites, but I must say that after I saw the in-between conference sessions programming (if you click the link, there are six parts to this, but it's all very worth the time), I grew to love this man who gives and serves and hearkens to the Lord so unquestioningly. He's truly a man to be emulated and admired.

Here are a few things he said that were important to me. "...The work of the Lord has moved forward uninterrupted." I love that there are still some of President's Hinckley's works that are finishing up--temples being finished and dedicated--and that the Lord's work is just that. It can't be interrupted; it will continue. Isn't it just miraculous to even think of, when you consider how the Church began?

He speaks of cultural events that took place the night before temples were dedicated. Of the celebration in Curtiba, Brazil, he said, "The wind had been blowing, and rain threatened. I offered a silent prayer asking Heavenly Father to look with mercy upon those who had prepared so diligently for our entertainment and whose costumes and presentations would be damaged if a heavy rain or wind enveloped them. He honored that prayer, and it wasn’t until the end of the show and later on that evening that rain fell in abundance." I love that the prophet pled his case before the Lord. What a simple but great example. So many times all it takes is prayer to help solve things.

He spoke of the celebration at Twin Falls, Idaho. He mentions how their performance represented our "...Dependence for [our] spiritual lives on the living water from the Savior and [our] dependence for [our] physical lives on the mountain streams and rivers." How true. How true. I know that I, personally, take this truth for granted. It's just so easy to turn on the faucet and have water come out, and it's completely potable. So easy. I forget that the time could come when that water wouldn't be there. So too, I think of the spiritual implications of this--am I doing all that I can to keep the spiritual water in my life flowing and continue to be "potable?"

"I am an advocate for such events," he continued, "They enable our youth to participate in something they truly find unforgettable. The friendships they form and the memories they make will be theirs forever." I love that President Monson appreciates a good musical and other performances. He's my kind of guy. I love the memories of my own youth of these kinds of experiences that being part of the Church afforded me. I have been happy to see these kinds of events carry on for my kids too. How many of these LDS kids in the Portland area will ever forget this? (Long link, Q was in the Asian dance).

"Our missionary force, serving throughout the world, continues to seek out those who are searching for the truths which are found in the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Church is steadily growing; it has since its organization over 178 years ago." This, in and of itself, is miraculous when you think back to the beginning of the Church.

"It has been my privilege during the past six months to meet with leaders of countries and with representatives of governments. Those with whom I’ve met feel kindly toward the Church and our members, and they have been cooperative and accommodating. There remain, however, areas of the world where our influence is limited and where we are not allowed to share the gospel freely. As did President Spencer W. Kimball over 32 years ago, I urge you to pray for the opening of those areas, that we might share with them the joy of the gospel. As we prayed then in response to President Kimball’s pleadings, we saw miracles unfold as country after country, formerly closed to the Church, was opened. Such will transpire again as we pray with faith."

One such miracle was the construction of the Freiburg Temple in then communist Germany. What an amazing thing that was! And it is my faith that it had some influence on the collapse of the Berlin Wall. The Gospel of Jesus Christ cannot exist in a place where human choice is limited and stifled. To continue forward, the wall had to go.

"We have come here to be instructed and inspired....Some of you are struggling with problems, with challenges, with disappointments, with losses. We love you and pray for you. Many messages will be shared during the next two days. I can assure you that those men and women who will speak to you have prayed about what they should say. They have been inspired and impressed as they have sought heaven’s help and direction.

"Our Heavenly Father is mindful of each one of us and our needs."

I love that a prophet of God prays for me. I doubt that he prays for me by name, but I know he is aware of those who are in great need, and if I ever was, I have no doubt that he would become aware of my name and pray for me. There is another blog that I read that touches my heart. It's about a little girl with a brain tumor. I know she has met him; he blessed her; and I'm sure he prays for her. I also am aware that when my first mission companion died unexpectedly during childbirth that the leaders of the Church were very aware of her family and had prayed to know what to do to help them in their time of need.

8 comments:

Dolly said...

Hey-I like the Donny music :)Cool!
Thanks for beautiful reminders from conference-that the work of the lord will go forth uninterrupted. This gives me hope for my son, Cam in Switzerland. He is struggling to find and teach in their language.

Darilyn said...

I too was very touched by President Monson's life story in between conference sessions. I felt a great connection to him and was grateful to have been able to learn so much about him.

Julie said...

Dolly, I was just listening to a John Bytheway talk the other day. He spoke of this very same thing. I think the name of the talk was "The Tour de Family." It's a great talk and it puts it all in perspective.

Mom2my9 said...

What an amazing post, Julie. I went and read the article of the mother who died during childbirth. How tragic. Do you know what the status of her family is now? Did the dad remarry? I, too, lost my spouse four years ago and it has been such a comfort to be able to remarry and start a second family with my new husband. May God be with them.

Anonymous said...

WONDERFUL POST JULIE!!!!

Jeanette said...

Julie, I am so glad you have already started writing about conference. I really enjoyed reading your insights.
I also wanted to let you know that I've finally got a post up for linking your posts to for the challenge. Sorry it took me so long to get it up.
I am really glad you joined and look forward to reading more from you!

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

Wow, you did such a great job of reaping messages out of just the introductory comments at general conference. I always see President Monson as a storyteller (in a good way), but I often fail to listen on a deeper level and get the real meaning behind his stories. It just occurred to me that this is much like Christ and his parables. Cool. Thanks for the insight.

Aimee Kieffer, aka "Momzoo" said...

Great introduction, thanks. I know I am a little late reading this, but I just started going through Jeanette's links.

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