We Thank Thee O God For….Elder Bednar!

Behold, milk in bags
Behold, milk in bags

First of all, I love Bowmanville! When I got my call to Toronto, as most of you know, I was less than excited to say the least. But you’d better believe that I have repented profusely for ever complaining about it. I love it!!

Phew. Okay now that that’s out of the way….

The Relief Society dinner was this week. We gave a chapel tour, and got a new investigator out of it! It was pretty sweet. She loved that no one in our church is paid for what they do.

On Saturday we had our special missionary meeting with Elder Bednar!!! (He’s a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles) Every missionary in the Canada Toronto mission was there. So I finally saw Sister Hawryluk!  She’s doing really well. I saw one of my MTC companions too 🙂

But, you probably don’t care about all that.

So, Bednar!

He’s so great. His wife was also there, as well as Dean Davies (2nd counselor in the presiding bishopric) and his wife, Elder Foster (of the 70) and his wife, as well as Elder Seldin (of the 70). We were given three talks to study that he had given in general conference before. I was expecting him to just talk to us for three hours, but it was really interactive. First, he asked us what we learned. He called on volunteers, and then he expounded on what they said. We did that for about an hour and a half. Then he opened up the floor for questions. “There are 15 people on the planet who holds all of the priesthood keys, and you have one of them with you here today, so ask.” I would love to relay to you everything that I learned, but that would take up the entirety of my preparation day 😛 So I’ll summarize.

One thing he did was “Shatter Mormon Culture” haha. Be agents to act, not to be acted upon. One thing that he said that really bothered him was when people offer the closing prayer in sacrament meeting and say, “Please bless all those who were not here with us today that they will be here next week.” Because this is the perfect example of a faithless prayer. You’re asking God to do your job for you. Instead, we should tell Heavenly Father that we’re going to go out and get those people who weren’t here this week, and make sure that they’ll be there next week. All you should ask God is to ensure that we don’t all show up at the same house. 😛 “Don’t ask God to do what you were sent here to do.”

Another thing he pointed out is that we are not hastening the Lord’s work. The Lord is hastening His work, and we’re just trying to keep pace.

I learned so much, and maybe I’ll throw in a little Elder Bednar insight over the next few weeks. I have so much I need to study now, and not enough time!

Elder Bednar also attended the Oshawa Stake Conference, where only the missionaries in the Oshawa zone got to attend. That just so happens to be my zone 🙂 He spoke in Oshawa 9 years ago too, and he talked about how extremely rare it is for an apostle to get to go to the same area twice. So we got to hear from him two days in a row! Oh yes, and Joanne Appleton/Kendrick was there!

Elder Seldin also spoke before him about how we can be happiest when we forgive others. He shared a really personal experience. “We will find peace in our testimony of the Atonement when we humble ourselves to forgive others. Only then is the Saviour free to forgive us.”

Sister Bednar spoke about the importance of modesty and chastity and the examples women in her life set for her.

It was raining all day while there was still snow on the ground.  And you thought Alberta weather was weird...
It was raining all day while there was still snow on the ground. And you thought Alberta weather was weird…

Then the stake president spoke about tithing and fast offerings.

Then Elder Bednar again! He spoke about the “Acts of the Modern Apostles.” Again, he told a ton of amazing stories.

One thing he said he got a kick out of was hearing members speculate how missionary assignments are made. So he clarified how it actually happens 🙂 Members of the quorum of the 12 apostles assign every mission call, no one else. They take turns. Bednar said one apostle usually does about 300-400 in one round. They know every mission in the world, of course. He reads your profile, looks at your picture and “receives a nudge” from the spirit, and assigns your call. He said that it’s important to note that you are called to serve, not called to a place. So when mission assignments change, it’s the apostles who handle that change and you’re still called to serve, the Lord just needs you somewhere else. He said that when he’s looking at that picture, he’s thinking of where you will serve that will best benefit you in 20-30 years down the road. I thought that was interesting. And it’s so true! Your mission will change you for the rest of your life! They don’t just take the first 20 profiles on the stack and send them to California because they have 20 spots in California- you are assigned to where you need to be for you, and for the people you serve. Pretty cool. If you remember, I had a pretty hard time coming to terms with my call to Toronto. But it’s honestly been so great. I know it’s where I need to be. Elder Bednar said that there are few things that he does as an apostle that testify to him more strongly of the power of revelation and prophesy than assigning missionaries to labour. Pretty cool!!

Another thing he got a kick out of was hearing members speculate about how General Conference topics are assigned. They’re not assigned. Everyone who will be speaking fasts and prays and speaks on whatever topic they feel impressed to speak on. No one knows what anyone else will be speaking on until everyone has already submitted their talks. I knew they weren’t assigned, but I didn’t know that they were also unaware of what everyone else will be speaking on. Get stoked for General conference!

Another thing he said was “It takes more faith to believe that Joseph Smith made all this up than it does to believe that he saw God the Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ.” He talked about how global the church is and how quickly it’s growing. He said that it would be impossible to have 85000 full time missionaries, and over 15 million members world-wide if this were all based on a hoax. “If it were not true, we would not encounter the opposition we encounter.” These facts aside, reading the Book of Mormon for yourself is really the only way to know that the church is the church of God. Which I’ll just add that I have read the Book of Mormon, and I know it’s true.

The underlying theme of his message was that God is involved with the very details of our lives, and how he knows each and everyone of us so personally. There are no coincidences, and we can’t possibly know everything, but God knows everything.

Then of course he encouraged us to keep nourishing our spiritual roots and to make sure that we are reading our scriptures and praying daily.

Ugh too many things I want to say!

An additional note to last week’s entry…
I mentioned the sabbath day thing because Bownmanville Ward is so darn good at it! I am consistently impressed by the Relief Society Sisters who come to church having read the manual before hand, and come prepared with notes on things they liked from what they read. They always bring their manuals to class and know exactly what lesson we’re on. This particularly struck me because in my 18 months of YSA relief society, I cannot recall that happening even once. : P We always have amazing relief society meetings filled with the spirit and active class participation. Love it.

Okay I think that’s it for this week! I love hearing from all of you! Shout out to Emma who answered my question about “Come Thou Fount.” Thanks girl 😉

Choose the Right!
Sister Davidson

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