Today our stake was priviledge to have Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles visit. From 10-12 we would sit in the presents of an apostle of God and feel of his spirit. Brandon, K, and A left the house at 7am to save us seats. I wanted the kids to sit up close so they could see for themselves, Elder Bednar. I got there at about 9 with M and F. As we sat there was much anticipation.
As Elder Bednar entered the room, everyone stood. There was a reverence that quickly came over the congregation. It was amazing. The same kind of reverence you experience in the conference center when the Prophet enters the room.
Elder Gibson spoke first. He is our area seventy. He was wonderful. He said, 'Your stake presidency has served dilligently for 8 years. (PAUSE) There are only 2 reasons that an area seventy would come and visit a stake. 1. To release and call a new stake president. This will not happen today. And 2. a visiting Apostle has come. This is why I am here. Because Elder Bednar has come to visit us."
Our wonderful stake president spoke next. President Brewer is a giant of a man and all heart. He is what I call a 'Big softy'. He spoke and bore testimony of our divine heritage. He bore witness that we need to be prepared spiritually as well as temporally. And that through small and simple things...great things shall come to pass. He talked about building our foundations through these small and simple things...prayer, fhe, family scripture reading, service, teaching and preparing lessons, going to the temple, etc. What a wonderful message.
Then we were able to hear from randomly chosen members of our stake. They bore testimony of Christ and their love for this gospel. What a wonderful spirit they brought.
The choir sang and right before a rest hymn and Elder Bednar's remark...the fire alarm was pulled! Can you believe it? We all had to evacuate the building. I told Brandon, 'I hope this doesn't cut Elder Bednar's talk short.'
Finally we made our way back into the building. We sang 'How Firm a Foundation'. Again...the spirit was present.
Elder Bednar resumed the podium and spoke, 'No unhallowed hand or fire alarm can stop the work from progressing.' Elder Bednar addressed those visiting this conference who were of another faith. He explained the name of our church and that Jesus Christ sits at the head. That this church is the same that was established while He was on the earth but because it was rejected...it was taken from the earth. Then in these latter days...was restored again. Prophets receive revelation now just as they had in the Old and New Testiment times.
Then he spoke to the members. He talked about the great Plan of Happiness, specifically about Agency. He talked about how our agency is the power to act independently. To act and not to be acted upon. He said, 'We have agency to choose the right'. He said that many of us don't fully understand the definition of agency. And as I sat there I was taught.
As members of the church, we make covenants with our Heavenly Father. The terms and conditions are set by Him. When we agree to the terms and conditions, we surrender our agency to do His will. We have signed the dotted line and our contract is binding. We cannot decide later that we don't want to read our scriptures or not go to church because we have already agreed to these conditions. We can not go back and change our minds. That would be a violation of our covenant.
He gave a good example of a man and his son. The man's son didn't want to go to church on Sunday. 'I have free agency. I can make my own choices.' To which the father replied, 'You do have choices. You can either walk to church or ride in the car.' When we are baptized we make 3 covenants with our Father in Heaven. 1. To take upon us his name, 2. To always remember Him, and 3. To keep his commandments.
He said, 'What could we possible give to the Savior to repay him for what he has given us? Nothing...except OUR WILL.' Obedience to the covenants we have made.
He then share some of the small and simple things he did with his family. Scripture reading in particular. He said we probably thought the children of an apostle were perfect for scripture study. He assured us they were not. They would come in funky t-shirts, hair messy, sitting upside down on the couch, saying things like 'make her stop touching me' and 'she's breathing my air'. To which we all laughed. He said that if he were to ask his kids what they remember about scripture reading or fhe...they would probably say...'Consistancy'. They won't remember the lessons or the songs...but they will remember that they had it consistantly. And that's what they can take with them to their own families. Building a strong foundation.
Sometimes I think, 'Is this getting through to them? Are they learning anything?' But they are and I am building our foundtion.
There is something so powerful about being six rows from an apostle of the Lord. Elder Bednar was funny. He gave counsel. And he was filled with the spirit of God. I can't explain my emotions during this meeting. It was unreal to sit in the same room as him and have him look straight at you. I felt so blessed. That is the best way to explain my emotions...blessed.