So last Tuesday was pretty crazy. The rumors were flying around everywhere that President Monson was coming to speak to us that night.
We had a lot of reason to believe that he was going to be coming. A sister who left three weeks ago had known that Elders Scott and Oaks were coming–she apparently knew someone who had all of this information. Right before she left she said that President Monson would be coming within the next three weeks. Then one of the sisters in our zone told us that the choir was singing Consider the Lilies, which I guess is President Monson’s favorite song. And then one of the media personnel told Elder Zollinger that President Monson was coming. And then we met some missionaries going to Honduras and they said that their mom had a friend who said that President Monson was coming.
So everyone freaked out. And as we walked through the halls I kept hearing people whispering about the fireside that night. So we lined up early to make sure we’d get the right seats. We started singing hymns, waiting for them to announce who was coming when…
Elder Neil L. Anderson walked in.
So it wasn’t President Monson. But it was still an apostle–so we were prettttttyyyy excited.
His talk focused a lot around a statement in Preach My Gospel: As our understanding of the Atonement increases, our desire to share the gospel increases. He talked about repentance and the need for us to repent as missionaries and to bring others to repentance. One of the cool things he said was that after we repent, we think less of ourselves and think more about others.
After the devotional we talked as a district with one of the members of our branch presidency. In regards to Elder Anderson’s comment, he noted that after Enos repents, his thoughts immediately turn to the welfare of others. Elder Zollinger also pointed out how after Lehi partakes of the fruit from the Tree of Life that his first thoughts are to share it with his family. I looked up these scriptures afterward and it’s true! And it’s really a pretty cool thought. If you had found happiness why wouldn’t you want to share it with others?
Elder Anderson finally closed his talk with how we were true representatives of Christ. He told us that “our plaques will be badges of honor.” I never really noticed it that way. But it really is something special when you can literally wear the name of Christ (or in my case Jésus-Christ) every day for two years.
So when it was all over and done, we decided to go outside to the curb to see him leave–just like we did with Elder Oaks. There was already a fairly sized crowd there. We made our ways to the front and waited for a while when he finally came out and started walking across the parking lot with his family. President Brown (the MTC President) pointed to our huge group of missionaries and the next thing we knew, Elder Anderson was walking toward us!! He started shaking everyone’s hands–it was really cool!
Now there’s something you gotta’ know. :) Elder Anderson served in France. So when he got to us I said, “Elder Anderson, we’re going to France!”
“You must have done something really good in the pre-existence!” he said. And then he stood in front of me and put his hand on my shoulder and started talking to me and it was pretty cool because I was being talked to personally by an apostle. He said, “President Gordon B. Hinckley once told me, ‘If you can build the kingdom in France you can build it anywhere!'” Haha.
He told Elder Hunter and I that it would be hard.
We’ve heard that before from loads of people, but we’re still excited to get there and teach. A couple weeks ago we had a devotional where one of the speakers said, “Do you think you would have been called to your mission if there was no one there prepared for you to baptize?” So I keep hope. :) And even if you never get a baptism, I imagine that you must be at the very least planting the seed in someone so someone else can bring the gospel to them later.
Everything else here has been pretty normal. Cafeteria is finally up and running again. And now we’re just counting down the days to our departure! 19 Days!!
~ Elder Saul Marquez