Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Yesterday and today were Stake Conference.  It was tremendous!  And that is putting it mildly. 

President and Sister Paulson were the first speakers.  They are concluding their 3 years of service.  I admit to having no idea the extent of service mission presidents give.  President Paulson always says "eating and sleeping are highly overrated."  They both live by that, sometimes not by choice.  It is hard to fit every needful thing into a day.  Somehow they seem to get it all done.  He has a memory like a computer and remembers small details, names and dates.  It is amazing to witness.  The Lord knows who to call, when and where. I have an even greater respect and appreciation for Tim's parents who have served as Mission and Temple Presidents.  Talk about lives of service!!!!  What examples.   President Paulson mentioned in his talk the story of the " Jaguar and the Boy." I don't know if you have heard this so I will paraphrase.  A man had done well for himself financially so he rewarded himself by buying a Jaguar.  As he was cruising around in his beautiful new car he thought to slow down in one area with children present, just in case one ran out in the street.  Just when he thought he was safe, a big thump.  He slammed on his brakes and got out to find that a little boy had thrown a brick, visibly denting his new car.  Angry, he demanded to know why this little boy had done such a thing.  The little boy, crying said, "because I couldn't get anyone else to stop!  He proceeded to show the man  his brother.  He had fallen out of his wheelchair and the little boy wasn't strong enough to lift him back in by himself.  The man helped the boy and watched as they walked off.  As he perused the damage to his car, he left.  He never did have that dent fixed.  When asked why, he commented that I always want to remember , "Don't go so fast in life that God has to throw a brick at me to get my attention."  Life is moving at a rapid pace and Satan can win if he keeps us busy doing "things" even if they are good things, because we forget to slow down and take care of what is "most" important. 
A few more highlights include:  Repentance is much more than being sorry, it causes a change of heart that is permanent.   2. The safest road to hell is the gradual one, no rocks, no signs, it is the easy road. 3.  Make a change in your life and have the courage to stand by it. 4. We have to openly oppose evil. 5. We need to learn to unite the Gospel with the Church.  6.  When we judge others....we condemn ourselves.  (Good thought).  The theme Saturday night was from Matthew 6: 19-21.  7.  Family Home Evening needs a week's preparation in these last days, especially if you have older children.  We need to find out for example, is anyone having a big test that they could use help preparing for.  Or, is anyone going to a dance that they may face certain temptations.  Then you practice different scenarios, like what will you do if (this happens).  If they have practiced in advance they will be able to react in a positive light.   And in FHE, tell family history stories about your ancestors.  They will never remember the lessons you prepared but they will remember their ancestors and have love and affection for them.

Sunday was a broadcast from Salt Lake for all of Canada, its 47 Stakes and 6 districts.  The first speaker was born and raised in Raymond, Canada.  His name is Elder William Walker.  His entire talk was on pointing your children to the Temple.  His mother prayed every day without fail that everyone of her children would grow up to marry in the Temple.  When the children grew up they never wanted to disappoint their mom.   In 1912, there were 7,000 members in Canada.  On July 7, 1913, Joseph F. Smith broke ground in Cardston, Alberta for the temple.  He did not live to see its completion so Heber J. Grant came to dedicate it.  The Stake President was called as the first temple president.  He served as president for 25 years, while continuing to serve as Stake President for 19 of those years!!!  Wow!!!  In 1955, there was a total 9 temples functioning in the world.  When the Winnipeg and Halifax temples are complete there will be 9 temples in Canada.  We were challenged to replace a little time spent on our recreational activities with service to our ancestors in the temple.  Good idea.  He quoted President Hinckley at the Nauvoo Temple dedication as saying when he looked at the little children:  "Please, please, please never do anything to disqualify yourself from going to the Temple."
Carole M. Stephens spoke next.  She focused on strengthening our family.  She read 2 Chronicles 20 about the multitude that would come against Jehoshaphat.  She compared this story and the multitude of things that are thrown at us now.  Multitude is an understatement especially through the media.  She concluded with don't waste time on thinking, "I wish I would have.... start today to strengthen your home. "
Next was Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve.  His theme was service.  Why is it that the Lord must command us to serve one another?  Service is not something we endure in life but it is the fiber of an Eternal Life.  In the Celestial Kingdom God will no longer have to command us to serve, it will be our way of life.  It will come naturally.  As you know the Quorum meets once a week.  They each give an accounting of what they did with the past 7 days.  He said that President Monson, with all of his responsibilities still finds time to minister unto the one.  Little things but important acts of service. He refuted the premise  that a person can be fine not attending church because he is a good person and confines his religion to just himself.  This is contrary to everything the Savior taught by serving and loving everyone He came in contact with and taught His followers to do likewise.  We should give a life of service;  Church service,  missionary service (Elder Richard G. Scott was his mission president in Argentina) and most importantly service in our own home.  He told a story about a remarkable woman of the Presbyterian Faith.  Her name was Ophelia Compton (I have no idea if I spelled that correctly).  She was given an honorary doctor of Law degree for her service to her children.  You can look her up.  It is an amazing story. 
Then our concluding speaker was President Boyd K. Packer.  I fear his health is failing but his teaching is still powerful.  He focused on being proud to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ.  He said it may not be easy to be a member but it is easier than anything else, if you understand the patterns of life.  Are we strange people?  Yes, compared to the standards of the world.  We live the Word of Wisdom, we don't smoke, drink,  we eat healthy.  We believe in being moral people.  We do not believe in abusing the powers of procreation but waiting for marriage.  We don't swear in the sense of profaning......Yes, different from the world.  Then he related the story of Joseph F. Smith who when asked by a mobster holding a gun on him, "Are you a Mormon?"  His answer, Yes sirree, died in the wool, true blue through and through."  President Packer said that standing up for what he believed probably saved his life and it will do the same for us if we are not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  At the end of his talk he invoked an Apostolic blessing on Canadian Saints and it was quite touching.  He even promised that they would have no children missing from their families if they hold fast.  What a Promise!!!  We all know what is coming and soon but we need not fear if we strengthen our families and hold tight to our covenants, which is really a privilege. 
What a weekend.  It concluded with the missionary fireside in which our former FBI Agent and his wife give the message.  This was #5, Enduring to the End.  I will just share one story he told of his father.  He received a call from his mother telling him that his father had passed.  He returned home to help make the arrangements.  A younger sister from his ward said, I need to share a story with you.  The night your father died, he came first to my home, home teaching.  This was after a long day at work.  I am living in the mission presidents home while I attend BYU.  My husband left me with 5 children to support and I am trying to get an education so I can do that.  But, their term is up and they are coming home, I don't have any place to live.  Brother Christensen left and then returned with a fan, because the air conditioner had quit.  He told her not  worry about a place to live.  Two days later I received a phone call from, ___name?  He said I have been called to be a mission president and you can live in our home for the 3 years free of charge, if you just take care of the place for us.  She happily agreed but then asked him, how did you know to call me.  This brother said.  I had a dream last night and Phil Christensen appeared to me.  He told me your name, your dilemma, but said I don't know her number but you can get it by calling the BYU switchboard.  So I did!  What a valiant home teacher.  He finished after he was dead!  No wonder Elder Christensen is thankful for his father.
I love you all....send pictures.  xoxoxox  mom

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