A hearty hello after a wonderful day in zone conference. We had a General Authority and his wife: Elder and Sister Swick taught us and it was a marvelous day. They send a special hello to President and Sister Heywood who also served as Mission Presidents in Chile. I thought I might highlight several inspiring stories that would interest you. When they were called to serve in the Santiago Chile North Mission, they packed up their 4 children, Scotty being the oldest and mentally & physically challenged and their 3 younger children, the youngest being 9. Upon arrival Sister Swick wondered why there was a 10 foot fence around their home and why the children could not go out of the yard without an escort. They were in the mission for 11/2 days and had just taken the previous mission presidents to the airport when they received their first phone call. It went something like this. "President, this is Elder _____, I am calling you from a phone booth (this was before cell phones), all I have on is my companions overcoat because while we were in the Chapel 7 terrorists came in with sub machine guns. They made me take off all my clothes, in front of Seminary, they poured floor wax over them and set them on fire. The Chapel is now on fire and is burning to the ground. What would you like us to do? Sister Swick, said, "I can't do this, I don't speak the language, my children are in danger, etc. etc. When her 9 year old, Spencer spoke up, "Mom, don't worry Heavenly Father will help you do it." They stayed, she and the children learned the language, they learned to love the people but more importantly they learned that we should not limit ourselves by what we think our capacity is because Heavenly Father will expand us." Sister Swick mentioned meeting a young sister missionary from the Midwest recently. After she heard her bear her testimony she wanted to meet her and get to know her better. She pulled a chair up at lunch and started to chat with her. She found out that a few years previous, this young missionaries mother asked her to go and spend the night with grandma because grandma was not feeling good. She went. That night her home burned down with her mother, father and 3 siblings inside, all perished. Sister Swick asked her how she made it through such a traumatic experience. She answered I was faced with a choice. I could choose fear and hatred or I could choose to develop a deeper more abiding faith. I chose faith. Now she serves as a missionary. Then as part of Elder Swick's presentation he spoke of his first mission as a young elder. He was sent to the Argentina/Bolivia, ? Mission (sorry, I missed writing some info down). Some time while there, an Elder Arso (sp) told the Mission President, Richard G. Scott that if he would send missionaries across the border into Bolivia that 3 cities and I can't spell them, would surely convert being pure Lamanites. Then President Scott discussed this with President Spencer W. Kimball. President and Sister Kimball went to Argentina and took a 4 day jeep ride to this part of Bolivia. He dedicated the land for the preaching of the Gospel. Then he called 4 missionaries to begin the work there. One was Elder Swick, his job was to build a chapel. He and his companion first had to go some distance and buy 2 horses and ship them back by train. Then they began they their calling. The second elders job was to improve life for animals. The third's was a medical calling and water purification. The fourth is fuzzy in my memory but he, I think was over 22 burros that brought all the materials in to build with. When the chapel was finished it was Elder Gordon B. Hinckley that came to dedicate it and yes, all 3 cities joined the Church and there are now 2 Stakes. There was lots more to the training but I am at a loss to try and put it down on paper. The end of the meeting was a 12 minute testimony meeting where the elders were told to keep their testimonies under 2 minutes. Most, took about 40 seconds. It was an incredible meeting and the Spirit overwhelming. It was definite proof that a testimony can be borne in a few seconds. That is exactly what the missionaries do when they are teaching investigators and I think it is very effective. I know my heart was moved. It seems apparent that much in the world and church has been accelerated and we best make good use of our time granted us to help gather as many people as are willing to embrace truth and have the opportunity to bless families. Time is getting short. It was suggested that we use Preach My Gospel for family home evening and all of our other studies. You might all take that into consideration.
Love you all,