Apostles and Inspired Questions – March 10, 2014

What a week! Tuesday started out fresh with pancakes and service at 7 in the morning! We helped to clear people’s places and just enjoyed talking to people and handing out mormon.org cards. I approached this cute elderly couple and asked them if I could take their plates, so the funny guy stuffed the rest of his pancake in his mouth just so I could take it. Then he said, “Now what are you?” I said, “I’m a missionary!” and a few other things and we talked a little about missions and then I went to take their plates to the garbage. About 20 minutes later, I was talking to one of our member families who were there when one of the boy scouts who was also volunteering tapped me on the shoulder and said, “There’s a man who would like to speak to you.” A little surprised, I tapped Sis. Moser on the shoulder and signaled for her to come with me. He then led us to the same old guy I’d spoken to earlier (honestly I was a bit relieved…didn’t know what to expect!) He just wanted to know if we were affiliated with “that big choir that travels all over the place.” I said, “The Mormon Tabernacle Choir?” “Yes! That’s the one!” So we talked about music and how it is so influential and good music is one of God’s tools to help people in our lives. It was neat. Then we talked to the Lion Man who was at Oz fest in October. Funny how life is full of circles that come back around. Last time we met him we weren’t able to talk to him about the gospel or the church, but this time we were able to talk to him about the Plan of Salvation and to visit the Family History Center in Salt Lake on his trip this summer. He lives in Colorado, so it was funny seeing him again at the Pancake breakfast. Also in attendance at the breakfast were, the Governor of Kansas, senators, a couple from the sister city, Olney, England (who also participates in the pancake day festivities/competition), and basically the whole town of Liberal and many people from surrounding cities. The line for food was out the door for 3 hours. Then that afternoon we drove to Garden City to switch for an exchange. I went with Sister Nash to Lamar, Colorado, and Sis. Moser went with back to Liberal with Sis. Nash’s comp. Now I can officially add another state to the places I’ve served, even though it was only a day šŸ˜‰ It was a shorter exchange because it involved a total of 6 hours of driving. Iyiyiy. Not the most practical place to put a sister leader, but it was fun to visit Colorado! Wednesday we got to visit Alfred for the last time before he went to California to pick up his family and bring them back! Yay!
Then Thursday bright and early we drove to Dodge City for interviews with President Bell. They went well, nice and short, quick and easy! (The best ones are the short ones :D) And then we had to all stay in Dodge that night to get on a bus and head to Wichita the next morning! There was a sweet lady in Dodge ward who actually remembered me from the week that I spent there and apparently she talks about “Sister McQuay and McKay” all the time to the other missionaries. So we all went on splits and Sister Hymas and I went to visit Leticia šŸ™‚ She was so excited! She was the same lady we made burritos with in July. So guess what we did again? We made burritos! Brought back many memories šŸ™‚ The cool part was we got to speak to her in spanish this time rather than english, so she was a lot more comfortable. She told us the reason she liked us so much was because she can tell the missionaries that have the spirit with them really strongly and the ones that don’t, and Sis. McQuay and I definately have it. Two parts to this: 1. It was great to hear that she could tell we have the spirit with us 2. It made me sad that she’d met missionaries who didn’t. We are disciples of Christ and representatives of him, so we need to act like it!
Friday we got on the bus at 9:15 with our talks from Elder Bednar in hand (the ones we’d been studying for 3 weeks up until this point. It was pretty high security in the Wichita church building. We had to stay with our zone in one of the rooms and wait for our lunch to be delivered, ask permission to use the bathroom, etc. It only made me even more excited to see Elder Bednar when he finally came! Before we all went into the chapel, we took a mission picture! First and probably only! Hopefully we’ll all get a copy. That would be quite the keepsake, especially in a mission where you only have 1 mission conference during your service, if ever.
FINALLY, we went into the chapel to sit down and wait for him to arrive. We got to sit on the 3rd row to the front, and I had been asked to lead the music for the conference, so we were really close. I still get excited just thinking about it. When he came in he looked kindof old, which surprised me, because he’s never looked really old before. But then he started speaking, and I decided he wasn’t old anymore, and he looked just like he always does at conference and in pictures. I think the spirit makes people have a sense of timelessness* (more on this later) in the way they look, speak, and act. God’s laws, word, teachings, and gospel are timeless, so it only makes sense that his apostles would have this same attribute when they are speaking for him.
It was so interesting because he didn’t give a speech or talk, he basically, listened, testified, and asked questions, but he did not “talk.” It was a perfect example of how we need to be teaching as missionaries and servants of Christ. We all came prepared having studied his talks and the first thing he did was tell us not to take notes on what was said, but to take notes on what was felt and learned. And that was a lot, so I wouldn’t have even had time to take notes on what was said anyways. Then he said, “Now, you were all given 3 talks. What did you learn?” And then we went on for about an hour and a half about the revelation we had received and things we’d learned. There were so many profound comments, and many silent answers to questions just taught by the spirit. Here’s what I learned and shared during the conference: Helaman 15:5 teaches us that one of the aspects of being converted to the Lord is to “walk circumspectly before God.” I broke down the word circumspectly to circum-around (like circle, circumference, circumstance) and spec-see (like spectacle, etc), and decided that it means you walk in a way that the Lord can see all around you. In other words, you are completely honest with the Lord in how you are feeling, what you are doing, what you are thinking, everything. It said in Alma 23:6 that those who were converted to the Lord were honest in ALL things with the Lord. This was very insightful to me and taught me that I need to be more honest in my prayers with the Lord all the time. Sometimes I just figure it’s not the last opportunity I’ll have to pray, so I don’t express everything like I should, but I need to make every opportunity to pray the great privilege it is. I shared this with Elder Bednar, and he asked me some follow-up questions, and then he just looked into my eyes, and I knew he understood. It just seemed like he knew me. It was a way cool experience.
Then he turned it over to questions, and said, “If you came prepared with a question, forget it. These questions need to be inspired and specific to the person, place, and time.” One of the sisters asked this golden question:
“How does one mange not expecting to be perfect but also not falling into compliance with our mistakes?” He answered, “This question is different for a man than it is for a woman.” He explained that women will do 99 things right and only 1 thing wrong, but they will focus on the 1 thing they did wrong and not even consider the things they did right. Men on the other hand will do 99 things wrong and 1 thing right and they’ll go, “YEAAHH!” (With a chest pound). It was hilarious. Then he said, “And you’re all laughing because you know it’s true!” He told us that we need to invite the Holy Ghost to help us see ourselves as we truly are. The polar opposite of hypocrisy is not seeing any good in yourself, so with the help of the Holy Ghost, we need to develop a middle range attitude where we see ourselves as we really are.
He talked about a lot of other things that I don’t have time to talk about, but just know that if you ever have an opportunity like this, DO NOT MISS IT!
*More on time: At 4:50 (it ended at 5), he said, “Well, our time is nearly finished, which may surprise you.” He told us that we had been there for nearly 3 1/2 hours, but it felt like 10 minutes. He went on to explain that time and eternity don’t really mesh. We are immortal spirits in a mortal world, so we feel uncomfortable with passing time, which is why we take pictures and take notes and try to “capture the moment.” The closer we get to eternity, the less time has a grasp on us, so when we are in a place where we feel the spirit very strongly, time seems to pass extremely fast.
I am so grateful we were able to have an opportunity like that in our mission! Lori is moving to Oklahoma City with her family šŸ˜¦ And transfers are next week…not sure I’ll make it another one, but we’ll see what happens!
Love you all! Sister McKay


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