|M. Russell Ballard|
At the beginning of the adult session Saturday night, President Eljay Waite, the first counselor in the stake Presidency spoke and promised us that if we had come with questions that we'd find the answers during the session. I love those kinds of promises. Especially when they apply to me. I had in fact come with a question in regards to my prayers. Throughout that session of conference I had thoughts that I knew were my answers. To top that off Elder Ballard brought up, for just a moment, my specific question and he answered it, which I was able to add to my other thoughts. By the time the session was over I felt quite satisfied at the answers revealed to me. What a blessing!
Something else that stood out to me was a statement. Each time I read over my notes it jumps out at me again. Elder Ballard said, "The Lord is just as close to each of you as he is to President Monson." I LOVE that! When I think about it I know it's true although if I'd never heard him say it I never would have thought it. That makes me feel amazing. I already have no doubt of my Heavenly Father's love for me. I see it manifested constantly. But when I think of President Monson, a prophet of God, who speaks face to face with Him it's amazing to think of that relationship so similar in feelings to my relationship with Him. How fortunate we are. This is my realization. I've struggled with heartbreak and sometimes desperation over a son who's chosen not to have anything to do with the gospel. I remember thinking at one time that if someone like President Monson could petition the Lord for shepherds on my son's behalf, for experiences that would help his heart to be softened, and to remember what it felt like to have the spirit, to remember his testimony and the overwhelming amount of love and friendships he had in the church, that it would be better than just my own pleadings. I was wrong. My Heavenly Father is just as close to me as to President Monson. My pleadings are listened to. I may not see him face to face when I talk to him but I do feel his presence. I know I'm being heard and listened to. Often I'm comforted and loved and taught. I have just as much right to personal revelation as the prophet does. How cool is that! When that closeness isn't there, it's only me that's not feeling it. He still is.
Another thought I've had is that Elder Ballard is real. He's very much like us. I guess if we really think about it we can gather that but listening to him speak really brought that thought home. I found out he falls asleep in movie theaters (just like me), when he was younger he felt like leaving church when his kids were noisy and he wasn't getting anything out of it anyway (just like I did when the kids were younger), and he forgets things- important things (like I do on a daily basis). Elder Ballard brought his 17 year old grandson, Trueman, with him. He's a neat young man preparing for his mission. Elder Ballard was talking about grandparents being 'memory makers' and he asked Trueman share a favorite memory of his grandfather. Trueman told about going on the pioneer trek as a family. He said in Martin's Cove he and a cousin found some glass looking rocks. Elder Ballard told them of a significance they had with the pioneers. Trueman couldn't remember what that significance was though and turned to his grandfather to ask. Everyone witnessed the smallest of headshakes left and right and that ever so slight widening of the eyes that told Trueman, 'You're on your own here, Buddy.' It was quite a funny moment. Trueman turned back to the mic and let everyone know that what he remembered most was that Elder Ballard had told them how important those rocks were that he evidently couldn't remember any longer. What a sweet relationship they had. As Trueman spoke his grandfather's arm was lovingly around him. I loved seeing Elder Ballard so real and down to earth.
I had a great privilege after the stake conference. I know it sounds silly and small but I got to set Elder Ballard's table. CG is the wife of our stake president and had the HUGE job of feeding the visitors. Think about that, for just a moment. She had to cook dinner while stake conference was in session. As women we want everything so perfect for anyone we entertain. When I entertain it takes me hours to get everything just the way I want it. I'm usually rushing up until the moment my guests come. I can't imagine spending the two hours prior to my "dinner party" sitting and not cooking, cleaning, arranging, etc. I was in the choir seats so I was able to see as she sat there, listening to the messages and feeling the spirit, while the dinner cooked out of her sight. As I think about it I get a glimpse of Mary (the sister of Martha and Lazarus) who had many tasks but chose the better part. I know it probably was made easier because she'd planned before hand. She was VERY organized! Which made my job easy. Place settings were ready to be set on the table, plates and chargers together, napkins already folded etc. Everything was beautiful. I was blessed to have a small roll in it. Now I can say I've served an apostle of God, even if it was just a small little thing it feels very big.
|Dallin H. Oaks|
Two weeks prior to our conference Elder Dallin H. Oaks was at the conference in my dads and brothers stake. After it was over my brother, Jared, took his three little girls up to meet him. As he got there Elder Oaks had started to walk away. Jared called, "Elder Oaks, would it be okay if my girls met you? " Rather than just giving a quick hand shake Elder Oaks sat down on the pew and gathered my little angel nieces into his arms and loved them. I am so touched by this showing of love it brings tears to my eyes. Then Jared shook his hand and said, "I've actually met you a couple times." Elder Oaks asked when. Jared told him that when he was a young boy he was able to sit up front in the old tabernacle a couple times with our mom who was sometimes in a wheelchair. Elder Oaks asked, "Who was your mother?" Jared replied, "Marcia Anderson." Elder Oaks said, "I remember your mom!" Again, tears reach my eyes. If an apostle of God can remember my mom from more than 10 years ago from just a couple meetings then surely the Lord remembers each of us! Nothing of new news but of such great importance. I love these reminders.