Let me first ask all the praying folk who read this blog to keep Anziano Petterborg's family in your prayers. His greatgrandmother passed away this week. She was physically weak, but mentally sharp, and her passing--as every passing--is hard on the family. I can't imagine losing someone I love while on my mission. God will comfort, and I ask you to pray with us for that comfort to be felt.
General Conference was amazing and inspiring. In Italy we don't get to watch the final session, Sunday Afternoon, but the eight hours I was able to attend flew by and were full of answers to questions, uplifting messages, and catchy phrases to keep me going. My favorite was President Uchtdorf's "You Can Do It Now". I also gave rapt and smiling attention to Elder Gifford's "Exclamation Point" talk. He was a living exclamation point, and reminded me of my mom in that respect.
Other amazing talks were... well, all of them, as President Monson noted Sunday Morning. The Spirit was strong. One of our investigators--who is really making progress towards baptism--came to one of the sessions and ate with the missionaries afterward. It was a great experience.
I hope we find ways to follow the prophets' counsel and unite with members as missionaries. We need to work together, especially here in Italy, if anything is going to happen. We need people to teach. We'll talk to more people as Elder Ballard suggested, but we also need the help of the local members. Your missionaries need your help, too. Make them more than the boys with ties or girls in skirts. Get to know them and try to help them. Pray for specific missionary opportunities daily. Be not afraid, only believe.
I love Conference. I wish I had time to rewatch my favorite talks. Until the Liahona comes out here, I'll have to survive on the notes I took by the Spirit's direction. Those are always so fun to go back and study, to find common themes and threads that God wove into his servants' discourses. Conference is one giant miracle in my opinion, and I hope others see and feel the same.
All the missionaries and English speakers got to watch conference in English, thank goodness. It was funny to see several young, Italian returned-missionaries enter our room, too, rather than watch the translated sessions in the chapel. We're so fortunate to know English--the language of the restoration--and to hear the voices of the apostles and prophets as they share their messages from their hearts. It's a blessed experience that I never realized was such a huge blessing before now.
If life feels dark, look for the Light. Darkness cannot exist where there is light. It cannot. There will still be shadows, but if we're in the light it will be very easy to see what is bright and safe and what is not. I'm trying really hard right now to let Jesus Christ be my Light. It isn't always easy to believe in someone you've never seen, but I have felt His reality and I know He lives. Trust Him. That was a huge theme that bounced from talk to talk in conference: trust God.
What does it mean to trust God? Think about that with me this week.