Thursday, September 15, 2016

Seek the Spirit and the Lord will open your eyes

Dear Family and Friends,
Well, it's been pretty incredible being back in Sweet Home Alabama, aka Phenix City! A good portion of this week was spent getting reacquainted with the area and members. 

On Wednesday we did some service for Bro. and Sis. Otts. It was a little slow since I was instructed to wear sandals for my toes to get air. That night we had Book of Mormon class and re-introduced myself to Bishop Zeh and others at the church. We then had ward correlation meeting with Bro. Bush, the ward mission leader since Bro. Sullivan moved since I left along with a few other families I grew close to like the Howells and others. The meeting was good and the other missionaries in the District are Elder Munn(District Leader- 8 months out), Elder Glenn(2 months out and from the Idaho pan handle!), Sis. Farmer(12 months), Sis. Greenland(idk how long...) and of course Elder Buckley and I. And yes, I am the old man of the District with Sis. Farmer next. 

Well, on Wednesday evening, we got a call from president Grayson telling us that we would be given a car for temporary uses. I guess Sis. Finlinson (Mission Nurse) was behind that effort. So, we called up Carlos, a less-active, whom I am already acquainted with.He took us Thursday morning to the Mission Office in Macon to pick up the car. The AP's, Elder and Sister Jensen were there at the office along with the Grigsby's, the Missionary housing couple. We got it all worked out and we went to lunch with the AP's at Wendy's. It was good lunch for us, not so much for them where they had a weird looking blue-cheese salad. It looked pretty nasty... We then drove the two hours back in the Chevy Cruze to Phenix City. 
Skip ahead to Saturday, and we are heading to Stake Conference with Sam Jones, who has a mission call to Arizona. We were privileged to have all of the Columbus Stake Full-time missionaries (about 32) along with some YSA to sing two hymns for the Adult Session and guess who sat right in front of me! Elder Meurs, a recently called General Authority Seventy from Australia. Guess who was also in direct view of the camera when standing up... This guy! Kinda awkward, but a very enjoyable evening.  

The next day we heard from President and Sister Grayson and Elder and Sister Meurs. During the announcement of brethren who had advanced into the Melchizedek Priesthood and AJ's name was called and I talked with him and Malory after the conference and they were surprised to see me back in the area. It was a truly great day. We later had lunch with Bug and Lulu Eiland, when it began to dump rain on us. Thankfully we were in a car. We then had a church tour that no one showed up for except for Bro. Bush... We then visited with a Sister Brewer for a while. She has a mini schnauzer, Parker, that reminds of my own schnauzer, O'skar. It was a really good visit as well and the Spirit was strong. A generally good day!
A tank we fleetingly got a picture of on the road back from Macon on Thursday
The next morning we overslept, well, kinda. We set our alarm for 5:00 am so that we could carpool with the other Elders to Macon for a Mission Conference. We intended to leave by 5:45-6:00. We woke up to the other Elders ringing out doorbell at 5:35. We quickly got ready and left 15 minutes later and off we went. It was still dark! A sign that the seasons are about to change. We get to the Conference and we were privileged to hear from Elder Meurs and Elder Uceda of the Seventy.

I would like to share some thoughts and quotes from the Conference that have resonated with me...

President Grayson- "Seek the Spirit and the Lord will open your eyes"
Sister Meurs- Members are key to retention
Elder Meurs- We have the same calling and responsibility as the First Presidency, Quorum of the the Twelve, and General Authority Seventies. "Be a Full-time servant of Jesus Christ"
Elder Uceda- When we were set apart, it was as though the Lord did so in a very real sense. D & C 36:2 
and my favorite quote from the conference; "Talk less, and do more with your investigator"

It was a truly wonderful conference. We afterwards went to Chipotle and spent some time around the other missionaries that came for MLC (Mission Leadership Council). All of the other Elders I came out with were there, which was very cool.
Anyway, a fairly good week. Really looking forward to this week, despite other things like driving 3 hours to Tifton for a follow-up Doctor's appointment which will take most of the day...

Have a great week y'all!

Elder Alexander Kestner