So yesterday we had a zone conference, the day before Remembrance Day, and President told us to find a computer and e-mail our families about what we learned.
Zone Conference was yesterday in Leeds Crossgates chapel and it started at 1030 ish and ended around 430, so a long conference, but it was filled with so many great things. There's no way I'll be able to describe everything I learned at that meeting, but I can tell you some highlights!
First of all - we talked a lot about war. Read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. It talks about how there is a time and season for everything. There was once a time for war, and it had to happen, and I'm grateful it did happen because now I'm here getting to share with people a message of peace.
Just briefly as well - I told you about how I've been looking at all the family history we have recently, and I just wonder, but who are the missionaries that found your parents mom? I want to find out who they are. As well Dad, do you think there would be any way to find out who found and taught the Thomsen's in Denmark? I read in their history that they joined the church in Denmark and then moved to Salt Lake with the pioneers. I would love to find those things out.
Sister Pilkington talked about language and words and how our words reflect who we are inside. Our words reflect the condition of our hearts. She asked are our words charitable? Or are we quick to wrath? D owe gossip? Do we say negative things about people? Should we do that?
''There are only 2 types of people in the world: those we love, and those we don't know''
When you have a critical thought about someone - ask yourself these 2 questions: What do I really know about this person? What do I like about this person?
We don't really know and cant judge the motivation behind someone's actions.
Before you speak out negatively about someone or criticize them, first THINK! Is it:
T - True?
H - Helpful?
I - Inspiring?
N - Necessary?
K - Kind?
We need to have charity. ''If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all''
Overall though, the biggest message of this zone conference was just about how we need to give. It was about having charity. About loving other people more than ourselves. It was about losing ourselves in the work. It was so helpful.
One of my favourite scriptures mentioned was from Psalm 46:10 which says ''Be still and know that I am God''
He also told a story about being at a Mission President's training meeting and how Elder Holland told the President's ''You can do this. You can do this.'' and how that was exactly what he needed to hear at the time.
He talked a lot about putting our hearts in the right place and about how the lessons we learn on our missions will take us through the rest of our lives.
He showed this video about a situation in Thailand - where there is a boy who steals something from a shop, and the shop lady gets really angry and demands to know what he is doing. The timid boy replies that he stole the medicine for his sick mother, and the woman doesn't even listen. But then another poor shop owner intervenes and pays for the medicine and gets his daughter to grab some soup for the boy and then allows the boy to take the medicine and the soup.
30 years later it shows the same soup shop owner working with his daughter when a poor man walks in and without even saying any words the man knows what he wants and gives him some soup to eat.
Soon after that the man suffers a stroke. The daughter is left with medical bills too high for her to pay and she is desperately trying to sell the little shop to pay for the debt.
But then one morning she wakes up to find our that the doctor had paid her debt for her - and that doctor was the same little boy who had 30 years earlier stolen the medicine for his mother from the shop.
Anyways it was a short video but we sat and discussed it for the better part of 2 hours and I learned so much from it! About charity and reactions and how do we deal with people, and how to teach our children and how to do things right. And how we shouldn't expect anything in return for our charity and kindness, but God knows the end from the beginning.
We learned about planning, we practiced teaching, I learned so much.
We talked a lot about how life isn't easy, because it's not supposed to be easy. If it was easy there would be no point. We're here to learn and grow and opposition is a necessary part of that. Missionary work isn't easy either, because it's not supposed to be easy! After this life we will have the opportunity to live with God forever IF we make good decisions in this life that lead us to happiness. It's not going to be easy, but like Elder Holland said to President Pilkington - YOU CAN DO THIS. You can do this.
I think though the biggest lesson I learned - is that life isn't all about me. And if I live my life in a selfish way, it's not going to be a happy life. Joy, true joy is found in the service of others. In the learning of and application of the characteristics of Christ.
People need to hear the message of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and all that it brings. It compels us to serve others. To think about others. To lose ourselves in service to others. It's about being kind and compassionate and generous and charitable and friendly - which of course we don't need the Gospel to be all of those things - but the Gospel helps us and compels us and gives us a reason to live our lives that way! That's why it's so good! It gives us a purpose, a reason to be good, a reason to make good decisions and live a wholesome life. I cant even begin to describe how lucky I am to have been born in a family with Goodly parents who love the Lord and have been privileged to have received the opportunity to come to England and proclaim such a glorious message to people. I have been able to develop the capacity to see people not as they presently are, but as they can become. To love people no matter what.
That's what this zone conference has been about for me. Just loving people no matter what. No matter what they say to you, now matter who they are - we cant react in a negative way. We cant behave badly. We need to be like Christ. We need to grow and change and become better. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a continuum, there is no start of finish. No matter where you are now in your journey, it's not the end! There's always more to learn. More space to grow.
I have a firm belief and testimony that all of us need to and can change ourselves dramatically if we want to. I know that God can help us with that and he wants us to change to become more like him - that is what this life is all about. And it is possible through the atonement of Jesus Christ!
I love you guys!