Wednesday, September 2, 2015

P-Days / Elder Bednar / Off to the field

Hola, y Feliz P-Day! Here at the CCM (In spanish, it's say-say-emmay), pretty much every week is Christmas.

Twas the Night Before P-Day, and all through the CCM
Not a creature was stirring (not even Presidente!)

You get out of bed earlier than most days since we've got to pack in a bunch of shopping and a temple trip in the day. 

And if all the missionaries have been really good, the Janitors open up the Laundry Room! This makes missionaries extremely happy. Usually breakfast is something just slightly better than the usual bread, bread, and more bread of every other breakfast. 

And then we wait, patiently, for the doors to open. 

P-Day is a time for gifts, so we go and buy all sorts of stuff for ourselves, like Hymnals and ties. P-Day is also a time for friends. We play a bunch of soccer, hang out in the dorms, and generally have fun. P-Day is also a time for family. We get to look to see if we got letters, and we also get to email home.

P-Days are good. And last P-Day, Elder Bednar came and spoke to us. We had the opportunity to gather with all the missionaries of Lima and hear from one of the Twelve Apostles. He was sincere and funny, and taught effectively. At the beginning, he told us he knew we only ever saw him when he was very serious during General Conference, and that we likely expected him to lecture us in a similar manner and we would obediently take notes. However, he said, he's not a very serious person, and he didn't want us to take notes on anything he said. Elder Bednar then told us we do many things for culture's sake which, he said, is stupid. His wife then got up and told us she tried to get him not to say this word over the pulpit.

In other words, it was a very human contact, and his message was that he was not the teacher. The Spirit was, and whatever answer or guidance we received that day would come from impressions to our mind. He asked broad questions, seeing as specific questions put people under pressure in big meetings like this and diminish the Spirit. He said to never, ever play the game "Guess what's in my Head" with anyone you're teaching. Then, as people raised their hands and gave their thoughts, he would politely ask if he could ask another question about their answer. He'd expound on their answer and teach a principle. Now, I don't intend to relate everything he shared, but the point I want to make is that he was teaching by example. Elder Bednar is an extremely accomplished teacher, and instead of telling us how to conduct our lessons, he showed us by being open and friendly, asking inspired questions, and watching individuals learn for themselves.  The main thing he wanted us to learn was simply in how he spoke. Then he'd bear powerful witness of truths and share simple but effective examples from his life. He'd frequently ask his wife, also, to help answer questions. He committed us to studying further in other areas and showed that he cared about us. All of it was done in a very genuine, humble manner. And this is what impressed me. It was in no way fake (he probably only prepared by choosing the subject and praying about it), and it was in no way self-righteous. It was just... a very committed and wise man sharing powerful messages that invited the Spirit more than any other speaker I've listened to. In other words, he seemed like what a real apostle of Christ ought to be.  It was my favorite and most inspirational experience of the mission thus far- and it's up there in life experiences, as well.

Elder Johnson and Elder Burt
Quickly, I also thought I'd mention that he said Elder Oaks (another apostle whom Mormons in general are very familiar with) was the most hilarious man he'd ever met- that the man starts shaking with laughter before he ever finishes a joke. I thought that was kinda funny, seeing as we mostly know Elder Oaks from Conference as well.

Also, I leave for Huancayo this upcoming week! I'll send the new address to my family next week, whenever my P-Day is, and they'll put it up on the website. If you do end up writing, know that just this week I received letters from about two weeks ago- it'll be longer from Huancayo up in the mountains, so feel free to email me! I can't answer every week, but I don't know how long the mail service will take from up there. Next time you here from me, I'll be in the field!

Elder Desposorio, Elder Johnson, and Elder Moss