January 30, 2017
Hola Familia y Amigos!
Well another week has come and gone but this week something super special happened... We had zone conference!! Haha just kidding. Well, we really did and it went well, but even more exciting was the big mission conference we had this weekend in Bahia Blanca with one of the 12 Apostles, ELDER STEVENSON!!!
So Friday night my comp and I hopped on a bus with like 30 other missionaries here in Mar del Plata, and when we woke up, we were in Bahia.
|So tired...we left MDP at like 12:30 am and pulled into Bahia at around 8. #roadtrip|
We quickly got ready in the church bathroom and headed into the chapel full of all the 178 missionaries in the Argentina Bahia Blanca Mission. Like I mentioned last week, I had been asked to play the piano, so my comp and I got ushered to the front row where we sat nervously waiting for like 2 hours for the apostle to come. While we waited, we watched a recording of a missionary broadcast from Salt Lake that took place last week, and about an hour before Elder Stevenson arrived we got a bathroom break.
During the break, you should have seen me running around like a chicken with her head cut off trying to find MY NIETA!!!! It was so fun to see my first hija Hna Ahlmer again and meet my granddaughter - Hermana Watkins from Logan Utah. She's blonde just like her mom - nothing like her abuela ;) and is just my pride and joy in the mission! J The poor girl was probably so freaked out, thinking like who is this random missionary that's so obsessed with me?? ;) Let's just say that I officially completed my life goal and got my 3 generation mission picture. ;) Also, I ran into my Peruvian hija Hermana Quenta!! Man I've missed her!
|Me, my first hija Hna Ahlmer, and mi nieta Hna Watkins|
I know what you are thinking...they look nothing like me ;)
The Argentine sun may have made my hair blonde...but I'm not that blonde ;)
ANYWAY, onto more important things than my mission posterity...we headed back into the chapel and I played prelude for a good 10-15 mins. Then we all stood up and as Elder Stevenson and his wife walked into the chapel and up onto the stand. He came right up to me to shake my hand and say good morning before sitting down. I then played the piano as he took the time to have each missionary line up to shake his hand, and at the end, I hopped off the stage and got to be the last one to shake his hand again. :) Haha so blessed! ;) I seriously can't thank my parents enough for putting me through piano lessons all those years and for my great teacher, Carolyn Bristol, who had so much love and patience with me. I feel like I've been preparing my whole life for this one day to play the piano! ;) But I’m honestly really grateful for the chance I got to play.
The meeting was so great!! I've grown up seeing the apostles and prophets on TV or from a distance in the conference center all my life, but I have never personally met one and been so close as they give a talk. His cute wife talked first and mentioned how when Elder Stevenson was a mission president in Japan, she would sometimes have a hard day, and whenever that happened, all she needed was to be around the missionaries. She said "Missionaries are like medicine," the spirit and love they carry is unique and that she loves being around them.
Elder Stevenson then talked, and we were told that the meeting would end at 12 pm so he was only going to talk for about 30 mins but he ended up talking an extra hour with us! He talked a lot about obedience and gave us this formula for life...OBEDIENCE = BLESSINGS = HAPPINESS. He then pulled out a little white missionary handbook that contains all the rules that we as missionaries have and are expected to live. He asked, "Do you know why missionaries have so many rules? Because they need blessings. Missionaries should be the happiest people on earth because they have the chance to obey so many rules that will bring them so many blessings that will make them happy." Like I've told you all many times before, I truly am so happy being a missionary, and from what Elder Stevenson taught us, I finally understand why. Even though I’m far from being perfect, I’m trying my best and the Lord has blessed me and those that I am teaching so much. And as a result I’M HAPPY!
I will never forget the spirit that I felt as Elder Stevenson talked to us on Saturday. Especially as he shared his testimony of the Savior. I know that he is a man called of God to be a special witness of Christ, and that he has His authority. I am so grateful for the leaders of the church and for all that they do to help us as missionaries and members…how they inspire us to keep going and doing the best we can every day.
A few other random thoughts Elder Stevenson shared with us were... "The Lord's work is WORK, but it is a sweet work." "At the end of your missions you should be happy and tired." I can really testify to that...as I am coming up on the end of my 18 months as a missionary... I'm more tired than I’ve ever been before in my life...but I'm also happier than ever!!
I hope you all have a great week and remember the formula for being happy!!
Con amor y apóstoles,
|Draper kids in Bahia after the mission conference|
It's been over a year since we were all together...time is flying!!
|Best decision ever...hahaha|