We had our conference with Elder and Sister Cook on Monday, and you’re right, I enjoyed it very much. It was pretty amazing. He shook all of our hands (203 of us), and then we opened with ‘Redeemer of Israel’. Right as we started singing the spirit was amazing and flooded in to the chapel. The hall was small, and there were a lot of missionaries contained inside, so the power of our voices was extremely strong. I think the building was vibrating, not just with the music, but with the Spirit. It filled me with such an overwhelming feeling that I almost couldn’t sing.
Then Elder Cook spoke, and he just talked about different things; his mission and areas in our mission where he’d served, and different things like that. He said Pres. Nelson was also in England, in London, and that later in the week he was going to meet Elder Holland in Israel for an assignment there together.
I think my favorite part of the conference though was at the end. He talked to us about spiritual experiences, and how we can share them with people to teach and testify, but to be careful when sharing them not to share extremely private, personal ones, and to keep those intimate experiences between ourselves and Heavenly Father alone. He asked us a question that he’d been asked a lot lately, “Does revelation still continue in the church?” Then he answered, “Yes.” He said he wanted us all to be absolutely certain on that, so without breaching the level of intimacy concerning sacred experiences, he said, “I witness of the Lord Jesus Christ, and I know–personally–His face. I’ll say no more, but I want there to be no doubt in your minds that the Lord speaks to man today.” His face was completely aglow when he was speaking, and the Spirit was so potent you could almost feel it tangibly; I don’t think anyone was even breathing. It seemed like time just stopped for a while.
After that he blessed the mission and most of us were crying. President and Sister Leppard and the assistants were bawling. We sang ‘How Firm a Foundation’ for the closing song, and with all 203 of us singing the sound of voices was pretty magnificent. The whole building just vibrated and echoed; I thought the roof was going to come off. It was amazing. During the closing prayer when it was so quiet and the echoes were dying off, all I could hear was everyone sniffling. I might have been sniffling loudest though. After the prayer we all stood as he exited and Sister Beazer played ‘How Great Thou Art’ on the organ. We remained standing for several minutes after he left just listening to the music, and I don’t think there was a single person in the hall that didn’t have tears streaming down their faces.
It was such a spiritual experience, and I don’t have to tell you about how I can’t describe it, because we can’t describe our spiritual experiences to other people very well. But the only other times I have felt the Spirit that strong have been in the temple.
I was listening to a talk from the classic speeches this week by President Hinckley called “Its true, isn’t it?” It wasn’t very long, but it was sure powerful. It made me think even more about my testimony and how much it means to me. One thing I noticed was that he talked about Marjorie’s grandmother who joined the church when she was thirteen in Brighton, England with her family in 1856. They sailed over from Liverpool on the Horizon and arrived in Boston, then went west to Iowa city, and then across the plains. Maybe I just missed the upbeat before, but that’s exactly what George Allen did. They most likely sailed on the same voyage.
Tom is going to be baptised soon, but he is moving to Tanzania back to his farms and projects and pet lions really soon. He could be baptised before he leaves, but we all feel like it wouldn’t be right for us to baptise him and then just send him off, it’d be better for him to be baptised over there where he’ll know the ward, so President Leppard is helping us get in touch with the mission over there in Arusha so they can be prepared to receive him and baptise him after he gets settled over there.
I love you
Sister Marie Wadsworth