It was a pretty sick week! Literally...both me and my companion are fighting nasty colds. Haha. But it's all good! This work will still go on and we were still able to accomplish a lot this week.
I think the biggest thing I've realized this week is how there are so many hungry souls out there--spiritually hungry. And we've got to feed them! But we cannot do that before we first feed ourselves. If we have no spiritual strength ourselves, how would we be able to go administer it to others?
We made visits to quite a few less-actives and members this week. With each one we talked about two of what I consider our greatest treasures--the temple and General Conference. Why do I consider these so valuable? Because these are the occasions when we don't just spiritually snack or nibble, but it truly is a feast. You are made full in so many ways. It was so interesting to me to see the reactions of these brothers and sisters, especially the less-actives, as we asked them questions like, "How do you feel when you're in the temple? Or watching General Conference?" Immediately their eyes get watery and a light comes to them. They can't contain their smile. They have each said how much peace, joy, and clarity comes to them in these settings. The temple and General Conference are our spiritual schools. We become students to the Lord's voice in these settings. We can receive so many answers to our questions, so much peace to our troubled hearts, and so much direction as to how we can reach our full potential.
But just like a massive Thanksgiving feast requires hours and hours of shopping, cooking, and preparing, our spiritual feasts require the same dedication to get ready. If we all sat down at the table Thanksgiving day and had never even made the initial step of going to the grocery store, we'd sit down to an empty table with growling stomachs. We cannot simply just "show up" to General Conference this week and expect to retain the full benefits that we are capable of receiving. So, like we asked all of our brothers and sisters this week, I ask you, what are you doing to prepare for your spiritual feast this weekend? Here's a suggestion. Something I've been doing is reading the First Presidency's messages from the past 5 years. The more familiar we are with their words, the more easily we'll be able to recognize what their words mean to us as they speak. I've also begun to write down questions I have that I want to find an answer to. For me, it ranges to just about anything from how I can be a more charitable companion to know how to have more courage to share my testimony. How do we expect to find answers if we never even first posed a question?
But most importantly, the key to spiritual preparation is doing things that will invite the spirit in. That way, when the time comes to be fed, you will be in a state that will allow the spirit to really speak to you. What you feel during Conference is much more important than what you hear. With each message, I know the spirit is trying to communicate to each of us how it is to apply specifically to us. And it will probably apply differently to each listener. So we have to know how to listen! We can't listen or even hear if we don't make of ourselves and our home a place where the spirit can be there to talk to us. So, this week, really try to fortify yourself and your home, and make of your home a temple. Do not let music, shows, video games, books, thoughts, words, or any other influences that can push the spirit away enter into your hearts or home. But just blocking negative influences out isn't enough. You have to invite good influences in! Make an extra effort this week to study the gospel, especially the words of the living prophets. Make your prayers, both personal and as a family, more frequent and heart-felt. Look for extra opportunities to extend service to others. Just be happy and grateful. There's countless ways to invite the spirit in!
I promise you that as you make of your home a holy school, your Conference experience this week will be so much more fulfilling. You will learn how each message is to apply to you. Don't just write down what the speakers are saying, you can read all of that later. Write down what you feel. It could be completely unrelated to the topic being taught. Maybe someone will talk about tithing, and then a thought will come to your mind that a certain lonely sister in your ward could use a visit this week. It could be anything, but because of your effort to invite the spirit in to teach you, he will speak to you through any given opportunity.
If at any moment during Conference you feel your attention or interest waning, imagine Jesus Christ Himself up at the pulpit addressing us all. Because that is exactly what is happening, actually. He's just speaking through His instruments, His mouthpieces, our beloved prophet, His apostles and other servants.
Quoting Elder Robert D. Hales: "In conferences we can receive the word of the Lord meant just for us...This is possible because the Holy Ghost carries the word of the Lord unto our hearts in terms we can understand. When I take notes at conference, I do not always write down exactly what the speaker is saying; I note the personalized direction the Spirit is giving me. What is said is not as important as what we hear and what we feel. That is why we make an effort to experience conference in a setting where the still, small voice of the Spirit can be clearly heard, felt, and understood. Oh, how we need general conference! Through conferences our faith is fortified and our testimonies deepened. And when we are converted, we strengthen each other to stand strong amid the fiery darts of these last days."
T-5 days!! Are you ready?
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