We had another General Authority come to speak to us! Elder Anderson from the 2nd Quorum of the 70! It was amazing. The word our Mission President used was “Pentecostal”. I will share some of my notes with you in letter this week for lack of time now.
But Elder Anderson shared a very sacred experience with us. He said that when he was called to be a Mission President (before he became a GA obviously) and he was in the MP seminar in SLC before going out to Mexico, President Packer spoke to them. He told them that he had been a GA for over half a century, and in 5 minutes, he was going to tell them everything he knew. Everyone was excited and got ready to take notes of everything! Then he asked a man to come up and sing a solo. The man sang Hymn no. 114, Come Unto Him. Then President Packer asked him to come up and sing it again, but this time slower and with even more feeling. The man sang the song again. There wasn’t a dry eye to be found. Then President Packer came up and said “Now you know everything I know”. How powerful! Can you see if there is a vocal solo for Soprano, or High Soprano with that song? There are many songs called “Come Unto Him” out there, so you’d have to check and make sure the lyrics match the hymnbook. But only If you have time!
So sadly I’ve been sick this week. It’s weird, I never used to get sick this often before, I’d be sick enough to have to lay in bed usually only about once a year, but it’s more frequent here. Maybe because of all the people we shake hands with? I wash my hands and use sanitizer throughout the day. I don’t know! Anyway, I’m just now getting over it, but it’s still annoying and I can’t hear very well. But on Saturday at the conference, President Wilson tells me he’s so excited to hear me sing, and I look at him blankly because I have no idea what he is talking about. Apparently the APs (assistants to the president) were supposed to ask me to prepare a musical number for the conference with Elder Anderson. But they didn’t. PLUS I was sick! I was struggling being able to talk, let alone SING! He wanted me to see if I could throw something together, and there was a Sister there who is a very talented sight-reader, but of course I don’t have any music, and I can’t sing at all basically. I tried to pull something together, but the sickness made it impossible, even for me just to sing out of the hymnbook, so I had to decline. I felt so bad; like I failed at the one thing I can do. But maybe it was better because then we had more time for the open question-and-answer session with Elder Anderson. The Lord always has a reason for what He does.
Yesterday we had two lessons! Both very different. One was with a family that is investigating and we had it IN THE HOME OF SOME MEMBERS! That is the BEST way to teach! We had a little bit of a bigger crowd, so we had everyone pair off, pick a ‘question of the soul’ that the Book of Mormon answers, then to read and discuss that question and it’s answer in the Book of Mormon while some music plays until the timer went off, and we had a big group discussion. It went very well!
Then we had a lesson with Larry. It’s the first time I’ve met him. He is another 75 year old we are working with (we are working with 3! All exactly 75! What are the odds). We shared the Living Christ book with him. He loved it! He loves Christ, but disagrees with the idea of prophets, organization, and Joseph Smith. He didn’t want to argue though, so we all talked about Christ and what he meant to us in our life. But then later on in the lesson he said something that kind of offended me. And I do not get offended easily. I usually don’t get angry with people when they do things I don’t like or say something rude, maybe feel annoyed briefly, but this really did make me upset! He told me that my testimony was just an acceptance of what I had grown up with, and that Sister Burgess’s was a belief. He said that I hadn’t experienced enough pain in life. I couldn’t believe he said that to me! He doesn’t even know Sister Burgess all that well, and he barely met me! He has no knowledge of what my life has been like, and at that point, the testimony I had born was reading the Living Christ! He was very proud of himself, and thought that he had just made me realize something I hadn’t before, or made me admit to not having a testimony. I smiled at him, and tried to figure out what to say to him, but I felt restrained to argue with him, so I didn’t say anything. It still makes me a little upset though, but I am trying to let it go. But I know as surely as I know that the sun shines, that my testimony is founded on my own experiences and my own personal witness, not just what I have been brought up in. There is no way I could have lasted out here serving if I didn’t know these things for myself by the Spirit. As for pain, yes I’ve had pain in my life, and he has no idea what pain I have or haven’t experienced. I don’t know everything that Sister Burgess has gone through, but I know she has a testimony in the same way I do. It will take a lot of meekness, forgiveness, and humility for me to go back to teach him again, so I guess I know what I’ll be needing to study this week. I’ll be studying out of chapter 6 of Preach My Gospel, if you want to join me.
I love you lots! I have to go now! Sorry, no time to send pictures!!
Sister Caroline Hollberg