Sunday, September 14, 2014

Santa Maria Stake Conference

No pictures today but I wanted to share my experience with the Santa Maria Stake Conference.  Since we were going up north, we took a missionary that returned to the mission after having to go home and have her gallbladder removed to her new area.  It was about 20 – 30 minutes further north but we allowed enough time to get her there and return to Santa Maria to check into a hotel before I took President to the 4:00 meeting.  The stake provided a dinner for the general authority, Elder Carlson and his wife, us, and the stake presidency.  So I drove back to the stake center and had dinner just after 6:00.  We sat with the Carlsons.  He was a 4 star general in the air force.  A month after his retirement he was called to the 70s.  I don’t know the timing but the government came to him wanting him to come back.  He declined but apparently the brethren were contacted and told Elder Carlson to return but that he would still hold church responsibilities of traveling to stakes on the weekends.  He is a very kind person.  We had been told by the stake president several weeks ago that we no longer had a speaking assignment for stake conference since a general authority was attending but that the G.A. may call on us.  Well you know me, of course, I prepared a thought that I could share just in case. President was called on at the 4:00 meeting to share remarks for about 10 minutes.  When we went on the stand to sit, Elder Carlson said he would like me and or president to take some time and that he would let us know how long.  I was naughty and would not look down the row.  That didn’t work, prior to the announcement of a special musical number the counselor in the stake presidency came to me and said Elder Carlson would like you to take 5 minutes.  Actually ASKED me IF I would take 5 minutes.  I said I would.  Oh my!  I had prayed earlier that if called upon I would know what to say, especially if it wasn’t what I had prepared.  My heart was just pounding!  I went up without notes because I had felt when the opening song was sung, Joseph Smith’s First Prayer, that I would be saying something about Joseph Smith.  I know I started by reciting James 1:5.  I talked about the courage he had.  I followed the Spirit.  So glad when it was over.  I share this with you because after the meeting one of our Elders came up to us and shared that they had an investigator there and he was struggling with Joseph Smith.  My testimony was what the investigator needed.  I was very excited and a testimony to me of listening to the Spirit.

Elder Carlson said to President he wanted the missionaries to hear from him Sunday morning and that he had 10 minutes.  He decided he would talk on prayer.  I was looking forward to going to conference and just taking it all in.  When we got on the stand Elder Carlson said to me “I would like you to speak this morning.”  Without thinking I opened my mouth and said “I talked last night.”  He said a nice thing to me and I said OK.  It was interesting because at the hotel I reviewed my notes that I had for “my talk.”  My thoughts were oh, I’ll just talk about what I had prepared on Gratitude.  I sat during the meeting through 4 speakers and a musical number.  It was my turn.  I didn’t take any notes again to the pulpit.  I talked about Beginning with the end in mind and my experience with becoming an ordinance worker.  I know that my experience with that calling is enriching my understanding of it’s not just being baptized but going to the temple and eternal life.
 comments of it’s not just being baptized but going to the temple and eternal life.  President followed me and he used some of what he prepared but he was guided by the spirit as well.  Elder Carlson’s remarks added to President Felix’s.  It was awesome. 

I drove back and grateful the traffic was not so bad.  President had a 3:30 coordinating council meeting which we’ve been told could last 4 hours.  I thought I would use my time wisely and write this and call some of our kids.  I have things to still get ready for the mission tour so I should keep busy while he is gone.


  1. So neat that you were guided by the spirit on what to say. such an inspiration.

  2. That is SO fantastic! We learn and grow every day and I'm thankful to learn from you. :)