Some of our Great LABRM missionaries were gathered together taking their final pics with President and Sister Wall. They were also having a good time clowning around and enjoying each other's company. Elder Jean-Louis is the elder wearing the placard.
Today was pretty much like yesterday, but I'm not quite as drop-down-dead tired, so maybe I can make some sense of this post. The theme for these training meetings has been "Remember, Oh Remember." Each meeting began with a clip from Disney's "Jungle Book." President Wall says that the four vultures are he, Sister Wall and the Assistants having a conversation trying to decide what to do for the training. "What we wanna do? I dunno. What cha wanna do? Let's do something. Okay, what cha wanna do?" Pres Wall said that's how they felt trying to decide what they wanted to do for this training. And that's when they decided on the theme.
There's no way I can capture all the words or the spirit of the meeting, so I'll just give some of the thoughts that I could record in between helping prepare snacks and lunch and cleaning up.
Pres Wall held up a $100 bill and asked if anyone wanted it. Of course, everyone raised their hands. So he crumpled it up and asked again. All hands up. Put it on the floor and stepped and schmooshed it. Same response. Spit on both sides (sort of). All still would have taken it. Then he asked why they'd still want it. The obvious response was because it was still worth $100. Then Pres W compared it to use, saying that each of their souls is of great worth to Heavenly Father. They aren't worth any less, no matter what happens to them. The most important relationship we can have is with Heavenly Father, whatever our circumstances are. Everything He does is to "bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man."
We watched the Derek Redmond story--not one that I was familiar with but hope to never forget. It played to the background music "You Raise Me Up." This is the story as presented on you-tube. Get your Kleenex.
A young man was favored to win the 400-meter in the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics. However, disappointment came about 250 meters from the finish. His hamstring tore, he hobbled into a halt, and then fell to the ground...in pain. As stretcher bearers made their way over to him, he knew he had to decide. So despite the pain he stood up and began to hobble along the track. Suddenly, a large man pushed through the crowds, fighting back security. The man was his father. "You don't have to do this," he told his weeping son. "Yes, I do," the son declared. "Well then," replied his dad. "We're going to finish this...together!" The father wrapped his arms around his son and helped him hobble through the track. Shortly before the finish line the father let go of the son and the son completed the race...with a standing ovation from the crowd of 65,000. Derek Redmond may not have finished first place...but he managed to finish his race. Despite the pain...Despite the tears..He determined to give his all.
Motivated by a love so strong...of a father who picks him up when he falls. What made the father do that? ...to leave the stands and meet his son on the tracks? It was the pain on his child's face. His son was hurt...but he wanted to finish the race. So the father came to help him finish. God is like that. When we are hurting and fighting to finish, He comes to help us. How about you? How is your race? Are you in pain? Are you on the verge of quitting? God wants you to finish strong...because He loves you. Will you open your heart to Him?
There are probably far more people who will remember Derek Redmond that whoever it was that ran the race. If you do nothing else today, please watch the 5 minute video. Guaranteed you'll love it!
The "Johnny Appleseed" video was another teaching tool today. After we watched, Pres opened it up to discussion and ask for comparisons between Johnny A and missionary work. There are plenty! Every missionary can receive personal revelation to serve a mission. At first he's discouraged (Satan's greatest tool) but then receives divine help. He plants seeds but doesn't harvest them. The results of the later crops brought everyone together to celebrate. There are several more. Another excellent analogy!
The reason Pres W shared this story is because of a missionary named David Beck. He served in the LABRM about 35-40 years ago but never had the opportunity to baptize anyone. Twenty years later his brother also served here. Long story short. A young woman, Sarah (age14) had prayed and felt something. She didn't know what. Then a friend gave her an Osmond record and she had the same feeling. After these 2 events she met the brother and companion. She'd previously seen him in a dream. She listened to and believed the message, but her parents wouldn't let her be baptized. A few years later (at the age of 19) she married and had a baby. She, again, wanted to be baptized, but her husband, Mike, wouldn't agree to it and that he'd leave her if she did. Finally she told Mike that she'd leave him if he wouldn't allow her baptism. He agreed then was baptized 8 years later. He was a great member of the Church and became Pres. Wall's counselor in the mission but died from a heart condition in February 2013. There's so much more to the story, but that's all for now.
The joke for the day. Elder Miles came to the building where we were meeting to bring a non-member to meet with Pres W prior to Manny's baptism. Manny asked why Mormons never have ice in their drinks. Sister Wall usually brings it but not today. Elder M told Manny that we don't use ice on Wednesdays. Then proceeded to tell Manny that we also don't use forks on Thursday. Maybe this is a "you had to be there" situation, but we all had a great laugh.