So, picture this: You're in a mission wide conference, with the 250+ missionaries of the France Paris mission. A member of the First Quorum of the Seventy gets up and addresses you about the importance of using tools to get a job done better and how in the end it can make you stronger. He's using pictures to do this and shows you a picture an illustration of a man who just finished digging a big canal and who know has bigger muscles than before and says, "You can see here that his muscles have grown, that he's become...oh, what was that new word that sister missionary taught me...oh yeah! He's swoll!"
Mom and Dad, hopefully, if you didn't get that, the brothers can explain it to you. :) Honestly, it was the funniest thing, especially coming from Elder Kearon with his British accent.
Obviously, the big news is the iPad conference yesterday! The big let down is that they had a problem with the shipping and we actually didn't get the iPads themselves yesterday... So that was kind of disappointing, but other than that, it was a really great conference. We were able to hear from Elders Kearon and Nielsen, who are both really awesome. They honestly presented the iPads and the whole "modern era of missionary work" thing in such a great way. I don't really know how to explain it all, it was quite a bit of information, but, for me, the overall theme was how the goal with the iPads, in the end, is to really help us to better accomplish our purpose as missionaries and to help us be better able to conquer the temptations that come with technology. Elder Nielsen said that the church has taken a stand and decided that "Satan is not going to control the internet". He talked about how the temptations in the world today are going to always be there, that we need to be honest with ourselves and accept that they are always going to be there in our pockets. That's just the world we live in. It was really interesting to me to see that the church has moved from focusing on putting internet filters on computers and things like that to simply teaching people how to overcome temptations when they do come. It's a principle that can be applied in all aspects of our lives, and for the rest of our lives. We talked about creating a plan to overcome temptation, so that we're ready when it comes.
At one point, Elder Nielsen shared the story of what happened last year to the missionaries in the Philippines, when he was there. The part that hit me the most was the story of 10 sister missionaries. As he told it, they were all gathered in their apartment when the 200 mph storm was coming in. The building was sturdy enough that they weren't going to have any problems, but the storm brought with it a tidal wave. They quickly ran upstairs to the second floor as the water came in, but it kept rising. All the could do was climb out and onto the roof to avoid drowning. Out, exposed, into the open, powerful typhoon. Together, all ten of these sisters clung on to each other on the roof of their apartment building as the storm passed directly over them and bodies floated past them in the water of the wave. But, together, they survived. They made it through the storm.
And that's exactly how it has to be for us. If we don't all support each other in the fight against temptation, and Satan, we won't be able to make it. It makes me think of the famous Helaman 5:12. (And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall).Your foundation, the thing that keeps you rooted when the shafts in the whirlwinds come, can, and I'd even say should be, in part, your family and your friends. Sometimes, the "rock" of Christ can be those around you.
I don't really have a whole lot to say about the iPads, seeing how we won't be getting them for a little while longer (they didn't say how much, but probably a few weeks). But with what they've told us and the ideas that we've already got flowing in our apartment alone, they are really going to be effective tools for the work and for helping us as missionaries and members of the church to be better equipped and prepared to combat against the difficulties of the world we live in. It's a really exciting time to be a missionary, that's for sure!
|Elder Sumsion and Elder Blais|
with Andy at His Baptism
Just to end with a little spiritual experience, this week I was able to do the baptismal interview for Andy, from China, who got baptized this last weekend. I got to see how much his testimony and relationship with God has grown. At the end of the interview, I asked him to say the closing prayer, and what he said really touched me. He said: "Heavenly Father, thank you so much for the time that Elder Bigler has taken today to help me. Please bless him. And as I take this big step in my life, please be with me as well Father. I know that this is not going to be an easy path, but that it IS your path. I ask you to be with me, hand in hand, as I start this journey. I know it is possible with you. Father, we love you. And we say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen." As he finished this prayer, I knew in my heart, through the confirmation of the Holy Ghost, that he was ready for baptism. Before his baptism, he had no real belief in God, or anything, but during his prayer, I could feel the connection that he has created with his Father in Heaven.
It was a really good week, and I'm looking forward to another one this week! Elder Baldwin, who I lived with in Calais, will be moving into the apartment, replacing Elder Sumsion who is moving to Caen. Other than that though, transfers didn't affect us too much. :)
Keep up the good work back home, and the prayers! Dad, thanks for the help with my questions, it's such a great blessing to have such support from home. Make it a great week and I'll talk to you guys in 6 days!
There was also an additional email from Adam asking the following:
Well, we had that big iPad conference yesterday. (I'll talk about that in my email) It was honestly a really spiritual conference, and one that got me thinking and reflecting more than in a while. As we left, I was really thinking about how close I am to the end of my mission, and how much more I want to accomplish before I leave. I worry that I might not have accomplished enough when my time comes. A few missionaries in our mission right now are extending their missions, and it's really got me thinking about whether I do that as well. I feel like, this is a once in a lifetime chance, and it's the greatest work on earth. Why not serve the Lord as much as I can and put in a little more effort? Since I start school 39 days after my current release date, I wouldn't have enough time to stay for all 42 days of an extra transfer, but I could do an extra 4 weeks, with approval from Président Babin of course. But that would put me home exactly 11 days before the semester starts, which is really close. But, on the other hand, it's for the Work, and for the Lord, and I feel like he could bless me and help me accomplish whatever I need to in that time. It's just something I've been thinking about a lot, and a decision that's hard to make because neither side is a bad decision. I'd just kind of like your input on it.
What do Parents say to that? Stay tuned.....
|Andy's Birthday with the Missionaries and Friends|