Wow. Was General Conference great or what? We had a great week here in Encarnaciòn getting ready for it. Our activity for the members turned out great! Our district leader dressed up like Lehi and led people to the "iron rod" (represented by a rope) which they could follow past the "great and spacious building" (we put a sign on a door that said "Fiesta Aquì" to the "tree of life" (we put Christmas lights on a tree outside) where they could partake of the "fruit" (little white carmelitos (candy)). Other missionaries prepared a variation of dodge ball to represent the war between the Nephites and the Lamanites, and the members also got to enjoy a reenactment of Moroni burying the plates. The climax of the evening was when everyone gathered in the sacrament room and sat on blankets on the floor to listen to King Benjamin. We showed the beautiful "Because He Lives" video and invited the members to study the words of the prophets and learn of Jesus Christ.
A thought I've been considering a lot this week is the concept of the refiner's fire. A sister shared a beautiful story with me:
A woman once went to a silversmith. She listened attentively as he explained the process of putting raw silver in the very hot fire to burn away all the impurities. "How long do you leave the silver in the fire?" she asked him. "Is it a matter of minutes, or do you leave it for a while so you can do other things and come back to it?"
"Oh no," replied the silversmith. "Once I put the silver in the fire, I never leave. I stay right by the fire's side the entire time until it is ready to come out. The silver is precious to me, and I would never risk leaving it in the fire too long to get burned. I wait patiently and watch carefully until the moment all of the impurities have been burned away and it is ready to come out."
"How do you know when it is ready?"
"When I can see myself reflected in its surface."
This life is like the refiner's fire, and we are the silver. God is the great Silversmith. Once He puts us in the fire, He will not abandon us. He will be right there with us the entire time, ready to pull us out as soon as our impurities have been burned away. He will not let the fire harm us. He is waiting to see Himself reflected in our countenances.
May we live such that we reflect our Heavenly Father in our lives, that we may glorify Him.
Q & A
1. How was Easter in Paraguay?
Easter was great! Hermana Sorenson and I made chipa-on-a-stick with a member in our branch. I was going to send pictures, but this computer is not recognizing my memory card. One day....
2. What was your favorite conference talk?
My favorite talk was Elder Bednar's talk on godly fear versus worldly fear. I am convinced he wrote that talk for me.
3. Did you listen to the Spanish talks in Spanish? What about the rest of conference?
I watched most of conference in English with some 6-10 other missionaries, but for the Spanish talks we all snuck into the back of the cultural hall to watch the talks in their original language. We were quite a sight sneaking in and out!
4. Have you seen any new wildlife?
I saw some brilliant yellow birds the other day, super pretty!
5. How's Myrian?
Myrian is great, we're going to visit her .
6. Do you know about transfers yet?
Yes, it's true. I just killed my mother. (missionary lingo: mother/father = a missionary's first companion, also known as his or her trainer. A missionary that is going home is dying, and her last companion is the one who kills her) This morning Hermana Sorenson left for Posadas, and she flies home. (How did you figure that out, Mom? I feel like I haven't really said too much about it in my emails home. Also, how did you know about transfers this week? You're kind of scary...) My new companion is the lovely Hermana Nethercott, who I got to know when she did divisions with me about a month ago. I'm so excited! She should get here - until then, I'm in a trio with Hermana Martinez and Hermana Simmons, who also just sent their companions home. (transfers are every 6 weeks, so it's not too hard to figure out when they occur)
7. Have you finished your new missionary training, and how does that change your schedule?
I did just finish my new missionary training, so now I have an hour more for proselyting. Also, we changed to the winter schedule a couple weeks ago. Now we do all of our studies in the morning and then go out and work until 9. I can't remember if I told you or not.