This was such a great week that I am having a little bit of a hard time deciding where to start. About a month ago we were meeting with our Ward Mission Leader, who happens to be one of the best I have ever seen, and we felt prompted to hold a fireside for the youth in our ward(which they call a cottage meeting here). We eventually decided we wanted the theme to be temples and started spreading the word a little over a week before it happened, hoping for 15-20 youth to attend. So now here are the really amazing parts of this story... About a week before it took place we thought it would be really cool to get a member of the Temple Presidency to come and talk to the youth. It turns out that in order to get one of them at an event the request needs to be submitted a month in advance, not a week, because they cover a huge amount of area and are constantly traveling to give talks and work with stakes and wards. We were blessed and despite the very short notice they said they would be able to make it. The Sunday before the fireside Elder Willden and I stopped in on all the youth Sunday school classes and got them excited to come and bring friends, but later that night we realized we told everyone it was Saturday night when it was really the following Sunday. After some prayer and pondering we decided the best thing to do was attend each seminary class throughout the week to correct our announcement and invite the rest of the youth in the stake to attend as well. I loved going to seminary again, but getting up at 5:30 feels a lot earlier then it used to. One of our ward missionaries, who is leaving on his mission tomorrow, even made a Facebook group invite more people.
When the night finally came we were a little nervous but really excited about what we had planned. Two youth, a brother and sister, were asked to share their testimonies of temples because they were baptized only a few months ago and just attended the temple for their first time. Their testimonies powerfully invited the Spirit which continued to testify to us as we listened to the member of the Temple Presidency and his wife speak about the purpose and blessings of temples. In all there were around 50 people in attendance, much more then originally anticipated! During the closing hymn I looked around and felt so blessed to be part of organizing such a powerful and successful fireside, and I said a silent prayer and thanks and asked for a blessing on the amazing youth that filled the room. It was such a powerful experience that the next day, which was missionary temple day, it was spoken of as the Temple Presidency shared a message with us in the chapel before our session. Yesterday was my last mission temple trip and I can not imagine a better way to prepare for it!
And we are teaching some of the coolest people in the world right now! I wish I was allowed to mention more names in these emails, but I will just have to be happy with vague descriptions instead. We are teaching a father and son, and the dad is getting baptized this coming Saturday. He is one of the most prepared people I have taught on my mission, and I am confident he will be a very strong priesthood leader within the next couple years. He was not previously active in any religion, but as soon as he heard the message of the Restoration he accepted the invitation to be baptized and has not deviated from that in any degree. When we taught the Word of Wisdom he stopped smoking and was willing to give up anything else that we asked him to. When we taught the Law of Tithing he didn't have any second thoughts and that he would live it. Last night he asked me to baptize him and when I told him that it might be better if someone in the ward did it, so that he can have that connection with someone closer, he immediately agreed to pray about it. His baptism is going to be an amazing experience, and I am very excited to see the blessings that enter his home as he becomes a priesthood holder.
I will have to tell you about more of these amazing people later because we need to go and get our car fixed. Love you!