Thursday, December 27, 2007

Missionaries and General Authorities

When I was a missionary I spent three months in the LTM. Back in those days before the MTC we would sit in our own section of the Marriott Center and would share the speaker with the students from the Twelve Stakes. It was an amazing sight seeing hundred of missionaries in their white shirts and ties. We listened to speakers like Bruce R. McConkie who would speak to us in that deep deep voice testifying of his personal knowledge of the Savior. He was an amazing speaker.

One of the joys of being a missionary is hearing the General Authorities speak. One of my two daughters met Elder Boyd K. Packer who personally told her that her parents would be blessed for having two missionaries out at the same time. My wife's fondest memory in the MTC was when the missionary choir sang during a talk by LeGrand Richards. He was a delightful speaker who had a problem going over. They actually pulled on his coat tails to get him to sit down. He usually ignored them and spoke on rapping his cane a time or two to make his point. One of my daughters remembers fondly M. Russell Ballard speaking to them and his devotion to the missionaries. In a time when stake conferences are done across closed circuit broadcasts this is one of the few times that young people have an opportunity to mingle with the prophets and apostles.

Some of the most spiritual times in my life were listening to the General Authorities while on a mission and later as a student at BYU. On my mission I actually received a couple of blessings from General Authorities who visited. I always remember Carlos Asay giving me a blessing to strengthen me on my mission. It helped me get through a difficult time. I am not proud that I had some struggles on my mission but it meant something to me that he was trying to help me be a better missionary and serve valiantly to completion of a honorable mission. It is important for missionaries to know that the General Authorities care for them. I will always have a place in my heart for his kindness to me. The missionaries who serve in the field are the leaders of the future. I think the Lord is mindful of them. What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same" (D&C 1:37–38). When his servants walk among them blessing them and encouraging them through their words it motivating and just might possibly make the difference between a missionaries success or failure.

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