Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Hobnobing with the GAs and Seeing Behind the Scenes at the MTC during the Mission Presidents Seminar

People forget that behind the mission presidents' seminar there is a lot of planning and even missionaries involved in the process. One blogger Mike Devries tells how he ushered and how his wife Camille did a lot of the legwork on the arrangements:

Camille is my hero. This week she has been working at the mtc about 14 hours a day to help with the mission president seminar. It is fun to see her in her at work. I worked as an Usher just a couple days of the seminar and saw Camille workin' away. It was hard on the one hand because I wanted to do things like hold her hand or give her a little kiss, but that, unfortunately, is a no no. On the other hand it was wonderful to see my sweet and happy wife often throughout the day. The mission presidents, upon seeing my tag, would often ask, "Are you Camille's husband?" I would reply in the affirmative, and then something to the effect of, "Ohh, we love Camille," would come. I haven't met a person who hasn't completely loved Camille. I'm a lucky guy, what can I say.

Another behind the scene action is the missionaries who sing in the choir. On Wednesday, 29 June 2009 Sister Sallie Wilson shared with us her involvement during the mission presidents' seminar and the songs that were sung by the missionaries:

What a day! Today is Wednesday, so we got a bunch of new missionaries in, AND today all the new mission presidents and their wives arrive for the seminar this week! That's great, and crazy all at the same time. Great because, well 105 new mission presidents and their wives, plus tons of general authorities, with at least 1 apostle each day, and Pres Monson on Sunday, is GREAT! Especially because I get to sing for them everyday, including twice on Sunday (one for their am devotional, AND for their Sacrament mtg with Pres Monson)! Uncle Vernon, if I get a chance to talk to Pres Monson, I'll tell him hey for you! Now, the craziness is mostly because for this seminar, they've partitioned off half of the cafeteria, which means that the already insane amount of missionaries that eat in there together are now going to be totally crammed into half the space and available food lines. Trust me, it's going to be nuts (tonight is the first meal like that for us).

Choir is SO GREAT!!!! Absolutely Awesome!!! We are singing 5 times, plus once with the whole MTC choir for devo on Friday. We are singing "Jesus, Once of Humble Birth," "Come Thou Fount," "Joseph Smith's First Prayer," "This is the Christ," and a brand new, absolutely incredible arrangement of "Precious Savior, Dear Redeemer."!!! They're letting us record our singing (our dress rehearsal/warm-ups each morning), so I'll send you a recording! I'm SO EXCITED!!!!! Our first devotional is tomorrow morning at 8am, and Pres Eyring is going to be here! Friday is Pres. Uchtdorf, Sat. is Pres Packer, and Sunday is Pres Monson! Elder Christofferson is here today. Baaaaah!!! It's so awesome!
On Monday, 29 June 2009 Elder Jacob Budge who also sang in the choir reported his impressions of last week's mission presidents seminar particularly the meeting with the missionaries:

This week has been AMAZING! So many things are happening, have happened, and will happen. So, this past weekend, all of the Quorum of the 12 and the First Presidency were here. It was incredible! They came for New Mission Presidents Seminar, which has been taking place since wednesday. Holy cow. It has been awesome. We had a devotional on friday night, and Elder Holland spoke. Holy incredible. Elders Bednar, Cook, Andersen, Perry, Oaks, Scott, and Christofferson were all on the stand as well! 8 Apostles of Jesus Christ! I cannot describe the feeling and the Spirit that existed in that room. It was awesome because I'm in the MTC Choir and I was sitting in the 2nd Row. I've never been so close to that many Apostles. El sentimiento no admite descripcion. It was sweet because we got to just walk past everyone that had been waiting 2 hours to get into the Devotional, so I felt like a VIP. It was sweet.

So, Elder Holland's talk was amazing. We constantly hear that we need to teach with the Spirit, and if we don't have the Spirit, we're commanded to not teach. But, Elder Holland shared some incredible insights on the subject. After we sang, he actually said "Well...I may as well give the benediction and go home. If there has ever been a Devotional moment, that was it." My favorite principle that he taught (out of many...I have 4 pages of notes) is that the Holy Ghost is our connection to God's Heavenly realm. We teach by the Spirit so that OUR lessons become HIS lessons. Only the Spirit of the Lord can lift people out of the Temporal World, take them towards the Godhead, and eventually to their own Godhood. Through the Holy Ghost, we bring God's presence into the homes of our investigators. Elder Holland said that it is because of the Holy Ghost that our investigators realize, IN SPITE of us Missionaries, that our message and mission is Divine. That really hit me hard because I really think so highly of so many missionaries here in the MTC, but we're all so full of imperfections. We need the Holy Ghost to have people look past our imperfections and our broken Spanish to know that this message comes from Heaven. It comes from the love of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. What a blessing.
Finally one missionary shared how the missionaries were hobnobbing with the GAs. On Tuesday, 30 June 2009 Elder Justin Hale shared his experience with meeting the Prophet:

OK so this whole week was the new mission president training seminar, and 14 out of the 15 apostles were here at some point during the week. We weren’t allowed to associate with them because of the swine flu, but Elder Holland spoke to us on Friday. It was the coolest talk. He talked about having the Holy Ghost as your 3rd companion, and making sure he is always the senior companion. One thing he said that was way cool was that the way you exercise the gift of discernment is by looking into a person’s eyes. So anyway, on Sunday I met 2 prophets (well I guess 1 prophet and 1 apostle)! President Monson came to speak to the mission presidents. As he was leaving the MTC, somebody shouted in the classroom building, and everybody rushed outside. There was President Monson and President Eyring! I was near the front of the small crowd and so I was about 5 feet away from President Eyring. While President Monson wandered around talking to the missionaries, President Eyring was standing right next to me, talking to us about an injury he had from playing basketball with his grandkids. By the way, President Eyring is way cool! He was cracking jokes the whole time, telling us that President Monson always makes them late because he is meeting people!

Well, eventually President Monson made his way towards my part of the crowd and then stopped. He started pointing at different missionaries and asking them where they were going. He pointed to everyone around me and then….HE POINTED AT ME!! It was so freakin cool! He asked where I was going and I said, “Argentina, Buenos Aires!” He smiled and said, “I love it there! I dedicated the temple there!”After mingling a little bit more, he started to get into his car (a white Buick), and everyone started singing “We Thank Thee O God For a Prophet.” President Monson turned around and jokingly led the music! It was so awesome! Then after waving, giving air hugs, and shouting goodbye in Spanish and Samoan, the two apostles drove off.

It is way cool to experience firsthand as we read the missionaries blogs of their impressions during important events and see what happens behind the scenes during the mission presidents' seminar. This helps us when we read in the Church News the addresses and we read one line about how they spoke to the missionaries. It gives us an added dimension.

No comments: