Friday we had a great zone conference. This is a time when our entire zone gets together with the Mission President and his wife and we have a teaching, uplifting, inspiring time together.
The chart is a list of scriptures to read each day in Dec. to learn more of Jesus Christ and His ministry here on earth.
President Brubaker drew a picture of the world with a bar or line by each side of the world, with the symbol for eternity by each bar. He said that if this is all that you know of life, then wars, starvation, murders, etc can be explained or rationalized, but when we know that there was an infinity before this life and that there will be an infinity after this life, then this gives us the desire and the faith to go and to do the Lord's will.
Our true potential can be achieved only through the atonement of Jesus Christ and by adopting His way of life which is summarized very beautifully in John 4: 34 "Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work." That is what motivated Jesus and He gives us that example to show us the level of devotion and consecration that we should obtain in order to go where He lives. When we crave righteousness as much as we crave food in hungry times, we will be empowered to do His work and His will.
Pres. reminded us that we must be creative and hardworking in the work of the Lord.
Sister Brubaker read a very touching story to us about 2 children who were given 350 lambs to feed. They could, after raising the lambs, use all of the profits for themselves. What happens to the lambs and the brother and sister is very interesting. You can find this story told in a conference talk by Jayne B. Malan, First Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency in the 1989 ENSIGN magazine. You could also look it up online.
Our Heavenly Father knows and cares about you. He wants to find the lost sheep and bring them back into the fold. "I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit will be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up." (D&C 84: 88)
Our prophet President Benson, has said, "The symbolism of the Good Shepherd is not without significant parallel in the Church today." The sheep need to be led by watchful shepherds. "With a shepherd's loving care, our young people, our lambs, will not be as inclined to wander. And if they do, the crook of the shepherds staff, a loving arm, and an understanding heart will help to retrieve them. (Regional Representatives' Seminar, 3 Apr. 1987.)
Remember the new star that led the shepherds to the stable in Bethlehem. When we share the gospel light, we are as the new star that brings light and truth into the lives of people searching for the truth.
Pres and Sister Brubaker prepared a yummy lunch for us. They served cheese fondue with a delicious bread. We also had salami, mushrooms and peppers to dip into the cheese which was mixed with a white grape juice. There was a green salad and for dessert each one got a cookie called a speckuloos(sp?) which is a traditional Dutch Christmas treat.
Here are pictures of our zone missionaries enjoying their lunch. Sitting by DH is Elder Shaunig, from Austria, an awesome pianist. He plays all of the hymns looking only at the melody and the embellishing it with all sorts of beautiful accompaniment.
President Brubaker with the Speckuloos.
After we ate 3 missionaries who had birthdays this past month stood up and those who wanted to said nice things about them did. I made some comments about one of the missionaries and about his great qualities and I ended up by saying, "..and he is darn good looking." Everyone oooohed and laughed. Poor Elder Bertrand blushed. Dh was one of the birthday boys. Pres made the first comment about him. He said, "Elder Arhets is so darn good looking." He looked directly at me and everyone got a good laugh. HA! So many of the missionaries wanted to say something nice about him. They said things like, "I love to listen to him talk about the scriptures. He is so wise, He is so knowledgeable. He really knows the scriptures. He is kind. I love to spend time talking to him because he inspires me." Many more things were said. Some of them were nice enough to include me in their comments. They said, "I can't talk about Elder Arhets without talking about Sister Arhets. They are in another generation, but we think they are only 23 or so because they can talk to us and relate to us. We love to be with them." One elder said that he didn't even know us well yet, but that he spent 2 months with Elder Nielsen who told him so many things about us that he loves us already. Those missionaries were very kind with their comments. We are the ones who love them and love being with them. We are awed by their knowledge and dedication and courage in serving a mission. They are so young and yet they are so great. The Lord has really blessed us to be able to serve with them.
Some of the missionaries sang a very beautiful hymn.
Elder Maas played his bagpipes after conference was over. He is f a b u l o u s! Wow! He is a master bagpiper. Is that even a word? We all loved it. He is not Irish or Scottish either. He began playing when he was 11. We enjoyed his music for a good 1/2 hr. I never realized before that it takes the coordination of blowing up the bag with your mouth, pushing the bag in with your arm and letting the air go out, and using your fingers to produce the sound. It's really loud too. He did a great job.
It made me remember Elder Anderson who served in Texas when we were living there. On Halloween, he and his companion went to the store and bought a bunch of plaid fabric and draped it around themselves, kind of like kilts. The they came to the trunk or treat where Elder Anderson played his bagpipes. He was like the pied piper. All of the kids and many of the adults followed him around the church to listen to him play.