From October 7, 2013
Hi from the great city of Buffalo!
So this week was amazing here in Buff city. I've never fully appreciated or looked forward to (or stayed awake throughout for matter) General Conference until this year. We tell so many people about how we believe that God works through a modern day prophet today holding all the keys of His Priesthood, but we rarely have a voice to match him with. This week was General Conference, a massive broadcast where many church leaders, including the Prophet and the Apostles give us council for our day. It is broadcasted into something like 85 languages live? Practically anywhere in the world people have access to the words of our leaders today. No one tunes in closer to conference than the missionaries. Since the Prophets tell us what God wants us to be focusing ontoday, missionaries make sure to take as many notes as possible to relay to those who are looking for the gospel. One thing that really stood out to me in this semiannual conference was President Thomas S. Monson's talk during Sunday morning. In all the years we've heard President Monson, I don't think I've ever seen him cry or stray away from his typical emotional personality (the happy sing song voice of his). This conference, his talk was based on his love for his late wife, and no one listening could deny the emotional strain losing her took on him. What this showed to me is that he is real. He knows struggle, he experiences difficulty, and he's not just some man who tells us to power through our problems while he doesn't have any. It doesn't matter who you are, rich or poor, black or white, male or female, everybody has experienced some kind of pain and heartache. Even the Prophet of God. This made so many of the other talks more meaningful, because strength through trials was a big theme. The Prophet has to struggle just like we do. But more importantly, Jesus Christ struggled not only just like we do, but so many times over he experienced the pain we experience. If we can look to him, whether you are just an average joe or if you are a prophet of God, you can have strength through trials. A ton of people we teach are going through some serious trials that I've never experienced, and so we focus a lot on conquering your specific trials and recognizing them as sources of strength and catalysts of faith. Sometimes it's hard because I've never experienced anything like what people here have experienced, but that's why we help people gain trust and faith in the Lord, not in us.
Two missionaries from our district were waiting for visas to get to Argentina, and they came on Saturday! I was happy for them esp because one of them has been waiting for about 6 months or so! A sister missionary that came out when I did just got hers too!
So somewhat funny story: We were eating fruit and cinnamon rolls as a ward before the Sunday morning session of general conference started, and apparently there was a stranger who walked in (there's prob around 30 people already), stayed for about 15 minutes, and then left after snatching one of the iphones of a young mom in the ward! It had a pink cover, and she immediately called the police haha not sure what they were going to do about it though...downtown buffalo is a rough place and I feel like the police have better things to do than search for missing Iphones. I'm not actually serving in downtown buffalo don't worry mom plus the elders that are there have to be home pretty much before dark so everyone is kept safe!
Thanks for all the packages, letters, and emails I love them all!
Elder Jake Hirschi