Sunday, December 11, 2016

Elder Ballard

All Mission Conference
Last Saturday, December 10, we had the privilege of having Elder Ballard, his security person, Elder Hallstrom, Elder Wilde (our area 70) and his executive secretary to lunch.  They arrived early and fortunately the final touches had just been done.  Elder Ballard's first remarks to me was well, you're coming to the end.  I told him we don't talk about that and his response was "well you're not trunky." 
We enjoyed lunch with them.  Elder Ballard wanted to know what President wanted him to address with the missionaries.  President said we're working on opening our mouths.  
We were to be to the Ventura Stake Center to shake hands with all of the missionaries at 1:10 so we could start the conference at 1:30.  President told them our missionaries were to arrive at 12:45.  Elder Ballard said then let's go.  I was concerned about getting there early in case any missionaries were late.  (We had gone to the church with the assistants on Friday to make sure what would work in making it flow to meet and shake hands with Elder Ballard.  He wanted to shake everyone's hand.)  I stalled just a little by asking if we could take a picture.  Elder Ballard was very accommodating.   

Elder Wilde was the first to talk and he encouraged the missionaries to work hard and work smart.  Also, work to the end.
Elder Hallstrom said we should raise the vision -- "we are representatives of Jesus Christ and we needed to share the plan of happiness." When we know who we are, we teach with authenticity.  He said, "Why are you here today?"  What good is the meeting if you go home and do the same thing?  We should continually grow, develop, and improve.  Doctrine and Covenants 43:8 is a foundation for life - whenever we gather 1.  Instruct (convey information) and edify - feel the Spirit.  2.  Sanctify -- to be holy, 'bind ourselves to act.'"  He bore testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel.
Elder Ballard said he was here just to help us.  He chose the opening hymn - Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful.  He referred several times to adoring Him.  
"You have the priviledge of being a full time missionary - no one knows what we know -- the Plan of Salvation, etc.  He told us Heavenly Father will not infringe on our agency.  It really was neat when he said apostle/missionary.  They are a missionary to the world.  We need to be the best teachers ever in this world so we need to KNOW the gospel.  "If you want to baptize more people, you have to talk to more." Know Chapter 3 of Preach My Gospel.  Our confidence will build and we won't be afraid to open our mouths.  He invited the missionaries to each have 10 contacts a day; and if everybody does that, the Lord will bring referrals."His voice in Ventura is your voice.  Do all you can to be the best missionaries you can be.  Enjoy the work." It hit many of us when he told a story of a young woman he had talked to in the airport that "she won't say in the next life, 'Why didn't you tell me?'" 
He opened up the last 30 minutes for questions.  There was time for four missionaries to ask:  
1. How do members overcome fear of sharing the gospel?
2.  How to handle a comment that all roads lead to the same place.
3.   How do you know you've done enough as a missionary?
4.  How do you bounce back from discouragement.
Elder Ballard carries a picture of the Savior with him and he will pull it out and think of Gethsemane. "I can do it." 
"He will be as close to us as we allow him." "Find time on Christmas day to adore Him!"
The Elders left the conference before the closing prayer and song.  That gave President time with the missionaries to reflect on what they felt.  

Presidents Jordan, Clark, Lythgoe, Houston, Moberly, Kasper, Hulstine, and Olson
All of the wives were there except for Sister Houston.

At 5:00 all of the stake presidents and their wives were invited to have dinner with Elder Wilde and his wife, Elder Ballard, and Elder Hallstrom.
At 6:30 a leadership meeting was held with invited leaders from the eight stakes.
Elder Hallstrom talked about strengthening our faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ through the Sabbath day observance.  He suggested simplifying meetings on Sunday and to be with family.  He said young people need spiritual experiences.
Elder Ballard is concerned about the drift in morals.  Never lose sight of the power of Jesus Christ and who he is.  His life and ministry is the key to holding the people.  Get the gospel from the head to the heart.  "The most powerful tool we have to bring someone back to church is the Doctrine of Christ."  He read from Moroni 10:30-34 and said to repent and come unto Christ.

A special stake conference was held in Camarillo where we had the opportunity to listen to these men again.  Elder Wilde talked about his grandfather being rescued.
Elder Hallstrom -- apostles are disciples of Jesus Christ and his representatives.  The spirit of Christmas is the Spirit of Christ.  We are refined by the trials we have.  The greatest place to teach the gospel is at home.
Elder Ballard said The Lord Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of the world and He lives.  Anchor our hearts to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.  Elder Ballard and his family went to Jerusalem one year for Christmas.  The Lord was the good shepherd.  "My sheep know my voice and they will follow me."
Christmas is a very special day!  Pause, pray and teach who Jesus is.  He told us to find a quiet spot and think by interviewing yourself.  "I ought to do __________."

It's been a wonderful weekend being with the Elders.  Feeling so blessed!

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