While we talked, I felt the conversation being guided by the Spirit. It was weird because I don't usually recognize when the Spirit is guiding me, except in hindsight. This time I could feel something telling me to keep things light and easy, that she needed a gentle friend more than a teacher right then. So Sister Taylor and I listened and talked and laughed and we kept everything very casual. We talked about prayer interwoven with the normal things of life, and the love God has for His children. But everything was just very natural and normal. When we left, she told us what we'd told her had helped her a lot. It was funny because we really didn't say much. O.o Mostly we just chatted.
Funny how the Spirit can tell you exactly what people need. I had no idea what she'd been through that day, but I'm pretty sure our visit helped her in some way.
And then I contrast that experience with the lesson we had with Tyler last week - that lesson had involved a lot of emotion and testifying of the Atonement. It was overwhelmingly powerful. This "lesson" with Deborah was completely different, and yet I still felt the Spirit so powerfully.
My conclusion? Strong emotions are not the only way you can recognize the Spirit. That is all. :)
So speaking of Tyler... we haven't seen him again, but we pray for him every day. And last night he texted and told us that he was still in deep thought from our conversation last Saturday. That made me happy. Maybe we were able to touch his Spirit in some way after all. Maybe he has some hope. Maybe he recognizes that God still loves him. That alone will be enough to start his healing. :)
So. General Conference. It was amazing. We watched it at the stake center with all the other missionaries in our zone. My bag was full of treats to carry me through, but I ended up not even eating them because I was so absorbed. O.o
This was Sister Taylor's last conference on the mission. At the end of the twosessions, she turns to me in a trance and says "I think Heavenly Father is telling me that my next step in life is to get married and start a family. All those talks were about parenthood!" and I was like "WAT. What were you even listening to? That's not what I heard at all!"
CLEAR evidence that General Conference is personalized to each of us, folks! xD
Let me give you a bit of an overview of what conference was like for me:
ELDER ROBBINS: This was the talk for me, reminding me that I represent Jesus Christ to the world.
ELDER JORG KLEBINGAT: This was the talk for Tyler. He talked about how Satan's voice is the one that tells you that you're not strong enough, not good enough, too far gone for the atonement to reach you and not worth saving anyway. And he told us that as long as we listen to that voice, then we will not not feel comfortable in God's presence. But the atonement can help us, and he told us 6 ways to use it. :)
ELDER ANDERSON: This was the talk for Deborah, because he said that spiritual questions deserve spiritual answers from God. You cannot learn truth by yourself, which is what she's been trying to do.
ELDER BEDNAR: This was the talk for Sabrina, so that she can understand why her son is choosing to join this church that has so many rules and standards.
I learned other things - that God wants to hear about everything I feel and do, no matter how mundane it may seem to me. It matters to Him. He is, after all, my Father. I learned that I can acknowledge and face my weaknesses, and I can accept that I may have them for the rest of my life. But that doesn't mean that I have to be immobilized by them. ;) I learned that the bond between parents and children are unbreakable. That is a very unique and powerful bond that never dies.
Most of all, I learned that my mission has changed me. I look back over the experiences I've had these past six months I think - "Woah. It's been six months???" But then I think "Woah. I'll never be the same."
So yes. There was nothing about parenting in there for me. It's all missionary stuff. Probably because I still have another year. ;)
In other news, Sister Taylor makes life happier. :) We have so much fun together. We had an expanded zone conference this week. That's where all your ward council and your youth come to zone conference with you. And guess who they asked to role-play in front of EVERYONE? That's right. It was us. -.-
We had to pretend to be two ordinary people, and she was inviting me to a church activity. She asked what my plans were for the night and I said "Oh, I have big plans. I'm going to take a bubble bath and watch Phantom of the Opera in the bubble bath WHILE I eat copious amounts of ice cream straight out of the carton." It was real witty of me to say that. xD Everyone laughed.
Plus, last night, I woke up to discover I had Sister Taylor's pillow in my hand. Not sure how it got there. Apparently I steal people's pillows in my sleep. O.o But then again, sometimes she wakes me up because she's crying "There's an arm on this pillow!" and she's touching my arm on my pillow. And so I'm like "Yeah... that's mine." She's like "oh... sorry." For those of you who don't get why this is funny, she was legitimately scared because she thought the arm was detached. I think she was tired. xD
The other day we went to our ward mission leader's house. He'd helped us obtain supplies for an object lesson earlier that week so we stopped by to show him how we used it. :) And... his dad was there. His dad is a returned mission president. Intimidating? Just a bit. But we went ahead and taught the restoration using the cups, and he was very impressed. He told us that he could tell from the minute that we talked in the door that we liked each other. And he said that that unity we had made our teaching very powerful. :)
In short, I love my companion. :)
Love, Sister Ball