I'm so excited to tell you about this. I definitely wouldn't leave you in the dark about what I learned from Elder Bednar. The reason I didn't write about it before is because he came yesterday and the day before that :) So Saturday was the first day we got to hear from him. It was a mission-wide thing where all the missionaries came up to our chapel and he spoke to us. It was for missionaries only. It was an amazing experience. We were given talks to study, which I'll send you as well. Basically we discussed the talks and shared what we learned from them. We did that for an hour and then had the opportunity to ask questions for two hours. It was an amazing experience. The main thing that he really emphasized is that the Holy Ghost is the only teacher. All he did was ask us inspired questions and the Spirit worked within us to teach us truth. It was really cool. He really helped us to ask good questions too. Before the question portion of our meeting he said something along these lines, "This is probably going to be your only chance to ask an apostle of God a question. Don't ask me where is the sword of Laban. Will that question help you at all in your progression towards God? Wouldn't it be much more spiritually beneficially to you to ask an apostle of God who receives direct revelation for the church with 14 other men in the upper room, Elder Bednar, what can you tell me about receiving revelation?" It really helped everyone to ask good questions and feel the Spirit work within us to answer our questions. He'd always let us ask a question, clarify what we asked to make sure he was understanding correctly, explain a small part of a principle and ask if he could ask us a question, and then let the Spirit answer our question. He'd then leave us with an invitation and some direction to study more so the Spirit could answer our question more fully.
He basically said, if I can get you to understand that you don't need me to answer your questions, then I'll have accomplished my job as a teacher. The best compliment you can have from an investigator is after you've baptized them, "Elders good job, I have the Holy Spirit to teach me now and have fellowship from the ward to help me with everything else, go away and never come back. There are more people that need to be helped." Haha he was such a loving man and really felt like one of us. He was making us laugh and inviting the Spirit. He's a real person and we all got to shake his hand at the end.
One of the biggest invitations he extended was that he told us to get those inexpensive copies of the Book of Mormon, and to pick a topic you wanted to know more about, so for example if you wanted to know more about charity you think of all the words that are like charity, and read through and highlight each time it mentions the word or something related to it and then write one page of what you learned. It can even work with something as simple as trees. Go through and look up everytime it mentions trees. He mentioned that Alma knew about Lehi's dream when he was giving the analogy of faith being a seed and growing into a tree just to give us a little bit. Elder Bednar said he has a whole bookshelf full of those inexpensive copies with the one page summary. "Now go get your own" he said. It's really inspiring to know that as far as personal revelation goes, we're entitled to know everything that these great people in the church know. We have the same gift of the Holy Ghost and if we excercise the action of faith and study as much as we can, we're entitled to know the same things in our own life.
I was one of the lucky missionaries who got to hear Elder Bednar twice in fact because he came to the wards that met at our building. So the next day he spoke in church. In church he spoke of the growing media attention that the church is receiving and how to more effectively share the gospel. Basically he said, when someone asks you a question about a practice of the gospel, explain the doctrine behind it, and ask inspired questions and the Holy Ghost will manifest the truth of it unto them.
His testimony is what really struck me the most. He truly is a witness of Jesus Christ. At one point when he was sharing his testimony he started to say I know but then corrected himself and said I witness of the reality of Jesus Christ. Learning about the Second Comforter has changed my entire perspective whenever the apostles specifically say that they are special witnesses of Jesus Christ. The Spirit just swelled in my heart hearing an apostle of God saying that ten feet in front of you face. It was awesome.
That was easily the highlight of my week. It was really good getting a boost from that because we had two people scheduled to be baptized on the 3rd but both of them got really sick. I'm really hoping and praying that they'll all get better and will all be able to be baptized this month.
Thanks for everything. I discovered that the more technical name is the Holy Scriptures: Inspired Version that I'm wanting, but they might be incredibly expensive. If they are don't worry about it too much.
It's so great to hear that y'all are doing well and I'm really excited for your continued preparation to serve a mission. There's nothing that I especially need. The Lord's definitely been providing for me. Thanks for everything :)