Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Let Heaven Have Someone In Mind

Hi All!

This week was one of a kind. Elder Ballard, an Apostle of the Lord, came this past weekend to Beaverton! Before I talk about that, however, I want to tell you about all the other activities of the week!

I got a haircut this week! It had been 6 months...

Here is a funny story typical of the Bergman family...
Two weeks ago, my email on my ipad quit working altogether, so I had to put in a request for a new ipad. I got one this week, but Elders just dropped it off. Basically, they said "Good luck getting it set up and transferring everything over because we have no idea how to do it!" and left...In their defense, they were super busy! Anyways, I figured I could do it myself. How hard can it be really? We have a special software we have to put on the ipads in order to use them as missionaries. So, I got started downloading everything and trying to decipher some instructions they had given me. Two hours or so later...the last thing I had to do was copy over my pictures and notes and I would be done! (This is actually only supposed to take like 30 minutes total). Well, I opened my notes app, and...they were all gone! I had over a month's worth of journaling in my notes! GRR! I spent the next couple hours downloading different programs to search for my deleted notes. Most of them found them, but of course, wanted to force me to spend like $50 for the software...I finally gave up, but kept praying. Two days later, I was informed that my notes were probably synced to my email app unknowingly, so when I deleted the app on my old app, they went away. I was informed that, though I had set up my email on my new ipad, so  they should have returned, I set it up through an exchange account instead of a Google account. Sure enough, I set up my email the correct way the next day, and they appeared. It was like Christmas! (But more like those times when you buy all your gifts with all your own money, wrap them yourself, and then open them by yourself on Christmas alone. Somehow....its not quite the same feeling...haha.) But I'm glad to have them back! God is good :)

One more funny story. We were in a lesson this week, and we were discussing some of the Mormon lingo that most people don't ward, General conference..etc. The member explained that when he first joined the church, they called the large church buildings "stake houses" instead of "stake centers." So, every so often, he would say to his friends: I'm going over to the stakehouse to play basketball tonight." haha.. He said he always got really weird looks..

Yesterday will be a day I will never forget! Not only did we get to hear Elder Ballard speak twice, but George got baptized! In Conference, our Stake President told us there were 750 more members living in our stake geographical boundaries. We just have to find them. Now there are 749.

      Before the baptism, we had a great lunch put on by some wonderful ladies in our ward, since there was not enough time for people to eat lunch in between Stake Conference and his baptism.His uncle came from Orem, Utah and baptized him, which was an awesome blessing. The spirit was really strong and the speakers did fabulous. Sister Quent and I sang a duet called "Gethsemane" that we sang at the Christmas VC performances, and George teared up. That is the first time I have seen him cry. Sister Melgaard was also able to Skype, which George and her really appreciated. However, the best miracle was that George's dad showed up! We think he showed up to pick up George after his baptism, but he came at 2 pm, which is when it started. He had not seemed interested every time George brought it up, but we persuaded him he might as well come see it. He also brought George's cousin, a woman prob, in her 60s. They came in uncomfortable and wary, but left uplifted, open, smiling, and joking. The difference was incredible! George's cousin said at the end of the baptism: "I have learned more in the last two days about the Mormon church than I have in my entire life living by them. I want to know more." We got her email and are referring her to missionaries in California! We were so glad all this family came to see George, who is absolutely ecstatic to be baptized. He looks forward to being confirmed next Sunday! He also told us today that one of his goals is to read the Book of Mormon al the way through, and he is starting today.

I am humbled by all the blessings that the Lord is giving me, my companion, and other missionaries around the world. I know this is the Lord's work.

I had the opportunity to hear Elder Ballard speak 5 times this weekend, which is yet another experience I will never forget! These days, he said the likelihood of an Apostle coming to a stake conference is once every THIRTY years. Wow. Every meeting was packed! In two of the meetings, I sat on the FIRST row. The neck cramp was worth it :) One thing I did not expect, is that Elder Ballard is HILARIOUS! He made some many funny comments. I wish I could do them justice on paper, but I just cant. Here is one though. 

After attempting to name the # of grandchildren he has, Elder Ballard said: " There are 46 or 47 of them... I can't remember. They come like just cant keep count!" Ha.

Here is another incredibly, but funny story Elder Ballard shared.
A couple years ago, Elder Ballard was reorganizing a stake presidency. Contrary to the norm, he was unsure who to call as the new stake president. He interviewed about 45 men, but none were right. As he was conversing with the former Stake President trying to figure out what to do, a man in tennis shoes and workout clothes with headphones in ran jogged down the hallways outside their room.
 Elder Ballard asked: "Who's that?" 
 "I don't know..."
"Well go find out!"
The Stake president brought him back to the room, and Elder Ballard asked him what his name was. It turns out, the man was a member looking to move somewhere nearby. He was checking out different homes while jogging and happened to see an LDS church building, so he decided to walk through to see what it looked like. Elder Ballard talked to him for a bit and then asked "Will you call your wife and tell you to bring you a suit and a tie?" The man said "Why?" "Because I'm calling you as the new stake president!" The man said: "I don't even have a house yet!" Elder Ballard said: "Well that's easy! Buy one!" haha. The man called his wife and asked her to bring him a suit. She asked why, and when he told her, she too replied" We don't even have a house yet!"  But, they agreed. In stake conference the NEXT day, when the new stake president was announced, everyone looked at their neighbor and whispered "who??"... Everything turned out great though, and the man served faithfully for 8 years as the stake President!

On a more spiritual note, here are some highlights from the conference. The main topic this whole weekend was missionary work. I think that means something - that every topic of the conference was centered on sharing the Gospel. It should be out top priority in life, next to our own eternal families.

"You will not shy away from opportunities to share the gospel if, in your mind, you have gone to Gethsemane." - Elder Ballard

I invite you to think about that phrase "gone to Gethsemane." Have you gone to Gethsemane? How deeply is Christ ingrained in your heart?

Something else I loved it that there are two kinds of faith:
1. faith borne from experience of everyday life
2. the Faith that calls forth CHANGE. Few possess it. It is the faith that causes ACTION.

"If you think that missionary work is still just for full-time missionaries, you are not KEEPING UP!"
"If we have really partaken of the fruit, we would not be able to resist sharing it!"
"Don't run faster than you have strength, but do RUN"

Elder Ballard invited us "to set a date within 60 days from now to have a missionary lesson in your home. If you pray for missionary experiences as a family and in your personal prayers with an intent to ACT on the opportunities that present themselves, then I promise you that the Lord will provide the person or family."

I invite you to take up Elder Ballard's invitation. I promise you that if you do, your family will be blessed and you will find more happiness. Sharing the gospel is the cheapest (haha) and most effective way to find JOY.

I am so grateful to be serving a full-time mission for the Lord at this time. I know that sharing the gospel is something we are ALL capable of. As I go forward this week a little bolder and a little wiser, I invite you to as well! If you decide to open your mouth and share the gospel, Heavenly Father will put someone near you to listen!

I love you all and have a great week!
Sister Bergman

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