Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Spiritual Feast!

My "spiritual feast" began on Sunday, February 1 when I attended a Relief Society Fireside featuring the RS General President, Julie B. Beck.

It was a multi-stake fireside held at the Valencia building. We arrived early (about 6:00) to find a parking lot half full of cars and a full chapel. The overflow area was open into the gymnasium and it was at least half full. Michale Lauricella found us two seats pretty close to the front. although that meant we couldn't sit with the other ladies from our ward.

The music was beautiful and set a spiritual tone for the meeting. Sister Beck spoke about a few things, but then she opened the meeting up for a few questions. There were a couple things she said that really touched me. I'm going to paraphrase them for you.

One sister asked about having family members do things she didn't have time for (because of her studies). Sis. Beck encouraged her to make sure she was ready for the "swing shift" (afternoon - evening), because that is the time we have the biggest impact on our children. This time of day allows for so many things: time to talk about the day, reading together, playing games together, homework, teaching through example, cooking together, etc. I have not always been at my best during "swing shift", but I have decided to make it more of a priority.

Another sister asked was concerned about keeping her children close to the gospel when they spend so much time out in the world and around influences we cannot control. Sister Beck immediately said, "Go to the temple." She encouraged all parents to work with their children and their Bishop to get a limited use recommend and go to the temple. Honestly, I've never thought of doing that with my teens. I don't know why not, because I was reviewing the stake calendar and was a bit disappointed that our ward's youth will only have one opportunity to go to the temple this year (and I think it is near the end of the year). In our last family night, we talked about this as a family: going to the temple, and using family names.

The following weekend (Feb 7-8) was our stake conference. As always the adult session Saturday night was fabulous. Brother Gonzalez (from the presidency of the 1st quorum of Seventy) presided. He was such a great speaker. Not only was he animated and easy to listen to, he had such timely and inspired counsel. He spent quite a bit of time teaching about how to share the gospel, in particular, how to introduce the Book of Mormon to friends. I have a great testimony of the truthfulness of The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, and would like to share that with others, but I was stuck and not quite sure how to do it without seeming pushy. My friends are my friends whether or not they are members of my church and whether or not they want to read the Book of Mormon, but there are times I've felt that friends are interested and I don't know how to offer without seeming overbearing. I was very grateful for the counsel Brother Gonzalez gave to us.

The general session of Stake Conference was held on Sunday, February 8. I went very early and got front row seats in the chapel. I've never been that early before, so I've always sat in the overflow area or gymnasium. Everything was so much more powerful being right there in the chapel. The speakers bore their testimonies, and the spirit was very strong. A new stake presidency was called, and I received a spiritual witness that our new presidency was chosen by God to lead our stake at this time. I am so grateful for the priesthood authority and for leaders who exercise it righteously.

This Friday (February 13) is Stake Temple Day. We have a chapel session at 7:00 pm and will attend the 7:30 pm session. I hope that all members of our stake can come to the temple and enjoy the peaceful spirit which resides there. I am so grateful to live close to a temple, and that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth.


Diana said...

I too enjoyed Sister Julie Beck myself. Amazing opportunity. I hope to be at the temple with Steve tomorrow night too!

RachelAA said...

WOW - thank you for this~