Thursday, March 19, 2009

We passed by this scene on US 460 on our way from Bedford to our Zone Conference in Salem, Virginia yesterday morning. It is a farm on the north side of the highway on the outskirts of the small town of Thaxton where some of our Bedford Branch members reside.

Spring has arrived in Virginia and the next several weeks should provide a lot of beautiful changes in the landscape!

We had Elder's Boling and Spendlove with us. They are happy to share a ride in our car for these conferences as it saves miles on their mission car. The missionaries are only allowed to put so many miles on their assigned vehicle during each month.

We had a very instructive and uplifting Zone Conference at the Roanoke Stake Center with President and Sister Thornock and the Assistants. We were able to meet our new District Leader, Elder Shill. He is the grandson of Wynn & LaRene Call, whom we served with on the faculty at Skyline High School Seminary so many years ago.

So, why didn't I get pictures of Elder Shill and the other missionaries instead of empty landcapes? I don't have an answer. It is a "Senior Moment"-type thing? We don't know. Next time we will do better. We had a very touching closing moment at the conference when President Thornock asked Elder Carmona, who is going home soon, to stand and bear his testimony. Elder Carmona told of how he was converted to the gospel at the age of 15 and how his little sister was not permitted to be baptized even though she was so desirous of becoming a member. She had to wait 5 long years. Finally, after fasting and prayer, Elder Carmona went to his parents and pled with them to allow his sister to be baptized. His words finally touched their hearts and they gave their permission. Elder Carmona said that when he was baptized you could have counted those present at the baptism service on the fingers of one hand. When he baptized his little sister the chapel was filled to overflowing and people were standing in the hallways and on the outside of the building, all for his little sister. Her obedience to her parents and her patient persistance in wanting to be a member, waiting for all those years, was an inspiration to many, many people.

It was wonderful to hear this humble Hispanic elder bear his testimony of the truthfulness of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ and how it has changed his life and the life of his family and so many others.

What a blessing is this missionary assignment to Linda and me. We do love it with all our heart! Tonight we will participate in the second discussion with a beautiful young lady, who is approaching her 8th birthday and whose birth father has given permission for her to be baptized. Her name is "Logan Dawn Wright." She is very sincere and very prepared. She listens with great attentiveness and both asks and answers questions during the discussion, demonstrating an amazing grasp of the doctrine and the stories associated with the Restoration of the Gospel. We are looking forward to being with her and her family again this evening.