The General Relief Society Conference was amazing. Sister Reichman and I left class early [to go sing in the missionary choir at the conference in Salt Lake City]. They put a lot of makeup on us, specifically blush, before we boarded the buses for the Conference Center and I took a much needed nap (Sister Reichman and Sister Dumas had a hard time waking me up when we eventually arrived). When we got to the Conference Center, we rehearsed for the last time. After lunch, as people started trickling in, we were so excited to see the Relief Society Presidency, Elder Holland, President Eyring, President Uchtdorf, and finally the prophet himself, President Thomas S. Monson. It was weird seeing them from a different perspective, seeing that we all sat behind them for probably the one and only time.
|Ashley Dyer and Sister Reichman prepared to sing at the Relief Society|
We sang our hearts out that evening as we testified to the world that the Gospel of Christ has been restored on this earth in the Latter-days and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true. And, in between our songs, we listened to the messages of the General Relief Society Presidency and finally, of our beloved prophet himself. And then, just as soon as it began, it was over. My mind still cannot wrap itself around the fact that my testimony will join the testimonies of many other sister missionaries in song and will be broadcast to people throughout the world. However, I think we did the Lord justice that night as we praised Him and exhorted sisters throughout the world to do the same and take upon themselves the character of Christ.
|Ashley Dyer singing in the Relief Society General Conference in Salt Lake|
Monday was Elder Fore and Sister Reichman's last full day at the Provo MTC. At the end of the day, the Elders were so excited to give them Priesthood blessings before they left. All of the Elders participated. As I listened to two young men speak and bestow upon these two individuals, who have grown to love, blessings from the Lord, I was enchanted by how amazing the power of the Priesthood is. I could tell that the words spoken by these two amazing Elders were not their own, but were the words of the Lord.
The day that Sister Reichman and Elder Fore left was bittersweet. I hugged and shook hands with what seemed like two members of my family for maybe the last time. However, I am very excited for them and know that they will be amazing representatives of the Lord. After Sister Reichmand left, Sister Ruiz became Sister Young and my new companion, so our duo became a trio. At first I was not sure how this would affect our lessons. However, I soon found out, when Sister Ruiz and Sister Young and I taught our two investigators, Irmao Santos and Irmao Carlos, and committed both of them to be baptized in two weeks time! I found that rather than hindering our ability to organize our lessons well, our trio companionship has only made our lessons better, as all three of us testify of Christ and help our investigators feel the love of the Lord. (Although at one point during our last lesson, I accidentally asked Irmao Santos "Voce vai arrepender de nossos pecados?" - "Will you repent of our sins?" He looked at me kind of funny, but thankfully Sister Young saved the day by clarifying that I meant "Seu pecados" - "Your sins")
During one of our recent lessons, Irmao Santos was having a hard time understanding the Atonement. Since he has a two year-old son, named Ato, I decided to use his son as an example. I asked him to imagine his son when Ato was a little bit older. I told him to imagine that one day, while Ato was playing futebol (soccer), he accidentally kicked the ball into someone's window and it shattered. The man who owned the house with the shattered window demanded that Ato repay him, but Ato was just a little boy and didn't have any money. I asked Irmao Santos what he would do. Without blinking an eye, Irmao Santos said he would pay for the window and when I asked him why, he immediately said, "because he is my son and I love him." I explained to Irmao Santos that the love he had for his son was just like the love that God had for him, because he was a son of God. I told him that God loved him so much that, although he made mistakes in this life, God was willing to pay the price for them by sending His son, Jesus Christ, to suffer for our sins. After I shared this example with him, Irmao Santos seemed to understand the Atonement of Christ much better. The rest of the lesson went well and we were able to commit Irmao Santos to baptism.
|Ashley Dyer pointing out her future Natal, Brazil mission|
The other day, as I was walking back to the residency with Sister Ruiz and Sister Young, I reflected on the amazing day we had. Sister Ruiz and I had so much fun participating in service and exercising, and we taught an amazing lesson to our investigator and committed him to be baptized. We had an amazing devotional that night, and everyone in our district loves each other so much and we all see each other as family. As I thought about this, I had an epiphany. I was happy. And no matter how hard I tried, I could not think of a moment in my life when I was happier than I am right now. As I shared this with my two beloved companions, I explained that even though it's been hard getting up at 6 a.m. every morning, studying Gospel doctrine and Portuguese all day, and not having access to the things of the world (TV, cell phones, internet, etc.), right now I am happier than I have ever been in my entire life because I am doing the Lord's work and, with His help, I can do all things, because His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
I love and miss all of you! And I hope you are doing well. The other day we watched an MTC devotional by David A. Bednar entitled "The Character of Christ." It is an amazing devotional and I highly recommend it. I've heard that you probably cannot find a video of it, but may be able to find a written copy. Please find it and read it. It has totally changed my perspective of my own life and helped me create goals that will help me become more Christ-like.