Monday, April 4, 2011

More Conference Please (April 4, 2011)

Hey everyone!
It's been another good week down here in Surprise. On Tuesday we had a Zone Leader Council, which is always the last week of the month. The zone leaders all get together at President and Sister Beck's house and, in a nutshell, set goals and address other concerns of the mission. We all met at President's house at about 6:30 for a light breakfast and then a hike up Sunrise Mountain. President Beck led the way and stopped every so often to use the sights as object lessons for teaching various principles of the Gospel to us. The picture I've attached is of me and Elder Angelos on the top of the mountain with Surprise WAY off in the distance. The rest of the council went pretty well, I had hardly any idea of what was going on, so it was mostly a lot of smiling and nodding. It's coming though, step by step.
With Elder Angelos on Sunrise Mountain
Elder Angelos and I have been keeping busy, that's for sure. We've been working with a few people in particular, Jacqueline, Greg, and the Nez Family. Jacqueline gets better every time we see her. She's so set to quit smoking, she just needs to take that leap and start. She keeps saying, "Tomorrow" but that's not going to work. She's set a goal for a day to start, and she says she wants to be baptized by Easter. We said we'd be there every step of the way. The Nez family is pretty cool. They're Navajo and love it when we come visit. Bro. Nez really wants to be baptized but there's still lots of things we need teach to help him be ready. Greg is pretty awesome, he really wants to learn. When we told him about general conference he said that he wanted to go. Oh, he went. He went to every session except Sunday afternoon (something came up). Four out of five sessions?! Awesome! We took him to Saturday morning and gave him a pen and paper just in case. Every session he went to, he took notes. When we were driving back he told us about the things he liked about the speakers and some things he had questions about. Greg's holdup is that he has a lot of questions about things that don't entirely have answers. He's very logic based. We still meet with him regularly, and he even ends up answering his own questions in some way that it's no longer a concern to him. He wants to come to church though and we're pretty excited about that. 
General conference was AWESOME! This past week it was all I could think about. The joke among us in the house is we know that these men and women are called of God, because why else would a bunch of twenty and twenty one year olds be so excited to hear a bunch of old guys talk for ten hours? We met at the stake center just by the house and watched the sessions there. I enjoyed so many talks I could hardly just pick one as my favorite. I enjoyed the Priesthood session as a whole, because most of the talks focused primarily on the Priesthood and the service that pertains to it. President Monson was pretty bold in his talk. He got the points across. I also liked his points in his Sunday morning talk about the importance of the temple, particularly his charge to the youth to take as many opportunities to go to the temple, even early in the morning before school. What a great idea! There was an Elder of the 70 who focused on the "Do's" and "Be's" of our lives, which I appreciated. Elder Scott's talk on marriage and family touched me more emotionally than anything else. When he started talking about comforting his son with his illnesses, I was in tears. It was such a beautiful talk on the application of Christlike attributes to strengthen marriage and family relationships. Elder Nelson was rather bold in his statement that the Gospel is not a "Cafeteria approach" to obedience to the commandments. We shouldn't have to choose which of the commandments we want to obey because one may appeal to our interests more than another. God gives us commandments, and we obey. It's that simple. Dad I love how you mentioned to me that you like Pres. Uchtdorf's reference to the quote about preaching the gospel at all times, and if necessary, use words. I heard that from him and I wrote it down so I wouldn't forget it. Very powerful. I'm looking forward to when the Ensign is published so I can read them again. Once the cd's come out too I'll be listening to those as much as I can.
Elder Angelos and I are doing really well together and things are picking up. I'm getting to know people better and the area is getting a little easier to navigate. The air conditioned truck is so nice. It's getting hot again. No bueno. We're still happy and healthy and things are going great. I hope things are going well at home. Write back soon. Take care and be good.
Much love,
Elder Eric James Turner

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