...I met the Prophet :)
No, seriously, I MET THE PROPHET!!!!!!!!!
So here's the run down of the last week, since I know that you're DYING to hear!
So Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday mornings, we sang for the NMP seminar devotionals. That's pretty much all we got to do - we'd file in, sing, then file out and be on our way for the day. And every single day I was just dying to be able to stay and listen!!! But we couldn't. But it was still amazing! Apparently this has been the best small MTC choir they've ever had - Bro Brenchley (our director) told us that several times, and also told us on Sunday morning that E. Holland told him the same thing: that we were the best sounding, most professional/missionary looking group they've ever heard. In fact, he (E. Holland) said that our rendition of Pres. Faust's "This Is the Christ" was the best he'd ever heard, and they requested the recording from the devotional!!! Holy cow!
Thursday morning, President Eyring and Elders Holland, Oaks, Perry, Cook, Christofferson, and Anderson were all there. Friday morning we had Pres. Uchtdorf and Elders Holland, Perry, Oaks, Bednar, Christofferson, Anderson, Scott and Cook. Saturday morning it was Pres. Packer and Elders Holland, Oaks, Perry, Ballard, Scott, Bednar, Cook, Christofferson and Anderson. And then, yes, on Sunday (not the morning devotional, but the special 1st presidency sacrament mtg), all the 1st Presidency and quorum of the 12 were there except for Pres. Packer. Apparently he was scheduled to be there, but had to do a stake conf. broadcast from SLC. Is that not INCREDIBLE?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! My companion and I were talking to Pres. Clegg (a counselor in the MTC presidency that we've become good friends with), and he said that this was really an unprecedented event, to have that many of the presiding brethren (not to mention LOTS of seventy and other general aux. leaders) here at once like that. AND I GOT TO SING TO THEM EVERY MORNING!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not to mention all of the incredible new mission presidents and their beautiful wives - you want to talk about spiritual priesthood power in a room? That's what I felt every morning. It was wonderful! The neatest thing though, was that it wasn't all about THEM. It was actually all about US - the missionaries. It was interesting to be there, with the tables kind of turned - THEY were all watching US come in, THEY listened to OUR message and testimonies (through song), THEY were so happy, excited and overjoyed to feel of OUR spirits, and then THEY watched in quiet reverence as WE left. I could really feel their love and appreciation and respect for us as I participated. And each morning, as we would file back out, I always looked over to the Apostles on the stand (we sang just in front of the stand - maybe 5 feet away from right where they were sitting), and tried to make eye contact and smile. And I did! Elder Cook and Christofferson both looked and smiled right at me a few of the mornings as I left! It was really amazing! Then, on Sunday morning, after we sang in Sacrament meeting, they made special arrangements for us to watch Pres. Monson speak from another room (they just broadcasted it into the room we were in - there was no room in the actual room)! We stayed for most of it, but then had to go for our other meetings. It was so neat to hear him speak to all the new mission presidents! I felt so much overwhelming gratitude as we began to watch, just because it was such a privilege and a tender mercy to even be in the choir in the first place, and then to get to hear the prophet speak - even from another room - was wonderful!
So when did I actually meet the prophet??? ...I know, I know, I'm getting there! Sunday morning we sang "Joseph Smith's First Prayer" for the special Sacrament Meeting. Afterwards, we went back for our regular Sunday meetings, but had a break for lunch and study time before OUR sacrament meeting. Since we had seen the 1st Pres. cars' parked up on the sidewalk (and security was TIGHT, let me just tell you! It took us 3 tries just to get anywhere close to the doors of that building, and we were the CHOIR!), we decided to go sit on the benches outside the building and study, hoping that maybe, just maybe we'd get to see them when they left. We waited out there for a good 45 or so minutes, and then FINALLY they came! Pres and Sis Uchtdorf came out first, and left pretty quickly, but they waved to all of us (there were probably about 15 or 20 of us out there waiting...) and told us we were wonderful and that they loved us, then left. Quick side not, can I just tell you what an incredibly beautiful couple they are? Really, they are just stunning people!
Anyways, a few minutes later President Monson and President Eyring and their wives came out! There was a bigger crowd by now, and it definitely continued to grow! As they came out, we were all standing, and began to sing "We Thank Thee, O God, For A Prophet". After a moment, Pres. Monson came over and just stood and looked at all of us. He just stood there, not 10 feet away from me (I was right at the front of the group), and just watched us. I barely finished the verse because I couldn't help but cry as I stood there, as a missionary of the Lord, looking right at His chosen prophet, seer, and revelator, and sang "We thank thee, O God, for a prophet to guide us in these latter-days! We thank thee for sending the gospel to lighten our minds with it's rays! We thank thee for every blessing, bestowed by thy bounteous hand, we feel it a pleasure to serve thee, and love to obey thy command." It was really funny though, because as we got to the end of the verse, Pres Monson smiled really big, and lifted up his arms to direct the last line or two! It was just wonderful! Then he stood and talked to all of us for a good 10 minutes or so, asking about where we were going, and telling us stories (of course!). He even sang some funny little song to us in Spanish! He didn't shake our hands because 1)there were too many of us, and 2) the whole swine flu thing. Stupid swine flu...
Speaking of which, it's pretty much taken care of here...there are still some sick missionaries, including a few in sick bay/quarantine, but the best news of all with this is that THEY'VE LIFTED THE HANDSHAKING/HUGS BAN!!!!!!! It's been against the rules to shake hands or hug anyone since before I got here, but Pres. and Sis. Clegg told us last night that they've officially lifted it! Our elders were all really excited to shake our hands today after we told them, and our teacher hugged us all (hermanas) twice! :)
Anyways...after Pres Monson talked to us for a little bit, he moved around to the other side and talked to all the other missionaries who had gathered by that time; then, as he went to go to his car, we all sang "We Thank Thee, O God, For A Prophet" again, and he turned to all of us, and directed our singing! He really just waved his arms - he doesn't actually know how to direct music - and smiled, chuckling to himself a little bit, but I can now say that I've sung in a choir directed by the prophet!
The thing that hit me more than anything else was his genuine love and joy. He and Pres Eyring both just radiated that joy that the gospel brings, as well as the love of the Savior. What an awesome thing, I really can't even begin to tell you, to be a missionary, taking this incredible gospel message to the world, and to see it, up close and personal - the living prophet, called of God to lead and guide us; to sing and learn and teach, feel everyday these amazing truths! And the best thing about it is that I'm not the only one who gets to have it!!! That's why I'm going out to serve - so that EVERYONE can know, and feel and follow the Savior! I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ok, now in the last few minutes that I have, here's a little more. We got our flight plans this past Friday!!!!! I fly out at 8:30 am next Wednesday morning - which is in 6 DAYS, for those of you who are wondering - have a short, hour long flight, and then off I go into L.A.!!! That means that the next email/letter you'll get from me will be from Los Angeles!!!
We have to be at the MTC travel office at 5am to check out and get our tickets, and then we're off to the airport. So, Wednesday morning, sometime between probably 8 and 10 am your time, I'll be calling you from the SLC airport!!! I'm not sure how exactly to work all that yet, but I'll see about maybe getting a calling card from the bookstore. If you'd rather send me one, and/or if you plan on sending any more snail mail to me here, please do so by tomorrow or Friday at the latest! Saturday is the 4th, so no mail, and then I'm gone Wednesday before the mail gets here. So at this point, dearelder is your best bet till I get to L.A. Anyways, that's the deal! I'm SO EXCITED!!! Still a little nervous, but more excited than anything else - we all are! Everyone in my district going to L.A. is leaving on the same flight, along with a bunch of other missionaries, which is nice.
I'm so glad that David had such a good time at EFY, and a successful wisdom-teeth surgery - Thanks for writing from your iPod in bed, David! I love you tons, and love hearing from you!
I hope that y'all have a great family reunion this weekend!!! They've got something planned for us for the 4th of July, though I'm not totally sure what just yet, but I hope that the reunion is fantastic! Know that I love and miss everyone, and tell them all hey for me! I miss you all, but this is seriously the greatest thing ever - the gospel is true, and brings happiness that people just can't understand who don't have it. I love it! And yes Mom, I am SO glad that I came! I am accomplishing so many things that I can't do! I really can't, but "nothing's too hard for the Lord!"
One more quick thing - since it's our last week in the MTC, our district is really focusing on teaching, so we've planned a "servicio bautismal" ("baptismal service") for this Friday, and are all working to have at least 5 investigators (for the whole district) ready for baptism. My comp and I are currently teaching 6 people - 5 missionaries, 1 teacher, and one real investigator (we call her from the Referral Center; she ordered a BofM, and we've been following up with her). Yesterday we invited two of our "investigators" (a companionship of sisters)to be baptized and they committed!!! And just so you know, it's taken several tries, but they finally accepted and are really excited!
I know it sounds kind of cheesy, but really, it's so cool, and such a cool experience, even just in practice. Because, really, all of us ARE investigators on some level or another, and Heavenly Father knows us and our needs, and He works through each one of us to help and bless each other.
By the way, all of our teaching is in Spanish (except for our RC investigator) - albeit broken Spanish that definitely has room for improvement, but Spanish nonetheless!
I think that's about it for now...I'll talk to you from the airport in just less than a week, and will write again soon-ish!!!
I love the Lord, I love this gospel, I love the scriptures, and the chance to study them everyday, I love my companion, I love my family, and all of my friends who love and support me so much in this! I am forever indebted to the Lord for allowing me to have this experience.
I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!!!!!!!
Hermana Sallie Wilson :) (the happiest missionary on earth :)
ps - By the way, sorry Uncle Vern, but there were a lot of people, and I didn't really get a chance to say much to Pres. Monson, so I wasn't able to tell him hey for you...maybe next time :)