What a week! What a weekend! Maybe the week first, then I suppose I'll get to the weekend... First off, my new companion! Elder Williams from Orem, Utah. He was the finance elder When I first got to the field so we've known each other for a while. Two notable things here: 1. Another American! (we're the only American companionship in the mission except for people in training). 2. Another companion who goes home this transfer! My companion from just a week ago is now at home with his family. In six weeks, it will be the same with Elder Williams. In 9 months, it'll be the same with Elder Brown! What else... Apparently, khaki pants have been approved for quite some time now. Guess I just have to find some suitable foot apparel then I'll buy myself some khakis! Also, a new elder in my zone fresh from the MTC saw me at district meeting and knew who I was. How? He has been reading my mission blog (these emails copied and pasted) before he got to the MTC. Good to know at least someone actually reads these things! ;)
The weekEND. This was the start. The start of...well, general conference! So what, again, is conference like in the Philippines? First off, it's a week late because of the time difference. The whole district (or stake) watches it at the district (or stake) center. Attendance is low, very low, for the Saturday sessions. The chapel is swarmed Sunday morning, but calmed down again in the afternoon. It's a bit different than being in the comfort of my home, enjoying the soft, warm and tender comfort of... my mom's cinnamon rolls? Yes. A big difference compared to home traditions is Priesthood session. This conference, Priesthood was my favorite.
The Priesthood Session was shown both Saturday morning AND evening. All the other elders went to the morning session so we expected numbers to be low for the afternoon session. Wouldn't be like at home with hundreds of fathers and sons sitting together. Rather, we walked into the chapel five minutes before the start and it was... just us. My and my companion to watch Priesthood together. What a great experience. Wouldn't be like at home, running off with friends during the songs. Luckily, the entire District Center was not completely lonely with it's two Elders. But a young-ish couple from our group eventually showed up a bit after the start. Our Branch President came as well even later. Whoops - getting ahead of myself in the story! As soon as the session started, I felt a wave of the Spirit come over me, just like it felt when an apostle spoke to us at the MTC. Wouldn't be like at home where I'd be too focused on sneaking a text or playing Fruit Ninja. We arrived to the congregational hymn which required all five of us to stand and sing. This, you'd imagine, was not like it's be at home with the army of Priesthood packed into the church. but, I still sang "with gusto"! (: President Uchtdorf gave my favorite talk of the conference (http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/10/you-can-do-it-now?lang=eng) and soon it was over. Surely, no one would be skipping the closing hymn just to beat the traffic leaving the church. Upon ending, it was time to eat. No, this wouldn't be the classy dinner with Dad, Grandpa and the uncles. Instead, it's be a nice, modest meal with my great missionary companion. Arriving home would normally mean off to friends' houses. For a change, it was straight to planning the next day, writing in journal, etc. Yes, you could say this conference was different (not sure why I never talked about the last conferences here like this). You could also say it was the most meaningful and impactful of all. There is so much revelation I received. So much to share. So much to do. But so little time to email it all! (:
Love, missionary work (work of salvation - with investigators AND lost members), and marriage seemed to be major themes along with enduring to the end. It's great! I love conference! Looking forward to one more in the Philippines six months from now! Hope you all enjoyed conference as much as I did!
Elder Shane Scully Brown
1. Everyone's luggage at our house from transfer day