1) you are completely physically spiritually and emotionally exhausted and just want to sleep
2) you are completely physically spiritually and emotionally exhausted but also so completely physically spiritually and emotionally pumped that you just talk your companion's ear off into the wee hours of night
Last night was definitely the latter.
This week was full of spiritual highs.
But before those, I'll cover those events that were *not* necessarily spiritual highs, so that we can end on the most spiritual note possible.
For example, here would be a notable event from the week that is not necessarily a spiritual high:
Last night Sister Stofferahn and I were going to an appointment, and as we made the turn a black truck zoomed past us clearly annoyed that I had signaled a bit earlier than necessary. As we parked the car the truck made a turn up ahead and then passed us again. And then as we said our prayer he passed us yet again. Though normally we say our prayer and get out of the car, something prompted us to stay in the car, and when the truck passed by us a good three more times, we decided that something was not right and we needed to drive away. As I drove, and flipped around in the cul de sac up ahead, we saw the black truck come out of a nearby street and follow us down the road onto the major street. More than a little alarmed now, Sister Stofferahn started praying as I maneuvered off the major road into a neighborhood (where the truck followed yet again) and then wound through the streets until we lost our creepy truck stalker. So yeah. When you get a prompting to stay in the car - STAY IN IT. We were truly being watched over and protected last night, and I am so grateful for the Spirit that keeps us safe in situations like that.
After that, we were able to go visit a sister who we are working on getting back to church, and her five year old son gave us the cutest prayer ever telling God that he had given him such nice "stuff" and he was so grateful for all his "stuff" and the "stuff" is so good and thanks for all the nice "stuff" and take care of all the "stuff." Hahaha - children's prayers are my favorites.
Other random tidbits of the week include the fact that on Halloween we were told to come in early (at 7) and so Sister Stofferahn and I celebrated Halloween by watching "How Rare a Possession" (best Book of Mormon movie ever) and chowing down on Chex mix, and also thatour ward's Halloween celebration included watching the Charlie Brown Great Pumpkin special, and that President's response to my calling to see if it was okay for us to attend, seeing as such an apostate film as Charlie Brown was being played, was first to laugh at me, and then he told me to not put too much prayer and thought into thinking there really was a great pumpkin, and to have a great time. So funny, President.
That said, onto the spiritual highs of the week!
The first wasnight, when we got permission to go to the temple with the Humble Ward youth to see both Aljae and Diane do baptisms for the dead. It was seriously one of the most sacred experiences I have ever had in the temple. There is such a special spirit in the temple, and there is something especially powerful and sacred about seeing others in the temple. Whenever we meet someone, we visualize them in white - we visualize them in the temple. And then when they are actually there, it is like we get a special glimpse of their divine potential as we haven't been able to see them before. And to add to the sacredness of the entire experience, Diane took family names, and was baptized for her mother and Bishop was baptized for her father, uncle, and husband. As those names were being done, and especially as Diane and Bishop were being confirmed for them, such a stillness fell over the whole baptistry and the Spirit was so powerful. Of the experience, Diane said that as soon as she walked in the temple doors she had felt her Heavenly Father in a way she never had before - "I knew my Heavenly Father loved me before," she said, "but now I *really* know!" Aljae said that walking into the temple felt like walking into heaven. My testimony of the power and spirit of the temple has grown so much this week. There is such joy and such spirit and such love that can be found in the temple as can never be found anywhere else. The temple changes lives and changes us - so long as we let it by getting there as often as we can.
The next spiritual high was this weekend - stake conference. But not just stake conference - the best stake conference I have ever in my entire life attended. FACT. We were especially blessed to have Elder Lawrence Corbridge of the 70 there, and as soon as I found out that Corbridge was coming I started geeking out, since his conference address from several years ago entitled "the Way" is seriously one of my favorite talks ever given about Christ, and I've only read it approximately four million times out here on the mish. Roughly. So going into the conference I knew it was going to be good, but the spiritual feast that I received was just out of control. I wish all of yall could've been there to feel the spirit present in that meeting, but since you weren't I'll try and sum up some of the highlights:
- at the conclusion of the night adult session, Elder Corbridge said that he wanted to close "with the words of the Savior." He then said that "usually at meetings like this the one who is presiding closes the meeting, so we will let Him close." The implication that it was the Savior who presided was so powerful! He then showed the Bible video "Unto the Least of These" (if you haven't watched the bible videos - they are seriously the greatest things ever. Share the love and post those things all over the internet) which is the account in which Christ declares that those who have fed the hungry and gave drink to the thirsty and clothed the naked and visited the imprisoned did so unto Him - and that on the flip side those that did *not* do those things did them not unto him. And Corbridge used it in the context of the work of salvation - so that as I heard the words of the scripture I realized that to feed the hungry and give drink to the thirsty is to do missionary work, and to visit the imprisoned is to do temple work, and to clothe the naked and care for the sick is to do reactivation work, and that so much as we do *not* our part in the work of salvation, that is done not unto Christ - and we will be held accountable for that. So yeah. That was powerful.
- He also talked morning about if there could be ONE THING that matters most - one thing that we could and should focus ourselves ENTIRELY on but not at the expense of all other things. For example - if the ONE THING I focused on was swimming so that I swam and swam and swam to become a master swimmer, I would be a master swimmer but wouldn't be a master cellist or a master writer or a master anything because my focus is on swimming - and so he asked if there could possible be one thing that in focusing ourselves entirely on it, it was not at the expense of all other things but actually to the strength and benefit of all other things. And of course, there is one thing that does so - remembering Christ in all things, and looking unto Him in every thought, doubting not, fearing not. As we focus on CHRIST and look to Him, we will move towards Him and in ALL THINGS we will be blessed.
- Lastly, he talked about how he is worried that members of the church are building church-centered homes, not Christ-centered homes, and used an example of a child bearing their testimony that they "know the church is true" but never referencing Christ, who should in actuality be the center of EVERYTHING. In discussing it afterwards, Sister Stofferahn and I were discussing how if you are Christ centered, you are active in church, but if you are church centered, that doesn't necessarily mean you are active in Christ.
And those are just a few of the amazing messages we received at the conference. And then of course I had to go shake Elder Corbridge's hand, but even better we got Aljae to go up and shake his hand and tell him that he just got baptized a few weeks ago. Elder Corbridge was thrilled and told him to stay on the path no matter how hard things get. Now when Aljae sees Elder Corbridge speaking in conference next time, he can say that he shook his hand and got life advice from him - what an incredible experience for a recent convert.
I love yall so much! I am so grateful for your prayers and testimonies, and I hope you know how much I pray for yall as well :)
Houston Temple at night! SO PRETTY
Humble ward youth - including aljae! second from the left on the first row.
Pumpkin carving pday! (with Elder Knebel... Bayley and Elder Knebel are from the same stake back home)