Monday, September 28, 2015


A glimpse of Södervärn. I remember it by the landmark of the circular building, which is a hospital.
During this past week, we have had a large focus of our teaching on modern day prophets and revelation. With this focus, we have been teaching a lot from General Conference. For those who don't know what General Conference is, 

What Is General Conference?

SALT LAKE CITY — Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints worldwide gather twice yearly for what they call “general conference.” This is in addition to their weekly worship services each Sunday.
General conferences are conducted each April and October and comprise five two-hour meetings held over two days. The April meetings are called annual conferences and those in October, semiannual.
The sessions on Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon, Sunday morning and Sunday afternoon are open to everyone, while a session on Saturday evening is for Latter-day Saint men and young men who hold the priesthood.
Latter-day Saints travel from all over the world to attend general conferences, which originate in the 21,000-seat Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. Free tickets are distributed for each session, with standby lines available for those without tickets. Overflow facilities on nearby Temple Square accommodate those who cannot fit in the Conference Center.
Since the vast majority of the Church’s 14 million members are unable to attend general conference in person, the meetings are broadcast via satellite to over 7,400 church buildings in 102 countries. Members can also watch conference on television through Salt Lake City-based station KSL or BYU-TV. In addition, the Church streams the meetings live on the website and on the Mormon Channel
During the conference, Church leaders speak on a variety of spiritual topics. They address Latter-day Saints as well as government, faith and community representatives and other conference guests. Speakers include the worldwide leader of the Church, President Thomas S. Monson, and his counselors in the First Presidency, the governing body of the Church. Talks are also given by the members of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles and other leaders.
General conference talks vary in length from about 5 to 20 minutes. Topics are not assigned; each speaker chooses his or her own subject matter. Talks usually cover basic gospel principles or address significant issues of the day, with speakers encouraging individuals and families in their efforts to follow Jesus Christ.
After the conference is over, the talks are published on the website and reprinted in the Church’s Ensign and Liahona magazines so members can read and study them.
Music for the conference sessions is provided by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and organists, other Church choirs and the congregation. The music emphasizes gospel themes.
Church leaders have conducted general conferences since 1830, when the Church wasorganized by Joseph Smith. According to historian Glen M. Leonard, “about 30 baptized members attended the first conference along with others who were interested in the Church.”
Today, the conferences are simultaneously interpreted into 92 languages ranging from Albanian to Yapese to serve a large and growing international membership. American Sign Language interpretation and closed captioning are also available.

The idea of a modern day prophet is huge.  When you think of Moses, Noah, Daniel, and other prophets, that's one thing. But when someone tells you that there is a prophet today, I can only imagine the image that pops into their minds. But it really is a wonderful gift that we have. And this week, I saw much growth because of it.  

On Wednesday, we visited Eva. She is at a point in life, where she wants to move forward, but she is not sure how. We decided to read "The Music of the Gospel" together. As we read the talk, it was silence broken by occasionally voicing of agreement. As we finished up the talk, we had a wonderful discussion on hearing the music. The words had a powerful effect on her, and it brought an excitement for moving forward that I had not yet seen. I am constantly amazed at the impact that the words given by an inspired person can have. It is modern day scripture, and we get a chance to hear God's words through the mouthpiece of one of His humble children. And those words can be what we need to hear, what a family member needs to hear, or maybe a friend. But there is something for everyone in General Conference. One must only listen.

On Tuesday, Anas invited us to a dinner at his university. The dinner was in honor of a Muslim holiday. As we mingled and met people, we quickly found out that the majority of people were there to celebrate the diversity of our cultures. If I understood the holiday correctly, it is a celebration of friends and family honoring the experience of Abraham sacrificing his son. And it was a time of great joy. The Muslims who were there were gracious hosts, and they did everything they could to create an atmosphere that could have easily been a family party. As I was eating, and looked around, there were students from over 40 countries gathered in that room. But we were all gathered together, as children of God. There are many different beliefs, traditions, and cultures. But at that moment, it was reaffirmed to me that God loves each of us. We are all His children, no matter our background. And that love God has for each of us, can be felt as we serve our fellowman. I am thankful I was welcomed with open arms, and I am thankful for wonderful friends here in Sweden. 

The quiet suburban area of Staffanstorp.
A large church in Downtown. I also need to put down a disclaimer. Although the pictures all have blue skies and seem to be beautiful days. It has not been an accurate representation of the weather. That being said, we have hit a beautiful stretch of weather, and I hope it holds out for as long as possible.

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