Monday, December 24, 2012

Mission Christmas Conference

     Our Christmas Conference began at about 4:15 AM when the bus picked us up at our apartment. The bus began at 3:00 at the Davis' apartment in Guarapuava, picked us and the Elders from Prudentopolis and Irati, went on the Ponta Grossa to gather the Elder and Sisters there and dropped us at the door to the mission office at about 8:30 AM. Missionaries had some time before the conference began at 9:30 to visit with previous companions and catch up a bit.
     The morning of the conference was spent being instructed by President and Sister Cordon, meeting their family and meeting the family of one of the counselors in the mission presidency. This counselor has a pretty amazing story. He was orphaned at the age of 17 when both of his parents died within days of each other and the family was split up with he and a younger brother being left to take care of each other. They were found by missionaries, taught, and baptized in 1976. They were barely getting by and as he turned 18 less than a year later his bishop asked him if he would serve a mission for the church. He didn't know what that was but when the Bishop explained he told the bishop he was barely getting by as it was and didn't see how it would be possible. His Bishop told him to think about it and pray and a way would be opened to allow him to serve. He said he would think and pray about it. A while later after he had pretty much forgotten about the call from the Bishop he received some money from an uncle who had sold some property. While he was thinking of all the things he could do with the money he separated out 10% and paid his tithing. The Bishop called him in and asked where he had come by such a substantial amount and he explained. The Bishop handed back his tithing and said, "The Lord doesn't want 10%, he wants it all". Not understanding he asked what he meant and the Bishop explained that this was the money he would require for his mission. He put in his papers and served. He learned the gospel while serving his mission and one experience that stood out for him was when he attempted to bear his testimony about the Book of Mormon and the man asked if he had read the entire book, he had to tell him no, he hadn't read it all the way through. His testimony was rejected and he and his companion determined that he had to read it as soon as possible. He spent every free minute reading until he was finished and had received his own witness of it's truth. He returned to the man, bore testimony and the man was baptized.
     Lunch was a blur. Jan spent the time trying to get pictures of baptisms that the Elders had not sent early, and pictures that Sister Cordon wanted added at the last minute, into a power point presentation for the afternoon. I, of course left her to go eat, and dish up a plate for her before the food was completely gone.
     After lunch we had a Christmas Play with Cordon's son and daughter-in law portraying Joseph and Mary and each zone in the mission singing Christmas hymns.

President and Sister Cordon announcing the program

Zones provide the music for the Nativity

Joseph asking to stay in an inn for the night ( he asked President Cordon and was refused)

The Sisters are called upon to provide music

The Guarapuava and Paranagua zones join forces, Sister McKinney
is on the piano.

      The day ended in reverse order of how it began as the bus left the mission office around 5 PM and dropped us off at our apartment.


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