Well, it is the final countdown! Down to my last 3 weeks. Time has gone by super-fast. I for sure have learned a lot. Not going to say everything because that will wait for my last email. But this week has been a great week for us! At the start of the week, we were off filming our new incoming video. Which by the way is beyond the best thing ever.
We finished that video then we were out on the street talking to people. Spoke to a few good people but the time was short. The following day came and in the morning we took our drive down to Edinburgh. We drove Elder Palmer and Elder Masulonis. Taking the drive down gave me time to think about how this will be my last time seeing my Mission President. Now to let everyone know no one in this world could ever be as great as my Father Mark Augustine. But I would like to talk about my Mission President and his wife. President Donaldson loves his sweets and he loves his missionaries even more. He has a heart big enough for the whole world but is also stern and ready to correct with passion. Although I have only seen them every few weeks they have always born witness of the gospel and taught truths so simple there was no misunderstanding.
So heading down to the conference I was able to reflect and ponder. They had us come down earlier than the other missionaries because they had the departing missionaries go through a self-reliance course for a few short hours. Talked about going home and getting a job and plans for the future all good stuff. So that was that, then we finished and the actual conference started. It started with some musical items and then the departing testimonies. The Sisters went first and then it was myself for the first of the Elders. Walking up to that mic was something else. When I came into the mission I gave an incoming testimony. At that time I stood and spoke to a group of missionaries that had been out for so long and there I was telling them how excited I was to be there. That, by the way, was in the Glasgow building. So this time I stood up there and it is so hard to tell a group missionaries what happens over a simple time period of two years. I told them how I loved serving in the Scotland Mission. They all had a pretty good laugh at that. We can testify of the many, many truths we learn but you can never express fully the feelings of change that comes through understanding and teaching the gospel.
Well after the departing testimonies there were incoming testimonies. Then we heard some instructions and what not. It was all very good. So it came around to dinner time and the missionaries all went into the gym to eat and that was my cue! So everyone all sat down and I came marching in with the bagpipes. To be honest, I couldn’t really believe it and I was a bit nervous, but there I was playing the Bagpipes in Edinburgh, in the Scotland/ Ireland mission. I don’t think anyone a couple of years ago could have expected this. But I did it and I did my best. It was strange to hear missionaries clap at the end. Normally in most church meetings it’s the silent nod in a reverent manner that means “Well done, yes well done, I would clap if I could”. I am grateful for President Brown and the Stronachs to help out with this moment. It meant so much to me and those who listened. So we all ate dinner and enjoyed some food.
After dinner, we had the blessing of having a face to face event with Elder Bednar and his wife. He taught about who the real teacher is. I learned a lot. He had some funny things to say. For one I learned from an apostle about what it really means to take notes in these meetings. If we just write down everything that is said we create a history and we did not learn what we were supposed to learn. But if we listen and record thoughts and feelings we gain revelation. But we need to be still. I think I finally learned what it meant to be still. But through all the great questions and answers one of which we learned is what it felt like to be one of 13 men to be set apart by a Prophet of God. I would like to share two things which I think we should all apply at some point in our lives and that is gaining personal revelation through the Book of Mormon. Well, Elder Bednar answered a missionaries question with a commitment instead. This missionary had a certain question about Hope. So Elder Bednar told him to get a blank copy of the Book of Mormon write down the topic or question then mark that whole Book with every reference to that topic or question. Then at the end to write a summary of what he learned. Then place that summary in the back of the book. Title it on the side of the book with that question or topic Hope Vol 1. Then get another Book of Mormon and do the same thing. In the end, you compare your two summaries to see what you have learned. That should also be titled Hope Vol 2. Then by the end of your life, you should have a whole bookcase full of copies of the Book of Mormon. But this revelation for you, if others want to know what you know, they can do the same thing and learn for themselves.
So the second thing that I learned was pretty funny. A missionary asked, “what does he still apply from his mission?” He shared this verse. D&C 88: 124 Cease to be idle; cease to be unclean; cease to find fault one with another; cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated. Well, he still goes to bed really early and wakes up really early. Why because the Lord has told us that in the morning time our minds will be invigorated or given strength or energy to our minds. This is a time where the distractions of the world haven’t awaken yet and in the quiet peaceful morning, we can be more in-tune with the spirit and what to do that day. In fact, it was an early morning start that lead to the first vision, which has lead to the Restoration of the Gospel.
So after all this, we said goodbye to our mission president. There were a lot of tears but it was good. I had my last interview with President and that was it.
We traveled back to Aberdeen and got going for the next week. We have been out teaching a lot. We met with our friends Tunde and Kwadjo this week and that was great. Both are getting ready for baptism. Kwadjo came to church this week and loved it. A lot has happened in a few short days but I think I’ll leave some of these stories so that I can tell you when I see you all again.
Well, I’m off I’ll email next week!
Here you go. President Donaldson and Sister Donaldson and the shoes I’ve been wearing. I didn’t notice the holes till now! But don’t worry I bought some gel insoles! They work great!!