Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Feeling the Spirit in a Room Full of Strangers

How did I get so lucky???

About a week before General Conference (a special meeting that our church has every 6 months where our leaders in Salt Lake City speak and teach us and it’s broadcast on TV and radio), I found the missionary who baptized Robin so long ago in Ecuador. Isn’t the internet WONDERFUL?! Robin talked to him on the phone and found out he’s not living in Utah, but “Elder” Bramwell invited us to a mission reunion he was going to while he was up in Utah visiting on Friday, the day before General Conference started.

It was so funny to get to the reunion and not have any idea what he looked like now, besides that he is very tall. He was going up to people asking them if they were him or if they knew who he was. It turned out that we beat him there, but he did get there. Besides visiting with each other, there was a dinner of Ecuadorian food—carne asada, arroz con menestra and some shrimp dish (probably ceviche, which I didn’t eat due to my allergy, but Robin really enjoyed).
So how am I lucky? After eating, they had President and Sister Shawcroft, the mission president and his wife at the time the missionaries at the reunion served, speak. What special people! To me hearing them speak was a wonderful way to get ready for Conference weekend. Sister Shawcroft reminded me of Sister Hinckley. She was talking about when they got their first mission call that hers and her husband’s came in separate envelopes. I don’t know if they still do that. But she was alone at home so she opened hers and it said that she would be serving in Ecuador. She was surprised because they had been told that they’d be called to Mexico. Then she said, “I hope he’s going to the same place!” and called her husband up and told him to hurry up and get home to open his envelope so she could find out.

What really stuck with me about Sister Shawcroft’s words was this. Years before they were ready to go on a mission, she had a thought come to her mind. “My husband knows Spanish and is a good man. I would hate for him to be passed up for a calling to some other country because I don’t speak Spanish.” So instead of just thinking it would be a good idea to learn Spanish, she started taking classes and apparently took them for some time, despite the difficulty she said she had learning it, before his call came. What a wonderful example! She mentioned that she never had that particular impression to learn Spanish again, but acted on that one prompting. How many times do I have a prompting and since I don’t act on it or write it down, I forget about it? What good is it to have communication from our Heavenly Father if we don’t follow his guidance in our lives?
President Crawford, who has been the Mission President of the Quito and Guayaquil missions in Ecuador and then the first Temple President of the Guayaquil temple when it opened, had an uplifting talk too. I wish I would have taken my folder with me to take notes. I was unprepared for listening to talks. I do remember that he talked about Proverbs 3:5-6.

5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

He said that in other words it said, “We aren’t always as smart as we think we are.” So true! I do wish I remembered more specifics to share with you. After his talk, they had an Ecuadorian dance group dance some traditional dances, followed by a slide show of the missionaries from their mission years. They even had a slide of a photo one missionary took where he had spelled out “Hi, Mom” complete with a heart, all in giant cockroaches. Gotta love the Ecuadorian insects. It was all fun. Then I woke up on Saturday and started a spiritual-filling weekend of talks. It was so nice to sit around with my family and play games in between sessions.


  1. Wow! What a neat experience to have. I'm sure it made Elder Bramwell's day to know that someone he taught on his mission was still active and strong in the church. I have a Nativity scene from Ecuador that my SIL's parents picked up for me when they served as the mission president of the Guayaquil mission about 10 years ago. It is a treasured gift!

  2. How neat for the missionary and for Robin. Sounds like it was nice for you as well.

  3. It sounds like it was such a great night! I'm sorry I fell asleep long before you got back to our house to pick up the kids.

  4. That is so awesome! I'm glad you had that experience!


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