On Sunday we drove to the Big City of Roseburg to attend a special conference for several regions in the northwest. Most of the meeting was televised, but we did manage to get a seat in the chapel rather than what Roland calls the “nose bleed seats”. I also saw at least six other people from our ward seated in the chapel.
Our stake president started off the meeting before the broadcast was aired. I enjoy listening to our stake president. He gave a comparison of feeding a campfire to fueling our own testimonies. The choir sang a number and then the broadcast was shown after a long five-minute countdown.
It was announced that the broadcast was coming from the Conference Center – though I don’t know which part of the Conference Center – not what one normally thinks of when hearing “Conference Center” – a room off to the side used only for the purpose of televising meetings. I doubt there was room for the camera crew and a live audience.
I had seen the room before during another televised meeting, but I have never seen it in person. I have been to the Conference Center before, but had never explored beyond the main meeting area.
The conference theme overall was on service. The first speaker was Elder K. Brett Nattress from the quorum of the 70. He started off his talk relating a situation about two brothers working together to try their hand at an athletic sport involving jumping. The seven-year old’s plan was to jump off the balcony while his four-year-old brother stood waiting with a pillow to cushion his graceful land – which, as you can imagine, was not graceful. It is a miracle that there were no broken bones. The seven-year-old said he wouldn’t have done it if he had known it was going to hurt so much.
Elder Natress than gave three steps to finding happiness. They are
1) To Pray every day
2) Read the Scriptures, especially familiarize self with the Book of Mormon
3) Serve each day.
He gave an example of administering the sacrament and I thought of my three boys really enjoying having the opportunity of taking the sacrament to those who had health problems that prevented them from attending weekly church meetings.
The second speaker was Christina Franco who serves in the general primary. She also counseled to “be of good cheer” and gave us four guidelines to apply to our understanding:
1) Understand that we have a Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ who love us
2) Understand that the commandments are there to protect us
3) Understand gratitude
4) Understand that service brings joy
She read some verses from Mosiah.
When her talk was finished, the congregation was invited to stand and sing "Go Forth in Faith" (version of hymn found here). I wasn't familiar with the hymn.
The next speaker was Patrick Kearon. Love the accent. He talked about being strengthened through the atonement and gave us the acronym FEMA (find every Mormon available). He then shared some examples of service and how both the recipient and server are blessed. My mind wandered back to a time when a former bishop (the one who had married Roland and me) was also giving a lesson on service and how sometimes the recipient may present other obstacles that may be difficult to conquer.
His example was in doing a service project with the youth who had gone to spruce up a yard for a rather demanding “do it my way or else” old prune (he did not call her an old prune; that was my own interpretation) and how though our recipient might not have the best attitude, it is still important for us to do our best. How do you teach the youth to love service if so many hurdles are thrown at them before they even start? We need not let pride stand in our way of doing the right thing.
The concluding speaker was Elder Todd Christopherson who talked about a quorum of thirteen praying for inspiration and direction on New Leadership between Pres. Monson’s death and Pres. Nelson’s sustainment. He talked about his personal experience as he had never had that opportunity between prophets. He also talked about J. Rueben Clark and played a clip of an address that Elder Clark gave about “not where you serve but how you serve”. Service is an offering we place upon the alter.
Overall it was a really good meeting. Worth the drive. Worth the front row seats.