This week was so great because we had General Conference! Wahoo!!!!!! I totally loved it, and I hope you all did as well!
I am still trying to process everything I heard and learned and felt. Basically I can´t pick a favorite talk because they were all so great. But I felt like much of conference can be attributed to a quote by President Boyd K. Packer, which says, "True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior." If anyone had a question about our doctrine, it was certainly answered in this Conference! It was like, BAM! BAM! BAM! True doctrine, presented boldly and clearly, so that it cannot be misunderstood by the earnest seeker of truth. I know that if we study these doctrines and seek to understand them, our attitudes and behaviors will change and we will be able to bring our lives in harmony with these teachings of the Savior, declared unto us through His chosen servants.
I am looking forward to reviewing my notes and I hope to really be able to apply the doctrines and principles that I learned in Conference in order to become a better person, and better missionary, a better wife and mother, a better disciple of Jesus Christ.
But before we had General Conference, it was just another not-normal week in San Javier! There are a lot of things that went on this week that I don´t have time to describe at the moment, but one really significant thing happened that I wanted to tell you all about. On Wednesday I had the joyful experience of crashing my bike! As the Chileans say, I "bought" San Javier. It was defintely my turn, as my companions have fallen multiple times, and I was asking for it a little bit. My bike tire was getting flat, but we were running late and a member was waiting on us, so I didn´t want to stop by the bike shop or take the time to trade my bike for the spare that another member keeps at her house. In fact, I insisted against it despite loving exhortations from dear, sweet Hermana Fajardo. I walked the bike through the rough dirt terrain, but mounted it again to descend a steep hill (which is exhilaratingly exciting to ride down) which ends in a sharp turn. Well, my flat front tire was not equipped for the tight turn and my bike fell out from underneath me. I continued moving forward, sliding into home base, as it were. I WAS wearing a helmet (we ALWAYS wear our helmets), and though I have some pretty impressive scrapes on my hands and my right arm and leg, I was blessed to come out of it relatively okay. Ever since it happened I have been thinking of the scripture in 1 Nephi 11:36, which says, "And it came to pass that . . . the [flat-tired bike] was the pride of [Hermana Burgess]; and it fell, and the fall thereof was exceedingly great." It turns out that pride is a huge problem for me. I´d probably be a much better missionary if I could get that worked out.... But Hermana Fajardo does not have a problem with pride, and she has been nice enough not to say "I told you so." And now I have awesome battle scars!
And, as it turns out, it was one of my last chances to "buy" San Javier. I found out this morning that I am being transferred BACK TO CHILLAN! I will be serving in Libertadores (where Hermana Frandsen started her mission), and I will be finishing the training of Hermana England´s (who is going home today) "hija," Hermana Moran. It is in a different ward, zone, and stake than I was in before when I was in Chillan, but since I was "born" in the mission in Chillan, it has a very special place in my heart, and though I am sad to be leaving San Javier and my wonderful companions and the investigators and members here, it feels a little bit like going home. It is going to be weird to have to walk again, though. That will take some getting used to!
I have been thinking a lot about how very important The Book of Mormon is, not only in serving as evidence of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but as a guide for our lives. I am reading right now in Ether, which generally makes me a little depressed. It´s just a bummer to read about so many people rejecting the prophets, and so many men rebelling against and often taking the lives of their own fathers or brothers in pursuit of money and power. I was wondering a bit why these chapters are even in there, but then I got to thinking about HOW IMPORTANT IT IS! We NEED to be familiar with these patterns of pride and wickedness. We NEED to be able to recognize them when they start to surround us. We NEED to know how to combat them and how to remain safe and whole spiritually as well as physically. We can really learn a lot from the people in the Book of Ether, and from all of the characters in the Book of Mormon, be they righteous examples of obedience and faith or merely the best example of what not to do. The Book of Mormon is SO IMPORTANT. In the MTC we had a devotional speaker who asked us each to make a personal commitment to read from it EVERY SINGLE DAY for the REST OF OUR LIVES! I hesitated to make this commitment with myself because I was afraid I would not be able to do it. But I realize now that I NEED to make this commitment. I CANNOT progress toward becoming the divine being that my Heavenly Father intends for me to be if I do not do it. There is simply too much to be learned from The Book of Mormon to let it slide for even ONE DAY.
Your commitment this week is to read The Book of Mormon EVERY SINGLE DAY! If you, like me, are apprehensive about making it a lifetime commitment, I invite you to at least commit to reading (even just a little bit) EVERY SINGLE DAY THIS WEEK. Then pray to know if the Book is true. Pray that you can recognize the knowledge and blessings that have come into your life as a result of your decision to read every day. I promise you that if you give it a try, you will soon want to make the commitment to read every day for a month, then a year, and then FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.
There really are no excuses now for not "being able" to do this. You can get it for free on your phone, on the internet, or by "asking a missionary" or an LDS friend or neighbor - they can help you! If you have it on your phone or computer, try what Elder Scott suggests and review a verse of scripture the next time you send a text or Facebook message!
Anyway, I really sincerely hope that you will all take this commitment to heart. I cannot express my gratitude and appreciation for the Book of Mormon enough. Please let it help you have a better life.
I love you all so very, very much. I pray that you are well and happy! Thank you for your love, prayers, and support.
Next week I write again from Chillan!