This was a great week! We had Zone Conference all morning and afternoon on Friday and then on Saturday we had our Tri-Mission conference with Elder M. Russell Ballard! The Tri Mission conference was from 2-4pm at the stake center next to the DC temple. All the missionaries had permission to leave the mission with their cars. It was about a 45 minute drive for us to get there. We were supposed to be seated by 1:15, but just to be safe and get good seats we left early and got there at 12:15. I think we were the last ones there (haha). It was already packed when we got there. Luckily nobody was allowed to be seated yet, so everyone was in the gym talking to people. It was fun to have some time to talk to people that I haven’t seen for awhile. I even saw a Hanneman (a cousin or something) who was in the Baltimore mission (it was us, Baltimore, and DC North).
When the time was approaching to be seated we started lining up at the doors of the chapel. When we finally got in the chapel was already full, but with my 20/20 vision I spotted two seats that nobody was sitting in. We snuck our way to the spot and snagged our second row seats! We were sitting on the side benches on the second row so we had prime seating. We were supposed to shake Elder Ballard’s hand at 1:30, but he didn’t get there until 2. When he walked in, everybody stood up. He was shorter than I imagined. It was awesome to see the light that illuminates from an apostle.
Elder Wong and Elder Christiansen of the seventy spoke first then Elder Ballard spoke for about an hour. He started off by telling a funny story about his mission. He served in England and back in those days they would stand on a box in a public square and start preaching. When he arrived they chose two of the new missionaries to get up and start preaching in public. He was chosen. He said he spouted off everything he knew about baptism in about a minute and a half. He said he was sure it made no sense and he felt bad because he didn’t know much. From then on he committed to learning as much as he could and becoming a great missionary. He also spoke about us talking to as many people as we can, about Preach My Gospel, and about being real with people. Several times while he was speaking he looked me right in the eyes. He also cracked some jokes. The spirit was strong and I learned a lot.
For personal study on Saturday morning I read a couple of Elder Ballard’s recent General Conference talks. Here is one of the quotes that I really loved from the October 2013 conference: "There is no greater joy in life than being anxiously engaged in the service of the Lord." I invite everyone to join in the hastening of the work if you have not already. That is where true happiness is found. I know when we lose our lives in the service of the Lord that is when we find ourselves! The Lord has hastened his work. Are you keeping up?