Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Monday, January 18, 2010

Hna. Johnson and I have been looking forward to this evening’s FHE for weeks. Elder Bednar of the Quorum of the 12 is in Santo Domingo on an “Area Review”. I received a phone call last week asking me to give the opening prayer. I got to put on my suit coat for the first time since I arrived in the Dominican Republic last July. It was a wonderful evening, one Hna. Johnson and I will remember for the rest of our lives.

Also present in the FHE were Area Presidents: Coleman & Anderson, Elder Acosta one of the 7 Pres. of the 70 as well as Elder Bednar. He commented at the beginning of the FHE that, “In your lifetime you will probably never be in a room this small with this many General Authorities and an Apostle.” He was right, it was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity to be able to have an Apostle speak to us, literally “one on one”, for an hour and a half. Wow….

Right from the beginning he opened the meeting up to questions. He explained that this was our chance to ask an Apostle anything we wanted, and remember that there are questions that can only be answered by 15 men on earth! He gave the example of a question once by someone that wanted to know how a new prophet is chosen after the death of the President of the church.

I asked the first question and it wasn’t profound nor thought provoking. I wanted to know how our brothers and sisters in Haiti were doing. For the next 20 minutes we got an in depth report on progress in the country of Haiti. He said there are 10,000 members in Haiti. 27 died in the earthquake, including the only LDS doctor in the country. He explained how inspired the organization of the church is. The response to disasters everywhere in the world, not just in Haiti, is very quick and comprehensive. The full weight and support of the church’s rescue and relief efforts in being directed by the two Stake Presidents in Port-au-Prince and their stake Relief Society Presidents. The area presidency has called for a special fast throughout the Caribbean this Sunday and a recommendation that everyone give a generous fast offering.

Elder Bednar reported that all of the 74 missionaries in Haiti are all safe and accounted for. He said the Lord truly inspired the Brethren to call a 29 year old as the president of the Haiti mission. “Can you see a 70 year old man zipping around on his motor scooter through rubble and devastation to locate and check on the welfare of every missionary in the mission?”

In response to a question, Elder Bednar talked about his calling to hold the “Keys.” He explained that the “Keys” never go anywhere by accident. They are always sent to bless the one. Just as the Savior blessed the lives of his disciples one at a time, the Apostles go all over the world and bless the lives of the people one at a time. He recounted story after story of his travels where his “Keys” have made a difference in a single person’s life, not by accident but because he was directed there.

Elder Bednar really touched home with his comments about senior couples serving missions. He said that many couples don’t go on missions because they can’t miss their grandchildren’s blessings, birthdays or baptisms. Elder Bednar promised us that we will bless their lives through our example far greater if we do go on a mission. He also pointed out that we don’t bless the lives of anyone if we vacation in a Winnebago and playing golf in Mesa Arizona! (President Anderson, also from Mesa, told me after the meeting that Elder Bednar is a “Scratch Golfer” and loves to play golf in Mesa! Yah, he’s my kind of Apostle.)

One of the questions for Elder Bednar was, “what were the circumstances surrounding your call to be an Apostle?” It was a great story; he let his wife tell most it. There isn’t room here to tell it but he mentioned that he was told by President Hinckley “Not to tell anyone.” Sister Bednar asked, “can we tell our family?” Elder Bednar responded: “NO, we can’t tell anyone”. Sister Bednar: “But our sons, surely we can tell our sons?” Elder Bednar: No, Pres. Hinckley said no one! And a third time Sister Bednar pleaded, “Our sons won’t tell anyone.” Elder Bednar’s final response was: “Martin, I said no!”

He said his call as an Apostle by president Hinckley came with an assignment to speak in the Sunday morning session and a gift of a digital stop watch. President Hinckley said he had until 9:00am the next day to turn in his transcript of the talk. Pres. Hinckley said; “You are to talk for 10 minutes, not a second more, not a second less.” He handed him the stop watch, “Use this to practice with. Practice your talk over and over. Ten minutes, no more no less.”

1 comment:

  1. How exciting for you both to spend time with Elder Bednar. Glad to hear you are doing well and no danger from the earthquake.
    Thanks so much for sharing your blog.