This week I had the incredible experience of being able to meet with other young service missionaries in the area. We all gathered in front of the conference center for a group picture and then we had a devotional meeting. Benson L. Porter, the managing director of human resources for the church, was our main speaker. The church service mission department is part of the human resources section of the church. So Brother Porter is like the mission president of the service missionaries. His message was about God’s love for each of us and the spirit in the room was one of the strongest impressions I have ever felt.
My one wish also came true during this devotional meeting. The only thing that made me wish I was a proselyting missionary instead of a service missionary was that I would not have the opportunity to sing “Called to Serve” with a room full of missionaries. Our opening hymn at the devotional was “Called to Serve” and singing it with those missionaries was everything I’d dreamed it would be.
The other great joy of this week is the opportunity I have to see my family. The nice thing about a service mission is that you can still see and talk to your family whenever you’d like. My parents will be visiting from California this weekend and through the coming week, and I am also visiting my sister who lives just a couple hours away. I am grateful for the chance to be able to see my family. Although I believe that being away from your family is a good opportunity to grow as an individual, I think in my particular case I can grow more from keeping in contact with them especially as I have grown more independent through other experiences.
Last, but definitely not least, I am looking forward to general conference this week. General conference is probably the time of year missionaries look forward to the most. I am also especially excited about this conference since I haven’t been able to watch conference live for a couple years. The last few years I worked night shifts so I couldn’t stay awake during conference and had to catch up on the sessions later.
I hope that all of you have the opportunity to watch conference and enjoy it as much as I will. It is such a blessing to be able to hear directly from our prophet and apostles. If we listen with our hearts, we will learn things our minds need to know and be able to hear something that is just for us. I have a testimony of this and I hope that you will experience it as well.