Although there wasn't much on the schedule this week it ended up being busy for us here in the offices. On the days where we thought we didn't have much to do things kept on happening but it's nice to be kept on your toes.
I have also been able to review a number of the conference talks and ones that especially meant a lot to me. I have been yearning for months to get more out of partaking of the sacrament and it just so happened that there were two conference talks given on that very subject. The sacrament is something I have taken my whole life and unfortunately I don't feel like I have a lifetime's worth of knowledge or understanding on the subject nor have I always partaken of the sacrament for what it really is. Fortunately I have had experiences, like going without it, that have helped me recognize its importance.
The talk that really helped me gain a better appreciation for the sacrament was that by Elder Hamula of the Seventy. I often try to reflect on the Atonement of Jesus Christ as I partake of the sacrament to help me "feel" it a little more. Sometimes I have even felt like I am forcing myself because my strong desire to get more out of it. That hasn't always brought the desired result even though my appreciation for the Savior and His Atonement is above all else. Elder Hamula began his talk by speaking of the Sacrament in regards to the Savior and His sacrifice and was I listening attentively because it is a subject that has been on my mind. Then he said a phrase the really grabbed my attention, "The sequence of bread first and water second is not inconsequential." He then began to explain the symbolism of the sacrament not just in regards to the Savior and His sacrifice but in the great scheme of things, or in other words, the Plan of Salvation. This opened my eyes to a whole new world of meaning and purpose in the sacrament which I could explore.
What helped me really appreciate that phrase was his explaining of partaking of the bread first to come to the realization that Christ resurrected and we too will be resurrected. He then said, "The fundamental question facing all of us is not whether we will live but with whom we will live after we die." I really loved that because those kind of questions of the soul motivate me to do good and change. It reminds me of Alma in Alma chapter 5 when he asks the people to which he is preaching a number of questions to get them thinking of their actual state and how they will feel upon entering the presence of God to be judged. And it is for that that we partake of water. It represents His blood which was shed for us and through which we may become clean. If we do so we can know with a surety with whom we will live - our Father in Heaven. I know that I want to be in His presence and I want my family to be there as well.
I'm grateful for that understanding I gained during general conference which fortified my testimony of the sacrament. I was able to share that testimony last Sunday after an unfortunate circumstance in church. There was a disputation between two sisters and one of them being a recent convert. After the class the recent convert left crying to the bathroom which no one noticed because she left quickly to avoid anyone from seeing here. I was lucky enough to see it and positioned myself near the bathroom as we waited for everyone to take their seats in the sacrament room (sacrament meeting being the last meeting here). She walked out of the bathroom and headed out the door so my companion and I followed closely behind to talk to her for a minute. We were able to help her feel a little better about the situation and I was able to share my testimony on the importance of the sacrament. I felt the assurance of the Spirit and she looked more calm. She decided to leave anyways because she was embarrassed but promised that she would come back and that she would get over it quickly. A number of members have been able to visit her this week and she is doing a lot better; she even helped in preparing a Relief Society activity yesterday so things are looking good. I'm grateful that I was able to share a sincere testimony with her which I hope she could feel. I'm even more grateful for the great members we have here that work hard in helping the new members of the ward because, honestly, they have been doing most of the work in helping this sister.
I hope that all are doing well!