Monday, October 19, 2009

Conferences, A Wonderful Way of Life

There is General Conference, Zone Conference, Mission Conference and Stake Conference. We have had all four of those Conferences within a three week period. We are not complaining, for they all are great spiritual experiences. All of those conferences give us renewed strength and courage to continue the work of the Lord. These are times of learning and help us stay close to that "rod of iron". They are times when we learn to appreciate the leaders the Lord has given us in the Church of Jesus Christ.
Today was the Dortmund Stake Conference. Our Stake Center in Dortmund is not big enough for the whole Stake, so we had to travel to the city of Herne. There we met in a city auditorium. It was not quite the same as meeting in our own stake center. The most important thing, however, was that the Spirit was there and that the Saints were able to be together in such a large group. It was especially interesting to see how many people we have learned to love and are good friends with from all over the Stake.
The highlight of the week was our Mission Conference that was held in Hamburg on Saturday morning (October 17, 2009). It is quite a distance from Dortmund to Hamburg (about 350 Kilometers). We were asked to travel up to Hamburg on Friday and stay at the mission home for the night. We also took with us the two Sister Missionaries (Sister Seiter and Sister Jensen). We left a couple of hours earlier so we could stop and spend some time in Bremen. We spend some time in the old city center and Anina actually did some shopping. It took us a lot longer to travel the distance to Hamburg than was expected. Just like in the USA, there are a lot of construction projects here in Germany. It seems like most of the Auto-Bahn is under construction between Dortmund and Hamburg. (We think that it has something to do with "jump starting" the economy.) There was one stretch that took us 1 1/2 hours to travel that should have taken us 5 minutes. If we would have realized that it was such a big problem we would have taken a different way, but once you get into it there was no way to escape.
The conference was well worth our efforts. It was the first time of our mission that we had a whole mission conference. It was awesome to get together with some 124 missionaries and our Mission President. Then we had the great opportunity to be instructed by Elder Wondra of the Seventy and Elder Russell M Nelson. We did get to shake their hands . Elder Wondra, when he saw our name he wanted to know if we were related to Elder Stephen Diederich. He remembered our Stephen. We told him that Stephen has 2 children and another one on the way. He was glad to hear that Stephen is doing well.
There were so many things said and we made many notes. One of the things that come to my mind now, is that we must do all we can to be ready for that day that Nephi talks about in 2 Nephi 9:41 and what we must do is in vs 45. As good as the words were that were spoken, the most wonderful part was the Spirit that was felt by all. There definitely is something special about the office and the mantel that accompanies the members of the twelve. We were given an Apostolic Blessing at the conclusion of Elder Nelson's remarks. This we will cherish and hold on to for the rest of our mission and beyond.
We are encouraged by the progress that is being made here in our "Center for Young Adults".

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