Friends and family,
I'll spend the email telling about our experience with Elder Holland coming to our mission: I was playing the prelude in the gym waiting for him to arrive. We were all in our positions for a big picture and I was playing off to the side. After playing for a while, I heard his voice and in my head I was like "ah he's here!" He sounds like he does in Conference and recordings, it's not like those people who have different sounding voices in real life. Anyway, as he walked into the gym, he bee-lined (I think that's how you use that term, maybe I'm spelling it wrong which isn't unusual) right over to me and walked quickly over to me and as he approached me I looked over and he said "thank you for playing" and then I guess he heard me miss a note at some point because right after that, he slapped me! No joke, he straight up slapped me! As he did, he said "I'm glad your mother made you practice." The slap was more of a pat (like his wife's name) on the cheek, but nonetheless, I was slapped by an apostle!
After the picture, he went in the hall and shook everyone's hand as we went into the chapel. He asked everyone their name and where they're from. He told us later he did it to "interview everyone" and didn't care too much what their names were or their native land. He just needed us to say something and looked into our eyes/souls to see how we were doing. He then told President Evans he felt our mission was pretty good. He didn't sense any serious struggle, there might be 1 or
2 struggling but that's normal for a mission. It was pretty cool! But the bummer is he didn't interview me! I was at the end of the line since I was playing after the picture too. As I went by he said thanks for playing again, and I think I just said "no problem" or something, but I didn't tell him my name or anything. Oh well.
His address to us was good and pretty similar in lots of ways to when he came to the MTC. Then he came down from the stand and then used the chalkboard. He wrote parts of 1 Nephi 1 about Lehi's experience like "prophet, prayer, vision, received a book, book had prophecy, he testified to the people, people wanted to kill him, etc." Then Elder Holland asked us "who's story is that?" Someone said "Joseph Smith's."
He said something like "what, is that Joseph's story that he wrote down since he wrote the Book of Mormon and we're trying to pull a fast one on everyone, that this is all made up by him? NO! THAT'S EVERY PROPHET'S STORY!!" It was so cool! I originally thought the person who answered was wrong because it was about Lehi, but then it clicked and I realized it was Joseph Smith's story, and every other prophet's story! No true prophet has ever been accepted by everyone. No true prophet has ever left this world unscathed and free of persecution.
Why? Because Satan knows they're a threat to his work and a great advocate to God's work. The adversary will always tempt people to reject the truth and persecute the righteous mouthpieces of God. All the persecution against Joseph is compelling enough evidence to consider his truthful prophetic mantel.
The challenge this week is to pray to know if the heavens are opened.
If God really would call a prophet today. As you do, wait for an answer! I know you can receive it if you ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, and with faith in Christ! Love you all!