Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Preparedness, prayer, and the Ten Virgins

SAN DIEGO —I am kind of scatter brained right now. This morning Sis Kennington and I were at Zone Leader Council with Elder Zwick from the Seventy. He is touring our mission this week, and President Clayton picked Sister Kennington and I as the missionaries he interviewed afterward. I have a lot of thoughts and stories I want to share with you from the Past 2 days he has been touring the mission. Here is an excerpt from my journal about what happened yesterday-

February 20, 2012

Sister Kennington was starting a tour tonight. We were just about to start when I looked up, I being the one who was facing the front door, and saw our director, Elder Seegmiller, running up the stairs with the most frantic face I have ever seen. It was as though he had just seen a ghost or something. He waved me to come out of the tour with the frantic look on his face intensifying.

I am not one to get nervous, but seeing that look on his face, I have to admit, my heart started racing a little bit. Elder Seegmiller explained to me that he had woken up from his regular "p-day nap" to a voice mail from President Clayton explaining that they would be arriving at the Battalion any minute to inspect the sisters apartments (Mind you, they had told us they would be inspecting our apartments, but they told us it would not be until Friday this week). He asked for all the sisters' spare keys, and then disappeared to go meet President and Elder Zwick. News spreads fast at the Battalion, and I quietly watched as sisters became aware that their apartments may be inspected. Some of their faces showed their anxiety. I swear I could even see a green tint a few of them.

Are you as ready as you could be? (Matt 25:1-13)

One of the sisters voiced how unfair it was that he was coming today instead of Friday because they hadn't been able to prepare. I have to admit, I got a little anxious as I reviewed in my mind how our apartment had looked as we left it that morning. Thankfully, I had full confidence that it was clean enough, as Sister Kennington and I always have things picked up and cleaned.

I was thinking about that this morning as I was reading in the Doctrine and Covenants 33:16-17

"And the Book of Mormon and the holy scriptures are given for your instruction; and the power of my spirit quickeneth all things. Wherefore, be faithful, praying always, having your lamps trimmed and burning and oil with you that you may be ready at the coming of the Bridegroom. For behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, that I come quickly."
It was a wake-up call this morning as I thought of what happened with the apartment checks. As I was reading this scripture, I imagined President Monson announcing to the world: Christ is coming, He will visit the earth tonight, and judge every one according to their works.

I wonder what the world would do? Would some complain of the unfairness that Christ did not give them enough notice? Would some be anxious and green in the face at the prospect of the Savior inspecting their thoughts? Their actions? Would some run around frantically trying to fix things they would have done differently? Would we spend more time with our families? Would we read from the scriptures? Would we treasure the opportunity to repent? I hope and pray that we all would be able to take a minute to reflect on our lives and feel a sense of relief that we had done all we could do.

I want to share one more thing that Elder Zwick shared with Sister Kennington and I. We were able to have an interview with him. After the interview, he let us ask him any question. I asked him what is one thing that he has learned now that he wished he would have known when he was my age. He told us he wished he would have understood the power of prayer.

He then told us a story of when President Packer was younger, there was a huge flood that was destroying his property. President Packer called up Elder Zwick (before he was a general authority) and asked if he could bring some machinery over to help save the property and a bridge he and his sons had built. Elder Zwick went right over. As others were trying to save the bridge, Pres Packer drove he and Elder Zwick up a hill where there was a pond and some trees. President Packer told him that this is the place where he came many times to pray. He asked Elder Zwick, "Where is your pond?" 

I thought about that for myself. Elder Zwick kept saying, "I wish I had learned to prepare to pray."

This is what he meant. We need to prepare our hearts and our minds, we need to prepare the right environment as well, so that we can communicate more clearly with Heavenly Father. So today, I want to ask all of you reading this: Do you have a pond?

If you answered no, Please, find one! Heavenly Father wants to talk with you. Prayer is so much more than kneeling down sleepy, and puffy eyed at night and mumbling a few words and then jumping into bed without even listening for the answer. Believe me, coming from experience, that does not work. Prayer is powerful, it is sacred, it is real. God is there. He WILL answer us if we prepare to talk and to listen to him.

I have one more story to tell you. In the middle of Zone Conference today, Elder Zwick asked us if we would like to stand up. All of us of course took the opportunity to stretch our legs. Then Elder Zwick got a big smile on his face and told us a story. He explained that when he was first called into the Seventy, he was sitting in the temple with the Apostles and other members of the Seventy and it was a pretty small room. In the middle of the meeting, President Hinckley said, "let's stand" and then Elder Faust said, "Yeah, lets stand for something."

When I write you each week, that is what I hope you desire to do- to stand for something! There is more to our life than just living and breathing. Yes, work, friends, and fun is part of it, but does not even come close to our role in life. If anything, I hope you take an inventory of your life, and decide today if you have your priorities straight. If Christ came tonight would you be ready?

1 comment:

  1. I am a YW president in Oregon, and I was looking on the internet this evening for some ideas for my talk at New Beginnings next week. I want to make the parable of the Ten Virgins seem more relevant and timely for my girls. Your blog post has been very inspiring to me! Thank you for writing your thoughts and experiences. This morning I prayed for that I have met you through your blog, it is nice to know that I was praying for you, too. Bless you.