WOW, wasn't conference amazing!?!? I was shocked, but also really excited to hear about the new age requirements for missions. I'm sure there will be a MASS influx of missionaries leaving in the near future, which is really exciting. I think the age drop to 18 for the young men is great-- that first year after high school just seems to be a really hard "waiting period" anyways--and I'm sure that Kyle and Steven really wish that 18 was the minimum age requirement when they left on their missions. So that's really cool. I'm not sure how I feel about the 19-year-old sister missionaries yet--but I know that this is inspired from the Lord, so this is what it needs to be now. But I'll just say that I needed to leave on my mission when I was 21--so for me, it worked out perfectly.
Aside from that, though, the talks at conference this year were amazing. To me, they all seemed a lot bolder. Which I LOVED. Oh, it was so good. Conference weekend here in Finland is quite different from back there at home--but I've grown accustomed to how it is here, so I'm sad that this was my last one in Finland. We watch the morning broadcasts live--which is 7 p.m. in Finland. Maybe it's because I'm not a morning person, I'm more of a night owl, I don't know, but I LOVED ending my days on Saturday and Sunday with conference. The Saturday afternoon session is rebroadcast on Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. So in between the two sessions on Sunday, our district made and ate dinner together-- probably the same time you were all having breakfast. It was a lot of fun. Our new district this change is really great--and as I sat there and realized that it was my last one (wierd)--I couldn't think of a better district to end my mission in.
Now in addition to all of the JOY that comes from conference weekend that I was feeling, I was also feeling a little bit of sadness. I felt sad as I thought about the investigators, less actives and recent converts that we are working with right now who weren't there. Every once in a while I would hear something in a talk and then think about one of the little "lambs" from our "flock"--something that was said that seemed so perfect for them-- and I was just so sad that they weren't there to hear it. But I guess it's like the parable of the ten virgins in a way-- I can exhort these people to fill their lamps with oil all I want, but I can't just give it to them. They need to want that and do it for themselves. And that's a hard realization. I'm sure it's how parents feel. And so while we did just that--encouraged them to come to conference and even arranged fellowshippers to help them get there (and many, many of these people seemed very excited and eager to come to conference, and said that they would come)-- none of them showed up. So while it was a very happy weekend, there was also that tinge of sadness :(
That's all I'll say about that though. Now on to happier things. Mom, I loved that you said that you thought about missionaries across the world (and specifically me and Tyler :)) as we all sang "Called to Serve" together. I can assure you that as I sang, there was a big smile on my face, and my thoughts were turned to my little brother who is serving in Bolivia, as well as my family back at home-- all of whom were singing that song together right at that moment. I love things like that that connect us to eachother--even from half a world away.
One other happy moment from this past week: We cooked Greek food together with Mary and her fellowshipper (who served her mission in Greece)-- it was SO much fun and the food was SO GOOD. Let me tell you, the Greeks are eating well. That's for sure. So that was fun. We started teaching Mary's husband this last week--it's really important to him that he and his wife are unified, and so he really wants to be baptized as well. We set a date for October 20th, so hopefully everything works out for that! Exciting things are happening.
I love you all :) I hope you enjoyed your "conference birthday," mom! I was thinking about how both of our birthdays fell on conference this year--but you really can't ask for a better birthday present :) I hope it was a great day.