zhen jin bu pa huo lian

This is conference related. Enjoy. –Lisette

Family et al —

Conference was beautiful! Tweets should be appearing soon (ish). You’ll enjoy them. Don’t worry, I caused quite a fuss in the MTC when I threw my hands in the air and exclaimed with joy as Bednar said “tweet” from the pulpit. Represent. 😀

Sunday night, the MTC was blessed with Chad Lewis as our Fireside speaker. And here’s another MTC truth for you: the Mandarin name tag is THE most poweful tag in the MTC. Not only can it part lines for the shower, for food, for dishes… but also for devotional and especially for backstage access to youming de ren. Coupled with that, though, must be the following MTC truth: English speaking missionaries come back Scriptorians. Spanish speaking missionaries come back burning with the fire of baptism. Mandarin speaking missionaries, if they come back, come back humble.

So– Chad. Members of our district played a stirring cello/flute/piano arrangement of Oh My Father (mom, you’d LOVE it! the flute part was brought down and added to the richness of the piece) and through his acknowledging the excellence of the music, Brother Lewis pointed out the Mandarin (especially Taiwan!) missionaries to the rest of the MTC. His speech was excellent, directed at our little band of missionaries, and fired us all up about getting into the field right away! (Ps — we should have travel plans in hand on THURSDAY! aiyo!) Afterwards (like any good BYU fan) we rushed the podium and with a simple wave (and maybe some random Chinese phrases!) we parted the sea of Spanish speaking Elders. Brother Lewis took us out to the foyer, shook our hands, took photos with us, and bore his testimony in Chinese. He also provided today’s subject: zhen jin bu pa huo lian. True gold does not fear the refiner’s fire. This is our new motto as a Zone, especially for these last few weeks… when all is up in arms.

Last week, prior to Spiritual interruption (it happens to President Monson, too…. as we all saw when he announced the Provo Tabernacle plans!! Aiyo!), I wanted to share an experience from the TRC. We read a few scriptures with him about prayer, then ended up in Alma 34. Verses 17-27 tell us how often and over what we should pray — which is everthing and every time (ugh… my Chinese grammar is shining through). The last verse, however, our volunteer paused to discuss. He asked us what we though “pray in your wilderness meant.” A lively discussion ensued as to the choice of words there — this is not just any physical wilderness on the face of the planet, but our personal wilderness. These are your bad days, your rough weeks, your tough months, and your lean years. These are the nights you cry yourself to sleep at the days you use all your energy to just put one foot in front of another. This is your wilderness and when you’re in it, pray.

If I’ve learned one thing here at the MTC, it’s that prayer is essential. We have more analogies and object lessons for prayer than anything else… it’s incredibly simple, but we often neglect it. Prayer reminds us of our relationship with God — that principle on which all other tenents of the Gospel hang — and difficulties toward prayer arise from forgetting this relationship (see the Bible Dictionary). The overarching theme of Conference this go around was that you are NOT forgotten by your Heavenly Father. As such, you should also not forget Him. He wants to hear from you. He wants to bless you… but he will not override your agency by just giving you things. You must ask for them. This does two things: 1) preserves agency 2) reminds us of our relationship, putting us in a position of humility… which allows us to better receive the blessings God has in store for us.

I love this Gospel. I love this work. Regardless of the food and the menutia, the MTC is a wonderful microcosm for experimenting upon the words of God. In the temple today, my district decided to perform proxy sealings for children to their parents. Our sealer was so excited to see young, capable-of-kneeling volunteers so early in the morning! He took time to explain the process and the importance of sealings as well as give us some advice. He asked us why we thought we were in the MTC. Most of us, at this point especially, didn’t have an answer. He said simply this: you need to gain a testimony of the ordinances of the temple. All of them. You will be teaching people and preparing them to make temple covenenants. They can read all about it on their own, but you are there to testify. We go to the temple each week so that when you go into the mission field, you can take your testimony and the temple with you.

If you haven’t been to the temple recently, go. If you haven’t prayed recently, kneel. If you haven’t hugged your family, kissed your spouse, laughed at your kids, learned from the Scriptures…. just do it. Your life will instantly be improved and God will give you too many blessings to even handle all at once. Remember — it’s better when you look up. 😀


Sister Oler


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