This last week has been amazing. I have grown and been fed so much spiritually. I mentioned in my last email that Elder Holland was coming to our mission. On Saturday the entire mission came to the Gage Building in Richland. Elder Perry, Elder Jay Jensen, and Elder Holland all came. We first took a picture with them in front of the temple. Then we all got to shake each of their hands and look into their eyes, which they later described as being our own personal interview. I felt when I looked into Elder Holland’s eyes that he was looking straight into my spirit. It was an experience that I will never forget.
All three of them spoke to us. Wow. I wish I could share with you all of the things that I was taught. I want to share one experience though that caused all of us to think a lot and made us cry.
This was while Elder Jensen was teaching us. He had one of those small earpieces/microphones so that he could walk around and write on the chalkboard. Close to the very end of his teaching he said, “Could I have Elder Godinez please come up and join me.” Of course I was sitting right next to Elder Godinez. He was pretty surprised and seemed a little nervous. I’m not going to say everything that happened but after Elder Godinez read a few scriptures and a small discussion with Elder Jensen, Elder Jensen did something that I will never forget. He began to talk about Elder Godinez coming up on the end of his mission. This is something that I don’t ever talk about with Elder Godinez because it is a soft spot. He loves his mission. He would serve longer if he could, I know that. Then he talked about at the end of his mission that his stake president would sit him down and he would release him. Then he would take his name tags from him. And at that moment Elder Jensen began taking off Elder Godinez’s nametags. With each one that he took off Elder Godinez began to cry harder and his head would drop lower. After they were all taken off, Elder Godinez was standing there with his head in his hands with Elder Jensen standing next to him with his arm around him, comforting him. Everybody, including President and Sister Belnap were all crying. When Elder Jensen did this, I felt something was being pulled out of me. It hurt emotionally and spiritually.
Elder Jensen was trying to teach us a point of how we can’t stop after our missions. If our mission is the spiritual high of our life, then we are doing something wrong. I’ve been caused to reflect on this experience many times. Then a couple of nights ago, Elder Godinez and I had a very spiritual experience together and we were taught even more of this principle by the spirit. I’ve never understood the importance of this work and personal progression so well before.
I believe I explained Leonardo’s situation with the letter I wrote last week. Well I had a very amazing spiritual experience with him. Sunday morning we drove over to his house to make sure that he knew about church with Elder Holland. He didn’t. So he got ready and met us over there. Come ten o’clock I was sitting next to him right in the middle four rows back from the pulpit. That was a very special experience. The joy that filled my soul in seeing his progression. Wow. Something that I can’t adequately describe.
This Stake Conference with Elder Holland was an amazing missionary experience. There were over 100 investigators at the meeting. Sitting there watching him. We are going to see a lot of fruits from that. Just from talking to a few of those people right after the meeting I am getting chills. They all felt something. They knew that he was a man called of God. Something else cool is that on that day, November 15, is the day that Juan Saldana was baptized one year ago. What a great way to celebrate.
I think I might not have been clear. Elder Holland came both on Saturday to teach the missionaries and on Sunday to Stake Conference to visit the Pasco Stake.
I wish that I could explain more of the experiences that I had this week including finding a new investigator family, who are awesome. But I am running out of time.
Love you all
Elder Ben Arnold
PS I love being a missionary!!!