Once again, after a very long time, I was able to spend a wonderful Sabbath evening at Blackhorse. I had forgotten just how much I missed attending church with my friends and brethren from Utah. Don't get me wrong, the guys at Phoenix are great and we have wonderful meetings but they're not my family. Tonight I was with my family again. Brother Stewart conducted and it was great to hear him. In attendance were Brother Topham, Brother Duncan, Brother Brocious, Brother Fagan, Brother Bingham, Brother Neff, Brother Austin, Brother Pack, Brother Palfreyman, Brother Christensen and me.
I have been having computer problems - again - this time with my government computer, so was trying to make alternate arrangements right before church, so I walked in a few minutes late. The meeting hadn't started yet but I was the last one there. It was so great to see so many brethren in the room.
I had the privilege of blessing the sacrament with Brother Topham and blessed the bread and passed the water. What an honor that always is.
Unlike the past, I didn't lead the singing. I don't know if I've ever mentioned this, but I lead the singing quite often and then afer a while, Brother Jonas and I took turns. Now I play the Clavinova at Phoenix and that's been great, although the sustain pedal is broken and that drives me crazy.
Anyway, after the sacrament, Brother Austin gave a wonderful talk. He said that Brother Stewart asked him two weeks ago to speak. He said that not a day went by where he didn't think about what to speak on but couldn't decide. He said he kept wishing and praying that the Holy Ghost would simply tell him what to speak on or that someone would assign him a topic but nothing came. He said that he was going to give a talk that he had prepared a couple of months ago but never gave because of a mission he volunteered to go on but said he just couldn't get his mind wrapped around the topic. He then had mentioned how he had been going through the Ensigns and kept coming back to Elder Eyring's talk in the June Ensign about the Holy Ghost. He said that he finally realized that the Holy Ghost was telling him what to talk about and if the Holy Ghost had had a hammer, his head would be in much worse condition. We all got a chuckle out of that.
He talked about how there have been times during the deployment where he has felt the spirit and other times when he hasn't. I could certainly relate to that. At times my spirituality has been like on a roller coaster. Some days and weeks I'm riding high and some weeks I'm plummeting down rapidly. I guess the key is to always climb back up the hill.
He talked about what we need to do to receive the spirit. Again, as I listened to his words and the spirit of his message I thought back on this year. I have learned so much about myself and about the Spirit. There have been times when I have been on my knees pleading with the Lord for his guidance. There have been times when I have felt the tears well up in my eyes because of the sorrow I've felt as well as the joy. I have received answers to prayers in ways that I never imagined. I have gained a testimony of the Fast. I have renewed my testimony of the Book of Mormon. I have learned what it means to have the Spirit with me.
There were times when Brother Austin had tears in his eyes. I could feel and share in the emotions he was going through. I'm sure we all could. He said that at one point in his preparation he thought he wanted to give a talk that would let us all know how spiritual he was but as he pointed out, Elder Eyring teaches us that you can't have the Holy Ghost under those circumstances. The funny thing was, Brother Austin had the Holy Ghost with him tonight and we could all feel of his love of the Lord and the spiritual power that he possesses. I know I could feel it and was certainly grateful to have been there.
Brother Stewart got up to conclude and testified that the Spirt has been with us this year. He certainly has. He said that the men, both Afghan and American, have noticed a difference. Again I know that to be true. We truly have performed a mission for the Lord here and I will always be grateful for the time I've spent here. Of course I have missed my family tremendously but at the same time, this has been a great learning experience.
Tonight would have been the first Sunday that Team 2 was at Phoenix. Remember, Team 2 was my team at Shelby and the guys that I have spent the majority if the year with here at Blackhorse before my transfer. I love them all and was sad that I missed that first meeting after beig at Phoenix for the last couple of months but at the same time, I'm so glad to have been here tonight.
It was truly a spiritual feast.
Thanks Brother Ausing!!