The last few conference sessions I have always tried to prepare myself for the conference sessions and to pray during the week before and ask that I might be prepared for the messages and that the messages will contain guidance for my life today. Sadly I really hadn't had time to prepare this time. The last couple of weeks have been extremely busy. I had been home mostly during sleeping hours. I had been working 10-12hr days typically leaving before 8am if not 7:20, and then working all day and then running to whatever other commitment I had had. Then I would return home around 9 or 10pm. Then I would quickly get ready for bed, quickly pray and grab my scriptures and quickly read a few verses, perhaps a chapter, and tumble into bed. And in the prayer I would mumble some expression of "please bless me to learn from Conference" if I even remembered to think about upcoming conference.
I had really taken no thought of what to pray about. I was just too busy to really think about what I truly needed. Or at least I allowed myself to be that way.
This year my roommates and I and a few of our friends from our branch were able to get tickets to Saturday Morning Session. We drove down the night before around 9:30pm and arrived at our hotel about 1am. And crashed around 2am. And got to wake up around 4 hours later at 6am so that we could get ready and take the Trax up to downtown and make it to the morning session. Thankfully we got to conference about 9am so we had about an hour to wait for conference to begin. We were able to get seats in the 3rd row of our section of the upper balcony. It was so calming to just sit there, without something else to day while I waited. To just listen to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir warm up and feel the spirit that was there. This time I truely had time to ponder and wait for the messages to begin.
Conference began and President Monson gave an opening address like none other. We were excited at the temples, but it was the topic that he addressed after those announcements that I know I and a couple of the guys that I was with, needed to here.
President Monson always uses some story or experience to share to help get his point across. But this time, this address, he did not mix words in anyway. This is what he said.
"Now before we hear from our speakers this morning may I mention a matter close to my heart and which deserves our serious attention, I speak of missonary work. "... "I repeat what prophets have long taught" ... "Young men I admonish you to prepare for service as a missionary." At that moment there was no question that the prophet of the Lord had stated that it was the duty of each young man to serve a mission. Then he continued to say concerning sisters- "While you do not have the same priesthood you also make a valuable contribution as missionaries and we value your service. " Confirmation that I was making a wise decision to serve a mission. The song following that opening address was We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet I again had it confirmed to me that Thomas S. Monson is called as our modern day prophet and that he is our Father's chosen servant at this time.
There were so many amazing and powerful speakers in that session, and all of them seemed as if the topic was exactly what I needed. Especially President Dieter F. Uchtdorf's address about Simplicity and not adding business to our lives. A topic that I've greatly needed.
I am forever greatful for the tickets that we got to the Saturday Morning Session. This was the session that I and the others in my group needed to hear.