I’d never been in the same room as an Apostle before. Now I had the opportunity to have this kind of experience. For some moments my thoughts were mostly of hesitation and curiosity.
“Will it really be that different from any other devotional?” “How far would I really be willing to travel to go and see him?” “Why are people making such a fuss?” Those were amongst the thoughts going through my head.
When I was at the Missionary Training Centre, Keith R Edwards, an Emeritus General Authority and subsequently the President of the Training Centre, spoke about his opportunities to learn with the Apostles whilst he served in Salt Lake. He spoke of Elder Hales being a master teacher and all the General Authorities as being full of love and compassion – but he told us that they all taught with exactly the same spirit that missionaries and so many other church teachers do. The spirit, the message, and the gospel are all exactly the same.
So there I sat, on January 19th, about to be in the same room with an Apostle, Elder Neil L. Andersen. I really had no excuse as he was visiting my hometown. I felt kind of privileged to sit in the chapel and learn at his feet alongside over 400 other YSA and full-time missionaries from across the UK.
He spoke of our role in building the Church, he testified of our divine parentage, and declared that “God honours those that honour Him”. Elder Andersen taught as one having authority, appointed unto his calling. I really felt that. I’m beginning to understand what MTC President Keith R Edwards had been talking about; an Apostle of the Lord teaches with the same spirit as the missionaries, and his message is just as heartfelt.
He challenged all present at the devotional “not be afraid of discipleship”, to “be devoted Christians” and he called upon us to be better than we are.
I learnt a lot from being in that room and feeling Elder Andersen’s love. The Church is truly a living church guided by Prophets and Apostles who have been called in our day and sent out to all the world.