One for the Books

This is Elder Larry R. Lawrence. Okay, technically it's my wife and I standing with President Lawrence. But you know enough about me and my wife. Let me tell you about Elder Lawrence.

More than eight years ago, he was introduced to me as President Larry R. Lawrence, president of the Russia Novosibirsk Mission. That's significant because the Novosibirsk Mission is where I spent two years of my life, teaching about Jesus Christ and learning Russian. I wasn't alone- I had, at any given time, roughly 90 brothers and sisters right there with me. And President Lawrence was our commander.

I say commander because sometime in 2003, we adopted the moniker "The Siberian Battalion," for soldiers we were and a battle we fought. President Lawrence is the man who told us, as a whole, we could take the promise of doubling convert baptisms, made by a prophet of God, and make it a reality. He was also the man who told us, taught us, individually, that we could make our mission the wondrous and life-altering experience each of us wanted it to be. He saw our successes, was privy to our failures, and acquainted with our shortcomings. Yet he loved each of us like a general loves his soldiers, and like a father loves his children.

This is Sister Laurel Lawrence, President Lawrence's wife. Again, technically I am in the picture with them, but enough of that. Sister Lawrence was as kind and wonderful a "mission mother" as an elder or sister could hope for. Not only did she make sure we were well-groomed and eating healthy foods; she stretched our minds and souls with doctrinal nourishment. We had the privilege of asking her whatever questions arose in our heads while studying scriptures or lessons or what have you, and she would give us an answer. She would teach us the details of common stories and accounts, details we had missed no matter how many times we'd studied the material. And she gave us so much knowledge that every missionary who listened came home a better scriptorian and doctrinarian (according to Blogger's spell check, I made those words up).

Why do I mention President and Sister Lawrence?

Among the many memorable things to take place this weekend- hearing solemn testimony from Elder Richard G. Scott, an apostle of God, getting to know Elder Scott, being with my dad as he embarks on a new and exciting/humbling leg of his service to the Church- the highlight for me was a chance to reunite with President (now Elder) Lawrence. He was assigned to accompany Elder Scott in reorganizing our stake presidency, and when I found out (from dad, then Kirsti, then mom), I was so excited. Living in Missouri tends to disconnect one, to some degree, from the core of mission friends, most of whom live out west. I was only able to go to a couple of reunions, and the most recent of those several years ago.

So imagine my joy when Elder Lawrence and I made eye contact Saturday and immediately felt that bond, that friendship, that fellowship, that sociality we had felt in Russia, the same feelings we shared with all those with whom we served. We had the chance to talk for a few minutes after the evening session, and I hoped I would be able to chat a few minutes more the next day.

Imagine the great blessing it was, then, to spend much more time than that to catch up in the hours after conference, as he and Elder Scott organized the new stake presidency, with all us Lambsons-who-were-in-Columbia-at-the-time to support dad. That meant more chat time, and it was such a joy. If I could have changed something, it would have been to have Sister Lawrence there, so that my family could meet not only my mission president, but his phenomenally spiritual wife.

All in all, this definitely was a weekend and stake conference for the books, and I consider myself lucky to have been so richly blessed throughout.


Popular Posts