Monday, February 25, 2008

A Honolulu Fireside With Elder M. Russell Ballard

Last night, my wife and I headed to the tabernacle in Honolulu to attend a fireside. The featured speaker was Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Twelve.

It was my first time in the presence of an apostle of the Lord, and I can say with certainty that I know that he knows.

Elder Ballard, who has a strikingly similar appearance to my father-in-law, talked about missionary work, and how as a mission president long ago, he helped a hesitant and skeptical investigator come unto the Lord and enter the waters of baptism by asking him to get on his knees, pray, and ask Heavenly Father if indeed he and the Elders who had been teaching him were indeed true messengers of God.

The investigator heeded the request, felt a prompting, and agreed to be baptized. He later was called as a bishop and did good work in the church.

Elder Ballard also noted that although it was only 7:30 p.m. Hawaii time, it was 10:30 p.m. in Salt Lake City where he lives, and that his usual time for bed was 10 p.m. "I usually turn into a pumpkin after 10:00 p.m" he quipped.

After he concluded his talk, he asked us if we would oblige and excuse him from the post-fireside mingling and handshaking, for he and two other brethren with him had a long drive to Laie on Oahu's north shore to make and a 7 a.m. meeting the next day to attend (they were here to find out the needs and doings of BYU's Hawaii campus).

Not wanting to disappoint us, he asked the hundreds of saints on hand to raise their hands, make a shaking motion while he did the same, and then go write in our journals that we had shaken hands with Elder Ballard. There were smiles aplenty in the tabernacle.

Elder Ballard, along with brethren he was with, filed right past where my wife and I were sitting, so close that I could have reached out and touched him. But I did not. Maybe some other time, if not in this life, then perhaps in the eternities.

No comments: