Last weekend, our Stake Conference was especially blessed to have an Apostle there to teach us and quite frankly entertain us. Elder Oaks is a lot of fun and has a wonderful sense of humor. On Saturday morning, the Mission Office asked me to come up and take a few pictures of Elder Oaks with each of the 6 zones of missionaries. It was a super quick photo session. I would snap a group picture,
And then he would jump right up and move over to the side and shake each of the Elders’ and Sisters’ hands.
Meanwhile another zone would be filling into the picture spot and when he was done shaking hands with one group, he would quickly come back over to jump into the next group picture.
I talked with several of the Senior missionaries while we were waiting for Elder Oaks to arrive. Sister Shirley (the white haired lady standing just to the left behind Elder Oaks) told me a little about her family. She has 9 children, 6 boys and 3 girls, and of those all of the boys and one of the girls went on missions. I think she might be my hero. Seriously, I want to grow up to be just like her and serve a couple mission too.
The photo shoot went super fast! But even though the whole thing went very quickly, I was so impressed with how Elder Oaks very careful read each missionary's nametag and very thoughtfully thanked them by name for their service.
Of course the highlight of my time there was getting to introduce Dallin to well Dallin. Elder Oaks told us that every single Dallin that he meets (and I am sure he meets a lot) he always gives them a great big hug. And that is just what he did to Dallin. He picked Dallin right up and bear hugged him. I bet Elder Oaks is an awesome grandpa! He knows just how to make kids happy!
After all the pictures were finished, Elder Oaks even took a moment to shake my hand and speak to me. I only spoke to him for a minute or so, but in that time he shared with me who he was named after. Dallin is the surname of an American sculptor, Cyrus Edwin Dallin. And while he was not a member of the church and most Americans know him as the sculptor of some rather famous statues of Paul Revere and Native Americans, he is well known in Mormon circles as the sculptor of the Angel Moroni on the Salt Lake City Temple. Thus, the reason Elder Oaks’ parents chose that name.
This weekend was so very special and uplifting in so many ways. I took a lot of notes from both of the sessions and maybe I’ll try to organize them and post a few of the things that stood out to me another day. I think the greatest thing that I took away from this experience is a renewed testimony of Jesus Christ and of His organization of a Church patterned after the original church, with living Prophets and Apostles.