Dear Elder Bednar,
When I found out you were coming to the Sacramento area and our Stake would get to hear from you I was really looking forward to it. (I think it’s been 35 years since we had an apostle speak here!) I know we have been hearing you and all the other wonderful leaders speak every 6 months in General Conference but for some reason I just felt like this was a really special occasion.
My husband Jonathan and I are the lucky parents of 5 beautiful children, two of which have special (and demanding) needs, Jonathan has been Scout Master for 10 years and I have a little baking business I do from home. In other words, we have a busy, happy, crazy and full life. I do get a little (very) overwhelmed sometimes, so as the conference drew closer I was really looking forward to the spiritual boost! But I knew a lot of others would be excited to hear you too, so I told the kids that even if we heard your message broadcast to us from another building, it would be just as good as sitting in the front row of the stake center.
But in the week prior to the meeting I decided to make a special effort because I realized my heart really wanted to be as close as possible, with all my family, while one of the Lord’s apostles was in the room. I knew I didn’t need a “sign” from Heaven or anything special to happen. But I did feel like maybe being near one of the Saviors disciples would be just a little like…. touching His robe.
So instead of watching the broadcast like we usually do, I showed up almost embarrassingly early to the Stake center with my 3 oldest children. When we got there and only security and ushers were there my oldest said “Oh man! Lets go home for an hour!” But I didn’t care, I was so happy to be in that building and soak up the strong feeling of peace I felt.
The night before I had been talking with my 6 year old Ty, explaining that we were going to see an Apostle- a special helper whose job is to go around telling everyone that Jesus is real. When he heard that Ty replied “well, we already KNOW Jesus is real so why do we have to go?” 🙂
We ended up being in the 6th row of the chapel, all 7 of us in perfect seats for the wonderful messages of that conference. My children were all amazingly good (!?!?!) even after waiting so long and Jonathan and I felt like we were sitting and feasting on wonderful truths and principles that could really help our family. And we were happy we didn’t have to speak!
During the rest hymn I was pointing out “the special helper” (you) to Ty as he stood on the pew next to me and he couldn’t figure out which man I meant. When you saw us you started waving at Ty (3 times) until he saw you. He wouldn’t wave back but now, to him, you are the Apostle that “waved at me.” I didn’t need a sign, but for some reason this small interaction really touched me. Felt like a little tender mercy reminding me that He is always aware of us, and our hearts, and our needs.
Thank you for the good you do, the books, the message, for waving at my son, for teaching us about Christ. We love and support you, and the entire leadership of the Church.
Sincerely and with much love,
Beth Walburger and Co.
Day of the conference.
(This was really just a journal entry for me- but maybe I will send it!)