Monday, October 1, 2007

Conference Countdown

Come, listen to a Prophet's voice...

It is finally here! My absolute favorite time of the year. Fall brings so many wonderful things: Color, harvest food, crisp air, reflection, and revelation. Yes, it is finally time to hear the sweet messages that are the benefit of modern revelation. Less than a week!!!

It's amazing how much time, effort, and sheer energy go into efforts against the church. Nothing seems more wrong to me than countering this peaceful gathering with hateful, loud, and often crude mockings. How is that of God? Nevertheless, I mention that only to state that, even in the face of such things, the message rolls forth, and to the prepared heart, nothing can stop it.

When I lived out in the wilderness (I was a counselor with the Anasazi Foundation), nature taught me a great lesson that applies to learning. When you are making a fire without matches, preparation is critical. A roaring fire starts out small and can take a lot of work. You must prepare in faith that your efforts will not be in vain.

One of the more popular and easier methods is the bow drill. There are four main parts. Your soft board that will smolder easily, and semi-hard spindle that is as straight as you can find, a socket that you can use to push the spindle against that board, and something to turn the spindle to create friction.

If you want a good fire, you need lots of fuel. It's better to get as much as you possibly can get the first time so you don't have to keep leaving your precious fire to go find more. You also need a place to put the fire where it can be contained and cared for, so space is cleared and dedicated. Next, and most important, you must prepare your tinder bundle. Without that, all other preparation is in vain.

A tinder bundle is the most delicate and tender bits of plants that will nurture a flame. Perhaps the soft underside of some bark or some very fine grass for example. You literally make a nest out of it so that you can nurture even the tiniest spark into a flame.

The main bulk of the work is the producing of the coal, as it is called. Not really a coal like a you normally see, but really a smoldering little pile of sawdust is what it really is, but we call it a coal. The coal comes when you use the socket to press down on the spindle into a small hole in the board you made. As you twist the spindle, the friction causes the board and the spindle to pulverize and smolder. This usually takes great effort and patience to achieve.

Once this tiny spark is created (once it took us three days to finally achieve), you definitely don't want your efforts to go to waste. You lay the tiny coal into the prepared bundle, and gently fan it until it gets hotter. It will grow bigger and more of the tinder bundle will smolder until finally a flame emerges. Now, the tiny flame is placed in the cleared out place the was prepared, and tiny bits of fuel are given. Slowly the flame gains strength, grows bigger and brighter until finally it can consume the larger logs that are given it. When it is this big, even the rain can never seem to fully put it out. Under some log or in the bottom of the ashes, there always seems to be a live ember.

This is like our lives in a lot of ways. If you want the message to spark in your heart and grow into a bright, raging testimony, you have to spend most of your time in preparation, and the rest of your time nurturing and feeding it to keep it going.

I want to be prepared for conference this time, so I'm trying to figure out some good ways to prepare. I guess my query for anyone reading this, is what is everyone else doing that works for them or how do you make your conference experience better so that I can try it. I also have a little daughter who will be having her first conference experience. That will definitely be the greatest challenge.

1 comment:

randalswife said...

I love Conference too! I'm pretty sure that attending church and being able to listen to the Prophet in your pajamas is about as close the the Celestial Kingdom as we're gonna get here on earth!!!