Dearest Friends and Family,
I can't begin to tell you how much this week has changed my life.
I will carry these memories in my heart with me for as long as I exist.
Tuesday morning President Sorensen invited my companion and I to a special meeting at the John Johnson farm in Hiram, OH with 16 other Elders.
When we got to Hiram we were not sure still what the meeting was about.
President had us all sit and began to explain. "I'm sure you are all a but curious as to why we are here today. Well, I want you to know I felt ispired to have you all come here this morning."
He then went on to say "You will not forget this day for all of your lives, in fact you will carry it with you to eternity".
He still did not fully explain why we were there and then proceeded to let the senior couple in charge of the site take us through the tour.
This is the same home in which a mob carried Joseph Smith outside in the dead of night, beat him and scratched his body and then left him unconscious in the street tarred and feathered.
It was powerful to have the story recounted to us as we sat in the same bedroom he was dragged from.
As the tour concluded President had us all gather in the revelation room atop of the house. He then began to explain to us that the reason we were here was
because that on "180 years ago this day, the prophet and Sidney Rigdon were caught up in a vision in which they saw the plan of salvation". On Feb 16, 1832 the vision was displayed as the eyes of their understanding were enlightened. They saw the Living God with Christ on His right hand. They saw the fall of Satan and the council before the world was, they saw all the host of heaven and the kingdoms of glory.
The spirit filled the room when President read from section 76 in which the doctrine is recorded. The spirit burned in the room as we all contemplated the goodness of our God and the grandeur of His eternal plan. Lastly after reading to us President played "I Know That My Redeemer Lives".
Tears fell from my face as we all sat in contemplation.
Finally as the song concluded President invited us to bear our testimony of the Savior, I could hardly wait for him to finish his invitation before I stood. I bore sincere testimony that I hope the last words that are ever uttered from my lips are that 'I KNOW MY REDEEMER LIVES' and that I hope it carries in my heart to the next life. All the elders in attendance bore testimony. I will never forget in all my days what it felt like to be in that room some 180 years to the date. After the meeting President informed me that on Saturday night I would have permission to travel to a different Stake to listen to Elder Golden speak. I was so shocked as I thought that my placing in the mission would render me unable to travel to hear him. President gave me a wink and told me he loved me, I told him I love him too and when we were both out in Salt Lake I didn't want to hear his excuses, "I was taking him to dinner". Saturday night we made our way to Girrard, Ohio for the conference. The spirit was strong from the opening hymn.
President addressed us as well as member of the stake. When their thought concluded there was still an hour and a half scheduled in the meeting. Elder Golden stood and said:
"I feel impressed to take a different route with this meeting and share a personal story with you".
President had just concluded with stories of miracles he had recently seen in the mission, including our morning at the Johnson farm, and finished by saying "Brothers and Sisters, there are no coincidences in this work".
Elder Golden then went on to repeat the same, and told of his conversion to the gospel by first choosing to tell of the story of how the Prince's were converted to the Gospel, and how one of their descendants (My Dad) was called back to that land to find his family.
He spoke of how the Elders were out tracting and how his mother let them in. He explained how he felt when he was converted.
My heart was swelling within me for gratitude as I listened to him describe how my father had introduced him to the gospel those many years ago.
He then looked at the crowd and said "It is my understanding there is one Elder Brandon Prince in the audience". He asked me to stand and introduced me. He then asked me to come up and explained that I was the son of the missionary who had tracted his door.
We hugged on the stand and I told him I loved him. That man has so much goodness and love that emanates from his eyes.
He then asked me to bare my testimony for the conference. I have never felt so full of the spirit as I did bearing my testimony to the truthfulness of this Church and the reality of our Savior.
Elder Golden thanked me and then addressed us for almost an hour. That man is so incredible. We were all filled as he taught us doctrine and shared his personal testimony with us.
When the meeting ended my companion and I along with President Sorensen went to a private room and took photographs. I thanked him for his kindness and told him how much my family loves him. I thanked him for blessing Ken, and for blessing me with the opportunity to share my testimony.
President then explained to him that I know my purpose as a missionary, and that I served with love. Elder Golden said "I hope you remember that, that is the ultimate compliment from a Mission President".
I drove away from the conference renewed by the spirit. It truly was one of the greatest nights of my young life. I feel such a profound love for Elder Golden and will always cherish that tender mercy of the Lord. Sunday I was able to confirm Bro. Duer a member of the Church and confer the gift of the Holy Ghost upon him. In all that we do as missionaries, that is my favorite ordinance, there is such an unspoken power that comes as the Holy Ghost is conferred.
We are continuing to see success here in Canton. The Lord is with us. I can feel him day by day. I want to leave you my friends and family with a poem from W.W. Phelps to Joseph Smith. I feel impressed to leave it with you as it reflects the feelings of my heart.
GO WITH ME:
Go with me, will you go to the Saints that have died--
To the next better world where the righteous reside?
Where the angels and spirits in harmony be,
In the joys of a vast paradise?--Go with me.
Go with me where the truth and the virtues prevail;
Where the union is one, and the years never fail;
Not a heart can conceive, nor a nat'ral eye see
What the Lord has prepar'd for the just.--Go with me.
Go with me where there's no destruction or war;
Neither tyrants or sland'rers, nor nations ajar;
Where the system is perfect, and happiness free,
And the life is eternal with God.--Go with me.
Go with me, will you go to the mansions above,
Where the bliss, and the knowledge, the light, and the love,
And the glory of God do eternally be?
Death, the wages of sin, is not there.--Go with me.
Brothers and Sisters, the gospel is true. Heavenly Father lives as does His Son. My invitation is and always will be, come with me. Home hasn't changed. Come home with me.
I love you all so much and pray that we may all find the "The way, the Truth and the Light", even Jesus Christ. In His sacred name, Amen.
Love, Elder Brandon Prince
Tears filled our eyes as we read your report this week. We are witnessing a true and living miracle in our family. What a blessing missionary work has been, and continues to be in our lives! These precious stories will be told and retold throughout generations, and will continue to bless the lives of those who hear them.
We are so proud of you! We love and appreciate everything that you are, and are becoming. Thank you for Loving the Lord, and working with all your might to be his servant.
We send you all our love,
Your Loving Family