Meeting Elder Holland
Today I will be meeting Elder Holland. Well, it goes beyond that, I will also be photographing him and several mission presidents and other church leaders. This should be fun, but I’m still a bit anxious.
My schedule was full today. After my networking meeting I drove to Fayette to photograph the Peter Whitmer Farm for an assignment from the Church History Museum. Once there it only took about 45 minutes, but you have to add to that the 45 minute drives to and from Fayette.
From there, it was back home to change clothes and gather up my other camera for photographing the Mission Presidents Seminar for North America North East. I got there early to scope out the room and see how the lighting was. It looked like this wasn’t going to be much different than a wedding reception. In fact, even better because I know all these couples are going to be well behaved and the lighting isn’t going to be real dim.
After Elder Holland arrived, I was making my way through the room and when I came to him, he complemented me by saying I looked well today. I thanked him and returned the complement, and then added that we had a mutual friend.
Elder Holland responded, “And who might that be?”
I told him, “Omar the Woodcarver.”
He got a big smile on his face and laughed and we talked a little about Omar.
Omar and Me with My Favorite of His Creations
When I told him about Omar’s nativity set, and how Omar called it the “Elder Holland”, Elder Holland let out a big chuckle, and you could see in his eyes his love for this talented brother in Israel.
Note: If you are ever in Israel, take a few hundred dollars extra because once you see Omar’s work, you’ll want to buy one of his amazing carvings.
I worked the room doing my best to get some candid expressions from many of the mission presidents and their wives. There were some others there who were doctors who oversee the health and well being of our missionaries, as well as a few others.
Elders Hallstrom and Holland addressed the group at the end. It is very awe-inspiring to hear an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ address a group of mission presidents. I was very impressed at Elder Holland’s humility. While I was thinking, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to learn from him during this seminar,’ his response to the group assembled was how he looked forward to learning from them.
Elder Holland reminded me of Jack R. Christianson. President Christianson would say, “Nobody loves the Book of Mormon as much as I do.” Elder Holland commented in a like manner that nobody cherishes their mission experience as much as he does. (And, when he said that, I was thinking, “Oh, yeah? I bet I do.”) He then commented that there are others who probably feel as strongly and think they love their mission experiences more. And, what he said next, was very funny… He said something to the effect, “But, because I have the floor and am speaking, I can say it.”
At the end of the night, as Elder Holland was leaving, he shook my hand again and thanked me for my service. I thanked him for his talk, “Like a Broken Vessel”. I don’t believe I have ever received the type of reception I did when thanking someone for a talk as I did from Elder Holland. He looked me in the eyes, and with true sincerity, thanked me and commented that many others have too. We talked for a bit about depression, and I shared with him the impact his talk had on me. He smiled, and sincerely thanked me again and said the things I shared with him were meaningful to him.
I left the hotel feeling enriched by being able to mingle, photograph and associate with such great men. I wonder how many people in that hotel realized the significance of those assembled.
Okay, all this said, I can’t share the pictures with you. I agreed that they would only be for church use.