As mentioned before, this past weekend was our Stake Conference. Our previous Stake President, David P Homer, was called to be an Area Seventy (he told us on Sunday that he had been called in November and had to keep it a secret all this time) so we needed a new Stake President. We were originally supposed to have Elder Eduardo Gavarret attend, but apparently he had visa problems, so Elder Larry Echo Hawk was asked Thursday afternoon to fill in. He attended with the already assigned Area Seventy, Elder Jeffery E Olson.
NOTE: I’ll have a posting about Elder Echo Hawk later this week.
My interview was scheduled for 9 am at the Stake Centre. I live about 45 minutes away, and was scheduled to work on Saturday, so I got up early and went to work for 6:45 am and then left just after 8 am to go to the interview. I got there just before 9 and waited/chatted with Elder Homer and the Stake Clerk.
Just as it was with Elder Russell M Nelson and Elder Gary Crittenden 5 years ago, the interview was very short. I was with them for 5 minutes max. They first asked me about men who I thought would be good candidates for the stake presidency and then they asked me some questions. They asked about my wife and my previous callings. I keep typing “they”, but it was actually just Elder Olson doing the talking. Elder Echo Hawk sat there watching and listening.
I then headed back to work and the waiting began. It is a strange process. You want your leaders to know that you are worthy, but we are certainly not looking to get the “job”. I knew the interviews were ending at around noon, so I thought if was getting called to something I’d hear within an hour or two. By the time it was pushing 2 pm I figured that they had chosen other men, and I felt fine with that. Then at about 2:15 I received a call from Elder Homer asking if it were possible for my wife and me to come back to the Stake Centre to meet with Elder Echo Hawk and Elder Olson.
We made arrangements for someone to look after our children and off we went. We got to the Stake Centre at about 3:40. I met with Elder Echo Hawk and my wife met with Elder Olson. I was asked about my worthiness and if there was anything that would lead to members of the stake not sustaining me (I still didn’t know what the position was). My wife was asked the same question, along with questions about how I treat her and our children. After that we were brought back together again and the call was extended. I was called to be the 1st Counselor in the new Stake Presidency. Without hesitation we accepted. I was surprisingly calm about it. I know it will be a lot of work, but I also know how much the Lord blessed me as a bishop, and I know He will do that again.
It was kind of funny during the rest of the afternoon/evening and Sunday morning before the business was done. Several people made a few comments to me wondering what was going to happen. I just had to kind of shrug my shoulders and brush it off. They would find out soon enough.
And so the time for the sustaining arrived, and as I’m sure it usually is, it was unanimous. We were invited to the stand to participate in the rest of the meeting. The outgoing Stake Presidency and their wives were invited to bear their testimonies, and then the incoming Stake Presidency was invited to do the same (unfortunately there wasn’t time for our wives).
After the meeting we were set apart. Elder Echo Hawk set apart the President, I was set apart by Elder Olson, and then Elder Echo Hawk set apart the 2nd Counselor.
Lastly there was a short (about 1 hour) introductory training meeting with our wives to go over the basic responsibilities and how to main balance.
It was a whirlwind of a couple of days! I feel good about things, and think we’ll be able to continue the great work that the previous presidency was able to do.
One thing that really stuck out in my mind over the two days was how many times Elder Echo Hawk and Elder Olson testified that they were there under the direction of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve and that the Spirit had definitely witnessed to them what they were supposed to do. A sceptic might say that they have to say that, but it was very sincere, and the Spirit was with them as they said it. As one of the people who was chose, this was definitely very comforting.