|The Bukit Timna chapel and Stake Center|
The devotional was held in the Singapore Stake Center on Bukit Timah street. (We were told they tried to get a larger venue but nothing was available on short notice.)
The building has two chapels: one on the 4th floor, and one on the 2nd floor that consists of chairs on a basketball court, with a raised stand and podium at one end. (The ground floor is parking and the 3rd floor is mainly offices.)
Four wards meet in this building. They asked us not to take photos, of course, so I can only describe the arrangements, but you can see some photos here:
When we arrived, they told us that only members of the Singapore Stake could have tickets for the 4th floor chapel. That was fine with us; some of these members would never have another chance to see the President of the Church or a member of the Twelve (Elder Christofferson accompanied President Nelson, along with both of their wives).
|Church members leaving after the devotional|
Three women follows us in and sat next to my wife Beverly. They had flown in from Malaysia for the event.
The sister sitting next to Beverly (I didn't think to ask their permission to use their names) told us she had joined the Church several years ago while visiting the U.S. It's a remarkable story I'll save for another time. Currently, she lives in a small branch in Malaysia.
Last year, when President Nelson visited Hong Kong, she flew to see him there. It was a much larger venue, but at least she saw President Nelson in person from a distance. While we were talking with her, another sister from Singapore came up and they hugged. They hadn't seen one another in six or seven years. The Singapore sister told her it was too bad she couldn't get tickets for the chapel, having traveled so far, but she replied that it was okay because she was confident that President Nelson would visit us in this overflow chapel.
That didn't seem likely, but she had told her friends they'd see the Prophet.
The two friends she had brought were less active in the Church. She thought that seeing the Prophet would invigorate their testimonies.
|The next morning: chairs, tables, A/V equipment.|
The devotional was set to begin at 7 pm. Everyone was supposed to be in their seats by 6:30, and our 2nd floor chapel was nearly full.
Then, right about 6:30, the side door open and in walked President Nelson, his wife Wendy, Elder Christofferson, and his wife Kathy. There was no announcement. They were by themselves, with no security or handlers.
The room quickly filled with energy.
We all stood as they walked up the three steps to the raised platform. They walked to the center and waved. President Nelson was less than 10 feet from us. He greeted everyone and said he loved us. He thanked us for coming and laughed and said he looked a lot better on television anyway. He reiterated his love for us, so graciously and lovingly.
As he was leaving, our Malaysian friend nudged her less active friend. Just as President Nelson came down the steps, her friend ran over to him and touched his arm. President Nelson patted her hand. She backed away as they left the room.
Then she came back to us, excited and happy. Our three Malaysia friends felt greatly rewarded for their faith and confidence that they would, indeed, see the prophet.
It turned out, they had a much closer, personal encounter than they would have had if they had received tickets for the 4th floor chapel.
We can all read the reported stories about the devotional, but this specific instance of one dear sister's faith being vindicated by the loving concern of the Prophet was as important as anything said during the devotional.
What a wonderful Prophet we have!