It has been written that it all began with a new star in the heavens, heralding the advent of the sacred babe in Bethlehem. Yet a record of this event predates the star by thousands of years, when the Firstborn of the Father fully accepted and covenanted to fulfill the role critical to the whole of the Plan of Salvation and to become the Savior of the world. We find ourselves this Christmas season wondering about those animals privileged to be there as the only witnesses, other than Joseph and Mary, of this sacred event. Were they too selected for their role and will they someday bear witness of the wonders of what they saw as we ourselves, wonder and give reverent thanks to the joy that swells our souls in recognition of this seminal event.
The London family, members of the Lake Forest ward brought to our attention a story appearing in the Meridian magazine about a young boy in Eastern Europe being adopted by a Haddock family in Lindon, Utah. At eighteen and following some very special dreams, he receives his mission call to the country from which he came and is assigned unknowingly to the very town where his mother and other relatives are living. I told them we were not related to our knowledge and we marveled at the many “coincidences” that brought this story to fruition.
Brother David Bass also of the Lake Forest ward has been appointed to the role as City Councilman in Lake Forest and we along with many members of the ward attend the city council meeting for the ceremonial swearing in performed by another member of the ward who is a sitting Superior Court judge. I mentioned his all dressed up in his robes and he said, “They are good to hide food stains.” The Mayor announced the program beginning with the swearing in and then a five minute recess to allow family and friends of Dave Bass to leave. Nearly the whole crowd got up and left during the recess.
We had lunch with the Lake Forest elders at Chipotles, our first visit there, both the salad and tacos we had were delicious. We then took them over to meet the One family as Elder Marrs’ home is very close to where Brother One was raised and he wanted to meet this new elder. We had a pleasant visit with Brother One explaining how the hundreds of Christian faiths were designed to meet the needs of their members but he is unwilling so far to draw the conclusion that the very thing he describes is reason for the restoration.
A mission wide Christmas Party was held on Thursday with each zone doing a skit, two stories from a professional story teller and Christmas music from the mission choir. The event lasted nearly five hours but we didn’t.
Elder and Sister Johnson, who live in Nellie Gail, a posh area here in Laguna Hills, invited fellow Senior Missionaries to dinner Friday evening. A house across the street and down two or three homes was in the ABC Battle of Christmas Lights and is drawing big crowds. So they also invited one-half of the Missionary Choir (40 members) to carol in their driveway for about one-half hour. Several stopped briefly on the way to and fro but a man and woman lingered, joined in the singing and remarked that I had a good base voice and was standing on the wrong side of the sidewalk. Of course Jan had been talking with them for about 15 minutes already even though nary a one of the missionaries in the crowd, probably 20 or more, had spoken with a single individual. They were Mike and Elaine Gold, she from Bristol, England and working as a Nanny just down the street on Mustang Drive and he from the Bronx, strong accent and all. We had a nice friendly visit. She asked, “I can’t believe this family would organize a choir to sing in their driveway.” We explained we were missionaries, what we did and what Church we represented. They attend the Basked of Life Church. Elaine also said that the used to love to carol in England. They would knock at the door first and ask if they could sing a carol. When invited to do so they would commence to sing. They took one of our cards and as they were leaving we noticed the choir, the watchers, and all the other missionaries were gone. It was exciting that we alone had made the only contact and that only happened because of Jan’s perpetual willingness to open her mouth as the Lord as directed.
We learned there was a possibility with a new set of Seasoned Missionaries coming out that we could relocate to an apartment closer to the wards we are serving but after giving it consideration with all the trouble we had in lining us doctors the thought of moving seemed too daunting.
Spent considerable time in discussion with Jan as to why the area has not been more productive missionary wise. We have two very missionary minded bishops, two WML who are terrific, a gang of ward missionaries in each ward who are doing everything they can and three sets of young missionaries who faith, diligence and effort seem outstanding. Yet the results are sparse. The idea that the Lord won’t touch the hearts of those who are ready because the members are not ready to receive and bless them doesn’t seem to hold water. Is it a fact that there are no people, families particularly, in this area who are ready? In other words it doesn’t matter what is being done. Do I have the right to importune the Lord in this matter? How come investigators are not coming to the door asking for baptism as I had so often happen on my mission? Lots of questions as our hearts begin to yearn for these young missionaries.
In meeting with the Six family Sister H mentioned that she had spoken with our grandson Trajan who moaned when he learned we still have another year to go. To which Brother Six said, “Well, next time you talk with him tell him there are people here who are sad that you only have another year here.”
We called and set up an appointment for us to visit the Fifteen Family and share a Christmas message with their two children, Audrey and Nathan. I read the Little One Christmas story book and they were so touched by the story we felt to give the book to them.
About twenty minutes before church Sunday, the WML called and had an emergency necessitating him taking his oldest daughter to urgent care. He asked if I could take the Gospel Essentials class for him. I said certainly what did he want the message on and he said Joy. So I was able to teach the class with Brother Two in attendance for the first time I had taught a class. He called to tell express his appreciation. “As you began to teach a special spirit came into the room. It made me at ease so I felt I could comment and participate. I think Jesus was with you because you were so confident and at ease.” I told him I suspect that He was teaching him rather than me.
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO EVERYONE!!!