WEEK NINE 2 September 2013
Another connection: Jan and I were in Sam’s Club in Fountain Valley. I had walked through the line because to read a text message while Jan was checking out. This lady came up shyly from behind me asking, “Are you a Mormon missionary?” I told her I was and asked her name. She said, “Lucille Wihongi.” Said I, “I knew a Jono Wihongi from Vista …” I then recognized Jono walking toward me. What a happy reunion. I worked in the Vista Ward almost the entire year of 1976 on assignment from President Packard. Their family has done well, growing up in truth and righteousness. They spent 14 years working with the YSA and another number of years with the 30-45 group. It was wonderful to see them and another tender mercy of the Lord. We figured it had been 35 years since we had cast our eyes upon one another. Back in the day Jono had given work to my brother Rick and Jono asked about him.
Another day at Institute with no one showing up for class. That is now two days in a row. The other two instructors there are embarrassed no matter what I say to them about it. The next day one of the called saying they had spoken with a number of students and none of them are planning on attending this week so suggested we not come down the next two days that he would cover if someone should show up. Well at least I had the privilege of preparing for five classes. And any excuse to spend multiple hours in the scriptures is a blessing indeed.
This week we heard from Chip that our grandson Brandon the first day of 7th grade had an upset stomach, vomiting during his first class which was immediately followed by an emergency appendectomy. It came up so quickly Chip was unable to get from his hospital to the Children’s Hospital where the surgery was performed.
We’ve had our own medical problems, all administrative, from making the change from Utah to California. For Jan’s glaucoma checks every two months, here she has to go to a family doctor for an examination and referral, then to an ophthalmologist for an examination and a referral, then to a retina specialist for an examination and referral, and then to the glaucoma specialist. Her checkup was needed the first of August and here we are a month later and we still haven’t gotten into the glaucoma doc.
This week at the Aliso Creek Bible Study group, I led the discussion. One of the non-members present was a young man from the Birmingham, Alabama area but he didn't know thee McChesney’s.
The discussion went as follows: I suggested the Atonement simply means WITH YOU, in two senses—
1ST it overcomes anything that separates me from my Heavenly Father, so I can be With Him; and so Christ’s Spirit can be with me—each day and forever.
2nd it overcomes anything that prevents me from being with my family members and friends forever. I then defined Grace as the manifestation of Christ’s love in me, through the atonement, enabling me to become as my Heavenly Father and our Savior are—Unearned Divine Assistance. I asked them to keep a couple of points to keep in mind:
• The extension and receipt of Grace is not a onetime event, but a process of becoming
• Mercy and Grace are interchangeable terms
• Grace fits into two broad categories
One of those categories is Redeeming Grace – a unilateral gift, completely unconditional and used such examples as Physical Death with the Resurrection wrought and given by the grace of Christ, as was Spiritual Death to Salvation and our very moral existence itself (see MOSIAH 2:20-21).
The second category I termed Perfecting Grace – A responsive or partially conditional gift required effort on our behalf but a gift nonetheless.
We then reviewed some references to Grace to illustrate these two categories
Acts 15:11 Unilateral 2 Nephi 2:8
Romans 3:24 Unilateral Alma 4:15
Romans 2:1-10 Responsive 2 Nephi 2:7-8
Hebrews 5:8-9 Responsive Mosiah 15:26-27
We reviewed together MORONI 7:42-48, rereading 7:45-46 by substitute Christ for charity after which spontaneous sharing of experiences and joy over grace were offered.
The Lake Forest missionaries asked us to visit Twelve family with them. She a member but never any activity, he a non-member and a second marriage of about 27 years for both. Turns out he and I shared a number of experiences at The Pike in Long Beach and POP as well. In fact we got so taken up in shared memories that Jan felt after the wife was getting put out that we had so much in common. She had a family member in the Mormon Battalion and we offered to take them to San Diego to see the presentation there. They were receptive, he more than she. Also wanted some assistance with Family History as soon as they get a new computer. The missionaries brought by a copy of the Book of Mormon and some videos which we plan on seeing with them when their TV gets fixed. So some followup needed here for sure, but clearly a possibility.
Spent a pleasant time with the Thirteen family, a sister married to a less active husband. She is the manager of a local bank and she and Jan hit it off, with Jan offering to assist in doing some Chinese family history. Got her set up and learned she had visited a Mormon congregation the preceding Sunday with her husband and his friends. We have already spoken with the Chinese missionaries and she said they were welcome to drop by, so we gave them the word through the referral secretary to followup on that.
Had our meeting block this week with Lake Forest Ward. Even with the every other week rotation, we are beginning to know some names and faces finally. Had our third discussion with the Six family. She had some creation questions which we answered and he wanted to know, “If this is the true church why is it so small, 13 M of so.” I told him I didn't know the reason for that but historically that has always been the case. The children of Israel were a small group among many and even most of them weren't keeping their covenants. Daniel had prophesied I small group in the last days comparing them to a stone being cut out of the mountain without hands. We discussed how much “easier” it is to do what you want rather than what the Lord wants and he seemed satisfied.
Got a call the afternoon of our P-day from the husband of the Two family. Said he had some problems and couldn't wait for us to come by the next day. So we quickly drove over there. His wife was down south visiting her sister and he had their 12 years old son watch the children while we went out behind his unit and sat at a table in the park. He had come home from work, saw something that upset him, tried to talk about it with his wife when things escalated and spilled into bad feelings. So we had a marriage relations discussion including how to repent by first clearing things up with his wife. While we wer talking an elderly couple, he in a wheelchair walked past saying. “Jesus is the answer. Look to Jesus.” On their return trip we heard, “Stay with the scriptures. They will lead you to Jesus.” He husband seemed satisfied with the discussion, suggestions etc. that we offered and told us how much he appreciated us taking the time. Said he, “I don’t know why you came on this mission and the Lord brought you here, but I’m thinking it was for our family.”