Saturday, September 14, 2013

Week Ten

WEEK TEN September 9, 2013

At Costco pharmacy we noticed the cost was much less than expected so I asked the clerk to double check. He came back, no the price was right. However when we got home we learned we had received a 90-day supply but had only been charged for a 30-day supply, a difference of over $100. So the next day we went back to Costco and ended up speaking with two different people before we could get it straightened out. A different clerk was at the cash register this time and said, “You’re a better man than I am. If it were me I wouldn’t have come back. This will cost you an additional $100 or so.” I told pointed to the tab on my shirt pocket and said, “Well, I couldn’t very well do that wearing this, could I?” He studied the badge then reached across the counter and shook my hand. Said he, “God bless you brother. May He be with you in all you are doing.”

Had a very productive meeting with the Two family on Tuesday as they both opened up wanting to discuss marriage relationships. So we shared our philosophy about choosing to make every decision in our marriage based on whether the choice contributed to building an eternal relationship. We also went through the procedures the father needed to know in preparation for baptizing his son on Saturday.

We met with two families to introduce and help them to develop a family mission plan. Shared our feelings that this should be a spiritual experience between them, the key being a mindset change that allowed them to engage others with a focus just on inviting. The trust being to allow others to share in the same first-hand spiritual experiences we are enjoying. Christ has given His all for us and He has done the same for those we encounter in our walk through life.

The bishop of the Aliso Creek Ward holds a missionary meeting with the WML and all fulltime missionaries on the first Wednesday of each month. We each shared what we were doing and I shared a couple of observations regarding family missionary plans: 1) When thy say “We just don’t have any time,” that is code for sharing the gospel of invited others to share is just not that important to me yet;” 2) When they say, “I just have a small circle of friends, basically church and family,” that is code for “I’m not willing to leave my comfort zone.”

We have been taking each set of missionaries in our district to lunch. This week the Aliso Creek elders expanded from 2 to 3 and they wanted to bring GG an investigator along as well. So with six of us they choose Round Table (a chain we had on the corner of Encinitas Blvd. and El Camino Real when we lived there) for a lunch buffet. Well our group was so big we stood for some time trying to find where we could sit six. Paul, a fellow near 90, came up and introduced himself to us. He was there eating with a good friend John and they had two empty seats at their table and he invited Jan and I to sit with them. We accepted the invitation and had a delightful conversation although being unable to visit with our intended missionaries. Paul’s wife had passed away due to a massive and unexpected stroke at the age of 92 within the week. In going through her things he had found a $20 bill and told friend John that she must have wanted them to go to lunch together. We had a good talk about the afterlife and the gospel of Christ. They felt all churches did well in bring people to Christ and the “particular congregation you belong to doesn’t matter.” We very much enjoyed both visiting with them and their hospitality toward us.

Saturday morning we participated in the baptism of the oldest son of the Two family. He had asked me to be the speaker at his baptism, held at the Santa Margarita Stake Center. Jakob cultivates hot peppers and so I chose to tie that into my talk on the Holy Ghost.


Jakob is already at his young age quite an expert in the cultivating of pepper plants. He demonstrated to me considerable expertise in pepper cultivars as he explained these amazing plants. The hotter the better, as Jakob says.

Although as Jakob knows and you may not, heat is really not a factor, at least not caloric heat, rather it is pungency of the pepper.

Those burning and painful sensations we feel result from a chemical interaction called chemesthesis, between the capsaicin found in the pepper pith and the sensory neurons in your mouth, which send a signal to your brain producing sensations similar to those of excessive heat or abrasive damage. It is your brain telling you it is hot.

Similarly, when the comfort and peace of the Holy Ghost is felt, it is manifest as a warmth inside us, that the mind and heart confirms as truth.

Sometimes the manifestations of the Holy Ghost are felt when thoughts, words and even whole sentences come into our mind, but most often it is as if the Spirit of God has come inside us and given our spirit a warm hug, confirming our chosen direction.

Jakob knows how finicky the Habanero is as a tiny seedling. He also has learned how with proper care, it grows into a sturdy plant, robust and strong.

In like manner, the Gift of the Holy Ghost, again with proper care, will grow into a constant companion and comforter for Jakob, both robust and strong.

Jakob has already demonstrated a remarkable ability to feel the voice of the Holy Ghost both in the conversion process and in the selection of this very date for his baptism. I then spoke to the sacredness of the occasion and the rest of us as visitors not intrude nor distract Jakob from receiving such gifts of the spirit and manifestations as He chooses to bestow upon Jakob.

Here is a picture of us with Jakob.

Afterward we celebrated our 48th wedding anniversary with a dinner at The Cheesecake Factory in the Irving Spectrum. After a mile or more hike in 100+ weather we got into the establishment and were served by Janae F. who said, looking at our tags, “Oh you must go to church. I don’t like it when my shift doesn't allow we to go to church and I won’t be able to tomorrow.” Another visit, several in fact it was hard to eat. Finally, “I have not been baptized Christian yet and I want to do that.” I told her we could take care of that but she countered that the Saddleback church did that every Saturday and she would probably go there. Other visits to the table followed one in which she recounted how hard it was to find a guy who had moral standards etc. so we talked to her about the institute program at Saddleback Community College. She took our card promising to email us to get the contact information but was unwilling to give us her contact information. Jan feels there must have been something more we could have done.

That afternoon I sent a lengthy email to the Two family, feeling that maybe they were approaching overload. I told them “there is a lot on your plate that has come up ever so quickly, and we want to be sensitive to your family needs, so I am going to leave the following items with you to sort out calendar wise and let us know when you would like to schedule some time to address them. (The list totaled six discussion items.) “When I put all that in a list it seems pretty overwhelming, even to me. Obviously everything does not have to be done at once. We aren't dealing with any time constraints here for the most part. Clearly there are family obligations that need to be attended too in addition to these matters. And these things shouldn't consume your entire life or even feel like they are doing so. So, taking those cautions into consideration, would you and Kyle discuss what order you want to take on these items and how you would like to schedule them and Sister Haddock and I will fit things in around your needs and work schedules.”

That night we enjoyed the adult session of stake conference with Area Authority Reuben Acosta, a very humble servant of the Lord. At 8:30 the following morning a special new member meeting was held prior to general conference session. He shared his conversion story and we had three families there that we have been working with and each of them was very impressed with his spirit.

Sunday evening we enjoyed another discussion with the Six family although they had so many questions we never got to the temple.

We hadn’t heard from the Six family since our discussion a week ago in which he promised to pray about the need for authority and ordinances. Not hearing anything from them I sent this text message—It occurs to me, to discover whether authority and ordinances are necessary, one must consider the real message of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: Simply put the message to the world is that Christ’s church has been reestablished on earth. MT 16:18, Eph 4:11 and Acts 2:47 refer to His church having been organized and JN 15:16 to authority through ordination. He responded with a long text admitting he had not done what he had committed to do. Wanted us to know how much he respects the Church and its people but wants to remain non-denominational doctrine wise. I responded that friendship was non-denominational and invited them to dinner with us at Lucillle’s, which they accepted. All of this before the Saturday and Sunday meetings, all of which the Six family attended. In fact, during the Sunday new member meeting, I had a very strong feeling that the Spirit was making an impression on Brother Six. They sat behind us at the general session and when a stirring talk was given on helping and assisting others, Brother Six tapped me and the shoulder and whispered, “That is what I have been preaching for the past six years,” and seemed genuinely pleased with the proceedings.

Monday evening we attended a FHE in the park for the Lake Forest Ward and encountered the Mission President and his wife. Me in Levi’s, a sport shirt and tennis shoes and he in a suit Said the President, “You look a lot more comfortable than I am.” I told him it was even worse as we were going out to visit two family that night to share how to put together a family mission plan dressed as we were. He told me he was going to give me a call seeking some counseling assistance. Which is in line with what his wife told Jan, she being concerned her husband was being burned out on counseling and not being able to function as a mission president.

Another connection at the FHE. The elders have been teaching the Fifteen family. The wife has been very receptive and one of the children. Jan and I had never met them. I was able to speak for some time with the father who turns out to be a cousin of Roland Astorga who set up our phone system at work. The wife asked what we did as senior missionaries and I shared that and our willingness to do what we could to help in any way.

Maybe the dress was the key, but the two families we met with were very receptive regarding a family mission plan and we set appointments two weeks hence to followup with them.

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