WEEK EIGHTEEN November 4, 2013
As we serve I continue to see many differences between our service today and mine as a young missionary. To prepare myself then I memorized over 2,000 scriptures and developed considerable facility in using them effectively. However, the mental ability to memorize and retain at this age I find to be very different but also different is the lack of fear afflicting us “seasoned” missionaries. Should the spirit be kind enough to bring to my memory scriptures important to the discussion at hand I happily use them. But when that is not the case I don’t fret and simply bear testimony to what I know to be true and allow the Holy Spirit to teach our investigators directly. I have also noticed that making simple comparison like parables enables one to teach effectively, for example, “If you were Heavenly Father and wanted all your children to enjoy the same joy and happiness that you enjoy, what principle would you find to be important?”
We met with the Nineteen family and presented the first half of the Restoration discussion and showed the DVD on the same. Again another wonderful discussion in which they expressed appreciation for our visiting with them, what they were learning, and her experiences with prayer, something she hadn’t done before. Although brother Nineteen already has a testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith this is sister Nineteen’s first foray into studying the gospel and boy has seen been diligent in completing her “homework.” We gave them a copy of Elder Nelson’s book, “The Gateway we call Death,” for her to review and share some comfort with neighbor Sharon who passed away with Cancer and her memorial service is next Sunday. They asked to keep the Restoration DVD to show to their niece so we left that with them and had to hightail it to the mission office to pick up another copy for a different family.
As we were leaving we received a text from the WML asking if the Donatos’ would participate in the mini-MTC on Saturday evening at 6 p.m. Sister H wasn’t anxious to make the call fearing it might upset the applecart. But she finally did and sister Nineteen was most gracious and said yes they would entertain some priests or laurels teaching a discussion to them on Saturday. Since Bishop Smith had been very receptive to the family’s needs a few years ago at a trying time and since the husband had such a sweet experience studying with sister missionaries several years ago I suggested to the bishop that if he could engineer his daughter being assigned her with another Laurel we would make both the family connection and the sister missionary connection. He said he liked the idea and would make the recommendation.
On Saturday evening we picked up Sister Toomey and Sister Smith fresh from their MTC experience that day to teach the Restoration to the Nineteen family. They were so poised and confident, so earnest and engaging that although the husband had been told differently he felt to ask, “How long have you sisters been serving?” Sister Toomey in her presentation had mentioned Christ as being our Elder Brother which caught the wife’s fancy, saying she had never considered that, “but it’s true isn’t it.” When the family shared that as they have progressed it is dawning on them that the Church requires a total commitment and a total life style change for them that has given them some pause, Sister Smith said ever so sweetly, “Well to me I don’t think of it as given up things so much as I see giving back.” To which the wife said, “Yes, you are right.” When the husband commented that tithing might be tough for his wife, Sister Smith countered that she had learned that she is able to do so much more with her 90% than she ever could with her 100%. The wife paused and said, “I had not considered that. That’s right I would still have 90%. That’s a good way to look at it.” The husband bore testimony to Joseph Smith being a prophet of God and expressed concern that these two pretty innocent girls will soon have to go out in a very evil world and warned them accordingly. The wife said should they serve missions they will probably experience many slammed or shut doors but not to give up. The together shared testimony that their relationship has noticeably been better since they have been meeting with us, their focus is much more consistent, and they have felt a sweet peaceful feeling in their home that was not there before.
Monday evening we took the Nineteen family out to dinner to celebrate her birthday which was Sunday. That’s another difference with a young missionary, never got to do that before.
We had our third Melchizedek Priesthood discussion with the Twenty family in preparing him to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood.
At In-N-Out for a quick bite we ran into the Twenty-Two family. He a former disc jockey in Los Angeles on KPOL and a recent author of several books written in news clip style. As we alighted from the car he pointed to our Utah license plate and with pride told us of his relationship with Dick Evans of the Tabernacle Choir who he featured regularly on the radio. He was 84 years of age. I commented that my grandfather was on KMPC in the San Fernando Valley. He is a faithful Christian, graduated from the Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena. We enjoyed a very pleasant discussion. I asked him if he remembered the gardens where Korla Pandit used to play the organ which I had mentioned to Sister H visiting as a youth. He did, it is Descanso Gardens in Flintridge, just north of Glendale. We need to get that on our calendar.
We had another nice productive discussion with the One family. She just had knee replacement surgery and is only a couple of days into therapy. He being surprised at the time it is going to take for her to be up and going. We tried to view a video they wanted to see but their equipment wasn’t working. It seems when the carpet was cleaned all the equipment was moved, then moved back, but all the cords are disconnected. I saw nine different ones in back of the TV. Her sister was there helping both of them.
We had lunch with Brother and Sister Two and later met with him for his next to last discussion on receiving the Melchizedek Priesthood. They again told us how much their lives have changed with the gospel and how important our serving here has been in their adjustment. Said he, “I’m thinking the reason you were called to this mission was for our family.”
A special stake priesthood meeting was called as the first counselor in the stake presidency was released and needed to be reorganized. I drove Brother Six to the meetings praying that the Lord would direct the conversation so I could learn what was holding him back from being baptized. On the way over we discussed the value of the church to parents in raising a family. The new counselor had shared some experiences his missionary son had recently both in following the promptings of the spirit and not following them. As we were driving home I told Brother Six that of all the wonderful blessings in the Church I think the gift of the Holy Ghost is the one I prize the most and then shared a number of experiences both in physical safety and being in the right place at the right time in being directed by the spirit. He said a number of audible wow’s. I then suggested that what we needed to do was get him in a position to receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost, that he needed that gift. “Yes I do,” he responded. Unfortunately that coincided with the end of our journey. He thanked me profusely for the ride and for spending some time with him.
When we met later that evening for our weekly discussion I noticed he was much more engaged in the discussion. Between our trip this morning and the discussion this afternoon I received this text from our son Chip about our grandson Chase which seemed so appropriate to share with Brother Six tonight further to our discussion regarding the Gift of the Holy Ghost. “Chase saw himself testifying of the Book of Mormon in testimony meeting during a dream last night. So, in obedience, he gave his testimony today in sacrament meeting and it was wonderful. Shared 2 Nephi 32:3 and that he used to read, just to read. This summer, he has started to pray each time before reading to invite the spirit (something he and I had talked about) and that the words have come alive and many spiritual experiences have followed. He then told how he knows of the books' truth. It’s a typical Haddock experience, no great sign or miracle, but a powerful burning knowledge. How could a father be more proud of any accomplishment in life of a son than this?” When I finished reading the text to Brother Six who was clearly impressed both with our grandson and the experience the Lord had given him also remarked, “What a wonderful experience? That boy is certainly on the right path.” To which I replied, “And that is the path we see you on.”