Monday, December 23, 2013

Week Twenty-Four

WEEK TWENTY-FOUR December 16, 2013

We were invited to breakfast with the One Family a little bump in the road whose sign didn’t even carry all the letters of the name, yet inside was a nice clean diner whose patrons were mostly police, fire fighters, city workers and school teachers. Sister H and I shared French toast (best I’ve ever had) and a plate of eggs, bacon, and potatoes. Just proves you really can’t tell a book by its cover AND the importance of checking with “locals” to find where to eat. We enjoyed a nice gospel discussion together and have gone from “why are you here” to “can you come over” in our relationship. We haven’t been able to pull of the Elder and Sister though, we are Jerry and Jan to them. The relationship has been so warm both Brother One and I have wondered if our paths crossed when I was serving in Erie, PA and he was attending Edinboro State.

Had another Melchizedek Priesthood preparation discussion with Brother Twenty who is shooting for January to visit with the Bishop. He seems very earnest.

We invited the Elders Quorum president of the Aliso Creek Ward to visit with us with the Twenty-first family. Although baptized nearly a year ago in Elsinore, the ward was divided and the new bishop suffered a stroke leaving this young family largely on their own. They then moved to Irvine and with the last couple of weeks into this ward. President Miner had asked if he needed to prepare anything as we were going to discuss the Plan of Salvation and I told him no. But as we all sat together visiting I felt impressed to change the subject and told Brother Twenty-One that we were going to quiz the Elder’s Quorum President. So I asked him what he did for a living, how he met his wife, about his family, then did the same with his first counselor, second counselor and secretary. Asked for quorum objectives, how welcome Brother Twenty-One would feel in the quorum, whether he would be receiving a HT assignment quickly and whether a HT would be assigned to their home. In nine months in Elsinore he had never been asked to HT and their HT had only made one visit. The President was terrific, very warm, caring and supportive. I think if was a better visit than discussing the Plan of Salvation as this was that plan in action.

We have been working with Brother Two to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood when it occurred to me that when older brethren receive the Aaronic Priesthood following baptism they miss out on the opportunity of administering the Sacrament. So with the permission of the bishop I contacted the elder’s quorum president, the same who had visited the TwentyOne family with us, who just happens to be the home teaching companion of Brother Two, to see if he would assist by sitting at the Sacrament table with Brother Six. He gladly accepted and got with Brother Two regarding the format and particulars. Sunday he performed the ordinance of the Sacrament. The bishop told me, “He did it like an old pro. I looked over to him and nodded when he finished and he gave me a thumbs up sign with a big grin.” Sister H and I were in the other ward so missed out on the experience but when I sent him a text of what the bishop said his response was “I was quite anxious. So the power of prayer was demonstrated.” Left me to wonder if anyone before has ever given a thumbs up sign after speaking the Sacrament prayer. Wish I had been there to see it. I’m quite confident the Lord was pleased.

One of the young missionaries in the Aliso Creek ward asked me how one could tell the difference between their own thoughts and promptings of the Holy Spirit. He was particularly interested in how to act when there seemingly is no answer. I told him experience had taught me he was asking the wrong question, i.e., is it the Lord or me? So proceeding along that path would only lead to further confusion, self-doubt, and worry over something that is meaningless. In other words his question just didn’t really matter.

The proper questions one needs to ask may include: Am I living worthy to enjoy the companionship of the Holy Spirit? Have I sought the Lord in the way He has appointed? Do I have the requisite real intent, i.e., am I fully committed to follow whatever direction the Lord gives, regardless of consequence? Have I committed the appropriate effort to determine for myself the answer to my question? Have I reached a conclusion that fits my experience and common sense? Is my decision in conformity with the Holy Scriptures and living prophets? Is this decision within my realm of stewardship? Does this decision lead me toward Christ? Am I willing to patiently wait upon the Lord, both as to His timing and as to His method of answering me?

If the answers to those questions are positive, then he should proceed, trusting the Lord and giving Him the credit for everything. You have chosen to live so the Lord can trust you and are willing to act regardless of consequence. Should such honest actions be in error the Lord will gently intrude, when the time is right, and you will be given course corrections enabling you to be and stay on the path the Lord directs.

We had lunch with the Two family and Dinner with the King family of the Lake Forest Ward and met several new couples. All on Jan’s birthday. What a way to celebrate.  

We also attended a dinner with many from our Bible Study group and we were going to see the Follow the Star program but got interrupted with some other visits that needed to be made. But the next night we took the Thirty family, the ones who decided we weren’t weird and the Six family to Follow the Star. A Live manger scene complete with animals sponsored by the Santa Margarita Stake and a crèche exhibit of several hundred manger scenes. The presentation was about twenty minutes and excellent. They welcomed the community to this gift from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Thirty family asked for us to wait as they went back to pick up a picture of the Savior that was being presented. They were very impressed. Then the six of us had dinner at Macaroni Grill in Irvine.

One of the home teachers arranged for us to visit along with them to a single sister, the ThirtyThird family, who had joined the church in Menifee but has not progressed very much. We got well acquainted. She told how she has trouble understanding the Book of Mormon and accepted our invitation to visit regularly to discuss the Book of Mormon. We promised to get a couple of books for her and come back for another visit.

We held Family Home Evening with the Six family as they hadn’t “gotten around to it” yet. We brought the treats, a game, and the lesson and had their seven year old daughter conduct. Everyone seemed to have a good time. There was so much laughing Brother Six called the next day to apologize and I told him that was how all our family home evenings went. In fact, I told him, we pulled the drapes as we didn’t want neighbors to see just how much fun we were having. I think we gave them a new vision of what FHE could be. Brother Six said he was having a hard time with “this becoming God’s” stuff. As I question him the concern was how we could ever displace God. I told him, “Whatever it is you attain unto beyond the veil, God will always be the boss.” “Oh,” he said, “Now I understand.” His wife called the next day to tell us that little comment had made a big difference for both of them.

Sister H had a nice visit on the telephone with Sister Sondra Jones, our good friend back home and learned about their family. She also sent Sister H a happy birthday message (as did the Relief Society) that was appreciated.

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