WEEK TWENTY-TWO December 2, 2013
Had another visit with the eye doc for Jan and learned we had some hemorrhaging on optic nerve in her right eye. We think this came from the visit with Dr. Normand in Newport Beach. She is also noticing some vision changes. So there is some concern. But later in the week, on Friday evening, with my brother Rick in town and nephew Nick we gave Jan and blessing and the Lord seemed to say “don’t worry” which caused our daughter Kerri to text that we need another blessing to keep her from worrying. It was really a nice blessing to have my brother in town at the right moment to add his faith to the process.
Attended our first transfer meeting. Never had anything like it in my mission as a young elder. On Saturday evening those involved were told they needed to be to the meeting but not where or who was going. At the meeting a name was called and the new companion and area with each assignment apparently required to show more enthusiasm than any previous. Quite a wild event. I’m glad we just got a phone call of letter telling us to be somewhere at a certain time. Members have to bring the missionaries to the transfer meeting and sit there about two plus hours for it all to unfold. Told the mission president if he was considering changing my companion I was going home. He laughed.
At the transfer meeting one of the zone leaders asked me "What is the Priesthood? I know what it does and why it is necessary but what is it? For example, I know what gasoline does but I also know the chemical composition of gasoline, that's what it is." Mom asked him if he wanted me to send him something and he said, "No my mind is already too jumbled up." As I thought about the question I think that only as resurrected beings can we enjoy the power and glory that God has but a portion of that power and glory is given to us on the earth to prepare us to receive the fulness as resurrected beings in the world to come, and that portion we call the priesthood. So I suggested this definition which seemed to come to me—The Priesthood of God is a manifestation of the power of God, being a portion of the light and glory God possesses and the “channel though which all knowledge, doctrine, the plan of salvation and every important matter is revealed from heaven” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 166-67) and is delegated to and becomes operational in man only through faith, righteousness and the will of God.
We received an invitation for Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, turkey gumbo and another dinner on Friday and a third thanksgiving dinner on Saturday. We were well taken care of as we had three more dinner offers that we couldn’t accept. As a young missionary had back to back thanksgiving dinners once and thought I was going to suffer a slow death by bursting of the stomach.
At the Thursday dinner me a sister from England who shared with us a lot about Yorkshire and the North Riding. She believed the name Haddock came from that area. When I looked at the letter my great-grandmother Haddock wrote to my grandfather describing there conversion it was in Middlesbrough, North Riding, Yorkshire. Even though the family had lived in Wales for two hundred years, at the time of their conversion, they and her parents, all born in Wales, were living in Middlesbrough. It was fun to hear about the area, the people and the things to see there. I was able to present a message at the gathering.
Friday we shared turkey gumbo with a member family and non-member relatives the Twenty-ninth family, and a message about Christmas. Must have hit the right notes as there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. A very sweet spirit prevailed. We first looked at the video Christmas is Christ. I shared that the focal point in human history was the birth of the Savior which was represented by a new star in the heavens. The birth was witnessed by the young Joseph, a beautiful virgin mother and animal who had not the power to utter the sacredness they saw. I pointed out that shepherds would soon arrive and sometime later wise men. Eventually there would come Santa Claus and Frosty and Rudolph—and all would be welcome according to Elder Holland. Just a little family No toys. No tree or tinsel. That was how Christmas began. Then shared President Hunter’s suggestion for a new star—“ This Christmas, mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a letter. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise. Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Apologize. Try to understand. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little more. Express your gratitude. Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love and then speak it again.” Following that visit we made contact with my brother and his son and their family.
Saturday morning we helped clean the Lake Forest chapel which surprised everyone. Had dinner with the 6th Family and another discussion with them Sunday.
The Two family had some needs and called asking us to pray for them. We were happy to receive a note of appreciation thanking us for “all your prayers great day today. Apparently that went so well, a few days later we were invited to pray for Sister Two’s sister who was also in need. While Sister Two was away we had hot dogs with the rest of the family and continued our discussion on preparation for the Melchizedek Priesthood.
Had a number of meetings cancelled this week again with the respiratory virus taking the area by storm. The 21 Family hoped to be over things by the week after Thanksgiving. We are still laboring under this as well. We placed a thanksgiving card on the doorstep of the 19th Family who were also unavailable, which read “Two wonderful examples of Thanks-living” and shared the following quote from Harold B. Lee, “Gratitude is expressed in prayer and thanksgiving; but more so in living lives of honor and integrity, of kindness and compassion, in awareness of others and their needs, and an honest expression of gratitude for all those who bless and affect our lives for good. Thanksgiving is best expressed in thanks-living—in lives of goodness and obedience and love and service.” (Harold B. Lee, Ye Are the Light of the World (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1974).
Shared with our ward mission leaders my thoughts on our skill as senior missionaries. The one thing we can offer that no one else in the ward can offer is time. Even retired couples don't have the time that we have just because of the demands of everyday life that we have left behind. It occurs to me that using that "skill" we might be able to accomplish the objective of Hastening the Work (members and missionaries working together) by encouraging Home and Visiting Teachers to be on the lookout for needs that "time" can address and coordinating with us to set up appropriate appointments with those families.