WEEK THIRTY-SECOND February 10, 2014
This week we met with a new MLS Senior Couple bringing to three the number of couples serving as proselyting missionaries in the California Irvine Mission. They are from Alpine, Utah. We shared with them the following ideas that we have gathered so far in our service, all of which has been learned on the fly.
We have a special skill that no other person in the ward or the young missionaries have and that special skill is TIME. T=time to serve; I=we are on an island, it is the family or individuals we are serving and the Lord, there is little direction; M=support of the members is crucial, they have to see you as an asset not someone demanding their attention (we have enjoyed great success as home teachers and visiting teachers notice a need and introduce us to those in need); E=our call is not to do as much as to enable, we are not to cause those we serve to feel what we feel, but to enable them to feel what they “can” feel. Most of our discussion our outside the lessons contained in Preach My Gospel.
We made meeting with the Stake President and High Council member over missionary work, our two Bishops, and the Ward Mission Leaders our first priority when we arrived. That has been followed with Melchizedek Priesthood, Relief Society, YM, YW, and Primary leaders.
We learned we had to do things to assure young missionaries that we were there to help. Many are suspicious perhaps because of the enormous pressure exerted upon them that Senior couples get in their war. We quietly attend District and Zone Meetings, mostly just speaking when asked to do so.
Although it has taken some time with two wards meeting on rotating weeks, our goal has ever been to become part of the ward. We have volunteered for temple, ward cleaning, service projects and other assignments that ward members have been asked to participate in and have attended ward activities and parties.
We always attend Ward Council, always attend Missionary Correlation meeting and I submit an email every couple of weeks to our bishops.
Great effort is made not to become a burden on the Ward. We never ask what we can do but look for things to do and volunteer to do them. Senior couples should always be found sustaining the Bishop and WML with all members. We have not placed ourselves on the regular dinner list the young missionaries are on (although welcome invitations as they come), coordinate with home and visiting teachers, give coordinated attention to new members but careful not to overwhelm them, get on the ward email lists and programs, make friends with less actives and invest time in them.
We have found much success in not having the back stories when we visit which allows us to ask questions and listen until people have talked everything out. Further it moves any possibility of inspirational interference.
Well during our presentation one of the Senior office missionaries came in saying there was someone in the office who wanted to understand the Restoration, so I quickly volunteered. We met with Brother 42 an evangelical minister from Indonesia and presented the Restoration discussion. He had a lot of questions which made Sister H happy she was with me. We were able to navigate his questions with him commenting that we “were very smart.” l told him it was easy when one was speaking the truth and had the companionship of the Holy Spirit to show the way. He smiled and asked for a second discussion the following afternoon at Panera Bread. I tried to get us to his apartment but he said his wife was not where he was (couldn’t understand if he was saying she didn’t have the same interest he had, or that he felt his level of understanding was superior to hers).
So we met the next afternoon, had an opening and closing prayer at Panera Bread—
wonder what our neighbors were thinking—and presented the Plan of Salvation. I again used the drawing depicted on the back of the mortuary calendar. I thought Brother 42 had a lot of questions the first discussion but this was infinity more. He wanted chapter and verse from the Bible supporting our claims relative to the Plan of Salvation, which we provided and he dutifully wrote down. He also asked me to diagram some of the principles and doctrines so he could understand them better, which I did. As we concluded the meeting he said, “So I have yet to be baptized because it was not done with proper authority?” “That’s right,” I said, “you haven’t.” “And I have not yet been born again?” he said. “No, you haven’t.” “And,” said he, “I haven’t really received the Gift of the Holy Ghost? “No,” I again said. “I’m going to have to think about this,” said he. He is leaving town and asked to set up a meeting next week before he left.
This week we had a first. A family that Sister H and I had taught how to hold a Family Home Evening and for whom our daughter-in-law Julie had made a Family Home Evening assignment board, invited Sister H and I over for Family Home Evening at their home. Each of the children had an assignment. We had a good short lesson, an activity and desert. We were really touched by both the invitation and the presentation. We also had a sweet experience with the One family, being delivered by the spirit to their home at a time of considerable need and the wherewithal to remedy the situation. Oh the tender mercies of the Lord. They are all about us and ever with us.
During this week also I was called upon by two families to offer prayers in their home. I always try to be attentive in such prayers to meet the particular needs of the families and as one has probably noticed we all seem to have a style and word patterns our very own. But in these two prayers the wording was not my own, noticeable to both Sister H and to me, clearly I was speaking the words of the Spirit rather than my own. In both instances the family members were noticeably overcome as I believe they heard the Lord speaking to them directly as if I was not even there.
I somehow managed to rip a large section out of the seat of a pair of slacks. Don’t know how it happened. Went to Men’s Warehouse to get them replaced after we learned the repair would cause greater distraction than the tear. We were treated well and a week later I came back to pick them up following alterations. As I walked in the door the salesman said spontaneously, “Just a minute Mr. Haddock, I’ll get those slacks for you.” I thought, wow, remembering my name a week later and when I got to the car I blurted out to Jan my astonishment. Jan said, “You hadn’t considered that your giant name tag gave you away?”
I was blessed to confer the Melchizedek Priesthood and ordain Brother Two an Elder this week. Following which the Bishop invited him to share his testimony which he did. Then the Bishop became very emotional in describing the relationship that had developed between Brother Two and me and how I now stood as his spiritual father. He then tearfully recounted how the spirit moved upon the Haddock’s to serve a mission just at the time that the Two Family needed us and through the direction of the Lord all have become edified. I was suddenly without words and nearly overcome. What a wonderful privilege it is to be along for the ride when the Lord performs His work.