Monday, February 10, 2014

Week Thirty-One

WEEK THIRTY-FIRST February 3, 2014

O’Connor mortuary and Chapman Funeral Directors have printed up a calendar (the 2014 LDS Historical Calendar) that has been distributed throughout the meeting houses in our mission. Sister H noticed the picture for the month of February is the Alabama Birmingham Temple where her sister and brother-in-law are currently serving as the matron and president of the temple. So she sent them and each of our children a copy. Also on the back is a nice graphic depicting in color the Plan of Salvation. Her sister called to say that they were thrilled with the calendar, have shown it to their family and plan on placing it in the temple to show all the workers.

Met with the One family, she a couple of weeks out from her second knee replacement and he suffering from the effects of Parkinsons. After a lengthy discussion we showed the first half of the Legacy film that used to play at the Joseph Smith Building in Salt Lake City. They had a lot of questions mostly revolving around why the Mormons were treated so badly by others.

Discovered, or rather more accurately, were led to a new video on entitled “We Can Find Happiness,” which traces an ex-con, a model, and a rich dude who later found the gospel, changed their lives, and found happiness. Our first meeting afterwards was with Brother Forty so we showed him the short video which had a noticeable impression upon him emotionally.

Our daughter shared a story from the New Era that is right in line with the aforementioned video.

A young man is asked “What do you see when you look in the mirror?” He said, “I see a naïve, lost boy.” That’s what I thought I saw, but she said I was wrong.

Every day for the next few weeks, I thought about that question. It bothered me that she said I was wrong. About what? I realized that I could figure it out if I had regular scripture study with meaningful prayer. It took me a while to establish a schedule where I was reading and praying on most days of the week, but I did. A few weeks later, some thoughts came to me while I was mowing the lawn. They taught me about the real person I see in the mirror:

I see a young man who decided to come to this earth to face the fiercest evils and the darkest nights. I see a son of God, a child of Heavenly Father. I see a disciple of Jesus Christ, who will always help His followers. I see a young man with family and friends who will stand beside him.

I may feel lost and confused sometimes, but I don’t have to live life alone. Satan may try his hardest to succeed, but in the end he will fail. And in the end, I can see myself walking up to Heavenly Father and hearing Him say, “You have served me well, my son. Welcome home.”

We had another good meeting with Brother Twenty in his preparation to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood. He is becoming much more positive about himself, even dressing much more nicely at Church, and frequently bearing his testimony as he wraps up the Gospel Essential class as its president. We began studying together President Boyd K. Packer’s address, “What Every Elder Should Know—and Every Sister as Well: A Primer on Principles of Priesthood Government,” April 1992. It will take us two or three weeks to get through this I think.

Received a call from the Mission Office to meet with a new couple who will be arriving Sunday, “the president would like for you, the Haddocks and Lloyds, to meet with them to review how you are carrying out your assignments, how you work with the Bishops, the missionaries, and the nature of work with less actives and non-members. The couple have a second home in Corona del Mar although they are from Alpine, Utah.

We were excited to learn of the High School graduation of our oldest grandchild, who has done extremely well in school. Happily no one out here thinks we could possibly be old enough to have a granddaughter graduating. One “elderly” couple said we must be at least ten years younger than them; turned out it was 18 months.

The Twenty-first family had to leave for Washington for a funeral and just arrived back the afternoon of our scheduled visit. He got called in to work to do some needed paperwork and we had to postpone our visit for a week.

Had a discussion, sponsored by the High Priest group leader in one of the wards, with the bishop and then the stake president as to how to handle those who have asked for no more contact with the church. Apparently there are quite a few in that category. I shared my thoughts noting that as bishop it was more likely they would speak with me than any other ward member, sort of like getting a free pass. I used the free pass to personally visit each one who requested not to be contacted, first seeking resolution in trying to understand their position, second holding out a life-line should they ever change their mind, which I encouraged them to do and lastly at their request removing their names from the records of the church with an understanding of the ramifications of that decision. The stake presidents counsel for this stake is: 1) There should not be any no call lists, period; 2) First effort should be to reclaim the lost sheep by resolving their concerns; and 3) If after understanding consequences of having their name removed they are still of that persuasion, act quickly in doing so.

We were invited to Olive Garden with the Two family who graciously treated us and we enjoyed a good discussion together before leaving for our Bible Study class this week on the Last Supper.

Friday evening was the baptism of Brother Forty-three, a fourteen year old young man that is wise beyond his years. Virtually the whole Ward Council and all 14 boys in the Teacher’s quorum showed up. What a turn out by the ward in support of this young man. The place was packed. The spirit there was electric, causing Brother Two to text me later about the amazing feeling of love that was present which gave him further confirmation that his baptism was the right thing for him to do some months back and another reality check as to the truthfulness of the gospel. I suspect the mother of the young man will be right behind him in participating in this sacred ordinance. One of the young elders spoke at the baptism, hesitatingly and with great emotion exposing his nervousness, but the richness of his testimony and the message he shared quickly overpowered everything else and I felt to share my thoughts with him via a text.

Find myself continuing using this quote: “Hope is not knowledge, but rather the abiding trust that the Lord will fulfill His promise to us. It is confidence that if we live according to God’s laws and the words of His prophets now, we will receive desired blessings in the future. It is believing and expecting that our prayers will be answered. It is manifest in confidence, optimism, enthusiasm, and patient perseverance.” (President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "The Infinite Power of Hope," CR Oct 2008; Ensign Nov 2008).

Watched the Super Bowl (how un-missionary can you get) with the Six Family and enjoyed a sweet discussion on the requirements for one to be baptized—which may be a first in missionary work. Received a call while there from Brother Two, requesting me to confer the Melchizedek Priesthood upon him the following Sunday and ordain him an elder. I told him I would be overjoyed to do so.

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