WEEK THIRTY-FOURTH February 24, 2014
This texting is kind of magical. I remember our son telling us when he was the Young Men’s President in San Antonio how he was able to stay in touch with the young men throughout the day with texting. Well Brother Two has now been gone away from home for over a week and we were able to stay in contact with him on a daily basis encouraging him in reading the Book of Mormon. Thus we have seen his testimony begin and prosper through these daily exchanges as we have been reading the Book of Mormon starting with Mosiah 1, together. His son is following along as well and has willingly shared his thoughts.
Several months ago one of the elders shared with me the tie he was wearing was a gift at his father’s third wedding so Sister H and I picked up one at Mens Warehouse and presented it to him as he was leaving for home so he could have a tie to memorialize his mission.
We had a good discussion this week with Brother Forty on the plan of salvation which is always a rich and rewarding discussion to have with those seeking the truth. But the best part this time, as we have been meeting with him for a couple of months now, was his decision to offer the closing prayer himself. A very heartfelt and spirit-filled prayer.
We have been holding a bible study cottage meeting in the Aliso Creek ward ever since we came out, on every other Thursday, but this week was the first for the Lake Forest ward. Our plan for the first meeting was to share conversion stories of those present. In preparation Sister H asked our granddaughter Natalie to look up some information on her line that came through Prince Edward Island as the host for the bible study is from Prince Edward Island. Sister H’s 2nd ggrandfather left England and came to Prince Edward and married there. Later they moved to Ohio to farm and family history records, his wife was "the dominating religious influence in the family and it was her faith and courage that kept the family together. She implanted in them trust in God and loyalty to their church." The book continues talking about their oldest son who was 14 when missionaries were preaching in the county and he went with his mother, who was a religious women, to hear them preach. The mother was impressed with the sincerity of the elders and influenced the other members of the family to go to meetings. Their second son James wrote, "Previous to Mormonism coming there I made it a matter of prayer, though then about nine years of age. I went into the woods every day and prayed to the Lord that if he had a people upon the earth that I might belong to His people. I afterwards went to hear the first Latter Day Saint sermon I ever heard. I believed every word of it. I do not remember that I have ever doubted it since." After they were baptized they decided to go West, selling their farm to buy a wagon and two cows and going on to Winter Quarters.
At the bible study we had only four ward members and one non-member, Brother Six, but it is a start. We learned we were the only missionaries, stake or full-time, to invite anyone to the meetings. We had invited five and two where there. Some very sweet and tender stories of conversion were shared including one of their own conversion.
We learned this week that the Aliso Creek bishop has already extended invitations to four couples and two single individuals for the temple preparation class we will begin to teach in that ward commencing March 16. Two of the families, the Two and Twenty-One families were invited and both told the bishop how happy they were that Elder and Sister Haddock would be teaching the class.
We attended the Mission Choir community performance at the Laguna Niguel stake center and we fortunate to be seated next to, meet and visit with Sister 47 and Brother 48. They are about our age. After getting acquainted I extended an invitation to meet with them saying, “If you want to learn more from some old people, we would be happy to visit with you.” Sister 47 said, “We live in Laguna Woods all we talk to are old people.” Brother 48 is from Boston and as an eighteen year young man visited Salt Lake City and came away feeling strongly impressed with the friendliness and kindness of the “Mormon people.” Sister 47 is on 18-month assignment teaching church and social groups about women’s cancer awareness. In that assignment she has spoken to a number of ward relief societies and knew something about the church. They are neighbors. When they learned of the performance they both decided to some and of were they delighted and impressed “with all these young people doing so well.”
We enjoyed another wonderful week together serving in the work of the Lord. Had a meeting with Brother Twenty who is blossoming before our eyes and with the cajoling of Sister H has now acquired a pair of reading glasses. We also met with Brother Forty-Two again answering a bevy of questions very much on the fringes of needed gospel knowledge. He tells us he has been given insight in these areas by some other individual who brings them up for him to consider. We now have four brethren preparing to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood, eight non-members, and soon 10 participating in temple preparation.
We also attended a readers theater production of Early and Modern Day Black Latter-day Saint pioneers was presented under the direction of Sister Four and her husband, both of whom participated. Later we learned that the handout distributed gave a counselor in one of the bishoprics we serve with the information they needed to confront their daughter’s middle school and set them straight on Church history and doctrine regarding the Blacks. The brother told us he had never attended anything like the performance before and was certain had he not been there and not received the handout, he would not have been a position or have the courage to do what he did.
This got us thinking of the many interesting intersections of lives a loving Father in Heaven willingly orchestrates to accomplish His purposes. How blessed we are to be participants in His work, to bear witness of His gory and majesty, to sing the praises such experiences have so deeply rooted in our hearts.