Friday, April 4, 2014

Week Thirty-Eight

WEEK THIRTY-EIGHT March 17, 2014

Sister H was scheduled for eye surgery on her remaining eye to relieve the pressure. The day before we attended the Temple concerned both about her surgery and that of our daughter the same morning. It was nice to hear the Lord’s assurances in both cases and in a most remarkable manner which is sacred to us. The tender mercies of the Lord are so evident if we but be looking.

The young son of the Two family is reading Alma 7 wrote to me: “Alma Chapter 7 was great. It was talking about repentance. I like vs 14 it said we are to be baptized to wash away our sins and be forgiven in Christ Jesus. Christ endured the sins of the world, God love is so great toward us for sending his only son to die on the cross for us.” Later while reading Alma 13 he responded that the chapter “was good it was talking about people receiving the high priesthood. Melchizedek told the people to repent and they did come unto God. Melchizedek was called the Prince of Peace.” I reminded him that was the chapter I reviewed with his dad before he received the Melchizedek priesthood to which he responded, “Oh, that's cool to know. Thanks. That’s something to keep in mind for receiving the Melchizedek priesthood like my dad.”
Received a letter from a young missionary serving in Rome Italy who shared experiences with us very similar to those I enjoyed as a young missionary. During the week, because of certain pressures, there was not time to plan and organize as they went out to do the Lord’s work, and yet the Spirit led him and his companion as surely as He did Nephi of old, “not knowing beforehand” and great miracles ensued that week. I am convinced that preparation, ability to listen to the voice of the Lord and willingness to implicitly obey that voice, while up and doing, are the true keys to successful missionary spiritual experiences. Often when we teach we for good reason must teach to the lowest common denominator present yet one wonders in missionary work if too much effort is being placed upon stopgap methods to “arrange” for the missionary rather than preparing the missionary to have such experiences naturally as a result of their efforts.

Sister H and I have elected to participate in a stake program in which the Church, Helping Hands, has joined with Stop Hunger Now to provide 100,000 meals for those in need worldwide. The Rancho Santa Margarita Stake has received approval from the Church to raise $25,000 to purchase the supplies and then there will be three shifts working on 26 April to prepare and package the meals.

Brother Forty-Two raised an inquiry regarding the effect of Adam’s sin upon us. As we discussed it was apparent that all mankind has inherited a fallen state the direct result of Adam’s transgression. But just as clearly he could see that through the blood of Christ the transgression of Adam had been paid. We reviewed Mosiah 3:11 and he was satisfied.

I was reminded anew this week of a statement made by Elder Harold B. Lee, that has always resonated with me: “All the principles and ordinances of the gospel are in a sense but invitations to learning the gospel by the practice of its teachings…. We learn the gospel by living it…. We never really know anything of the teachings of the gospel until we have experienced the blessings that come from living each principle.” (The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, 609-610.) I believe this applies to our latter-day prophets as well.

Received word this week that a stalwart member of the Encinitas and Cardiff Wards in years past, Carolyn Grow passed away. In corresponding with her son Gavin I was reminded of a priceless principle she taught me when I was her bishop. Over the years in regional, stake and ward responsibilities when I have issued calls and received some hesitation from the prospective recipient I would share her story with them. Upon doing so they all humbly accepted their call and were diligent in their service thereafter. When the Cardiff Ward was formed we learned to our dismay there was no one in the ward who played the piano, let alone the organ. As I visited with the Lord about this predicament the Lord whispered to me to call Carolyn Grow who, at time, as far as I knew, played the cello for the San Diego Symphony. When I visited her to issue the call as the ward organist, she looked me straight in the eye and said, "Then I will need two things." I asked her what that might be. Said she, "First, a key to the chapel so I can practice. Second a blessing from you that I will quickly learn the organ and be able to play it with reverence and respect for the Savior." I told her I could do that giving her a key and placing my hands on her head and giving her a blessing to do just as she had suggested. If my memory serves we well, the next Sunday she played with just a couple of mistakes, a miracle for sure. From then, with her faith persistence and the Lord's blessing she was flawless. What a great testimony for accepting and doing the Lord's will and the Lord strengthening the back of the willing and blessing them perhaps beyond their natural abilities.

We picked up a couple of dozen cookies for the baptism this week only to learn the stake president has decided against refreshments at baptisms. So our elders and sisters were sent home with the treats.

Received a heart breaking note from Brother Forty which read: “Hello. I'm really sorry but I'm going to stop taking lessons for now. The two of you have been so nice and I appreciate the time you've spent with me but I have reached a point where I feel I'm not ready to move forward in the church. I am still doing very well personally but I'm just not sure about some things which I need to figure out. Again, thank you both very much.” Although I have experienced such message a time or three as a young missionary this was our first as a senior couple and Sister H’s first ever. Frequently she would say, “I don’t understand.” Nor does anyone else. I replied, “We’re sorry to hear that but respect your decision. If there are ever any questions we can help with please let us know. We will continue to pray for your happiness and welfare.”

The Twenty-One Family had to cancel again this week because of sickness again. They have had a real rough time moving to this new area as their small children have had to pay a steep price. We did have a good meeting with Brother Twenty and Fourth-Two which were very productive. Unfortunately with such a spiritual blessing last week and all, the Nineteen family cancelled as well this week because of sickness.

Sunday evening the high priest group of the Lake Forest ward sponsored a fireside on the Old Testament which was entertaining showing some interesting interpretation of this ancient writ.

One of our granddaughters was asked to give talk in primary while her parents were away and she delivered this sweet message: This week I have been asked to give a talk on showing respect to the Savior by being reverent. When going to church and folding our arms we are showing love and respect to our Savior. He loves us, and we love him and to show this principle we can be reverent, this may include, folding our arms, walking quietly in the halls, using hushed voices, and using kind words in the chapel and everywhere we go. I know that if we truly love and respect our Savior that we need to be reverent and show that we can do the things the lord commandeth.

When I was younger my parents taught me to fold my arms and walk not run. When I was a little older I asked them, “Why do I fold my arms in Primary and in Sacrament, why do I walk in the Hallways not run?” And they responded, “Do you love Jesus Christ?” “Yes, “I told them with a big smile on my face. “Then show him by following his commandments.”

After that week I tried my best to be an example to all the other kids. I folded my arms, and looked at the pictures on the walls. I even asked my mom to read the words from the Hymn Book before we sang the words as a congregation, so I could sing with them too. Even at such a young age I knew it was important to follow the gospel and show how much we love our Heavenly Father and Savior.

Living in Pennsylvania is a lot different from living out here. For one thing in Pennsylvania we don't have many Latter Day Saints, thus many kids swore or said bad words. So when I was doing my everyday things I often remembered the baptismal covenant I had, I said I would be reverent everywhere. Not only in church, but at school, friend’s houses, sports practice, and so many other places. Even here we need to remember that being reverent does not only mean being good at church, but it means being good and righteous everywhere else too.

We, happy grandparents, felt we all should give such respect to reverence.

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