Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Week Thirty-Nine

WEEK THIRTY-NINE March 31, 2014

In one of our wards this week the bishop commented about the lack of results even with a concerted ward missionary effort. We had been noticing the same thing and have been praying fervently that the Lord might bless both of our wards with a fulfillment of their faith, prayers and efforts in missionary work, but have yet to see that miracle transpire. As the bishop was speaking to the ward council I felt to open my scriptures and my eyes settle on Alma 16:16-17: “And there was no inequality among them; the Lord did pour out his Spirit on all the face of the land to prepare the minds of the children of men, or to prepare their hearts to receive the word which should be taught among them at the time of his coming—That they might not be hardened against the word, that they might not be unbelieving, and go on to destruction, but that they might receive the word with joy, and as a branch be grafted into the true vine, that they might enter into the rest of the Lord their God.”

The blessing of the Lord pouring out his Spirit on the land, preparing the minds of the people and their hearts to receive the word came because there was “no inequality among them.” This caused me to think, “What are our inequalities?” in these two wards? What are we missing or what have we left undone that has hindered us in qualifying for a similar outpouring of missionary spirit in the ward? I shared my thoughts with the bishop suggesting such questions might be a good theme for the ward council on some occasion and I suspect the question if pertinent to all of us. I asked and was granted the privilege of offering the opening pray at next Sunday’s ward council and at Sacrament meeting the following week when the mission choir is presenting the meeting.

The Aaronic priesthood young son of the Two family is really moving through the Book of Mormon and sharing each day the thoughts and feelings his reading has generated. One of his missive’s this week was how much he enjoyed Alma 14 saying, “The crazy people put Alma and Amulek into prison because the people did not like what they were saying about their wickedness. And the people who believed what Alma and Amulek were saying got thrown into the fire while Alma and Amulet were forced to watch. Alma didn't do anything saying this would stand as a final testimony at the last day. The people would spit on them and make fun of them and finally Alma cried unto the Lord to help him and they broke out of prison. The people were scared for the strength of the Lord was upon them.” I asked the young man if he could imagine himself standing there with Alma and Amulek and seeing those terrible deaths by fire and then the miraculous salvation as the prison walls come tumbling down. He confided that he didn’t think he could take seeing the people getting burned, “but it would be a pretty cool experience seeing the walls of the prison coming down and the people that hate you and treated you mean running away. I responded that some of the things we have to pass through in life can be pretty tough. Hence the need to always rely upon the Lord and trust in him that he knows what is right. He then shared with me a couple of experiences in which the Lord helped him to know what was right or wrong. “Once I found some money it was $100 maybe. My dad was next to me he told me to find the person who dropped it. We found him and gave him back his money. I felt really good after doing a good thing. Maybe a little latter I found $20 bill at a donut shop. I and my dad didn't find a person who had the money. I wanted a paint ball gun and I got it with the money that I found at the donut shop. I think that hundred dollar bill would have been cursed if I didn't try to find a person. The Lord provided me with a 20 and the money was blessed. To me this was a great testimony that the Lord helps us with hard decisions.

Brother Twenty-One who had just received his patriarchal blessing learned from the patriarch that he had transcribed the blessing, erased the tape, and then by accident deleted the blessing and needed to reschedule to give him another blessing. Rather than being upset he told me that the first time was such a great experience he felt it was blessing from the Lord to allow him to do it again. It was then that I learned that because of their two small children his wife was unable to attend the blessing with him and wondered aloud to him if the reason the blessing was deleted was so she could participate in the experience with him. Later he told me when he called to set up the appointment he shared that thought with the patriarch who said, “I hadn’t considered that. I think your friend is very wise.”

Brother Barrett heard from the teacher responding to his inquiry with the Vice Principle about the untruths disseminated in her history class. “Dear Mr. Barrett, Thank you for pointing out the incorrect information in our text book about the early days for Mormons. Sadly, this is not the only error in the book and that is why I try to rely on primary sources when I teach. Unfortunately, we do not have a great deal of time to devote to this topic, but I am sorry if I mislead the class. I did mention that the Mormons were driven out of their early settlements, despite what the text states. Everything I have read has told me that the early Mormon Church (in the 1800s) did not allow blacks to be members, but I will look into the web sites you provided and learn more. Thanks. I truly did not say that Mormons were not Christian, as I know you believe in Jesus Christ and use the Bible as well as the Book of Mormon. The only thing I said was that the students had learned last year about Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, which were established very long ago, and that the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints started in the 1800s. Again, I am sorry if this was upsetting for Connie. I welcome any comments she is willing to make, and did not see her hand if she had wanted to add to the brief discussion. Please feel free to contact me, or the administration, with any concerns, and I will do my utmost to correct any mistakes.”

His daughter told him the teacher had said some nice things to say about LDS since he brought up his concerns.

We were able to arrange lunch with our nephew David this week. Hadn’t seen him in years being so far away but he and his family live here in our mission so it was great to catch up with him. I sent him an electronic copy of his great grandpa Haddock’s missionary journal and shared an experience I had on my mission nearly 53 years ago. I was knocking on doors at a home on Pearl Street in Baltimore and when introducing myself as Elder Haddock, the lady, quite elderly, invited me in and showed me a picture of my grandfather over her mantle above the fireplace. I begged for it but it was too precious to her as she recounted listening to him when she lived in West Virginia. With her permission I taped one of my cards with my address on the back so her kids would send it to me when she died but I never got it.

This week we felt a rumble at 9:10 p.m. just after we had finished our prayers and hopped into bed. I asked Jan “are you shaking the bed” and she said no. So I said then we are having an earthquake and indeed we were. Received a text from the Aliso Creek Elders, “Who else just felt that earthquake!... Whaaaa!.....”

The Nineteen family called early Thursday to say she had a scratchy throat and needed to cancel our appointment which we moved to Friday. Friday she called to say her husband as strep-throat and wanted to cancel again. I said “Let me talk to Jan and call you back.” We prayed and both felt the Lord would protect us as we needed to visit with this family. We met with the Nineteen family, the first time in over four months. Sister Nineteen said they just got too busy and were now paying the price for it as they have all sorts of problems since they met with us last—their relationship, challenges, planning, finances. Said she, “When you were meeting with us there was constant feeling of peace in our home that is no longer here. Does it feel the same to you as before?” I confided that it did not. We had a nice visit, shared a message and scheduled a return appointment. She shared a couple of their problems even asking for advice about investing with someone who is setting up their trust. I said my counsel when practicing law was to separate the two to remove any bias. By the time we got home that evening she had called. Two of the biggest problems they had been wrestling with were already resolved and following my counsel she said, “A great deal on anxiety has been lifted from my shoulders. Thank you so much for the visit today.”

Later in the week Sister Nineteen called raving about the women’s conference and how much she liked it. She said her husband was watching it now. “I said to him, it’s for women. But he said he was enjoyed it very much.”

We attended the Two families baseball game for the son and a picnic with the afterwards where I shared about five hours of family history work I had done for Brother Two tracing his maternal side back to the 1790s. He was overjoyed and ready to get into family history himself.

In counseling his eldest, our son shared some experiences he is having at work currently and telling our grandson, “Win or lose, I'm doing it the Lord's way. My confidence isn't in what might happen, but in him. If we lose everything, I'll thank The Lord for what I have. I'd rather be on good terms with him than with anyone or anything else.”

Sent a message to Brother Six, who during our visit shared that he had prayed about the truthfulness of the gospel and the church previously and didn’t receive a clear answer. I wrote: “You caused me a sleepless night thinking about your comment that "the answer was not clear." So I found myself wrestling with the Lord. If you want a clear answer I can help you with that. Just let me know. Elder H”

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