Monday, October 27, 2014

Week Sixty-nine

WEEK SIXTY-NINE October 27, 2014

We have been trying for some time to set up an appointment with the Sixty-eight Family. Following my talk last Sunday, Brother Sixty-eight came up to Sister Haddock, excited about getting together and promised to make such time concessions as necessary to make sure it worked out. The next day sister Sixty-eight called indicating two pregnant daughters would be there as well for out meeting next week. Sister Haddock told her we would pray to be directed by the Lord in our message and she promised the same.

We met again this week with the Four family. I had a prompting earlier in the day to use for our discussion Mormonism 101, the Harvard law school address given by Elder Holland in 2012. In our discussion preceding Brother Four had brought up concerns that directly led to the talk so it was easy to shift into it. Later as we were leaving I suggested sometime we review two other addresses by Elder Holland, both general conference talks, he said “Let’s tackle the first one next week.” We took turns reading paragraphs with his wife, Thomas and myself. Sister Haddock didn’t have her glasses. Every time his turn to read came up it was a subject he either had a concern, sought clarification on, or a foundation principle of the restoration. Everything was so on topic it was clear the discussion was being led by other forces than ourselves. I told Sister Haddock as we left that it was one of the best discussions ever. Seems like only a handful of such occur during a mission. I was on fire as we left and kept resetting the scene over and over in my mind. The nature of the godhead, need for priesthood authority, and the experience of Joseph Smith in the sacred grove all were highlighted. He would give his view and then me giving ours with him uttering again and again, “Oh, I see.”

Brother Four also told us that a pastor once told him, “I can teach you how to speak in tongues.” He said it came in repeating again and again the following words, “Momma got a Chevrolet. Papa got a Honda.”

We visited with Sister Two this week with her husband out of town on work assignment. She is excited about getting back to the temple, has exchanged her clothing for items that fit better, and has finished a lot of family history to generate additional names. Unfortunately they did not get to see the movie, “Meet the Mormons,” which would have been good for them But we did had five of our investigators see the movie and each enjoyed it immensely.

We also visited with the Sixty-two family for a lively discussion. They were so happy to see us. Gave them a box of BelVita crackers which overwhelmed them causing them to want to do something for us. They reciprocated against our protests by giving us some cookies she had made saying, “These won’t taste as good as what you brought us.” We assured them we needed nothing in return, it was a gift.

Also visited with the One Family, first leaving a card on their door but then running into them as we were out and about. The husband had some questions regarding finances and wanted to go to dinner with us to discuss. So we met a couple of hours later at Coco’s restaurant. We followed them after dinner to their house where we had cherry pie and ice cream. We made another presentation on family history using the relative finder with BYU to show connections with their family and other historical figures which they immensely enjoyed.

The week previous we had a little experience in leaving the One family that I forgot to include. Their home teacher called while we were there to come over for a visit. We both left about the same time. I thought they went a different direction as I didn’t see them behind me. As we pulled up to the signal to turn right on Jeronimo there was a truck in front of us with his right turn blinkers on. Of a sudden he put his car into reverse, the backup lights nearly blinding us, as if he was going to ram us. I looked in my rearview mirror and a car had just pulled up behind me so I couldn’t move. The mad man jumped out of his truck screaming obscenities, mostly starting with the F-word about how stupid I was. Then he jumped back in his truck and made a U-turn, rolled down his window and continued to scream at me. I turned right and went on my way wondering what his problem was. Later we learned from the home teacher, who had indeed pulled in behind us, that the missionaries were walking to the corner behind the fellows truck and the home teachers offered them a lift. The mad man then made another U-turn and pulled up beside the home teachers still screaming obscenities frightening the home teacher’s wife who was with him. Turns out he wanted to talk to the missionaries and he had seen them coming up the street hence his stopping and waiting in the right turn lane. The F-words continued and then he calmed down and exchanged a number with the missionaries. Hope they are safe when they meet with him.

Another investigator, I’ve forgotten which shared this story. Three churchmen were discussing how they shared the funds contributed at church with the Lord. The protestant minister said he straddled a line and threw the cash in the air, whatever landed on the right side went to the Lord and he kept the rest. The Catholic priest said he did pretty much the same thing, but drew a circle and whatever stayed in the circle was the Lord’s and the rest was his. The rabbi said he too threw the cash in the air allowing God to take whatever he wanted and the rest that fell to the ground he kept.

We sent a request to the Zone Leaders to make sure we were on the list for the meeting with the stake president in Coto de Caza which is a gated community. They keep forgetting to keep us in the loop and we have difficulty in getting through the gate. We were glad we sent the reminder for we learned the meeting had been postponed a week. Which we would have only discovered in an hour plus drive.

Received a request from the stake president about the reaction of members to the new ward alignments. I responded that “We had spoken to 20-30 families. One was ambivalent but all the rest were very enthusiastic with both the change and those in the "lower 40" with being assigned to the Trabuco chapel. Ward council in the Aliso Creek Ward had only 2 carryovers from the "former" Aliso Creek Ward and everyone was excited and ready to pitch in. Leaders told the priesthood there was no longer enough people to have some sit on the sidelines and committed everyone to pitch in at all events including social ones. Those not in the supposed "in" group have been greatly energized. To a person, everyone in the Aliso Creek Ward felt the new bishop was the one who was going to be called, so the spirit had already prepared the way, leading to a smooth transition. We came across an elderly family that needed attention, notified their bishop and the next night he had his HPGL there attending to their needs. We saw the family again the following day and they were so pleased.”

We toured the Rodger’s Nursery grounds and displays with the Six and Thirty families then had dinner and a discussion with both families.

We were running some errands before leaving at 1 p.m. to meet with the Twenty-one family in the San Diego Temple. We called to touch base with them and learned the sealing was to start at 1 p.m. So we had to hustle back home, get showered, dressed and back in the car. We arrived just before noon as the family was driving into the same parking lot. The company consisted of brother and sister Twenty-One and Sister H and I. The sealer then drafted a couple who was in the Celestial room so we would have a second witness. The sealer asked, “Why are these two missionaries here?” Noticing that we were sitting where the father and mother normally sit. Brenden answered, “Because we wouldn’t be here right now if it weren’t for them. They are our spiritual father and mother and we are so grateful they are here with us today.” Several stopped us in the temple and noticing our name tags, offered wonderful confirmation of the value of senior couples as missionaries. One of the presidency came by, “Okay you two, being here there must be a special reason.” I shared with him our experience with this wonderful family culminating today in their sealing and that of their children. The two girls were precious and so well behaved. Following the session we went outside and took pictures. I selected three of the schedules for the temple which have some beautiful pictures for their scrapbooks.

We visited on our return with some dear friends from our Encinitas days who are battling cancer. We decided our son’s comment that if we live long enough we all will deal with cancer.

Sunday with both blocks and ancillary meetings and then discussions ran up a 13 hour uninterrupted day. Making p-day on Monday a welcome relief.

A speaker in one of the wards shared the theme about choosing to be happy. One of my favorite themes. He centered it along the thought that instead of getting angry we should choose to laugh instead. Good idea. Told of being tailgated at 70 mph on the freeway when a fellow behind him got agitated and began flashing his lights and blowing his horn. He said there was nowhere for him to go he was blocked in and the car in front was going no faster. Of a sudden a truck beside him lost a ladder which slid in his lane giving him just enough time to swerve into the center divider and avoid it. Of course the tailgating car behind had no such time and plowed into it jamming his car into the center divider and following the head on crash drifting perpendicular to freeway traffic. The freeway curved and the speaker was not able to see in his view mirror what happened but, said he, “I bet he wished he had laughed rather than getting upset with me being in front of him.”

He then told of his prowess in influencing others as a youth. “For some reason I was influential on others. I had a buddy who wanted to prove he could out do me. It being St. Patrick’s Day we decided on a stratagem. Since I wasn’t wearing any green he would try to convince someone to pinch me and I would try to convince them not to. If he could get someone to pinch me he won. Well we went throughout the day to the last class and I hadn’t been pinched. He talked with a girl I hardly knew and convinced her to pinch me. Well I could see in talking to her I was not going to be able to convince her otherwise. I thought and thought and finally blurted out, “I know what you did and I’m going to tell everyone.” She overcome with guilt bolted out the door. I knew nothing about her to tell. She would have been better off just laughing than disclosing her guilt.”

“Sometimes we need to choose to laugh when those don’t work as they should. My best friend’s father was our Deacons quorum advisor. He was working on his car as my friend and I rounded the driveway. Something didn’t work as it should and I heard a stream of words I had never heard before. He was so apologetic. If must have bothered him all week because next Sunday he apologized to the whole quorum. Bet he wished he would have laugher.”

Finally he told of weighing his new born daughter by getting on the scale and then taking her in his arms and weighing again to extrapolate her weight. Well undressed she let go “it came out of everything thing it could come out of. I was covered. I didn’t laugh. I thought this must be one of those times we are exempt from laughing.”

At the ward council and missionary correlation meetings we began inviting others to take over some of the shepherding for our little flock we have loved and served these past 16 months. Told each we want to make sure that no one falls through the cracks. We received wonderful responses and detailed game plans to makes sure that doesn’t happen which greatly pleased us.

Brother Two texted me “Sacrament hour was encouraging here. A brother here gave a truly heart felt talk modeled after Thomas Monson’s Bismarck talk. The brother was very uncomfortable at the pulpit but the spirit was not. Nice small ward up here.” We were so glad to learn he had found and attended to his duties so far from home.

We met with Six family later in the week. Sister Sixty-five was feeling ill and was resting. But we had a great discussion with the Six family. Concerning the reason why priesthood authority is necessary, Brother Six said simply, “Because God has so spoken.”

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