Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Week Seventy-two

WEEK SEVENTY-TWO November 17, 2014

Had a health blessing schedule the first of the week with Brother Thirteen. We had taught the family for several months over a year ago. The husband felt the tender confirming voice of the Spirit and almost immediately confessed the truthfulness of the restored gospel. However family dynamics are such he has been unable or unwilling to make the choice to embrace the truth revealed to him. Sister Thirteen has either received no such witness or has rejected it outright, although commenting repeatedly the good feelings that are in their home, even for days after we leave, when we are there. Yet has no interest in pursuing those feelings. Brother Thirteen recently had a change in his medication that have made him feel quite poorly for some time and asked for a blessing. We have given him a couple of blessing previously. But when I called he begged off, saying it was not a good time and he would have to call me later. “Not a good time,” is usually code for his wife being there and he being unwilling to upset her.

We attended a viewing of the mother of Sister 39 at Forest Lawn taking a couple from the ward with us and meeting the bishop and his wife while we were there. We had a nice visit with Sister 39’s family and she seemed very pleased that we all had made the trip to be there to support her.

Sister H has been having some problems with her back with ever increasing pain so we saw the doctor and had x-rays and scheduled a visit with physical therapy and with an orthopedic surgeon to evaluate and treat.

Brother Four prepared a wonderful southern dinner for us and the two sets of elders in the ward. I think it was the best potato salad I’ve ever eaten and cabbage cooked with bacon that was outstanding. Before we ate Brother four said to the elders, “I don’t know what we are going to do when Brother and Sister Haddock are released. They have brought so much into our lives. We love them so much.” Elder Dehass and Deacon read a couple of scriptures and by the time Thomas and I had added to their message we were out of time for our discussion with them. We ended up taking the elders to their next appointment as the Chesley’s both had to get back to their schoolwork. As we drove they both commented “there is something special between you and the Chesley’s, a special bond, feelings of love that are really noticeable. Brother Four has been asked to preach Sunday at Reach Community Church and had invited us to attend. His subject is on gratitude and praising God so we shared some ideas he might use from the Book of Mormon.

On the appointed Sunday we attended the Reach Community Church in Lake Forest, to hear Brother Four preach. There were about 35 in attendance. Sister Four had invited some friends from the church and from Saddleback church, former neighbors. Other than the wife of one parishioner, everyone was of color but us. The music and messages were terrific. All would have fit well in any LDS congregation. They started with a welcome, a call to worship with a scripture and prayer, praise & worship standing while prayers and scriptures were offered, a family prayer on the congregation and then a welcome fellowship. Everyone got up and met 4-5 people and had a conversation with them to get acquainted. It was great. Then Brother four gave his sermon on praising and giving thanksgiving to God. He used well Ephesians 5:20 and Hebrews 13:15 and the Savior’s experience in Gethsemane and Calvary noting the Savior’s continual praise and thanksgiving to God even during his trials. “No matter what is going wrong about us, there are still things for which we can praise God. That is the sacrifice we are to make.” Worship in giving followed, then an altar call, and the benediction. Took an hour and one-half. We left to attend other meetings, but the congregation then had Sunday school class. Interesting was the fact there were no youth whatsoever in the congregation. The church is in the midst of a yearlong effort to bless families, Recover, Renew, and Reclaim – The Family Project, a Divine Reflection. Rather than a passing of a plate, with the program was an envelope which read, “Thank you for giving unto the LORD through… tithes and Offerings.” Blanks were for Tithes, Offering, Hope Box, and Other.

Following his preaching I sent a note of appreciation to Brother Four who responded, “I know that we serve the same God as you see the Holy Spirit laid the same thing on my heart about the restoration of family. The premise behind this movement is to bring about restoration to the American Family. We have family members who are estranged, have been a runaway, or family may have sent them away. These and other circumstances have resulted in the fragmentation of American families all over the world. It shouldn't take a tragedy to unite families, it only takes love and forgiveness. It takes family forgiving family members who have transgressed and done them wrong in some fashion. Some acts may have been so egregious that it may seem impossible to forgive. But if I kept a catalog of all the things I've done wrong, it would be hard for me to see what someone else has done when all the things that I have done that I needed forgiveness for is right in front of my face. I can't see the splinter in their eye because of this big old beam that's in my eye, obscuring my view. Now that the scales have fallen from my eyes, I can see things more clearly and realize the importance of family. I am proposing a large scale family picnic where everyone can attend and bring their families. Here is a chance to invite people who complete your family unit to come home and find forgiveness and restoration. We will reserve a park that is large enough to accommodate 500 families and friends and all are welcome. On this day, there is no family member who is not welcome to come home. If they don't know where home is, let's have a station where family members can look up their families and even if they can't physically get home, let's make it possible for people to call their families. Even if we have volunteers who make the call and break the ice for them on this day, the people of God connect and strive to bring about unity in the family all across America. The "Come Home Campaign" is held the first two weeks of August and on the 2nd Saturday of every August is declared "National Day of Reconciliation." where family forgives and restores missing family members. The next day will be "National Family Reunion Day" when the families who reconciled Saturday can sit down with their restored family unit and celebrate with a family meal. I believe that this is a revelation from the Lord in His beginning stage of restoring the church by first restoring the family. I need help in getting this measure put to the people for a vote. I need a lot of help. “

We took elderly Brother and Sister Sixty-two shopping again. They were so appreciative. Makes us wish there was more we could do to brighten their days. What wonderful people. Young Brother Two texted us to pray for him for a big test that he had been studying for.

We received what we read as a humorous cancellation of a meeting by the Seventy-three family, “We are not going to be able to make it at 5 today! We are going to do something important!” If they only knew.

Met with Sister Two whose husband is away for several weeks working. Our visit prompted her again to set a date for their sealing.

We gave the spiritual thought in Ward Council of the Lake Forest ward today from D&C 38:

1 Thus saith the Lord your God, even Jesus Christ, the Great I Am, Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the same which looked upon the wide expanse of eternity, and all the seraphic hosts of heaven, before the world was made;

 2 The same which knoweth all things, for all things are present before mine eyes;

 3 I am the same which spake, and the world was made, and all things came by me…

7 … verily, verily, I say unto you that mine eyes are upon you. I am in your midst and ye cannot see me;

 8 But the day soon cometh that ye shall see me, and know that I am …

 9 Wherefore, gird up your loins and be prepared. Behold, the kingdom is yours, and the enemy shall not overcome…

 15 Therefore, be ye strong from henceforth; fear not, for the kingdom is yours…

 16 for I have heard your prayers,

Met a couple of times this week with the Six family who are struggling with the claim that his is the “only true and living church.” We discussed JSH 1:18-19, D&C 1:30 and Mosiah 3:18-19. Pointed out key differences such as continuing revelation with Christ at the head of the church, priesthood authority in performing ordinances, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. 

As our P-day drew to a close Sister H said she wanted to eat dinner at In-N-Out. For some unknown reason I didn’t drive to either of the two closest restaurants but instead drove to the one in Foothill Ranch. It just felt right. Sister H asking, “Where are you going?” While on the way there felt impressed to stop by and give the Six family three talks, Elder Oaks, “The Only True and Living Church,” Elder Packer, “Only True Church,” and “The Stone Cut Out of the Mountain” by President Gordon B. Hinckley. Then on the way decided to detour to See’s holiday candy store in ‘Foothill Ranch being managed by Brother Fifty-five who was so excited to see us he talked and talked. He decided because of our visit that he should talk to his father about preparing for the temple. We told him we would accommodate any schedule his father needed to have him prepared. As we left we both were stunned with all the changes, feeling, stops and directions we traversed to make this visit possible. Oh the continual tender mercies of the Lord.

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