Saturday, December 13, 2014

Week Seventy-four

WEEK SEVENTY-FOUR December 1, 2014

We have two new WMLs, one in each ward, who really show missionary zeal and are doing such a good job with the ward members, ward missionaries, and the young missionaries. Both bishops are very supportive as well. Surely the Lord will bless them for their heroic efforts.

Visited with the Four family and finished Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s “The Only true God and Jesus Christ Whom He Hath Sent,” (CR, Oct 2007). Brother Four has been reflective with the new information presented in opposition to long held beliefs. We have been taking turns reading paragraphs and discussing the meaning of each as we have progressed. This completes two of the three addresses of Elder Holland that we felt inspired to discuss with this family (first being “Mormonism 101,” delivered at Harvard Law School, March 2012). We have found these addresses have allowed for greater participation than the discussions which we have already completed. Next week we will start on “My Words … Never Cease,” by Elder Holland, CR, May 2008. As we finished a wonderful discussion that brought much clarity to his mind, Brother Four closed with prayer. As he was ending he felt to ask for special blessings upon us, that we would be sustained by the Spirit, led to the honest in heart, have our minds enlightened as we taught with power, and enjoy much success in bringing others to Christ. He also thanked the Lord for “bringing Elder and Sister Haddock into their lives and their willingness to accept the call to so serve and bless our life.” He is now fully at ease with us bringing the Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price into our discussions for needed clarification.

Brother Forty-two sent us a thanksgiving greeting from Queens, New York where he has moved. He told us he is meeting with the missionaries there. We in turn sent links to an electronic Thanksgiving message to which we received a number of well wishes in return. For example Brother Four responded, “Thank you Elder and Sister Haddock, what a beautiful greeting! We enjoyed Thanksgiving Day immensely considering it was the first one in our own home, so we know what gratitude really is. We hope that you enjoyed your Thanksgiving celebration in good company as well. May the rest of your week and weekend, be blessed and covered by the blood of our Savior, Jesus Christ.”

We enjoyed Thanksgiving at the Six family with the Thirty family also with us. As we were leaving Sister Thirty said, “You have been such good friends. We have really enjoyed the relationship with you this past year and are going to miss you. We are hopeful we can stay in touch.

We had planned for some time to take the Two family to the Newport Beach Temple for the family sealing, but the husband has been working out of town several hours away on ridiculously long shifts. So with only a day’s notice we received word he would be in town and there was a race to get all the documentation signed by the stake presidency. The president was out of the country, one counselor on a plane, and the other counselor getting ready to go to the airport. But somehow it all came together.

The spirit present was strong and true, rich and fulfilling, as the mother and father approached the altar for this sacred ordinance. Later as the children entered the sealing room they gathered with their parents and I wish I could have taken a photo. The five of them in white gathered together in that sacred room was priceless. Although I don’t have the photo to prove it, I suspect the picture has been imprinted in my mind forever. What a sweet experience to go from baptism, to Melchizedek priesthood ordination, baptisms for the dead, the endowment and then the sealing with this dear family who we have willingly adopted as our own.

We were to pick up a sweet member couple for lunch with her brother in Lake Arrowhead, where we enjoyed our honeymoon nearly fifty years ago. We haven’t seen the place since. But when we arrived the brother looked horrible. He had an impacted tooth which has now abscessed and swollen up the left side of his face something awful. Finally had to go to emergency even after his visit with the dentist. So he is home in terrible pain but was insistent we take his wife. We had a delightful visit touring the area and answering a barrage of questions about being a Seasoned couple. The brother and wife were fearful of serving but said after talking with us they were ready to go themselves. We drove around the lake, entered the beautiful and unusual Lake Arrowhead Ward chapel, and walked the lakefront stores. There is only one surviving structure from our time here. Sometime in the late 1970s there was so much infestation in the building structures they used a controlled burn to destroy all of them and rebuilt.

Sister H conducted the sharing time in the Lake Forest Ward primary using missionary work as the theme. She enlisted the help of the sister missionaries.

We had another good meeting with the Six family. I’m afraid that the three of them believe the church is true but are having a difficulty seeing it as the only true church. We have run into this conundrum repeatedly in our missionary service. The purpose or even need for priesthood authority just isn’t, other than through inference, really spelled out clearly in Sacred Writ. Even the Book of Mormon does not present the case very well.

Sister H’s cousin, also serving as a Seasoned couple missionary with her husband shared some verses in Isaiah relative to the fast. As I read them I saw a different application for Brother Four and his daily Christian service in these same verses, Isaiah 58:6-77, which I shared with him. Brother Four responded warmly, “Thank you Brother, I was feeling a little down until you sent me this message. Thanks for the reminder of He who supplies all my needs and to just give thanks. I needed that. Man, I sure am going to miss you. I deeply care for you like a close brother. God bless you and your wife for the Spirit that you guys have and display on a daily basis.”

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