Monday, April 27, 2015


EPILOGUE   April 22, 2015

Well we have now been home about four months since our full-time missionary service in the California Irvine Mission. It has only been the last few days that we have been able to feel some part of the adjustment expected upon one’s return. The first few months were extremely difficult for us feeling like a fish out of water and longing to be back with those we came to love so very much in the mission field.

This adjustment has been surprising to me. It has been much more difficult for me than in was as a young missionary returning from the Eastern Atlantic Mission in 1963. I believe I had assumed that with some expected maturity in the intervening fifty-two years that it would have been easier. But not so. Indeed we found it much easier to leave family and friends to serve as Seasoned Missionaries that it has been to leave our dear ones in Lake Forest, Aliso Creek, Altisima, Foothill Ranch, and Irvine.

Fortunately with communication avenues far broader than snail mail of my earlier mission we have been able to stay in touch, probably hearing from 2-3 families a week which has helped to ease our longings.

We received several calls for prayers in behalf of individuals and even some to pray with them on the telephone. One such was Brother Two interacting with a co-worker whose wife was at a crossroads with an addiction to alcohol. He requested our faith and prayers in her behalf. Later the co-worker sent a note that he felt our prayers have been the answer and offered his warm thanks.

So what’s happened since we have returned? Here is a brief capsule of those events.

Sister Haddock sent to the Twenty-one family, “We miss the hug and kisses! How are you feeling? Who replied, “We really miss you guys too. I have been good, I did have a little scare and was in Labor and delivery January 4th. They put me on modified bed rest and a lot of wonderful women at church have helped me. Otherwise everything with the baby is great, I get to have an ultrasound today. Shortly we were excited to learn that baby Cody was born. From Dad, “Funny thing so last night after we got into our recovery room. I decided to try and pass a kidney stone. Fun times’

Sent an Easter card to the Seventy-six family who replied, “Thanks for thinking of us! Please know our lives have been enriched by your friendship and our testimonies deepened because of your teaching. What a blessing it was to be associated with such wonderful Latter-day Saints!”

From one of our minister friends I received this question, “Are we baptized into the true church or into Christ's death?” I replied, “Actually the question you asked cannot be answered because the word "or" is misplaced. It is not an either or question between the two. Rather LDS theology teaches that we are baptized unto the death of Christ, we are also raised in the newness of life in Christ, baptized for membership into the true church, and to signify our willingness and obligation to live by the precepts of His church and kingdom upon the earth. The Apostle Paul got it right (see Romans 6:3-6).”

Brother Six, our evangelical minister following through with the Joy in Christ Christmas choir after we left, joining his congregation, Saddleback and the Aliso Creek Ward in singing to nursery homes. And operation poncho when his congregation and the Aliso creek Ward distributed ponchos to all the homeless in Santa Ana. Next up is a distribution of sleeping pads in the same area.

Shortly before we left the mission field and with a meeting being cancelled on us, Sister Haddock decided 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. While on the way there felt impressed to stop by and give the Six family copies of some talks, Elder Oaks, “The Only True and Living Church,” and Elder Packer, “Only True Church,”, and President Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Stone Cut Out of the Mountain.” We enjoyed a nice visit with Sister Six and the husband’s daughter. They had some questions that we were able to immediately answer. As we left we said to each other, “Well, we were in the right place at the right time.”

As we left we headed to the Foothill Ranch area but instead of going directly to the restaurant felt impressed to stop at the See’s Candy holiday store temporally set up in the outdoor mall there. We had hoped to see Brother Fifty-five who was the manager. Not seeing him we asked the cashier and she told us he was taking a break to eat dinner and immediately went behind the curtain to get him. He was overjoyed to see us. As we were paying him for our gifts his face lit up and he said, “Oh, you need to see my dad (Brother Seventy-nine) and talk to him about the temple. I’ll have him give you a call.”

We had met dad the first time we visited with the Fifty-five family as we did the temple preparation lessons in their home. He was there the first week, but work schedules didn’t permit him to attend any of the other sessions. The young couple lived in the apartment of the father. That first time Jan cleverly roped the father into staying and being part of the lesson as well. We covered the first two lessons for temple prep and the atonement as they didn’t want us to leave, so we were there nearly two hours. The father had a question about sealing that had been answered before a couple of times but so different as to cause more concerns than they solved, even pushing the son and father into inactivity for several years. As they asked the question the answer quickly came to my mind, one if living and another if dead, which I gave to them regarding sealing. There was an audible sigh of relief from both the father and the son. It was one of those occasions where you are hearing yourself answer a question but it is as if you aren’t involved in the process.

A couple of weeks later we briefly spoke with the father as he was leaving and urged him to come back to church, “The Lord needs you and you need to be in the temple with your son and daughter-in-law as they are sealed for time and eternity.” As June was ending and we rolled into July, three appointments were cancelled in succession giving us some concern. We were later to learn it was just scheduling conflicts and they had been reading and studying the many handouts we had provided to them along the way.

On 21 August we met with the couple for 1½ hours to finish their preparation for the temple. We notified the Bishop of their progress and arranged for their temple recommend interviews. They want to attend the San Diego Temple for to receive their endowment and have invited another young couple, the wife of which had been baptized about a year and one-half before to be their escorts. But they wanted to hold off on the sealing at the husband’s mother’s request who is out of state and trying to get her life in order. We cautioned them against waiting too long. Going September 2 in San Diego. They are holding off on the sealing at his mother’s request who is trying to get her life in order. Cautioned them against waiting too long. They said they had set a December deadline for her.

On September 2 Sister Haddock and I drove down to the San Diego Temple for family Fifty-five to receive their endowments. It was good to be in the San Diego Temple again. With all the history involved in selecting the site, serving on the Temple Open House Committee, being an ordinance worker in the temple with my folks, our son and one daughter both marrying here, this temple has a different or rather special feel for us. I am sure it is the coloration from history.

The session was wonderful. The couple wore blinding smiles throughout, were very appreciative of the preparation they had received and that we would come all this way to be with them. They said they were touched that we changed our schedule and made the trip down.

The next day I received an email from Brother Fifty-five. “Hi Elder Haddock, I was talking to my dad this evening and he raised a great question. As far as Temple Recommends go, do my parents need to have received their Endowment or can they attend a sealing with a limited use recommend?” I replied that they cannot witness a sealing with a limited use recommend which only allows access to the baptistry or those under 18 to be sealed to their parents.

By October the father, Brother Seventy-nine, was occasionally coming to church. The son Brother Fifty-five sent me another email in mid-October. “Hi Elder and Sister Haddock! My wife and my dad said that you gave a talk in church today. I had to work, and I was wondering if you could email it to me, I would love to read it. They said it was really powerful.” I replied, “Absolutely I'll send it to you in the morning.”

About mid-November Sister Fifty-five told us at church, as we were r As the day drew to a close Jan 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. While on the way there felt impressed to stop by and give Kay Skinner copies of two talks, Elder Oaks, “The Only True and Living Church,” and Elder Packer, “Only True Church,”, and President Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Stone Cut Out of the Mountain.” Had a nice visit with Kay and Julie.

Now back to the See’s candy store. Brother Fifty-five said his father wanted to know if he had to meet with the bishop. I told him no, only for repentance, not inactivity and wanting to come back. But would have to meet with him for the temple recommend. Said we would make whatever schedule was needed to meet his father’s needs to prepare him. As we left we both were stunned with all the changes, feeling, stops and directions we traversed to make this visit possible.

Later after attending the sealing with the Two family we, along with the Two’s and the bishop and his family went to Fuddrucker’s to get a bit. While there Brother Seventy-nine called me on the phone. I went out in the parking lot to speak with him. He told me of a matter 20 or more years ago asking if he needed to speak with the bishop and I told him he did. He then asked how a bishop handles things and I shared with him what I did as bishop. “I can do that,” he said. I told him the bishop was at the restaurant with me and did he want to talk with him right now. He answered in the affirmative. So I briefed the bishop and put him on the line. They set up a date the next night to visit.

Our last Sunday in the mission field, Brother Seventy-nine came to church and as we visited I invited him to sit with us which he consented to do. Said he had talked with the Bishop and is getting things in order even if it takes longer that his son and daughter-in-law need for their sealing. He is committed. Wanted to thank me for counseling him and getting him on the right path. I told him I wanted to know the rest of story, so “please keep us informed of your progress.”

After returning home we learned the sealing date had been moved to February 17, 2015. On the evening of February 12 I received a very excited call from Brother Seventy-nine. “Elder Haddock, this is Brother Seventy-nine. Guess what I have in my hand. I have a temple recommend. I am going to the Newport Temple on Saturday to receive my endowment and on Tuesday for the sealing of the kids. My ex-wife also has her recommend and will be at the sealing as well, coming all the way from Louisiana. I can’t thank you enough for all you have done for our family. Our lives have been changed forever.” I told him how excited we were for them and hung up the telephone nearly overcome with joy.

Part of Brother Fifty-five’s inactivity had been working Sunday’s at See’s. His wife has had some tough health issues preventing her from much activity herself. We were fortunate to be able to give her a blessing for her health. Between the time of their endowment and being sealed, her health has improved, she found employment and is pregnant with their first child. He has found a new job, at the same place as his escort, and is no longer working Sunday’s.

We have also heard from Sister Fifty-one who went to the temple the first time this month of April. She recently wrote, “Well I finally made it to the temple. 13 including me. It was great, Diane was down from San Francisco and Tania and Kent up from San Clemente. Bishop Robinson and his wife Michelle were able to come too. Will let you know when I head up your way. Thank you both for helping me. Miss your smiling faces every Sunday.”

That makes the tenth individual we served who has now been to the temple and where possible, been sealed for time and eternity. I feel like Ammon, “Blessed be the name of our God; let us sing to his praise, yea, let us give thanks to his hold name, for he doth work righteousness forever” (Alma 26:8). And to think, we were privileged to come along for the ride.

Week Seventy-eight

WEEK SEVENTY-EIGHT December 29, 2014

Last night we were released as full-time proselyting missionaries (MLS) for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Below is our final mission picture. We are in the third row, left hand side. Elder Wilford Anderson of the Seventy and his wife were our conference visitors. (3 November 2014)

Things we learned as a Seasoned Missionary (MLS) Couple

1.     We must never put limitations on what God can do. Found myself answering questions many time saying, “I am unwilling to limit what God can do.”
2.     The value of relationships, even outside family ties, is must more worthwhile and powerful than I imagined.
3.     God’s love for us and desires for our welfare are far greater than imagine, we are the limiting factor. We receive what we are willing to receive. God’s desire is for us to receive all the joy and happiness that He has.
4.     Whereas the world teaches to know is to believe. It appears to us that to believe is to know. Mormon 9:25 clearly teaches we must believe in order to receive a confirmation. “And whosoever shall believe in my name, doubting nothing, unto him will I confirm all my words, even unto the ends of the earth.” So choosing to believe is integral to faith and knowledge.
5.     When our plan fails we need to make a new bow just as Nephi did (1 Nephi 16).
6.     Most need to first change their paradigms in order to see.
7.     We are all the same. We are unique.
8.     There are no stereotypical Mormons.
9.     Each of us has a part to play.
10. Hastening the work will require a cultural change if missionary work is to be everyone’s assignment in everything they do.
11. Blessings seem to multiply when we serve outside our areas of church responsibility and duty in addition to those assignments.
12. The Savior speaks of “living waters.” We learned one needs more than going to church to fill our reservoirs, but without church the waters are too difficult to navigate.
13. Our everlasting happiness is enabled as we focus on the little things the Lord does for us, in a very intimate way, on almost a daily basis. These “coincidences of life” are to be treated as packets of happiness that Father in Heaven bestows to remind us of His love and interest in our life and living. As we recognize daily our packets of happiness; and relish and fully enjoy them; all the while giving appreciation and gratitude to the Lord continually, we will see there are no coincidences. Rather the events and circumstances of our lives will be seen as love notes from our Heavenly Father, repeatedly and continually testifying of his love and concern for us individually. His expressions of love to us are to embolden and fortify us against the world’s onslaught and to strengthen our resolve to become what we are destined to be.
14. God loves and saves all His children. All will come to accept, confess and testify that Jesus is the Christ with the exception of the few sons of perdition.
15. To enjoy the grace that Christ proffers us we must first be willing to allow the necessary changes it effects.
16. Much more effort is needed within the church to sustain new members. The changes culturally, spiritually, and friendships are so vast that we underestimate them. They truly need the friend President Hinckley spoke of to always be there for them.
17. Unless we effectively teach the necessity for proper priesthood authority our gospel message does not sound much different to faithful Christians.
18. Perhaps we as members see things overly black and white and in explain the gospel message we put in peril the ability of those of other faiths to understand.
19. We find, we teach, we friendship
20. We found referring to ourselves as Seasoned Missionaries rather than a Senior Couple brought a smile and a warm response.
21. We learned that inviting others to come worship with us was much more productive than inviting them to come to church with us.
22. We were overwhelmed with so many members doing so much. As one investigator commented, “Your church really requires a lot of its members.”
23. Serving as an MLS (the senior proselyting version of missionary work) Seasoned Missionaries is like being a home or visiting teacher 24 hours a day. I suspect if you don’t like home and visiting teaching you will not like being a Seasoned Missionary. It’s all about developing relationships, loving and serving others.
24. No matter what fulfillment you receive as a Seasoned Missionary it is apparent you will never know, in this life, the effect your caring service has on others.
25. Likewise, only upon your return will it dawn on you just how many felt blessed by your service.
26. Instead of thinking how wide the divide the concept needed is how to build bridges that close the divide.
27. Even boring sacrament meetings are good. Investigators quickly see there is room for everyone to participate including a place for them.
28. Gospel scholarship is not necessary to serve.
29. There are no stereotypical missionaries either.
30. Perfection is not a requirement to serve.
31. God’s direction is very personalized.
32. Somehow the experiences, geography, work, schooling, family, interests, etc. that have become your life become the very avenues that allow you to enter the hearts of those you serve.
33. Many will conclude that you came to your mission just for them alone.
34. Every prayer does not have to be answered.
35. Distractions are Satan’s sharpest tool. He doesn’t have to get us to do anything if he can distract us from doing what is necessary.
36. It’s about being, by doing. By doing we become.
37. God is much more forgiving than any of us imagine.
38. The “true church” is not the reservoir of all truth, but all revealed truth.
39. Saying we are the one and only true church causes some to mentally bristle forfeiting their chance to receive the truth.
40. So many have so many needs.
41. When asked by an minister what will you feel if you learn you are wrong. I replied that with the peace the gospel has brought me and my family I couldn’t have asked for more. It’s been a very good life. But your suggestion is preposterous considering the witnesses that form the evidence of my faith.
42. It’s not just being in the church but having the divine currents of the gospel in us.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Week Seventy-seven

WEEK SEVENTY-SEVEN December 23, 2014

Sent three articles on Patriarchal Blessings to the One family. Told Sister One I would recommend in preparation: Elder Widstoe, President Monson, and me, “Your Personal Liahona.” Also attached is the recipe for baked cauliflower. Thanks for an enjoyable evening last night. You guys are wonderful. Love, Jerry and Jan. She replied, “Thank you! Do you guys need any help loading your car for your return? Please let us know.” I told them we only had a few banker boxes to put in the Santa Fe. Should take us about 10 minutes and thanked them for their offer.

Had a birthday dinner for Sister Haddock tonight at Outback Restaurant in Foothill Ranch with the MP and his wife. Turned out we knew a number of people in common, even a family in our home ward. They lamented we had not done this monthly. They really have had no one with whom to talk. They were able to unburden themselves of some cares without concern about where their comments might lead. Sister Haddock commented that they looked more relaxed as we left the restaurant. We received a note from them, “Thank you very much, Elder & Sister Haddock. We thoroughly enjoyed the evening. It was quite amazing to see how many people we knew in common. Thanks for great work you've done here! Thank you for your example! God bless are going to be greatly missed.”

I was reminded today of a sweet experience some fast Sunday’s back that I forget to include in this journal. During the administration of the sacrament the young priest made an error and had to do the prayer over again. One brother visiting got up to bear his testimony and told how much he enjoys it when there is a mistake in the sacrament prayer. Said he, “It reminds me that no matter how many times I mess up, because of Christ I can just start over.”

This year with all the comings and goings decided to send out an electronic Christmas message to our loved ones here in the mission field which seems to have been greatly appreciated. Glad we took the time to do it. Included was this statement, “Thank you for you rich, warm welcome. Our 18 months with you could not have been better. May the Lord's choicest blessings continue with you abundantly. With love and great affection, Elder and Sister Haddock

Sent to our first Mission finance secretary who is now home, “Sister H and I had a birthday dinner (Jan's) last night at Outback. President said, "I don't know how this mission would have even been able to start, let alone function, without Elder Litchfield. I have never met anyone who is more willing to serve, whatever needs to be done, as Elder Litchfield." We joined in the chorus so your ears must have been itching last night.

Further timing on our release must have been inspired. Jan has developed a corneal infection and after two weeks of treatment doctors here are throwing in the towel. She called her specialist in Provo who has given some counsel that is encouraging and will come in from his vacation Monday to take a look to see if they can save the eye.

Wednesday evening families of the Aliso Creek ward came to dinner at Sizzler on El Toro Road, taking up nearly the entire back room. It was so good to see and visit with those we have so come to love and see the smiles and here them mention the memories that have touched them. Grand event. So nice of Bishop Robinson to do this.

At the dinner tonight, the Two family gave us the following card: “Do you know what a beautiful difference you make? Just want you to know that it’s true. And just as you give from your generous heart… Our heart is so grateful for you. Thank you for blessing our lives in so many ways. We hope you make it quickly home and wish you many blessings and opportunities at home. Love”

I told Brother Four that I am going to remember his frequent prayers requesting the Lord to keep us safe from “incidents, accidents, tickets and arrests.” He replied, “Thank you very much my friend. I took the liberty of inviting some members of Reach Church to join us in the caroling. Do you think its ok? Instead of inviting them to Bishop Robinson's home, I said we will meet at that park right there by his house. Hello Elder Haddock, I have been in denial about your going home. We will miss you greatly. I really appreciate your brotherhood with me as we serve in the ministry and just as much the friendship and trust that I have developed with you. I thank God that we met. What day are you leaving? As an update, I contacted a few nursing homes in Lake Forest and so far one has confirmed for Monday 12/22/14 @ 6:15 when Tidings of Joy Christmas Choir (shhh, that's us) will come and perform 3 Christmas carols in hope to spread some joy in the lives of those often forgotten in nursing homes and leave them with the message that God has not forgotten about them. I hope to have members from the LDS Church, Saddleback Church, and Reach Community Church to form this choir. We will meet at Rimgate Park. Although you will be gone home by then. I believe that you will be with us in spirit. Are we meeting tomorrow?” I replied that we would be there tomorrow and then to pack up Thursday.  Then said, “I'm with you brother I'm having a really tough time leaving those I love so much.”

Had a thought I want recorded. Idea came to me that Pride is a derivative of the four P’s: Power, Possessions, Popularity and Prominence.

Tonight our last night in the mission field we attended the mission wide Christmas Party at the Irvine Stake Center. The stake or one of the wards had decorated the place up beautifully to our benefit. Brother and Sister Wong cooked the entire meal for all 200 plus missionaries. Quite a feat. When the announced we were leaving they asked me to say a few words, I started with, “You can’t imagine how overjoyed we are that the entire mission would come together like this and throw such a party for us our last night in the mission field.

Friday morning we packed up the car and bid farewell to our apartment at 407 Saint Vincent, Irvine, California and our wonderful, wonderful mission. We drove straight through to Las Vegas staying at the Tahitian Village where we met up with Kerri and family. The kids wanted to ride the lazy river at the village. It was in the 40s and windy. About died as I stepped out to get dried off. 

On Saturday we attended the baptism of Owen Drake Langston, Mark’s nephew, who was baptized by his father who himself was baptized just before our mission. We had grand festivities and a meal at the chapel later.

We got up the next morning and took off for St. George where we had a delightful meeting with my Aunt Shirley and Uncle Ken. Then on to Provo, arriving in the late afternoon with a stuffed car.

Not all heartwarming senior missionary experiences deal with baptisms. We were introduced to the Twenty-One Family when we received a call from a bishop informing us he had just been contacted by a bishop in another location asking him to look up this family, which consisted of a mother, father, and four and two year old daughters.

The mother, a lifelong member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, had suffered a rocky upbringing as a child, but somehow had pulled her life together. Our visits as has turned out have increased her ability to cope, deal, and leave behind ugly memories that had haunted her. She caught the eye of the father while they both were teenagers. He, an only child, was crushed when they budding relationship was terminated as her family created such roadblocks she was not permitted to see him.

During this time he enjoyed a number of dreams that charted his course with clarity, all of which would be a wonderful story in and of themselves. So prompted by the interpretation of those dreams he sought out the young woman again and they were married despite all the objections and interference.

After the two daughters were born, another series of dreams played out for the young father resulting in him meeting with the missionaries and eventually joining the church. However, virtually simultaneous with his baptism the ward split, leaving those they knew in the “other” ward and within a few weeks the bishop suffered a stroke leaving the young family untended and forgotten.

It was upon their move to Lake Forest a previous bishop called the local bishop in Lake Forest to inform him of this family. It had been some time, as they had first moved to Irvine where they lived for several months before coming to Lake Forest. They had no contact with the church while living in Irvine.

Invited by the bishop to meet the family and report on them, we called but suffered some difficulty at first in connecting with them and then in engaging them to allow a visit. Fortunately Sister Haddock possesses sufficient charm and persistence that a meeting was finally arranged.

Their neighborhood features a locked gate providing no access pad so our first visit was one of suspense as we waited down the street for someone to trip the gate so we could enter. The two daughters were so shy they would not come out to meet us during our entire visit. The parents we kind, somewhat responsive, but clearly not really interested. But oh how that has changed.

We set up a return appointment that got cancelled as the date approached because of sickness. Which in turn was followed by a couple of more cancellations for the same reason. Finally we made another visit and began teaching them the discussions again, this time with a little more depth than they had heard on their first go round. We set up around the table so we could draw out explanations as we discussed them allowing them to “see.” Many questions were asked and they expressed surprise alternating between “we hadn’t understood that” and “oh, that makes so much sense.”

Slowly the young girls began to come out periodically during or visits. We brought over the elders quorum president for one visit with us and interviewed him as to his role as president and how the father would be included.

Finally they committed to come to church but they didn’t show up. Later we learned they had driven to the church, a big ward of nearly 800 members, and the mother became overwhelmed with the large number of people, who “had it all together” and decided she didn’t “fit in” and they returned home.

So our next visit we brought by a recent extroverted convert who made the process fun for them and offered to sit with them at church next week. The recent convert with our assistance also became the mother’s visiting teaching companion and the elders’ quorum president assigned the father as his home teaching companion at our suggestion.

Several more visits followed when to our surprise and of a sudden their two “shy” children, both came up to us and hugged us, which surprised the parents completely. I rolled a ball with the oldest while Jan spoke with them.

At another meeting with the family Sister Haddock did “Itsy Bitsy Spider” with the two girls over and over again as they laughed and rolled on the floor crying, “Again! Again!” As we were leaving the father asked if on one of our upcoming visits we could teach him how to read and study the scriptures, which I assured him we could do and we have done. We again left serenaded by “I love you’s” as we walked out the door.

Well things progressed for going through all the discussions together, then preparation to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood, then the mother obtaining a copy of her patriarchal blessing and the father preparing to receive his which was another adventure. He had a marvelous experience only to have the Patriarch call a few days later to inform him that the recording had been erased and the father needed to return to receive the blessing again. He handled it well confiding that he didn’t expect many were able to receive two patriarchal blessings. I pointed out that maybe the Lord had a hand in this as the patriarch had told him this had never happened before and because of some illness the mother was not able to be there to hear the blessing and now she would be able to participate with him.

Later, I had given the father a blessing as he was getting anxious over a work situation, enough so that he was looking for other employment. The blessing said to be patient. I had him give me a copy of his resume which I sent to some acquaintances to help him. Then one evening when I announced we were getting to the end for Melchizedek Priesthood preparation he said, “Oh that is bitter sweet. I really want to receive the priesthood but we have so enjoyed our weekly lesson and visits with you I don’t want them to end.” Then he shared this story. “Two weeks ago while driving past the San Diego Temple for a work project, I found myself praying over my work situation. As I was praying I felt an answer from the Lord. I was to be patient and a big change was coming soon. Well the next week my boss quit and my best friend and current supervisor was named the new boss. I couldn’t be happier. Not sure I want another job now.” We had a wonderful discussion about prayer, discerning the answer to prayers and he shared another experience. “In high school my buddy and I took a couple of girls to the prom. It was held at some air museum in Hollywood. We decided to up to the Hollywood sign but didn’t know where we were going and ended up on Mulholland Drive going west. Neither of us had ever been there before. My buddy was a religious sort. I was not. He had tried and tried to get me interested and I told him it held no interest for me at all. We finally realized we were going the wrong way and I had a feeling to turn around. Where was the question? I told him I felt after the next bend in the road there would be a turn off on the right. There was and as we turned off, to cars came roaring past us, one in each lane racing one another. They would have creamed us had we stayed on the road. That got me thinking. There is a God. I had been given an impression. That started me on a search, I knew something was out there but didn’t know what or which until I found the church.” We got another “I love you” and wave from their daughters as we left.

To my surprise previous to the date selected for conferral of the Melchizedek Priesthood and ordination to the office of an elder, the high councilor informed me that the father had asked for me to perform the ordinance and he wanted to know if the following Sunday would work for me. I had suggested to the father that the elder’s quorum president perform the ordinance. Later the father spoke to me stating “you have become such a part of our family we would be honored it you performed the ordinance.

The date selected was Father’s Day. At our meeting a few days before we expressed what a joy it had been for Sister Haddock and I to have been associated with them. By now the children were coming up to us each visit and Sister Haddock spent most of the time with the children crawling in and out of her lap on the coach while I shared a very animated discussion, at their request, about how to mark scriptures showing them my study version and others as well, my reasoning for what I did, and reminded them how to do it doesn’t matter. We also gave them some marking pencils, rulers, and color markers which they were grateful to receive. Each time we leave now the two daughters follow us out the front door and tell us they love us.

As we gathered in the bishop’s office I made a few introductory remarks and proceeded with the ordination. Following the ordination the Bishop was asked to make a few comments by the high council representative. The bishop said, among other things, “Elder and Sister Haddock have been like lightening from heaven. Just as lighting brings clarity in a dark forest glade, they have brought spiritual clarity to your lives. It’s as if they have become your spiritual parents now.”

Everyone was emotional and in tears. The father then said, “We are so grateful for Brother and Sister Haddock. They are the parents we never had and the grandparents our children never had. What a great blessing they have become in our lives. We will never forget them.”

The mother then spoke of her love for her husband. “I knew what a good man [he] was. When I made the decision to marry him, which caused all kinds of family problems, I knew who he was. I didn’t know when we were going to get here but I felt we were. To have it happen now, to be here with Brenden fills me with so much emotion. We are so grateful for Elder and Sister Haddock coming into our lives.”

We have been able to make introductions to ward members including one who formerly played in a rock band, as did the father, and they immediately hit it off and have become friends and participated together in several gigs already.

Family history introductions have followed along with temple preparation. Following his ordination we participated together in consecrating some oil we procured for him, have reviewed all priesthood ordinances and blessings together and are preparing him to give a name and blessing to his two children for his first blessings.

One morning when we finished walking we drove over to Costco’s to fill our gas tank for our trip to San Diego Temple for the Twenty-one family sealing at 3 p.m. I asked Sister Haddock to call and she learned they had gone down the night before to alleviate any problems with the young ones and were having breakfast. Sister Haddock happened to mention asking what time they needed to be there. She said noon for the 1 p.m. sealing. We had thought all along the time was 3 p.m. as they had advised us a week ago. 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.

A Brother Despain performed the sealing. He asked, “Why are these two missionaries here?” Noticing that only Sister Haddock and I were in attendance and 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. A sweet couple consented to participate as they came through the veil and he served as the second witness. The 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.

At our last visit the father said, “When we received the discussions from the young missionaries it felt right to be with our peers and our friends. But clearly we needed something more. We needed a mentor who could guide us along the path which isn’t so clearly marked as one enters. To have the two of you in our home every week has been a wonderful blessing for which we will ever be in your debt. We needed someone older, with more experience, and understanding. We have been able to share things we couldn’t share with the young missionaries and feel comfortable in doing so. Thank you. Thank you. We hope we will be able to enjoy a relationship with you for the rest of our lives. We don’t know why the Lord called you to this mission, but if it was just for us, we will be ever grateful to the Lord.”

Week Seventy-six

WEEK SEVENTY-SIX December 16, 2014

Young Brother Two replied to my question in 1 Nephi 8 about why only one of the four groups got to the tree and stayed there. “Sorry it took so long for me to respond. I had lots of school work and other crazy things. It was Lehi whose group made it and remained. Because when they had partaken at the fruit they were not ashamed of it but the other group who made it to the tree were. The people in the big and spacious building were making fun of those who had partaken of the fruit. Lehi’s was the only one not ashamed of it.”

We attended our last Transfer Meeting this week. Sister Haddock and I were both asked to share our thoughts and testimonies. I addressed the thought that as young faithful missionaries they had spiritually captured sacred ground during their missions and the plea to commit that they would never give it back but continue growing in the gospel and their commitment to Christ as their Lord and Master.

During the meeting I received a text from Brother Seventy-three so after out testimonies we left the meeting to meet with he and his wife. We began with a discussion on 2 Nephi 2 and were led by the Spirit to transition seamlessly into a discussion of marriage relationships, sealing in the temple, and the obligation of each party to make the relationship work. Sister Haddock and I shared many of our own experiences which provoked a lot of laughter and engaged both of them fully. Everything seemed to be guided by the spirit and fit together so well. We were excited as we left as were they. We knew they had some marriage issues but were urged to be careful in treading there. But tonight the Lord directed the discussion and it was seamless and smooth.

Later I sent a note to the MP, “President, we apologize for leaving the transfer meeting early tonight but we had a discussion with two part member families, one at 5:30 and the other at 7 p.m. We are already finding it difficult to get everything in as time marches on. Years ago in a priesthood training session with Elder Harold B. Lee he placed the emphasis on "let" in D&C 107:99, "Wherefore, now LET every man learn his duty, and to act in the office in which he is appointed, in all diligence." We so appreciate your "Letting" us serve as MLS missionaries to interact freely with the four bishops and four ward missionary leaders we have served. Not being overwhelmed with administrative matters we were blessed to concentrate on the voice of the Spirit and allow the Lord to accomplish His purposes through us. What a great blessing it has been. Thank you for listening to the Lord and placing us with such wonderful and faithful servants of the Lord. Elder and Sister Haddock”

The MP replied, “Thank you and Sister Haddock again for your beautiful testimonies last night and for your constant and continued faithful service. I'm grateful that you were positively engaged last night after the Transfer Meeting with teaching two part-member families. You were at the right place doing the right always! I've known few who have been so totally prepared, so completely dedicated and so energetically willing to serve in whatever capacity or assignment might come.  You both have been a blessing to us all ... and to the wards and people where and with whom you've served. Thank you...thank you! I appreciated your comment about Pres. Lee's teaching on "let" as found in D&C 107:99. I've not heard that previously. I like it! God bless you both...always! With deepest respect and gratitude,”

Had a special meeting with the Four family. He asked his wife if Joseph Smith was saved when the Savior told him his sins were forgiven in the first vision. She said yes. He then said. “That’s my whole argument. If Joseph Smith could be saved without the Book of Mormon, why do we need it?” I suggested it was needed to provide clarity through additional revelations from God then I added. “Were the disciples of Christ saved.” He said yes. “So according to your logic we don’t then need the New Testament as if didn’t come to be until centuries after the time of Christ.” Then I asked, “Were the people in the City of Enoch saved when he and his people were taken up to heaven?” He again said yes. “Well, again according to your logic there is no need then for the Old testament which came many hundreds of years afterwards. Yet each adds clarity and completes the picture of God’s dealings with his children. Also there is something in common with all three. That commonality is living prophets. Enoch was a living prophet, the Savior was the greatest of all prophets. And Joseph Smith is a prophet. The Lord saves his children through living prophets. They are more important than the written text because living prophets receive revelation for their time and circumstance. ” When it came time for the closing prayer, as he was ending the prayer he made a special effort to “pray for Elder and Sister Haddock that their message of salvation may be heard and accepted by those they meet.” We also confirmed the lunch tomorrow but said he didn’t know how to reach the bishop. I told him I would take care of that.

Brother Two called from Ventura wanting to know the condition about the executive secretary. I told him they finally pulled the tooth pulled and later put in a bridge to fill the gap. “I want to see you before you go. In the Laundromat the other day one Christian was railing against other Christians. But more of his attack was on Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses. I didn’t say much to him but finally quoted Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit,” which quieted him down for a time. Say I am going to be home tomorrow for a couple of hours in the afternoon. Can you come by so I can see you?” I told him we could.

The next day we had a nice visit with the Two family before the husband had to leave to return to work. His wife made an interesting observation about their little four year old.  She said, “You know, he has calmed down considerably since the sealing.” Which surprised her considerably.

Had an observation that as Seasoned missionaries we have been given a large basket of 75-100 families during our service. A dozen or so of those we really connected with. This included active and inactive families, and non-members. Shared experiences were identified through common needs, geography, skills and abilities, acquaintances and long tailed entanglements that were surprising. For example, the Two family and Encinitas, the Six family and Edinboro University outside Erie, Pennsylvania where I served on my mission. Experiences seemed to match both interests and questions asked. As a result there developed a mutual feeling that we alone, above all others, were there at the right place and time.

I had lunch with Brother Four and the Bishop, introducing them both to California Fish Grill. Brother Two had called said he wanted to discuss something. His idea was to have an interfaith caroling sing at nursing homes in the area. Both the bishop and I liked the idea and December 22 was set for the date with Brother Two turned loose to arrange the locations. But something seemed amiss.

That night Brother Four called in some distress. Wanted to talk. Asked if I had some time. The caroling project was not what he wanted to talk about at lunch today but just couldn’t bring himself to mention what was really on his mind. He said his marriage relationship seemed to be falling apart and leading to divorce. However all the “facts” he told me didn’t lead to the conclusions he was drawing so I encouraged him to speak with his wife and tell her of his fears and work things out. He asked about counselling. I said no, talk with her first. He expressed his appreciation for listening. I emailed a copy of my little Marriage Beatitudes for him to review with her.

The next morning Brother Four wrote me, “Good morning Brother Jerry. I am so glad that we sat down and had a good talk last night. I'm sorry to have lain so much on you yesterday, but I was being crushed inside and I needed to vent to keep from imploding. After much prayer and open communication, I am optimistic about where we're going. Thank you for an open heart, a listening ear and praying hands. God bless you and thank you from the bottom of my heart. I enjoyed your Marriage Beatitudes and I just forwarded it to my wife. We plan to spend some quality time together this weekend and we will be focusing on your counsel through these beatitudes. Thank you very much my friend.”

On our last visit with the Twenty-one family I gave them a copy of the book LDS Beliefs Wrote in the flyleaf, — “Hope you get good use from this collection of LDS doctrines. Thank you for bringing us such joy and happiness on our Seasoned Couple missionary service. We truly love your family. Jerry and Jan (Elder and Sister Haddock) How we love this sweet young family and are going to miss them terribly. Also gave them the video, The Lamb of God and the children’s book, “The Light of Christmas” by Richard Paul Evans. We also brought over a huge chocolate chip cookie and ice cream which we all shared and bid our sad farewells.

Later in the week met with the Ward Mission Leader in Lake Forest to discuss all our investigators, their needs, and possible assignments. Sent an email to the ward mission leader in the Aliso Creek Ward detailing the same.

Sister Haddock and I met our niece and her daughter at El Cholo restaurant. We had a really nice visit. She is a very sweet mother. It has been special being in a mission where two nephews and one niece reside. We have been able to share things that probably would never have been shared had we not been called to this particular mission.

Sister two sent us this note, “Do you guys need any help cleaning your apartment? I’d be happy to help. Our oldest jammed another finger catching a football and has a hairline fracture. Never a dull moment. I’m taking him to an orthopedic specialist. I don’t think this one is very bad like the last one. I really hope they don’t have to keep his finger in a splint forever and it’s not that bad. Say a prayer if you can. Do you have plans Sunday after church?” We replied that Sister Haddock was speaking at Sacrament and that we had a meeting at 4:30. “Well we would love to have you over for dinner. Kyle should be home. If you guys can’t make it it’s not a big deal. We’re planning on coming to your going away party too. Whatever is the least stressful for you!”

Sent to Brother Six “I don't know what your schedule is this coming Sunday or when your wife is returning. Noting this will be our last Sunday, if possible we would like to move our meeting time back to 4:30 to enable us to say our goodbyes to members of the Aliso Creek Ward whose block is 1-4 p.m. Let us know if that will work for you.”

Sister Sealy called and asked if we could rush over to the church. They are putting up the decorations and wanted to run through the son Blue Christmas with me. So we went over and sang it through a couple of times with some suggestions from her. Tonight we went with Brother Six and his daughter sitting at the same table. Told them along with singing with the bishopric I was going to sing my first solo. Shared what my grandfather and father had done. They were surprised I wasn’t scared to death. I suspect it comes from being a missionary. We sang as a bishopric and later my solo which I was able to end still standing. Everyone seemed to get a kick out of it.

The former RS president said to Sister Haddock at Ward Christmas Party, “One of the things I miss most about being released is rubbing shoulders with the two of you at the Ward Council meetings.” Sister Sealy, “I think your solo was the best part of the program tonight.”

Sent pictures of the fantastic decorations at the Lake Forest party to Sister Six who is in Indiana—Oh my gosh. The stage is beautiful. Who did the decorations? Hope you all had a wonderful time! Thanks for the picture. [Mark Phelps and his son did the spectacular decorations] Wow. Amazing. Goodnight.

Sister Haddock and I visited with the Sixty-two family this afternoon. What a wonderful couple. We think the world of this 90+ year old couple. We visited and laughed, heard stories and adventures of their life together. We brought them some white chocolate truffles from See’s Candies. We said our farewell. They are so appreciative for all that we have done for them and said they would miss us so.

Returning from their home we were going to visit Brother Forty-one but Jan’s eyes have become so inflamed we had to head home. Driving down El Toro we saw the three elders serving the Aliso Creek Ward and offered them a ride. They demurred as they were close to their dinner appointment and were hopeful they could encounter someone while walking there. The district leader said, “You two are so going to be missed.” One of the other elders chimed in, “Everywhere we go we hear about the service of Elder and Sister Haddock.” Then the other elder, “I’ve only been out seven weeks now and all I’ve heard about is the Haddock’s. People in the Aliso Creek ward certainly think a lot about you.”

After our ward council in the Lake Forest Ward this morning, a Brother and Sister who both attend ward council, came up to us, “It has been so wonderful being around the two of you. You have been such an inspiration to us. We want to be like you.” Another brother and sister, also in ward council said, “You have no idea how many you have influenced here. Members and non-members alike. You may have some inkling as the years unfold, but you will never know your influence among those you serve as a Senior Couple.”

Gave the book Spiritually Anchored in Unsettled Times, Bruce R. Hafen to the Six family with this note “Thank you for the great gift of friendship, love and understanding. It is one of the highlights of our mission. We truly believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ is all about relationships and pray ours will be eternal. We await your call to schedule a return trip.”

During the Lake Forest Ward Council, the high council shared a story about a friend of his for over 20 years, “we talk every week at least.” He is Jewish and a law dean professor in Orange County. He called saying he wanted to get baptized. The brother told him he would have to check to see if “we have any room available.” His message to us was that sometimes it takes longer than we anticipate. Twenty years before it came to fruition. The friend asked, “Have you been praying for me. Things feel different. I believe something is going on.” The brother explained the temple prayer roll and that many were praying for him. “I thought so,” he said, “I could feel it.”

The brother also told us about Friday’s Follow the Star. It was pouring all afternoon as they were praying for relief. “We thought this must be confusing to the Lord with us praying for months for rain and now asking it to abate over the Altisma building. Well about 4 p.m. it stopped, the sun came up and we were able to dry off the chairs. The final performance ended at 9 p.m. and immediately it began pouring again.”

During the Sacrament in the Lake Forest ward today, I had an impression to add to my little routine of saying “Yes, I will” as I partake of the sacramental emblems. The thought was to include thereafter, “Help thou mine unwillingness.” In parallel with Mark 9:24.

In Sunday school, Lake Forest, the gospel essential instructor shared a story of Elder Marion G. Romney who was a conference visitor here years ago. He had a prior engagement in the Mt. Roubideaux Stake and the stake president here picked him up. As they were driving the stake president took one hand off the wheel to point out the huge welfare orange grove in Riverside. Elder Romney said, “President, put you hand back on the wheel. You stake presidents are a dime a dozen but we are only 12.” He expressed his profound appreciation for us being here and for becoming acquainted with us.

Sister Haddock spoke on how ordinances deepen or discipleship at our last Sacrament meeting as Seasoned missionaries.

Brother Seventy-nine came up to me and we visited before the meeting and I invited him to sit with us which he consented to do. Said he had talked with the Bishop and is getting things in order even if it takes longer that his son and daughter-in-law need for their sealing. He is committed. Wanted to thank me for counseling him and getting him on the right path. I told him I wanted to know the rest of story, so “please keep us informed of your progress.”

Following our second block, we sent and gave a discussion to the Six family around R. Burton Howards address at BYU-Idaho on “How Do We Know” and reviewed with what they needed to do to know the Book of Mormon is True.

Then to the Two family for dinner and another farewell. After dinner we were treated to some cheesecake that their oldest son who is quite the cook had made. All of the children were so happy to see us it made it special. They gave us a sweet little card, with a note for each of them.

Following that we picked up the One family and took them to Follow the Star at the Altisima building gratefully wearing some coats they had as it began to get quite chilly. We also attended the Crèche exhibit and then back to their house for some pie and ice cream. By the time we got home it was a 14 hour day. Most Sunday’s it is 10-11 hours, still a long day for us. Several members in both wards, and both bishops, asked if we would consider moving into their ward.

We received a cute card from a brother and sister in the Lake Forest Ward, it read: “One thanks, Two thanks, Big thanks, True thanks. Thanks from Near and Thanks from Far, Thanks for being who you are. Thanks for everything you do… so full of thank-yous thanks to You. We will miss you! Love”

Week Seventy-five

WEEK SEVENTY-FIVE December 8, 2014

Noticed that we failed to post to our blog the last few weeks of our mission so I am going to try to pull that together and get it completed.

Following the temple sealing with the Two family we were at Fuddruckers with them and the Bishop and his family when the telephone rang. Brother Seventy-nine was on the phone to ask me some questions. Through a set of “coincidences” arranged by the Lord we had encountered his son at a candy shop. Seeing us the son thought we should visit with his father again regarding the temple. We had talked a couple of times. His first question to me was “What do I have to do to come back to church?” I told him “get out of your car and walk in the door.” Said he, “I don’t have to meet with the bishop?” “No,” I said. Later he called to tell me that he was going to be a church the next Sunday. Later he called again and told me of something that would require him to meet with the bishop. Tonight on the phone he told me he had thought about it and was ready to meet with the bishop. I told him the Bishop was with me and would he like to talk to him to set up an appointment to which he said yes. I briefed the bishop who took the phone and scheduled an appointment and began meeting with this brother. A couple of months later, after our mission return, he called again to tell me things were going well with the bishop and “whether I am able to attend the temple sealing of my son or not, I am going to follow through on getting myself worthy.” Well another month passed when I received an excited telephone call from him. “Guess what I have in my hand?” He told me he had his temple recommend was going to the temple on Saturday to receive his endowments and Tuesday to his son’s sealing. His ex-wife has also taken care of her matters and she also will be at the sealing. So starting with this young inactive couple four have now received their endowments and the couple have been sealed for time and all eternity in the temple.

During my study this morning I felt to send something to Brother Four saying “this scripture in Isaiah, when reading this morning, reminded me of you and your service.

6 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?

7 Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?

8 ¶Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rearward.

9 Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;

10 And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday:

11 And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.

I received an immediate reply, “Thank you Brother Jerry. 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.”

The wife of one of the ward missionaries in the Aliso Creek Ward has a brother who lives in Lake Arrowhead where Sister Haddock and I celebrated our honeymoon nearly fifty years ago. We were invited to go with them to Lake Arrowhead which we readily accepted. When we arrived to pick up the couple the husband had an impacted tooth and looked like a squirrel with a mouth full of nuts. He was unable to go, but we took his wife and off we went. We had a grand time reliving memories but physically didn’t see much to remind us as the little community up there had burned down some time back and was rebuilt. Still it was a wonderful day and visit to Lake Arrowhead and the folks there were so nice to us. In answering their many questions they concluded they too wanted to serve as seasoned missionaries and were so glad we had come up.

Received from Randy—Jerry, We are now the proud owners of TWO homes. Hopefully, that will be rectified soon. Our Provo home was listed yesterday and we had four showings! Very encouraging! Our move date if December 16th to the Lindon home. Leah and Ben will stay in our Provo home for Ben’s convenience, but living in an empty house will soon change his mind about being close to work. Do let us know your date for reporting. We will be losing the Provo phone number but for now our cell phones will be our number of choice until we get a land line in Lindon. Me:  801-404-8860; Jan:  801-404-7172 [Randy, I never thought I would actually know a plutocrat. Two houses! Congratulations! Could this be the promise given unto Isaiah "I will cause thee to ride upon the high places"? (Isaiah 58:14) Just to show the contrast. We are now homeless. I have the telephone numbers and will let you know when there is a report date and also get together for a more personal chat. Elder H]

Left a message for Bob and Laraine to their son’s address for our Christmas cards that Kerri is handling. Laraine replied: Michael's address is 13070 Quapaw Road, Apple Valley. California. 92308

As a result of a discussion in high priest group on Sunday, Brother Six requested copies of the three articles the church just released on polygamy. I emailed them to him with this note, “attached are the three articles recently released on polygamy. The one entitled Plural Marriage in The Church is the general one. Also Plural Marriage Kirtland; and Plural Marriage Utah.” He replied, “Thanks. So did President Woodruff have a revelation to abolish plural marriage or did he simply abide by the law and not allow any further plural marriages because the "President of the Church" had to approve all plural marriages?” I replied that he said he was shown a vision of what would happen to the church if he did not rescind it. Remind me next time we meet and I'll show you his statement. It's in the scriptures.” Later in the week, on a visit, we reviewed the manifesto and associated statements together and he seemed satisfied.

Found out later in the week why the temple was so confused in the instructions they gave the Two family for the sealing. Turns out the temple somehow concluded there were there to get married rather than sealed. The temple had asked them to bring their marriage license which confused Sister Two greatly. Heard from Brother Two, “It was awesome to be with you at the temple. It was very special. Once in a lifetime.” I told him we think the world of his family and considered it both an honor and a blessing from the Lord to be able to be present at their sealing. We also heard from Sister Two, “Thank you for all your support on the day of our sealing. We would never have made it to the temple of the sealing without you. Thank you for all your sacrifice for our family.”

This week had a wonderful meeting with the Four family. We have spent a couple of seeks discussing Mormonism 101 from Elder Holland and Brother Four was thrilled to realize the last verse of Revelation does not read as he thought as there was no Bible at that time to reference. Then we spent a couple of weeks discussing Elder Holland’s, “The Only True God,” Oct 2007. Tonight we started the third talk of Elder Holland, “My Words Never Cease,” and April 2008. As before we alternated verses read and again, as before, the spirit seemed to arrange it so Brother Four read the most powerful paragraphs. As we left I asked for a copy of his “Rapping for Salvation.” He had heard the minister say when dreams or ideas come to you to get up and write them down. So one night he had thoughts on a rap, got up and wrote this down. The next day when he showed it, the minister’s comment was, “God had all this to say.”

Learned that our son-in-law was to have nose surgery so we included his needs in our prayers this week. I can remember all too well Sister Haddock’s black eyes and pulling the gauze out afterwards. But oh the relief thereafter.

Brother Four sent us this note he wrote: Merry Christmas World.

Whatever happened to Christmas?
It's not on sale at the store. Let me remind you once again.
I'm sure you've heard it before.
Buying gifts for the family? Yeah, that's a little fun
But let's remember that God gave us His one and only Son.
Born to Joseph and Mary, Jesus laid in a manger,
God's angels announced Him. He was never a stranger.

Give all glory to God, the angels sang unto the Lord...
Then they went back to heaven, they knew what God had in store...
We seem to take the Christmas season as ho, ho, ho, here's your present.
It only happens once a year, that's why it's easy to be pleasant
We give to the poor and then we feast and as we do,
We tell the kids fairy tales about Santa Claus too!
And we do this every year but what we really ought to do
Is tell them about the birth of Christ, Book of Luke, Chapter Two

So when our children ask the question, "What is Christmas all about?"
Let's not tell them fairy tales, let Jesus Christ come out your mouth.
This season belongs to the Lord, Let's speak up and take it back
And tell that jolly old fat man that he can ho, ho, ho on that!

I replied, “Yes, He is the Gift.” At our next meeting I presented him with a little one sheet of version of the poem with full color manger scene and took it to him. I said I had this neat poem and handed it to him to read. He started reading and after a few lines said, “Wait, this is mine.”

Here is Brother Four’s two raps he sent me. Of course reading them is nothing like hearing him recite them with all the enthusiasm he displays

Rapping for Salvation

This is not only for the young, it's for you grown-ups too
And because it's the truth, count your blessings when I'm through
We have to look at ourselves while there is still time
The way we're killing each other, nobody's life is worth a dime
It's the way that we're thinking, there's so much we ignore
Like this love we get from God can't be bought from the store

Don't wait until you're old to give your life to God
These are our last days, now some may laugh and call you odd
But it's revealed through the Word and God showed me a plan
To help many souls with a bible in my hand
So I'm working for my God, I think you better start too
He blessed me with these words, now I'll tell them to you

As I was lying in my bed giving God my praises, I found myself quoting some familiar phrases that I'd been hearing in my church in worship and praise
And they're stored in my brains for the rest of my days
As I was giving God worship and believing in my heart that He is 1st in my life, the most important part
I began to concentrate on these words I was saying and God showed me a vision while I was still praying

I was shown to imagine that I am a spirit, I couldn't see myself thinking, but God let me hear it
Saying you are only flesh, you have to put that aside, it's only temporary, let My Word be your guide
You've been blessed to have Jesus, My one and only Son, but you take life for granted, you think you're here for having fun
You've been blessed with the chance to save your own soul, you'd better take it while you can, no guarantee you'll grow old

Give your life to God, there's no chance to be shy, God's mercy is forever, but only till you die.
Do you understand this message that I'm giving to you? I was once in your shoes, Now I will tell you what to do
Ask God for forgiveness for all of your sins, and confess you want Jesus to be your best friend
And believe in your heart that He was sent from above, to save our souls as a show of God's love

Jesus died on the cross but when He got home, He sent the Holy Spirit and we will never be alone
He returned in 3 days through God's glory and love, to show the whole world God's power from above
You must believe these words, now pay attention and hear it, don't be concerned about your flesh, be concerned about your spirit
Raise your hands in the air, God knows where you've been, Receive His mercy and grace and give Him praise...Amen.

He also sent me the one he did on the end of the world. Which I had really liked.

There's a story, here's the's the end of the world and you can't stop it
Angels descending, bringing destruction, God's kingdom now under construction
No more dying, no more sickness, God's kingdom has come and it's come with quickness
Dead's arising, angels flying with wings on their backs and faces like lions
Alpha, Omega, it's the beginning, it's the end. Mass destruction because of our sin
No use looking for your next of kin
You'll be running, screaming, wishing you were dreaming,
Time to stop all your lying and scheming

Now you're crying, now you're praying, now you know God was not playing
Trying to remember what the Preacher was saying
Falling to your knees like you're under the Spirit, God sent a witness, but you didn't want to hear it.
He sent family, friends...and enemies too! He sent everybody to witness to you
But you were partying, singing, learning new you're begging God for last chances
Doctors, lawyers, all professions, all have to bow down and confess Him
Time for God to teach us a lesson

Time is love and love is time. Too late for you to make up your mind
Your million dollars won't be worth one dime
Hearts are happy while some are grieved. Some heard the Word and we believed.
And now we receive our great reward, as we praise God on one accord
He is our Father and our Lord
So remember this story and this topic...the world is coming to an end and you can't stop it. Pray.

The Bishop of the Aliso Creek ward is putting together a farewell dinner of sorts for us and requested a list of 10 people. Sister Four sent out the invitations.

We had our next to last session with the Twenty-one family. We are going to miss them so. Were able to answer some question about sealing that had troubled her for some time. So much so she wanted her husband to ask me the question rather than herself. She was concerned about being sealed to a father who was so abusive. We talked for a bit and I pointed out to her that her sealing now was with Brenden. “Oh, I had never thought of that.” He chimed in the same and both seemed satisfied.

Sister Two called to tell us how much she enjoyed and appreciated both the temple sealing and us being there with them. It appears she is becoming stabilized slowly but surely. She is so grateful for what we have meant to their family and all the comfort Sister Haddock has given in her efforts to progress.

Heard from the Mission Secretary that a couple from the Edgemont North Stake is coming to our mission a few weeks after we return. We were asked to make contact with them, which we did. We sent off this message: Welcome to the California Irvine Mission. From your address it looks like you are in the Edgemont North Stake, as is our daughter and her family. They live in the Edgemont 10th Ward. We live in Edgemont 3rd Ward, Edgemont South Stake. Has the president told you where your assignment is going to be? We have been assigned the entire time to the Lake Forest and Aliso Creek Wards in the Santa Margarita Stake. If you have any questions about the Senior MLS Missionary guidelines I put together please let me know. The past 18 months have been the fastest period of time in our lives. We are nowhere near ready to come “home” as we have become too attached to the many we truly love and serve here. It’s not always mild weather here, a week ago we had a cold snap and it dipped into the 60s. We didn't even bring out coats and haven't needed them. Oh an alert regarding traffic. The rule seems to be among California drivers: If someone is ahead of you, pass them. “We also provided our contact information.

Fourteen year old Brother Two has sent us several messages like this since his baptism, all of which have been so appreciated by us. “Today's the big day. I have that final test today and tomorrow. Will you pray for me that the Lord would give me the confidence to do my best on the test? Thanks, you are the best!” Later in the week we visited the Two family and this young brother told me, “I really felt the spirit in the sealing room. If confirmed my testimony in joining the church, also the role of family and personal obedience.” Frequently I would receive text messages about his scripture reading. One this week read, “Hey brother Haddock like this is Jakob. I wanted to share my thoughts with you on 1st Nephi Ch 7 and 8. In Ch 7 I was very surprised at Laman and Lemuel that they would try to take Nephi’s life, after he preached things that were true. In Ch 8 I found what was interesting was, how Laman and Lemuel were the only ones who did not partake of the fruit. They went to the dark and spacious building. This was something I thought that was pretty cool to ponder about. Thanks.” I replied, “I see all of us in the story. Look at the four groups of people and see how they respond. You are right, neither Laman nor Lemuel even make the effort, but there are four groups who do, but only one succeeds. Ponder why they make it.” He said he would.

Visiting the temple this week, I enjoyed one of those experiences were I am given considerable instruction on how to do certain callings in the Kingdom. They all have been very interesting to me and I hope to learn some day the reason for these very specific instructions.

Sent to the Aliso Creek executive secretary, “We visited with Brother and Sister Twenty-one last night. Bishop had told me a couple of weeks ago a home teacher had been approved for them, but they have yet to make contact. Sister Twenty-one Jan is six months into her pregnancy and is on a special watch, not allowed to lift 10 lbs. because of early contractions. So she needs help even in shopping. Encouraged them to ask about their home or visiting teacher but we left with the feeling they are too embarrassed to do so. Could you put on the agenda a note to follow up to make sure the HT and VT have been assigned and making contact? We can take care of things for the next couple of weeks, but then we are gone so we are concerned. All the best, Elder Haddock” Well this good brother immediately hopped on the matter not waiting for ward council to make the appropriate contacts and within a day HT and VT had been assigned and visited the home.

This is the little sheet I prepared in training new senior couples in our mission and shared with the mission president—


Ask to speak to introduce yourself
Meet with Bishop, WML, HPGL, EQP and RS as soon as you can
Ask how you can help, not what the ward can do for you
You are serving as a turbocharged home teacher
Your special skill:   T.I.M.E.  –   Time, Island, Members, Enable

Meet with Stake President and HC over missionary work

Assure young missionaries you are there to help them

          Quietly attend District Meeting and Zone Training Meetings

Become part of the ward

          Service Projects
          Temple Assignments
          Clean Chapel
          Ward Parties

Ward Meetings

Always attend Ward Council
          Always attend Missionary Correlation meeting

Report by email every couple of weeks to bishop and WML

Never become a burden to the Ward

          Sustain the Bishop, recognize his keys, and WML with all members
Dinners, not regularly only as they desire
Attention given to new members, but don’t overwhelm
Get on ward email lists and programs
Make friends with less actives and new members; invest time in them


          Family File Folders and current ward list
iPad or DVD player
          Carry Notebook with scriptures
          Become familiar with videos, pamphlets, Family Search, and PMG
          Distribute a card with contact information
          Blogging? We use numbers not names
          Current ward list
          Mentor new and less active members

Tonight we picked up Brother and Sister One and took them to see Sing Noel at the Santa Margarita Stake Center. The stake puts this event on a Saturday and Sunday evening in December each year. Last years was spectacular and this years was even better. They thoroughly enjoyed it and were able to connect with members of the Lake Forest ward who were there. The program features individual performers, quartets, an adult choir, young men and woman’s choir and a Children’s choir.

Received from Bishop Smith—Can you meet at our house tomorrow night to practice our musical number for the LF Christmas party? At 8 pm!! [We will try. Have an earlier appointment. Won't be able to make sure until I can call tomorrow] Ok!

At Sacrament meeting today I bore my testimony. I mentioned how my heart was torn, that I didn’t want to leave those I now love so much and the importance of relationships. President Gregson of the stake presidency was there. At the end of the session he too bore his testimony and spoke of the remarkable blessing the stake has received in having Elder and Sister Haddock in our midst for the past 18 months. He said, “Elder Haddock, your desire to stay is a direct result of the love and service you have given to this stake.” Following the meeting he came up and shook our hands to personally express the appreciation from the stake presidency for all that we have done.

Sister Two wrote, “Wow, I can’t believe you are leaving so soon! Can we help you with anything before you leave? I think you are going to have a going away dinner. We will definitely be there!