We have completed our first set of member missionary classes. I just realized I didn't write about the class in last weeks blog. We had a family of four and one other gentleman there to start with. Before the class was over we had two more people join us. We had a good discussion about being member missionaries and how the invitation was the most important thing we could do. We talked a lot about Preach My Gospel and the book by Bro. Christensen,"The Power of Everyday Missionaries." The assignment for the week was to take Elder Ballard's challenge and set a date by which time you would have a person or family to invite the missionaries to teach.
We felt like with the discussions we had and the material we presented, it was accepted and will help the work go forward.
During the week we studied and prayed and also extended an invitation through the three bishops to invite those who have responsibility for home teaching and visiting teaching to join us even if they hadn't attended the first class. We ended up with an increase in attendance including one of our bishops with his wife. We focused on how we needed to help investigators and new members feel welcome and learn about their new environment. We had good discussions and helpful comments and felt like we really did what we set out to do, to have members see how they make a difference in the growth of the Church and especially in the growth of less-active and new members.
Tuesday we drove to Salt Lake for my seventh appointment with the Huntsman Cancer Clinic. The same fellow,Tom, has been my contact each time I have made my visits. He is a nice guy and so I determined as I prepared to go to the appointment that I would leave some kind of a Gospel message with him. Earlier in the week we obtained some pass along cards about Family Search. As we arrived I made a point to engage him in conversation, probing to find how to leave the message. We talked about his family and that he is youngest of three children. His father has passed and his mother is living out of the area. He and his wife adopted two children from India. As we were leaving, I asked him if he had ever looked at his family tree on Family Search.He said he had not and because his children could never find their family, he felt like this may not be a good idea. I presented him with the pass along card and encouraged him to look at his tree with the idea of learning more about his ancestors. He said one of his sisters had done some research so he may find some good family information if he looks.
Anticipating the appointment, I had e mailed my siblings and asked them to meet us for lunch. Lavon, Nick and Jules, and Chuck were able to join us at Chuck A Rama for lunch and we had a good visit about what had happened in our families since we had last been together as well as some of the current things that were going on.
Each day is a new adventure. We have wonderful members who invite us into their homes and we enjoy the meals and the opportunity to share our Gospel message with each of them. We feel like we are being guided as to the things we present to the families and have felt their appreciation for our work. Wednesdays are District Meetings. This past Wednesday we talked about improving lesson presentations and at the end of the meeting our District Leader asked one of our elders to bear his testimony. The missionary is from Samoa and joined the Church a few years ago over the objection of his Baptist minister father. The result of his baptism was that he has been disowned and shunned by his family. He told about struggling with his decision. He was homeless for a period of time and then finally decided that he was going to stay true to his commitment and work himself into a position to go on a mission. It was obviously a struggle for him but he is a fine elder. At the conclusion of the meeting one of our senior elders told the elder that he should write home every week and his family would soften their hearts toward him.
We have had some great dinners and wonderful discussions with families. One of the most bizarre things that happened was on Friday night. In the economy of the Lord, things don't just happen. We had an appointment and arrived at the address Ruth had written down. The lady answered the door and invited us right in. We asked if she were the person we were looking for and she said no and gave us her name. She said she didn't know very many people because she doesn't go to church. She was very friendly and we apologized, and after leaving our calling card with her, we left and found the right address down the street. Last night at our dinner appointment the brother talked about visiting a couple and taking cookies to them and hoping they could invite the missionaries to visit with this family. A pair of ward missionaries also live across the street from this family and were anxious to talk to us yesterday about our visit to the wrong house which is across the street. The ward missionaries had also recently made a visit with cookies and so it is apparent that the Lord is very aware of this family. It will be interesting to see what develops following all these visits.
Saturday was a special day. The sisters have been teaching a family that have three boys who are baptized members. Recently their step father's ex wife passed away and left three children behind.
The father reclaimed his three and brought them into the new home. The blended family of six have been meeting with the sisters and the three new family members have been studying and all accepted the opportunity to be baptized. One daughter and one son are over eight and so are counted as converts, They youngest girl is just eight so she was baptized with her brother and sister as well. It was a wonderful and spiritual baptism. There was so much support from the ward that the baptismal service had to be moved to the chapel. It is wonderful for these new converts and blended family to feel that kind of support from their ward family.
This is a wonderful work. The work rolls on and, as the Prophet Joseph testified, no unhallowed hand will stop this work until the Lord declares, that the work is done! We appreciate the opportunity to be a part of this movement.