Monday, April 28, 2014

A Three Generation Family Baptism

Memphis, Tennessee

Elders Molnar and Davis were Spiritually Harvesting a neighborhood after school one day in March of 2014. They ran into several young kids who were interested in hearing their message.
When the grandmother saw the children talking to two young adults, she hurried out of the house. "Those young men are too old for you. Stay away from them," she warned. "What are they telling you?"
"They're telling us about Jesus," said one of the young boys.
"Oh," said the grandmother. "In that case, invite them in."

That was the beginning of the conversion of a family prepared and waiting to hear the message of  Latter-day Saint missionaries concerning our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

After the Elders met with the family a couple of times, they invited us to go with them to teach a discussion. We entered the house, and ten children, from age sixteen down to one, sat on the large sectional, each with a Book of Mormon open to the chapter in 1st Nephi the Elders had asked them to read.

Everyone participated in the discussion, answering and asking questions and enjoying a lively discussion. Elder Davis had stickers for everyone. The kids LOVED them.
The six-year-old was working his hardest to keep up with the teens in the reading, so I hurried back to the apartment to order a picture copy of the Book of Mormon for the young ones.

As the lessons progressed, the mothers became involved in learning about their Savior Jesus Christ and the restored gospel. Then the grandmother joined the discussions—each person gaining a testimony on his or her own. But the family as a whole, moved toward baptism together. 

There is love in this family, and hard work, and discipline for the children, and more love and more togetherness.  The grandmother is truly the matriarch of the family, and her daughters follow her example.
Elder and Sister Monson with Grandmother and the Public Affairs Specialist for the Stake

As the weeks went by, Elder Molnar was transferred and Elder Holden joined Elder Davis in teaching this golden family. We were privileged to be included in the lessons from time to time, as were other members of the ward.

On Saturday all seven children were baptized (Three of them were under the age of eight.) along with two of their mothers. The third mother will be baptized this coming Saturday, and grandmother will follow in a couple of weeks as soon as her work allows her to be off on Sunday so she can attend Sacrament Meeting.

I thought serving a mission would give me an opportunity to enrich the lives of others. But everyone we have met has given much more to us that we could ever give to them.

It is with grateful hearts that we participated in a small way in this family's progress to becoming an eternal group. We will return, no matter where we are and what we are doing, to see the culminating of this conversion story in the Memphis Temple. What a privilege it is to know and love these great people.

(There are no names listed on these pictures. For privacy's sake, people will not be identified. Mother's of the missionaries have been notified. See how great your sons look!)

Here is the link to a blog post I wrote about this family on my Connections blog.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Temple Assignment

Just had to share this quick note. We went to the temple to work our shift on Wednesday night. I got ready and went into the ordinance room for prayer meeting.
The matron came to sit by me. "You've worked in several temples before this one, haven't you?"
I should have known that was a trick question because she already knew that.
I told her that we had worked in the Las Vegas Temple, the Jordan River Temple, and the Ogden Temple.
Then she said, "I know you haven't served in a small temple like this before, but would you be willing to be the shift coordinator?"
What? I thought. I'm only here temporarily for a few months. This call makes no sense at all. But I said, "I would love to do whatever you would like me to do."
She put her arm around me. "Thank you for accepting. The assistant coordinator will train you."
So I spent the night reading the procedure book and locating all the closets, etc.
Now, for the good part. Here are the particulars. (Some of you will get a chuckle out of this.)
Job description:
Shift Coordinator of five people. You have to call some of them to make sure five will show up.
Scheduler: There is one hour of initiatory in one booth before the one endowment session.
Trainer: Keep up on the ongoing training. Anyone wanting to pass anything off must do it through the shift coordinator.
Laundry manager: All clothing must be taken to the laundry, washed, and folded before the end of the shift.
Custodian: All garbage must be emptied and the locker room floor vacuumed if necessary, prayer roll names taken to the brethren, and lockers checked before leaving.
This temple has the same sweet wonderful feeling as every other temple we've ever  been in. Working there is the highlight of our week. We love it; it is our favorite place in the whole world to be.
We know one of the best parts of our mission experience will be taking the recent converts there to do baptisms for the dead so they can partake of that sweet wonderful feeling also.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter, A Season To Rejoice

Easter season is a time of renewing. In the spring, the whole earth testifies of the birth and resurrection of the Savior.

Elder Monson and I spoke in Sacrament meeting on Sunday. We were blessed to have the privilege to share testimony of our love of the Savior and our gratitude for His Atonement.
A recent convert came up to Elder Monson after the meeting and said, "That was such a good talk it should have been given from the Conference Center."
How sweet is that!

I also played a piano solo—a first for me since I was a youth. I couldn't tell the Ward Music Chairman 'no' because he also teaches the Gospel Essentials Class and is the Ward Employment Specialist. Besides, a missionary doesn't say 'no.' So I practiced every day and played. It went well. I like to say that my playing is utilitarian. It gets the job done without fuss or flair.

We are going to teach a modified Institute Class to recently baptized converts. It's a provident living class to teach people to become productive members of society.

Some of the questions we face:
1.         How do I quit smoking? One recently baptized member's answer. Smoke one cigarette every four days. Have two puffs after every meal so it takes four days to smoke one cigarette. By then you are weaned off the nicotine.
2.         How do I get a job with a misdemeanor on my record? One answer to this question is to look for a job that doesn't do background checks.
3.         I have no food in the house. How do I get food to eat? I have learned the phone numbers of the city and county resources for the area. We hope our families qualify. The Church helps if there is no other resource. The Church can't help everyone. There are too many.
4.         Are E Cigarettes against the word of wisdom? Definitely yes.
5.         I have no money until the end of  the month, and my car is out of gas. Can you pick me up for Church? It would be our pleasure.

These people are wonderful! They are so celestial in their love for others. We do enjoy working with them. What a privilege to, hopefully in some small way, give them a new vision of life. This is a season to rejoice.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Daily Blessings of Missionary Work

Our Apartment
Both Elder Monson and I are getting in shape. 
Our Apartment Stairs

This is the set of stairs we climb several times a day.
Bob has lost about seven more pounds. He is looking great! 

Our job as member-leadership support is to be in touch with all the recent converts and make sure they feel welcome and get established in the ward. We can also read the Book of Mormon with them and answer any questions they may have.
Conference Cookies

Driving all around Memphis is a little tricky at times. It's a big city with lots of roads winding this way and that. My best friend is the nice maps lady on my phone. She points the way, tells me which way to turn and give me a half mile warning always. 
Our Map quest Friend

I love hanging out with her because she makes me look good—like I know where I am and where I'm going when I really don't.

The new converts are wonderful people. We already love them. They have many Christ-like attitudes. They are so loving and friendly. They have welcomed us with open arms. 
Bob and his new friend

This cute little girl came up and put her arms around Bob when she first met him. She remembers us each time we come to her house and runs to give us a big hug.

We are so very excited because the Memphis Temple President called us yesterday to meet with him this week. We have been cleared to be ordinance workers. We don't know what our schedule will be yet, but we are very grateful and very happy.
The beautiful Memphis Temple

Friday, April 4, 2014

Zone Meeting and the Temple

We arrived for Zone meeting at 9:45 for the 10 am meeting and found the missionaries already seated, reading their Book of Mormons. After they called the meeting to order, they all stood and recited the 4th section of the Doctrine and Covenants. How powerful to hear those young people give that beautiful testimony of missionary work! 

They discussed ways to become better leaders and teacher, and role played several ways to present and commit more effectively.

After the meeting, we took our district to lunch. The Elders made sure we carried Book of Mormons with us at all times in case we ran into someone interested in the Gospel. We will carry a book with us at all times now.

Where else could you find a group of young adults, give them cars, cell phones, and credit cards, and send them out two by two to peach about Christ?

We attended our first session at the Memphis Temple. It is a beautiful little building. It's small, but very elegant. We loved it.