ELDER AND SISTER ELKINGTON 10/18/15
We have taken children from the Shivwits Reservation to Church meetings on Sundays and to Heritage Park Branch family home evenings at Anasazi Valley for three weeks now. On the way to the family home evening on Monday, the children started singing “Follow the Prophet”. They knew the words to the song. I asked where they learned this song and they replied, “In Primary”. It has taken a very little time for these children to be influenced by Primary.
We give them tablets to draw and write in while they are at Church. They leave the tablets with us so we can bring them each week. We were glancing through the tablets and note two of them had written comments about loving God and Jesus and about how much they enjoy being at Church. It seems children have a natural tendency to be spiritually sensitive.
Ethan is about ready to be interviewed for baptism. He has completed the lessons. Each week when we go with Elder Duncan and Elder Isakson to teach him, there are several siblings and cousins who join in. Last week after the lesson (which was taught outside under the mulberry tree in the front yard), Ethan’s 10 year old brother, Shaden, took a stick and drew some images in the dirt as he asked about the relationship of the Holy Ghost to God, the Father. Elder Duncan, who was sitting next to him, took a stick and drew images in the dirt to illustrate the answer to the question. We were amazed at the understanding of Shaden and at the depth of his question. We also were very impressed with the love and skill of Elder Duncan as he answered the question. I could not help but think of the analogy of the Savior drawing in the dirt as He responded to people.
These Native American people are very close to the Spirit and many, including children, tell us of spiritual experiences they have had – many of the experiences were while they were on the reservation in Arizona.
We have been worried about what would happen to Ethan after we are gone and not available to take the children to Church. We have fervently prayed about this issue. The prayers appear to be having an impact. The children’s grandmother and grandfather have been sitting in on the lessons and are very supportive. Also, Ethan’s mother has come to Church services the past two weeks. Another example of how the adults are led or influenced by the children!
Five of these children we take to Church have been asked to participate in the upcoming Primary Sacrament Meeting program. They are so eager and happy for this opportunity!
Sister Elkington asked the children what food they wanted her to prepare and take to the potluck family home evening last week. They requested pumpkin pies! Sister Elkington spent P-day making six pumpkin pies. (On 10/19 the request is for spaghetti.) On the way home from the family home evening, Katelyn said she had eaten 5 pieces of pie. Some of the others had eaten 2 pieces.
Last night as we left the house to go to a meeting, Sister Elkington (Bev) was feeling quite emotional. With tears in her eyes, she asked how she could feel such a deep feeling of love for these children. We decided it is God’s love for His children that He is manifesting through us. It is not just that we want them to enjoy the blessings of the Gospel in their lives. We also want them to succeed in school and in their chosen vocations! They have goals and aspirations just like other children. Without someone to encourage them and help them with their school homework they are destined to miss many opportunities that their bright minds could lead them into. We see many of the older teens slip into a state of hopelessness. Oh, we pray we can help these younger ones achieve fulfillment and joy as they mature!
As you can tell, we love the young missionaries we labor with. We love the Native American people - especially the children. And we love serving the Lord as missionaries! I am reminded of a statement of President Spencer W. Kimball. He said something like, “God hears and answers our prayers. Many times it is through another person that our prayers are answered.” May we live worthy and be ready and able to follow inspiration that will enable us to be the answer to some of those prayers!
Elder and Sister Elkington