Sunday, January 31, 2016

31 January 2016 Report
Elder and Sister Elkington
What a week!  On Monday Sister M asked Elder Elkington to conduct the funeral services for her deceased daughter.  The funeral was already planned without Elder Elkington’s input.  We got a copy of the program about 15 minutes before the service. The program was primarily music and poetry by Native Americans.  Most of those who were on the program did more than they had been requested to do.  In one case that was good.  A man was listed on the program as reading his poem, but he talked for 10-15 minutes before the poetry.  He talked about LDS doctrine about the Plan of Salvation.  I was glad for his remarks.  I then gave some closing remarks (not listed on the program) about the fact the services had been a mix of native tradition and Christian beliefs.  I told them their native traditions were not that different from the Plan of Salvation as taught in the Book of Mormon.
After the funeral, the adults in the family and friends went to an all-night sing.  They had the body in the casket in the Shivwits Community Center where the sing was held.  We took the children – 5 boys and 4 girls ranging in age from 4 to 11- and fed them and bedded them.  We had them from 5:00 PM Tuesday until 7:30 AM Wednesday.  We had to get them up for a breakfast of home-made waffles at 6:30 AM so we could take them home by 7:30AM so they could be ready for the burial at sunrise Wednesday morning.  That wouldn’t have been too bad if they had slept peacefully through the night.  But Sister Elkington was up fixing a midnight snack and trying to settle them down until about 1:00 AM.
Wednesday morning we left for a doctor’s appointment in SLC.  We then went on to Idaho for the funeral of Edwin Elkington and returned to our home in the Santa Clara Stake on Friday.  Friday evening Elder Elkington experienced “the fall” for himself:
            Adam fell that man might be,
Elder Elkington fell from stupidity!
Friday night I stepped on some plastic steps and fell against a wall, spraining my neck.  It hurt so bad I could not get up for several minutes.  Sister Elkington insisted we go to the emergency room to check if any bones were broken.  It was diagnosed as a bad sprain and I was told to stay down for 3 days. It would now be truthful to say, “He is a stiff-necked man.”
We are still cleaning up after the Native American children.  We love them – they are like family.  And we are looking forward to being actively engaged in the Lord’s work this week.

Monday, January 25, 2016

24 Jan 2013
Elder and Sister Elkington
A mission brings many new experiences – some are enjoyable and exciting, but some are sad and sobering.  Sister M’s family has been sick with the flu this past week.  In fact, when we took the children from the Reservation to Church last week, the four year old boy had a fever when we took him home.  When you have 15 people living in one small house – what germs one gets, they all get.  On Tuesday the mother of three of these children got sick and she died on Wednesday.  She laid down about 4:00 PM and was dead when they checked on her at 6:00 PM.  She was 31 years old and left behind her young children ages seven to eleven.  We have spent this week helping the family cope with this and helping them make funeral arrangements. Elder Elkington gave blessings to Sister M and one of the children.  Sister M said she felt measurably better after the blessing.
Then Sister M asked Elder Elkington to pronounce a blessing on her deceased daughter’s body.  Rather than explain we do not anoint and bless deceased persons, Elder Elkington offered a prayer – asking that she be blessed to come forth in the resurrection and that the family be comforted.
After the prayer one of the tribal members who was there for support of the family explained that their traditions and beliefs are different from that expressed in Elder Elkington’s prayer pertaining to the resurrection.  He explained that they believe the resurrection is the spirit going back to heaven – not a physical resurrection of the body.  He said that is why they have the all night “sing” and the final “sing” at the grave side when the body is buried.  He said the “sing” is not singing, it is more chanting and the words were given to them by God.  He said the words of the chant are asking God to open the gates of heaven and receive the spirit of the deceased person.  This man then explained that their traditions are that God appeared to their ancestors and told them His name was “I M Jesus”.  We are going to wait until the funeral is past and then give this man a copy of the Book of Mormon and ask him to read Third Nephi and compare the description of Christ visiting in America with the Native American traditions.  We want him to explain the similarities and differences between the two.
We have agreed to take all the children for the night while the adults have their “sing”.  While they are in our home we want to reinforce what the elders have taught them about the Plan of Salvation.
We grieve with the family and we rejoice because of our knowledge of the Plan of Salvation.  We told the Branch President we would adopt these orphaned children if we were forty years younger.  He replied, “I think you already have adopted them.”
We postponed a doctor’s appt. so we could be available to support Sister M’s family during this period of time.  We will reschedule when the funeral is over.
We are still in the middle of this experience and will need inspiration and strength to do all that is required of us.  But we are confident it will be forthcoming!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Weekly Report 1/16/16
Elder & Sister Elkington
We had an inspiring zone conference this week and also met some new less-active members and a potential investigator.  We continue to call on less-active members who have children age nine or over who have not been baptized.  When we ask about the child being baptized, the parent often says they are waiting until the child is older, then the child can decide if they want to be baptized.  The problem is that the child is receiving no instruction in gospel principles.  Therefore, they will have no reason to decide to be baptized.   Our concern led us to create the attached document entitled “Baptism” which we are starting to leave with these less-active parents.  It is too early to see what impact it has.
We continue to meet with a family on the Shivwits Reservation that has 10 children and five adults in the house. We pick them up at the Reservation and take them to Church when they do not have a ride.  The elders have taught the children how to pray and they anxiously volunteer to say prayers when the elders teach them.  They do not want to miss out on their turn to pray.  The mother of some of the children has been attending Church and the Gospel Principles Sunday School class we teach in the Heritage Park Branch.  The one child from the family, a six year old girl, felt insecure going to Primary so she came to the Gospel Principles class with her mother.  When I asked for a volunteer to offer an opening prayer, the adults had not had time to respond when this little girl’s hand shot up and she said,  “I’ll pray.”  And she did offer the prayer.  It was a great example and lesson for the adults in the class.  The class discussion after that was very inspiring and open.  “…And a little child shall lead them.”  
Sister Elkington continues to bake cakes and cookies which we take to those we visit.  When we go to the Reservation, often a child we have not met will come up to the car and say, “Do you have cookies?”
These Native American children have become part of our family – we love them!

By Elder W Larry Elkington
When Should Children be Baptized?
 What is the ideal time to be baptized?  The Lord has stated that a child is not accountable until they are eight years old.  The period from birth until age eight is a time of learning – learning the difference between right and wrong- learning the truths of the gospel.  Then when they turn eight they have the privilege of being baptized and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost to guide them and protect them from evil influences.  However, for that to happen, they need to understand the gospel.  This puts responsibility upon the parents to see that they are taught about their Father in Heaven and about Jesus Christ and his teachings. In a revelation recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants the Lord states:, “Inasmuch as parents have children…that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents.”  (D&C 68:25)  The Lord further explains the importance of baptism at age eight and the responsibility of parents in verses 27 and 28, “And their children shall be baptized for the remission of their sins when eight years old, and receive the laying on of the hands. And they shall also teach their children to pray, and to walk uprightly before the Lord.”
Responsibily of Parents and others.                                                                                  It can seem like an overwhelming responsibility to parents to teach their children the things the Lord specified.  But parents are not alone.  Primary teachers at Church also teach the things a child needs to know to be baptized. Missionaries are also available to assist in teaching the children.  So, preparing children with the knowledge they need before baptism is a team effort.  But, it is still the parent’s responsibility to ensure the teaching happens.

Why is baptism so important?                                                                                         
  In the third chapter of John in the Bible, it tells of a man named Cornelius who came to Jesus and asked about the kingdom of God.  “Jesus answered and said unto him, verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5)   Being born of the water is baptism.  Being born of the Spirit is receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost.  Each of us enters into the kingdom of God by being baptized and receiving the Holy Ghost.  Then it is our responsibility to help our children be prepared to do the same thing.
What about children over age eight who have not been baptized?               
 Children over age eight should be taught by the missionaries to ensure they 
understand the gospel and can make an informed decision to be baptized.
Missionaries who can help people prepare to be baptized:                                                      
 Elder Larry and Sister Bev Elkington, phone 801-425-3155.                          
 Elder Isakson and Elder Stafford, phone 435-215-6864                                     

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Report for10 January 2016                         
This week has been dominated by meetings.  But those meetings were by no means a waste of time!  They were spiritual feasts that brought to our minds the importance of what we have been called to do.
The Live-at-Home Missionary Zone Conference was built around the theme from Moroni 6:4 which reads, “And after they had been received unto baptism, and were wrought upon and cleansed by the power of the Holy Ghost, they were numbered among the people of the church of Christ; and their names were taken, that they might be remembered and nourished by the good word of God, to keep them continually  watchful unto prayer, relying alone upon the merits of Christ, who was the author and the finisher of their faith.”  This scripture encapsulates the purpose of our mission – to reach out and nourish those who are being taught or who have been baptized.  It is a huge cultural adjustment for converts who have been recently (or not so recently) baptized.  The purpose of membership records is defined by this verse of scripture – so the leaders and members will remember and nourish these new members.  If home and visiting teaching were more effective there would not be the need for senior missionaries to fill this void.  But, as it stands, there is a great need for us to nourish and love these people who at one time felt the spirit of the Lord to the extent they desired to be baptized and united with Christ’s Church.
We had a great Gidgidonni (Yes, that is actually the district name)  District meeting on Thursday which was instructive and inspirational.  Our district leader Elder Isakson, is young in time in the mission, but he is a leader and does a great job!
Yesterday was a spiritual feast that served as a cap to a week of spiritual feasts.  Elder Russell Ballard of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles along with Elders Christensen and Wade of the Seventy met with the missionaries of the Utah St. George Mission and instructed us.  It was not just what they said – it was the spirit that was present touching the hearts of those in attendance!  At least, we could feel that spirit as it testified of truths to our minds.  Elder Ballard said that many in the Church have lost sight of why they are Church members because they have ceased reading the Book of Mormon.  When this happens they often become less active in the Church.  The importance of this was burned into my mind by the Spirit.  It is important to regularly read the Book of Mormon for everyone – not just missionaries! One of the greatest evidences of the truthfulness of the restored gospel is the spirit that regularly testifies to the souls of those who serve as missionaries.  Another evidence is the love of God for his children – which is felt by us as missionaries.
Then we come back to earth and deal with the realities of living in this mortal existence and the problems that need to be dealt with.  Last week some of the children on the reservation were unable to attend Church because their septic system backed up and the family was unable to use the washing machine to wash their clothes.
We continue with Elder and Sister Elkington’s baking mission!  We have tried to take birthday cakes to each of the children in Sister M’s home.  One of the mothers mentioned it was also her birthday.  Adults like to be remembered too!  So we baked two birthday cakes on one day - one for a ten year old girl and one for a woman who is in her thirties.  If a cake can convey our love, then we are happy to provide it!
We also took a Native American woman and her nine year old son for a hot dog and ice cream. The mother said it is up to the boy to decide if he wants to be baptized.  But they do not attend Church meetings, so he does not get taught the gospel.  We are trying to become friends so he will agree to be taught so he will have the knowledge to enable him to make an informed decision on baptism.  Parents who do not teach their children and leave it to the child to decide if they want to be baptized are in essence deciding against baptism.
We continue to work as under-shepherds and we love those we serve.
A grandson just returned from his mission and is speaking in sacrament meeting today.  He understands why we can’t be there.   I thanked him, by phone, for the example he has set for the rest of the family!
We teach the Gospel Principles class in the Heritage Park Branch Sunday School.  Today we had a new member of the class who said he was just released from Purgatory (the Washington County Jail).  I asked class members if they had experienced any spiritual experiences or miracles they would like to share with the class. After a few minutes this brother related that he was released from Purgatory.  It was late in the day when he was released and he had no way to get to St George.  So he walked from Purgatory to the Dixie Downs area of St George (a distance of 15 to 20 miles).  He got there around 11:00 PM and had no place to sleep.  He was very cold and just poured out his heart to his Father in Heaven asking for help and guidance.  His voice choked and tears ran down his cheeks as he related how a man appeared from nowhere and said, “You need a place of shelter where you can lay your head.”  He said to the man, “How did you know?”  The man replied, “Never mind that, get in the car.”  He was taken a few blocks and provided a room and shelter. I do not know why he spent time in Jail, But I do know his Father in Heaven knows him and loves him!  So do we!
Elder and Sister Elkington