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

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