Sunday, April 17, 2016

WEEK ENDING 4/17/2016

Heritage Park Branch family home evenings now dominate our Mondays.  We took much of Monday preparing a pizza casserole to serve 30 people.  Then Elder Elkington took 4 of the boys from the Shivwits Reservation to work in the Branch Garden before Family Home Evening and Sister Elkington came later with 4 girls from the reservation and the casserole. We can see the changes in the children as they participate with the branch members.
Recognizing the need to integrate the children into the Branch, we committed the 4 boys, ages 9-11 to attend scouting meeting on Wednesday. We then found that scouting activity this week was going to be singing with the Branch choir. We were concerned that the first scout experience be positive.  So, when we picked them up, we asked if they would like to sing with the choir. They said,”No”.  So we took them to McDonalds for a cheese burger and fries.  It was a great experience as the boys opened up to us about their feelings and concerns.  Sister Elkington asked them where they wanted to go on their mission.  “V”, an unbaptized nine year old, said he wants to go to Thailand on his mission. (Elder Saedan, who just finished his mission, is from Thailand.)  “V’s” attitude is really changing – he now seems delighted to see us.
Tuesday brought another trip to the Purgatory Correctional Facility to take “T” to his anger management class and to dinner afterward at ChuckArama.  We were thrilled to have him tell us he had obtained a temple recommend and participated in baptisms for the dead.  But, he was anxious because an officiator at the temple had asked if he was going to serve a mission and why not.  Then he was asked if he would bless the sacrament in sacrament meeting.  While these were legitimate questions, they created anxiety. He does not feel ready for these opportunities yet.  He did , however, receive his patriarchal blessing today.  We took him to his appointment with the patriarch, Bother Atwood, after Church meetings.
We had a great district meeting on Thursday.  The district leaders had asked if we would bring fresh strawberries and whipped cream to the meeting.  They had planned a meeting that ended with a waffle breakfast.  They are good young missionaries and leaders.
Friday we met with Sister “M’s: grandchildren for a lesson with the elders.  After a short lesson, “V” (The unbaptized 9 year old), said, “Aren’t we going to have more lesson – can we at least read from the Book of Mormon”? This is from the boy who used to look for excuses to leave the room during lessons. He now seems desirous of baptism.  But, because of his previous behavior, his grandmother now says he has to prove his readiness for baptism by attending Church of a few months. This family has come a long ways since we first met them –those who had been baptized had forgotten most of what they had known about the Church and the Book of Mormon. Now, the mother of some of the children and the grandfather, have brought the children to Church on several occasions and the children and adults participate in the lessons.
Saturday, Sister Elkington gave another sewing lesson to Katelynn, a girl from the Reservation.  She is very bright.  She remembered the things she had been taught previously.  So Sister Elkington let her take her sewing machine home with her after the lesson and a lunch.  She was very excited at receiving the sewing machine.
The activities of this week are amazing, considering the fact that Sister Elkington had a bad fall on Tuesday.  She received bruises all down the outside of her leg.  The black and blue area is about 10 inches long.  She also strained/sprained many muscles.  It was a miracle that no bones were broken.  And it was a miracle that she was able to participate in all the activities this week. Even though Our Father in Heaven did not prevent the accident, He did prevent bones from breaking.  We see His protective hand in many things we experience.
In retrospect, Sister Elkington should have taken a few days of rest to recover from the effects of the fall. But, there are those depending on us to fulfill our calling!  And we are blessed when we serve.

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