EPISTLE FOR WEEK ENDING 6/6/16
Elder and Sister Elkington
This week has been a tale of two worlds – the first part of the week was spent representing Our Father in Heaven and conveying His love to Native American families. The last of the week we attended a funeral of a Cousin of Sister Elkington where there was no indication of a belief in a Father in Heaven or an association with His Church! What a difference in the feelings we experienced.
We prepared for the Heritage Park Branch FHE and asked the grandmother of the .reservation children to come to i.t, She agreed to come and brought three of the children! This is a significant step in getting her involved so the children will have a support system in place when we are no longer serving a mission. Sister “M”, the grandmother also brought the children to Church today! After the FHE we took Sister “M” to the branch garden and got her some produce for her family. She was thrilled and said she would come again.
On Tuesday we delivered letters from the branch presidency to Heritage Park Branch less active members. The letters said that the members had not been coming to Church meetings and the branch presidency was going to send their membership record to the residential ward where the members live unless they call the branch presidency by July first. We explained to each member/family the importance of attending Church and partaking of the sacrament. We said we would love having them attend the branch, but if that was too difficult, they should attend their neighborhood ward. There was a great feeling of love expressed and felt as we visited with these members. We had prayer with them and Elder Elkington gave a blessing to the one sister who is having health problems. (The branch struggles with home teaching and therefore the branch presidency feel these non-participating members will be better served by a neighborhood ward.) These are choice children of a loving Heavenly Father. We pray they will make the right decision and receive the support they need from the Church priesthood holders and leaders.
Then we attended a funeral of a cousin that grew up with Sister Elkington in Logan, Utah. There was no mention of the Church in the funeral. There were no opening and closing prayers given. And there was no mention of the atonement of Jesus Christ and a loving Father in Heaven. People related memories which were humorous – but it left no feeling of hope or faith in eternal life. We were surprised that this family had drifted so far from the Church and its teachings that they had no understanding or hope of a glorious resurrection and the possibility of being together beyond the grave. This woman had not raised her children in the Church and as a result they do not understand the peace that comes from understanding the purpose of our mortal life and how it ties into eternal life – life beyond the grave.
We know we have a Father in Heaven and he loves each of us – His children!