It is Sunday afternoon and we have just returned from a stake conference in Ephrata. A number of people asked about you including the Yeates family who we stayed with again – remember that beautiful big house in the middle of the apple orchards in Quincy? It was a wonderful conference and I have always enjoyed the spirit I have felt in this stake. Many of the members are older and itis not a wealthy stake but made up of many good solid farming people who love the Lord. As I told them today it is the only stake in our mission with a biblical name and in the Bible dictionary it says Ephrata means fruitful. And over the years it has been a fruitful area for missionary work.
The Columbia River temple president, President Moody attended also and shared a rather amazing storywhich I will recount for you. Two years ago he was the mission president of the Baltimore mission and was invited by one of the primary presidents to attend a Primary activity day which was set up as a mini MTC and series of mission prep workshops. It was done so well that President Moody asked the Primary president,Sister Buldoc, what prompted her to do such an elaborate missionary activity foryoung children.
She then related how some years ago her 10 year old son, Jeff, had come home one day and told her that he had invited his baseball coach over for FHE. She was pleased although a little surprised that she had never seen his coach in the ward and thought perhaps he must have been in another ward. They prepared a nice dinner and lesson from the Book of Mormon. Then Monday night theygot a knock on the door and to her shock and surprise, standing at the door was the coach, Mr Henry, dressed in a priests robes with a white clerical collar. They had dinner and given they had already prepared a lesson went ahead with it. As Mr Henry was leaving young Jeff came running up to him and presented him a Book of Mormon saying “here you need this because it will give you the fullnessof the gospel”.
Nine years later Jeff was called on a mission to Sacramento, CA. One afternoon he was out knocking doors with his companion and a man came to the door. The man looked down at his nametag and said “I know you Elder Buldoc – you are Jeff.” It was Mr Henry. Elder Buldoc asked what he was doing in California and Mr Henry explained that he had left the ministry because he no longerbelieved what he was preaching and teaching. Of course he was then taught and baptized and now some years later is serving as a stake president. All this because a 10 year old boy invited a coach to FHE, shared a Book of Mormon and years later was led by the Lord to find and teach him the gospel as a full-time missionary. A remarkable true story.
We had a good group of visa waiters come inthis week and assigned them all out until they get cleared to go to Mexico. They are each fine future missionaries and one of them, Elder Turner, is from Yorkshire in England and speaks with the same accent as all Mum’s relatives. It will be interesting to see what kind of Spanish accent he ends up with.
Last week we also let our missionaries know the names of our replacements – Donald andMelonie Mullen from Orem, Utah. It is a little bit of a strange feeling to know we are now preparing the mission for them and to constantly have in the back of our minds that they may choose to do things quite differently. But as I believe I already shared, we are delighted that they are young, energetic and seem to have a great love for young people. The reality is that as it says in Moroni of all ourspiritual gifts none really matters if we do not have charity.
Thanks for your great emails and for making me so proud.
Love you lots
Thanks for answering so many questions--and I am glad your letter finally came....even if it was the next day. And I especially loved your closing statement---that you love me more than a mexican loves tortillas :)
I have mailed...