Monday, April 20, 2009

April Update

It is time for a update from the "Barren Dessert". The temperatures have begun to rise, and this week as we have hit 100 degrees. The air conditioning is on and we are ready for the heat. This is the dreaded time of year for our Valley missionaries as they go out tracting every day to find people to teach about the restored church. This is where the true test of endurance comes in for them. It isn't easy to knock door to door and have people reject you and to beat the streets in the heat of the sun. But they do it, some better than others. There is a law in Arizona, that you have to give someone a drink of water if they knock on your door and ask for it. That is to their advantage to be able share the gospel.

The flowers are colorful and beautiful all around us in the desert scene. President's 6 tomato plants are doing well. They are small but delicious, we will loose them soon with the heat coming on. We have had a surprise dropped on our front porch this month. A valley quail laid eleven eggs in our geranium plant on the front porch. They are nestled underneath the momma quail. She doesn't like visitors to come to the front door though. We are anxious to see them hatch and grow.

Yes, it was a busy 6 weeks as we have prepared for Elder Bruce C. Hafen, from the first quorum of the seventy, to come for a 3 day mission tour. The pressure was on as we prepared for his visit. Getting all our ducks on the pond as he evaluated our mission and interviewed many of our missionaries was quite a project. The treat was the 2 days of Zone Conference instruction he gave us on the Atonement of Christ. I realized that my knowledge of the atonement was pretty basic. It has been said that, "The atonement of Christ is the most basic and fundamental doctrine of the gospel, and it is the least understood of all our revealed truths." He told us that every attempt to reflect upon the Atonement, to study it, to embrace it, to express appreciation for it, however small or feeble it may be, will kindle the fires of faith and work its miracle toward a more Christlike life. We were all spiritually fed by he and his wife.

Another highlight this month was going to the Mesa Easter Pageant. It was an amazing portrayal of the Saviors life up to his resurrection. The costumes were so authentic that it made it all come to life with a back drop of Jerusalem to make it more realistic. At the end of the pageant, as the Savior rose in the air above all the people in the America's, as told in the Book of Mormon when he also visited his other sheep, it gave me chills as I watched him ascend to heaven. It was a wonderful event to remind us of the great gift our Savior gave to each one of us to return back to live with him some day.

Each 6 weeks we have a fireside for all our new converts. Many have born testimony of their conversion. I was impressed with the ones from this month. One of them was a 17 year old girl who was raised Catholic. She took the missionary lessons and knew that this was what she needed in her life and was baptized. When she told her parents, they kicked her out of the house. She was devastated that her parents couldn't accept that she had found something so precious in her life, and that despite the objection of her parents she still was baptized. After this happened she prayed fervently that her parents would accept her decision. The next day her mother called her up and apologized and asked her to come back home. This was a testimony to her that the Lord was aware of her individual need of being accepted by her parents. It took great courage to take that leap of faith and join the church. The other person was a Baptist Minister. He said he originally started taking the discussion to convert the missionaries. With his knowledge of the bible combined with the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ on the earth today, the Holy Ghost bore witness that he needed to be baptized. His testimony was strong and the satisfaction and joy that was displayed in his countenance was heart warming to all who were in attendance. He was already sharing the gospel truths with many of his congregational friends. The gospel blesses lives and this is one of the highlights of serving in the Arizona Phoenix Mission.

It is hard to believe that we have been out here for 10 months. It seems like forever in some ways but time is going rapidly. We have so much work that needs to be done here that we need to work harder and faster in sharing the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I invite all of you who have not heard this message to invite the missionaries to come to your home to know more. I know that this is the way, the truth and the light and the only way we can return to live with our Heavenly Father. I have seen the blessings come to all who embrace this and enter the waters of baptism

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