May 14, 2012
It is late to be starting a letter, especially since we have an early morning start to get to Huntsville by 8:30. We are finishing up the last two Zone Conferences this week. There were three last week. It is always nice to get to travel the mission and to see some of the missionaries that are far from the office and we don’t have as much contact with. We do love these young men and women.
The week before conferences started Pres and Sister Holzapfel spent three days in Atlanta for a Mission President’s Training. There were 19 Mission Presidents in attendance and ten members of the Seventy. With it being held in Atlanta it was fun to look at pictures on the Mission Blog and see a couple of familiar faces. While serving in Georgia we often wrote about Pres. Parker, our wonderful Stake Pres and the first black to be called to that position. We always felt he would move up in leadership and sure enough….here was a picture with him as a member of the Seventy. Also, Pres. Giddens, another St. Pres that we had worked with, is now Elder Giddens of the Seventy. President H came back filled with new information, much of which he shared at the Zone Conferences.
Elder C and I stay busy outside through most of the meetings, but I was able to sit in on the morning talks at the Birmingham Zone. One of the new instructions Pres presented was the use of Mormon.org in missionary work. With all that is going on in the country people not of our faith are searching out information about the MORMONS. It’s the church’s feelings that if they are asking questions, they might as well be receiving answers from the members and what better way than a website where real people are sharing their lives and testimonies. The site has also been extended to answer doctrinal questions and has a live chat section that has received well over a million hits in the last year. Contacts can even arrange to have the lessons taught to them over the phone. This is a new program that is already taking place with the Sisters at Temple Sq. The lessons are also available in written form. The Pres told of stores where people have gone through all the lessons without the church even knowing. They call and say, “I know the church is true….how can I be baptized?” He shared many other miracles that are happening through the use of the Internet and especially this web site. They also announced the site will be opened to a dozen or more other countries in their own language.
Because of this, the missionaries are now assigned to spend two hours a week other than P-Day on Mormon .org to become more informed about it and to search out member messages that their investigators would relate to. We as missionaries were asked to always carry Mormon.org pass along cards and to give them to everyone we come in contact with. Some may end up in the trash, but you never know who will follow through. One of our own Alabama missionaries had such an experience. He and his companion were teaching a lady who was really not showing any interest. One of the Elders had noticed an older teenage boy on the computer in the next room. As they prepared to leave he felt impressed to give the boy a card with the web site and told him that it was one that he enjoys. He didn’t say anything more and didn’t give it much thought. A week later the boy turned up at church. He said that he tossed the card on the floor with no intention of using it, but it just kept coming back to his mind. He finally decided what the heck and looked it up. He couldn’t stop going from one story to the next then on to other information until finally he had read through all the lessons. He was so excited that he couldn’t wait to tell the missionaries what “they believed”. He was baptized a short time later. The amazing thing is that the Lord inspired the Church leaders to already have this information available long before we knew there would be such a worldwide interest in the LDS Church and its beliefs. We, all members, are also asked to do our own profile on the site. It’s exciting to be a part of this history of the church. We feel so privileged to be serving a mission at this time, but this is a part of the program that any member can make use of. As a mission we order the pass-along cards through the distribution center. I know wards can order them, but am not sure about individuals. They are listed as “I’M A MORMON”. I took a picture to show you how they look. They come in two sizes, business card and double sized and are easy to carry with you.
There is much more that I could write about the last week, it has been very full and this one will be as well. We are excited that Lynn and Cameo and four of our grandkids will be visiting us later this week. It was nice to talk to or hear from most of our children on Mother’s Day. I also received a plant and large Mother’s Day card that was signed by all the missionaries at the Montgomery Zone Con. I do feel like I’m double blessed at this time to be a MOM or maybe it’s more a ‘Grandma’ to so many both here and back home. I love you all.