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We witness tender mercies and mini-miracles every day as we find joy in pressing forward. We are immensely grateful for our time of service as missionaries in the Georgia Atlanta North Mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Life and opportunities continue. See our missionary and life story in pictures by clicking here: http://rayc.shutterfly.com/

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Busy and Happy Week

Another busy week here in the Georgia Atlanta North Mission.  It was our first week in our roles as Mission Secretary and Vehicle Coordinator without our trainers. The Coes will return this coming week to assist us through our first Transfer Day (new arrivals, departures, and new companionships). Days are becoming a bit more routine. We open the doors at 8 a.m. and leave about 5 p.m.  This week, however, we stayed until nearly 7 p.m. two nights because we had technology issues and repairmen were working on systems. (As our mission progressed and we were able to assume more responsibilities, our typical office day was at least nine hours.)  Small offices are not like working in a corporate environment. We will surely learn to be flexible and resourceful as needed.  By Friday, all systems were humming again. We hosted Elder Briggs and Elder Astel, the Assistants to the President, and the Sister Missionaries assigned to the Lilburn Ward (Sister Scott and Sister Thomas) for dinner on Friday evening. We love them more and more each day.

A highlight of the week for Sister Connors was her first team up with the sister missionaries. It was a great experience. When our investigator at the first appointment was not home, Sisters Scott and Thomas immediately turned to see a car parking on the street outside the apartment. They marched up and introduced themselves to Virgilia and invited her to Church on Sunday, providing her one a "I'm a Mormon" pass along card with phone numbers and addresses. President Wolfert has challenged all missionaries to speak to at least ten people a day about the Church - regardless of the number of actual appointments on the calendar. The young sisters and elders are indeed, bold, and confident. What a great example! Our second visit was to the home of a young less active mother with three children and one on the way. Sister Knudsen's husband suffered a very serious head trauma in a work fall and is still in a semi-induced comma state after 4 weeks. It's such a sad situation. I immediately came home and went on line to learn more about them by reading their story on Sister Knudsen's blog (a luxury the young missionaries don't have). The Relief Society is reaching out and she has family nearby, but I will return with or without the sisters to offer help and a listening ear. We have seen first-hand some of what she must be experiencing when Elder Connors' brother had a serious aneurysm a decade ago. The sisters gave a great lesson related to the organization of Christ's Church and the resurrection, inviting the 8- and 11-year old to pray about setting a date for baptism. Mom seemed pretty indifferent and resolutely said she was not interested in regaining activity, but she welcomed us back anytime to work with the girls. That says something. Sister Thomas has completed her mission and will be going home this week, so the next visit will be a first for another new sister in the mission field.

Inspired by that evening, I talked openly on Friday evening to the owner of a local salon while there as a patron and Gloria accepted my offer to bring by a Book of Mormon. I'm personalizing it for her tonight and will deliver it to her on her on Tuesday when she works again along with information about golf in St. George. (She and her husband fly to Sedona, AZ to golf, and I suggested she check out St. George). Today we attended a baptism for the newest member of the Lilburn Ward, Sister (Yaman) Smith. We look forward to getting to know her personally in the weeks ahead. It's starting to feel like missionary work.

Another highlight for this Sabbath is that Sister Connors' (hard to refer to myself by full name and not a pronoun in blogging this way, but I'll do it often) brother, Ron Petersen, and sister-in-law, Leslie, drove from North Carolina where they have been vacationing to attend Church with us. It was good to feel their support and let them see our surroundings. They graciously attended the baptism, and we enjoyed some missionary talk over dinner at our apartment before they returned to North Carolina. Sister Thomas sang in Sacrament Meeting and has a beautiful voice to match her beautiful spirit.

One last item to record.  Behind my desk in the Mission Office is a large reproduction of a wonderful 1831 painting by Joseph Mallord William Turner. The prior mission president, Stephen King, found and purchased it. It is the same painting (President Monson referenced in an April 2001 Priesthood Session talk entitled "To the Rescue."  (Long name: Lifeboat and Manby Apparatus going off to a stranded vessel making blue lights of distress)  President King felt a personal connection to it since he lost a family member who died while taking part in a rescue mission in stormy seas off the northern Pacific coast. Missionary work is the work of rescuing souls. If you look closely, you can see the form and light of the Savior in the clouds.  I can see why President King put it front and center when you enter the Mission Office.    

To The Rescue

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