We have just finished four days of classes on being Welfare missionaries.
Monday the group of 9 Welfare and Humanitarian Missionary couples took a trip up to Salt Lake where we got a tour of Humanitarian Center and Welfare Square. Although I already knew much of what was there, the sheer size of it was a surprise. The amount of clothing that is processed each day is amazing. But the important part of the tour was the spirit that was at each of the locations. You can feel the love that is there.
From Welfare Square we went to the Joseph Smith Memorial Building where we had our pictures taken and then had lunch with some of the leaders over our areas of service. They really did it well with a lovely luncheon and a minimum of talks.
Before lunch we called Bob and told him we were in SL and so he and Lisa came over and spent a few minutes with us. It was really good to see them.
Our final event of the day was to see the film Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration. Since we had seen it earlier in the year while in Nauvoo, I thought once the lights went out I could catch up with some of my sleep. But as the movie started I found myself once again caught up in the story that I know so well and I could not close my eyes.
Tuesday was a day with 8 hours of 7 different presentations about subjects in Welfare and Humanitarian service. Some were more interesting than others but I learned some things that will be useful for us as we teach and train about employment. Our last presenter was the best of the day – sister Elkins was full of energy and made learning fun. Some of the other presenters could learn from her.
Tuesday night’s devotional was another great one. I wish I could come to each and every one of them. Elder and Sister Parkin – the church Relief Society President – spoke.
Elder Parkin told about an incident on his mission when he was a young man. He was working in a branch and while going through a list of inactive members the came across the name of Brother Johanson. The branch president said that they should forget about him because he had not been in the church for 30 years and the last people who visited him were physically thrown out of the house.
As they left the president’s office Elder Parking looked at his companion and said that he wanted to go to see brother Johanson because he thought it would be great to be able to write in his journal that they had got thrown out of a house.
To make the story short, they were allowed in and they taught the first discussion. Two dicussions later they asked brother Johanson if he would be baptized. He got up and walked into another room. He came back with a box that contained a pair of white pants and a new white shirt. 6 months after his baptism, brother Johanson dropped dead from a heart attack.
Sister Parkins spoke about Attitude and for one of them she told about a sign she made for her home and later used while he was serving as Mission President. It had the letters A B Y and they stood for Are You Building. She suggested that when when we are having problems getting along with members of the family, church members or our companions that we ask ourselves the question Are You Building a better relationship or are you tearing one down.
She mentioned that after one zone meeting she and her husband were having an earnest discussion about something and a young missionary walked by and said President and Sister Parkin – remember ABY! She knew that her message was getting through.
She also told a story about an Elder that was spending some time in the mission office. She noticed that his shoes were really in bad shape and she mentioned that he should get something done about them. He replied that he was too busy teaching the gospel to worry about his shoes.
At this point she reached down and showed us a pair of shoes that were almost in two pieces from wear – they did not have holes in the soles they were worn all the way across. He had truly wore out his soles in the service of his savior. She said that one day she will return the shoes to Elder Gregson as a reminder of his mission service.
One last thing she mentioned that I liked was how hard President Hinckley worked. She challenged us with the thought “Will you let a 96 year old man out work you?