Showing posts with label missionary work. Show all posts
Showing posts with label missionary work. Show all posts

Monday, September 12, 2016

Thank you for being such a fine example

                Krystal and Hank both attend our ward.  Neither one of them is a baptized member.  Krystal is ten and has been homeschooled up until now;  she loves primary.  She started attending with her grandma and cousin. She loves socialization.  She fits right in.  She loves to be there. Hard to believe that she is not a member.  She drinks the gospel up like it's water - which in a way . . . She LOVES primary.

    Hank was a different story. He was a rebel and it showed.  I don't know the full story, but I get the impression that he's been passed off one relative to another for at least a couple of years.  When he came to stay with his Aunt Ronnie, she had only one rule: he had to attend church with her every Sunday.

    Ronnie has been a member of the Church for less than two years.  She's a go-getter.  She loves the gospel and is not afraid to share.  So Hank sat beside her with a scowl on his face.  Evidently, he went to Sunday school and priesthood and was befriended by those attended those same classes. Gradually he showed desire to go to the activities. Now he gets himself up for early morning seminary - which was not a part of the deal.

    Then yesterday, I was asked in primary, to share a little bit about my mission.  I gave a specific example of a bishop from my first area who had to travel 35 miles to get to the ward.  He made a goal to have a ward house built near the city where he lived.  It's been over 30 years since I taught since I helped to teach those he had befriended and found for us to teach.  I was wondering if he had succeeded in building the ward up in that time and looked up his location after I had returned home from my meetings.  There is a branch in the city where he lives and it appears that he is the branch president.  Way to go!  I'll have to let my primary know next week.

    There are were four LDS youth attending Coffenberry last year.  Jenna was the only girl.  That is one reason she wanted "Utah" and "BYU" shirts for school.  She's already put in several "plugs" about the LDS church.  She wants her peers to continue asking questions.  "So what does BYU stand for?"  well, let me tell you . . .

    How great it is that there are so many positive examples.  I have felt such strength and enthusiasm.  It's been awesome!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Four Legged Angels

             I remember being in the congregation during a sacrament meeting in which a newly returned missionary was giving his homecoming talk. As he shared various experiences, he would explain why he felt the need to share.  I remember him saying that all missionaries have at least one dog story.

         “We do?” I had thought. 
         I must admit that I had missed his dog story as I had been thinking of my own.  One that actually brings a smile to my face each time I think about it.

         I was serving in an area where each door had been knocked on (weekly if not daily) by one religion or another.  It came to the point that people just didn’t want to open their doors as they felt they were being bullied by religious freaks.  We had actually been told to back off from going from door for at least a few months.  No sweat off my brow.  I hated that particular method of trying to find people, but I was with a companion who measured her missionary success by going from door-to-door.  

         Many members in that area referred to our companionship as “The Odd Couple” thus we named ourselves Oscar and Felix.  I was Oscar, and my high-maintenance, “by-the-book” companion was Felix.

         After two months of contacting members and searching for referrals in ways other than door-to-door, my companion counted down the days that we would go tracting door-to-door.  I did not share in her excitement.  I know there are people who have been found through knocking doors - but for me personally, it was not the greatest method and definitely did not measure my success (or failure) as a missionary.

         We had gone to only two houses before a German Shepherd started to follow us from one house to the next.  He would sit behind us and away from the door as we invited those who answered to listen to our message.  A few would look at the dog and ask if he was ours.  As we'd walk away from the skeptic who refused to believe the dog was ours, I'd make jokes just to get a rile out of my companion.

          "Yes, it is our dog and if you don't listen to our message, he'll eat you."

         My companion felt embarrassed and was a bit defensive as answered their concerns.

         “He’s not our dog.  He just started following us.  We don’t know why.”

         After four more houses or so, Sister Felix turned to me and said,  “Sister Cannon, we need to say a prayer so that the dog will stop following us.”

          I'm certain that the look that she saw on my face was one of puzzlement.  
          “Sister Felix, the dog could have been sent as a guardian angel.  If a prayer is offered, it won’t be in harmony, as the dog is not bothering me.  You go ahead and say a prayer if it makes you feel better.”

         Sister Felix offered a prayer and pleaded that Heavenly Father return the dog to his home.  No sooner did we say “amen” and we were joined by a Basset Hound – thus we had two dogs following us.  They weren’t doing anything wrong.  They seemed well behaved.  But it bothered her – which only amused me further. 

         We knocked on two more doors I think, and then Sister Felix became disgusted and announced that we may as well just return to our car, as we obviously weren’t going to get anything accomplished.  What? No more knocking door-to-door? I was right.  They were four-legged angels.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

No One Can Make You Feel Inferior Without Your Concent and yet . . .

fund raisers seem necessary
for raising money for
different causes
one may go from door to door
seeking collections
usually with product that
no one wants or
can afford  or
doesnt like     

parties at both ends
feel emotion   
the recipient fells bad that
he cant contribute     
or feels anger towards
the very idea of
having walked across
the room to open
the door to something he
may not even believe in         
or resentment because he
has purchased the product
when he knows it could
have been used more wisely              

the seller (or cause promoter)
either gives up because
she is discouraged that
no one wants to buy  
or else she continues
but with an attitude full
of regret and resentment and
eventually cries because
not being able to raise funds
has made her feel like a failure
Fund Raisers Should Not Stir
Up Emotion in Such a Negative Way

missionary work seems necessary
for the benefit of
saving souls 
one may go from
door to door preaching
the gospel and
sharing a message that
others may not know 

those individuals on
each side of the door
feel emotions  
the one inside
of the house
feels anger towards
the very idea of
having waked across
the room to open
the door to something he or
she may not believe in
or resentment because she
doesnt feel the need to
change and feels that she is
being told to
change her ways         

the missionary often feels
like giving up because
he is discouraged that
no one seems to want
to hear the gospel or
else the missionary may
continue with diligence and
prayer sometimes feeling
regret and may eventually
come to resent the church
Sacrifice and Service
Should Not Stir Such
Negative Emotion

we are told that
we must be sealed
in the temple and
we are taught that
families are forever and
we are taught to live a
certain way so that
we may enter into
the temple but sometimes
there are those who
enter by themselves
because the family members
dont always lead the same values
or maybe they do but
there is one part that
doesnt seem in
harmony with the gospel

Our loved ones stand
outside feeling emotions
of anger
or respect
or admiration
or exclusion
wondering why a church
that promotes families
dont allow the family members
see their loved ones get married

and those inside
wish that their
loved ones could share
in their happy moment
and may one day
resent having excluded
certain family members and
may one day be
outside the walls
We Should Never Feel
Discrimination.  God
Doesnt Discriminate.
Man Does.

Monday, October 8, 2012

“Go Ahead . . . I’m Napkin Man”

My brother Corey has many talents.  One he started early on was with drawing comics.  He would entertain himself for hours on end drawing his comics and then reading them. 

          One year he received a giant drawing pad and a green ballpoint pen for Christmas.  He had filled the pad in less than two days.  By day three, the pen was out of ink. 

          One of his comic series I think was similar to “Spy Vs. Spy” - which eventually turned into a game between him and my brother Patrick, though it did not last long.

          Patrick read one of Corey’s comic strips and imitated his style as he added to it and killed off the characters in different ways and Corey would always resurrect them.  Some of the deaths were challenging to overcome, but I think it was fun for both of them for a while.

          The funniest comic that I remember happened after my dad had had a series of strokes.  I don’t even know where we were – perhaps on our way to the airport to see Corey off or maybe when we had stopped off for lunch on our way to the MTC.

          I don’t know what made Corey feel the need to draw during that time, but he had drawn a caped superhero on a napkin with the caption: “Go ahead.  Blow your nose in me.  I can handle it.  I’m napkin man” and then gave his drawing to my dad who obviously needed a napkin.

          I don’t remember if my dad laughed about it or not.  I think so.  I laughed.  I thought it was funny.  I still smile when I think about this unique memory.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Staying on the Same Page

          Communication is SO important – whether it is the working place, or homes, our churches, our communities . . . and it’s important that we all stay on the same page.  We need consistency. 

          I recall one work place that made egg salad sandwiches.  Some of the workers would put pickles into the mixture, while others refused because they thought it was gross.  I don’t care if the egg salad has pickles or not.  When I am in a working environment I would expect to make the egg salad according to what the customer orders from the menu and expects – not to my own personal preference.  I think when a customer expects a certain product, he or she should receive the same product or courtesy or satisfaction that kept him or her coming back to begin with.

          I know different cooks have their own personalities and styles.  I am a wimp when it comes to anything remotely spicy – and so I have learned (well – back when I was single and had money) to ask which chef is in the kitchen before I place my order for there was one who would use every spice in the kitchen I believe and lots of it, while the other probably was not a favorite among those who really do enjoy authentic Mexican food.  It needs to be consistent.  The recipe must be followed exactly the same in my opinion.

          Food is just a very small issue of what needs to be communicated.  I hate being told one thing by one employee or parent or teacher or representative or what have you and being told something completely different by somebody else.  Opinions are often brought in by individuals who pass on their opinions that others accept as gospel truth – even when it’s not.

          I recall failing a class that I had tried to transfer into.  I was livid when I received a failing grade.  Why couldn’t have anybody said anything to me before hand?  I was on the roles already.  On the school record – but they failed to give it to me on the schedule that was handed out.  You think the teacher would have recognized the name from her rolls when I tried to transfer in.  It did not fly well.  I don’t recall there being any problems in my scheduling after that incident.

          I do have a have a similar situation story to share – only it didn’t happen to me personally.  Just someone I knew. It took place in the MTC (missionary training center) nearly 30 years ago (though I’m sure the same still occurs even now – perhaps not weekly, but maybe once in a while) I’m not including his first name in the story, but the last name is real.

          Elder Lovett had arrived on September 6 because that’s what it said on his papers – only those receiving the missionaries that day were actually not expecting Elder Lovett until the following week.  Fortunately he had his letter and showed them that it was indeed the date he’d been assigned to report.  But because there was an error in communication on whatever part, Elder Lovett hadn’t been assigned a companion (partner) or room or books or what have you.

          Six elders had been assigned to our district.  Four had been assigned to one room designed for four people.  The other two elders were also in a room designed for four – but one side remained empty.  So Elder Lovett was assigned to partner up with the latter two.  Six Elders would be serving in Fresno, California.  Elder Lovett was assigned to West Virginia.

          He shared these events with us during our third class (I think) when once more the instructor would say: “Turn to page H5” (for example) and all of us would turn to the assigned page – including Elder Lovett – but he would never be able to follow along.  I think it must have been during that third class the instructor suggested a page that just didn’t exist among the pages that Elder Lovett’s had in his possession.

          “It’s just my book.  They must have gone to the warehouse and retrieved this off some old dusty shelf.  This is out of date.”  I know for a fact that we have been asked to discard old material as it is updated.  Apparently the books that Elder Lovett had been given weren’t as discarded as they should have been.

          Perhaps his situation prepared him to be a stronger leader.  He definitely understood the importance of communication.  Elder Lovett had his first opportunity as district leader serving with us in the MTC.  He was great – throughout his entire mission I would imagine.  I actually never saw him or heard from him again after leaving the MTC. 

          There is the miscommunication between family members.  Just before Tony got married, I had called Roland’s family to inform them about when the event was scheduled to take place and what might be involved for those waiting outside the temple. 

          I was experiencing problems with my cell phone and had made some remark about my frustration.  Unbeknownst to me, the family had me on speaker phone – and whatever snide remark I made (in regards to my cell phone) somehow was interpreted to mean that I did not want them (mom in particular) to come . . . and whatever it was that I said got blown out of proportion as family members related the events to other family members until I realized that Roland’s brother was slamming him on facebook; his brother was not even a part of the initial family I was calling. 

I noticed one of Roland’s sisters had also been misinformed about the events that would take place when their oldest sister died.  Why not just listen and repeat before we jump the gun on something that was just not communicated correctly?
I am grateful to those who do take the time to at least try.  However their attempts to assist are not always profitable when the communication among the employees to employees are even worse than employee to customer. (as I have mentioned in this earlier post

Roland is great at having people and communication skills – problem is not all of those he attempts to communicate with possess the same talent.  And that is sad. It’s sad that so many have become and accept ignorance.  Ignorance is NOT professional.

And machines that talk to you instead of a human being?  Oh, don’t even get me started.  Talk about impersonal – and yet it seems that so many business have picked up on it and wreak havoc on the consumer’s life even more. 
Bless the company that gives you a live human being to begin with. Especially when that human is able to communiacate!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Declaration of recruiting subjects back to the castle

Once upon a time in the kingdom of
  Natalafe, there lived a royal prince and
his subjects.  Now the name of the prince was Emmanuel Bishop and the king had given him a list with the names of all of his subjects.  The problem was there were some names on the list that he wasn’t familiar with.

Now all of these subjects lived far and wide all throughout the kingdom –
yet they all lived within a day’s walk of the castle.  Many of the subjects would come to the castle at least once a week to pay their respects to the king.  Prince Bishop knew all of those subjects by name.  He would often meet each subject at the castle gate and would welcome them.

But there were many subjects who never even entered the castle though the
king strongly desired for each of his subjects to attend.  Prince Bishop knew
some of those subjects but not all of them.  And yet the king had told the
prince that it would be his responsibility to make certain that ALL of his
subjects were safe. 

That was a huge responsibility. Especially with all of his other princely responsibilities and because he didn’t know all of the subjects on the list. And so Prince Bishop would try to come up with a plan to make contact with those who were not coming to the castle knowing that he just couldn’t do it all by himself. 

  And so it came to pass that Prince Bishop divided the kings’ subjects into units and called knights to serve over each unit. One of the units was specifically designed for the Lords and another for the Ladies. The knights divided the Lords and Ladies into even smaller groups called families and they called their squires to serve in pairs and visit a certain amount of families each month.

Each pair would be responsible for visiting three to five cottages within the
kingdom.  They were told they would only have to visit just once a month to
learn how each subject was doing. It was not a difficult task.  To give just a bit of time just once a month and report back to the knights who served within the units so that they in turn could report back to Prince Bishop. 
And now it came to pass that the squires had fulfilled their callings.

And this greatly pleased Prince Bishop and the king to have such compassion within their kingdom, that so many were willing to fulfill their callings Their reports made it so much easier for Prince Bishop to understand and help his subjects a little better.

The branching out and reporting back seemed to work well in the beginning but darkness fell upon the kingdom. For behold, verily, verily I say unto you that not all the squires would be able to work together each month. Each pair seemed to come up with excuses not to go until finally only about half the subjects in the kingdom were receiving visits. Thus Prince Bishop felt sorrow for he did not know how some of his subjects were doing. 

The knights seemed just as perplexed – why would those who had been called agree to give up only a little bit of time just once a month and not do it? Why wouldn’t they be willing to keep that commitment to help Prince Bishop and more importantly our King?

Prince Bishop called two royal hunters who would go from cottage to cottage inviting the subjects to come back to the castle. And each month the royal hunters would report to the prince about their findings within the kingdom of  his subjects. Prince Emmanuel Bishop always praised them.  He has praised many of his Squires also.  But not all of the Squires are doing their part and the kingdomric often wonders how to get the ALL of the Squires to do his or her part.

With faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of the king, We know it can be done.
We are ALL important to the King’s plan. What can we do together to strengthen our calling in our kingdom?

The End . . .  or should I say to be continued?


Friday, June 29, 2012

The Most Important Leg on a Three-Legged Stool

          Jenna always asks if we can sign up to feed the full time missionaries – which is something we did often when Roland and I had the Church calling of being the ward missionaries – but now that he is in the bishopric – and often with hours at work – we’re not as available to feed the missionaries as we were at one time.  And so it’s actually rare when we do sign up.  Jenna would prefer that we could do it once a month at least.

          Our goal was to send our three boys on full time *proselyting* (defined at the end of this post) missions.  As Biff is our oldest, he went through the interviewing process and paperwork first.  We had taken him in for his physical. We did all we could do – and waited.

          I wish our then bishop had been honest in his dealings to begin with – and perhaps he had really said something to Biff who either didn’t relate the events with us or maybe it just didn’t fully register. 

Our bishop had said Biff’s Spirit was definitely there – but he just didn’t feel he was socially ready.  HE DIDN’T FEEL . . . I often felt that it was more laziness on my bishop’s part than it was revelation.  But that’s me.  Perhaps it is I who was wrong.
          Because Biff was unable to serve a proselyting mission, it was suggested that he fulfill a service mission – which means he would continue living at home as he served and continue working his job.

 He brought home a list of positions available – and there were a lot to choose from.  Roland tried steering him in the direction of working at a plant such as the pasta plant or dairy where he would learn a trade.  Even planting flowers on the temple ground would have helped him to prepare for a job or career – but Biff wanted the opportunity to serve with the public more and chose to usher or assist at events that would take place at Temple Square or the Conference Center.

          His confidence was built in ways that I did not understand at the time.  Others found it refreshing to have such a “young” member on their team.  He was diligent about his calling and received recognition for fulfilling his assignments and callings.  He grew in ways that I didn’t recognize at the time – but am beginning to see now.

          Interestingly enough, both of his brothers were called to Portuguese speaking missions.  Tony was called to report to the MTC (missionary training center) in Brazil at the beginning of April 2008 and Randy left for the MTC in Provo at the end of April in 2009.  He’d been called to Portugal.

          It hurt both me and Biff to see his brothers serving proselyting missions when Biff himself had been denied that opportunity. And Roland would encourage us that Biff’s mission was equally as important – often comparing missionary work to a three legged stool and asking – which is the most important leg?

          We all represented that three legged stool.  Biff on his service mission, Tony and Randy proselyting in Portuguese, and Roland and I as the ward missionaries who worked with the full time proselyting missionaries   In addition to our two missionary farewells, our family had been called upon at least three times to give missionary themed talks in Sacrament meeting (a meeting for the entire congregation)

          Before Jenna started reading, I looked for graphics so that she could memorize the talks that she gave and Roland and I would each write our own.  Sometimes the boys spoke in addition – but not always.

          Roland and I served in our church calling for about three and a half to four years before we were released and then the ward boundaries were changed and the ward got a new bishop.  He was the bishop who sent out Randy. 
          Each of us has had experiences that have made us grow.  Each of us has learned to appreciate the others’ position even more. For in order for a three legged stool to function properly, all three legs are required.

* PROSELYTING: Evangelizing; doing mission work. Unlike in Christianity, it doesn’t have a negative connotation. In Mormonism it is used in a positive sense.