Friday, February 5, 2016

Elder Olson's experience

Our's is church that cares about each member - even those who are no longer attending.  We have encouraged our missionaries to visit these "no longer active Mormon's" whenever they have a few minutes.  Sometimes the missionaries can bring the Holy Spirit back to a family in need.  This is one of those experiences.

From Elder Olson:
A few months ago, my companion Elder Orchard and I were looking through the ward lists for less-active members to visit. We found a name that had 2 members, and an 18 year old daughter that hadn't been baptized. They lived on the same street as some investigators we were teaching so we decided to drop by on the way to a lesson with them. When we got to the door, they said "Oh it's the missionaries.." through the window but they decided to open the door. An older gentleman came out and greeted us, and we began to contact him. As we talked, he told us that he had been inactive for the better part of 13 years, and had no desire to return to the church. Elder Nielsen had recently visited our mission, and told us that we should try asking the members if we could practice the lessons with them. So, that's what we did! We asked the brother if we could practice teaching the lessons with him, and he accepted. We put a date to go back one morning, and then went to teach another family.

Finally the day came to go back and visit them. We went back, and started by getting to know them a little bit better. Turns out, the father had been a Stake Counselor, Ex-Missionary, and had worked in the church school Benemerito. His wife had been an Ex-Relief Society President, and had held several other callings in the church. They quit going because they felt like their callings were consuming their lives, and they didn't have enough time for their families. Over time their testimonies that once had been very strong, started to weaken. We invited them to pray, and they accepted but weren't willing to personally offer it. My companion and I would say them to start and finish the lessons. They would answer our questions honestly, but never really wanted to open up. As we got to know them more, we realized one of their best friends in the ward was the bishop! They started to ask about their family and how they were doing, and we were able to schedule a family night with the bishop and his family.

We kept teaching them for several months, and it felt like we were making no progress. We thought we were feeling the Spirit strongly in the lessons, and that we were seeing a change in their lives, but they still couldn't find the desire to return to the church. Last Sunday, I woke up super sick. We have Sacrament meeting last, and we planned on just going to take the sacrament and see who went of our investigators. We showed up a little late, and hurried and sat in the back. We were just listening to the messages, and we saw a family we didn't know. We texted the first counselor to ask who they were, and he sent us back a message that we never expected. "The C. family. They showed up today by themselves."

The feelings that my companion and I experienced this day were amazing. It is something I will never forget.

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