Sunday, December 7, 2014

Hastening the work

            We finished the second round of conferences for this year so today we were able to visit a branch for the first time in two or three months.  I’d like to describe the experience for you, it is common here in our mission, and perhaps for you as well.  Or maybe you have always been in a ward and you won’t recognize this
            When we arrived just in time to start, there were about 10 people in the room.  By the time the meeting was over the number had grown to 21 including children.  It is Fast Sunday, so we had the opportunity to bear testimony, but after everyone except President Warne had gone, it was only 10:45.  He spoke for about ten minutes and we ended early.  However, even though the group was small, the Spirit was strong, 
            Eight people attended Sunday School including me and the two elders assigned to the branch.  President went to visit a member who is very ill.  I tried to participate as best I could with my limited Spanish.  For the third hour we only changed teachers; not enough people to hold separate meetings.  Both Sunday School and the combined class were well-taught and inspirational.

            This isn’t meant to be a depressing scenario, but a window into many of our small branches.  These are faithful saints who do their best under difficult conditions.  For example, the chorister for Sacrament Meeting also said the closing prayer, and then taught Primary.  To me the message is that we should be grateful for our own circumstances, but we should also find ways to help wherever we can.  Our constant hope is that with hard-working missionaries, these branches will grow to become strong wards and stakes.  That outcome is hard to see after a visit like today's but when I see the members persevering under difficult circumstances, I realize I need to exercise more faith and work harder to make the vision reality.  You can help also wherever you are and whatever your circumstances.

North American missionaries going home.  With the Latins, we said good-bye to 25 missionaries.

A great experience to meet the family of this elder.  We had a fun breakfast.

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