Thursday, June 25, 2009

Elders, Bishop are Inspired; Changing of the Guard an Emotional Experience

Next week Elder Call will experience what only some missionaries get to experience: the transition to a new mission president. As I read his email this week, I thought back upon my own experience of seeing my first mission president, President David H.H. Chen, be replace by my second mission president, President Garry P. Mitchell. I couldn't help but pick up my journal and read from it. . .

July 2, 1980.

Today was a special mission conference --President Mitchell and his wife were there. First Sister Chahn spoke--she was so emotional she could barely speak. She just bore a quick testimony and sat down. Then President Chahn got up--he is so sai-leih [amazing]! I respect him so much! He just got up and built up President Mitchell--he talked about how great he is, and how much good he's done, and all that kind of stuff. He didn't say a thing about himself. I really love and respect President Chahn.

At the end of the conference, President Chahn stood at the door and we all walked by and shook his hand. I was the first elder to shake his hand--I said, "Thank you, President Chahn." He said, "Elder Call"--and he just looked at me for a second and said, "be successful." It hit my heart and soul so hard. "Be successful," was the last thing President Chahn said to me--the last advice he gave -- and I will follow it.

24 June 2009

Hi Dad,

Thanks for the email and don't worry about getting it to me after I already checked my email.

Last night we had another appointment with one of our investigators. This time she invited 3 friends of hers. They are all younger and RMs who served in the same mission. She has always wanted Bishop Sparrow to be there, but he was never able to make it until last night.

She still had some concerns about when she would be baptized and if it was what she really needed. We were answering her concerns and sharing scriptures with her and Elder Poppleton promised her that if we all prayed together then she would receive the "sign" that she was looking for. We all knelt down and she prayed. The Spirit was very strong. By the way she worded her prayer it was evident that she already believed the Church is true and she believed she needed to be baptized.

After a few minutes and a few more scriptures that she shared, she said that she will be baptized on 11 July! We were all very happy and all grins. She told the Bishop that he could put it on his calendar for 11 July definitely. Her husband said, "Did you watch him writing it down before when you told him the possible dates?"

"No?" she said. "What do you mean?"

"He didn't just pencil you in," her husband replied.

Bishop Sparrow said, "I wrote it in pen on the 11."

"How did you know?" she asked.

"I just knew," the bishop said.

It was pretty funny and cool.

Another of our investigators picked up smoking again. The poor man has tried so hard to quit. He is hoping to be baptized on 13 July when his other children will be up here. We are praying for him really hard.

One of the Elders in our district got here late because of the swine flu. He said that they stuck everybody in 4M on the second floor and quarantined it. Nobody was allowed up there. If you had to go there you wore masks and everybody had this breathalizer type stuff they had to take twice a day. Food was slid into the quarantined floor real quickly and the doors shut. His MTC district leader got sick and was in there for 5 days. Apparently it was just chaos and anarchy. No order whatsoever and no one in charge. They could do whatever they wanted.

Some elders got the janitors to smuggle in food from Wendy's. Well, that just made them worse and were throwing up all over the place. The janitors came very close to being fired. The sickies were staring out of the windows all day long.

I am certainly glad I wasn't there while all this was going on.

That is way cool that you will probably do the work for Nauvoo University! That is so exciting! That would be great if they ever got a family history or church history major.

Everything is going great here . President Somers leaves this weekend and President Colton comes in on July 1! We had our last Zone Conference with him last Thursday. "How Firm a Foundation" is his favorite hymn and we sing it at pretty much every meeting (all seven verses). I love that hymn too. So as the meeting was closing Pres. Somers said that we would sing "How Firm a Foundation" for the closing. He said that while we sang that at the Mission Conference with Elder Bednar, as we were transtioning from the 4th to 5th verse, Elder Bendar leaned over to Pres. Somers and asked, "Do they understand the doctrine behind these verses?"

"In full confidence I was able to tell him that you do," he said.

So we all stood up for President as we sang. It was extremely powerful. Sung with great earnestness, force, vigor, zeal , and spirit. Then as we got to the 7th verse it was sung with all that much more effort. It was astounding. Many, if not most or all, were in tears. President Somers is a man of God, a man we all love. It is sad and heart-wrenching to see him go, but exciting and anxious to have President Colton in.

Well, I think that is pretty much all from Poky West.

Thanks again for the update. Oh--next week we have P-Day on Tuesday, 30 June, because of President Colton coming in. So that is when I will be checking my email.

Elder Call


  1. Wow, this post made me laugh out loud. Not sure if he was trying to be funny about the swine flu, but it sure cracked me up. "The sickies," "chaos and anarchy" and smuggling Wendy's in.

    My favorite hymn is "How Firm a Foundation." I love it! It's so good to hear he's doing great in Poky West. Haha. :)

  2. I loved reading your journal entry Michael.

  3. That was actually me, not Azure :)

  4. Yes, Bob has always loved "How Firm a Foundation," so I think that's great that his Mission President loves it too.

    And thanks for the clarification, Denalee!