Since becoming President of the Church I have felt an increased urgency for us to be engaged in this rescue effort. As faithful members of the Church have reached out with love and understanding, many have returned to full activity and are enjoying added blessings in their lives. There is yet much to do in this regard, and I encourage all to continue to reach out to rescue. Said the Lord, “When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” (Luke 22:32). (President Thomas S. Monson)
To The Rescue – Story # 1
To recount another miracle here in Vxxxx, there is a family here, the Jxxx family. The Father has been inactive for years and the wife and child are not members at all. The missionaries and the ward council have been trying for years and years to be able to teach the family. So, just like every missionary has done in the past we go over to see them, visit them and see how they’re doing. To our astonishment, the father himself sets up an appointment for us to come by and teach the family. He later said that he is ready to come back. The wife and child now have baptismal dates for mid-February. I’m not sure why the Lord blessed us with such a magnificent miracle, but I rejoice at just the thought of it. (Elder Russell)
To The Rescue – Story # 2 – The Spirit Prepares People, but We Must Invite Them to Change
Rescue Week 8 – Elder Bxxx and Elder Williams had an awesome visit with Bro. Hxxxx. Elder Williams talked to him a lot about their time in Viet Nam and what they had in common. Elder Williams thinks we should talk to the VFW about Jack and that there will probably need to be some kind of intervention to help him. Something more than we can give him.
Rescue Week 9 – We had an awesome visit with Bro. Hxxxx. He had been reading the scriptures and presented a verse in Revelation to Sister Bxxx to clarify about not adding to “this book”. He said he had a long conversation with his younger brother who lives in California and his brother told him that he needed to let his past go. He said that is what he has decided to do… let it go. He seemed more determined and focused.
He called us Saturday night and told us that he was going to church on Sunday, attending his brothers ward. We told him that we’d be there as well, and we would sit with him. He said that he’d like that. He also said that Elder Williams called him and the two of them will be doing some rock hunting in a couple of weeks. He was excited about that.
Sunday was hard on him though, spiritually. He had done some drinking before he came, supposedly to give him courage, but it had an opposite effect. He was overcome with guilt and self-consciousness because he was dressed in jeans, and a denim shirt, with a beard. He said he didn’t belong and felt out of place. With tears running down his cheeks, he said he probably would not be back but the Spirit has confirmed that he will. He felt the Spirit, which was overwhelming to him. After sacrament, he seemed to be anxious to leave but we found out later that he spent some time in Bishop Sxxx’s office, with Bishop Sxxx. We talked to his brother about our buying him a white shirt and tie but his brother had already been working on this. We have an appointment to meet with Bro. Hxxxx again this week.
Rescue Week 10 – We had another awesome visit with Bro Hxxx. He had several scriptures ready for us to interpret, as well as definitions in the dictionary. We joked a bit and he laughed a lot. He told us that he didn’t think he’d go back to church after last week but we told him that is exactly what he needed to do. Sister Bxxx told him that the first time was the hardest and that each time he went now, it would be easier and he’d be more comfortable. He said he didn’t have the clothing to go so Elder Bxxx asked him if he’d please accept a gift from us of a new white shirt and tie. He said he wouldn’t wear a tie because he doesn’t like the buttons on his shirts to go up to his neck. He reluctantly agreed to our giving him this gift. He also told us that he’d gone by the rest home to see his mother, who he hasn’t seen in 6-7 years because she has Alzheimer’s and doesn’t know who he is. He said it was a good visit and he planned on going every Sunday after church. He then clamped his hand over his mouth because he realized he’d just committed to going to church every Sunday. This was a fun moment. When we left, he said the prayer which he thanked Father in Heaven for all of his blessings and for the gospel. We took his white shirt and string tie to him on Saturday, along with a large bowl of vegetable beef soup Sister Bxxx had made. He did go to church and he said he felt like to he could forward and bear his testimony. He didn’t but he did go with a brother who was his mother’s home teacher to visit with her again.
To The Rescue – Story # 3 – When Members and Missionaries work together, Miracles Happen!
There was an elderly couple who have been less-active for years because they were offended at a ward activity some 14 years ago. They have moved up here to North Scottsdale because he has to get Chemo treatments regularly at the Mayo Clinic. They had just got back from some rehab facility and we, as well as the ward members have been trying to contact them for some time. We were to go on splits that night with the High Priests group but we ended up just going out with one (Brother Hill, Elder Stockdale, and myself). We had some appointments with members to go practice teaching but Brother Hill called us and told us to cancel them and go visit this family with them. To make a long story short, the Spirit was very strong during our visit and we were able to help move their bed into their garage so that they had more room. Elder Sxxxxx shared a great scripture from the Book of Mormon which resolved their concerns. The spirit was so strong. So we finished up they were both in tears and we offered to serve them and we were able to carry out a bed for them. Elder Miller is a giant and he basically carried the bed on his own it felt like We found out later from the relief society president that they felt such compassion from our visit and they felt the Spirit so strong that they want to start coming back to church and she said that she would be re-baptized to come back into the church. We started teaching them this week with the Restoration. Turns out her records were removed while they were in Tuscon. So she wants to get baptized again. She came to church on Sunday as well.