I got back from attending our stake missionary fireside and I thought I would share some of the things I learned and feelings I felt.
I had a few "I'm not in Kansas (Utah) anymore" experiences. We have 30 full time missionaries serving in our stake. When the stake president asked them to stand up I took a look around the chapel and was overwhelmed with the spirit that these special young men and women have. It was like our own mini MTC.
Later, the stake president asked everyone to stand up who is a convert to the church. Then he asked those to stand up whose parents were converts and that's how they came into the gospel. And then onto grandparents...stand up if your grandparents were converts to the church. By this time everybody was standing up. Not kidding. The stake presidency, the bishops and branch presidents, and even a member of the Tampa Bay Florida Missions presidency stood up. There could not have been more than a dozen people still sitting. And the ones I could see sitting down were from the law school. They're probably from Utah or Idaho etc. I have never been in a place where literally almost everyone is a first or second generation member. My first thought was, " How cool." My second thought was, "I think I'm just realizing what a blessing it has been in my life to have such a rich heritage in the gospel to have my membership in the gospel go back to the pioneers." My third thought and most powerful, "Have I lived worthy of this rich heritage?"
There were nearly 600 baptisms in the Tampa Bay mission last year. In one ward last month they had 14 baptisms and 90% (I think) were brought to the missionaries through the members.
The stake president shared this story about a member in our stake: This man and his family were living in Miami at the time. One day he was walking down the street with his son Elijah. They passed by another man and began to speak with one another. They talked for a while when the other man said, "Shorty you and your family will move and you will be presented with a beautiful opportunity, and your son Elijah will do a very important work for the Lord. The man had never been told his son's name. Three months later they moved up to St. Petersberg. They rented a house whose owners happened to be members of the church. The rest is history, or the beginning of this family's story as members of the church.
The stake president said that angels all over are preparing the way if we will just open our mouths.
Have I opened my mouth lately? Have I loved and served my neighbors? When people see me, do they see a happiness to the core, a light in my eyes, that would let them know there's something different about me?
I know I feel overwhelmed most of the time raising two boys, having a husband in law school and teaching seminary, trying to keep the house clean (that's way down on the list lately), making meals for my family that are healthy but also in our budget of not much, serving in the YW presidency, reading my scriptures everyday and the Ensign every month and updating my blog:) etc.... yada yada. But, I really hope to keep the spirit of missionary work and to remember to go out of my way to love and serve and open my mouth.