Thursday, August 13, 2009

No longer Strangers! August 13, 2009 Mission Update

No longer Strangers!

Sister Heaton and I have been hard at work. Many of the things that go on in a mission become a bit repetitious after a time. We are in the process of finishing up our second set of Zone Conferences. I believe that we are finally becoming somewhat familiar with what the Lord wants us to do. I love this scripture that President Eyring used in his First Presidency Message this month.

“For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?” (Mosiah 5:13)..

It is as though we are beginning to know the Lord and what His work is as He uses us for His purposes and we humble ourselves to His command. I was talking to an African man the other day that was very familiar with the difference between Christians and Muslims. He being a Christian man that had been raised around both said, “the difference between Christians and Muslims is that Muslims are slaves to God while Christians are His sons and daughters. I thought that was profound! We have an inheritance of the Lord as we work in His kingdom as sons and daughters where a slave is nothing but an indentured servant.

We go to our District Meetings every week to plan for the week and hear each other’s reports. We talk about our experiences and how people are progressing. We set times for baptisms and follow-up lessons. This is a wonderful place for missionary work. Of the entire mission the Oakland area is by far the easiest to talk to people and teach the gospel. The outlying areas are a little more affluent and not as receptive to the Lord’s messengers.

One of the things we have really enjoyed is on the 2nd Monday of the month all of the Senior Missionaries get together for what is termed a family home evening. There are about 12 sets of missionaries and usually the Mission President and Temple President and their wives attend. This is a nice intimate group setting. We have various speakers come and usually have a nice dinner. This last Monday Brother Lorenzo N. Hoopes spoke. For a very nice article about him from the church news, go to:

He is now 95 years old and is an icon here in Oakland. He was here during the Patti Hurst ordeal with the symbianese Liberation Army fiasco and was on their hit list of people they wanted to kill. They killed one and injured another one day in the building that he had just left. He was here during the Black Panther movement and was also present at Eldridge Cleaver’s baptism into the church. Eldridge was one of the founding members. He was also here when Gladys Knight performed and brought in around 1500 referrals for the missionaries because of it. He has had a life full of service for the Church and community.

Heavenly Father continues to bless us with health and strength even though Sister Heaton struggles at times with stamina. The beauty is that as Senior Missionaries we get to take as many breaks as needed. Sister Heaton would never tell any of you this, but I will. The Missionary Medical representative for the area said that he wished that he could clone Sister Heaton about 80 times. I don’t know what that means, but I think it was a compliment.
We love you all and pray that you continue in the love of the Lord and His work wherever you are and whatever you do.

With our sincerest prayers for you,

Elder and Sister Joel & Shawn Heaton