What of the
Sharing the Gospel
From the New Zealand Auckland Mission
Joanne and I have had the privilege of know Herschel and Shirley Pedersen for many years. We love them and have learned much of value from them. The Pedersens were blessed with much success when they served in New Zealand where Herschel was mission president from 1987-90. I have never met any couple that have more genuinely warm and lovely smiles.
With a gentle boldness born of love, Herschel Pedersen has been an instrument in the hands of the Lord in helping rescue many less active members of the Church. As a young missionary, mission president, mission representative of the Twelve, and as a senior missionary with his wife, he has had similar success in sharing the gospel.
Herschel has been reluctant to share his stories in print thinking they would invite too much attention to himself when he knows credit to the good done belongs to the Lord. Persuaded that these stories might help others go and do likewise he has agreed to their publication.
This document which will be presented in four parts was sent to Elder Glen Rudd, then a Seventy, by President Herschel N. Pedersen of the Auckland New Zealand Mission at the request of Elder Rudd. Brother Pedersen has given permission to present this on the What of the Mormons website. He reserves all rights.
Some of the New Zealand style spelling has been left intact. Some minor changes have been made to facilitate reading by Americans. Details of the Fathers Presentation will also soon be available on the website.
Dear Elder Rudd,
The enclosed experiences from the missionaries are of two kinds. There are the spiritual manifestations that have occurred and may or may not be included in the experiences of the missionaries. Most of them come in letters from the missionaries or members on a separate sheet of paper. We have not included all of them because it would be too cumbersome. However, there are 15 to 20 such experiences reported by the missionaries and members weekly. The second type of experiences are of the actual report of the missionaries. Some indicated figures and some showed the reaction of the inactives. We have also included some figures from some companionships. Most of what is in this report is from those who have been or are now Zone leaders or Assistants to the President. Some are from couples. In reading these experiences and accounts I believe I had best define some of the mission jargon or there will be confusion as to what the missionaries are saying.
The "Fathers Presentation" so frequently mentioned is a scriptural presentation I introduced when I first came. I believe it is inspired but there may be some that question that. The missionaries believe it to be inspired. It is a presentation based upon scripture designed to turn the hearts of the children to the fathers. Believing that Elijah has completed his part according to D & C 2, we use scriptures to teach the children about promises they are entitled to and the covenants made to their fathers. Each missionary makes his own presentation and we listen to it and approve. It is used to activate and retain new converts primarily. With non members it is used to get in the house and then teach the discussions.
The Elijah presentation is nothing but an approach we use to motivate people to go to the temple. Especially the inactive. It is also, used to get people to do their genealogy research. In contains many parts of the Fathers Presentation. Both are used interchangeably and mingled with the discussions. Discussion number four is where most missionaries like to combine the two.
Frequently the missionaries will refer to training or split off's with Stake missionaries. This is very successful and is initiated as a training session with the Stake, Ward or Branch missionaries. Basically, every Saturday we visit a Stake, Ward or Branch and meet at 8:00 A.M. in the morning. We have one fulltime missionary for every stake missionary. We hold a ninety-minute training session. As fulltime Mission President, that fills my assignment to train Stake missionaries. We split off, I usually go with the Stake mission President. We visit inactives, part members, and even tract. In the training session we try to give suggestions as to what they can do. Most of these suggestions are scriptural. At the end of the trade off period, usually four hours, we assemble at the chapel and have each companionship report on their experience. We make suggestions as to how they could have been more effective.
Example: Saturday a fulltime missionary and Stake missionary visited an reported hostile inactive member. After the Fathers Presentation he invited them back. As they reported and were excited about the experience, I asked them when they were going back? They had not made an appointment. So we instructed them then in all such cases to make an appointment within the next few days.
Trade offs are then scheduled through the week and we come back in about two months for another trade off, this is also referred to as a Harvest.
There are words like stat which means statistics, T.A. means trade off. Shift means transfer. I hope that the language is not confusing. We have had them typed or you would not be able to read all of them because of the hand writing and misspelled words.
Our main proselyting and activating tools are a "Fathers Presentation" as called by the missionaries which is really the mission of Elijah, by using Genealogy sheets, a family to family mission concept, and the standard teaching discussions.