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.
Letter to Elder Glen Rudd - Part 12
Elder Christiansen reports: While on trade off we went to see an inactive man. We began talking about the spirit world and the man related this experience. For the past couple of months he had been thinking about coming back to church. Then one night he had a dream or a vision. He saw a bright light and was drawn to it, but the light was so bright that it hurt his eyes. As he went towards it he was stopped by someone; he could not tell who. They told him that he could not go into the light and neither could they, in essence, if he did not return to church. We were trying to decide how to get him back to church when we saw him. He now wears dark glasses because of the damage done to his eyes.
Another sister in Taranga had this experience: In a dream, I saw my parents and my grandparents; also in this dream I saw my brother and sister, all of whom had passed away. They told me that it was important for me to become active and to begin to do their temple work for them. Before the Elders came to see me, I had not been to church for over twenty-two years. All that time, my husband kept me from the church and also kept the missionaries out of our house. He has now passed away and I have had two of my children baptized. I have since done the temple work for my husband and hope that he accepts it. I know that the church is where I need to be and know that it is right.
While up in Manurewa just before Elder Maurer was leaving, he had a dream three nights is a row where he saw a family that needed to be baptized. He could not see the faces in the dream but he said it was exactly the same experience each night. He told us this and it was not until three weeks later that this all fell into place.
We tracted out a Fijian lady and her family and by the third visit she desired to be baptized. She said that just before we came, she knelt in prayer and fervently asked Heavenly Father to help her find truth. She saw a light and was told to be baptized.
She was having lessons with the Jehovah Witnesses, but didn’t feel good about it. She asked them to baptize her but was told that she would have to wait for three years.
The first thing she said to us after we taught her the first time was what did she need to do to get baptized. It was a spiritual and a beautiful experience teaching her; the spirit was immensely strong. She had had her experience during her prayer, the same time that Elder Maurer had his dreams. Sister Tania Sadaraka
Sister Joan Bowen is seventy-one years old and was baptized on the last day of November. Before she was baptized she had read the Book of Mormon and the Articles of Faith . In less than a month and a half she has read the Doctrine and Covenants , Pearl of Great Price, Gospel Principles, the Relief Society manual and other church magazines. All this reading was not just reading, but studying and cross referencing. She has been called as the Relief Society first counselor and to top it off, she has paid her tithing for a year in advance.
Another woman was reactivated after talking with the missionaries. She had seen her dead mother in dream, telling her that she needed to get her life in order and become active in the church. She had seen the vision several times but didn’t understand what it meant. She then suffered a serious accident which helped her overcome some of the obstacles keeping her from church. Now she is an active member in the church.
One family we went to see lived in the country and hadn’t seen anyone for a while. We told them we had traveled a long way to give them a message from their father. We were invited in and delivered our message, explaining to them the need for the work to be done for their fathers. We kneeled and had a prayer. As we arose they had tears in their eyes and said that they knew every word we had spoken was true. The mother also felt the presence of her father.
One night as we were driving home we felt impressed to stop at an inactive’s house. We had previously stopped there but never found her home. The promptings were strong and as we knocked, she finally answered the door. She told us that we had come in answer to her prayers, she wanted us to help her get back to the temple so she could do her genealogy work.
We have talked to many other individuals who have had similar experiences. The message seems to be almost always the same. Please do our work for us in the temple. This appeal is not to members of the church only but to non-members also. Elder David Allred
Elder and Sister Felt report: We have given many, many of the Fathers Presentations to our inactive members and other contacts. Every time they have felt the spirit, shed tears, and bore witness of the truthfulness of the gospel. It has touched their hearts, especially those inactive members. We have many people tell of visitations and dreams concerning the dead. It’s a great work. We are amazed at the progress of the work. Seems we are led by the hand to those waiting and ready.
The missionaries are having more of a desire to put the three missions of the church into one. They know that time is short and are doing all they can. There have been a lot of spiritual experiences going on. Miss Swann saw in a vision a temple built on her property on a hill. She said that it would be built there before she passed away. She has also seen her mother-in-law, who told her to do her genealogy work and to go back to church.
Elder Anderson reports: There have been a few experiences that have happened since I have been here. As the Fathers Presentation is under gone, we can get in the homes and the people will listen. I would like to share an experience’ with you.
There was a lady named Sara Pehi and she was listening to the missionaries and she wanted to be baptized. The next day the husband found out and he did not want her to be baptized. The missionaries talked with him and began to explain the Fathers Presentation to him. By the time the missionaries were ready to leave, the husband wanted to be baptized also. Now the family has joined and become strong in the Lord’s church.
As we meet people, first time contacting, we talk to them of their ancestors and in spite of their feelings about the church, they respect their dead and that gives us the opportunity to share the gospel with them. For example an older lady who had had the missionaries in her home for a few years and still avoided their efforts, changed as we talked about genealogy. She had invited us in for five minutes. She had done some genealogy before, but had stopped when things began to get difficult.
As we talked she shared with us pictures and scriptures that she enjoyed. We talked with her about her late husband and about the importance of doing work for the dead. I asked her if her husband had ever visited her. She said that he had but that she could never figure out what her was trying to say to her. We explained to her the Fathers Presentation and showed her what he was trying to say to her. We made a return appointment to teach her and asked her to pray. We also made arrangements for someone to help her with her genealogy work. Elder J.J. Ahlers