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 4
A long ago experience from a sister in the church from Thames. She never signed the sheet but I know her by her first name. She attended the funeral of her twenty-one year old cousin. While at the graveyard they decide to clean the grave spot of the grandfather. It was run over by weeds and had not had care for some time. When they finished the job they held prayer. She offered the prayer because she was the only one that belonged to any church and had been taught to pray. After the prayer the following happened:
gA glimmer of white appeared on the headstone. As we watched, more white appeared and kept getting brighter. All the relatives started to get scared and hollered, Weird, itfs freaking out, far out. Then the whole headstone turned white. A message was given that was inscribed to get their genealogy done in a certain time frame.h She then explained what the necessary work was, having been taught the Fathers Presentation by the missionaries. There were about twenty people who witnessed this event.h
President Pedersen reports from the mission home: Mutu Whihongi was excommunicated twelve years ago. His wife had been trying to reactivate him, but had no success. She was invited to bring the family and the father to the Mission home. In just twenty minutes he was instructed with just three scriptures and told that the work must be done. He was invited to go to the Presidentfs office and pray about it right then. He came out in about five minutes and has been active ever since. He gets up at 4:00 AM and goes about activating his family while waiting for approval from the First Presidency of reinstatement. He has reactivated over 100 inactive relatives while waiting. He is using our family-to-family approach.
Foli Nye, a Samoan High Priest, was excommunicated five years ago and the entire family was inactive. Bishop Thompson, in accompaniment of President Pedersen, were able to activate Foli in one visit in less than thirty minutes and he is waiting for reinstatement through the church judicial system.
Sister Sadaraka and Sister Kimball reported the following experiences from Mangere township: They went to see an inactive mother. She had been hostile for years, she had also been a widow for years. She was not receptive, so they asked her if they could come back and tell her about her husband and what he was doing. They made an appointment and returned on that day. They explained from the scriptures the spirit world and how the dead were taught. They then explained the sealing necessary in the temples and bore their testimony. Her heart was softened and she invited them back. When they returned she had fasted and prayed and had seen her husband in a dream praying for her to become active and get the temple work done. She is now sealed in the temple.
Sisters Sadaraka, Kimball and McNeely had this experience with Ruth, a Fijian Indian Muslim: They had visited her twice and made a Fathers Presentation and told her about the mission of Elijah. They began teaching the discussions and the Jehovah Witnesses came by and taught her all kinds of opposing doctrine, and told her she would only go to hell if she listened to the Mormons.
In her confusion she fasted and prayed and was told to ask the missionaries what to do. She saw a bright light and the words gbe baptizedh kept repeating in her mind. The missionaries returned that evening and she asked them what she should do. They said, gBe baptized,h and she was baptized and has since brought eleven more people into the church.
In Whangerei, the entire zone reports many great experiences. Matthew Cowley was seen and Brother Whitehare has been out visiting his inactive relatives everyday for three months. The message Matthew Cowley gave to him was that he had not been received too kindly in the spirit world because he had not done enough for the dead when he was mission president. He told the older brother that he had a very short time to get all of his relatives active and through the temple. There are three separate reports of Matthew Cowley appearances.
Elder Gale reports this very simple experience from Whangerei: He went to visit an inactive Elder—once a temple patron. The father told him he had no use for the missionaries because they cared only about baptizing little kids and moving on. He told them he was not going to let them baptize his kids. Elder Gale then apologized for any harm the missionaries may have done. He then told him he loved him and that the Lord loved him. The father came to church on the next Sunday and was back to the temple within a month.
In Whangarei, the missionaries have activated over 150 individuals in the last six weeks alone and baptized 30. One baptism was a result of the family-to-family concept. There were 120 family members at the baptism and approximately 50 were nonmembers. The baptismal candidate bore his testimony to the family and his inactive brother will be going to the temple in June. He has taken the lead and pledged 100 family baptisms this year from his own family membership and extended family.
In Gisborne Elders Snow and Gledhill went to visit an inactive family. When they got there the mother literally backed away in fear. She had a very sick child and no transportation. She then remembered that the Elders often administered to the sick. However, being inactive she did not know their number and was ashamed to ask an active member. So she prayed and promised the Lord that she would repent and become active if he would send the Elders to administer to the baby. She just arose from praying when the Elders knocked on the door.From Gisborne another incident with Elders Snow and Gledhill: an inactive family had a son in the hospital. He was nine years old and had become paralyzed from the waist down. The doctors had been ineffective and many tests had been taken. Upon hearing the situation the Elders called on the family and gave them the Fathers Presentation and then took the parents to the hospital. They administered to the boy and he sat up in bed and walked with a bad limp. The doctors kept him in the hospital the rest of the night and released him the next day. He is doing fine now and walks perfectly with no sign of past trouble.