Wednesday, August 31, 2011

McKay Brothers--Adding to the Church...such as Should Be Saved

The work of the kingdom finds us laboring to find souls 'that gladly receive his word and are baptized; thus adding to His church daily, such as should be saved.'  We received notice on August 8, 2011 of a family member that needed a visit if we were still in the area.  We checked our maps and found that we were just a few miles from making such a visit.  A day later and we would have been out of the Browns Valley area, on our way south towards Los Angeles.  What we found was a warm, engaging couple that eagerly welcomed us into their home, in spite of laborers working on the house.  We met Nelson and Beverly Lucas and began to engage them in conversation to find that she had been worshiping in the local LDS church for the past 20 years.  Nelson, in his late 80's is a member of the Reorganization, holding the office of Priest.  Without much hesitation Beverly announces that she desired baptism.  As quickly as this statement was made, a knock on the door brought the close friends and neighbors of the Lucas', who are member of the LDS church.  Our conversation quickly changed with no opening to address Beverly's concern.  We proceeded with a power point presentation on the redemption of Zion and its fulfillment through the seed of Joseph Smith, Jr.  All received the presentation well and we thanked our hosts for their time and were on our way.

Beverly's statement could not be shaken from our thoughts, desiring that we might be given an opportunity to meet with her again as we worked our way back north to meet other commitments.  We continued to visit about Beverly's statement and were impressed more so as each day passed.  We determined that we would drive to the Lucas home on August 26th.  As we sat in conversation, we went directly to the issue of what appeared to us as an unusual statement.  She explained that she had wanted to be baptized in the LDS church, but her husband's faith was an obstacle that had caused some division between them over the years.  We began to share on one significant point of difference; was Mary overshadowed by the Holy Ghost in conceiving the Savior, as both the Book of Mormon and the Bible taught or not?  As we began to open the word of God and the official teachings of the LDS church, tears began to course down her face as the spirit bore witness of the truthfulness of our testimony.  We told her we felt directed by the spirit to return and ask her to be baptized.  She gladly received the word and accepted the invitation to enter into the waters of regeneration.

Baptismal charge by Jim McKay
 Preparations were made to meet the Lucas' and other saints we have been ministering to in the Yuba City and Oroville areas at Collins Lake on Sunday afternoon, August 28th, at 4 p.m.  We had made a visit to the lake to determine a good spot, which we did find.  We were told there would be a $12 fee for each vehicle.  When we arrived on Sunday, prepared to pay for three vehicles, we were told there would be no charge.  We had prayed that such would be the case. Now, for the second time on this mission trip, God had moved upon the hearts of others and opened the way, giving us a testimony of His hand in this work.

Beverly Lucas baptized by Patrick McKay
Eight of us gathered, "Afar in Old Judea" was sung, prayer by Elder Lyn Wixom, and remarks by Seventy Jim McKay were spoken in charging our sisters as to the nature and authority of that which was about to transpire.  We walked to the waters edge as Seventy Patrick McKay, taking Beverly in hand, entered into the water and performed this sacred ordinance.

Confering of the Holy Ghost to Beverly Lucas
After changing and then returning to the Lucas home, Patrick delivered a charge centering on the gift of the Holy Ghost.  We laid our hands upon her head and Seventy Jim McKay spoke the long awaited words of joy, 'receive ye the Holy Ghost'. Priest Nelson Lucas closed our service with prayer.  There were tears of joy by those gathered.

We returned on Monday, August 29th to administer the sacrament and set brother Nelson apart to strengthen him in his ministry.  Brother Patrick spoke and administered the emblems to the four of us.  With tears of joy, sister Beverly shared that she had heard that prayer of blessing for 20 years, wondering what it would be like to partake.  Her testimony is, "it was worth the wait." Brother Nelson gave expression to what this meant to him, his relationship with Beverly and that his work was not done.  Brother Jim spoke words of counsel and encouragement to brother Nelson as the hands of both Seventy were placed upon his head, challenging him to step forward, responding to the ministry he had been called to many years before.

Our testimony is that the Lord blesses His servants as they go forth to declare His name and the hope of His Kingdom.  Please remember this family that the Holy Spirit will visit them, encouraging and ministering to their needs.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Gary Metzger--Work in Peru and Brazil

The August 2011 trip began with a 2 ½ hour delay in the flight from KC to Houston, but by God's grace the person who sat next to me was also going to Lima (the only other one on the plane) and he had a cell phone. When we landed, he had a message that told us our next flight had been delayed and was leaving in 25 minutes! Seventy Elias Martinez was scheduled to travel with me, but unforeseen circumstances prevented him from going to Lima with me at the last minute. I arrived in Lima at 12:45 am on Saturday, and our non-member contact, David Custodio, was still there, and had waited for 2 ½ hours. We quickly developed a friendship which we had built by internet over the prior 2 months. He had received literature from us and had already studied it. He was an elder, who was the teacher of the quorum of elders in the Mormon Church in Callao, Peru.
David, his mother and I, attended the Mormon Church where she lives; and we were introduced to various persons. The missionary elders made an appointment to visit us on Tuesday afternoon, but they did not come.
On Monday afternoon, David's brother and a friend came over. David took the initiative to teach them a class from the scriptures with many insights. With all the many contacts he had been sharing with, his preparation in the word of God and the obvious gifts he had in ministry, I began praying about priesthood and kept in communication with Nathan Sherer about that topic.
After a few days of review of the topics that separated the two churches, on Wednesday he agreed to be baptized and wanted to raise up the work of the restoration. I stayed in his mother's house, and it served well to be able to share with his sisters and nieces, who often were there as well. That afternoon one of his nieces and I were singing hymns that I recognized from their hymnal while a lady, Flor, was visiting with David's mom. Shortly, Flor came over and asked for prayers for her son, who lived with one of David's sisters, Sirley (in the photo below).
That night, David and I spoke with his new bride from Mexico, who was still in Mexico. She was being plagued with demonic appearances during each night, which began the same day I arrived in Peru; even her mom saw them in their house. But the demons never touched David's wife.
David asked me to offer ministry to her on-line and we spoke of the power of prayer and fasting when our hearts were set upon the Lord. The three of us committed to pray fervently and to fast on Thursday morning as well. She was blessed and had them no more.
Thursday about 11:00 am we left for the beach…to have David's baptism. We timed a wave, and we rejoiced at his new life. That afternoon we studied the functioning of a branch and the responsibilities of the local priesthood. He rejoiced at learning the importance of the Aaronic offices, which are not utilized the same way in the Mormon church. That evening we had his confirmation.
On Friday, morning I awakened to the impress of the Spirit that David was already functioning in the office of elder and was prepared for the call. So I wrote Nathan and he confirmed that his call had been impressed upon him earlier in the week. During the day David and I helped move some of Sirley's furniture into their home. It gave us a chance to begin to share while in the truck. That evening I presented to David his call and he was desirous to serve. We planned for a Sunday afternoon ordination service. David then shared some insights of the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10) with Jesus being the Good Samaritan, and tending to the wounds of those buffeted by Satan, and Jesus "having compassion" healing by oil and wine likened to His spirit and blood. Very interesting.
Children, Mother, Sister

On Sunday, David needed to go into Callao in the morning. Meanwhile, his mother and I met for church and shared scripture and sang unto the Lord. She was glad to meet with us, and had agreed to let David begin holding services in her house. Later, the family arrived and we had Sunday School with his four nieces.

It was the beginning of a ministry that David is going to provide each week in the future. While David was in Callao, he attended his old Mormon ward. Afterwards, he shared some of the tracts we had just created and copied the night before with about five of his friends, who had gathered around him. They were asking about the Restoration seventy in his house and our version of the Book of Mormon, which David had.
Ordination of David to Elder
While waiting for David to return from Callao, I was able to share with Sirley and encourage her, and she was touched by the Spirit in her heart to move closer to God. That evening, a blessed week of ministry ended with the ordination service of our new brother David as an elder, with the assurance that his many contacts and deep desire to share the truth will bring new fruit to the vineyard.

I left Peru late Sunday evening, and flew by way of Buenos Aires, Argentina, since it was the most economical flight to Brazil. That enabled me to visit that afternoon with an interested Mormon elder, who Bob Moore and I have been writing for over a month. He was very interested in the Restoration movement and continuing of the church through Joseph Smith, but was unwilling, at this point, to submit to rebaptism. We had a very good visit.
Lucinaldo (left), Pedro (right) and Gary
I left the next day for Rio de Janeiro to visit our member Lucinaldo da Mata Bezerra. He met me at the airport with a friend named Pedro. Pedro had had a headache and backache for two weeks. That first evening I administered to him, and he experienced no pain for the remainder of my nine-day visit.
While I was there, Lucinaldo and I were able to accomplish the translation and editing of six tracts, and a few other works from Spanish into Portuguese.
On Sunday morning, Lucinaldo and I had church service together and we served each other communion, since he hadn't partaken in over two years. We sang together and shared scripture. The words of one of the songs brought the sweet spirit to both of us, and we wept. That was so encouraging, since Lucinaldo normally does not attend service, being the only member in Brazil.
That night, we went to visit some Mormon friends of his, who were interested in the Reorganization. We had a one hour study, in which I was blessed to basically understand their Portuguese; and they were able to mostly understand mine! It was the first time I ministered in Portuguese with very little help.
We pray that the work can now grow as Lucinaldo has hundreds of copies of six tracts with which to evangelize. We still need to prepare the Book of Mormon in Portuguese for the future. There are great opportunities for the work in South America. Thank you for your prayers for a solid foundation for the work.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Seventies Declare Book of Mormon Divinity and Prophetic Message

Saturday evening, August 20, Seventies Jim and Patrick McKay shared the divine nature of the Book of Mormon through personal testimony and a powerpoint presentation on "The Book of Mormon, A Dynamic Unfolding Model of Revelation and a Harbinger of Things to Come."  The Lord opened the door for the use of the Upland California, Community of Christ building to share this message.  Nine member of the Community of Christ attended, and by their own testimony, they had not heard a message of this nature in many many years.  Aso attending and lending support were brother and sister Essary.  Sunday morning we ministered in the Long Beach Restoration Branch.  A small gathering, with some member away for the week end.  We spoke of the promise to the seed of Joseph Smith and the fulfillment to the work that is just before us as well as sharing in testimony of the manifestations of the spirit that are accompanying the work in Africa and Cuba. We shared in an afternoon of fellowship and would ask the saints to remember this small group as they strive to remain faithful and seek the guidance and direction of the Lord.

We continue to press the work forward as we travel and share with scattered, isolated saints and those that would be saints.  We have re-engaged one saint in the work and have made a second visit to support, encourage and witness to the non-member spouse.  There are 3 others that we believe in time will enter the waters of baptism, so we are encouraged that as we all go forth in the name of Jesus to build up His Kingdom, signs and wonders will follow is servants.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Jim & Patrick McKay California Trip July 25 – August 15, 2011

This is a brief summary of our activities thus far (we have 3 weeks remaining and solicit the continued prayers of the saints).

Thus far we have made 33 home visits and 5 phone visits, unable to meet in person, 6 preaching assignments, 4 of which have taken place in the Church of Jesus Christ, 2 special testimonies in the same group, administered the sacrament twice, administered to the ill once and one baptism and confirmation.  Of note, during the administration of the sacrament to one sister, who had received it a year ago for the first time in almost 25 years, her joy was deeply penetrating.  Perhaps we have taken some of our opportunities to casually.  We received notice this morning from a sister who had a dream where she saw her husband re-energized in his ministry, baptizing his son-in-law and two grandsons, with the McKay boys laying on hand for the reception of the Holy Ghost. 

This is a family that has been isolated for many years and each of the last 3 summers we have sought to minister to their needs.  We have found a brother that is elderly and occupying in the office of Priest, having no contact with the church for 20 years, not knowing that there was one within an hours drive.  We have arranged for periodic ministry to come to him and his companion.  Of course our joy became full on Sunday as we baptized a 33-year member of the Utah Mormon Church.  Please remember our new sister in your prayers as she begins a new life in Christ Jesus.

We remember our brothers and sister in the center place and encourage all to be instant in season, giving a reason for the hope that is within us.

Your servants in Christ, Jim and Patrick

Jim Noland Trip to Belle, Missouri

Our summer 2011 trip to Belle, Missouri has been a very exciting and encouraging mission. There is now established a mission of 8 adults and 3 children. 4 are members and 7non-members! We anticipate baptisms from this group and pray for a priesthood call! We labored long and diligently to find the scattered saints in the area and still have hopes that more of our contacts will join this group.

Some members are in other churches including some of the priesthood members. Through administration a dear lady saint is able to walk without her cane and pain in her legs. We are continuing our efforts there and have scheduled other seventy and priesthood to bring ministry. God is moving to find his sheep! Praise to Him for His great plan of salvation and for His Zion.

Monday, August 15, 2011

"Helps" from George Knotts

See the site  for 'helps' with your own missionary endeavors for Jesus Christ.  The site is moving up in the rankings because of the number of visits it has received.  George would say, "Blessed again, I had help."

Ron Smith in the Northwest

I returned from Cameroon after a four-day wait in Douala for a plane. After a couple weeks at home in Lamoni, I flew to the Northwest. I preached at the Salem, Oregon branch yesterday (Sunday) morning. In the afternoon, I accompanied several of the Saints on a wonderful picnic at the Silver Falls State Park to the south of Silverton. As we were walking back to our cars, we met a large Ukrainian family singing Christian songs such as "Our God is an awesome God" in Russian. We joined them and had a super time singing in our respective languages songs of praise to the Lord. It turned out that three of the principal members of the group work in the same Walmart as the pastors mother, and they know each other! In the evening, many of the members gathered to hear testimonies of the Lord's work in these days. George and Jeanette Thomas were there, and we had a wonderful time sharing for a couple of hours. Tomorrow (Tuesday) the Vancouver Reunion begins in Washington, and I will be going there to share in campfires and any way that I can. I am looking forward to George and Jeanette being there too.

Steve DeVera & Bill Leutzinger at Maine Reunion

Seventies Steve DeVera & Bill Leutzinger traveled to provide ministry at the first Maine Reunion of the group led by Seventy Gary Wilson.  It was a small gathering of about fourty Saints, yet, the Lord blessed them richly.  Two adults, one who attended the reunion and one who was just visiting, were so moved upon by the Spirit that they were baptized.  The sister visiting received an additional special blessing during her baptism of the Holy Ghost where she felt more hands on her head than those of the elders physically present.  The reunion was a marvelous, uplifting experience for all.

Jim & Patrick McKay's Missionary Travels in California

Yesterday, Sunday Aug. 7 we put on a presentation here in Chico, California. The Book of Mormon, a Dynamic Unfolding Model of Revelation and a Harbinger of Things To Some. The group was small, but some individuals were new faces that we hope will find a place in the restoration branch here. The message was well received. We received quite a blessing when I went to pay the funeral home director the agreed upon fee of $300, which was a discount from the normal $500 for two hours of usage, he told me there would be no charge. Is the Lord mindful of us in all of our needs? I'll let you answer. We continue to move throughout the state, meeting today with a family in the Oroville area to help strengthen what we have established over the past two summers. We rejoice in your prayerful support and ask for continued prayers for the remaining 4 weeks that are before us. We have each now preached twice in the Church of Jesus Christ (Bickertonites). We look forward to eventually working our way back to Southern California. We still need doors opened to share the Book of Mormon presentation in their churches in both Modesto and the Los Angeles areas. We have had a door open in the Rancho Cucamonga area of the Community of Christ, that will allow us to give this presentation in their congregation.

Exciting News!