After writing in my email last week about our 5th Sunday meeting in which the branch members seemed to have the same excuses for not visiting our less actives which we all use I got a reply from my sister who lives in a tiny branch in Texas. I wanted to send it along hoping she won’t mind because it is such a good message for each of us. Here is what she wrote.
“I can also relate to the members of the Branch who weary of trying to get their inactive members out. I, too, have had the attitude of "why keep visiting them because anything I do never does any good, they still don't come out." Then I became converted! When I was in the District Relief Society presidency, we were keeping track, BY NAME, not just numbers, of those sisters not being visited each month. I was embarrassed at one meeting to find that one of the ladies who hadn't been visited for 3 or 4 months WAS MY responsibility, my sister who I hadn't been visiting. When I was driving home from this meeting I was reflecting on this experience and was murmuring and trying to justify my non-visits. "Why should I keep going and visiting her, she is never going to come back to church. I have been her visiting teacher off and on for several years and I have never seen her come out." Then the Spirit quietly told me, "This isn't about her coming back to church it is about your obedience--your obedience in doing what you have been asked to do." Well, since then, I no longer worry whether my efforts are going to produce fruit, I make a strong effort to do my fellow shipping and 100% visiting teaching so that I can be obedient. And with the change in attitude I have a greater love toward my sisters and less fear or worry about them coming out, understanding more strongly now that each of us is judged on our own merits. I also know more firmly now that "you can't hold their hand all the time" and I am okay with that. They, too, have their choice to take or refuse but at least I am being obedient in offering.”
I love the perspective this gives. It really is about us doing our part and not worrying so much about others not doing theirs. We will only be judged on our efforts and the things we said we would do when we sustained our bishops, branch presidents and the prophet. I encourage each of you to go the extra mile in home and visiting teaching and fellowshipping the less actives (and the actives who might need an extra boost). We all need each other.
We had some interesting visitors at church yesterday. Brother and Sister Huntsman from Las Vegas were here. He served his mission here clear back in 1972-74 and then came back 16 ½ years later to baptize one of the men he taught when he was here on his mission. He was the Elder who taught the man in our branch who is paralyzed and he comes back to visit periodically. It was so interesting to hear his testimony and it sure is a testimony to never giving up on someone because we never know what will make the difference.
We have had a good week and found three more of the people on our branch list and had good visits with them. It is surprising how a loaf of bread can get you into a door or at least a visit outside. Not once have we been turned away although there is one sister we still have not had answer the door as yet. Maybe she really is gone every time we try her door. We actually visited one home and as the Elders were all getting out of the car I saw a man poke his head out the door and then shut the door when he saw us but when we went again on Sunday he actually answered the door and said we could come back another time as they were just sitting down to dinner. We have actually visited with the wife who is the member once on the porch so I think we will eventually get to visit again. We have visited with her daughter a couple of times at her home down the hill from her mom and she is very welcoming.
We saw more of the tobacco process this past week. As we drove by the barns we saw that there were men working there so stopped and actually talked to the owner and learned more of the process. It is all done by hand from the cutting of the tobacco through to the end. They chop the tobacco stock, put 6 of them on a stick and then load them onto a trailer. When they get to the drying sheds one or two men climb to the top, one in the middle and then the man on the trailer hands a stick up to the middle man who either places it on his row or hands it on up to one of the men on the upper rungs. The pictures don't show how quickly they work or put off the heat you feel in that drying shed. We were in there for probably 10 minutes and I was dripping with sweat and my sinus hurt from even smellling the tobacco. Tomorrow we should be able to get pictures of them actually cutting in the field because they are now cutting the fields closer to us instead of the ones in Kentucky. I will sent those pictures next week but below are a few more of the whole process.
The first picture is of the soy beans which they will start harvesting in October. The rest are the tobacco pictures.
Love to you all
Elder and Sister Fullmer etc.