February 4, 2014
We attended our second No More Strangers fireside on February 2nd. We were lucky, because 4 out of the 6 scheduled firesides were cancelled because of snow and ice-storms! Bummer! I love those firesides! President and Sister Holm usually speak, a member of the Stake Presidency speaks, and the rest of the hour is taken by recent converts to the church. The whole fireside only lasts an hour, but it is a great night of testimony and fellow-shipping.
One talk that really stood out to me this time was given by a guy who is about 37 years old. He was actually born and raised in Utah. At the age of 17, he rebelled and ran away to South Carolina. He said, "I basically ran away from the church." He said, "I went to South Carolina because I knew there were no Mormons there." :o)
About 20 years down the road, things were no going well in his life. "Everything was falling apart," he said. He knew in his heart, that he needed to go back to church. He no sooner made that known, when a pair of missionaries appeared on his doorstep. They re-taught him the Gospel, and this time, he was ready for it and knew that it would be a blessing in his life. He was re-baptized into the church in January. I think he has a ways to go before he regains confidence, but in time, I think he will be a marvelous testimonial to the truthfulness of the Gospel and the way it blesses lives.
Sister Holm spoke of a family who moved to SC from Tennessee. The missionaries happened by while they were moving in and helped them. After the move-in, they taught them a lesson at President and Sister Holm's home. At the end of the lesson, they asked a nine-year-old son to pray - asking Heavenly Father if they should be baptized. At the end of his prayer, he stood up and asked his parents' permission. He said, "I know God wants me to be baptized in this church." :o)
President Shurtliff spoke last. He stood up and said, "Tonight, I'd like to talk about my father." I'm sure that everyone there thought, as I did, that he was going to tell us about his father. Many of us have great dads who have taught us many things. But then Presiden Shurtliff said, "He's your Father too." He then proceeded to explain the Plan of Salvation - plain and simple. Great talk! I love President Shurtliff!