Thursday, July 6, 2017

Email #43 - Inviting God's Children to Come Home

July 3, 2017
Montgomery, Alabama

HEYY! FAMILY HOW ARE YOU??? I've heard so many good things this week. I love it! Sounds like you all are just livin' life! This week in Alabama was an insane one to say the least. So as you know, I got transferred to Montgomery and wow. This place is just the greatest! It's so different than anywhere I've ever been before. It's basically like a foreign country. But from what I've seen it's going to be a blast down here. I love it! So I have a few experiences for you.

First off, I want to share a little part of the email I received from my mission president this week. He shares this very amazing experience that Elder Holland tells at the MTC.

Elder Holland related the following story in the MTC last week that I would like to share with you about a young man from southern Idaho. "One night the young man stormed out of the house and set off to join an infamous motorcycle gang. He succeeded in that resolve and for 20 years became immersed in a culture “of temptations yielded to and degradations explored,” never contacting his parents, who feared that he was dead.

Eventually ending up in Southern California, he one day was sitting on the porch of a rented home when he saw two LDS missionaries making their way up the street.

“With a rush of memory and guilt, regret and rage, he despised the very sight of them, but he was safe, because he kept all visitors at bay by employing two Doberman Pinschers who viciously charged the gate every moment that anyone came near.”

The dogs startled the missionaries as they passed by and continued on, “our man on the porch laughing at the lovely little drama he had just witnessed, wishing only that the gate hadn’t restrained his two dogs.”

Then, the two elders stopped, looked at each other, conversed a little, “likely said a silent prayer,” then turned around and approached the gate.

“The Dobermans on cue charged the gate again, hit it, snarling, frothing, and then stopped in their tracks,” Elder Holland said. “They looked at the missionaries, dropped their heads, ambled back to the front steps and lay down.”

The man on the porch was speechless as they missionaries opened the gate, walked up the path and greeted him.

“One of the elders said, ‘Are you from this part of California?’

“The man said, ‘No. If you want to know, I’m from Pocatello, Idaho.’

“There was a pause. ‘That’s interesting,’ the elder said. ‘Do you know the [such-and-such] family in Pocatello?’

“With a stunned look, our biker paused, and then, in very measured words, said, ‘Yeah, I know them. They are my parents.’

“ ‘Well, they’re my parents too,’ the missionary said. ‘God has sent me to invite you to come home.’ ”

The younger brother had been born after the older boy had left home. The elder brother did not even know of him.

“Mom and Dad have been praying for you every morning and night for 20 years,” the younger brother said. “They were not sure you were alive, but they knew if you were, that someday you would come back to us.”

The wayward son invited the two in, and they talked for the rest of the day and some of the night. He did return home, returned to Church activity and, in March 2015, was married and sealed in the Boise Idaho Temple.

Commenting on the account, Elder Holland said, “This is a story of the role of Almighty God, the Savior of the World, and the Holy Ghost involved in the work of the ministry to which we’ve been called.

“The Holy Ghost prompted those parents to keep praying, to keep believing, to keep trusting. … The Holy Ghost inspired that rebellious boy to come to himself like the prodigal he was and to head for California. … The Holy Ghost influenced that younger son to serve a mission and be willing to accept a call to Southern California. … The Holy Ghost inspired one of my brethren in the Twelve, who was on the assignment desk that Friday, to trust his impression and assign that young man for service not a great distance from his native-born state. The Holy Ghost inspired that mission president to assign that young missionary to that district and that member unit. The Holy Ghost led those missionaries to that street, that day, that hour, with big brother sitting on the porch waiting, and, with Doberman Pinschers notwithstanding, the Holy Ghost prompted those to elders to stop, talk and in spite of their fear, to go back and present their message. …

“And, through the elders, the Holy Ghost taught repentance and brought true conversion to one coming back into the fold.”

Elder Holland said the young elder, without realizing it, gave the greatest missionary speech of all time, when he said to his brother, “God has sent me here to invite you to come home.”

“We are sent by God to invite His children home,” Elder Holland concluded. “We do that through the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, on the strength of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Welcome to the divine companionship.”

No matter who we are, whether we are missionaries or members, we all have the responsibility to invite God's children to come home. I found this story extremely powerful and amazing. When we trust in the Lord and are obedient, He will bless us. Relying on the Lord is vital.

Also, I had an amazing experience the other day. We had an appointment to have a lesson with an investigator in a members home and the investigators daughter was in the hospital so she ended up not being able to make it. So we talked to the member and she still wanted us to come visit. So we went by and visited for a while and she asked me, "Are you by chance related to Elder Featherstone who was in the Quorum of the Seventy?" I responded, "Yes! He is my grandfather!" She then went on to tell me about how when he would come to the South to visit he stayed at her house several times, and how they were able to have some meaningful conversations. I was speechless. The fact that I can come and serve the same people that my grandfather once served down here is amazing. She told me, "I remember one time your grandfather just made himself at home and insisted to do the dishes after dinner. It was such a great example to me." It's almost like doing family history while on your mission! I love it!

So this week was a great one! I've really loved it so far here in Montgomery! It's such a great place! But thank you all for your thoughts and your support. I love you all! I hope you have a great week and are able to invite those around you to come back to the fold of God. I'm praying for you all! Have the greatest week!

Strength and Honor
Elder Noah Featherstone

                  The Rock Steady Boxing Crew

 Messick and Sons (Get it? He was our trainer? *Ba dum tss*)

The hysterical side bump picture with Elder Power

The MTC Squadron

The Classic Transfers picture with Elders Fotu, and Heer

Random homie on the street selfie picture

Tracting! WOOT WOOT! 

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