Monday, August 3, 2015

"Meet the Mormons" Playing in Homes and Hearts Near You

By Rodger Dean Duncan

In addition to working with community leaders and Church members, we continue to teach the missionary lessons at every opportunity. We are especially encouraged by the faith and commitment of one of our new investigators. More on that in coming weeks.

Stephen was already overjoyed by his baptism, then was
overcome by the surprise appearance of his friend Katie
who's been so instrumental in his conversion.
Another Baptism

On Saturday we attended the baptism of a young man (he’s 25, so that qualifies as “young”). His name is Stephen. He’s very bright. But by his own acknowledgement he hasn’t always been wise. Fortunately, he recently decided to let God help him turn his life around. Stephen was cheered along the way by his friend Katie. He and Katie worked together in Houston a couple of years ago. Katie is a Latter-day Saint, and returned from her own missionary service in April. She now lives in Provo, Utah. A few weeks ago, when he was feeling especially discouraged, Stephen decided to call his friend Katie. Over the telephone, she taught him how to pray. She helped him understand that he’s a precious child of God who has value and potential. He agreed to see the missionaries here in the Waco area. Since that first meeting, he has devoured everything he’s been taught. He is excited by the good news of the gospel and is fully committed to keeping the commandments and realizing his spiritual potential.

Just before Stephen’s baptism on Saturday, he and I were posing for photographs. Then down the hallway walked Katie. She had come all the way from Utah to join in the joyous occasion. Stephen did not know she was coming. The photo you see here is shot at the moment Stephen is still recovering from the very pleasant surprise.

Many things are remarkable about Stephen’s journey. The first, of course, is the wonderful grace that's provided through the Savior’s atonement. That good news is never old news. It’s always fresh and invigorating. Another remarkable thing is the faithful friendship extended to Stephen by Katie. She may no longer be wearing a missionary tag, but she has been a world class teacher and fellowshipper.

"Meet the Mormons"

On Friday evening the Hewitt Ward had a missionary open house featuring a showing of the award-winning documentary “Meet the Mormons.” This great film (1:18 in length) shows everyday Latter-day Saints living their religion. They range from U.S. Naval Academy football coach Ken Niumatalolo and MMA fighter Carolina Munoz Marin in Costa Rica to humanitarian Bishnu Adhikari in Nepal and missionary mom Dawn Armstrong.

The film has been translated into ten languages and includes a sound track featuring David Archuleta’s “Glorious.” We have our own copies of the film and have shown it to guests in our apartment several times. Regardless of your church affiliation, make a point to see this film (available on Netflix, Amazon, and many other outlets). It’s a powerful message about how the gospel of Jesus Christ works miracles in people’s lives. (Warning: if parts of this film do not put a lump in your throat, see your cardiologist immediately.)

Click here to see a short trailer on the film, and click here to see a youth choir's wonderful presentation of the film's featured music.

Meanwhile, you may be certain of this: at every moment of the day in every corner of the world and likely in your own neighborhood, people are learning about and accepting the message of the restored gospel. Without doubt, a local version of "Meet the Mormons" is playing in homes and hearts near you. It's a wonderful thing to behold.

Our Assignment(s)

When we first arrived in Texas eight months ago, we already knew we would be assigned to serve in Waco. Our mission president gave us a simple directive: “Go to Waco, identify ways you can help, then serve the people.” 

That’s about as open-ended as an assignment can be. It’s good to have the trust of your leader.

As mentioned previously, we are the first senior missionary couple ever to serve in Waco. The Church has grown exponentially since I first came here in 1962. Fifty years ago the Waco Ward was part of the Dallas Stake, which itself was relatively new. Today, just our Texas Fort Worth Mission includes 14 stakes. 

In addition to helping the younger missionaries, our assignment is to work with the leaders of the Waco Stake, as well as support the leaders in three separate congregations: the Hewitt Ward, the Waco 2nds Ward, and the Young Single Adult (YSA) Branch. Fortunately, all three of these congregations meet in the stake center in Hewitt, which is about 12 minutes from our apartment. 

As you can see by the graphic, the meetings overlap. So on Sunday it’s not unusual for us to attend regular Church meetings for any—or all—of the hours between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm. In addition, we often have missionary meetings before 9:00 am and public affairs or other meetings after 4:00 pm. You can understand why we consider Monday our day of rest.

Woman of Vision

I share this photo only because it's such a hit on Facebook and Instagram. Rean's (temporary) sun glasses are somewhat of a joke while we're waiting for the "real" ones from the optometrist.

It's been hotter than blazes in Waco these past few weeks, and more sizzle is predicted for August (and likely into September). That's hard on a girl from the San Francisco Bay area. And not particularly comfortable for a guy from Oklahoma. But we're managing okay.

Keep those cards and emails coming' in.


  1. xo
    I really, really like that pic of Mon, and I want a copy of it frames. Not kidding. Somehow it reminds me of the classic of toddler McLane in sunglasses and Mom's huge purse.

  2. Mom with her Michael Jackson jacket and Audrey Hepburn sun glasses? Very funny request, Rachel.

  3. I love reading about your adventures. I miss you both! xo, Sis Virginia Smith

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