Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Lord is in the Details

By Rodger Dean Duncan

Another busy week ahead of us. Tomorrow morning we'll welcome into our apartment a very nice lady whom we met several months ago at a SuperCuts. She cuts hair for both of us (one of us has a lot less hair than the other) and has become our friend. At Easter we gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon and several Church videos for her family. Based on multiple conversations we've had with her, we're hopeful that she will be receptive to the message of the Restoration.

And on Tuesday we will host a dinner for a lovely Baylor University student who has been studying the gospel and is interested in baptism.

Then later in the week we'll do a two-day pro bono leadership workshop for senior people at the non-profit Baylor Scott & White Healthcare system. That relationship has implications we'll tell you more about in later posts.

Our faithful and ever-present friend Kermit is a favorite
among missionaries of all ages.
Kermit Goes to Zone Conference

Every few weeks we have a Zone Conference. These day-long meetings include the nearly four dozen missionaries in the Waco-Killeen area. The agenda is a scripture-centered focus on spiritual growth, leadership, finding, teaching, retention, reactivation, and other issues related to effective missionary work. Our mission president provides much of the instruction, with assistance from several other missionaries. The discussions are lively, insightful, and well worth the several hours of sitting. The day typically ends with a dinner served by local Relief Society sisters.
Not sure what I like most, the ankle
or the red shoes. I think the ankle.
As a thank-you, we serenade the sisters by singing "Because I Have Been Given Much" (Hymn 219) and "Called to Serve" (Hymn 249). As President Monson might say, "Principles are taught, lessons are learned, hearts are touched, food is served, stomachs are filled, songs are sung, tears are shed."

Family Home Evening Group

Every week we're invited to attend a Family Home Evening in the home of our dear friends David and Sheryl Gleason. David is in the Young Single Adult Branch presidency and Sheryl is president of the Waco Stake Relief Society. Under the "isn't it a small world" category, their niece Michelle Bennion was one of our wonderful trainers last December at the Provo Missionary Training Center. The Gleasons live in Temple, Texas, about 40 minutes south of our apartment, but it's well worth the drive to spend an evening of gospel conversation with them and other friends, including the Waco Stake patriarch.

Family Home Evening with the Gleasons (on the far right)
and other friends.
The Lord is in the Details

Several years ago the Gleasons felt impressed to serve a mission. One of their daughters asked them to delay their mission. Why? Because she was not yet married and feared that she would meet someone and want to get married in their absence. David and Sheryl prayed about the situation and still felt they should apply for missionary service. They were called to serve in Ukraine, on the other side of the globe. While in Ukraine, the Gleasons attended a senior missionary retreat. In conversation with another couple, they began sharing family photos. It turned out that the Gleasons' single daughter was the same age as the other couple's single son. Through an interesting (and inspired) series of events, the two young people met. Fell in love. And were married. They now live in the Dallas area with their several children. Mission miracles come in all sizes, shapes, and colors.

The pro-life messages we see around the Waco area are not
exactly subtle. 
Tender Mercy Implant

A couple of weeks ago while eating a Snickers bar (which I knew I shouldn't have) I completely broke off a dental crown. All the way to the root. Ouch! It's never "convenient" to break a crown, but it's especially troublesome if you have a roomful of people who are expecting you to deliver two days of training.

Up close and personal with my
dental implant, courtesy of
Dr. (Bishop) Johnson.
We immediately went to the home of our friend Ben Johnson, a fine dentist who's also bishop of the Hewitt Ward. He examined the situation and advised that I hope (and pray) for the best. Because of my training commitment, it would be a couple of days before I could get any care. But, again, the Lord is in the details. Mercifully, my pain was quite manageable during the two days of training. But almost on cue, as soon as the training was over the pain started to worsen. A lot. In a four-hour surgery, Dr. (Bishop) Johnson removed the remaining tooth root and inserted an implant. After about 90 days of healing, I'll then get a new crown.

Rean and her neighborhood Levite friends.
Neighborhood Tracting

For someone who claims to have little gift for missionary activity, my lovely Rean seems to be a natural at engaging people in conversation that quickly establishes trust. For the past several months she has befriended one of our neighbors, an engineer who happens to be a Levite (a Messianic Jew from the tribe of Levi).

All their conversations (sometimes quite lengthy) are in the apartment parking lot. Rean gave her friend a copy of the Book of Mormon, which he says he's read in the past. He's grateful to have his own copy, and promises to read it again.

Did I mention how much I dearly love my missionary companion?


  1. Hope your tooth is feeling better! That's the worst--most distracting type of pain. Can you imagine how miserable George Washington must have been?

    1. Tooth? It's gone. No feeling at all. Just a gap. Should I have left it for the Tooth Fairy?

  2. Ohhh, you guys are so dear to me!

    Missionary work is such a wonderful thing. It turns out that serving our wonderful, all-knowing, perfectly loving Father is the very best way to live.

    Sending every last bit of my love to the both of ya!!
    <3 Sis Smith