Monday, March 30, 2015

Dedication of the New Mission Home

For the past 18 months, we have been involved in construction and finishing of the new mission home. This new home occupies the top floor of the same building which contains the mission office and the administrative offices for the Church in India.

Mission Home living and dining room
About a month ago, we moved into the new home, even while the last of the finish work was completed. One of the great advantages is that our commute time to the mission office dropped from 75-90 minutes to less than one minute. 

Today we gathered to dedicate the new home. We invited the missionaries who are working in the Bangalore Zone, the staff who work in the Service Center, and the district presidency of the Bangalore District. A wonderful group assembled for this very historic occasion. 
Gathered for the dedication
Brother Dinesh Joginder, the recently hired project manager offered a few words on behalf of the construction staff. He commented that sometimes it was difficult to get the contractor to finish the project to the level of quality desired for a mission home - between a meeting house and a temple. He was persistant, and the quality of the results reflect his efforts. 

He was followed by Brother/President Robert William, a counselor in the mission presidency and the manager of the service center. He spoke of the beautiful facility and how it will be a wonderful place for many mission presidents to come. He spoke of the day when native members will be called and will reside in this home. He even suggested that one or more persons in the room could be called as mission president and could live in this home.

I then offered a few words of thanks for all those who worked to complete the project. I read from D&C 94, commenting that the home mentioned in that revelation, this home was to be wholly dedicated to the work and ministry of the mission president. There is nothing which happens in a mission home but what is to build up the kingdom of God. 

Then, acting under the direction of the Area Presidency, I offered the dedicatory prayer. In addition to blessing the structure, the mechanical systems and the physical facilities, I felt impressed to dedicate the work to be conducted here. Missionaries will counsel together and will be trained here. From this home they will carry the message of the restored gospel to all of Southern India. Heaven's blessings were invoked on those efforts. I called for the assistance of the Lord in establishing stakes in Bangalore and elsewhere, that there might be places for defense and refuge for the saints. The home was blessed that it might always be a place of cleanliness where the spirit of God may reside and be felt. If persons come who are burdened down by transgression, they may leave having been lifted by the power of the Spirit. This home was blessed to be a place of happiness for all who dwell herein.

At the conclusion of the dedication service, we enjoyed a buffet lunch prepared under the direction of Sister Berrett. We are grateful for the assistance of Sisters Suma and Judy of the Service Center, and Sister Bedke, one of our senior missionaries. 
Enjoying lunch
Elder Stephen with members of the district presidency and family
Suma and Judy were a great help with the lunch

Dedicated Missionary Work

A few weeks ago I went to one of the cities in our mission to interview the missionaries. After our interviews, which were conducted at the Church, I offered to buy ice cream for them. They jumped on their cycles and took off, racing to a restaurant about 3 or 4 km away from the Church. Following in the taxi, I literally had a front row seat for missionary work by two dedicated missionaries.

First missionary is speaking with the two men on motorcycle, explaining what the missionaries do.
Second missionary is inviting the rider to learn more about the Gospel
Within a few seconds after these pictures were taken, the motorbike pulled to the side of the road, as did the missionaries. The Elders then obtained the telephone number of the riders, so that they could follow up on their rolling conversation.

I later learned that the missionaries did follow up, and that these two brothers are following through in their expressed interest.

A wonderful example of dedicated missionary work.