Opening Prayer Service, Friday morning–Priest Bruce Haines was in charge and Apostle Roland Sarratt assisted. Br. Bruce asked the question, “Where do we put our trust?” He told us perilous times are coming…spiritually as well as physically. Things are not always as they seem to be. President Ronald Reagan used the Russian quote, “Trust, but verify.” In the Book of Mormon (Jacob and Mormon) we are told to be a believing people – as far as the church goes. He read 1 Thess. 5:21 where we are told to prove all things and hold fast to that which is good. In Matthew 24: 3-5, 24, we are told powerful discernment is needed. Matthew 7: 16 we are told that, “by their fruits ye shall know them.” God tells us He wants us to be “fruit inspectors,” and to hold on to all things that are good. Br. Bruce read Moroni 10: 4-5. Examine and look to the Lord prayerfully; Joseph Smith Jr. followed this. He read James 1: 5-6 where we are told to ask in faith—nothing wavering.
There was an administration and names taken for prayers. The service was opened for the leading of the Spirit, in song, prayer and testimonies; these are just a few—
A sister asked for an interest in our prayers for their annual family trip. She had decided that if she could pack, then she could go. She has finished her packing already. Now she wonders if she can ride for such a length of time. With God’s help she’ll be able to make the trip. She is full of thanksgiving.
A young man testified that God stopped the nightmares he’d been having. He prayed to God, took a “battle stance” and God took his nightmares away. He’s very thankful.
A brother told us that God has blessed him and his wife with all they need. They are aware of the day in which we’re living. Alarming things are happening these days. We hear many sermons about coming out of Babylon, yet we have not come out. We are all tied to Babylon in one way or another. Our nation is not secure. We are in great financial straits. Scriptures tell of this, and we see it. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring. We’re dependent on this failing nation that is shutting God out. The biggest sign of this is the legalized “same sex” marriages. The Israelites had it the same—they were led to the Red Sea and had nowhere to go but to put themselves in God’s hands. He led them; that’s where we are. Moroni said, “God is a God of Miracles.” We must believe. God has to do it, there’s no other way. Zion is supposed to be here—established in the last days with the pure in heart. God will do it. King Benjamin said, “Believe in God, He is.” We have to depend on God. Something will happen very soon. Our faith in Him will bring us through.
“God is a God of Miracles.” We must believe
A brother testified that he feels something different now. He has never seen the things going on like this before. Yet, “the righteous need not fear.” He spoke of a testimony some years ago given at the 2007 Phoenix Reunion (He even carries a reminder note about it in his Bible). A brother had been referring to disturbances in the neighborhood around the church in Phoenix. This brother had taken it as a warning; “The world is closing in on us—We must prepare to have our peace shaken; we must be worthy of having the Lords’ protection. We must examine ourselves, arm ourselves with righteousness; then we need not fear.”
The Friday Morning Sermon was given by Priest Stephen Kimball, assisted by Elder Martin Addie. Br. Stephen welcomed us and read Alma 19: 1-9, 21-25, 32, 66-71, 81-84, 91, 112-117. Br Stephen told us we need to draw closer to God and put away the natural man. We know the struggles of our children. They have to make their own choices. Be an example; he told us his garage was full and dirty. He cleaned it and got it orderly. Soon it was back the same way. He likened this to our lives. We need to clean and examine our souls. Even so, the weakest Christian stands out in this world. Br. Stephen read Ephesians 6: 11-18; and 1 Nephi 4: 52-63. He told us that whatever we need to do to be better, God will give it to us…and God will give us more. He read James 5: 16-20, 2 Corinthians 13: 5-14, explaining that WE are not the truth—Jesus Christ is the truth. He read Alma 3: 46-52, Alma 16: 226-233. Br. Stephen gave us an example by reading a little bit of “The Tempest” by Shakespeare. He explained that the author was speaking about forgiveness and repentance. During that time there was complete darkness, but men still had the desire to let God’s light shine. He read 3 Nephi 5: 92, where we are told to be perfect. We should strive for it.
After lunch we enjoyed a Song Service.
The Friday Afternoon Sermon was given by Elder Larry Beem, assisted by Elder Sam Gould. Br. Larry told us he has entitled his sermon “Can You Be Spotted?” He told us that he felt God’s Spirit here for the first time 50 years ago as he sat in the congregation. He had been considering being baptized into the Church of Christ. Suddenly he was raised up above the congregation… he saw a cord running from one member to the other. A voice asked him, “Do you know what that is?” He said, “No, I don’t.” He was told, “That’s the pure love of Jesus Christ.” Afterward he asked to be baptized. He read 1 Peter 2: 9-10 where we are told we are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood. We should be a peculiar people…the people of God. He has chosen us to represent Him here on earth. He explained that many from the Collins Local watch church sermons all day Sunday after their own services. He asked us if we think people can tell us apart from others out in the world? Do we believe in the scriptures? What makes us different? Do we apply the scriptures to our lives? Do we stand out as being different? He read John 15: 21; John 14: 15; John 13: 34-35; 3 Nephi 5: 60-63; Matthew 5: 3-12, 14-16. Br. Larry urged everyone to stand up for their principles. He asked, “What other characteristics show us as Christians? Integrity? Do we do, what we say we’ll do?” God sees everything we do; who we are and where we are. He knows who you’re supposed to be in this life…take responsibility. Don’t disappoint God. Speak in truth and consideration.
After dinner we enjoyed a song service.
To put it simply, good pride is thankfulness. Bad is puffed up.
The Friday Evening Sermon was given by Elder John Bryant, with Elder David Rudd assisting. Br. John told us sometime during the winter he had a dream, he saw br. Buzz call him on the phone and asked him to preach at the MO Reunion. About July 4th, he got that call—br. Buzz asked him to preach at the MO Reunion! Br. John told us we need a refresher, how do we overcome our pride. Pride takes us down Satan’s path. Br. John asked, “What is pride? To put it simply, good pride is thankfulness. Bad is puffed up.” He took their beautiful new tractor to lift a big limb that had fallen. As he lifted it up, the limb fell and crashed on the tractor’s roof. His dad calmly said, “Now that you have broken it in, can we use it for what we bought it for?” We all have pride issues. Fathers, have you ever noticed when you put things together you have problems? You think you can do it without reading the instruction manuals? We need to set aside our pride and read the directions! (We have two wonderful instruction books.) Br. John read Proverbs 16: 18-19 and explained that listening is deciphering and understanding, not just hearing. He read Matthew 6; Psalms 10: 1-5; 1 John 2: 15-17; Mark 7: 20-23; 1 Peter 5: 5-8; 2 Timothy 3: 1-5; Alma 2: 8-10; Moroni 10: 30-32; Alma 3: 50-51; Alma 4: 3-4. Br. John told about something that happened back in 1976, mid-winter, a month after his grandpa died. His grandmother went to a closet and took out a very old shoe box—she handed it to his dad, Loren (her son). In the box were war medals; one he noticed right away was the Purple Heart (John was about 12 years old then). His father said to him, “The pieces mean nothing…but remember the prayers of the church people who prayed me out of that situation.” He knows his dad never wanted those medals to stand above the blessings given (that can be a prideful thing). Br. John has come to understand what his dad was trying to teach him about pride. He read Job 1: 21. Naked I came and naked I return. Let our garments be washed white when we stand before our lord and may He say— “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
The Saturday Morning Prayer Service — Elder Steve McGhee in charge. Br. Steve used 1 Cor. 1: 18-31. He told us he’d been helping at Teen Camp all week. We come here now for prayer, testimony, songs to offer up to God, to praise Him. There was an administration and the service was opened for the leading of the Spirit, in testifying, prayers and song. These are just a few of the testimonies heard:
A brother told us about the blessing of tithing. He’s unemployed right now; not for anything he did wrong, but that’s the way it is. The Lord has done amazing things. He and his wife went on a missionary trip with his last check, which turned out to be bigger than they’d expected. They paid tithing on it. He has lots of projects to do to help financially. He explained that through it all, their bank balance was still the same. God is holding them up. He’s gained phenomenal confidence in God. He’s most blessed; We’re blessed over and over…for our obedience to His word.
A sister testified of the miraculous power of God to show us our fears. Most of the month she felt stress with the trip, camp and other family activities. The pressure overwhelmed her. She kept re-working her budget. She had enough, but still felt stressed, burdened. Last week—she was still feeling it. By Monday night she laid it all out to God in prayer. On Tuesday at work a tightness in her chest began. The pressures had overwhelmed her. The thought came to her, “Are those things really what’s bothering her? What if it’s her new job?” As soon as she allowed herself to think and pray about that—it melted away. That was it. So, she listed on a sheet of paper the “true” and the “false” — like pros and cons. She knows fears are not of God; fears are the lies that Satan uses. As soon as she was willing to look at it, it was gone. God showed her truth.
“Can we let God take over?”
The Saturday Morning Sermon was given by Priest Aaron Moser, assisted by Elder Bob Hedrick. Br. Aaron told us he’d had an injury at camp, but even though he broke his arm, there is a blessing as he can wait until he gets home to take care of it. He’s so glad that in his youth he went to camp—it made him who he is. He learned how to keep focus and look to the goal. Br. Aaron told us he wants to talk about being unified. Our national flag, with the stripes and the field of stars, allows for growth. The USA was set up by God. Political cycles, etc., get in the way of our peace; with the divisions getting worse. We’re hurting ourselves with the disunity that Satan enjoys. Br. Aaron read Alma 8: 93-98 tells us the story of Zeezrom; 1 Cor. 6: 20 tells us we all belong to Christ, good or evil; Ephes. 4: 1-7, 11-16 tells us it takes work to be united, we have to look to God, 30-32 tells us it takes time to heal; John 8: 3-11 tells us the unworthy can be healed; 2 Nephi 14: 1-7; 2 Tim. 3: 16-17. We need to unite—we’re called to action. He read Matthew 25: 31-46, which shows how He’s going to separate us in the end; Mosiah 2: 24-31; Ephes. 5: 1-7 which tells us to keep your lives clean…be forgiven; James 1: 22-27. Br. Aaron mentioned that he thought last night’s sermon (on Pride) was a wonderful lead-in to his sermon. He read 3 Nephi 5: 97-106; 2 Nephi 14: 12; Alma 14: 103; John 17: 9-11, 20-22. The key is that we be united in humility, not in pride. 2 Nephi 6: 75-87; Hebrews 12: 5-11 tells us He corrects His children; Luke 14: 7-11; James 4: 1, 6-10; 4 Nephi 1:1-21. Br. Aaron briefly told us the story of Gideon in summation and asked, “Can we let God take over?”
After lunch there was a Song service.
The Saturday Afternoon Sermon was given by Elder Albert Leighton-Floyd, assisted by Elder Bob Oldham. Br. Albert made note that God has spoken to us at the reunion already. He wants us to focus today on “How Much We Should Love God.” If you love Him, you’ll keep His commandments. First, is love God with all your heart, soul, and mind. Second, is to love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus said in Matthew 6: 33, Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all else will follow. There’s responsibility with love. If we love God we need to pray, study, trust Him, have faith, forgive and love our fellow man. Can we forgive if someone doesn’t agree with us? He read Matthew 18: 23-35; Jesus paid our debt. God gave us a great opportunity. Religions around us have doctrines that are different than what we know. The scriptures say, “After all we can do, it is by grace we are saved.” We desire more gifts of the Spirit: prophecy, healings, etc. People in the world do also and yet, God told them, “Workers of iniquity, depart from me.” They were those that never entered in by the gate (not baptized). Once through that gate we’re on His path. They must not have been on the right path…they hadn’t kept the commandments of God. We have a responsibility of going through the gate. He read 1 Nephi 3: 168-171. We know we must endure to the end. These other doctrines are precepts of men. We need to be able to sit and share the scriptures with people and explain the differences in what is thought and what is actually in the scriptures. If you partake of the Sacrament unworthily…means we need to get all ill feelings out of us first, before we partake. Resolve those things that are offensive. Br. Albert told us to remember it says in 2 Nephi 1: 10 that none would come to this land except that the Lord would bring them. We are told if we don’t repent we’ll be wiped off too. 3 Nephi 9: 98-106 and 10: 1-3. Repentant Gentiles will assist in the building of the New Jerusalem/the city of Zion. Israel will also be gathered. He read Jeremiah 23: 3-8 and told us that we need to love God more, so we can assist. In Rev. 7 we are told that a great multitude will be gathered before God, and they will see Him on the throne and they’ll worship Him.
After dinner there was a Song Service.
There is only one place to find wisdom, and that’s in His word.
The Saturday Evening Sermon was given by Elder Jim Case and assisted by Elder Bob Oldham.
Brother Jim told us he’s titled his sermon, “Is It Well with Your Soul?” Br. Jim read 2 Nephi 1: 115. The joy we need comes from the realization of what our heavenly Father has done for us; Merciful, He gave Himself. We have a merciful God. He read 1 Nephi 1: 13. We’re told God won’t suffer us to perish, but seeks those that serve Him, so they won’t perish. Br. Jim told us a story of one who wanted to serve God. He spoke of a lady who is now passed on. In her younger years she had been an unwed mother. She was determined to have a Godly life, years later she met a man and married. Later she was given a dream and she went to her mother-in-law and asked what the dream meant. She told her mother-in-law that in her dream she saw Jim baptize her. Making a trip north in the early Spring, he visited her and did the baptism. He explained that we are, so that we may have joy. Br. Jim read 2 Nephi 1: 115 again, and 3 Nephi 5: 90. He told us he’d explained to her that it’s no longer “An eye for an eye.” Don’t hold grudges, but correct things we’ve done in error. When he told her that she said, “I’ll do that.” And she did. She wanted to share this truth with her daughter she’d had so many years ago. God blessed her and eventually she was put back in touch with that daughter. She was able to rectify things with her and they had joy…because she had followed God. Everything had been cared for, and she was taken home to be with the Lord soon after. Br Jim read Alma 19: 78 and Romans 8: 16-17 and explained we are joint heirs with Christ. We must persevere and have hope eternal. There is only one place to find wisdom, and that’s in His word. The scriptures will confound the wisdom of man. God will give eternal life; that’s our inheritance. He read from 3 Nephi 11: 4-15. God is going to purify us…if we let Him. God’s commandments have never changed for He changes not. Are we robbing God in tithes and offerings? If we belong and have the name of Christ…we become a nation. We’re told to bring all tithes in unto the storehouse, God’s storehouse, then all nations shall call you blessed. Pride is in the way when we don’t do this. We think we know better. When we send monies directly to places we want it applied to, and bypass the storehouse, aren’t we shortening God’s Arm? Do we want control of it, or do we want to give God the control? If we do our best to do things right before God, He’ll bless us greatly. Is it well with your soul?
God’s at work behind the scenes ALL the time
Sunday Morning Sacrament Service began with Apostle Jeff Oldham in charge with Elder David Rudd assisting. Br. Jeff told us of an incident between his niece and his nephew. He had to correct their behavior. He told us he could just imagine how the Lord would look down at us, and His reaction. In Isaiah 55: 8 the Lord tells us that, “My thoughts are not your thoughts…” He’s calling out to us. There is joy in the journey. This is our opportunity to re-energize, to renew and refresh. We need to engage with people. He read Luke 16: 19-23, which tells us what matters is right here and right now in this service. He continued with verses 24-31 which tells us to go from here stronger…
The blessing of the emblems took place and they were served. Br. David then asked for names for the prayer list, and we were led into a season of prayer in which many voices were heard. Following were four administrations. The service was then opened for testimonies as the Spirit would lead; these are just a few:
A Brother testified that he always comes back from camp tired. It’s always great, God is so good and blesses us. He remembers last year thinking that he needed to address people’s despair and bring hope. The subject came to him: “Pressing Forward.” He read 2 Nephi 13. Grow in Christ. Our hope is that God gives us strength through our troubles. Life is full of obstacles, it’s a path full of adversaries. Every teacher in each class was perfect for what part they were teaching. God had it all lined up—even the weather. It was perfect-wonderful-beautiful. God’s at work behind the scenes ALL the time. We look at world events—God is behind the scenes busy all the time. He is at work everywhere. It’s joyous to know that. God has been directing and always will. He’s great and wonderful and deserves all the praise.
A brother testified that he is thankful for the opportunity to be here. A verse from Psalms says, “Lord is faithful to all generations.” Thinking back on this last week and the family histories we have…God is so far ahead of us. There was a recurring theme—God gives constant care and is reaching out to His children. The work in Ethiopia is young. Their coordinator had been accused of horrible things (There was no evidence, but he reacted bad to the accusations). Another brother, the accuser, admitted he was wrong. He confessed and asked for forgiveness. God is always at work. It’s a different culture. God is faithful to all generations. Thursday night at camp there was a statement made by a sister—“A burden shared is a burden divided.” He thinks it’s the same as joy multiplied. Rejoice in God’s faithfulness to us.
A sister told us she had fears going to the dentist, although she had to recently. It turned out to be less invasive than what she thought it would be though. That was blessing #1. She didn’t feel any pain; that was blessing #2. Before she went, she had prayed about it. But she still couldn’t let it go. She needed to trust Him, let Him work and take control. She had to fully give it up.
Another sister told us she’d been having knee problems. She was away from home when it was bad. She got a shot to help her. Time went on, past the time for when she would have had to have another shot. She realized that God had healed her after she asked.
Another sister told us that God speaks to her in analogies. God sees us for who we are—He’s loving and long suffering. He wants us to build, not destroy. He sees all, calling us, building us. She asked us, “How can we be less with anyone else?”
Another sister testified that last year she did something that wasn’t good. God saw her fault and brought her to change. She had been mad, and depressed. She went to God. She was administered to and God filled her. He guided her. He loves.
A brother told us he sees testifiers…we’re bringing forth our evidence. We are His witnesses. This is God’s opportunity to talk to us. While at home recently the phone rang. He heard screaming on the other end of the line. He was asked to come right away to administer to a young child. He felt like the Lord was saying, “Get ready, rise up.” As he was about to Lay his Hands on he said to the child, “Jesus is going to bless you.” It wasn’t long after the administration that the child was up and riding his bicycle like nothing was wrong.
A sister told us of a saying she heard once– “If you dwell on the world you’ll be distressed; if you dwell on yourself you’ll be depressed; if you dwell on God you’ll be at rest.” God has a work for each of us.
A brother testified that the Lord sees us regardless of our ages or the dispensation we’re in. When he was young the idea was that when you get a call to go administer to someone you needed to be cleaned up and even take time to prepare first. Now he knows, “Just go!” –the Lord will take care of it. It was M. Harvey Seibel that told him that many years ago. Years later, the family began to call on him to administer to them many times. He’s prayed on his way to their home, to prepare himself. M. Harvey came from a group in a time that they “prayed through” the difficulty. Be ready, don’t hesitate; move, respond. He has to seek the Lord against his own routine. Don’t wait. Last year he made a change in the schedule for MO Reunion; He removed the Friday morning preaching service. This year he forgot all about it. The Lord had HIS WAY. He thanked us for another successful reunion.
A brother told us he greatly enjoyed the photos displayed at the Social the evening before. (Church Reunions and group photos). He told us he enjoyed it very much and, as he looked at the pictures he felt a strong sense of family. He told us we ARE related you know…by the blood of Christ. He’s so thankful for that. Yes, we have trials, in the church, in the nation and in the world. We need not be partakers of ills. Bear each other’s burdens. God corrects if we’ll allow Him. Prayer is mighty powerful. Look at what our brothers and sisters endure and accomplish—let that encourage us. There are times when he feels our prayers and he prays for us.
A sister testified about an answer to prayer. She asked that those who prayed for them at camp raise their hands. EVERYONE raised their hands. This has to be a lesson for the campers. Pray, don’t worry!
After lunch, we greatly enjoyed a special song service of talent offerings given by many saints.
We’re called to be conquerors, and to overcome
The Sunday Afternoon Sermon was given by Elder Aadam Yates, assisted by D.A. Vogel. Br. Aadam told us the Lord’s Spirit was with them at camp this past week. A year ago, due to his job as a police officer, he shirked his responsibility at camp. This year the Lord gave him something to share at camp: Look at your life. We’re called to be conquerors, and to overcome. We’re in a battle of life; and there are victims everywhere. There were false accusations against him at work, and he resigned last February. He had been an officer for over thirteen years. Is he a victim; and powerless? The Lord didn’t call us to be victims or to be powerless… Br. Aadam read 2 Tim. 1: 6-7 where we are told God has not given us a spirit of fear. He also read Romans 8: 31-37 where we are told to let go of our burdens—give them up to God. Remember, Satan whispers. He read Isaiah 61: 1 in telling us the Lord binds up our broken hearts. Today many have a victim mentality. We don’t want to “own it.” He read 2 Samuel 12: 7-9. David didn’t take ownership of his deed. Nathan chastised David in vs 12-13. In the Law they were under, the penalty of what he’d done was stoning. David took ownership and the Lord forgave him. Repentance is ownership. Excuses and finger pointing doesn’t repair. We want to conquer Satan. Ephesians 6 tells us about the Armor of God. We need to be on offense against Satan’s influences. He read 3 Nephi 8: 20. It appears to him that when Christ is there—Satan is completely overcome. Keep Christ with you. By learning to pray we overcome our spiritual adolescence. God does not conform to the image we’ve built. We have free will agency—that’s why bad things happen. He read Judges 6: 36-39, where he read the story of Gideon about the dew on the cloth. Satan’s wiles bring doubt and uncertainty. Doubt has an effect on us—it makes us powerless. 1 Nephi 3: 26-29 tells us if we ask, the lord will answer. We know there are things coming upon the church. 3 Nephi 5: 110-112. We need to overcome discontent, which means there’s something lacking in you. Lay not up treasures on earth. Lay up not treasures that rust… we need to be spiritually mature. Lay out your heart to God. The world can’t live up to our expectations. He read Philip. 4: 11-13 where we are told to be content. If the Lord is with us—we can be content wherever we are. I Nephi 1: 13. We’re in this life to get out of it! There’s no reason to fear death. We conquer death with Christ in our lives. There’s no other way. Are you owning that? 1 Cor. 15: 54-58 assures us death is swallowed up in victory. Br. Aadam thanked us for our support in his family’s trial. He’s felt such an outpouring from God. He’s so grateful. Our labor is not in vain when we’re assisting others. God rewards those who diligently seek Him. He read Jude vs 1-3, 20-21, 24-25. We have to contend, every day; we can’t sit back. God will keep you from falling. He can make us conquerors. Job didn’t deserve what happened, but he conquered and persevered. We’re all blessed to be part of this gospel!
It was time to close the 2018 reunion, but we were very blessed. The Lord’s message given at the Missouri Reunion this year was clear to this reporter: “It’s Our Responsibility” to clean up our lives, examine our souls and do better, so that we may “Be spotted as a Christian.” We must “Overcome pride,” be “United in Christ,” focus on “How Much We Should Love God”; then ask yourselves “Is It Well with Your Soul?” Finally, we need to “Persevere and overcome” with the Lord as we Endure to the End.
Your reporter, sister Deb Haines.