Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sarasota Ward

We visited the Sarasota Ward today.  Since our initial visit, a new bishop has been called for this ward, Bishop Moll.  Unfortunately, he and his family are on vacation, so he was not in attendance.  This is a large, well functioning ward.  However, perhaps half of the ward members are inactive.  The average sacrament meeting attendance is only around 33%.  They have four Elders assigned to the ward, but they don't have a lot of baptisms.  They expected to have 4 or 5 investigators in meetings today, but I believe only one came.  And she only stayed for sacrament meeting.  So the missionary work is progressing, but slowly.

Bro. Lassen and Renee
We previously showed a picture of Brother Lassen on his baptism day of January 29.  He is our 91-year-old member who remains active and Renee spent some time talking to him before sacrament meeting today.  He told her that God told him he will live to be over 100.  Here is Renee's story about him.

We got to know Brother Lassen when the sister missionaries asked us to take him home from church in January, so, of course, we wanted to attend his baptism.  He has had an interesting life--7 wives, different church memberships, motorcycle accident that left him somewhat disabled, etc.  However, the most interesting thing happened following his baptism.  People went up to him after his confirmation and kissed him on the cheek.  I thought that was somewhat unusual but didn't think much about it until I went up to greet him and found myself kissing him on the cheek.  Which, by the way, I have never done before.  As we were walking out, the sister missionaries rushed up to me and asked me if he had requested that I kiss him.  I said no, wasn't I supposed to.  They said that he told them that he would know if it was the true church if he was given a holy kiss.  Evidently, he had been reading in Romans 16:16 where it says:  "Salute one another with an holy kiss.  The churches of Christ salute you."  The look on his face as I gave him a "holy kiss" confirmed that he had found what he was looking for.  God moves in mysterious ways!

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