We drove to the Brandon Stake Center this morning for the Gladys Knight and the Saints Unified Voices firesides. Yesterday, Pres. Cusick decided to have the missionaries go on what I have termed an invitation blitz. The missionaries tracted in the neighborhood (a couple of miles) of the stake center to invite people to attend the fireside. The missionaries reported some good experiences and responses.
The first fireside was at 5:30. We didn't fill the stake center, but we had perhaps 800 people there. Gladys Knight was obviously the draw, but the choir is also good. The fireside was about 90 minutes. Sister Knight shared her testimony and talked about her conversion. The choir performed several different types of music -- from spirituals to a Hawaiian song. It was very enjoyable.
The purpose of the firesides is to have non-members come into an LDS church and see some of the diversity of Church members. The choir has a range of ethnic backgrounds but a lot of Polynesians. I was able to visit with some of the choir members, and Renee did the same. The choir members travel some distance -- such as from California, Texas, Utah, and Georgia -- to rehearse in Las Vegas. I think they enjoy singing and appreciate being involved in the missionary effort.
Renee's assignment was to meet and seat the special guests who had been invited by the Brandon and Lakeland stake presidents. My assignment was to collect the cards that guests completed if they wanted the missionaries to bring a gift bag to their home. The gift bag includes a copy of the Book of Mormon, the Restoration DVD, and a sampler CD of the SUV Choir. Obviously, the intent is that the missionaries will have teaching opportunities.
More people attended the second fireside, perhaps 900. Unfortunately, the stake center was not completely filled. Nevertheless, we received 325 request cards. They typically expect 200 cards for each day of firesides. This is a good start.
After the cards are turned in, I made a copy of each card. We then placed the cards in the gift bags and gave them to the zone leaders to distribute to the missionaries to deliver the gifts.