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'Summer Wonderland' boosts missionary effort
200 referrals, one baptism so far, result from event held near Mormon temple
This time of year means cold and snow in much of the world, but not in Australia, where summer prevails from December through February. Mormon missionaries in the Australia Perth Mission took advantage of the balmy temperatures to put on a "Summer Wonderland" event Dec. 10 that drew some 1,500 people, yielded some 200 missionary referrals and has already led to at least one baptism and several people hearing the missionary lessons.
Photo by Elder Michael Johnson
In an e-mail to his family in Utah, Elder James Crawley said a committee of six missionaries planned and organized the event, which included a Cook Islands group, a Samoan fire dance, a Hawaiian group, a New Zealand kapa haka group (the traditional performance art of the Maori people) and performances by groups of sister missionaries and elders.
"During the breaks between performances, people went on chapel tours," Elder Crawley said. "On the tours we had either a stake president or a bishop in the chapel explaining what we do for sacrament meeting. The group then moved to the overflow of the chapel, where a Relief Society sister had a nice display set up and where she talked about the Relief Society organization of the Church."
Tour groups then were conducted to the meetinghouse cultural hall, where booths were set up and attended to by Church members who explained youth programs and family history research.
"Towards the end of the tour the missionaries stopped by the baptismal font and talked about why we baptize by immersion," Elder Crawley wrote. "Then, after the tour, a professional photographer took family or group photos on a nicely decorated stage in front of the temple. Afterward, most families wandered up around the temple."
"So all members really needed to do was bring a friend, and automatically they would go through the chapel, meet really good people, have a lovely evening, meet the missionaries and even expect a visit from them afterward to drop off the photo," Elder Crawley wrote.
Many details were seen to in planning the event, Elder Crawley said. "We spent a long time and put a lot of effort into this. Our best effort plus the grace of God made the activity an incredibly successful evening." he added.
"Planning all this may not sound like typical missionary work, and it wasn't. But there were so many things that happened that made us realize that it was certainly inspired. The fruits from our efforts are actually greater than if we had spent all that time proselytizing normally; 200 member referrals is not an easy thing to come by."
Member support is illustrated by the fact that a stake president asked his entire stake to fast beforehand for the activity, praying that they could find someone to bring and that it would go well.
Even though missionaries have not had opportunity to drop off all of the photos yet, here, according to Elder Crawley, are some early indications of success:
A woman from Midland was touched by the chapel tour and the spirit of the temple. As a result, she was recently baptized.
A friend of a Duncraig Ward member attended the ward Christmas party and has agreed to take the lessons from the missionaries.
After attending the activity, three friends of a Dianella Ward member have attended Church and have now been taught three missionary lessons.
Two families invited by a member family in Ballajura attended the activity and have now accepted an invitation to hear the missionary lessons. One family has been taught the first lesson and has agreed to a return appointment.
An individual who came to the activity wanted to learn more about the Church. After learning all he could on the Internet, he showed up at the Como Ward wanting to be taught and is now receiving lessons from the elders in his area."We trust that many more good things will come as we follow up with those people who attended," Elder Crawley said.