The Lord’s invitation to join in His “hastening of the work” did not come with qualifiers; all are invited — regardless of callings, age or experience.
A group of young Aaronic Priesthood holders in Colorado have proven to be full-fledged participants in the Lord’s hastening. Their prayers and “get it done” actions have blessed a family who has come to know the blessings of the gospel and the fellowship of a welcoming ward.
First some background.
A few years ago the Cub Scouts from the Heritage Park Ward, Highlands Ranch Colorado Stake, invited their friend, Cole Laurent, to join their pack and take part in Scout activities. Cole had a great time and advanced each year through the Scout ranks with his Latter-day Saint friends.
At some point the Cubs invited Cole to Church. He accepted and became a regular at Sunday deacons quorum meetings and weekly Mutual events.
The Heritage Park Ward deacons quorum presidency met regularly with their advisors. Their discussions often focused on their friend and fellow Scout, Cole.
“We decided that he probably wanted to be baptized and receive the Holy Ghost and then get the Aaronic Priesthood, but maybe he just did not know how,” said Trent Zirker in his talk at a recent missionary-themed stake conference.
Trent is Cole’s friend and, at the time, was serving as the ward deacons quorum president.
“We made a plan,” he said. “I would teach the next deacons quorum lesson with another quorum member about baptism.”
The two boys shared a well-prepared lesson about baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. Then it was time to invite.
“Cole, would you like be baptized?” one of the boys asked.
“Yes,” he answered, “I would actually love to be baptized.”
Trent asked the next question: “Cole, would you like to receive the priesthood so that you can pass the sacrament with us once you are baptized?”
“Yes, I have always wanted to pass the bread and water with you guys.”
Soon Cole was taking the missionary discussions. He wasn’t alone. His parents, Willy and Tamara Laurent, and his 9-year-old brother, Dustin, joined him for the lessons. Sister Laurent was baptized as a girl, but had not been involved in the Church for many years. The rest of the family was not members.
After much prayer and study, the Laurents decided to become a Latter-day Saint family. First Cole and Dustin were baptized. Cole then received the priesthood and became a full-fledged member in the Heritage Park Ward deacons quorum.
Soon after, Brother Willy Laurent was baptized and, later, received the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthood.
“Cole’s family attends Church every week and they are very active,” said Trent. “Cole Laurent now serves as the deacons quorum president of the Heritage Park Ward.”
Trent’s father, Erik Zirker, is the ward bishop. The boys in the deacons quorum, he said, laid the groundwork for the family’s conversion through their day-to-day friendship with Cole in Scouting and quorum activities.
“The ‘Come Follow Me’ curriculum places an emphasis on the young men counseling together, and then making a plan and acting on that plan,” said Bishop Zirker. “The young men did exactly what they have been trained and asked to do.”
From his experience with Cole, Trent has learned a few key ways to help people feel comfortable at Church and, ultimately, accept the gospel.
First, make sure that they have friends at all activities. “This means being kind to those around you and listening to the spirit to find more ways to be kind to others.”
Second, when inviting a friend to Church or other activities, make sure they know all the details about the event.
And third, don’t be discouraged if an invitation is not accepted.
“Sometimes they are just too busy,” he said. “But don’t let that stop you. Keep inviting them to Mutual, Church, Scout campouts and other activities. Never give up on a person.”
[email protected] @JNSwensen