COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. A statement from Brigham Young to the pioneers at Winter Quarters was the inspiration behind "A Day for Covenant People" in the Colorado Springs Colorado North Stake that resulted in 300 missionary referrals recently.
In addition, the effort by stake members resulted in placement of more than 600 copies of the Book of Mormon, more than 800 videos and tracts and contact with more than 1,300 people in the Colorado Springs area.
Stake Pres. Benson L. Porter drew on the charge given by President Young, quoted at April 1999 general conference by Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve. President Young was speaking to the priesthood brethren at Winter Quarters after learning of the unbearable conditions of Church members in the poor camps outside of Nauvoo, Ill., from which they were forced by mobs to flee.
President Young said on that occasion: "Now is the time for labor. Let the fire of the covenant which you made in the House of the Lord burn in your hearts like flame unquenchable." (Journal History of the Church, Sept. 28, 1846.)
Barely five months previous to the Sept. 25 experience, the newly called stake presidency found a pressing need for members to better understand and live the covenants they had made with God. A date was set.
Few knew what would happen that day. Each household received a personal letter asking family members to clear their calendars that particular Saturday. Early that morning they would receive further instruction in regard to how they would spend their time as a family for the rest of the day. Each letter included the following suggestions: a special 10-day scripture-study program and a family home evening lesson outline calling on them to remember and be prepared to honor their covenants, regardless of what they were asked to do. Many of the members gave up football tickets, sports, vacations, business trips and other things to participate.
At the meeting they were assigned to go to their non-member neighbors, friends, schoolmates, work associates and families and place at least two copies of the Book of Mormon and obtain two missionary referrals. Stake members were to go home as families or individuals, pray for direction, prepare their approach and go out to share the gospel.
On the following Sunday evening, they were to report the results of their efforts to their home teachers.
"My son Zach told me he had felt the Spirit in the meeting and that it had felt good," said Lisa Jensen, a lifetime Church member who had never given away a copy of the Book of Mormon. "But I was scared to death I would fail. My husband would have taken care of it but he was out of town."
As she left with her two copies of the Book of Mormon, 11-year-old Zach picked up one more. Upon being questioned, he said, "We need this one, Mom." They placed all three books.
Dawn Roschke, an investigator who had received only three missionary discussions, was inspired by a February meeting broadcast over the Church Satellite System in which President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke. She took one copy of the Book of Mormon and placed it with a neighbor. Sister Roschke has since been baptized.
Four days after the Covenant Day, nine more referrals were found during a two-hour stake youth activity in which the youth canvassed neighborhoods with a four-question survey. The last question asked whether the person would like to see the missionaries.
Regarding the stake event, Pres. Porter said: "The miracle is not so much in the numbers as it is in the change of heart of the members of this stake that went forward with great courage. Each contact represents a major step of faith."
For many members, they learned that they can do the work and that if they have the Spirit with them they can accomplish a great deal."