Listen in as Brent Terry shares with us his experiences in the England, London mission AND his epic member missionary work!
How can the childhood skill of riding wheelies help build the kingdom of God? Elder Terry was able to talk to kids in the streets all the time and even make bets with them to teach their families if he could do a long wheelie, or let the kids “have a go” on his bike.
“Mind your head!” is a British phrase. There are many buildings that predate any height standardization, and doors in homes were built to the height of the family. This doorway is about 5’10”.
Spiritual harvesting, as it was called, required faith that there were people ready to hear the gospel. Nerva and Eloise, were a blessing to Elder Terry and Elder Elmont, who went a few miles and directly to their door. This was the pivotal time where Elder Terry learned this was the Lord’s work, and it required poignant prayers with faith-filled expectations that they would be answered.
Typical in the suburbs are long streets of narrow semi-detached homes. While tracting these streets there was a minute between each house to talk about, and try to translate and understand, the language being heard. The East London accent can make the American language seem very distant from the actual English language.
Sometimes a missionary and investigator will have a deja vu moment when first meeting each other. These are the times when you know the Lords mission, and your specific area assignment, were meant to be. This is Elaine, with two missionaries from WA state – Elder Terry and Elder Tailleur.
Missionaries are also normal, cool, people too. Here is the new Chelmsford district doing some P-day bonding on rock band style photo session.
The Book of Mormon, can truly convert on its own. This is Frederica, the investigator who loved reading the story of Alma, while reading up to 3 Nephi 11 (instead of the single chapter we asked her to read and pray about).
Mission flats in England are tight, but missionaries are skilled at making storage space and decorating the room with spiritual images and reminders to make it feel like home.
There is a book written about one of my ancestor’s, John Lowe Butler, entitled My Best For The Kingdom. This is a mantra I live by too…that everyone has something to contribute to building the kingdom, and my contribution of late has been the reinvention of youth multi-stake dances in Washington state, and in Oct 2016 I retired from serving in this role. Called “Epicenter Dances” because we chose a location, Lynnwood stake center, and promoted the dances knowing word would spread out from there – like an epicenter. We have had 700 youth coming to our dances for almost a decade, and many travel 2-3 hours to attend.
Dances are a huge part of LDS culture, and youth need an outlet for socializing and meeting other good youth. If you get enough youth in a stake center, they will have an incredible time regardless of the DJ. Inviting “school friends” can instantly double attendance numbers, and involving surrounding stakes can really help youth find friends that live nearby.
Behind the success is a passion for what these events do for a youth, and how “inviting” a friend – is the same a bearing a silent testimony. We have changed several norms – like never using the word “non-member” because the church is not a club looking for a way to exclude others, but an inclusive faith that invites others (they are called school friends).
Brent didn’t just create and coordinate these epicenter dances. He WAS at the center of them. Marketing (there was never a charge to attendees), setting up, dragging equipment (his back suffered), DJ’ing, and probably a million other things he could tell us about. Anybody else jealous they didn’t get epicenter dances in their childhood?
“The gym is a little dark, and the music a little loud, but youth who go out of their way to hang-out with other church youth – are the ones who need support, instead of supervision. Supporting youth in socializing can be profoundly inspiring to be around.”
Epicenter Dances, was a concept for LDS youth dances where a stake advertises and shares event details to allows youth from neighboring stakes to attend. What started out as a 10-stake dance, moved to 12 then as many as 25 stakes were attending with youth driving as much as 3-hours to get there. This took solid stake leadership and preparation, and cross-regional approval from the church. Like an “epicenter” the word spread outward (like the logo featuring conversation bubbles) and ran 10-years in western WA. Dances started at the odd time of [8:28] so youth would show up on time.
Flyers were delivered and posted on the bulletin boards in seminary rooms in as many buildings as possible. They had to look edgy and cool to garner the anticipation of it not being an average church event. All efforts were put toward marketing, instead of food or decorations, knowing that if we got the youth to come they would have a great time. The most difficult thing was keeping the gym air-conditioned and keeping the youth hydrated with water.
“So much thanks to entertainer Alex Boyé for the kind words…as I wrapped up 10-years DJing Epicenter Dances on Oct 22nd 2016.” This played on the jumbo screen at the 10 year finale epicenter dance.
Elder Terry served a mission at the same time as his older sister, and was introduced to one of her mission companions after saying “You’re a twit, and she’s a twit, and together you would be twit squared” Here is last year’s Christmas photo of the Terry family in matching onesies, only proving the “twit” theory true.