The cottage meeting centers around three or four recent converts sharing their conversion journey. They typically talk about how they encountered the church, what aspect of the message touched them and their testimony. We also try to arrange a special musical number from the missionaries.
After the converts speak, Ada and I share a few thoughts and our testimonies.
It is a wonderful Spirit-filled meeting and time and time again the investigators are touched. The following is from Elder Spencer after the August cottage meeting.
"This week was awesome. We have been working with this part member family. The wife is way active and now he has started to be interested. We have been teaching him for a long time and he has started to come to church. They took us to cottage meeting and he loved it. On the way home he said that he has decided to be baptized on the 4th of September."
Dan was baptized last weekend - one of 19 throughout the mission.
The missionaries will invite their investigators and arrange with a fellowshipping member for a ride. We've had 120 or so people here each time. That is about 30 investigators, about 40 members and 50 missionaries. You can imagine that it kind of fills up our living room, front entry, dining room and family room. The missionaries sit on the stairs and upstairs landing.
Right after church, some missionaries come over and empty the main floor of almost all the furniture.
Most of it stacks in the garage and more in the guest bedroom. Then they set up folding chairs from the church. The photos show the front room before the chairs are set up and one at the end of the evening. You can't see the chairs all set up to the right through the dining area.
People start arriving shortly before 7:00 pm. The meeting is just under an hour then we serve water and cookies baked by Ada and Sister Scott, a church service missionary who works in the office. Emily has also helped bake.
With that many people in the house the air conditioner just can not keep up. We are very grateful that it is cooler now than it was in August.
Everyone mingles and visits for another half hour or so and by 9:30 the house is all put back together.
Although our mission is not that large, it is an hour-and-a-half each way for people from Bellingham, Ferndale and points north. Ada and I have discussed that it would be good to find a way to hold cottage meetings in different places so that more will be able to participate. We are still working on that.