“Pumpkin Pie Parties for New Members,” Ensign, Jan. 1999, 72
When I was called to be the ward mission leader, I happened to visit with a fairly recent convert about his experience in joining the Church. He explained that in the year he was baptized there were 14 convert baptisms in our ward, but by the end of the year he was the only one who still attended church. This information shocked me.
I met with my counselors, and we pondered the problem. An idea came to us to begin meeting as a group once a month with our recently baptized members. Since I love pumpkin pie, we dubbed our meetings pumpkin pie parties and asked each new member to bring along a pie. We met at the home of a different convert each month.
As our newest ward members arrived at the party, they were welcomed with smiles in an informal setting. Soon they began talking to each other and making friends. After an hour or so of socializing, we called the meeting to order and offered a prayer. Then I would ask one or two of the converts to share with the group their story of conversion to the Church. These testimonies, which usually brought a strong witness of the Holy Ghost into our midst, often brought tears as well. After this sharing of testimonies, we would close our meeting, select another home for the following month, and serve pie.
That year 18 people were baptized in our ward, and to my knowledge all have remained active. And for some unknown reason, we seemed to serve just about every kind of pie except pumpkin at our pumpkin pie parties!—Claude A. Hansen, Palmer, Washington