Our missionaries were invited to participate in the annual
Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
in downtown D.C along Constitution Avenue
on Saturday, April 16th, 2016.
50 of us were balloon carriers,
arriving before dawn to help inflate balloons
and to learn how to handle them on the parade route.
The other 100 of us were ushers,
doing everything from helping ticket-holders find their seats,
to controlling the crowds within restricted areas,
handing out programs and fans, etc,
answering questions, giving directions,
even carrying a few banners down Constitution Avenue.
Wearing our badges over our volunteer shirts,
we found endless opportunities to tell people who we are,
show people what we're like,
demonstrate a work ethic and maturity we're told is seldom found in volunteers,
and spread the good name of Mormons and our interest in community service.
For example, Elder Tanner and Sister Brimhall found themselves literally preaching to an entire bleacher-full of spectators who were waiting for the parade to begin and asking the missionary/ushers in front of them questions about Mormonism as they waited.
Someone from the top row of the bleachers called out for them to speak up so everyone could hear.
A rare opportunity to preach to a totally captive audience who were asking for more information!
We received countless compliments and positive remarks,
including invitations to come back
and service the parade next year.
Some people even wondered if the Mormon Church was sponsoring the event because our missionaries were such a strong and respected presence.
We definitely did the Church proud!!