Sunday, December 21, 2014

Merry Christmas to all!
We had a very exciting announcement this week. On Tuesday our mission president sent out a mass text. He had just been informed by the brethren that as of July 1 this year, our mission will be split. We will have the Utah Ogden Mission and the Utah Logan Mission. It will be fun to see how this all evolves but it is an indication that the work is getting done and we are excited.

Even though people are busy, we have had some good visits this week. Several really nice visits were part of our meal schedule with members, but we also attended our own ward's Christmas party and were able to see several people that we haven't seen very often recently. Yesterday morning another ward had a Christmas breakfast and program. Many of the children came in their pajamas. It was a good meal and a very nice program, mostly the Primary children and they did a great job with their music and their costumes.
Last week we met a family that have just moved to the area and are returning to Church activity. They both come from broken families and are anxious to see if we can develop some information on their natural families from Family Search. Their records have now been transferred so we will be able to meet with them soon and see if we can find some information for them.
We also met with a newly baptized member at the family history library in our Stake and with her membership number in hand were able to find three of her ancestors who need some temple work done. She is going out of town for the holidays and so we will be going to the Brigham City temple with her just after the first of the year to do their baptisms. We would go to Logan but they will be closed for two weeks for maintenance etc. This is a special thing for our new members to be involved with as they begin to learn more about what their membership in the Church and are able to participate in the ordinances for their family members who have gone on before.

The Lord is so good to us! We were on the way to make a visit yesterday and on Main Street in Logan, we had moved over to a right hand turn lane. All of a sudden a pickup truck swerved into our lane from our left side and we nearly ran into the curbing. Fortunately we were able to avoid a collision, only
by the grace of God, but we didn't hit the curb and the truck barely missed us.
Today we were able to attend our own ward for their Christmas program in Sacrament Meeting. We stayed for the block and really enjoyed all of the meetings. As the roll came around for High Priests I realized that is the first Priesthood class I had attended in our ward this quarter. We often attend three Sacrament Meetings and a couple of gospel principle classes.

As we have shown the film "He Is The Gift",we have come to realize more fully how important the Savior is to our eternal salvation, and how difficult it must have been for Heavenly Father to allow His Son to go through what He had to do in order for us to enjoy the blessings of the atonement. Such and unselfish gift to each one of us and all He asks us to do is to keep his commandments so that we may enjoy peace in this life and happiness forever after.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is true and we are so blessed to have the opportunity to know why we are here and what great possibilities are before us.

Monday, December 15, 2014

 Sunday was a wonderful day. We shared the video "He is the Gift" with the Grow family and then we invited our young neighbor family to come enjoy the First Presidency Christmas Program with us. That was a wonderful start for the week.
This was a predictably more difficult week. Hard to find people willing to meet and take time away
from their busy schedules. We did some service on Tues. for a sister who is moving from Hyrum to live with family. She has a big job and she needed the help which we were happy to provide. The ward members have been wonderful in helping her.
Wednesday we met with a couple that where we are trying to get the husband interested in returning to activity. The sister has a wonderful Christmas display of things in the home. We showed them "He is the Gift." The husband seemed more responsive in this visit than before. We followed up with a sister that we had been asked to visit. She lost her mother and her husband a year or so apart and was feeling a little down. We encouraged her to attend meetings and feel the love of the ward members and of the love of the Lord. She promised to attend meetings when the meetings are a little later starting in January.
We stopped in to see a few more single sisters and a family that we felt could use an uplift. We felt good about these visits. We love to share the video "He is the Gift" but many have seen it. We found another Christmas video to use when needed.
Thursday was our zone Christmas devotional and luncheon. We had a great devotional with several of our missionaries bearing their testimonies, a beautiful solo by Sister Gammon. Pres. Heirs and Elder Larson, our area Seventy speaking. It was a very uplifting meeting. The lunch was a turkey dinner and then the desserts were furnished by Senior Couples. Wow, what a display of homemade goodies! Our contribution was red and green Jello cookies with icing. They were cut into Christmas shapes. My favorite was German chocolate brownies. Following the lunch we had a program. Several skits or talents were shown. For our zone it was Sisters Gietz and Bowman singing from the movie "White Christmas" the song "Sisters" with some different lyrics reflecting missionary sisters. After they sang one verse, they put their tiger scarves around Elder John and my neck and we acted out the same scene. We also had our trousers rolled up to look like Capri pants like in the movie. It was pretty hilarious from our point of view and there was a good amount of laughter from the audience.
One of the most impressive numbers was when a Senior sister played "Silent Night" about four time through, and while she was playing Elder Coronado was drawing with a marking pen on a white board. When she finished they turned the white board for the audience to see and he had sketched Joseph leading the donkey and Mary riding toward Bethlehem. Across the top was written Merry Christmas. Wow, what talent!
In the evening we attended the 10th Ward Christmas Party. It was a light meal of soup, salad, and cinnamon rolls. The Primary sponsored the party so after singing Christmas Carols they explained the children had been learning about missionary work this year. They asked Ruth and I, our sister missionaries and the Ward mission leader and his wife to come to the front of the hall. The children had made each of us two Christmas cards with sweet messages of thanks for our service, what a thoughtful thing to do.

Friday we took one of our sisters to Ogden for a meeting. While there, Ruth and I attended a session at the Ogden temple. What a beautiful place to worship! When we returned home we made several visits in our neighborhood to distribute Christmas gifts. In addition to some homemade goodies we gave the families a video entitled "No Ordinary Shepherd."

Saturday we had a big family day. It was so exciting because Hallie's husband Te Te was baptized a member of the Church. Our son Keith baptized him. Te Te seemed quite happy with his decision to be a member. George will confirm him in Sacrament Meeting on Sunday.

Monday, December 8, 2014

There seems to be a common theme with missionaries this past week. People feel so busy preparing for Christmas that they don't seem to have time to meet with missionaries. That is really interesting because the purpose for our calling is to share the message of Christ who is the reason for Christmas. It doesn't seem that most people make that connection however.
We have been able to meet quite a few people by attending Ward Christmas parties. Tuesday and Thursday we had some nice visits with people attending their Christmas parties. We met one couple who had just moved in from Richfield and have not been active in the Church for some time. They moved into a great ward that has a great focus on those who need help coming into or returning to activity.
 Later on Tuesday we met with two sisters who live in the same home, one sister is single, the other has two children.
 We showed them the video "He Is The Gift" and then talked to one sister who is single and trying to decide whether to serve a service mission or go back to school.
Wednesday we had a very good District Meeting and then five senior couples attended a temple session. That is always a neat experience to be together in the temple. We had the opportunity to present the Christmas video to a family in our ward. They are a neat family without a father in the home and we try to stop in from time to time for encouragement and support.
We had two appointments on Thursday. One was an older couple who wanted to learn more about Family History. Ruth worked with the sister and I worked with the brother. I think the women accomplished more than the men did. We looked into the stories and pictures that had been entered on Family Search. We picked out a couple of people he wanted to know more about and found some interesting stories and events in the lives of his ancestors.

Friday I helped one of our people with transportation to the laundromat and then we visited a widow in the 1st ward and showed her the video and encouraged her to attend the ward Christmas party on Friday evening. In the afternoon taught an investigator along with our sisters about family history and the temple. She has a wonderful collection of family records and pictures. She is anxious to meet with us and see if she can find some ancestors for whom she can perform baptism.
We met with another sister who is moving, presented her the Christmas video and told her we would be back early next week to help her box up belongings as she is moving to Tooele with family.
Saturday was baptism day. We attended three ward baptisms for children of record and enjoyed meeting some of the families. Then we were able to attend the baptism for the sister we met with about family history on Friday. What a great baptism and great support from the ward.
We tried several other families without success but found one sister enjoying the warm December day on her front porch and encouraged her to attend meetings on Sunday.

Sunday could prove to be pivotal day in our Stake. We had met with the Stake Presidency as they outlined their vision for our missionary work in the Stake in view of having one set of sisters in our Stake. Sunday morning all the bishops and ward mission leaders were invited to attend the early morning training meeting. The Presidency expects 30 appointments per week for the sisters, at least 30 baptisms for 2015 and 30 of the 300 prospective elders to receive temple ordinances in the coming year. It was a great meeting, well attended and spiritually uplifting. We are confident that the work is going to roll on as never before. We are excited to be a part of this wonderful work!

Monday, December 1, 2014

This past week was family week which was a great way to celebrate Thanksgiving. We had transfers on Wednesday and now we have a big job. We were sharing sisters with the Hyrum Stake and now they have their own set of sisters and we have ours. That means that everyone has to step up their finding activity to keep our sisters busy. We have a great leaders and we have already met with the Stake President and yesterday morning, the full Stake Presidency to map out the expectations of bishops and ward mission leaders. Next Sunday our stake missionary correlation meeting will be focused on new goals and expectations. The Stake Presidency has sent out invitations to all bishops to attend this meeting, we feel that it will be exciting to get everyone on board and have the results we need to make sure our sisters are so busy that the Mission President will not even think about us sharing or taking our sisters out of our stake area.

We had wonderful opportunities to share our message with several families during the week. Most of our messages were with members who invited us to dinner with them. We always encourage them to invite their friends to attend church activities and to be aware of any non members who may be interested in hearing the Gospel. We have been sharing a wonderful Thanksgiving video from Mormon Messages via Ruth's tablet and speaker. What wonderful technology to spread the Gospel. One of the most memorable meals with a family happened on Tuesday night. The father said something about the ranch in Dillon, Montana. I asked him about that and found that his father was serving as bishop in McKinnon, Wyoming when I was a missionary there. I am pretty sure my companion and I spoke in the ward and had a meal with his family. In figuring it out, this brother was not even born when I was there. We talked about a number of people we all knew from Dillon and just had a wonderful evening together.
On Saturday night we had dinner with a family that said it was the first time they had been able to feed the missionaries. We had a great time in their home, they also had also invited a young couple and their baby to join us for dinner. We always hope that the experience will be a good one and that they will invite missionaries to return.

Ruth baked bread and rolls for Thanksgiving dinner, which we ate at Hallie's and TeTe's apartment.
Ruth had in mind a couple of families she felt needed a lift and we delivered some rolls and a loaf of bread to these two families. They were surprised, and grateful for the thought.

Keith and his family came for Thanksgiving and we had a wonderful weekend with our family. What a blessing! Kaylene, Ron, and Collette joined us for dinner. On Friday night we had everyone at our home for dinner and then we all went to the Green Canyon Stake Center in Logan where they had a live nativity and a marvelous display nativity sets from around the world. Wow, it was impressive!

 One of the highlights of the week was Saturday night. My good friend and fishing buddy has a daughter that has been out of the Church for 28 years. She recently decided to return so she invited the missionaries and they have had the discussions and committed to be re baptized and was able to fill all the requirements for that to happen.  She had a room full of family, friends and missionaries at the services. It was a heartwarming and spiritual occasion! We are so happy for her and her family that this has taken place now.

Monday, November 24, 2014

This week was an "off" week where we didn't have meals with ward leaders and members. In spite of that, we had some great visits and met some wonderful people throughout the stake.
On Monday we visited several families in our neighborhood and had a call from a brother that we have worked with quite a bit to tell us he is again trying to get into an apartment. He wanted us to know how he appreciates those who have been willing to help him as he struggles.
Tuesday is preparation day so we worked around the house and then made some visits. We had been asked to visit a family where the mother just found out she has cancer. As we arrived her husband was just taking the daughter to Y W and that his wife had just had her first chemotherapy treatment and was pretty sick. We appreciated the optimism and faith that things would work out for her.
The Green Canyon Stake in Logan is having a Christ Centered Christmas with a display of nativity sets and four live nativity performances. We have been visiting people and leaving invitations to this event which will be on Friday and Saturday following Thanksgiving.
We visited one couple who lives in a rather remote area of the stake we had been in the area before but we were not sure where the house was so we waited to visit during the day. What a wonderful couple, they have been on a mission to New York doing imaging of records. He met us at the door and said something like, Mormon missionaries? We are Baptists but you are welcome to come in.
We had a great visit about their mission and our mission and talked about family history. We visited some of the widows we have become acquainted with and invited them to the Christmas display. One of the most interesting visits was to a less-active High Priest. He was especially interested in why we were there and who sent us. He said he doesn't hear well enough to attend church meetings but we left him a message. We had a good day and met more wonderful people.
Thursday was a stormy day but we persisted in our visits. We visited a neighbor family with two little girls and left a message and an invitation for the nativity program. We then visited a family that has been in Hyrum for a long time. They were so welcoming and after we left our message they said if we needed a warm place or a meal just stop in and we would be welcome anytime. What a great family!
Friday we visited mostly in our neighborhood with several members, we enjoy keeping our neighborhood families in touch with our work. We miss being able to attend many ward functions so it is good to touch base with these good people.
Saturday was another snowy, wintry day but we pushed on. In the afternoon we attended a mini MTC with the youth in the Fourth Ward. We participated as investigators with a companionship who taught us and then we suggested some things that they could do to make their presentation more effective. In just one day, they had developed a great presentation and showed confidence, we were impressed.
They fed us an international dinner and then we went out to try to make some more visits.
Next week is transfer week so we are anxious to find out what changes will take place.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Each week is somewhat unique. We are enjoying some great experiences as we invite people to come unto Christ! Always remember, the invitation is the most important part of missionary work.
Sunday's are always long days with an early morning correlation meeting with ward mission leaders and full-time missionaries. Following that we usually go to some ward council meetings and to at least two sacrament meetings.
Last Sunday we were invited to dinner with the Young Men's president and his family in the First Ward. The family has mostly teenagers, one son just recently returned from his mission and has been called to the Elders quorum presidency in the YSA Ward in our area who was preparing to go on visits to quorum members. Following a lovely meal with a potato bar, we shared a video about the importance of member missionary work. We visited a couple of families. The final home we visited was very challenging. The father was the only one at home and he said that the family had moved in recently and decided to take some time off from church activity. The couple has been married in the temple and they have one son left at home who has been to Y M activities and seemed to fit in well. The Y M president was very bold and told the brother that if this gospel is true and he had made these commitments then he should consider his feelings about his level of activity. He assured the brother that the Lord loves him and the ward members loved the family and would do whatever they could to help them feel welcome in the ward.

Monday afternoon we went to see a couple whom we had worked with in indexing. He had just gotten home from work and we had a great visit. The sister has had some health challenges recently and the brother had a wonderful family experience which mended some wounds that had festered for many years. It was a spiritual experience to hear them testify how good the Lord has been to them. He is still faithfully indexing and arbitrating. We then went to visit a widow. We had been there before but had not had anyone answer the door. She is 89 years old and she said if she didn't have her hearing aids in, she couldn't hear the door bell. Her visiting teachers had just been there and so she was in the front room and when we arrived. Such a wonderful lady and a very nice visit. We also stopped and had a nice visit with her son who lives next door that we found out doesn't usually have much to do with the Church.
Our dinner was with a young family with six children from 10 years to 6 months. She had also invited her parents to dinner which was nice to get acquainted with them as well. We gave the children a lesson on the plan of salvation in which they participated and enjoyed taking part.
We also stopped in to see a family that has two children that were recently baptized and encouraged them in their Church activity.

We enjoyed our preparation day and then went to the home of our current city mayor. It was a delightful evening and wonderful dinner that the husband had cooked even though it was his birthday.They had invited a couple we knew well to join us for dinner. It was great to be able to get better acquainted with everyone including some grandchildren.
After dinner we decided to call on some good friends who used to be next door neighbors. Everyone was home and it was just a delightful visit. Their oldest son is graduating from high school this year and had just gotten his ACT score and was really elated at future prospects for schooling . We shared a Thanksgiving video with them and a message and a crocheted pumpkin with a message on gratitude attached.

Wednesdays are District meetings except on transfer weeks. We are always impressed with the quality of teaching by our District leader. In the afternoon we made a return visit to a couple we had visited a week earlier. He is not active and we had an impression we needed to challenge him to prepare himself to take his wife to the temple. He has been less-active for such a long time that the invitation was not enthusiastically received. We were invited to return and we will try to love him enough that he will desire to come back to activity. We then had several visits with Primary children's families with the Primary President and then went to her home to warm up with a nice bowl of homemade soup.
The weather had turned off very cold and it was good to be warm inside the home and inside the body.
Thursday we had a wonderful dinner in the home of the ward mission leader. He has a delightful family and they have such a wonderful spirit in their home that it is always a joy to be there. We shared the Thanksgiving message and then made a couple of other visits.We distributed some flyers to chapels in the Stake and in one building we encountered a Single Adult dinner of turkey and the trimmings and a member of the Stake Presidency coerced us into having some dinner with them. It was fun to get acquainted with some of the single adults and we visited with a fellow we have met with and encouraged to return to church activity.
We also stopped to see a couple that are retired teachers. They are well known and neat people who have just filled their lives with everything except church activity. It is sad because he is a returned missionary. I kept thinking of Elder Holland's recent admonition to our missionaries in a mission conference. He told the missionaries that they have no right to turn away from the principles they have taught and testified of while on their missions. So much strength could be added to the Church if all the returned missionaries were active.
We also had a wonderful Sr Couples meeting with our area Seventy and a counselor from our mission presidency in attendance. These meeting are always uplifting and full of great ideas and testimonies.
One new senior couple told us about how a bishop assigned someone to home teach them. He said he knew he was a project but the persistence and love of this home teaching couple brought him back into full activity and they will be a great couple in our area!
The work isn't easy but it is worth it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

We so enjoy our visits with some of the elderly and widows. These people are often lonely and have a lot of time on their hands. They are so gracious and happy to have people visit them. It's an honor to go into their homes and feel the warmth of the spirit from lives of devotion.
Tuesdays are always busy doing house work and getting things done that we don't have a chance to do during the week, like the laundry and budget.
Tuesday night we were invited to go to dinner with our couple that we taught Temple Prep and then went to the temple with them. Their baby is so cute but growing up so fast and has such a cute personality. Nice reward for doing work that is so important for eternal families.
Wednesday we had another nice visit with a widow sister. Her husband died three years ago. She spends a lot of time alone so loves company. Her son lives close by but only stops in once in a while which leaves her with a lot of time on her hands. Ruth has crocheted some little pumpkins and attaches a thought on gratitude by Pres. Monson to them. The people are thrilled to have something for Thanksgiving as well as this thought. "A grateful heart...comes through expressing gratitude to our Heavenly Father for His blessings and to those around us for all that they bring into our lives... Someone has said that feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it."
Thursday we had several visits. One was to an older couple, both of them are 79 years old. She is quite active but her husband is not, He has not received the Melchizedek Priesthood. We had a wonderful visit and encouraged them to write down some of their history and even go to the family search library to record an oral history. The husband has the mersa virus and spent about four months in the hospital. I have had some strong feelings about him and even wakened during the night thinking how we could encourage him to take his wife to the temple. I have recorded these impressions and we are going to meet with them again this week to see if we can move him toward the next ordinance. We also visited another widow and a less-active sister in the same ward. We hope these visits will help them return to activity in the Gospel.
This week ended like the last one, attending a funeral. One of our close friends found out she had cancer just recently. We served as assistant coordinators with them and became fond friends. She went fast and passed away quite suddenly. There were a large number of our temple family at the funeral and as the casket was wheeled from the chapel we were asked to form an honor guard along the sidewalk. The funeral was a wonderful tribute to a wonderful sister and friend.
There are a lot of council and correlation meetings with missionary work. They are very important so the work is done effectively. In addition to transporting our sisters as needed, our weeks are pretty full but we love it. The work is true and it is worth whatever time it takes to get it right!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

We are having an enjoyable time meeting new people throughout the stake. What a blessing to meet these people that otherwise we would not have the opportunity to know. We love the opportunity to help our sister missionaries as well. They are a great companionship and are working hard. They have had some challenges with their apartment. The bishop and the stake president have been working together and the sisters now have an apartment with new beds, new paint, new lighting fixtures and new carpet. They still have a few spiders coming in but nothing like before all this work was done.

Our full time missionaries in the area hosted a musical fireside on Sunday night. It was a wonderful presentation and very well attended. As far as we could tell, there was not an empty seat in the Logan Tabernacle. We spent some time visiting some of the people we had already visited and others in our area and invited them to the fireside. The office received some telephone calls commenting on the quality of the presentation.

Our dinner appointments this week were in the 14th ward. They are very hospitable and kind to the missionaries. They have a ward mission leader who is very dedicated and works hard. There was a sad event in their ward early in the week. A girl three years of age by the name of Nicole Peterson passed away. She had leukemia and had spent a third of her life as a patient in Primary Children's Hospital. What an ordeal for their family. However, the faith of the family and the support from ward members was wonderful. The funeral was held on Saturday and the building was filled to capacity.
Probably the most touching moment was when her father spoke and gave his testimony of how her illness and death has increased their testimony of the Savior. Included in the program was a beautiful song by Bro. Prasek who used to sing in the Tabernacle Choir sang so beautifully; "Comin Home."
The final musical number was a couple of people from the hospital music therapy program that sang a personalized selection from the movie; "Frozen" LET IT GO.

One visit we made was successful. We visited a single brother who had gone to the temple recently. He was excited that someone would pay attention to him and he apologized for not being in church recently. He said he would be in church on Sunday and we were happy to be able to greet him there.
Friday (Halloween Day) we took the sisters to Ogden for a meeting and then straight back to a baptism. This baptism has been in the pipeline for sometime. Finally this couple decided they would be married in the afternoon and the husband and the woman's son would be baptized later in the day. Everything went together and the took place. The sister's mother came all the way from Missouri to attend the baptism and bore her testimony. Several of the sister missionaries who had worked with this family were able to attend the services. It was good to see all of them again.

On Saturday, following the funeral, one of our bishop's baptized his son in a very nice baptismal service. We were happy to be there for that event.

We had a family history demonstration with a family in our ward and then on Saturday evening, we made a presentation to the  Fourth Ward Primary about getting started on family history. This was a family event with a nice group of children and their parents. The children seemed excited and asked a lot of questions.

The Lord has been very kind to us and we appreciate the opportunity to be of service in His kingdom.

Monday, October 27, 2014

  Last Sunday we visited a ward sacrament meeting where two sisters reported on  their mission experiences. There is great strength added to these wards when these missionaries return to their homes full of enthusiasm for the gospel and willing to share their experiences and testimonies with others.

 We have continued visiting with some of the widows in the area. Each one of them has a story to tell and they are so happy that someone is willing to listen to their story. They are obviously lonely and have usually asked why we are visiting them. We tell them that the Lord loves them and  ward members love them and want them to feel that love, we have the opportunity to deliver that love, for which we are grateful. We always leave a short message with them and leave with a prayer.
  We have tried to enjoy preparation days by doing something fun during the day. We usually have some missionary things mixed into the day but we are learning how to take some needed time and do something other than work all day.
  Tuesday night we had a short visit with our Stake President. He had forgotten about a returning missionary so we rescheduled our visit after a brief meeting. The missionary returning was from our home ward. He is a young man who stayed active in spite of the fact that his parents were not actively attending. He was promised as he left that if he did his work, his family would return to activity. Many people have encouraged the family during his absence, he served honorably and the week before his return his father accepted a call in young men's and his mother accepted a calling as well. I'm sure now that he is home his little brother will be active.
  We had some random visits and did some service that is part of our work.
  We had a great Zone conference on Wednesday. Our president and his wife participate but a lot of the teaching is done by the assistants. Those assistants really do a good job. We talked a lot about establishing the Church in the lives of people coming into the Church by encouraging them to study the scriptures, pray,  have family home evening and scripture study, do family history and attend the temple. The blessings are available to all of us but most important in establishing the Gospel in the homes of new converts. It is always special when the wards feed the missionaries at the zone conferences. Most of the time those who serve are parents or family members of current or recently returned missionaries. They are so kind to the missionaries because they trust that their own missionaries are receiving the same kind of love and attention in their missionary service.
The Gospel is true and we want to be effective in sharing it with all those around us!

Monday, October 20, 2014

 Our weeks when we have meals with ward members is always very good. The members feed us well and we have an opportunity to make visits with the people who invite us to dinner. We were whitewashed in the transfer. We have a brand new sister and her trainer who hasn't been out an extremely long time. The new sister hit the ground running. The first day she was here she went to a discussion with a member who had made an appointment with a neighborhood friend. The member reported to us that the new sister gave part of the lesson and bore her testimony. We found out today that she made up her mind to go on a mission and began to prepare. She went on splits with missionaries in her home area several times per week. It becomes more clear every day that the Prophet knew what the Lord needed. Young missionaries who are well prepared, we see them every day and they are better prepared and know the gospel and are not afraid to share the gospel with anyone. What a wonderful time to serve along side these great young people.
Our ward mission leaders are doing better at encouraging their members to  line up meaningful visits to people who need to be strengthened in their faith. Last Sunday night one of the bishops called and asked if we would go with him to visit an older couple. The sister is actively participating in Church activities, the husband is not. We had a good visit and encouraged them to take advantage of the gospel in their lives.
 Monday night we met with a young couple who were very cordial with us and fed us a wonderful meal. We encouraged them to recognize how much the Lord loves them. They are not married but she has two children who need a good example in their lives. The man is a member but he has a job where he works on weekends. We hope to be able to follow up with them and encourage to put their lives in order so they can be married in the temple.
 Tuesday we had a meal with a great couple who are very involved in the Gospel. She is in the Relief Society presidency and she took us to a family where the mother is alone because of a divorce and has three children. The mother deals with some big health challenges and it is difficult for her to regularly attend meetings so the children are not attending very regularly either. The oldest two children are into electronic devices etc. so we encouraged them to use their talents and do some family history work. We hope they will meet with us again so we can encourage them more.
 Wednesday we met with a neat member family. They have three teenagers and a six year old. What a delightful family. The sister is in Primary and  took us to visit with a family with two young boys and took the oldest boy a Friend magazine. His parents said he loves to read, so that reading may help the parents recognize the blessings of the gospel as they read to him.
 Thursday we met with the Elder's quorum president and his family.They have four children from nine to two years of age. What a great family! We talked with the children about the Plan of Salvation with pictures to help the children be involved. The president then took us to two families that are mostly active but he just felt they needed some encouragement.
 Friday night we were visited by three different members of our own ward. One sister that Ruth has been visiting teaching for some time had lost her half brother had been shot and killed. She needed some emotional support big time. Two other sisters stopped in and gave us a nice meal. Both of the sisters are from the Philippines and fixed us a wonderful meal.
 Friday was a great day for us because our daughter Kaylene was sealed to her husband Ron in a very impressive ceremony in the Logan Temple. The officiator was a long time family friend of Ron's family and did a wonderful job explaining how the temple blesses lives.
 Saturday we celebrated Ruth's birthday (a couple of days late) with Keith and his family and Kaylene, Ron, and her two children and a son-in-law. It  was so nice to have such a gathering and to celebrate together.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Our week started out a little slow but then things picked up and we had some great visits. Monday we had our meeting with a member we have been working with for some time. We were determined to get him to commit to read the Book of Mormon. He said he would read so we had prepared a schedule for him to read Mosiah 4:1-30, 5 verses per day. We sent him a text on Tues. to remind him of his agreement to read. After discussing General Conference we showed him the address given by Elder Klebingat. That is a pretty strong statement on our responsibility to qualify to live with Heavenly Father and live as well  to have a happy life here. We are going to try to help him by going through the five missionary lessons again.

In General Conference, Pres. Monson talked about visiting the home bound and the elderly, "Those whose hands hang down." We visited a Relief Society President and asked her for someone that may need a visit and then found the couple home and had a wonderful visit. We then did some additional finding on our own and found a few other widows that we decided to visit. We had some great visits. Some of them were rather surprised that missionaries would be calling on them but they were appreciative. Last night we went with the Bishop of the First Ward to an elderly couple who really seemed to enjoy the visit and message we left with them.
 Tuesday evening we visited several of our neighbors and took them apples from our tree. It is always good to touch base with our neighbors. Those we visited were either non members or less active.
Wednesday night we had a wonderful family history lesson with a family where the two girls have recently been baptized. They and their father were quite excited about being able to fill in the information in the booklet we left with them and we will be meeting again at the stake family history center to continue this discussion and introduce them to the information available on the computer.
Friday we had a great visit with one of our home teaching families and talked about prayer. They sent us home with tomatoes and raspberries from their garden.
Saturday morning we attended a child baptism from the 13th ward and then made another visit to a delightful widow who was thrilled to have us drop in to visit and share a message. What a great spirit and attitude she has!
Sunday morning we had our stake missionary correlation meeting. We had our area seventy Elder Laing, our Stake president and the high councilor over missionary work attend. All but one of our ward mission leaders attended. Elder Laing said there are four indicators the coordinating councils look at to measure effectiveness of the missionary effort in a stake. 1-Is there a missionary correlation meeting? 2-Is there an engaged high councilor? 3-Is there a Senior Couple in the stake? 4- Are the ward councils effective? This is determined by arranging 20 teaching appointments for the full time missionaries. The other thing of interest is real growth and testimony of those being taught, there is no way to measure this indicator.
He also shared Job chapter 38 verses 4 and 7. This talks about the great council in heaven and how we all shouted for joy in knowing we could come to earth and enjoy the blessings of the plan of salvation through Jesus Christ. There are those who have forgotten that all of us on this earth shared the joy of this announcement. The purpose for ward council meetings is so the members of the council being in touch with people within their stewardship will be able to detect when people who have not been involved in the Gospel have something happen in their lives that reminds them of the fact that they did shout for joy and that will be the time to help them to remember how to "Come unto Christ"

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

This was a wonderful week! We had dinners and appointments with our own ward members. It is always fun to go into homes where people know us so well. We had some great visits with some that we have been meeting with and some new people as well.
We had a wonderful district meeting this week. Our District Leader spent a lot of time talking about Jacob's ladder and how there are principles and ordinances that need to take place in order for each of us to ascend the ladder. Then we did some role playing on how to help people make and keep commitments. It was a very good exercise.
 We had a wonderful experience in the temple. Most of the couples in our area went to the same session.. We had lunch and then went to a session. The prayer circle was made up of all missionary couples. Only one couple was not from our council but they were senior missionaries. It is humbling that so often when prayers are said, there is mention of blessing the missionaries. We feel those blessings from the faithful who pray for us.
Wed. night we had a nice visit with a family who is not currently active in the church. The best part about it was that our Bishop accompanied us on the visit. We gave a message about the blessing of General Conference and left some coloring activities for the children to do while watching the Conference. On Thursday Ruth had an appointment to help a sister in our ward with family history and in the afternoon we attended a special screening of a new movie, "Meet the Mormons." It is a documentary focusing on six families in the Church and how the gospel affects their lives. We are hoping that it is well received when released to the theaters in the next week. The Church authorized the production of the film and all  the proceeds will be donated to charities. We also visited another family we had been meeting with regularly and encouraged them to watch Conference and  left the coloring pages for the children. Friday we had a wonderful visit with a family we feel very close to in our ward.
Of course the crowning event for the week was General Conference. There were so many wonderful talks given that it is hard to pick out a favorite. The great thing about our day is within days of the Conference a person can begin studying the talks online or print off the talks and study from a hard copy. One thing for sure, there is a lot to think about as you evaluate your life in comparison to the things the brethren have taught. What a wonderful thing to be able to hear from prophets of God every six months! God is not dead and He continues to speak to His children because he loves us and wants to help each of us realize our full potential. In this wicked world there is safety in the words of prophets. Of this there is no doubt.

Monday, September 29, 2014

We took some time last week to have a day with family. On Monday we went to Eagle Mountain. Jessie and Caroline, Keith's girls were involved the inaugural color guard show for the year along with the marching band. They had concessions and then their show which they will present at band/color guard competitions during the coming season. They were quite impressive and we enjoyed the evening with the whole family until E.J came up missing. Fortunately we found him under the bleachers, he had found a bag of chips and was quite happy with that; unaware that he was lost.
We stayed over night and then on Tues. morning Keith examined our eyes. Fortunately, both of us have not had any major changes. He did suggest that George have someone look at a verruca that had formed on his right eye. He went to the dermatologist on Friday afternoon and had it removed. It seems to be healing very well.
Wednesday we had district meeting and transported one of our sisters for an afternoon with another companion. Thursday was an absolutely wonderful day. Elder Arnold from the Seventy and his wife came on a mission tour and spent much of the day teaching us how to be better finding missionaries. They were wonderful and there were some other great presentations by our mission president and his wife. One thing was very clear,our missionaries are very good at turning investigators into converts-we just need to ask and find more people to teach.Then when we ask them as investigators to commit to something, we must not proceed until they keep that commitment; otherwise they will not keep commitments following baptism; and conversion may not take place without them "climbing the ladder" of commitment which allows their testimonies grow so they will proceed to the next ordinance such as taking their families to the temple. A good reference for this process is D&C Section 20 vs 37.
Sister Arnold reminded us that every living prophet will speak during conference. She suggested we write down how we feel about the topic they address and and what we will do with the information they impart. Writing down questions or concerns one has and then listening for the answers in the talks is another good way to have the Lord reveal to people what they desire to know.
Friday we spent a lot of the day looking at our records and determining what visits we needed to make to strengthen those we have met. We then went, according to plan, and had some very good visits with people in their homes.
Saturday evening Ruth took several sisters to the General Women's meeting.
Sundays are always busy. We start early in the morning with our correlation meeting with Ward Mission leaders. This week we had asked them to come prepared to give the sisters some teaching appointments. Most of them fulled that assignment well.
We went to a ward council meeting then went into our ward's sacrament meeting because the Primary was putting on their presentation for the year. That is such an enjoyable and uplifting experience. We enjoyed it so much. Then we decided to attend another ward and they also had a Primary presentation. Each one is a little different but wonderful as the children speak and sing from their hearts. This week we are assigned to eat dinner with members of our ward, which is always a special treat. We are looking forward to some wonderful dinner appointments and we have some good things lined up already.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

This has been a wonderful week. Most weeks when we are invited to eat with members are wonderful. This week the ward had dinner appointments lined up early and everyone was really great, it started with the bishop of the ward and his family. What a wonderful family and so welcoming and anxious to discuss the Gospel with us. We also attended a confirmation of a young lady who was baptized on Saturday. We attended two ward council meetings following our missionary correlation meeting early that morning. We attended one sacrament meeting then took some time in the afternoon to visit a family we are assigned for home teaching. They have a daughter on a mission and four children at home. We always enjoy our visits to their home. Later in the evening we met again with the family from Mexico with the sisters and had a discussion on family history. They had been exposed to some basics of family history but we hope they learned some things from our lesson.
We recently accepted a request to be on an advisory board for our local Senior Citizen center. Our first meeting was on Monday afternoon following our morning meeting with our sisters and the other senior couple in the area. Just before our dinner we had one other discussion with a fellow we have been trying to help return to church activity. Tuesday is our preparation day and sometimes we have some time to do some things around the house. George had a dental appointment in the afternoon and then we had a meal with a wonderful couple who unfortunately are planning to move from our area. In the evening we met with the young men and young women from our neighboring ward. They have designed a mini-mission for these young people. The youth were divided into three groups and rotated through three stations to hear the missionary discussion on the Restoration. We presented the discussion using the pamphlet, the full-time sisters and young men presidency also presented the same discussion in a different format. The evening was well attended and the young people were really attentive during our presentation. We enjoyed a wonderful spirit and felt very uplifted by the spirit the young people brought to the meeting. They really are outstanding youth!
Wednesday we had our district meeting then went to Smithfield and made a visit to the mother of a young man we are working with. We had scanned some pictures to enter into Family Search, we returned those to her and picked up some more pictures for scanning.
On Thursday we took some time in the afternoon and enjoyed a session at the temple and then went to the ward mission leader's home for dinner. They have three of the most enjoyable children that are full of questions and are anxious to hear our message. The children feel comfortable with us and called us grandma and grandpa. Later that evening we met a family at our stake family history center. The sister found a lot of information on Family Search and found she is related to three modern day prophets. Another sister at the center gave her boys a little tutoring on Family Search and found some names that need temple work. It seemed to be fun for the whole family.
We have a new assignment to inspect apartments. We went Friday morning on our first visit and learned a few things about this process. Our daughter is being sealed to her husband next month so we brought her to our home and helped send out some invitations to family for her sealing.
Friday evening was a wonderful experience. Following dinner at a members home the brother took us to visit a sister he home teaches. She has had a very trying year and he felt we could help lift her spirits. She had a hip replacement, then fell and broke her femur, during the healing phase she fell and broke the femur again. During her rehabilitation from those problems, her husband filed for divorce and put the house into the bankruptcy so she is facing a move soon. To top off everything, her daughter passed away unexpectedly. So she is just dealing with a myriad of problems. Following a message of hope the home teacher and I gave her a priesthood blessing. What a wonderful spirit we felt in that visit.
Saturday morning we attended the temple for the second time with a sister who was recently baptized. She had entered three names of relatives into Family Tree so she could be baptized for them. Elder Castleton baptized her for her female relative and then five other people. Elder Castleton was then baptized for three of her male family members.
Today was a wonderful beginning to another week. We attended the re dedication of the Ogden Utah Temple. What a wonderful experience to hear the brethren and two sisters remind us of the sacred nature of the temple and the blessings that come from keeping the covenants made there.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Here we are near the end of another week. Last week was a good week. As always Sunday starts early and usually ends late. We have our stake missionary correlation with our ward missionaries and the sisters at 6:30 a.m. The biggest difference now is that I am in charge of the meeting agenda because our high councilman is in stake meetings about half the time. We attended three sacrament meetings and then in the evening I attended stake priesthood meeting. It was a great meeting reminding us of our responsibility to live to enjoy the blessings of the Lord by honorable priesthood service. A recently returned missionary taught us that "The main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing." In other words, the Savior is the focus of our Church, we need to do all we can to keep that focus in our priesthood service. The father of the family from Mexico we have been teaching with the sisters attended the meeting and seemed to enjoy it.
Monday's we have a correlation meeting with the sisters and the Hyrum Stake senior couple, the Williams'. We usually have a meeting with a less active member in a members home in the afternoon. Tuesday is preparation day. We usually have a few hours to do laundry, yard work and other housekeeping items. On Wednesday we had a Senior Couple meeting in Ogden. We now have about 90 senior couples from 105 wards in the mission. We usually have a great pot luck luncheon and then a meeting. Elder Fisher who used to be a mission president in Montana talked to us about visiting those who are less active. He said just ask questions and get people to talk, Be bold in asking them about their church activity and invite them to come and participate. We also met in our area council for some instruction on using family history in our work. It was a good meeting. On Thursday we took one of our people to see his mother in Smithfield and picked up some pictures to scan for family history. Friday we took some time out and went to the temple. We had a fair number of sealings to do, that was very special. Most of them were family of Ruth's grandfather's natural family.
In the evening we met with a new convert to enter more of her family into family tree and make an FOR to do baptisms next week.
The highlight of the week was our Mission Conference held right here in Logan. Bishop Davies from the Presiding Bishopric, Elder Craig Christensen from the Seventy Presidency, and then Elder Holland. They all talked about how their missions affected their lives. Elder Holland spoke very directly to the missionaries and told them they need to stay true to the things they are teaching when they return home. There is no way they should every abandon their testimonies of the Gospel. He reminded the missionaries that there is no other group in the world that is prayed for more often in the councils of the Church than missionaries.
We have been trying to visit people in our ward in our open times to help them feel the love of the Lord and leave them with a thought. It has been a rewarding experience.

Monday, September 8, 2014

The weeks fly by and we keep busy.  Last night our stake had their stake priesthood meeting. A newly returned missionary shared this thought from his MTC experience. He said the instructor gave a lesson, "The main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing." In short, the purpose of missionary work is to bring others closer to Christ, so Christ is the main thing and we need to focus our efforts with that in mind. That is what we are trying to do. Some efforts seem more effective than others but we have to remember what Elder Christensen says in his book, success is in the invitation.
This past week we had meals with families in our stake, we had some wonderful meals and wonderful discussions with the families, encouraging their participation in missionary work. We had one discussion with a new member that went well. His family has some challenges and we are encouraging them to be fully active in their ward.
I spent several hours on Wednesday helping one of our people we are working with to move to an apartment in Logan. We visited him on Saturday, he isn't truly happy where he is so we are going to keep looking for an apartment in Hyrum so we can continue to help him become more active and be closer to people who are a good support system for him.
We decided we could do well by visiting with some of our ward member families. We have a young man serving a mission in Texas, early in the week we heard that he had a bike accident, so we stopped to see his family. It turns out that his right wrist is sprained badly and his left wrist is broken. The doctors manipulated the left wrist and are going to see if it helps the wrist to heal. If it doesn't respond naturally, then he will have to have surgery. We had several other good visits with member families that were quite enjoyable.
Saturday we had a wonderful experience. The sisters invited us to come with them to visit with a non-member family from Mexico who are visiting a member family in our area. One of the sons came a few months ago to stay for a with this family on a sort of exchange experience. He started taking lessons from our missionaries and his family in Mexico also met with the missionaries there. Our missionaries asked us to teach a lesson on family history. We went as scheduled and met the family. There were a lot of things going on so we didn't give them a lesson. We mostly got acquainted and shared testimonies with them, and they expressed their feelings about the Church with us. Last night the father attended our stake priesthood meeting. It was probably an eye opener for him because the talks were mostly about the power of the priesthood and the importance of keeping covenants. A member of the Stake Presidency served a mission in a Spanish speaking area and used several references to Spanish words as a reference in his talk. Another speaker just returned two weeks ago from a mission in Mexico and talked about some of his experiences there. It seemed that most of the talks were very well designed for our non-member friend. It will be interesting to meet with the family again on Sunday.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Things get a little crazy and I just blew past last Monday without writing about our week so I will cover two weeks in this entry. With our full time sisters working at the Ogden Temple Open House, we have been having dinner with members a little more often because the sisters shifts have them working at the temple during evening meal times. We have a couple of people that we meet with most every week. It is an uphill battle with both of them but we are persisting and trying to encourage them to study the gospel and attend their Sunday meetings. It is difficult to measure progress sometimes and we just have to invite and encourage but ultimately the decision is theirs.
We found time to make a home teaching visit to one of our families. We feel that is an important part of our missionary work. We had a delightful dinner visit with a family that used to live in our ward. The weather was really nice and we ate outside. What a joy for us to have a chance to visit and leave a message with the family.
We have many meetings. One of the neat meetings is our Senior Couple correlation meeting. We held such a meeting on August 21 and our Area Authority Seventy, Elder Laing and Pres. Gordon from the mission presidency and his wife also attended. We had a good meeting, sharing thoughts and experiences. In a couple of weeks we have our first mission conference which is always an exciting experience. On Friday the 25th the 5th Ward High Priests put on a Hasten the Work dinner, they invited all the high priests and their wives, us and the full time sisters to attend. There was a wonderful meal, then High Priest leadership spoke of how everyone can help in the work and then our Stake President Davis spoke. Everything was well prepared and hopefully will bring about some positive results.
Keith and his family came to celebrate my birthday and at the entrance Sardine Canyon there was a rock slide and they had to turn around and go through Tremonton to get here. On Saturday morning Kaylene, Ron, Collette, Hallie, and her husband TeeTee came for a meal. Keith's family gave me a painting of the Martin Handcart Company which now hangs near our front door. What a treasure!
In the afternoon we went with Keith and his family to the Ogden Temple open house which was so fun to be with them as they saw the beauty of the temple.
Sundays are always busy. We have a missionary correlation meeting at 6:30 a.m. and then usually attend one or two ward council meetings. Then we attend normally attend a sacrament meeting and Sunday school class where one or more of our people we are working with are attending. By the end of the day we are usually exhausted but happy for the experience. This past Sunday, in addition to our normal meeting schedule we attended a planning meeting in the 14th ward where they are planning a youth missionary experience and we are going to help the youth training to prepare for the experience. We love the Gospel and we love sharing our time and testimony with others.
One other exciting thing was the 4th Ward had a ward activity and went to the Ogden Temple Open House on the 28th. There was good participation, about 75 ward members. We were asked to attend the activity so we decided since some less active and non members had been invited, we should go. Our Stake President asked us to ride with his family. Their son had just returned from his mission the night before, what a wonderful experience that was. There was one sister especially and her less active daughter that attended. The mother was especially impressed with the beauty of the temple and the daughter seemed happy to be there as well. On the drive home, the president shared some of his concerns about the status of our stake. He is concerned that only 50% of our members are attending Sacrament Meeting. We have a lot of work to do to get the other 50% on board but we now have that goal before us, so we will keep that as a main focus of our work. Our mission is to bring people closer to Christ, we will make invitations and hope people will respond positively to those invitations.
Ogden Temple Open House - Hyrum 4th Ward

Monday, August 18, 2014

The past week was one of recuperating from our Montana trip. We took our granddaughter Collette to Montana on Thursday the 7th to meet Grandma Pat and spend a week in Billings. Ruth's sister Jennette rode with us and after meeting Pat in Dillon, we drove through the Big Hole Valley of Montana to Hamilton and stayed the night with Jennette's son Quinton and his family. The next morning we drove to Kalispell to stay with our daughter Korinne and her family. Our granddaughters Bailey and Breanna took us and their brother Brayden to lunch .Korinne and the girls had been out picking huckleberries prior to our visit and we had wonderful huckleberry muffins and nice meals along with a good visit with the family.  On Saturday our grandson Parker from North Carolina came to visit for a day. Ruth drove with Brayden to Libby and pick up Parker. Parker has just recently been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes so we were anxious to spend some time with him especially with the new change of life he has been experiencing. We stayed in Kalispell until Monday morning when we drove to Butte to visit our son Ken and his children Katlin and her new daughter Gemma. Ken's other daughter Kylie who was there as well along with both of their boy friends.
While in Kalispell we had a call telling us that Grandma Pat's husband Preston had died. He had open heart surgery a couple of weeks before and seemed to be progressing. We were happy that Collette was there to give comfort and be with her Grandma Pat.
Following our visit with Ken's family, Ruth and I drove home which was a long drive from Butte, over six hours, but we were happy to get home.
We didn't get a lot of missionary work done during the week but George had one missionary opportunity with a new neighbor. The neighbor had purchased some trees and had planted two. The largest tree however still needed to be planted. George noticed the neighbor and a young daughter trying to dig a hole big enough to plant the tree and because of rocks was not making much progress. George went over to help dig the hole, and even found a pick at a neighbor's to help in the process. Once the hole was dug and the tree ball rolled into the hole, and it fit, everyone was pleased.
We also met with a family that had gone to the temple the week before with their five children. They are excited to see if they can find some of their family members that need their temple work completed.
We have a couple of young men we are working with and met with them during the week as well, trying to help them feel comfortable making commitments to attend Church meetings and be active in the Gospel.
On Friday we drove to Rexburg, Idaho to pick up Collette and had enough time to attend an initiatory session at the Idaho Falls temple. It was a nice rest and a fun experience to go to a temple we used to attend often when we lived in Montana.
Sunday the 17th of August we attended our own ward and spoke to the Primary children in sharing time about our mission. That is a neat experience for sure.
We had been announcing a special Senior Couples Fireside for the 17th for some time. The mission president and two area authority Seventy were to speak. We hoped there would be a good turnout. Well, it really happened, we were told that about 850 people attended the fireside and it was a wonderful meeting telling us of the need for seniors to participate with missionaries in "Hastening the Work of Salvation."

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Another week has gone by and we have had many more experiences. A few that will be remembered were;
One night we were looking for an address but we couldn't spot the house numbers. As we turned around and drove along the street slowly we saw a number of girls playing together in a front yard. Suddenly they recognized us and came toward the car. Ruth rolled down the window and one little girl said "You're our missionaries, we pray for you every day." What a sweet experience and memory for us in the midst of some challenging times.
On Wednesday we were asked to take our sisters to work a shift in the Ogden Temple Open House. We had several hours before we were to pick them up so we stopped at the Mission Office and then went to the Bountiful Temple for a session. Just as the session was going to the endowment room a couple from our ward in Hyrum walked in. After the session we had a nice visit with them and then proceeded back to Ogden to pick up the sisters. We saw several sisters we have worked with while waiting for our sisters to finish their shift.
We went to Blacksmith Fork canyon to see if we could visit with a couple who were working as camp hosts, only to find they had moved to California to host at a year round camp. She was not a member and we were hoping to be able to teach some lessons, hopefully they will attend church in California and enjoy the blessings of the Gospel there.
Saturday Aug. 2 was the first day of the Ogden Temple Open House for the public. We had made a reservation and made the trip to Ogden with our granddaughter Hallie and her husband Te Te. We were so excited to see Hallie talking to Te Te about things in the temple and enjoying the experience. As we returned home Hallie was talking about after Te Te is baptized they will wait a year and then go to Montana to be sealed in the Billings temple. That made the trip worth while.
The Church puts the best of everything into the temples. The stone and wood workings are so outstanding in the Ogden Temple that is is just mind boggling. It gives one a glimpse of what it may be like to live in the presence of Heavenly Father.
We are thankful for our experiences and hope we are helping those we meet with come closer to the Savior which is the goal of missionary work.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

We have had a good week. The weeks where we are assigned to have meals with ward members always supplies us with a lot of good experiences. This week certainly fit that pattern. We met with three young people who have been called by their ward as family history consultants. These young people really understand the computer so they don't need a lot of instruction on how to apply their knowledge of the computer to family history. As Elder Bednar suggested, don't over program these young people, give them some basics and they will figure it out from there. One young man wasn't sure he needed any instructions, he taught us a few things about computers and Ruth figured she had three things he didn't know about family history. The future of the Church is in good hands.
We took some time during the week to do some home and visiting teaching and of course with the 24th of July celebration it was a little challenging to catch very many people home for visits. We have a couple of men we have been meeting with regularly to try to light a fire under them. One is responding quite well the other has some challenges. The one asked us to take him to Smithfield and to visit his mother whom he  hadn't seen in some time. She has a lot of family history written in the old journal type books but she has some people from the ward who are helping her get some names entered into the computer. Her son is quite interested in the family's history and is finding some things on Family Search that is exciting to him. Most of our lessons following meals this week were followed with some discussion and demonstration of family history. In one case the father is a member and the wife is not. She seemed a little intimidated by our presence but once we started talking about family history her demeanor changed and she was supplying information to her husband about his family. We set up an additional appointment later in the week at the Family History Center at the Stake Center and she was there and seemed to enjoy the evening. The sister missionaries stopped in for a while and she seemed more comfortable with them as well. Hopefully, that is a good sign as we move forward.
We had a fun appointment for dinner last night. The Elder's Quorum president invited us to dinner. They have three boys and her sister called and she, her husband and three more children stopped in to eat dinner as well. We gave the children the missionary lesson we have prepared. We gave them cards on missionary work as well as pictures of the Ogden Temple and talked to them about the upcoming open house. They really seemed to enjoy the time there.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Things got a little crazy and we missed our posting last week so we'll make it up today.
We have been having some great meetings with members, less active members, and a few non-members.
We have a non member that we have been trying to get started teaching but things have not worked out yet. She wants to have the lessons, so we'll just be persistent and it will happen. We had a wonderful Zone Conference with the Mission President on Wednesday. There was a letter distributed which the brethren have tweaked a few things in relation to missionary activity. The full time missionaries are now expected to teach lesson 5 following baptism and actually are encouraged to maintain contact through social media and visits for a long term. This is actually a change being added to P M G, which doesn't happen very often. The Church is a dynamic organization not a static entity so these things will happen occasionally. We have met with several families and taught them about family history. People are more and more interested in finding more about their families and when they get into Family Search and see some of the photos and family stories that others have already entered there, it is fun to watch their reactions. We really appreciate our stake members who are so kind to us in supplying meals and then sharing a gospel message with their families. We always encourage missionary mindedness and possibilities their family has to share the message and invite others to hear the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Last week we met a brother who served in the Montana Billings Mission about ten years after Elder Castleton served there. We knew a few people he also met and when he pulled out his journal, we found out while he served in Great Falls, he gave a blessing to Sis. Castleton's father who was sick at the time.
July 12 was a fun day, in addition to celebrating Jessie Castleton's 15th birthday at Chuck and Kathy's home in Alpine, we had a John N. Castleton family reunion. We had a wonderful attendance, around 100 people. Eldred, Lavon's husband reminded us that he and Lavon started all this family expansion 52 years ago. We are happy that so many responded to the invitation to attend. We shared a lot of family memories and stories that some of the younger ones probably hadn't heard before. It was a wonderful day, we need to do it from time to time.
Sundays are always busy and we usually attend several ward council meetings and then squeeze in a sacrament meeting or two and from time to time we can fit in a Sunday School lesson, usually in Gospel Principles, and a few Sundays we have been able to attend Priesthood and Relief Society as well. We almost feel foreign to our own ward anymore.
This past week we squeezed in a couple of home teaching appointments and then because I was fast on the computer a few weeks ago we were able to get tickets to the Tabernacle Choir Pioneer Day Concert at the Conference Center on Friday night. Santino Fontana was the guest artist.(He was the voice of Prince Hans in the movie" Frozen"). It was a fun concert with a lot of familiar and lighter presentations. It was a late night but well worth it.
Yesterday we were able to attend our ward for a missionary talk by a young lady whose family moved from our ward about a year and a half ago. It is wonderful to see these young people responding to the call of the prophet. We were told at the Zone Conference that the response of the young elders and sisters has caused a tremendous shortage of senior couples that are needed in the mission fields all over the world. If any are reading this that are in a position to accept a calling of that sort, please talk to your Bishop, your are needed!
We are so grateful for the dedication of our Stake Presidency and his counselors. They are very supportive, they all attended our correlation meeting yesterday morning. They are anxious to lift the membership in the stake to meet the task of Hastening the Work and bringing people closer to Christ, no matter where they are at this time. If non members, teach them the Gospel, if members; they need to be active and making progress. They are haunted by the lack of attendance at sacrament meetings and the temple. They want so much for those people to accept invitations to become more involved in the Gospel.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Monday there was a sister leader training in Ogden so we drove down and picked up the sisters from their meeting. We had a nice meeting with a less active on Wednesday afternoon. We went with the sisters and again, the effectiveness of having a member present was obvious. After discussing the Ten Commandments, the sisters asked us to explain family history. He was quite interested so we set up an appointment for this week to take him to our stake library and see what we can find for him. The sisters invited us to go with them the following day to another family that had asked about family history. They were really excited when we explained what the possibilities were for them. They thanked the sisters for bringing us with them. We will be meeting with them this coming week at the family history center. Thursday night we went to Keith's in Eagle Mountain so that we could see three of his girls march with West Lake color guard in the Provo Parade. It was great to see them but it was hotter than hot there. One of the most exciting things was the number of missionaries from the Provo Mission walking the parade route all together lead by their mission president and his wife. Elders, Sisters, and Senior Couples were all included. They received a lot of high fives and applause as they made their way along the route. It was great!
After lunch we came home so we could go to the temple early Saturday morning with a couple we had taught Temple Preparation classes. It was wonderful to be there with them and so joyous to see them sealed and then have their new son sealed to them. That's always a spiritual experience.
Saturday evening Ruth became quite ill so she stayed in bed. I went to the correlation meeting which was attended by our Area Seventy and our Stake President. Following correlation, we were invited to a meeting in the Stake President's office to discuss how we could improve sacrament meeting attendance, home teaching, and double the number of baptisms as well as reactivating members who are not currently attending. It is so wonderful to have a Stake Presidency that totally supports our efforts and are willing to do whatever they can to "Hasten the Work of Salvation." I went to a couple of sacrament meetings but I really felt alone as Ruth stayed home. By Monday she began to feel much better for which I was very grateful.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

 The past week was great. We were assigned to have meals with the members in one of the wards this week. They came through very nicely and we had some great meals along with good messages with the families we dined with.
We learned one very important thing, that is that our visits with less-active members is enhanced when a member accompanies us. We really understand why it is stressed that the missionaries to have members present with them as non-members are receiving discussions.
   We have been giving Temple Preparation classes to a young couple from our ward. They have a new baby about a month old. The lessons have gone quite well. They are planning to go to the temple on Saturday.

   We visited on Tuesday with a member who has started coming back to activity. The member with us was so helpful and as we talked the less active member talked about his family. He has a twelve year old son who doesn't know much about the family. We discussed how good it would be if he could talk with his father and record some of his stories on an electronic devise so they could be saved for future reference. He said he didn't know how to do that so we told him we had a list of questions that would help. We delivered that list and hope it will be helpful.
We took time to visit a home teaching family during the week. We feel like we need some association with ward members so we are trying to make visits to our families as we can as part of our schedule. Ruth is also making Visiting Teaching visits during the month.
  After a nice meal with a member family we had a good discussion with their two children. The son is a member of the Deacon's quorum presidency, we talked about visiting some of the less active quorum members. The daughter has some friends as well that she is trying to take to activities. Following that visit we met a member of the Bishopric and visited the brother and family of the family we had our meal with. They have a daughter who is unbaptized and the family told us about some of the conflict within the family. Bottom line is that we think the daughter who has already turned eight will be willing to have some discussions and be baptized. Hopefully this will lead to more activity with the family.
We did have one cancellation which is a concern for us. The father in the family has had most of the lessons and needs to have some other matters resolved before being baptized. He has left the home and we are not sure how this will end.
   We had a wonderful experience in a sacrament meeting. We were introduced to a couple by two ward members. The man told us he had been baptized about a year ago and the lady, who turns out to be a live-in friend wanted to have the missionaries and be baptized. We set up an appointment for this week and invited them to the Missionary Musical Fireside that night at the Logan Tabernacle. They had a meeting and were not able to get to the fireside. Then on Monday she called and said that she was told she could not be baptized until they were married. Since the marriage wasn't going to happen until later, they cancelled our appointment. We will go pay a visit and at least be friends and encourage them to do what they need to do to be baptized.
   The fireside was wonderful.The missionaries in this area are very musically talented and did a great job with the music and their testimonies. There was a nice crowd, it was good to see.
   We have a meeting with our Stake Presidency this coming Sunday. It looks like some big challenges are coming so we will find out what we are expected to do going forward.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

This was a week that the sisters had meals with the members of our stake. But we had some good visits. The week started with a young man who has not attended church for several years. There have been some big problems in his life while he was living in another state, he decided to return home and see if he could get things back on track. Some great home teachers invited him into their home and we had a good visit with him on Monday afternoon. It was interesting to find that the husband in the home had similar addictions many years ago so he knew what this young man was going through. I believe the visit left our younger man with some hope that if he were to stay on course, he could have a good deal of help from the Atonement of our Savior.
Ruth worked with a mother and daughter on Family History on Tuesday morning, then we had a Temple Preparation discussion with our young neighbor couple who are planning on going to the temple July 5th. We are really excited to help them on that pathway.
Wednesday's are District Meetings, the transfers brought to us a new district leader, Elder Vance. We were impressed with his sincerity and his desire to help each of the companionship's reach their potential. We did some preparation for our next Temple discussion and then with Stake Conference coming, Wednesday was designated as a Stake Temple Day in preparation for conference. We felt that the Temple Preparation lessons helped us see a little more clearly the purpose of the endowment session we attended.
Thursday we had a Senior Training meeting. Ruth and I had met with our leaders previously and were asked to give the couples some examples of the messages we leave in the homes where we were invited to have a meal with the families. It was a good meeting. We were happy to learn that in addition to transporting our sister missionaries to the Ogden Temple open house in August and September, we may also be asked to help with some of the open house activities. That would be a very special experience. They expect in five weeks that the open house may attract as many as 500,000 people.
Friday we had an appointment, it was the first one that no one was home at the appointed time, that's disappointing but part of the experience.
Saturday the sisters had a baptism which we attended. The sisters do such a nice job in making sure everything is organized and those who attend feel the spirit of the Lord.
Saturday evening was the first Stake Conference meeting. We were asked to stand and be recognized as full-time missionaries. One of our sisters and a recent convert from our ward were speakers during the session.
At our Sunday session of conference, the Stake President asked us to sit on the stand behind them. Again we were recognized. The stake has conference in two buildings so the meeting is broadcast in close circuit to the other building. Sunday night we were teased a little because as the camera focused on the speaker, we were right in the picture. We were invited to dinner and then were accompanied by a member of the 14th Ward bishopric for a visit. One visit was to a home where we had visited before. However, it seemed that with a member of the bishopric on this visit with us, there was a much more receptive attitude. The visit went well, we had a discussion with one son that just turned eight about baptism. Initially he didn't want to talk about baptism but Sis. Castleton showed him some pictures and got his participation in a plan of salvation discussion. The family was much more willing to talk about spiritual things and at the end, we asked if we could leave with a word of prayer and the non-member father asked if he could give that prayer. Wow, what a wonderful experience! We also visited another family and found out the father was not at home but in California where his mother had just been diagnosed with stomach cancer. We had a nice discussion on family history with the son and mother who were at home.
The Gospel is true! It will bring peace and comfort to all who accept the Savior's invitation, "Come unto me."

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

This has been a very good week. We really enjoyed some wonderful meals and great teaching opportunities with the families. We had some great visits as well with a good deal of variety. One sister was struggling and as we visited she perked up a little when we talked about family history. Her computer was not working properly so Ruth went back the next day with our laptop and helped her find some great information on her son who was killed several years ago while serving a mission. She didn't realize what a Google search could do and there was a goodly amount of information on her son that was really valuable to her.
This past week was transfer week, we lost one sister and gained a new one from the M T C. Our other sister has been made a trainer so the new sister will be trained very well.
We are getting to know so many people in our stake that we would never have known otherwise. What a great group of people to get to know in the service of the Lord.
Father's Day was great! We went to our own ward for Sacrament Meeting where a young man talked who is going to Argentina on a mission tomorrow. His brother is already serving. Then we had been asked to speak in another ward and as we arrived, we found another missionary speaking with us who is going to the M T C next week. He has been best friends with the young man leaving from our ward.
Ruth talked about the importance of writing journals as part of Family History. I talked about the coordination of the missionary effort in the Church and how missionaries and members need to work together. Pres. Monson's message in the June Ensign has a wonderful outline of how this effort should work.
In addition, I love Elder L. Tom Perry's comments about "Hastening The Work of Salvation" when he told the new mission presidents in a seminar in June of 2013, "This is the most remarkable era in the history of the Church. This is something that ranks with the great events that have happened in past history, like the First Vision, like the gift of the Book of Mormon, like the Restoration of the gospel, like all of the things that build that foundation for us to go forward and teach in our Father in Heaven's kingdom."
Pres. Monson declared, "Now is the time for members and missionaries to come together, to work together, to labor in the Lord's vineyard to bring souls unto Him. He has prepared the means for us to share the gospel in a multitude of ways, and He will assist us in our labors if we will act in faith to fulfill His work."
We are so excited to be part of this great time of teaching. Our assignments are varied and quite interesting because of the variety. What a wonderful privilege it is to have a hand in His work!
Following our meetings Keith and his family drove up and had dinner with us as well as Kaylene and her husband and daughters and her son-in-law. It was a great day and nice enough that we could eat outside.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

June 10, 2014

The time is going fast. Every week gets a little busier. We are having great cooperation from our ward mission leaders and getting to know a lot of people that we wouldn't meet otherwise. This week we even met with an investigator because the sister missionaries had another appointment. We were accompanied by the ward mission leader and had a great visit with the family. We are very hopeful that he will be baptized in the near future.
Another wonderful experience was going to the temple for baptisms with a sister that was just baptized the end of April. We went to her home a couple of times, got her registered on Family Search and then went back and entered her mother, father and brothers names so we could print our the FOR for those three.
She asked Elder Castleton to baptize her for her mother, and then Elder Castleton was baptized for her father and brother. There were several people at the temple to celebrate with her which made it a very special day. Something different was that they allowed those in her party to come into the baptismal font area for the baptisms. Following the baptisms, Elder Castleton confirmed the sister for her mother near the font and then a temple worker confirmed him for the father and brother.
We had some wonderful visits to mostly less-active members with our Relief Society President on Wednesday.  We have also had some great experiences making visits to others in our area.  We have been very well received and have enjoyed getting to know the people in our Stake.   It just keeps getting better every week. We are so grateful to the Lord for this wonderful blessing. We are just praying that the people we visit feel the spirit and want to embrace the Gospel and be active participants.
Elder and Sister Castleton

Sunday, June 1, 2014

June 1, 20014
Wow, we have been busy and we didn't get around to recording anything last week. Here is an update on what has been happening.
We have so enjoyed being invited into homes and meetings to introduce ourselves and our purpose as missionaries. This past week we were assigned to take the missionary dinner appointments in our own ward. What a wonderful opportunity to share a meal and then share a message with the family. We try to fashion a message to fit the family and it has been received with great enthusiasm, especially by the children.
 We participated in a visit this week with a member of the Primary presidency and her husband who knew the family. This is a good family and we hope our visit will encourage them to attend meetings in our ward more often. We also visited with another family in the company of our Elder's Quorum President. We went with the intent of teaching them some about Family History and came away with a different idea on how a busy mother does family history. She is trying to keep a pictorial family history by taking pictures of events and outings in which her family participates. She then stores the photos and then compiles them into a book using Shutterfly when she gets some good coupons to use. This is a great way to remember the family events and to store them in a way that the event will be remembered. The captions on the pages tells about the event and the comments made during the event.
As usual, meetings are a big part of each week. With each meeting comes preparations so the meeting can have some meaning to the work. Last Sunday we met in two Ward Councils and had great reception in both. We attended Sacrament meetings to continue to get acquainted with the members and talk to them about our work. We always enjoy attending baptisms. The sisters had a baptism just yesterday.
This morning we had a training meeting with ward mission leaders. We presented the Ward Mission Process which describes the way members, missionaries, and senior couples fit into that process.The basic process begins within the Ward Councils. This is a process which was advocated by Pres. Monson when he said in  a worldwide leadership training broadcast in June 2013, "Now is the time for members and missionaries to come together, to work together, to labor in the Lord's vineyard to bring souls unto Him."
 We had an appointment to take a new member to the temple with some family names but that had to be postponed because of illness. We'll write about that experience next week.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

      Last week was a busy week of missionary work.  We had some great experiences out among the people. We went into homes of active members to spread the word that we are full-time missionaries ready and willing to help them with their missionary work.
     We visited one family that are converts to the church.  They joined several years ago.  The husband explained that it was the spirit that guided them to the church.  He was searching for the truth for a long time.  With fervent prayer to Heavenly Father, he made a connection with a man with whom he worked (member of the church)  that studied doctrine with him and gave him several gospel topics to seek out in his study.  It was an amazing journey for him.  His wife at the same time was studying with the missionaries and gaining a testimony.  The husband was working away from home so their quest for the truth was separate, yet they both found the gospel.  Presently they have a daughter serving a mission and a son who served a mission previously.   It was a very spiritual meeting with them.
     Just this morning we received an email from a sister who had us to dinner last week.  After dinner we gave the family a short lesson on being member missionaries.  It was fun to visit with the children about being missionaries. The sister said in her email:  "Oh how we enjoyed having you over!!!!  I have to share what your example encouraged my children to do.   On Sunday, Bodey was walking home from church when he saw a friend of his out playing.  He asked Kayson if he had been to church that day in which Kayson replied, no 5 year olds don't got to church.  My Bodey replied back well I am 5 and I went to primary today, it was fun you should come too!!!!  Thank you for setting a great example for my children, we hope you and yours can be in our home again soon!!!!" 
     We feel so blessed to be of service in the Lord's work.

Monday, May 12, 2014

May 12, 2014

This is what it is all about!
Two dedicated missionaries find a family, two boys are baptized by their father and a younger brother given a name and a blessing. The family is now looking toward the temple as the next step in their eternal progression.
On Sunday we met in our missionary correlation meeting with our ward mission leaders, and full time missionaries. Then we met with our Stake Presidency and the Hyrum Stake Presidency to try to figure out how to keep the work going smoothly since we lost a set of Elders from the Hyrum Stake in this last transfer. We have a lot of planning and organization to do in order to keep the order of the work moving forward. We met with our sisters and the couple from Hyrum Stake on Monday to correlate the schedules that had been discussed on Sunday.
 We had a senior couples meeting in Ogden on Wednesday. What a great meeting! There were 68 couples at the meeting. What a wonderful, sight to see all these couples dedicated to "Hastening the Work of Salvation." After we came home we were invited to our Stake Bishop's training meeting where we were officially introduced as full time missionaries and participated in a discussion of how to go about doing the work of the Lord in our Stake. The Stake Presidency shared their vision of this work with the bishops of the Stake, and how we can work together to meet the goals they have in mind.
  We drove our sisters to Ogden for a sister training session on Friday.After we helped to prepare the luncheon for the sisters we then went to a local restaurant for our lunch. One little girl kept looking at our badges and Sister Castleton engaged her in a conversation about being missionaries. It was so sweet and thoughtful. Made quite an impression on the little one. As we were leaving another family came in and another little girl immediately pointed to our missionary name tags and her mother explained that older people can be missionaries as well. The mother explained that both she and her husband had served missions and the little one was enamored with missionaries.
Following the baptism on Saturday, we celebrated our 51st wedding anniversary with a temple session and a dinner at Olive Garden, thanks to the generosity of our daughter. Wow, the food was great and the waiter asked about the occasion since we were dressed up. Later the manager came by and told us to order a dessert on him to celebrate. How kind was that? We ordered the strawberry cheesecake. What a delicious rush to finish off a wonderful meal.
 We spent Mother's Day with our family in church and then had a nice meal at our home, and enjoyed visiting for the afternoon.
This week will be much busier because we are splitting some meal dates and visits with our sisters, so along with the normal meetings of the week, we have a pretty busy schedule. Looking forward to a great week.