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.

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