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