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.