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.