Monday, December 21, 2015

This has been a great week! We have had many neat experiences with our Living Christmas card activity. We have met some wonderful people and enjoyed reading the Christmas story from Luke with many families. One memorable experience was just last night. Following a visit to former neighbors we went to a family with a mother and three children. She is not a member of our church but when we arrived there we recognized that last year about this time we were looking for an address in that area. We stopped at her home and she was very kind to us and told us where to find the address we were looking for. As we knocked on the door the children then she came to the door as we sang. She invited us in and we read the Christmas story, taking time to explain to the three children what some of the words meant. Words like decree, delivered, and swaddling clothes are not part of most young children's vocabulary today. After we read we asked the mother about how things were for her family. She told us a long story about her life and adventures. She has had some difficult times recently with health problems and she doesn't seem to be at the end of those problems just yet. One of the redeeming factors in all this is she had a member of our church in the neighborhood that she just loves and that neighbor is very loving and kind to her and the children. There was a great spirit in that home which made it very comfortable for us to be there.
We have had a busy but memorable week.
  We are looking forward to today. We have a zone conference until about three o'clock. Following that we are going to Keith's home and celebrate and early Christmas with him and his family. Thursday night we are having Kaylene and her family here and then the day after Christmas we are going to Montana to see more family. We are just praying that the weather will be calm so that the trip will not be a white knuckled experience.
We wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

  This has been a pretty good week. We have been busy but there are a couple of things that stand out for the week. Our mission is doing a living Christmas card project. Members in the wards give names of friends and neighbors to their ward mission leaders who make up the list for the missionaries to visit.
We and the Elders then take those lists and divide them between us unless there is a specific pair requested to make the visit. So, during the eveing hours we have been making those visits.
Last night we found two families at home and delivered the singing card. We begin by singing "Silent Night" then announce who had asked us to make the visit. We then asked if we could come in and leave a short Christmas messsage with them. We then read Luke 2: 1-20 about the birth of the Savior in Bethlehem. We conclude by asking if we can leave a blessing on their home. In both cases last night we were welcomed and it was a great experince to share the love of Jesus Christ with each family. In both homes they warmly received the story of Jesus' birth, and seemed happy about having the blessing on their homes. In the second home, the lady said that she had just found out this week that her mother has cancer. She was so grateful for our visit and asked us to share that news of her mother with the person who sent us to see her.
  The second miracle of the week happened today. Early in our mission we were sent to a home to visit a neat lady and her husband.The husband had a serious bout with an infection and had spent an extended time in the hospital. Both are members, the sister has been active and after many years of waiting, went to the temple and continues to attend regularly. When we first went to the home we gave some specific attention to the husband and encouraged him to attend church so he could go to the temple with his wife. After a few meetings, he told his wife he didn't want to have us come to his home again, he just wasn't interested in becoming active. Later he told her that he still wasn't interested but if she wanted to have us visit, that would be fine as long as we didn't preach to him. We have been there a couple of time since and talked with her, he did not join us on the visit. During this past week, we were told that she would be speaking in sacrament meeting today so we were determined to be there. Well, the great surprise of the day was that her husband came with her to listen to her talk. She bore a wonderful testimony of how much she loves the Lord and how blessed she feels for the Gospel of Jesus Christ in her life. Her husband could not help but feel her testimony and recognize how blessed he is to have such a sweet woman for a wife.
  The Lord loves all his children and wants them to be happy. The only way to be truly happy is to be willing to learn His commandments and make a commitment to live them to the best of one's ability.
We love the Lord and are happy to be able to celebrate His birth and love for His children.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

    On Monday we visited several members of our ward and invited them to attend the Christmas Party on Wednesday. But first things first, Wednesday morning we attended our mission Christmas devotional. The senior couples made breakfast cassaroles, muffins, and other things to make a breakfast. The mission had fruit, milk, and juices as well. Following the breakfast we had a very spritual devotional. Many scriptures were read, and several musical numbers were performed. They were all done very well then we had talks from Pres. and Sister Allred. It was a wonderful meeting and very uplifting. We had a dinner appointment in the fourth ward so we attended the 12th Ward Christmas Party and just visited. Because of our dinner, we missed the program which they presented first; but we had some good visits with our ward members.Thursday we had our District Meeting and then attended a temple session. The first week of each month, the senior couples go to a temple session. Because of the mission devotional, our district meeting was held on Thursday instead of Wednesday so some of the couples had conflicts so there were only three couples who were able to go to the temple.
  Friday we had the First Ward Christmas party. It was lightly attended but that was because a young lady from that ward passed away on Wednesday and the viewing was held on Friday evening. It is a sad time for the family because this young lady was born with a serious mental handicap and had nearly died a year ago from complications of pneumonia. She recently had a serious fall and the effects of that fall led to her passing.
  We have had some wonderful visits this past week. We have shown the video "A Savior Is Born" to many families this week. It is a short video but really brings to focus the importance of the mission of Jesus Christ and His infinite Atonement for each of us. Hearts are generally soft at this time of the year and the spirit is quite strong in the homes where we show that video.
  Today we went to an early morning meeting with our stake presidency and our Elders. We then attended the fourth ward sacrament meeting and then we enjoyed the opportunity of going to our own ward for the block. It is so different to go to our own ward and see so many people that we don't know. We will have an opportunity to get acquainted with them soon.
  Christmas season is upon us. This coming week we are going to start visting families with our live Christmas card presentation where we will sing a Christmas hymn then read the story of Christmas from Luke chapter two. It will be a fun experience! We have a list of about fifty families already to visit with this program.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The last few days have been a blur so before time gets totally away, I will update everyone on the last weeks activities and experiences.
Now that we have elders instead of sisters in our stake, Elder Castleton has been doing a lot of transporting etc. with the missionaries. It is a switch since Sister Castleton went frequently with the sisters when they needed help.
Sunday Ruth gave a Family History presentation to the fifth ward combined Relief Society and Priesthood.That took a lot of time to put together her thoughts and she went even further and made a power point presntation along with a bundle of handouts for the class participants.
  We have had some wonderful visits with people in the area. Our big challenge is to find people home during the day time hours. Most of the time, we have plenty of people to see during the evening hours after dinner. The members have been very kind inviting us to dinner, we really enjoy getting acquainted with them and especially the children. Where there are children, we try to fit the message to them We find many of them are excited when we show them the Family History video presented by children and then talk to the children about the book MY FAMILY.
  Thanksgiving was different for us. We are usually able to have a lot of family around us on that day but this year was a little different, we mostly worked from home during the day and then in the afternoon we spent time with Kaylene, Ron, and Collette. Then we had dinner with them and Hallie and TeTe. Friday night we had a great meal and enjoyed the family of one of our ward mission leaders with his wife and four neat children
  Saturday was a real special day. Ruth's nephew Jonathan is going to be married next month. There was a shower for his fiance so we stopped in and met her and saw some family there. That was a nice experience.
  Later in the day we had a young man who had been investigating the Church with the sisters that went to the bishop and told him he wanted to be baptized. Our new elders went and met with him and he was excited to follow through on his commitment. He was interviewed and the arrangements were made for his baptimsm on Saturday afternoon. The ward was very supportive and he had a nice group to celebrate his baptism.
  Following the baptism we were invited to have dinner with another neat family with three children 13,11, and 9. They have been here about three years and previously lived in Nevada. They said it seems that a lot of people in this are are realated and it is more difficult to get to know people. Their previous exerience was that they would invite several families for a barbeque and would have a good number show up. They have tried that here and no one has come because they have had their own family gatherings. It seeems we are not as willing as we have been in the past to get acquainted with new people in the area and include them in our gatherings. That is sad but true in many instances.
Following dinner we talked to them about their family. The children were quite aware of things about their family and were excited to talk with us about the MY FAMILY book. We really enjoyed the eveing with this family.
Sunday was a big day for the First ward. We went to the sacrament meeting for Hadden's confirmation which was very special. During the meeting their bishop was released after serving for about six years. It was a special meeting and there was a wonderful feeling of love expressed for the outgoing bishop as well as the new bishop. We then went to the fifth ward where our new friends Chris and Holli had their baby blessed. Chris was just ordained an Elder so he was able to bless his child Cooper. What a great experience to be asked to stand in the circle for the blessing. We then attended the combined meeting where Ruth did a great job presenting Family Search changes and answering questions from those in attendance. We attended a ward missionary meeting and then our regular stake coorelation meeting. Then we had wonderful meal with a delightful family and presented them the new Christmas message that was just released on Saturday. It is called "A Savior Is Born." It is a wonderful reminder of why we celebrate Christmas. President Monson said, "The Spirit of Christmas is indeed the CHRIST spirit. May each of us recognize Christ as the reason for the Christmas season!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

  It seems that each week goes faster now but we are enjoying the opportunity to meet new people in our stake. We have talked some about how great it is to still be meeting people we do not know. With over three thousand people in the stake, it isn't hard to understand why we are still meeting those families we have not met before.
  Monday night was special. We spent some family time as Jennette's grandson Anthony graduated from the police acadamey. He also earned the award for being the most physically fit in the class.
  Tuesday turned out to be a different day. We have been working with Nick and trying to help him through s tough stretch in his life. He called in the morning and asked if we could take him to Idaho Falls to pick up a truck.We first told him no because Ruth had taken some sisters to the temple early in the morning and we were to pick them up and take them to the transfer breakfast. We looked at our schedule and felt it might be the best use of our time to accomodate Nick's request if he could go in the afternoon. So we went to the breakfast at a family named Tolman in the Wellsville area and had a great time as the missionaries learned of new assignments. We were w
"whitewasshed" as Sis. Fraizer went home and Sis. Burt was transferred to Mendon. In their place we have elders. Elder Madsen and Elder Castillo.
That afternoon we drove Nick to Idaho Falls and then returned home. It was a long day but we had a good discussion with Nick. He seems to be inching closer to wanting to look closer at meeting with the missionaries. His bishop is just a great man and is looking after him even though he is not a member of the Church.
  On Wednesday morning we took the truck to pick up Sisters belongings and take them to the Tabernacle in Logan where we traded them for our new elders. Sister Michia was transferred to Ogden so we helped her as well as Sis. Burt. We met our new elders and trucked their belongings to their new apartment and they started to settle in. Later I drove them around the area and talked with them about what we knew as far as their work was concerned. They dug right in and cleaned out the apartment and organized their area book. It is great now that they have I pads they can get much of the information they need and know what has been going on in the area.
   Thursday we took the Elders to lunch and then spent the afternoon talking with them about what we knew about the work in the area. They are anxious to meet people and push forward.
   Friday morning we had a nice visit with the family we taught temple lessons and went to the temple with them a few months ago. They have moved to Nibley and they brought their son and visited with us for a while. They seem to be doing well which we were happy to know.
  Sunday was a busy and long day. We started with an early morning stake council meeting. It was a follow up with the discussion centering on making the Sabbath a delight. The bishops and counselors were invited to attend, it was a great meeting. We then attended the 14th ward, we hadn't been there for a while and we really enjoyed their sacrament meeting. We then attened Nibley 2nd ward where our friends, the John's gave their mission ending report. It was a nice opportunity to see them and their family. We had a home teaching visit before our ward mission leader meeting.
We returned to the 14th ward for dinner. It was great because we weree invited to the Barfus family in the 14th ward. Josh's grandmother was Hazel who was married to Ruth's dad. Cheli's step-mother and her husband are very good friends of ours, we have been good friends most of the time we have lived in Hyrum. They have twin boys and a new little girl that is just about four months old and cute as can be.
We love this work and are thankful for the opportunity to work together to share our testimonies of the Lord Jesus Christ and His gospel.

Monday, November 16, 2015

  Time marches on but we are going to take advantage of each day and enjoy every experience. Last Sunday was an especially exciting day. I'm just looking back on our blog and it appears that the entry last week was not posted. We took our prep day and went to Eagle Mountain to see our new little granddaughter Elizabeth. She is so sweet and the children are all excited to have her join the family. The highlight of the week was when we were able to attend the ordination of Chris to the Melchizedek Priesthood. He was very humble but excited. His mother and his sister attended. His mother was very teary and his sister seemed happy to be there as well. This is like a pay day for missionaries.
  This week we had some great teaching appointments. We mostly stopped in to see people that had been referred to us and we found many home and were able to give messages to the families. We found a neat video on Thanksgiving we are sharing that is very well done.
We were saddened by a letter from our former supervisor couple. Elder Fryer has been diagnosed with stage four liver bile duct cancer and has about six months to live. This couple treated us so kindly and were so great as our leaders. It is hard to see this kind of thing happen in the lives of people we love. We are praying that he will have a good quality of life and know how much he is loved by those that they helped in our missionary service.
We have had some great visits with members who have invited us to dinner with their families. We have been blessed to get acquainted with so many neat people in the Stake. This has been a blessing we have enjoyed and will continue to enjoy as we see these people even after our mission ends.
Friday afternoon we attended a temple session. As we were going into the temple we met a special couple who have become close friends. Through tears he told us he has been called to be a counselor to the bishop in his ward and asked if we could come when he is set apart following sacrament meeting. Bro. Toone will make a great counselor for the bishop.
The day was rather bitter-sweet for us. Last night we attended a farewell testimony meeting for our Sis. Frazier and another sister who started her mission in our area, Sis. Smith. It was a tearful meeting but a spirit filled meeting. We are anxious to see what happens with transfers looming on Wednesday.
What a blessing to serve the Lord. We pray each day for guidance so that we can see the people the Lord needs us to help turn toward the Gospel.
I want to end with a quote from Elder Scott from his book 21 PRINCIPLES. He recognizes that adversity is a part of life. The Lord is interested in what we are becoming through our choices. Then he says this. " Just when all seems to be going right, challenges often come in multiple doses applied simultaneously. When those trials are not consequences of your disobedience, they are evidence that the Lord feels your are prepared to grow more (see Proverbs 3: 11-12) He therefore gives you experiences that stimulate growth, understanding, and compassion which polish you for your everlasting benefit. To get from where you are to where He wants you to be requires a lot of stretching and that generally entails discomfort and pain."

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Week of November 10

  We have had a good week. We only have about four and a half months left to serve and we have been thinking some about what life might be like when we are finished with this assignment.
  We continue to have wonderful experiences with the young couple we have been teaching. They are so willing to learn and keep their commitments. They are praying and studying the scriptures. This will surely bring them blessings and opportunities to continue their understanding and spiritual growth.
  We have wonderful support from our leaders. One bishop gave us an opportunity to be of service to a young man. He and his family went to visit some people in his ward. The person that they wanted to see was not home but they met another young man who had just returned from spending some time in jail. His wife and child had left and gone to California and he was quite distraught. They left him the plate of cookies after visiting with him for a while and then called us and asked if we would take him to the bishop's storehouse the next day to get some food. As we drove to and from the storehouse, he gave us a life sketch. He is really struggling right now but is willing to learn and grow.
He promised the bishop he would come to church on Sunday and he came and a friend from the same apartment complex came with him. The friend had met with our sister missionaries earlier in the week.
  Saturday was a family day. We drove to Eagle Mountain. Our first experience was to watch our grandson Jeff play a football game. This is his first year playing tackle football but is a dedicated football team member, willing to play wherever the coach wants to use him. He is one of the smallest in stature but has a big heart and desire to contribute. He was happy to play and his team won the game and now this week will be in a playoff game.
Following the game we drove with our son Keith to Provo to watch two of his girls in the play, "Into the Woods Jr." Jessie played Red Riding Hood's grandmother, and Naomi played a tree. They both did a good job, we were happy to be there to see them act.

  Sunday was a normal but busy day. We attended several meetings including going to our own ward for the full block of meetings. It is always good to meet with people we know and  love, although we are getting quite well acquainted in all the wards int the stake.
  The highlight of this post is that yesterday Catherine and Keith delivered our 18th grand child. A beautiful little girl named Elizabeth. She was over due by doctors time table but right on time according to her mother. We are so excited to go spend some time with her tomorrow. One additional note is that she was born on her great grandfather's birthday. John N. Castleton, my father was born on Nov. 2, 1913. What a wonderful birthday present for him. We have wondered how much opportunity they may have had to become acquainted before she left the presence of Heavenly Father.I guess that is a question we can ponder until we are able to know for sure about things like that.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

  We had three really great events this week. We had a great meeting with the couple we have been meeting with for a while.  They accept our lessons and it is exciting to see them making commitments and making progress. The most exciting thing is that this couple, his mother and sister and her children were at Church today. This is exciting progress that will bring many blessings.
  Early in the week we saw a sister who has been working hard to be completely active and dedicated to the Gospel. She had said earlier that she would really like to go to the Salt Lake Temple. We looked at our schedules and decided that Friday would be a good day to do that. We left first thing in the morning and drove to the temple. The first blessing was the Conference Center parking plaza was open and as we drove in the sign said there would be no charge for the day's parking. Happily we crossed the street and attended a temple session. This temple, dedicated in 1893 is so beautiful and striking when one remembers that it was built so long ago. The stained glass windows and ornate decor is just amazing. Architects at that time of building the temple left spaces vertical and horizontal which now accommodates electrical wiring, heating and air conditioning ducts, as well elevators which means the building utilizes modern conveniences not known at the time it was built.
The temple has been well kept and beautiful, any restoration has been done with the historical significance being maintained. The sessions are done by people, nothing is recorded, which is only done in the Salt Lake and Manti temples. Needless to say, the experience is difficult to duplicate because it is so different from any other temple experience available. Following lunch in the cafeteria we went to the Church Museum to see the new films, interactive displays and art from a recently completed international art competition titled, "Tell Me The Story of Jesus." From there we went to the North visitors center and saw more displays with the crowning experience of sitting   looking at the super-life size statue of the Christus.
   Last night we went to see a brother who we have been encouraging to return to activity in the Gospel. He's a good man and has two young children that would benefit from Church activity as well. Shortly after arriving at his home his mother brought his daughter home from a birthday party. As this fellow left the room to take care of a matter the mother said she was so happy to meet us, and said, "I'm glad that you visit him and encourage him, I can't say much but he enjoys your visits."
He is a returned missionary and he talks some about his mission, this prompted me read an experience Pres. Monson shared about Bro. Fetzer with whom he served in a stake presidency in Salt Lake area. The stake presidency went to a priesthood meeting at the Tabernacle many years ago. They went quite early to get a good seat and sat behind some brethren who were talking about how one of them had joined the Church in Germany. This man told of his mother rescuing two elders from a group who threatened violence to Elder Fetzer and his companion. After she had fed the elders they thanked her and shared a message with the good lady. Her son was quite shy and listened to the elders from a place of solitude and warmth behind the kitchen stove. Pres. Fetzer said he didn't know if the woman ever joined the Church but he was so grateful for the kindness of that good lady. One brother sitting in front of them told his companions about how on a rainy night in Germany his mother had rescued two Mormon Elders and took them home and fed them. This boy had listened from his hiding place behind the stove which led to his conversion. He said he doubted he would ever meet those two missionaries, but thought one was named Fetzer. Pres. Fetzer tearfully tapped the man on the shoulder and told him his name was Bruder Fetzer and was one of the missionaries who was in the home that night.
This story touched our brothers heart. He felt the spirit of the message and then shared with us an item he had brought home from his mission. Following a prayer we left that home knowing why we had gone there that night.
  Today has been a day full of great meetings and inspirational experiences as well. Truly The Sabbath has been a delight!

Monday, October 19, 2015

  We continue to enjoy our work. We are grateful for the Lord's direction on who needs to be visited. We obviously don't get all the families that need our visits but we try to find those who are most in need of a lift.
  We have a new district leader and he spent a lot of time preparing for our district meeting. Last week, our mission president expressed how much he wants all the missionaries to be effective teachers. He told them that when we hear something we remember about ten percent, when we see it the percentage rises, when we see a demonstration there is a higher percentage of remembering, when a principle is demonstrated, and evaluated it is higher yet. Finally, when a principle is demonstrated, evaluated, retaught and reevaluated, the percentage of that principle that is retained nears ninety percent.
  This week the senior couples went to the Logan Temple following our district meeting and did sealings. That is always such a great feeling. Most of the sealings are done for family names that have been found by the couples.
We enjoy our district service projects which is usually at the Humanitarian center, Recently we have been quilting. It was a little difficult to get the hang of how to do the quilting but it is rather enjoyable now. It is exciting to think that someone who needs some warmth or comfort will have it from a quilt we have helped make. Since our sisters are without a car, we still spend some time transporting them, the members have been very helpful in that area as well.
   Friday Ruth took the sisters to a meeting in Richmond and then came home and we drove to Salt Lake with Jennette and her friend Don for the concert put on by the Orchestra at Temple Square. What an amazing program. The Piano Concerto no. 2 by Chopin was just amazing. The pianist was Kevin Kenner. His hands hardly every quit moving. It was just a wonderful performance. Igor Gruppman then played "Dance of the Blessed Spirits" by Gluck on a 1731 "Jules Garcin" Stradivarius violin. He is just masterful with his performance. The orchestra finished the performance with Symphony no 40 in G Minor by Mozart. It was just a wonderful evening and a nice celebration of Ruth's birthday which was the day before the concert.
  Saturday Keith and most of  his family and Kaylene and her daughters and a couple of friends came and we had a nice chili dinner and birthday cake to celebrate.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

  We have had a good week. We have been able to visit several people that we felt needed the visits.
Started out the week with a fun family with two young boys five and two. They were both sharp and but the five year old really seemed to really be anxious to respond to our lesson. The family had decorated for Halloween and he was anxious to show us some of the things on display. Wednesday was a historic day in the mission. There were 26 new missionaries who arrived from the MTC. That is a big number when there are only fifty some companionships in the mission.
  On Wednesday morning the day started with a mission breakfast. The new missionaries and their trainers had a meeting and then there was a breakfast. Most of the cooking of bacon, eggs, and hash browns was done by the senior men while the office women and senior women missionaries waited tables and mingled with the young elders and sisters. Following breakfast there was a mission conference where some great instruction and mission vision was restated for both the missionaries in the mission and the new elders and sisters. There are some new things on the near horizon for helping the missionaries in their work. One thing will be that there will be instruction on how to use family history as a finding tool and a resource for teaching others about the Gospel. Almost like a new beginning with that many new missionaries. We are excited about the vision given by Pres. Allred and others who did the training.
In the evening we went with the Stake older singles committee and made visits to some of the singles and invited them to a Halloween activity and some firesides later in the month. We had some good visits with several people who do not regularly participate in Church activities.
  Thursday morning we went to a funeral of a dear sister we had visited several times. She was about ninety years old and has a large family of nine children plus the grand and great-grand children. The family really filled a large part of the chapel for the services. Hopefully the family members felt some peace from the wonderful thoughts shared by those who took part in the services. She was a wonderful and faithful sister and dedicated mother.
We had a visit with a sister who raises a wonderful garden in spite of some challenging disabilities. She is just determined to keep going. We followed that visit with our lessons to a couple who are returning to activity. We are going through the lesson material just to help refresh their faith and desire to take steps toward the next ordinance of going to the temple.
  Saturday was a special day. We spent a large part of the day in baptismal services for eight year old children. One child was one we visited a few times with the sisters who taught her the missionary discussions. Her father was able to be ordained last Sunday as a Priest and was able to baptize her.
Her less active grandfather also attended her baptism. There were five wards who had children baptized. One special time to remember was a young family with five children The second child is a special needs child. This is our report about that experience.
 We had such a special experience at a baptism we attended.  A beautiful family sang the song "Gethsemane." One of the children was a Down's syndrome child of about 10 years of age.  He sang out with all of his heart and knew every word.  Even though the words were sung off key and were not completely understood, his spirit made us rejoice at the great love that he has for his Savior.  I will cherish this moment and remember that Jesus Christ taught us to look to children as an example when he said:  "Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.  Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven."
  Today was a long day but a wonderful day. We had a meeting with our stake presidency and the sisters to discuss the work in our area. There were some great ideas exchanged and we are excited for these things to take shape, and they will with the Lord's help.
We attended a ward council meeting then attended the tenth ward and stayed for their whole block of  meetings; and then went to another ward for their sacrament meeting. We had a very productive correlation meeting this afternoon and then a meal with a couple and their son and his wife.
  What a wonderful time to have the opportunity to serve as missionaries! As we look over each week, we see the hand of the Lord in the details. It encourages us to defy the tiredness we feel and go on and find those who need help in coming back to the safety of the Gospel in a wicked and confusing world.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Something I overlooked from our experiences from the last week. I am going to include it as an additional post today:
 We had a very tender experience as we listened to the spirit. One dear sister who recently joined the church has not been coming out to church in the past few weeks and we were asked to visit her. .  We were there when she was baptized and have been trying to see her but have not caught her at home.  Well, Sunday night we felt impressed to stop by her home.  She was just pulling into her driveway.  We chatted with her and she asked us if we would like to come in.  We, of course, said that we did.  We talked to her about her experiences of the day and found that she had attended a mission farewell in Wellsville for a young man who was going to the Philippines.  We talked to her about the tender mercies of the Lord and she hesitated and said that she didn’t know if the Lord was aware of her at this time in her life.  She has been through a difficult time and was hurt emotionally by a person she thought was a friend. (not a member of the church).  She was beginning to wonder why the Lord would let things like that happen to her.  We talked some more and then showed her the video “Mountains to climb”.  She cried throughout the video and then when it was done.  Her heart opened up and she expressed to us that she saw that other people have hard times, harder than hers.  We told her that the Lord had sent us to see her.  We continued to listen to her and cried together.  As we were leaving we asked if we could have prayer with her and she said she would say it.  She prayed that the Lord would help her go to church and reach out to the member of the church.  She prayed that the Lord would heal her heart.  The Lord is so aware of his children!  What a privilege to be his servants!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

What a wonderful weekend. General Conference is always a major uplift and this one was no exception. The week was a little slow for missionary work. Tuesday George got really sick and spent most of the day in bed. Once as he started for the bathroom, he fainted and landed in a heap on the bedroom floor. Fortunately Ruth was close by and was able to divert his fall some so he didn't hit his head on the rocking horse at the foot of the bed. However, in breaking his fall she hurt her knee and wrenched her back some. George experienced the dry heaves and finally had Ruth call the doctor who prescribed some medicine. It seems like it must have been the flu and it took most of the week to get over the effects. We are determined to get the flu shot soon and avoid future events like this.
Wednesday Ruth found a sister to go with her to a lesson and George found a sub for an appointment he had to take a fellow to a meeting with his bishop.
  Thursday we went to the funeral of Bro. Baxter. He was a great man who died last week. His two sons told some events that were really nearly unbelievable. After working and teaching school he decided his two boys needed something to teach them how to work. He put a claim into the Canadian Government for 10,000 acres in the wilderness. They approved 640 acres and in order to make improvements that were required to keep the claim alive, he decided to take the boys to Canada and fence the property. That was four miles of fencing. They bought the material and had to cross a river which was especially challenging with 100 pound bales of barbed wire with a twenty foot deep river to ford. They finally got the fencing material across the river and built the fence while defending themselves against moose, bear, deer, and elk. It was a summer of camping and hard work. After some time he sold that property and then he decided to buy another property in Canada. This property had been developed with a home and some fence but not all fenced. The seller said there was a house on the property occupied by a manager but that it would be empty by time they arrived. Well, not only was in not empty, the manager was determined to stay and shot a rifle at them as they approached. Bro. Baxter was not deterred and ordered cattle and machinery and began having things delivered to the ranch amid the continuing gunfire. Finally the manager left to get somethings in town and the new owners fell trees across the road and took over the house. Confrontations with wildlife were always a threat but they miraculously survived. Later the younger son took a creative writing class in school and wrote about some of those experiences. His teacher told the family that he had the biggest imagination she had ever seen.
  That evening we were happy to join members of our ward in an adult social. It had been a long time since we had enjoyed that opportunity. It was a great evening. Friday was a good missionary day as we were able to make several visits to families ward mission leaders had given us. One fun time was a family  with three boys. The youngest boy is a babe in arms but the other two boys were excited to talk with us about family history and share things about their lives.
  As mentioned at the beginning, General Conference is always a shot in the arm. It was a historic conference in which three new apostles were appointed to replace three who had died since the last conference. Elders Rasband, Stevenson, and Renlund were appointed to take the places of Elder Perry, Elder Packer and Elder Scott who died just twelve days ago. Many of the speakers during this conference talked about these three departed servants of the Lord. Elder Hales who has been ailing for some time was able to speak on Saturday. Pres. Monson spoke at Priesthood meeting and then in the session this morning. He really seemed to be struggling by the end of his talk but he fought through and bore a strong testimony of the great work of the Lord in our day.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

   We have had a good week, however, for some reason it seemed to be a week where it was hard to find people at home. We kept trying and did some visiting to people that are normally available.
   We are still meeting weekly with a young couple from the fifth ward that are working their way back to full activity. This week the Elder's quorum president joined us as we taught the importance scripture study and prayer. We also discussed the role of the Holy Ghost in the learning process. The next thing we talked about was keeping the Sabbath day holy. In America the Sabbath has become a holiday rather than a holy day. The meaning of Sabbath comes from Hebrew meaning rest. As Elder Nelson taught, you don't need a list of things to do or not to do on the Sabbath the question is,"What sign do you want to give to God?"
 We had a lesson about indexing with a sister who is older but wanted to learn more about the work and blessing of the indexing program.
  Thurs. we had a senior couple luncheon and training meeting. There will be a big shake up in the mission early in October, the next transfer. There will be twenty-six new missionaries which will affect almost every companionship in the mission in one form or another. The mission presidency is looking at how we are doing things and how we should be doing the work so these new missionaries and the ones currently serving are doing things in the Lord's way.
  We have had a couple of deaths in our area this past week. The first was a father to a family who used to live across the street from us and recently moved. The father was diagnosed with cancer about eleven months ago. He had a stroke about fifteen years ago and was somewhat mobile with some walking support. However, he contracted cancer in the hip that was quite paralyzed from the stroke. The last couple of months were rather challenging for him and the family.
The second was a brother who has had congestive heart failure. We have been visiting he and his wife and enjoying those visits. He and his wife were good friends with  Uncle Wayne and aunt Jo in Modesto, California for many years. He had been in an assistant living facility for a few weeks. We saw him about a week before he died. The morning he died, his wife went to visit. He said he had been having some black our episodes and as they talked he experienced on of those incidents, took a couple of shallow breaths and passed away. We will miss both of these friends.
  Today has been a good day. We started with an early morning stake council meeting. We received training on what the Church is developing to help those in the Church with disabilities. It was quite eye opening to see the recognition of many different challenges people face and how the ward members can be of service to them. We attended a ward council meeting and then three sacrament meetings. Two sacrament meetings were the annual Primary presentations. Those young people really do well in saying and singing their testimonies of the Savior.
  We had a nice meal with a family tonight after our correlation meeting and then had an impression to go see a sister we have known since she was baptized about a year ago. She was just pulling into her driveway as we pulled up. We had a great visit. She has not been attending meetings regularly and we and the ward leadership have noted her absence. As we talked she explained that she has tried to live a good life but has been hurt by some people who she trusted but was abused by them. As a result, she felt maybe the Lord didn't really care about her. We showed her the video, "Mountains to Climb." As she related what had been going on she was very tearful. She has been close to a friend with similar background who has been busy with family and not able to spend time with her as before. We assured her that we loved her and the Lord loved her and was aware of her struggles. As we were leaving we asked her if we could have prayer with her. She said she would like to say the prayer. She asked the Lord to heal her heart and let her have peace in her life. We are going to stay in touch with her and the ward mission leader is going to involve some people she knows to help fellowship her back to activity.

Monday, September 21, 2015

  Sunday last was a full day. Following our Discovery Day program we came home and spent some time preparing our talks for Sacrament meeting. We were called late in the week by a counselor in the bishopric saying a family had called earlier and said they had some serious illness in their family and would not be able to speak as agreed previously. The counselor said after praying about the matter he was impressed to call us. We felt the blessings of the Lord as we prepared our talks and as we delivered them. Following our meetings, we were invited to that families home for dinner. They are a great family, and we enjoy the spirit we feel in their home.
  Monday we did service at the humanitarian center in the Hyrum Stake and Wednesday went to our district meeting as usual.
 We had a pretty normal week with good visits, lessons and some cancellations, which is all part of the work. One thing was different this week, we took all of Tuesday for preparation day and had some fun and relaxed. In the afternoon we went to the movie, "Once I Was A Beehive." It was really well done and uplifting. We went to Wendy's for dinner, and then to an Aggie volleyball match with Ruth's sister Jennette.
 We had been challenged by our mission president to give a five minute restoration lesson to four families and give them a challenge to pray for a missionary experience for five days and then check back to find out what experiences they had enjoyed. We were able to get all four lessons taught. No miracles yet to report but the challenge and opportunity is available.
  We have enjoyed several meals this week in homes of people that were very kind to us and we shared messages with each family. We have felt like maybe we should suspend our meal schedule but after discussion with our high council representative and ward mission leaders, they felt we should continue as previously outlined.
  There has been some sickness and challenges with our sister missionaries so they have been on frequent exchanges this past week. This means that we have had a lot of interaction with them and made many trips around the valley.
  Saturday was a day of great spiritual uplift. We had our first Logan Utah Mission Conference. Elder M Russell Ballard and Elder Whitney Clayton instructed us for about two hours on how we need to focus the minds of people on the Savior and be bold in finding wherever we go. Elder Ballard said he had never had anyone take offense at his invitation to hear more about the Gospel when he followed the principles outlined in Preach My Gospel. That is a great reminder to continue to study and be in tune with the spirit wherever we go. Most important is to continually ask if there is anyone that would benefit from our visits, even when you are turned down by someone you have invited to hear the message of the Gospel. The principle is, when you invite you trigger the right of agency in the person you invite to make a choice.

Monday, September 14, 2015

  Another week of tender mercies and exciting work for us. The first Sunday is always a long one because we start with an early morning (7:00 a m) with our stake presidency, high counselor, and sister missionaries. We then attended three ward sacrament meetings and our correlation meeting. Our sisters don't have a car so we usually end up taking them places but the ward members have been very supportive in helping them get to their appointments as well. We are continually impressed with the quality of our district meetings.One challenge is to continue to improve by asking for feedback at least once a day from your companion. The form of the feedback is what was done well, how can it be improved (no buts); then show forth love and appreciation for your companion.
 We have a challenge to present a five minute Restoration lesson to four families and ask them to pray for missionary opportunities. We are to check back in five days to receive their report and then report the results to our leaders. These reports are going to be collected and given to Elder Ballard when he comes later in the month.
  We have a new convert who had knee surgery shortly after her baptism. She is in a nursing home for rehabilitation so we went to see her. She was doing therapy the first time but we asked her if she needed anything and she wanted us to stop by her home and pick up her scriptures, yes. We took them to her the next day and had a wonderful discussion and visit.
  We had another discussion with a couple who are returning to activity. We discussed the Plan of Salvation and how it will bless each of us by recognizing how the plan was presented and how we accepted the Jesus as our Lord and Savior. His most precious gift to us in this plan is that we have our agency to make choices.
  When we went to the store to pick up some food we met a sister who used to be in our ward. She was divorced and sold her home and moved to a different area of the valley. She was just going home from work and she came right over to talk to us. She really needed a listening ear at that time because things have been really rough for her since she left our area. We talked and cried and tried to encourage her. It was a tender mercy from the Lord that we were there just at the time she needed a listening ear and some encouragement to carry on.
  We spent a lot of time preparing for our Family Discovery Day. Both of us had teaching responsibilities for that day. We were happy that there were about eighty people who attended the event and we had some good reviews given by class attendees. There were about 15 different classes offered and most of them had a pretty good attendance.
  Later, we went for a visit with a young man we have visited on a regular basis to encourage him to return to activity in the Church. There was a bonus on this visit. Following our visit we received a text from him, he had our calling card with our telephone numbers. He thanked us for coming and said it means a lot to him that we take time to stop by and visit with him. He said our visits have helped him think about many things pertaining to his life including the time he served as a missionary. He said he looks forward to our visits.
That was a totally unexpected response that was so much appreciated.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

  Sorry about the last week. One thing after another came up and we just didn't get back to updating the blog. It is amazing how when we need to find opportunities to meet people that the Lord puts them in our pathway. This happens in the neighborhood or in a store where we have gone to shop for something we need.
  We had some great visits during the week. We had been asked to see a sister who has been diagnosed with tongue cancer. Being a nurse she was aware of the treatment regimen but she opted for the operation. The tongue is a different situation than most so following the operation, instead of stitching the doctors put leaches on her tongue to hold it together while healing. It sounds rather gross but it worked and she is healing quite well. Her ward family is really taking good care of her and she is so grateful.
  That week was transfers so we were asked to attend the transfer breakfast for our zone because the father in the home that had scheduled the breakfast was out of town. It was fun to see the excitement of the young elders and sisters as the transfers were announced. This first transfer was a nine week transfer to match our transfers with the assigned dates of new missionaries coming in and going home. This next week we are losing one sister and nine elders including an assistant to the president. As a result there has been several threesomes in our zone. It will be interesting on the next transfer because we understand there will be twenty-five new missionaries coming in, and only a handful going home. It is always exciting to meet the new missionaries that are transferred into our zone. We always enjoy the Zone study and training because the zone leaders discuss the expectations for the six weeks ahead and plan training to meet those expectations.
  We have been working with one young man in particular that we are so hopeful that will return to activity. He welcomes our visits and during that week we really challenged him to attend church meetings and to reestablish a practice of reading the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon.
   We are excited for our Family Discovery Day coming on Sept. 12. We hope to be well prepared and that we will have a good attendance from the area. There is so much new information and so many changes in Family Search that we hope people will be interested in learning about how to more effectively do the research of their ancestors.
  This past week was all a jumble because we had to change meeting plans because a mission conference has been announced for Sept 19th and Elder Ballard will be our visitor and speaker. As a result we had preparation day on Monday and a Zone conference on Tuesday. The Zone meeting training was great because it looks like the leadership has decided to get to the basics and so we talked a lot about basic principles of teaching and understanding that should help every missionary. We had several new couples in attendance and the schedule included time for the senior couples to have their own session. One of the big challenges is for each pair of missionaries to teach the Restoration lesson in five minutes or less, then challenge the people taught to pray for a missionary opportunity and the missionaries are to return for a report from the family in five days. The mission is going to record these experiences and give them to Elder Ballard as he comes for the mission conference.
  We had a wonderful opportunity given to us by one of our ward mission leaders. There is a young couple who wants to reestablish their church activity. We made an appointment and went in and taught them the lesson of Restoration. It was a special time for us and challenging because we are not well practiced in giving these lessons.
 We have had some wonderful member visits and meals where we have shared messages. We also had a couple of family history lessons with families who are wanting to do more family research.
  There are just over six months left in our calling. We we will hopefully be able to continue meeting with the good people of our stake and helping them to make progress in living the Gospel and learning about their ancestors.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

    We have had a very nice week. We have had some wonderful visits and meetings. We had an early district meeting with our young missionaries on Wednesday and then attended a nice luncheon followed by a training meeting for the senior couples in our area. What a wonderful opportunity to meet with these good people who are helping the Lord to hasten the work of salvation with our brothers and sisters. One of the couples we had lunch with has just been called as a senior couple working in one of the stakes in the USU area. This couples son and daughter-in-law have recently moved into our ward. This is the couple Ruth and I stopped in to see and left the homemade pot holder. Well, the Lord has heard the many prayers for this couple and the ward mission leader reported today that the couple attended our ward meetings today. We feel very happy for the opportunity to be able to extend and invitation to the family and excited that they responded in a positive manner. We are spending a goodly amount of time preparing presentations for our Family Discovery Day coming up in September. Ruth and I are both going to make presentations and it seems like there is a goodly amount of interest in our conference. 
    Today was a wonderful day. We started the day early in a stake council meeting. We discussed at length a talk given by Pres. Benson thirty years ago called "Born of God." Bro. Peterson led the discussion and gave a wonderful, thoughtful insight on the importance of making spiritual changes in our lives so we can truly change our hearts to desire to do the will of God. We came home and traveled to Highland for the homecoming talk of Gabe Castleton who just returned from his mission in Mexico. What a choice young man and from all we can learn, he was a wonderful missionary and saw the hand of the Lord protecting him and helping him and his companions to bring many people closer to Christ. Many from the family and Kathy's family were at the meeting then enjoyed some of the afternoon with a wonderful meal at Chuck and Kathy's home in Highland. They have recently moved there from Alpine and they have a nice home and hosted a wonderful meal for all of us.
 We returned home for our missionary correlation meeting then went to a meal in the First ward where the parents had invited three children and their grandchildren for dinner, some of them live in other cities. Following dinner Ruth and I were asked to present a home evening lesson.We talked about our physical and spiritual bodies which makes up our souls. We eat food every day because we are reminded by thirst and hunger the importance of satisfying this need. On the other hand, we often overlook the need for our soul or our spirit to be fed. This is accomplished by prayer, scripture study, attendance at church meetings and pondering the things we learn through each of these experiences. We are composed of a body and soul which is our spirit. Both of those components of our make up need to be fed so we can be alive and vibrant. 
  We are so grateful to have such good nutrients for both our body and our spirit.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

  The week just before school starts is a tough time to catch people home. We have had a good week however as we were able to find some people home that do not have children and some that we had appointments with that welcomed us into their homes.
  Last Sunday we had a great meal and appointment with another family that had previously lived in our ward. They also invited a friend who has recently become active in the church to have dinner with them. This sister has just moved close to our church building but is just across the street that makes the boundary between our stake and the Hyrum stake. We had a nice dinner, shared a message and found some information about the new ward the friend has just moved into.
  We had a dinner the next night with a family in our own ward. This family has four children now. The children are bright and delightful to be around. The parents are excellent examples of people who teach their children correct principles and the children make decisions consistent with their teachings. We gave a message and had some fun activities concerning family history. The mother made a comment on Facebook that the children really enjoyed our lesson and were working on their My Family books that we left with them.  We really enjoy the excitement that is generated when we talk about starting young to keep records, pictures, and stories of their families and ancestors.
 We met a couple of new families in our ward and enjoyed those visits as well. It is fun to meet these people. Of course, Ruth crochets when we are traveling in the car and makes hot pads. A strategically placed hot pad often opens up conversations that sometimes would not happen without them. It is just exciting to welcome people into our neighborhood and invite them to join us in worshiping the Lord in our chapels.
  On Thursday evening our daughter Korinne came with her son Brayden for a visit, primarily for George's birthday.Friday night  we went out for a wonderful Mexican dinner, thanks Korinne, it was delicious. Saturday we were up early and went to Eureka. Every year the town celebrates Silver Days and several of the family decided to celebrate George's birthday while the celebration was going on. We drove out and insisted we stop at the parade gathering place. I refused saying we needed to go to downtown so we could watch the parade. At that point Ruth informed me that I was going to be a participant in the parade. Elizabeth drove her hard top convertible and Nick sat on the trunk and I in the passenger seat and we threw candy to the children along the parade route. They put a big sign on both sides of the car wishing George Castleton a Happy Birthday. Following the parade and having lunch at the city park, we had a birthday celebration at the Memorial Building with cake and ice cream. All of George's siblings were there with their spouses; Keith (who along with Nick planned the party), Kaylene, Ron, TeTe, Hallie, and Collette were there as well as Korinne and Brayden; and JaNeel(Nick's daughter and her family). We had a chance to visit and enjoy the cake and ice cream. It was a full and fun day by time we drove back to Cache Valley.
  Today Korinne and Brayden left for Montana, we went to meetings in our own ward and enjoyed all the meetings with our friends in the ward. This week was a mixture of missionary activity and family celebration which was all enjoyable.
We were happy to be with family and spend some valuable time with each of them. Thanks to everyone for making it a special time for all!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

  This has been a week of contrasts. One day we find a lot of people home and another day we find so few home. One of the funniest things of our mission happened toward the end of the week. We had an appointment and then decided to go to the Logan Tabernacle for a concert that had been heralded as a great evening of sacred music. The concert was all it was advertised to be but the aftermath was the funny part. It had rained some during the day and it was lightly raining as we hurried to get to the concert to hear as much as was left because we knew it had started earlier than we could get there. As we departed the Tabernacle the rain was coming down hard. We didn't take an umbrella or anything to shield us from such a downpour. As we started for the car, not only was the rain coming in torrents but the sprinklers had turned on and as we walked up the sidewalk to get to the car, one sprinkler hit us full force, almost knocking us down because it was an industrial sized sprinkler head that rotated into our pathway. A couple following behind us just began to laugh as they had avoided the sprinkler and we had not. We avoided one more sprinkler on the way to the corner but we were soaked to the skin. We finally made it to the car and drove home and made hot chocolate even though the temperature hovered around 70*.
  One of the sweetest things during the week was being invited to dinner with a family that has nine children and expecting number ten. The evening was quite nice and we sat outside and enjoyed a home cooked meal of baked potatoes, meatloaf, and beans from the garden. We shared a message from Pres. Monson about "What Matters Most."Among other things, he says, "Never let a problem to be solved be more important than a person to be loved."  The sweetest thing was as we were ready to leave one of the children asked, "Mom, can we have the missionaries come and eat with us again? We sent a letter of thanks to the family and the mother responded with thanks for us coming. She said every once in a while something comes up in the family and she asks, "What matters most?"
  We have had a great week of teaching. We enjoy visiting and teaching every time we can. Some of the visits are more like home teaching visits, which is fine with us. Several of the people we visit are older people and sometimes lonely. They appreciate our visits and our message. We feel good when we share a message and leave with a prayer and blessing in their homes.
  We really had a busy day today. We started with a ward council meeting this morning and then went to two sacrament meetings. Following our missionary correlation meeting this afternoon we had dinner with a family that used to live in our ward while I was Bishop. The children are growing up and quite enjoy having us come and talk with them. We then took one of our young missionary sisters to a ward teacher improvement meeting where she gave a great presentation on how to set the stage for people to feel the spirit of the Lord and then help them identify what they were feeling. She did a great job in explaining the concept.
  On the way home I turned on the radio and heard Bro Newell's thought from The Spoken Word. He was talking about finding happiness in life. He said, someone once observed that the most happy people are not the ones who have everything they want, but those who want everything they have. That is something we should all consider as we try to find happiness in each of our lives.
The greatest source of happiness in this life is to devote our energy in learning about the great blessing of Jesus Christ and what he has done to make it possible for our lives to be happy.
Have a great week!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

  We have had a great week! We made a ton of visits and taught as many lessons as we have every taught. We love visiting the members of this stake and their families. We know so many people that sometimes we don't remember all their names but we love being in their homes and making friends and sharing Gospel messages. We recently found a video called "Daily Bread-Patterns" Elder Christopherson talks about the Lord providing daily sustenance in the form of manna for forty years as they wandered in the desert. Then he reminds us that we also need daily sustenance for our spirits. This is done by prayer, daily scripture study which truly transforms us. When we go long periods of time without food our bodies reminds us of this lack by feelings of hunger. The lack of spiritual sustenance is more subtle but very real.
  We have loved sharing this video and talking with our people about how they can feel the hand of the Lord in their lives as they feed their spirits. Then we ask them to share this food with others whom they meet.
 One of our highlight times this week was a neat experience. We saw a brother we know as we went to the stake center for a meeting. He said he noticed we had been trying to visit with a neighbor of his, he also home teaches this sister. He told us she will not answer her door, however, she walks her dog and cat around the neighborhood quite regularly and to walk with her and talk during the walk. We would know when she was walking when we see an SUV in the driveway because her daughter normally comes and walks with her. Well we had a rare prep day dinner and we had another appointment following dinner. However, we were in the neighborhood where this sister lives and as we left the meal appointment, we saw this sister on the sidewalk walking her animals. Even though we had an appointment, we took the opportunity to approach the woman and walk with her around the neighborhood, when her daughter arrived a little later, we excused ourselves to go to the next appointment. Wow, the Lord can surely arrange things when you have faith and want to do His will.
 One of the people we met early in our mission has been in the hospital with pneumonia. We visited his wife and then the next day we went to visit with him in his room. He seems to be doing better and may come home later in the week.
 Friday night were asked to usher at the Martin Harris Pageant. This is held every other year in Clarkston in North Cache Valley. The pageant depicts Martin Harris' involvement with Joseph Smith and the publishing the Book of Mormon. It was done well with the exception of a few mishaps with the sound system. It was well done. Two of our church leaders were in attendance. Elder Allan Packer and his wife and Elder Golden. Ruth was on the right side of the entrance to the seating and was able to shake hands with Elder Packer and his wife.
  Saturday we attended the baptisms of seven children of record and meet their families. This is always a special experience. This morning we attended Stake Presidency meeting to discuss our work and then attended three ward meetings. Our evening meal was with a faithful family who has two sons who just returned from missions and a daughter who just completed her application and interview today so she will soon be assigned a mission and reporting date for training.
  We love the work of the Lord! We enjoy meeting and teaching as well as sharing experiences with our younger missionaries.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

  Another week has flown by. It was a little different week because I started by chaperoning at a scout day camp with four ten year old scouts and their leader. Two deep leadership is a must for scouts and no one else seemed to be available. The boys seemed to have a good time with the planned activities and I enjoyed getting acquainted with some of the boys I really had not had a chance to interact with before. In the evening the 13th ward invited us to a barbecue which was well attended. Ruth and one of our sisters gave a spiritual thought about sharing the sweetness of the Book of Mormon.
  Tuesday we had a the chance to meet with a new family that has recently moved into our neighborhood, and then met by appointment with a new member of our ward who is hoping to go to the temple in the near future. She has been a member about a year now, so we are excited to have her enjoy the blessings of the temple.
  On Wednesday we had our first zone meeting with our new mission president and his wife. They talked about their lives and shared some of the expectations they had for the mission. Pres. Allred is serving without counselors, and it seems to be a heavy load to carry alone. A couple of announcements were made; one was that in the next few months those departing missionaries have some latitude as far as setting their departure date, three weeks before or an extension of three weeks; the choice is up to the missionary. The other announcement was that each missionary could attend an assigned temple session at the temple closest to their area on a quarterly basis. They can of course go with a new or returning to activity member when the opportunity presents itself.
 We had a spiritual meeting. They had asked us to review some material as well as the White handbook and some "questions of the soul" as we read and study. There was good discussion about many of the principles of the work and the spirit was very uplifting.
 In the process of all this, Ruth's computer crashed. She does most of the record keeping of our visits and reports as needed. Shopping for another computer resulted in a trip to Staples in Ogden where we were able to get another machine. There is a learning curve because of new programs but we will make it all work.
  We took the opportunity to spend some family time for the 24th of July (Pioneer Day). We are so blessed in our families to have ancestors who were willing to leave their homes and make their way to America to enjoy the freedom of their beliefs. They had joined the L D S Church and then brought their families to Zion to bless this land with their faith and determination to do what Heavenly Father wanted them to do. This is a rich heritage we need to remember and model in our lives.
On Friday many of our family joined together and attended the Logan parade which included some of our missionaries. It was great to see how well they were greeted as they walked the route. The children all had plenty of candy by the end of the parade. The parades are getting mostly commercial with people driving company vehicles and throwing candy. A few floats come along with area royalty but the Logan parade had one high school band and that was the band from Preston,Idaho. We had a nice family gathering in Blacksmith Fork canyon following the parade and ate lunch at the Hyrum Park in the canyon. Saturday we took most of Keith's children and their Japanese visitor Yuri fishing. It wasn't the best fishing day but once the perch found the bait the kids were happy. Yuri caught the first and the most perch and everyone seemed to have a good time. Saturday evening we drove to Roy with Ruth's sister riding with us to a family wedding for Sarah and Collin. Sarah is Catherine's granddaughter who met her new husband as she served her mission.
  Today was a busy Sunday. We began the day at six am with a stake council meeting. We discussed, Elder Bednar's talk from October 2006 about offense. It was a good discussion and then there were three Elders who had recently returned from their missions who reported and gave their testimonies. Wow, what great young men. We then attended a ward council meeting and then to our own ward for a missionary talk by a young man leaving this week for New Mexico. He is a neighbor and we really admire him and his family. Tonight we had dinner with a new Relief Society president and her family. They are a very faithful family, we have had dinner with them before. We are hoping the coming week will provide many opportunities to use the knowledge we have gained and share the message of peace with many people as possible.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

  Writing the blog tonight because I am going to go to a scout day camp tomorrow morning to help supervise some boys from our ward. We have had a good week. We started off by going with our sisters and other missionaries in the district to the Hyrum Stake Humanitarian Center and doing service for an hour. It is a unique building that operates several days per week to provide humanitarian goods for use in many places. They make quilts, diapers, hygiene kits, new born kits, and missionary kits. The quilts are sent all over the world and also used locally in women's shelters, and smaller quilts for youth services where young people are separated from families because of issues in homes . The new born kits are sent to third world countries to supply items for young mothers who sometimes leave the hospital with a baby wrapped in newspaper. The new born kits include diapers, and other items for the mothers to use to help their babies stay healthy and warm. The hygiene kits are sent to areas where disasters have taken their ugly tolls and left people with little other than what they are wearing. The kit includes soap, towel, 2 combs, tooth paste, and tooth brushes.The missionary kit is a hygiene kit with at least one white shirt and two ties for missionaries in third world countries who often show up at the mission home with a name tag and Dad's used suit and little else of the world's goods.
  Later in the day we met with two sweet elderly sisters who are alone and need some attention. We had a delicious meal of Cornish game hens and the trimmings with a less active family in the tenth ward which included three delightful and bright boys.
  Tues I helped a fellow we have kept track of most of our mission. He decided to move back to Hyrum from Logan where he had lived for several months. Hopefully being back in familiar territory he will return to church activity. We also visited with a young lady that is planning to get to the temple soon. We are trying to encourage her to keep that commitment. Wednesday our district meeting was postponed so we used the time to go to the temple. Then we had a very nice meeting with a fairly new couple in the fourteenth ward and talked about family history and missionary work.
  Thurs following our district meeting the senior couples had a pot luck luncheon and training meeting at a senior couples home that live near the district meeting chapel. It was a nice afternoon and was great to spend some time with the other senior couples and become better acquainted. We had a very nice visit with an older couple we admire. They were so welcoming and we talked about their neighbors and some of the experiences they have had in our area. He has served as the mayor and she has been in DUP with Ruth for several years. He had just celebrated his 81st birthday a few days before. As we left his wife asked him to pray. It was as if the Lord was sitting right in the room. His prayer was so beautiful and sincere that we felt the blessings of the Lord were truly with us.
  Friday we had a couple of visits and then took the rest of the day and took Ruth's sister Jennette and her friend Don with us to the Tabernacle Choir Pioneer Day concert. It was a great concert and a wonderful evening. The soloist was Laura Osnes who recently played Cinderella on Broadway. It was so refreshing to enjoy her music and see her dressed so modestly. So different than what we normally see in the world today.
  Sat evening as we were visiting we thought of a sister whose son was baptized just after we began our service as missionaries. We have met with the family and given them new member discussions. The children were with their father and the mother was at home alone. We talked a lot about her life, her trials and her need to be nourished. After we showed her a Daily Bread video she was quite tearful and said she wants to get into a situation where she can feel uplifted and fed by the Spirit. Life can be really hard for some people,she has had many challenges, and we are hoping we can help her find some peace and happiness.

 Today has been a rather typical Sunday. We attended both sacrament meetings in our building. We enjoyed seeing many of the people in our neighboring ward and were thrilled to hear the talk and testimony of a neighbor from our ward who just returned Friday night from his mission in Ecuador. Wow, what a powerful testimony and obviously a truly wonderful missionary. We were invited to a neighborhood friend's home who has four children and the youngest son had a birthday and wanted us to have dinner with them after church. They are a great family and even though they have challenges because the parents are divorced, we love spending time with their family.
Following our correlation meeting we met with our senior couple supervisors, then went to a correlation meeting for the Spanish sisters in our area. We were invited to a fireside tonight where the speaker was Sis Dent who was a student at the Cokeville Wyoming grade school when a fellow and his wife came in and took over the school with guns and a bomb. After a frightful time, the bomb blew up but all of the children miraculously escaped. Most had injuries but they were all alive and over time recovered from their injuries. The man and his wife were the only fatalities in the incident. There is a movie out now called "The Cokeville Miracle" produced by T C Christensen which is an excellent movie. He also created the movie "17 Miracles."

Monday, July 13, 2015

  This has been a good week for us. We have been busy and feeling good about our service. We had a meeting with a sister whose son was recently baptized. She wants to learn about family history so we met at her home on Monday afternoon. Her husband has been a little remote but he visited with us quite openly. Ruth was able to help the sister with some basic information and set up an appointment to go to the stake family history center later in the week.
 Our prep day was busy, as usual but then we had a nice visit with a family whose brother is in our ward. We had a fun visit teaching the family of three children about family history and also set up an appointment for the sisters to present their information on a family mission plan.
 Our Wednesday district meeting was rescheduled for Thursday so we used the morning to go to the temple. The senior couples were scheduled to have interviews with Pres. Allred following his interviews with the young elders and sisters. He was running way behind so it ended up that all the senior couples arrived and we visited with the mission secretary and then Sis Allred came and joined our discussion. When Pres Allred completed his interviews, he came in and we had a great introduction time and some great sharing of things about our new mission. We are excited for what will be happening.
  Wednesday was Sis Frazier's birthday so in the evening we had a little party for her at the home of our high councilman's home. Several members came and the Spanish sisters, it was a beautiful evening and we enjoyed spending time with those who attended.
  Thursday we had district meeting and Ruth took the sisters to Brigham City on an exchange. In the evening we enjoyed a dinner with a neat couple with three children and the grandfather. Each of the children had a friend and we enjoyed pulled pork burritos or salad and shared a message. Following dinner we had a planning meeting for our upcoming family history discovery program.
 Friday was a day we have been planning for. After watching Pres Packer's funeral service; we had several people on a list that ward mission leaders had given us. We prayed for the Lord's help and then started our visits. We had five visits to families including a very successful experience at the family history center with the sister we had met with earlier in the week. We also had dinner with a family that we really love, he used to be a ward mission leader. His family is growing up so quickly! It was great to be in their home again.
  Saturday I was really sick so I stayed home and Sis Castleton went to a baptism with our sisters.
  Sundays are always busy days. We started in a ward council and then we went to three sacrament meetings in the 675 west building. All of the meetings were very good and we had a chance to see a number of people we have grown to love. The final sacrament meeting was a special one because the stake patriarch and his wife spoke. They are great people and shared some wonderful thoughts. The Patriarch talked about life's moments and how these moments make up our lives. He is always very inspiring and thoughtful with in remarks. We are happy to have this opportunity to be engaged in the Lord's work. What a joy!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

  This was a historic week. On July 1st the Logan Utah mission was officially begun. We were all invited to a meet and greet and as we arrived we were invited to partake of the refreshments while we waited for our new mission president and his wife to return. They had gone to a baptism. This was not a random thing, it was heaven sent. The baptism on July 1 was at 1:00 p.m and the young lady's name was Logan.The mission president and his wife are named Allred, they are from Washington where they own a picturesque apple orchard as well as a dairy. The farm includes crops of  grain and peas. They have a large family and things should go well while they serve here. They talked about the mission president's seminar the past week. One presentation was a video talk by Elder Perry who died the end of May. He counseled the new mission presidents to,"press forward with zeal." Another bit of counsel was to seek to receive revelation from the Lord on any questions that arise in the mission.
Pres Allred lived in Hyrum for a while as a child, his father taught at USU and they later moved to Washington. We had a wonderful meeting in which we became acquainted with the office people and the Allred's. At the end of the meeting, we were asked to stay in our seats and consider what had been said and listen for the whispering of the Spirit.
  We have had a good week. The weather has been in the neighborhood of 100* for most of the week, which made being outside quite uncomfortable, especially because of my lack of tolerance for heat. Early in the week we made some good visits. We came as close to being rejected as we have ever come. A family was given to us for a visit. The family has previously been active but not lately. As the man answered the door, he recognized who we were and as we invited him to attend the ward meetings he said, "We know where the Church is if we want to attend." Later in the day we were invited to a fun night at Bear Bottom area where the fourteenth ward had organized a neighborhood wide event. They had lots of food, refreshments, two water slides and a great attendance. There were some shady spots so that cut down on the heat which was also aided by cold drinks and snow cones of all flavors.
  Due to the fact that a lot of cars have been taken from each mission, about 50% overall, our missionaries are needing more transportation help, doing a lot of walking and will probably be using a bike in some situations. As a result, some of our district meetings are being held on a smaller scale, closer to the areas where the missionaries are serving.
  We had a great meeting with a family this week. There were six children, two oldest are boys and the other four are girls. We had a fun time talking about family history and as we concluded one of the boys said, "Can you come back sometime?" That helps one feel like maybe the work is worthwhile.
  Friday night we attended the Freedom Fire at USU with Kaylene, Ron, Hallie and TeTe. There was a good program and some good entertainment. As we waited for the gates to open a fellow approached us about entering a Frisbee throwing contest. We declined the invitation, only to have another guy come and beg us to take his last two Frisbee's and we caved in. We didn't win anything but it was fun to be part of the entertainment for the evening. The fireworks display was well choreographed with music and quite beautiful. It was a late evening but we had a good time.
Saturday we did more celebrating by attending the Hyrum parade and then all of us had a nice family meal at our house. After resting in the afternoon everyone returned and we watched and set off a lot of fireworks.
  We have had a busy day today, we started the day with an early morning meeting with our stake presidency, attended three ward sacrament meetings and then our ward mission leader correlation meeting. There was a letter sent our from the First Presidency concerning the US Supreme Court decision legalizing same sex marriage. In one ward there was an open discussion where the members were able to share their feelings on the matter. It was a great meeting and some very thoughtful discussions on the matter.
  The Church sadly announced yesterday afternoon that another Apostle of the Lord, Pres. Boyd K Packer had passed away. He had been suffering with ill health as a result of childhood polio for some time. His passing was no doubt a kind release for him but a great loss for the Church. His wisdom and leadership will be missed. Now there will have to be two new apostles appointed.His funeral will be on Friday.

Monday, June 29, 2015

  Our week began with a home teaching visit to our friends, the Olson’s. I had recently been reading in the June Ensign and found the story about a hummingbird rescue. It recounted an event where, at a Young Women camp in California the girls had found a hummingbird. It had flown into the lodge and couldn’t find a way out. It had collapsed on the floor, under a table; and the girls asked for help in rescuing the little bird which had its beak wrapped with cobwebs and its feathers all askew; and it was starving. After some careful help in feeding the bird some sugar water and brushing the cobwebs from its beak, the little bird gained strength, took to its wings and flew away. The author pointed out that sometimes each of us find our lives tangled in cobwebs of sin or addiction and we need help to get free. We all have need of enduring with faith the challenges of life. The Lord is aware of all of us. If we hang on and accept the help available to us, we can deal with our circumstances. Just one more indication of how much the Lord watches over us.
 We have had some wonderful meals and lessons with members in the 13th ward this week. Wednesday was the final transfer of the Ogden mission. We are now officially the Logan mission, the new mission presidents will be moving into their new areas today and on Wednesday this week, we will have a meet and greet with our new president, his wife and probably his new counselors. 
 Our new zone met together this past week and it was mostly a get acquainted meeting. We have one new zone leader and a new district leader who will be working with his companion in the Hyrum Stake. Our sisters were not changed and they will just be covering our stake, however, they will do it without a car. They will be depending a good deal on our members for transportation. We understand that Church leadership has reduced the number of automobiles across the world by about fifty percent; that will be a large savings to the Church. We are working with our stake family history directors on a Discovery Day for the fall of the year. We held an organization meeting this week to make some plans for that to happen. 
 Here is another tender mercy from the Lord that happened this week. We had looked over some of our previous visits and made a determination to make some follow up visits to some families. We arrived at what we thought was an address of a family we had visited. As the brother answered the door, we realized we had never met him before but he introduced himself and invited us in. He asked his wife to join us and we had a wonderful visit. They are part of a well known family in the community; they both in their 80's. They said they had not had missionaries in their home for over thirty years. We shared a message and left feeling very good about our visit. We were able to find four families home that afternoon.
Our final visit was to a sister we had met a few months ago. She had been on vacation and returned home feeling poorly. She went to the hospital and ended up being there for several days; in the process had been given two units of blood. Thankfully she was feeling better the day we visited.
 We went out early in the afternoon to try to beat the heat and then came home and went to the temple. It was a small session for a Friday evening but one we thoroughly enjoyed. As we exited the temple we visited with one of our bishops and his family who were there enjoying the beauties of the temple grounds.
 Saturday was the first real sick day we have taken while serving. I have been taking a large dose of medication to try to increase my potassium level. I was feeling so poorly that we asked my friend to come give me a blessing. He has a similar challenge and suggested that I drink a lot of water and reduce my potassium pills. I was concerned because my blood pressure was higher than normal as well as feeling poorly. 
I'm sure the blessing worked wonders because on Sunday we started the day with a six a m stake council meeting about "Making the Sabbath Day a Delight" in the home as well as at Church.
We attended two sacrament meetings; went home teaching to one family, attended our missionary/mission leader correlation meeting; a stake baptismal preview and then ended the night meeting and greeting people at our Hyrum Fourth of July Patriotic Program held each year at this time in the City Square. Our speaker was the Attorney General for Utah, Sean Reyes. He gave a wonderful talk about maintaining our work ethic, moral values,faith and prayer.

Monday, June 22, 2015

  Another good week, we have now just eight months left in this calling. It is going quickly and will be here before we know it. With the mission split July 1 and transfers this week, there will be a lot of new things to get used to. It will be interesting to see where the missionaries are assigned this week and there are quite a few new missionaries reporting.
 We have had some good visits this week, Maybe because we are entering the "older" time in life, we enjoy visiting with people who usually don't have a lot of contact with people outside of their family. Some of them are rather lonely, especially when a spouse has died and family are not living close.
 We had a send off meeting with Pres. and Sis Heirs on Wednesday morning. They and the counselors and wives gave their talks and testimonies. It was a special occasion for all of us. We will miss their leadership and are looking forward to meeting our new mission president. Prior to the general meeting, we had a senior couple training that was very enjoyable, Pres. and Sis Heirs came in and talked to us for a short time.
 On Wednesday we had three generations of one family in the stake center family history center. There were two parents, their daughter, and a granddaughter. They were all doing a different phase of  family history and we were quite busy for a couple of hours trying to answer questions and help them find information.
  One sister we finally were able to meet with has had some health problems, including an operation. She doesn't get out very much and really appreciated our visit. Another Sister is over ninety and lost her husband several years ago. She lives in her home with a son who takes care of her. She is a neat lady. Another sister in the same ward has had some health challenges as well as the deaths of several family members, including her husband over the past few years. We felt very good about our visit. She is very much into family history and that brings her some opportunity to keep busy and feel somewhat connected to her family and gives her good feelings.
 Friday we ended up taking the sisters to Farr West for an exchange. We had some business at the mission office so we stopped there for the last time. We found out from the staff there where our new mission office will be in Logan. That will be exciting to not have to go to Ogden so often. However, the southern boundary of the Logan Mission will go to 17th Street in Ogden.
 When we returned to Hyrum, we attended a barbecue for the single adults in our Stake. They had a nice attendance. Ruth and I went with committee members to make invitations so it was fun to see those people and others at the event. They had a nice meal and a fair turnout.
 Saturday was a family day. We had Kaylene, Ron, TeTe and Hallie come to the house for barbecued hamburgers for lunch time. Hallie and TeTe have four of Te Te's sister's children staying with them so it was a fun time. We purchased a canopy toward the end of last summer so we were able to get some use out of that during this time outside. It was a little tricky to get into place, but with some help of a neighbor girl, we got it figured out.
We then went to Salt Lake for a wedding reception. My sister Lavon's granddaughter was married earlier in the day in the Manti Temple. The reception was nice and Lavon, Nick, Elizabeth and I were able to attend. Since we didn't stay too late, we took the opportunity to stop by and see Ruth's sister Catherine and talk with her and her husband about their recently completed mission; they served the same kind of mission we are serving.
  Sunday was a day of meetings and phone calls. We attended the fourteenth ward for a returning missionary report and then we attended all of the meetings in our ward. We also had a young man who recently returned from his mission in Pennsylvania. Both meetings included some nice tributes to Fathers.
In the course of the day, I found out that a neighbor was quite ill and we decided to go make a visit. He is the father of a former neighbor of ours. He had a stroke about ten years ago which left his left side paralyzed. During warm weather, he would use his walker for support and take a walk around the neighborhood. We hadn't seen him for a while so we wondered about him. We had a good visit, at first he said he was dealing with some things but was keeping it to himself. As we visited with us he told us he had been diagnosed with stage four cancer in his right hip and was in hospice care. He has a pretty negative attitude about some things but he thanked us for our visit and for being his friend.

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; … the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.” 35
This quotation came to me very strongly as I thought about our stake conference yesterday. There were wonderful talks and discussions about enriching our Sabbath day observance and the importance of the sacrament. This work is progressing and we are feeling the weight of hastening the work of the Lord. We have some days that seem to be more productive than others, but we are feeling the press of time. We have just over nine months left on our calling and we have many things to do. Shortly there will be some changes in our mission because the new mission president will be here in just over two weeks. Transfers are coming in just ten days and those transfers will determine which mission our young missionaries will serve for the balance of their times in the field.
Last Monday we attended our son-in-law; Ron Jensen's fathers funeral in Clifton, Idaho. Henry Jensen was a good man and he and his wife had seven children, all about a year apart. The children were raised in the Gospel and are good and thoughtful people. All of the children and a couple of grandchildren took part in the services. It was a fitting tribute to a good, hard working, gentleman farmer who died while saying his prayers in a facility in Preston.
We had one of those memorable visits when we returned from the funeral. We called a sister who is nearly ninety years old. We asked her when a good time would be to come and visit her, she said, "right now." So we drove over and she talked to us how much she loved the Lord and her family. Then she said how much she appreciates the young men who deliver the sacrament to her each Sunday. The last Sunday she told us how one boy rode his bike as he balanced the sacrament trays. She doesn't feel like she has done all she needs to do in life but we assured her that taking care of her family was of utmost importance, What a sweet spirit we felt as we visited with this dear sister!
After dinner we had a great time teaching family history to a young family with four children in our own ward.
On Wed we had a visit scheduled and we wondered about the children. They had a son 18 and one four. How we enjoyed that visit! The older boy has his mission call to the Philippines, and will be leaving in about a month. The younger boy was inquisitive and bright. We had a great time talking about how family history can be an asset in missionary work and talked with the family about some ideas on researching and finding stories about their family.
Thursday we drove to Pleasant View to pick up Sis Frazier from an exchange, then later had a great dinner with a family that we had shared a dinner with about a year ago. It was a fun visit, the children were excited about discovering family information and see how they had matured. Their mother is the Primary president and their father is on our high council.
After dinner we split up and went with counterparts in the stake single adult committee. We brethren made several visits but found only one person at home. Ruth went with the sisters and they found four people home and invited them to a barbecue coming up next week.
 Friday we spent a lot of the day working at home. Ruth had tried to download some video for our visits on her computer. She downloaded one item that brought an avalanche of garbage with it and basically crashed her computer when she tried to clean it off. With some help from our son-in-law Sid, we have pretty much gotten things back to normal. When we called to verify our dinner for the evening, the sister said, "This will be your favorite meal." When we arrived she had prepared a meal of burgers and salad. The burgers were from a recipe of her grandmothers called apple burgers. The patties are made of hamburger and sausage. Then topped with fried bacon strips, apple slices, Dijon mustard mixed with honey and served on a thin bun like a pita pocket. Wow, what a meal! The three children were a delight and excited for the booklets and coloring pages we left with them.
Saturday we spent a lot of the day on the road. We were on our way to Eureka to a memorial for our sister-in-law, Carole Ann Castleton who died last week. We couldn't go past Eagle Mountain without seeing our grandchildren. Keith was working and some of the children were busy with other activities. We had a good visit anyway and then headed out for Eureka. It was good to see the four children and their families. They put on a nice meal and some good memories were remembered during the memorial. The family had good support from people in the community. It was good to be there to support the family. Gloria and Royal were in Italy on vacation, Elizabeth and Harold were in Washington with family so that left Chuck, Lavon and George to represent the family. Of course Nick was there with his children.
 Sunday was our stake conference. Priesthood leadership meeting was a different format. Several brethren were given scripture references when they arrived at the meeting and asked to lead a discussion on the topic of the scripture. We had a discussion on the importance of the sacrament and the atonement of Christ, the importance of fasting and prayer, how the Sabbath day can be a delight, obedience.
Our general session was held in three different buildings including the stake center. The topics were changing our hearts, fasting and prayer, following our Savior, and Keeping the Sabbath Day holy.
Following a delightful dinner with a member family with four wonderful children we attended a musical fireside presented by our young elders and sisters. They had asked several recent converts to bear their testimonies and they were wonderful. What a full day but a wonderful day.