Monday, February 9, 2015

 We had another busy and exciting week. It seems there is more interest in family history work, and that is just fine with us. The spirit of Elijah is just as valuable as any other spirit. It brings about family unity and eternal blessings. Based on what we are learning in our coordinating council, family history is going to continue to be a focus of the work of salvation.
 Last Sunday Elder Castleton met a brother in high priest quorum meeting that he was impressed to visit. So we dropped in to his home to find that he is divorced, he and his wife have patched up some of their differences so they are communicating and doing some things as a family. He is rather lonely in a large home but he has many books of family history, old legal sized binders, and he is paying a genealogist from Smithfield to do research for him on family in Germany. He really seemed to enjoy our visit. With family search he may be able to find some of the information he is paying for online, but he is satisfied that he is making progress.
We had a fun meal with a young family of four. The parents are divorced but the children are all very talented and enthusiastic. The oldest son is attending a student ward and preparing to go on a mission as soon as he is able.
 Our dinner on Tues. night was with a young couple. He is from the area and she is from Arkansas. They are both working and going to college. They are having fun teaching nursery in Primary.
 We went with the sisters to visit a family that is just coming back to activity and has a daughter that wants to be baptized.
Wednesday is most always District Meeting. We are really impressed with the young district leaders who teach us the tools we need to be effective in our work. As a general rule, the seniors are a little less than enthusiastic about role playing but we try our best to fill roles.
Our seniors had set that day for going to lunch at the temple and then going to a session. It was exciting to go to the prayer circle with six other couples, all of our senior couples joined in which made it a special experience.
Our meal that night was with a family of skiers. The men folk, dad and four boys had been skiing while mom stayed home and fixed dinner. They were a high energy family that had a good spirit in their home. The oldest is 16 so not far away from missionary age.
We had an appointment that night with a family in our neighboring ward with three children. As we arrived at the appointed time, the family was gathered in the living room reading their scriptures. What an enjoyable evening for us as we discussed the Gospel with them.
 Thursday we had a Senior Couple training meeting in Ogden. We always have a delicious, assigned pot luck luncheon, then instruction, followed by our coordinating council meeting. It is impressive to be in a meeting with so many dedicated senior couples. We have just over 100 senior couples in our mission. Our training was on how the brethren have added and revised the function of ward councils as it pertains to missionary work. The area Seventy now  have instructions which they will be sharing with stake presidents in a training meeting soon. We just found out that senior couples are invited to training on Feb. 19, so we will have some additional opportunities for support in our work as missionaries in ward councils.
 We are so fortunate, our stake presidency and our bishops are really very supportive. We just need to help them keep missionary work as the focus of their ward council members and our training is to help them have the courage to act on promptings and invite non members and less active members to join us in hastening the work of the Lord.
We had an interesting meal on Friday night. We called to verify our dinner appointment and the sister told us we would be meeting them and eating out. We agreed to meet them at Chuck O Rama and they told us they have many cats and dogs that they care for and they didn't feel like we should be exposed to that environment. They come from very different backgrounds, both had been married previously and divorced. Their courtship was very interesting to say the least.She joined the church but then has been less active more than once. He was not a member but as they began their marriage, she decided to get active and invited him to join with her. It took some time and many different missionaries to find the right combination. He said he went through several sets of missionaries for about 18 months and finally was baptized. They have very different backgrounds and many really different experiences in their journey. They finally put things all together and went to the temple after being married about eighteen years. He is now the Gospel Doctrine teacher in Sunday School, Truly a story of adversity overcome by a desire to find happiness in living the way the Lord has directed.
 Saturday morning we were asked to take one of our young sisters to Ogden so she could fly home to have surgery and recover there. She is a sweet sister and we pray things will go well for her and she will be able to return to our mission soon.
 Shortly after we returned from Ogden, we went to a wonderful baptism. We had gone with our sisters to talk to the Maughan family about family history last week. The husband has been less active for some time but recently the wife had a feeling that she wanted to know more about the Gospel and began reading the Book of Mormon. She was really converted and then invited the missionaries to come and teach her the lessons. In her testimony following her baptism, performed by her husband, she said she was not without the Lord in her life, she was acquainted with Jesus and knew about the His teachings. Her mother is a preacher in another church but she came to the baptism and sang for her daughter. The spirit was as beautiful and powerful as any meeting we have ever attended. Her brother-in-law is a returned missionary and gave a wonderful talk about baptism. The spirit was so evident in her confirmation yesterday and the bishop asked her to bear her testimony and then asked her husband to do the same. The ward is very supportive and we are anxious to watch the family progress toward the temple.
As I was studying this week I read a quote by Neal A Maxwell who said in a Satellite training meeting,"When the Lord directs us to "bring many souls unto me," this means bringing them all the way into the garner of the Church-not simply dropping them off just outside the door...Clearly, when we baptize, our eyes should gaze beyond the baptismal font to the Holy Temple. The great garner into which the "sheaves" should be finally gathered is the Holy Temple!"
 Sundays are usually busy, but this one was especially busy. We started the day at 6:00 am with a stake council meeting where we had four returning elders report their missions and bear their testimonies. Then we attended two ward council meetings, then on to the confirmation of the sister who was baptized on Saturday. The next meeting was a ward conference, then our stake missionary correlation meeting. Then dinner with another neat family. To say the least, it was a long day but what a wonderful day it was! We are very grateful for this opportunity to serve.

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