Monday, March 30, 2015

   This has been a different but busy week. Monday our dinner was with a family that spends time each year in Alaska. She had cooked fresh salmon for dinner, and it was very good. After dinner we went to visit a family in the 14th ward. The ward mission leaders wife has been very helpful in setting up appointments for us to teach family history. We have really enjoyed these experiences. We also had a meeting in the same ward just before dinner as well.
  We had a nice rain storm for our prep day so I ran to the store and bought some fertilizer and spread it on the lawn during the rain. It is already showing nice and green.
  Wednesday after district meeting we went to the temple with a sister that we met through the sister missionaries. We had met with her and she didn't have enough information to get her own names so Ruth looked through her chart with decadency view and found four names. I followed the same guidelines on my line and found two female names as well. It was a wonderful experience. The sister missionaries went along as well. It was a great day. Some of our friends that we worked with at the temple were supervisors in the baptistery and they really made it a special day for all of us.
   We also visited with a couple that have become good friends and helped us quite a bit with a less-active fellow in their ward. She recently had rotator cuff surgery so we wanted to visit them. She recently purchased an i pad so we showed her a recent app that is available for family history. We had a request from a young men's leader to visit a guy he had been concerned about. We stopped in and made the invite to an activity. Later we received a message from the leader saying that the young man had attended the activity and had a blast.
 We had a good evening. We stopped to see a new family in our ward, they were having dinner so they asked us to come back a little later. We went next door to visit a sister that has had some real challenges recently, as we knocked the door opened and our Relief Society Pres. was just leaving following a visit. We had a great visit and showed a video on the Savior and then went next door again. The family has a new baby but were very welcoming to us.
  Thurs night we had a great dinner with a couple and two grandchildren that used to be our neighbors. The weather was so nice that we had dinner and a video presentation outside.
  We have spent a large amount of time working on a presentation for our ward for the fifth Sunday lesson on Charity. It is hard to pull things from several different sources and put the ideas and thoughts into an organized presentation. I told Ruth that I have a new appreciation for those who are on committees that write lessons for our study manuals.
  One day at the mail box I spoke to one of our neighbors and he expressed an interest in learning the new family history programs. We met at the stake center on Friday morning and got the couple signed into Family Search and showed them the i phone app for family history as well. It was a good experience.
  After putting the final touches on our Sunday presentation, Kaylene came out and went with Ruth and a friend to the General Women's meeting on Saturday evening. Sunday we went to a sacrament meeting and then went to our ward for the full block of meetings. It was good to be there and we had a good attendance and the combined meeting for our presentation. Based on the comments, we feel like we did fine.
One of our young men in our ward received his call to New Mexico, Farmington Mission and leaves in July. That is really exciting for us! He's a very good young man, we feel he will be a valiant missionary.
  We have taken time during the week to visit our home teaching families. Our last visit was with a single sister who has an adopted daughter from Haiti. We usually just visit but this time we asked her if we could share the new Easter video, Because of Him. She accepted and we were pleased.
 This past week marks eleven months that we have been serving. It seems to have gone quickly, especially recently since we have had a pretty full calendar.

Monday, March 23, 2015

  We have completed our first set of member missionary classes. I just realized I didn't write about the class in last weeks blog. We had a family of four and one other gentleman there to start with. Before the class was over we had two more people join us. We had a good discussion about being member missionaries and how the invitation was the most important thing we could do. We talked a lot about Preach My Gospel and the book by Bro. Christensen,"The Power of Everyday Missionaries." The assignment for the week was to take Elder Ballard's challenge and set a date by which time you would have a person or family to invite the missionaries to teach.
We felt like with the discussions we had and the material we presented, it was accepted and will help the work go forward.
During the week we studied and prayed and also extended an invitation through the three bishops to invite those who have responsibility for home teaching and visiting teaching to join us even if they hadn't attended the first class. We ended up with an increase in attendance including one of our bishops with his wife. We focused on how we needed to help investigators and new members feel welcome and learn about their new environment. We had good discussions and helpful comments and felt like we really did what we set out to do, to have members see how they make a difference in the growth of the Church and especially in the growth of less-active and new members.
 Tuesday we drove to Salt Lake for my seventh appointment with the Huntsman Cancer Clinic. The same fellow,Tom, has been my contact each time I have made my visits. He is a nice guy and so I determined as I prepared to go to the appointment that I would leave some kind of a Gospel message with him. Earlier in the week we obtained some pass along cards about Family Search. As we arrived I made a point to engage him in conversation, probing to find how to leave the message. We talked about his family and that he is youngest of three children. His father has passed and his mother is living out of the area. He and his wife adopted two children from India. As we were leaving, I asked him if he had ever looked at his family tree on Family Search.He said he had not and because his children could never find their family, he felt like this may not be a good idea. I presented him with the pass along card and encouraged him to look at his tree with the idea of learning more about his ancestors. He said one of his sisters had done some research so he may find some good family information if he looks.
Anticipating the appointment, I had e mailed my siblings and asked them to meet us for lunch. Lavon, Nick and Jules, and Chuck were able to join us at Chuck A Rama for lunch and we had a good visit about what had happened in our families since we had last been together as well as some of the current things that were going on.
  Each day is a new adventure. We have wonderful members who invite us into their homes and we enjoy the meals and the opportunity to share our Gospel message with each of them. We feel like we are being guided as to the things we present to the families and have felt their appreciation for our work. Wednesdays are District Meetings. This past Wednesday we talked about improving lesson presentations and at the end of the meeting our District Leader asked one of our elders to bear his testimony. The missionary is from Samoa and joined the Church a few years ago over the objection of his Baptist minister father. The result of his baptism was that he has been disowned and shunned by his family. He told about struggling with his decision. He was homeless for a period of time  and then finally decided that  he was going to stay true to his commitment and work himself into a position to go on a mission. It was obviously a struggle for him but he is a fine elder. At the conclusion of the meeting one of our senior elders told the elder that he should write home every week and his family would soften their hearts toward him.

  We have had some great dinners and wonderful discussions with families. One of the most bizarre things that happened was on Friday night. In the economy of the Lord, things don't just happen. We had an appointment and arrived at the address Ruth had written down. The lady answered the door and invited us right in. We asked if she were the person we were looking for and she said no and gave us her name. She said she didn't know very many people because she doesn't go to church. She was very friendly and we apologized, and after leaving our calling card with her, we left and found the right address down the street. Last night at our dinner appointment the brother talked about visiting a couple and taking cookies to them and hoping they could invite the missionaries to visit with this family. A pair of ward missionaries also live across the street from this family and were anxious to talk to us yesterday about our visit to the wrong house which is across the street. The ward missionaries had also recently made a visit with cookies and so it is apparent that the Lord is very aware of this family. It will be interesting to see what develops following all these visits.
 Saturday was a special day. The sisters have been teaching a family that have three boys who are baptized members. Recently their step father's ex wife passed away and left three children behind.
The father reclaimed his three and brought them into the new home. The blended family of six have been meeting with the sisters and the three new family members have been studying and all accepted the opportunity to be baptized. One daughter and one son are over eight and so are counted as converts, They youngest girl is just eight so she was baptized with her brother and sister as well. It was a wonderful and spiritual baptism. There was so much support from the ward that the baptismal service had to be moved to the chapel. It is wonderful for these new converts and blended family to feel that kind of support from their ward family.
   This is a wonderful work. The work rolls on and, as the Prophet Joseph testified, no unhallowed hand will stop this work until the Lord declares, that the work is done! We appreciate the opportunity to be a part of this movement.

Monday, March 16, 2015

 The week started by taking our sisters to a doctor's appointment in Pleasant View. Sis Geetz is having treatments for allergy problems. We came home and worked on putting things together for our first missionary class on Sunday evening. We are a little nervous but are preparing to have a good experience for all who attend. Just before dinner time we got a text from the former mission leader from the third ward asking us if we were planning to come to dinner. We had no notification of that but responded that we will, they said they were expecting us so we obliged. We had a wonderful meal. He cooked chicken with crab meat and cheese. The Bluebird Cafe cooks the same dish and call it Chicken Louie, it is one of Ruth's favorite dishes there. We had two more appointments one was a former bishop's family in the 5th ward. We were able to help them fill in a few gaps and find a family where there may be some additional work available. Then we went to the 14th ward area and met with a family that are fairly new in the area. She was born in Peru and their family moved to Italy. They were interested in pursuing some additional information. Ruth is going back tomorrow to see if she can help. We stopped to see another sister who is recently reactivated. She told us earlier that she wanted to go to the temple. She told us that she has set a date and she plans to go in July. That is exciting!
  Tuesday we had dinner with a couple that we have established a nice relationship with. We have helped them with indexing problems and also Ruth has helped her with some Family History challenges. We have tried to help there since he was recently sustained as the new Stake Indexing director. They wanted to have us for dinner to say thanks for all our help. They are a neat couple and we enjoyed being in their home for a delicious pork chop dinner.
Following dinner we went to the home of a Relief Society Pres. in another ward. She really wanted to find a name of an ancestor to take to the temple. They worked hard, and after one family they found needed more work, low and behold another ancestor was found and she was so excited. Her daughter will do the baptism and the mother will do the rest of the work. It was an exciting evening for her.
  After spending most of the day fine tuning our missionary class for Sunday we went to visit a father and son who had invited us for dinner. The family lost a son just over a year ago to a suicide. The younger son found his brother which obviously would be a shock for anyone to deal with. In addition to the death there was a separation of the father and mother which complicates the matter even more. However, the father had recently been able to go to the temple and do the work for his deceased son. It was an incredible experience for him and those family members who attended.  The younger brother is still struggling some with the memories and the shock but seems to be doing better. We had a couple more good visits. One is a sister that is just returning to activity and wants to go to the temple to do baptisms. Ruth has found a few names for her so we will continue to help her schedule that temple visit. We were impressed to stop to see a couple that have recently moved into our stake. They are members but have not been active for a long time. We had a great Gospel discussion and they were happy we stopped to see them.
  The following day was one of the busiest and most productive days we have had while we have been serving. We ended up with five appointments We had dinner with a neat family that loves Montana. He is a builder and an artist. He spends a goodly amount of time in Montana. He would probably move there but his family has been in the valley since its beginning and so that would be tough to leave. We talked a lot about Montana, they are going next weekend to Great Falls for the annual Charles Russell art show and sale. Their little family of five including a set of twin boys enjoyed our "What is Genealogy" video and "My Family" books, and the coloring pages.  Some of the children were working on the information before we left the home. We stopped for a short visit with another family and found they have a daughter with some medical problems. She only goes to school part time and the parents thought some form of family history research or indexing would be a great thing for her. We set up an appointment to return and talk with the young lady. As we were going to our next appointment one of our ward members flagged us down and told us her young daughter was missing for the last four hours. She had taken her bike and gone with a friend and no one had been able to find where they were. Fortunately when we checked back after our scheduled appointment, the young lady had returned home and was fine. They had found a place to have fun and just seemed to have lost track of time.
Our appointment in the 14th ward was great. They are an active family with two boys and a college age daughter who was sleeping at the time we were there. The parents and the boys were very excited to accept the challenge of Find, Take, and Teach. What a great visit!
 We had a late visit with a young family that had a disconnect on one of their lines. It didn't take Ruth long to figure out how to solve the problem and connect the family properly.
  My brother Nick told me about a book recently told me about a book called "In the Shadow of Eureka Peak," by Rodger Carlson. He was a few years older than me but I ordered the book and it came in the mail. It is an interesting read as he recounts some of his experiences as a young man in Eureka that reminds me of many people and experiences I had a young man there. He remembered the epic snowstorm of 1949 that buried Eureka and left snow banks nearly ten feet high along the plowed streets. Some of the streets were not plowed for a long time after that storm.
   Saturday we put in a lot of time finalizing our missionary class. We were happy to be able to attend the First Ward Conference then go to our own ward to hear the returning missionary talk from a young man, Elder Pututau who just returned from Chile. He gave a wonderful talk about how the atonement of Jesus Christ and faith in that atonement made a difference in his life as well as some of the people he met and baptized. This is a Polynesian family that celebrates everything with a big meal. We went to the Canyon school following sacrament meeting and enjoyed the meal with many friends who filled the church more than any meeting I ever remember. Even the dedication service was not as heavily attended.
  We are so thrilled to be involved in this missionary service. We pray that we are doing all the Lord expects of us. The people of the stake have been so kind to us, we are getting acquainted with so many, what a privilege.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

 This has been a good week for us. We are doing a lot of family history lessons and people are getting more interested in finding ancestors to take to the temple. Our Stake President recently explained that the Work of Salvation is going on on both sides of the veil. We need to provide the opportunity for those on the other side to realize the blessings promised by the atonement.
 On Wednesday we had training in Farr West because there are changes coming with I pads. New I pads will be issued and some new restrictions will be in place. Elder Clark and Bro.Donaldson were the trainers. When I pads were first issued to our missionaries there were no General Authorities present. Now Elder Clark explained where these meetings are held, there will be a General Authority in charge of every session. This was wonderful training, they explained that this training is not just for now but for the rest of your life. We need to be obedient, active missionaries forever. Elder Clark said that there is no more room for less-active returned missionaries in the Church. Elder Donaldson said if you don't like missionary work, you won't like after-life, and you'll just hate the millennium. So learn how to do it right and keep doing it the rest of your life. There was so much in this training, it was wonderful.
 We had another great District Meeting. Our D L is really trying hard to include Senior Couples and address how they can be more effective in their work. We had a wonderful initiatory session at the Temple following our meeting. Followed that with two more family history meetings.
 Friday was a wonderful temple day. Our home teacher for many years had a son who decided to be married in the temple. The son was his father's home teaching companion for many years and came with him last Sunday to make a verbal invitation to us to come to the wedding and dinner following.
Trevor decided not to serve a mission but felt like he wanted to be married instead. They are a cute couple and seem to be determined to make things work. They surely chose the right way to begin their journey.
 Saturday was another spiritual high. We traveled to Eagle Mountain for our granddaughter Kiersti's  baptism. She had two friends baptized at the same time. It was a wonderful baptism.  Jessie was asked to talk about the Holy Ghost and did a great job. Keith and Catherine do a great job preparing their children to understand the covenant of baptism.
Following a waffle bar at their home, we traveled to Tooele where Naomi and Caroline competed in the Winter Guard competition. Both teams did very well and both teams placed first in their divisions.We saw our former neighbors the Bartschi's who came to watch their daughter Megan compete. Our nephew Dwight Solomon Jr. and his sister Karma was there to see Karma's daughter on the Riverton team.
  Sunday was another wonderful day. We first went to church with Hallie and TeTe. Following sacrament meeting I was asked to ordain TeTe to the Aaronic Priesthood and the office of Priest.
We then attended all the meetings of the 13th Ward Conference. It was a great conference and well attended. Our ward mission leaders are still doing a great job getting appointments for our sisters. The sisters taught 30 lessons again during this week. Our evening was spent at a Youth Fireside at the Stake Center. The youth were challenged to write names of non-member and less active friends that came to their minds as two youth speakers and our sisters talked about the opportunity to share the Gospel. The ward mission leaders collected the names which should create a large number of opportunities for the missionaries.
 What a great work to be involved with!

Monday, March 2, 2015

  This week started our like weeks often do. We had our correlation meeting with our sisters then we took three sisters from our area to Ogden for a leadership meeting. While we are waiting for the sisters, we have study time. We did some preparation for our evening meeting which was a family home evening presentation on family history to a neat family in our neighboring ward, 14th ward.
The family had already obtained My Family booklets for their children and knew most of the information we usually ask the children about their families. We left some coloring pages that we have copied from a book we picked up at the Roots Tech Conference.
  Even though Tuesday is our prep day, we had an appointment with a neat family in the 13th ward. They didn't have a lot of experience with Family Search so we were able to get them into the program and then fill in some people on their trees so they could go from there. Later in the week we saw the family at a baptism and they had made contact with family members and obtained some needed information and asked us to come back this week and help them more.
  We have one new Zone leader and a new District leader. District meeting this week was getting acquainted with several new elders and sisters. They do a good job leading discussions on what is needed to help the missionaries be successful. Following our District meeting we had three other appointments. We had dinner with a young family where the father is less active but the mother and the children attend meetings quite regularly. Since we had recently had dinner with the parents of the father of the family, he was willing to set up an appointment for our sisters to come this week and meet them. We had a good visit and introduced the children to My Family booklets and left coloring pages for them as well. We then wen to visit a family in our ward. Two sisters live together, one is unmarried, the other divorced with two children. Only one child was there because the other had gone with his grandfather to a Jazz game. We had a good discussion on family history, the sisters know a lot of their family history but we left some suggestions on some tools available to help them answer some questions they need to answer in order to move forward.
Our final visit was to a family in the 14th Ward. They are an active family but they had some questions that we were able to answer. The children didn't have My Family books so we left some with them and some coloring pages as well.
   Thursday, we had set up an appointment with the bishop's family in the 13th ward who we had dinner with last week. The wife had some questions that with some research help and suggestions she was able to fill in some family lines. Later in the week she told us she had continued the search and found about 80 names that needed temple work. What a joy! Hastening the work is happening on both sides of the veil, those who have not had their work done are being prepared so they can understand and accept the work when it is done in the temple on earth.
  We had dinner with a family in the 14th ward that we had visited before. They had invited a less-active family to have dinner with us but they were not available. We discussed family history and suggested some programs they could use to find family members on lines they had not fully explored.
  Friday we had invited our sisters to lunch at Texas Roadhouse to celebrate Sis. Geitz's birthday. We had a great meal, the restaurant wished her happy birthday and gave her a free dessert to celebrate the day. After the meal the waiter came by and said, you are all set to go, an anonymous person had paid for your meal. Wow, what a neat surprise! The sisters says it happens often to them when they eat out. What a kind gesture, how we appreciated that kindness.
In the afternoon we had another family history appointment with one of our ward mission leaders families that turned out very well. They want us to come back and help them learn about indexing which will be fun.
   Saturday we attended a baptism of a child in our own ward, Korbin Smith. It was a great baptismal service and the family was grateful we would attend. Ruth then stayed for our Stake Relief Society Conference. The guest speaker was Ardeth Kapp, and it was a wonderful meeting.  Sister Kapp talked about the power of love.  She gave  three steps to love:  1. Love of our Savior, 2. Love for  ourselves, and 3.  Love for others.  All did an exercise where each sister turned to a person next to her and with instructions about what they could say did the following:  1.  Small talk, (Get acquainted)  2.  Building your relationship of trust, (Find out about each other) 3.  What can we work on together? and 4.  What would you you say if you won't see that person again?  It was a powerful exercise.  Ruth said she felt such love for the person she worked with and helped her see her with different eyes. We then went to another child baptism following the conference.
   Sunday was a full day, we attended our Stake Presidency meeting with our sisters. The presidency are pleased with the work that the sisters are doing and are excited how well people are accepting the lessons we are giving in Family History. They cleared some dates for us to hold classes on "Every Member a Missionary". We are going to hold two classes in each of three of the buildings. We have lesson outlines and are now preparing to make the presentations. The first group of people will include families who currently have missionaries in the field and others who they feel inspired to call. We hope this will enhance our work in the Stake and help move our work forward and an accelerated pace.