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.