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.