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.