Sunday, October 25, 2015

  We had three really great events this week. We had a great meeting with the couple we have been meeting with for a while.  They accept our lessons and it is exciting to see them making commitments and making progress. The most exciting thing is that this couple, his mother and sister and her children were at Church today. This is exciting progress that will bring many blessings.
  Early in the week we saw a sister who has been working hard to be completely active and dedicated to the Gospel. She had said earlier that she would really like to go to the Salt Lake Temple. We looked at our schedules and decided that Friday would be a good day to do that. We left first thing in the morning and drove to the temple. The first blessing was the Conference Center parking plaza was open and as we drove in the sign said there would be no charge for the day's parking. Happily we crossed the street and attended a temple session. This temple, dedicated in 1893 is so beautiful and striking when one remembers that it was built so long ago. The stained glass windows and ornate decor is just amazing. Architects at that time of building the temple left spaces vertical and horizontal which now accommodates electrical wiring, heating and air conditioning ducts, as well elevators which means the building utilizes modern conveniences not known at the time it was built.
The temple has been well kept and beautiful, any restoration has been done with the historical significance being maintained. The sessions are done by people, nothing is recorded, which is only done in the Salt Lake and Manti temples. Needless to say, the experience is difficult to duplicate because it is so different from any other temple experience available. Following lunch in the cafeteria we went to the Church Museum to see the new films, interactive displays and art from a recently completed international art competition titled, "Tell Me The Story of Jesus." From there we went to the North visitors center and saw more displays with the crowning experience of sitting   looking at the super-life size statue of the Christus.
   Last night we went to see a brother who we have been encouraging to return to activity in the Gospel. He's a good man and has two young children that would benefit from Church activity as well. Shortly after arriving at his home his mother brought his daughter home from a birthday party. As this fellow left the room to take care of a matter the mother said she was so happy to meet us, and said, "I'm glad that you visit him and encourage him, I can't say much but he enjoys your visits."
He is a returned missionary and he talks some about his mission, this prompted me read an experience Pres. Monson shared about Bro. Fetzer with whom he served in a stake presidency in Salt Lake area. The stake presidency went to a priesthood meeting at the Tabernacle many years ago. They went quite early to get a good seat and sat behind some brethren who were talking about how one of them had joined the Church in Germany. This man told of his mother rescuing two elders from a group who threatened violence to Elder Fetzer and his companion. After she had fed the elders they thanked her and shared a message with the good lady. Her son was quite shy and listened to the elders from a place of solitude and warmth behind the kitchen stove. Pres. Fetzer said he didn't know if the woman ever joined the Church but he was so grateful for the kindness of that good lady. One brother sitting in front of them told his companions about how on a rainy night in Germany his mother had rescued two Mormon Elders and took them home and fed them. This boy had listened from his hiding place behind the stove which led to his conversion. He said he doubted he would ever meet those two missionaries, but thought one was named Fetzer. Pres. Fetzer tearfully tapped the man on the shoulder and told him his name was Bruder Fetzer and was one of the missionaries who was in the home that night.
This story touched our brothers heart. He felt the spirit of the message and then shared with us an item he had brought home from his mission. Following a prayer we left that home knowing why we had gone there that night.
  Today has been a day full of great meetings and inspirational experiences as well. Truly The Sabbath has been a delight!

Monday, October 19, 2015

  We continue to enjoy our work. We are grateful for the Lord's direction on who needs to be visited. We obviously don't get all the families that need our visits but we try to find those who are most in need of a lift.
  We have a new district leader and he spent a lot of time preparing for our district meeting. Last week, our mission president expressed how much he wants all the missionaries to be effective teachers. He told them that when we hear something we remember about ten percent, when we see it the percentage rises, when we see a demonstration there is a higher percentage of remembering, when a principle is demonstrated, and evaluated it is higher yet. Finally, when a principle is demonstrated, evaluated, retaught and reevaluated, the percentage of that principle that is retained nears ninety percent.
  This week the senior couples went to the Logan Temple following our district meeting and did sealings. That is always such a great feeling. Most of the sealings are done for family names that have been found by the couples.
We enjoy our district service projects which is usually at the Humanitarian center, Recently we have been quilting. It was a little difficult to get the hang of how to do the quilting but it is rather enjoyable now. It is exciting to think that someone who needs some warmth or comfort will have it from a quilt we have helped make. Since our sisters are without a car, we still spend some time transporting them, the members have been very helpful in that area as well.
   Friday Ruth took the sisters to a meeting in Richmond and then came home and we drove to Salt Lake with Jennette and her friend Don for the concert put on by the Orchestra at Temple Square. What an amazing program. The Piano Concerto no. 2 by Chopin was just amazing. The pianist was Kevin Kenner. His hands hardly every quit moving. It was just a wonderful performance. Igor Gruppman then played "Dance of the Blessed Spirits" by Gluck on a 1731 "Jules Garcin" Stradivarius violin. He is just masterful with his performance. The orchestra finished the performance with Symphony no 40 in G Minor by Mozart. It was just a wonderful evening and a nice celebration of Ruth's birthday which was the day before the concert.
  Saturday Keith and most of  his family and Kaylene and her daughters and a couple of friends came and we had a nice chili dinner and birthday cake to celebrate.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

  We have had a good week. We have been able to visit several people that we felt needed the visits.
Started out the week with a fun family with two young boys five and two. They were both sharp and but the five year old really seemed to really be anxious to respond to our lesson. The family had decorated for Halloween and he was anxious to show us some of the things on display. Wednesday was a historic day in the mission. There were 26 new missionaries who arrived from the MTC. That is a big number when there are only fifty some companionships in the mission.
  On Wednesday morning the day started with a mission breakfast. The new missionaries and their trainers had a meeting and then there was a breakfast. Most of the cooking of bacon, eggs, and hash browns was done by the senior men while the office women and senior women missionaries waited tables and mingled with the young elders and sisters. Following breakfast there was a mission conference where some great instruction and mission vision was restated for both the missionaries in the mission and the new elders and sisters. There are some new things on the near horizon for helping the missionaries in their work. One thing will be that there will be instruction on how to use family history as a finding tool and a resource for teaching others about the Gospel. Almost like a new beginning with that many new missionaries. We are excited about the vision given by Pres. Allred and others who did the training.
In the evening we went with the Stake older singles committee and made visits to some of the singles and invited them to a Halloween activity and some firesides later in the month. We had some good visits with several people who do not regularly participate in Church activities.
  Thursday morning we went to a funeral of a dear sister we had visited several times. She was about ninety years old and has a large family of nine children plus the grand and great-grand children. The family really filled a large part of the chapel for the services. Hopefully the family members felt some peace from the wonderful thoughts shared by those who took part in the services. She was a wonderful and faithful sister and dedicated mother.
We had a visit with a sister who raises a wonderful garden in spite of some challenging disabilities. She is just determined to keep going. We followed that visit with our lessons to a couple who are returning to activity. We are going through the lesson material just to help refresh their faith and desire to take steps toward the next ordinance of going to the temple.
  Saturday was a special day. We spent a large part of the day in baptismal services for eight year old children. One child was one we visited a few times with the sisters who taught her the missionary discussions. Her father was able to be ordained last Sunday as a Priest and was able to baptize her.
Her less active grandfather also attended her baptism. There were five wards who had children baptized. One special time to remember was a young family with five children The second child is a special needs child. This is our report about that experience.
 We had such a special experience at a baptism we attended.  A beautiful family sang the song "Gethsemane." One of the children was a Down's syndrome child of about 10 years of age.  He sang out with all of his heart and knew every word.  Even though the words were sung off key and were not completely understood, his spirit made us rejoice at the great love that he has for his Savior.  I will cherish this moment and remember that Jesus Christ taught us to look to children as an example when he said:  "Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.  Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven."
  Today was a long day but a wonderful day. We had a meeting with our stake presidency and the sisters to discuss the work in our area. There were some great ideas exchanged and we are excited for these things to take shape, and they will with the Lord's help.
We attended a ward council meeting then attended the tenth ward and stayed for their whole block of  meetings; and then went to another ward for their sacrament meeting. We had a very productive correlation meeting this afternoon and then a meal with a couple and their son and his wife.
  What a wonderful time to have the opportunity to serve as missionaries! As we look over each week, we see the hand of the Lord in the details. It encourages us to defy the tiredness we feel and go on and find those who need help in coming back to the safety of the Gospel in a wicked and confusing world.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Something I overlooked from our experiences from the last week. I am going to include it as an additional post today:
 We had a very tender experience as we listened to the spirit. One dear sister who recently joined the church has not been coming out to church in the past few weeks and we were asked to visit her. .  We were there when she was baptized and have been trying to see her but have not caught her at home.  Well, Sunday night we felt impressed to stop by her home.  She was just pulling into her driveway.  We chatted with her and she asked us if we would like to come in.  We, of course, said that we did.  We talked to her about her experiences of the day and found that she had attended a mission farewell in Wellsville for a young man who was going to the Philippines.  We talked to her about the tender mercies of the Lord and she hesitated and said that she didn’t know if the Lord was aware of her at this time in her life.  She has been through a difficult time and was hurt emotionally by a person she thought was a friend. (not a member of the church).  She was beginning to wonder why the Lord would let things like that happen to her.  We talked some more and then showed her the video “Mountains to climb”.  She cried throughout the video and then when it was done.  Her heart opened up and she expressed to us that she saw that other people have hard times, harder than hers.  We told her that the Lord had sent us to see her.  We continued to listen to her and cried together.  As we were leaving we asked if we could have prayer with her and she said she would say it.  She prayed that the Lord would help her go to church and reach out to the member of the church.  She prayed that the Lord would heal her heart.  The Lord is so aware of his children!  What a privilege to be his servants!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

What a wonderful weekend. General Conference is always a major uplift and this one was no exception. The week was a little slow for missionary work. Tuesday George got really sick and spent most of the day in bed. Once as he started for the bathroom, he fainted and landed in a heap on the bedroom floor. Fortunately Ruth was close by and was able to divert his fall some so he didn't hit his head on the rocking horse at the foot of the bed. However, in breaking his fall she hurt her knee and wrenched her back some. George experienced the dry heaves and finally had Ruth call the doctor who prescribed some medicine. It seems like it must have been the flu and it took most of the week to get over the effects. We are determined to get the flu shot soon and avoid future events like this.
Wednesday Ruth found a sister to go with her to a lesson and George found a sub for an appointment he had to take a fellow to a meeting with his bishop.
  Thursday we went to the funeral of Bro. Baxter. He was a great man who died last week. His two sons told some events that were really nearly unbelievable. After working and teaching school he decided his two boys needed something to teach them how to work. He put a claim into the Canadian Government for 10,000 acres in the wilderness. They approved 640 acres and in order to make improvements that were required to keep the claim alive, he decided to take the boys to Canada and fence the property. That was four miles of fencing. They bought the material and had to cross a river which was especially challenging with 100 pound bales of barbed wire with a twenty foot deep river to ford. They finally got the fencing material across the river and built the fence while defending themselves against moose, bear, deer, and elk. It was a summer of camping and hard work. After some time he sold that property and then he decided to buy another property in Canada. This property had been developed with a home and some fence but not all fenced. The seller said there was a house on the property occupied by a manager but that it would be empty by time they arrived. Well, not only was in not empty, the manager was determined to stay and shot a rifle at them as they approached. Bro. Baxter was not deterred and ordered cattle and machinery and began having things delivered to the ranch amid the continuing gunfire. Finally the manager left to get somethings in town and the new owners fell trees across the road and took over the house. Confrontations with wildlife were always a threat but they miraculously survived. Later the younger son took a creative writing class in school and wrote about some of those experiences. His teacher told the family that he had the biggest imagination she had ever seen.
  That evening we were happy to join members of our ward in an adult social. It had been a long time since we had enjoyed that opportunity. It was a great evening. Friday was a good missionary day as we were able to make several visits to families ward mission leaders had given us. One fun time was a family  with three boys. The youngest boy is a babe in arms but the other two boys were excited to talk with us about family history and share things about their lives.
  As mentioned at the beginning, General Conference is always a shot in the arm. It was a historic conference in which three new apostles were appointed to replace three who had died since the last conference. Elders Rasband, Stevenson, and Renlund were appointed to take the places of Elder Perry, Elder Packer and Elder Scott who died just twelve days ago. Many of the speakers during this conference talked about these three departed servants of the Lord. Elder Hales who has been ailing for some time was able to speak on Saturday. Pres. Monson spoke at Priesthood meeting and then in the session this morning. He really seemed to be struggling by the end of his talk but he fought through and bore a strong testimony of the great work of the Lord in our day.