Monday, December 21, 2015

This has been a great week! We have had many neat experiences with our Living Christmas card activity. We have met some wonderful people and enjoyed reading the Christmas story from Luke with many families. One memorable experience was just last night. Following a visit to former neighbors we went to a family with a mother and three children. She is not a member of our church but when we arrived there we recognized that last year about this time we were looking for an address in that area. We stopped at her home and she was very kind to us and told us where to find the address we were looking for. As we knocked on the door the children then she came to the door as we sang. She invited us in and we read the Christmas story, taking time to explain to the three children what some of the words meant. Words like decree, delivered, and swaddling clothes are not part of most young children's vocabulary today. After we read we asked the mother about how things were for her family. She told us a long story about her life and adventures. She has had some difficult times recently with health problems and she doesn't seem to be at the end of those problems just yet. One of the redeeming factors in all this is she had a member of our church in the neighborhood that she just loves and that neighbor is very loving and kind to her and the children. There was a great spirit in that home which made it very comfortable for us to be there.
We have had a busy but memorable week.
  We are looking forward to today. We have a zone conference until about three o'clock. Following that we are going to Keith's home and celebrate and early Christmas with him and his family. Thursday night we are having Kaylene and her family here and then the day after Christmas we are going to Montana to see more family. We are just praying that the weather will be calm so that the trip will not be a white knuckled experience.
We wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

  This has been a pretty good week. We have been busy but there are a couple of things that stand out for the week. Our mission is doing a living Christmas card project. Members in the wards give names of friends and neighbors to their ward mission leaders who make up the list for the missionaries to visit.
We and the Elders then take those lists and divide them between us unless there is a specific pair requested to make the visit. So, during the eveing hours we have been making those visits.
Last night we found two families at home and delivered the singing card. We begin by singing "Silent Night" then announce who had asked us to make the visit. We then asked if we could come in and leave a short Christmas messsage with them. We then read Luke 2: 1-20 about the birth of the Savior in Bethlehem. We conclude by asking if we can leave a blessing on their home. In both cases last night we were welcomed and it was a great experince to share the love of Jesus Christ with each family. In both homes they warmly received the story of Jesus' birth, and seemed happy about having the blessing on their homes. In the second home, the lady said that she had just found out this week that her mother has cancer. She was so grateful for our visit and asked us to share that news of her mother with the person who sent us to see her.
  The second miracle of the week happened today. Early in our mission we were sent to a home to visit a neat lady and her husband.The husband had a serious bout with an infection and had spent an extended time in the hospital. Both are members, the sister has been active and after many years of waiting, went to the temple and continues to attend regularly. When we first went to the home we gave some specific attention to the husband and encouraged him to attend church so he could go to the temple with his wife. After a few meetings, he told his wife he didn't want to have us come to his home again, he just wasn't interested in becoming active. Later he told her that he still wasn't interested but if she wanted to have us visit, that would be fine as long as we didn't preach to him. We have been there a couple of time since and talked with her, he did not join us on the visit. During this past week, we were told that she would be speaking in sacrament meeting today so we were determined to be there. Well, the great surprise of the day was that her husband came with her to listen to her talk. She bore a wonderful testimony of how much she loves the Lord and how blessed she feels for the Gospel of Jesus Christ in her life. Her husband could not help but feel her testimony and recognize how blessed he is to have such a sweet woman for a wife.
  The Lord loves all his children and wants them to be happy. The only way to be truly happy is to be willing to learn His commandments and make a commitment to live them to the best of one's ability.
We love the Lord and are happy to be able to celebrate His birth and love for His children.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

    On Monday we visited several members of our ward and invited them to attend the Christmas Party on Wednesday. But first things first, Wednesday morning we attended our mission Christmas devotional. The senior couples made breakfast cassaroles, muffins, and other things to make a breakfast. The mission had fruit, milk, and juices as well. Following the breakfast we had a very spritual devotional. Many scriptures were read, and several musical numbers were performed. They were all done very well then we had talks from Pres. and Sister Allred. It was a wonderful meeting and very uplifting. We had a dinner appointment in the fourth ward so we attended the 12th Ward Christmas Party and just visited. Because of our dinner, we missed the program which they presented first; but we had some good visits with our ward members.Thursday we had our District Meeting and then attended a temple session. The first week of each month, the senior couples go to a temple session. Because of the mission devotional, our district meeting was held on Thursday instead of Wednesday so some of the couples had conflicts so there were only three couples who were able to go to the temple.
  Friday we had the First Ward Christmas party. It was lightly attended but that was because a young lady from that ward passed away on Wednesday and the viewing was held on Friday evening. It is a sad time for the family because this young lady was born with a serious mental handicap and had nearly died a year ago from complications of pneumonia. She recently had a serious fall and the effects of that fall led to her passing.
  We have had some wonderful visits this past week. We have shown the video "A Savior Is Born" to many families this week. It is a short video but really brings to focus the importance of the mission of Jesus Christ and His infinite Atonement for each of us. Hearts are generally soft at this time of the year and the spirit is quite strong in the homes where we show that video.
  Today we went to an early morning meeting with our stake presidency and our Elders. We then attended the fourth ward sacrament meeting and then we enjoyed the opportunity of going to our own ward for the block. It is so different to go to our own ward and see so many people that we don't know. We will have an opportunity to get acquainted with them soon.
  Christmas season is upon us. This coming week we are going to start visting families with our live Christmas card presentation where we will sing a Christmas hymn then read the story of Christmas from Luke chapter two. It will be a fun experience! We have a list of about fifty families already to visit with this program.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The last few days have been a blur so before time gets totally away, I will update everyone on the last weeks activities and experiences.
Now that we have elders instead of sisters in our stake, Elder Castleton has been doing a lot of transporting etc. with the missionaries. It is a switch since Sister Castleton went frequently with the sisters when they needed help.
Sunday Ruth gave a Family History presentation to the fifth ward combined Relief Society and Priesthood.That took a lot of time to put together her thoughts and she went even further and made a power point presntation along with a bundle of handouts for the class participants.
  We have had some wonderful visits with people in the area. Our big challenge is to find people home during the day time hours. Most of the time, we have plenty of people to see during the evening hours after dinner. The members have been very kind inviting us to dinner, we really enjoy getting acquainted with them and especially the children. Where there are children, we try to fit the message to them We find many of them are excited when we show them the Family History video presented by children and then talk to the children about the book MY FAMILY.
  Thanksgiving was different for us. We are usually able to have a lot of family around us on that day but this year was a little different, we mostly worked from home during the day and then in the afternoon we spent time with Kaylene, Ron, and Collette. Then we had dinner with them and Hallie and TeTe. Friday night we had a great meal and enjoyed the family of one of our ward mission leaders with his wife and four neat children
  Saturday was a real special day. Ruth's nephew Jonathan is going to be married next month. There was a shower for his fiance so we stopped in and met her and saw some family there. That was a nice experience.
  Later in the day we had a young man who had been investigating the Church with the sisters that went to the bishop and told him he wanted to be baptized. Our new elders went and met with him and he was excited to follow through on his commitment. He was interviewed and the arrangements were made for his baptimsm on Saturday afternoon. The ward was very supportive and he had a nice group to celebrate his baptism.
  Following the baptism we were invited to have dinner with another neat family with three children 13,11, and 9. They have been here about three years and previously lived in Nevada. They said it seems that a lot of people in this are are realated and it is more difficult to get to know people. Their previous exerience was that they would invite several families for a barbeque and would have a good number show up. They have tried that here and no one has come because they have had their own family gatherings. It seeems we are not as willing as we have been in the past to get acquainted with new people in the area and include them in our gatherings. That is sad but true in many instances.
Following dinner we talked to them about their family. The children were quite aware of things about their family and were excited to talk with us about the MY FAMILY book. We really enjoyed the eveing with this family.
Sunday was a big day for the First ward. We went to the sacrament meeting for Hadden's confirmation which was very special. During the meeting their bishop was released after serving for about six years. It was a special meeting and there was a wonderful feeling of love expressed for the outgoing bishop as well as the new bishop. We then went to the fifth ward where our new friends Chris and Holli had their baby blessed. Chris was just ordained an Elder so he was able to bless his child Cooper. What a great experience to be asked to stand in the circle for the blessing. We then attended the combined meeting where Ruth did a great job presenting Family Search changes and answering questions from those in attendance. We attended a ward missionary meeting and then our regular stake coorelation meeting. Then we had wonderful meal with a delightful family and presented them the new Christmas message that was just released on Saturday. It is called "A Savior Is Born." It is a wonderful reminder of why we celebrate Christmas. President Monson said, "The Spirit of Christmas is indeed the CHRIST spirit. May each of us recognize Christ as the reason for the Christmas season!