Sunday, January 31, 2016

  Another week in the books, we don't have a great many weeks left to serve. We have already had some discussions about what the future may hold for us as far as church callings. That picture may have become a little more cloudy since there was a meeting tonight and the ward boundries in the East end of the stake were adjusted and the 16th ward was created. Many good 12th Ward members were put in other wards. We didn't gain any new members, but a lot of good members were relocated to another ward. There are always adjustments to be made, but we felt especially bad for some of the young people that feel badly that their friends will not be in the same ward any longer.
  We were excited to visit two families with My Family booklets as a result of Sis. Packer's talk in Stake Conference last week. With one family we worked on Family Search directly. They had a hookup so we could work on the computer and show the site on their television. The second couple had two children that were quite interested in the booklets, the parents were excited to help them find and record the information, find pictures and stories to include in the booklets.
  We had some great visits with those who had invited us for dinners. We became acqainted with some families we had not met before. It is wonderful to get acquainted with these special families.  We were invited to have dinner with two couples this week who have recently returned from missions. We enjoyed discussing missionary experiences with them. It is interesting how the Lord sends couples where they are needed, and how each have different kinds of experiences but all very similar because it is the work of the Lord.
  We visited some people who have had some health challenges recently. We also went to a viewing for the son of a widow sister we have visited several times who lost her son aged fifty-one to cancer.
  We had several names on our schedule to visit yesterday. However, those all got put on the back burner. Over night and during the day yesterday it snowed, and snowed. We ended up with about a foot of new wet snow. Much of the day was used blowing and shoveling our driveway and other driveways in the neighborhood. With that much snow it would have been very difficult to get around to make visits. In fact, the radio station announcer said if it was not necessary, to stay in off the roads, so that is what we did.
   We attended several meetings today including one meeting in the chapel that was damaged by the water from the previous cold snap. Most of the building is useable, but the cultural hall floor is still being replaced so that area is not available for use yet.
  One of the most interesting visits we made this week was to an older, less active member in the first ward. He grew up riding, roping, and shoeing horses. He hasn't been an active member of the church for many years. He was very willing to let us in and to tell us his story which was a blast from the past. His language was a little rough which reflected his lifestyle but he was welcoming and kind. We left him a message about how the Lord loves each of us, that he knows us, and wants to bless our lives. We found out at our dinner appointment that night that the new bishopric in his ward was planning to visit him that night. When they found out we had visited him during the day, they decided not to overwhelm him with another visit.

Monday, January 25, 2016

  Time just keeps going forward. We hope we are making the contributions we were called to accomplish. We feel like we have done what we can, sometimes we are a little let down by some of the responses we receive as we are out making contacts. We just have to keep reminding ourselves that everyone has agency. That principle was part of Heavenly Father's plan from the very beginning so we must honor that.
  We have some great people that really want to help us. We called on a member and asked about a couple of neighbors. He went right upstairs and changed into a suit and said, "Let's go see if they are home and we will visit." Neither one was home but he is going to follow up with both of them and see if there are any missionary opportunities available.
  There have been some wonderful opportunities to enjoy dinners in homes of people we know and love thanks to ward mission leaders. The weather has been rather snowy this past week and we thought we could find a lot more people home but we were disappointed in several places where people were still going on with life.
   Wednesday was a special day. The Church Missionary Committee sponsored a devotional; first one in over ten years. They wanted to reenforce the purpose of missionary work and give the missionaries all over the world a vision of what we need to do to be effective in this work. We were instructed on the theme, " Teach Repentance, Baptize Converts."
  We had wonderful talks from Elder Neil Anderson, Elder Bednar who taught a group of missionaries in the Ogden Utah Mission in a wonderful demonstration on how to use the power of the Holy Ghost in teaching. Bishop Waddell, Sister Oscarson, and Elder Clayton each took a subject related to the theme of the meeting and did wonderful presentations. The concluding speaker was Elder Oaks. He talked about the mandate the Savior left to teach all nations and baptize those who accept the message. We need to focus on encouraging faith unto repentance and testifying of Jesus Christ and His role as our Savior. It was a wonderful two hours of trainning.
  Thursday was District meeting since the devotional was held on Wednesday. We were able to find a few people home and share a message with them.
  On Thursday my sister Elizabeth posted a picture of she, her husband Harold with Lavon and Eldred and a neighor couple at the open house of the Provo City Center Temple. She said she was happy to be able to get tickets. That triggered my mind to check our the web site to see if any tickets were available for the next day. Wow, there were some available for Friday morning at 10:15. We planned to go to see Jessie in a play the next day so I grabbed two tickets and so we left early Friday morning for Provo. What a beautiful job of restoring the old Tabernacle into a temple. Everything about that temple is just outstandingly beautiful. There is a lot of beautiful wood, stained glass, and murals in the rooms. They have done a wonderful job in restoring the building to the 1800's decor and it is just a wonder how they have decorated such a wonderful peice of history. It will be a magnet to draw people to Provo.
  We had a great time with Keith's family and went to see Jessie in the play. "Thoroughly Modern Millie." Jessie did a very good job as did all the actors.
  Saturday night was the adult session of stake conference. It was a wonderful meeting focusing on creating faithful families. Elder Allen Packer and his wife were the visitors. Both gave great talks.
Our mission president and his wife spoke and I gave the cloing prayer for that meeting.
On Sunday we held Stake Conference in the Logan Tabernacle since our 675 West building is still not in operation. Sister Packer talked about the book, "My Family" We have talked to a number of families about that book and presented family history as well. Yesterday one of our ward missionaries wrote us and already had two appointments for us to present family history lessons.
This will be exciting.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

  This has been a good week. We have had some good visits and some that have been challenging at best.
  The most inspirational and exciting was on Wednesday night. We were invited to dinner with a young couple who have three children. They had invited a lady and her daughter to join with us for dinner. Following a nice dinner we shared a message about family and the importance of sharing our love for each other. The children in the family were so quick to bear testimonies of how much they loved each other and how the Gospel of Jesus Christ has blessed their lives. Later in the week we received a message from the family who invited us for dinner saying that the lady that had been invited really enjoyed the message and had committed to attend church meetings and become a member. We received word today that she kept her commitment of church attendance. We are sure that those children were a big part of having that sister feel the spirit and make those commitments.
   It looks like it will be a while before the 675 West building is ready for reoccupancy. In the meantime the three wards that have been displaced will continue meeting in other buildings that are available. We are just fortunate that there is room for them to meet in buildings in the stake.
  Our bishop called and asked us to speak in sacrament meeting today. We took some time to study and talk about how the Savior taught and then share some experiences we have had as we have tried to teach as He taught. We are so fortunate to have scriptures that have a record of His teachings and great examples of how to share the things that are important in the Gospel.
  We also had a great district meeting and a wonderful couples training meeting this week.
  Time is flying by, we have just two months and a week before our calling comes to a close. We will miss the association we enjoy with the people of our stake.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

  We have recently realized the importance and benefit of regularly having companionship study. This is a great time to determine how and what to teach as we go through our schedule for each day. It is a spiritual uplift that is so valuable in our work. We have had some great visits and experiences this past week. Our new missionaries are working hard and giving us a number of families to visit. Each visit is unique and exciting.
  On Wednesday we had dinner with a Relief Society president in the fifth ward. She asked us to go to a nursing home and visit with a member of her ward who is quite lonely, blind, and so we went to see her. She has a wonderful memory and we talked about many people in her neighborhood. We also visited the mother of one of the sisters we know and visit. She is 97 years old and pretty sharp. She had a cold and wasn't feeling the best but we had a good visit. The nursing home was the same one Ruth's cousin was in for a number of years. It brought back a lot of memories and feelings from the days we spent much time there.
  One visit was surely directed by the spirit of the Lord. We have visited a less active sister several times. On Friday we pulled into her driveway as she was coming outside. We all went inside and had a great visit. She had been having some difficulties with her health but then she indicated she wanted to do something rather than play games on her computer all day. She said her bishop had asked her to get inviolved in family history or indexing before. We discussed some options and then set up a meeting for Monday to meet her at the stake center and look at some family history. She is very knowledgeable about her family and found some good information. We talked briefly about how to do indexing. She was really excited and we stayed for nearly two hours. Hopefully it will be a help to her in realizing what the Gospel has to offer in her life.
  Saturday night Ruth's sister Jennette's grandson Jonathan Dayton's family hosted a reception for he and his new bride Zanna. It was great to spend some time with the family and friends who attended the reception.
  Sunday we enjoyed the day with Keith and his family for the blessing of Elizabeth. What a sweet child and a wonderful blessing. We were a little concerned because as we left home there was snow falling and the Sardine Canyon can get bad quickly. As we approached the Wellsville park and ride it was snowing pretty hard, however, as we looked ahead two snow plows had just pulled onto the highway and we followed them all the way to Brigham City. As we returned home it was snowing at the Point of the Mountain area but then cleared off and we came on home on mostly dry roads.
  What a joy we are having in serving. We have talked a little bit lately about what life might be like when we complete our service in a couple of months. It appears that the ward building on 675 West is going to take some time to be repaired. We found out yesterday that our Stake Conference on Jan 24th will be held in the Tabernacle in Logan. That way they can accomodate those who want to attend and not have to worry  about simulcasting the proceedings over a closed circuit.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

   Christmas was a wonderful time for us. We had a lot of good experiences doing the living Christmas card presentations. We were able to spend some time with Kaylene and the family then the day after Christmas we took Collette to Montana. The driving lane was clear so the traveling was not too difficult. We met grandma Pat in Butte, and she and Collette traveled on to Billings. We then went on to Helena. Korinne's  family were all there and we really enjoyed a couple of days with them. We went out to eat and played games and had a good time.
   On Wednesday we traveled to Butte and spent the night there before picking up Collette for the trip home on Thursday. We had a great time at Ken's. Little Gemma is growing up so fast and is as sharp and cute as can be. We enjoyed visiting with Ken and Sherri, Kylie and Katlin were both at home so it was a great time to visit there.
The roads coming home were all clear. We felt like it was probably the best winter traveling we have had going and coming from Montana.
  As we arrived home we were tired and some interesting news greeted us. The 675 West chapel is the newest one in the stake. On Christmas day a fire sprinkler pipe froze and broke. Since no one was around the building, the water was from two to four inches deep in the chapel and the bishop's offices, the cultural hall floor was soaked as well. Damage assesment is not complete but the estimate is that it will take two weeks to two months to clean up and repair the building. In the meantime, there will be four wards meeting in the Stake Center and four in our Blacksmith Fork building. That mean that the late wards will be meeting at 3:00 p.m. Last Sunday all the wards met in a two hour block but this week they are all going to meet for the full three hours.
  We decided to go to all the sacrament meetings in our building. We began the day in our ward and then also attended the other three sacrament meetings in the building. The most touching meeting was in the 14th ward. There is a young teenager in that ward who has some significant physical challenges. She struggles to get around with a walker and she has a difficult time speaking. She made her way to the front of the chapel to speak into the microphone. It was difficult to understand her words but her spirit was so strong that no one could question the depth of her testimony. She testified strongly as to her love of the Savior, the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and the fact that the gospel is true and that we are led today by a prophet of God.
  What a great family! They have supported her and encouraged her to participate as fully as possible without putting any doubts in her mind that there are things she is unable to accomplish. We talked about her family previously when her younger brother was baptized and they all sang the song, "Gethsemane."
  Being away for a week, we are a little rusty with our work but we are determined to go forward with faith and finish strong.