Monday, February 29, 2016

  Well, we are in the last three weeks of our two year calling. Our ward mission leader said in our correlation meeting yesterday that there are rumors floating around that we may be called as ward missionaries. Time will tell.
  We had a wonderful week. We gave 16 lessons last week. Our elders said this morning that they had six discussions plus their dinner appointments.. We had a lot of good things going on and caught most people home that we had planned to visit.
  One family we have been meeting with provided one of our most spiritual evenings. Each one of the family participated willingly in the discussion and had some good observations on the principles we were teaching. It was a very good evening.
  On Thursday night we held our second Stake missionary training meeting or zone conference. We were asked to present the new information given during the Family Discovery Days conference in connection with the Roots Tech Conference. There are two pamphlets that will soon be available for the missionaries to use in teaching how to find family names to take to the temple. There have been some studies made as they have focused on family history with new converts. Typically the retention rate has gone from around 20% to over 80% when people take family names to the temple during the first few months following baptism. Our stake president made an observation in his talk on how his father has passed away but because of temple sealing the father is still interested and bound to his family. He is anxious to help those here on earth to find names of ancestors and have their ordinances completed.
  Our high councilor did a great job in asking some "questions of the soul" that many people have as the missionaries contact them. He wrote down some scriptures on the board and then had several groups discuss these scriptures. Then he asked one in each group to come to the front and set the stage for answering the question the scriptures answered. He had them role play the part of the investigator or less active member and the ward missionary. It was very well done.
  Saturday Ruth and a couple of ladies from our ward attended a Stake Relief Society conference. The wives of our stake presidency were the main speakers. They also held some very thought provoking workshops to help the women in attendance realize how important they are in the work of the Lord, and how they need to be prepared to present the Church in a favorable manner to those who are seeking answers for their families.
  We attended stake council meeting and then a ward conference in the Third ward. We stayed for all the block and it was nice to get to sit in a Sunday School class as well as a Priesthood and Relief Society class discussion.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

  This has been a different week but we have been fairly busy under the circumstances. We were able to teach some lessons in addition to spending time at the doctor's office.Following our missionary correlation meeting we went to the Humanitarian Center for service, Late that evening we met with a young couple who have been meeting with missionaries off and on. They are a neat young couple. With a few changes in their lives they could be a valuable family in their ward. We also had a wonderful opportunity in the same ward to teach a family. The family has been somewhat active but their oldest son has decided to serve a mission. The family asked us to come and teach them a missionary discussion. We taught them the Restoration lesson and had a good discussion. When we finished we asked if they would like us to come back for another discussion, The father was the one who spoke up and asked us if we would come again next week.
  Tues. evening we had another new member discussion with CJ. What a great experience! He is so anxious to learn and he kept his commitment to pray when we finished the lesson. We celebrated by going to Cold Stone for ice cream afterwards.
   Wednesday we made a couple of visits and Ruth went visiting teaching. Thursday was surgery day. Ruth had cataract surgery on her left eye. Everything went very well but she was instructed to stay calm and rested most of the day following surgery. She was a little concerned about a spot in her eye. When she went for a post op appointment the doctor said that was a bubble but by the time of the appointment it was pretty much gone. He said the surgery went perfectly and she was seeing 20/20 without glasses. They gave her some reading glasses and by today when we talked in one of the wards, she was able to give her talk and read without glasses.
  Friday night was a memorable night. Our elders had five baptisms. It was a wonderful and spiritual evening. There was a father, mother and daughter from one family, and two boys from a related family who were baptized. What a thrill to see all five baptismal candidates and four elders in a picture before the baptismal services.
  Saturday we went to the Cache South Stake Discovery Day where Ruth taught two classes on family history, specifically on decendency research. The conference was a little light on attendance but there was a very heavy snow storm going on in the morning hours that may have had an effect. Those who attended the class seemed pleased. In fact one brother brought a laptop and found names on his line just by following the instructions Ruth gave in her class.
   Today we went to three wards. The final sacrament meeting was in the fifth ward where we had been asked to talk. We both talked about missionary work and fellowshipping new converts.
The three members that were baptized Friday evening were confirmed members during the meeting. What a thrill to be asked to participate in that special ordinance.

Monday, February 15, 2016

  The time is getting shorter for these blogs. We will be released in about five more weeks. It has been a great opportunity to get to know the people of the stake and we havve had some wonderful experiences that we will miss when our mission is completed.
  This was a mixed week. We had some good appointments, some sickness, and some preparation for Ruth's surgery which will be later this week. We enjoyed two family history presentations that one of our former ward missioaries set up for us. There is a lot of emphasis on the importance of family history now so we will enjoy making those presentations.
  We had a meal with a special family on Sunday. However, there must have been a lot of sodium in the meal and George got sick, especially on Tuesday morning. He spent most of the day in bed, did some exercises suggested by the doctor, and drank lots of water. Ruth went with a friend from the ward to present the new member discussion to CJ Tuesday night.
  Wednesday was transfer day and our district stayed the same except for a new Spanish speaking sister, Our Elder Shoemaker was made district leader and some of the companionships were changed from one district to another. Friday evening we had dinner with another neat family. They had invited a non member and her daughter. We had a wonderful time with them and a good discussion about gospel principles.
  Saturday was a special day. Our neighbor JJ was baptized and confirmed. This family has made good progress recently as two of the boys have been baptized and the father is showing signs of being more interested and involved in the church. The evening was the Stake Valentine Day dinner and dance. This is always one of the best events of the year. There is good food, entertainment and then a dance for those who wish to stay. It is an adult activity and is well attended. We invited a neighbor who we home teach to come and he accepted the invitation, and seemed to enjoy the evening. We surely know a lot more people now because of our exposure throughout the stake.
  Sundays are always great experiences. Yesterday was special as well. We started the day in a ward council meeting. Their high counciler was in attendance and did some training. During the meeting we were talking about what missionary opportunities were available in the ward. The high councilor interjected an experience we had in his ward. Some months ago we were looking for a sister and didn't know where she lived. We stopped at a home we thought was the one and the sister invited us in and kindly helped us determine the right home. This is a less active couple that the high councilor and his son had been home teaching for some time. They would go to the home and talk to the couple through the screen door. Never invited into the home. After our visit, the door opened and now the couple is upset if the home teachers don't make a regular visit. He thanked us for our visits and told the council how much he appreciated our efforts.
  That bishopric was released and a new bishopric was sustained in the sacrament meeting later in the day. We don't know the new bishop very well but we will get to work with them as we continue.
  One of the Spanish speaking sisters was sick so they asked Ruth to go with the well sister to a meeting. While she was there George went to another sacrament meeting in the new 16th ward. The high councilor there was a former bishop we had worked with closely. He came to George and expressed how he appreciated our visits to people he had a hard time visiting and how grateful he felt to have someone willing to help watch over his members. We tried to make some other visits but found no one home. We were able to find one family home. The husband is going to have a liver transplant surgery this week. It is unusual because his son is going to donate part of his liver to his dad. The research is suggesting that the new liver will help the remaining liver be more healthy. This is a trail blazing surgery and the first done in Utah. We had a great and uplifting visit with this man and his wife.The ironic thing in this case is that this brother had a car accident many years ago and ended up at the U of U hospital. The blood he received there was contaminated and he has had hepatitus C ever since. There has been no cure for this condition. Now they are telling him they have some medication that they will give him with blood transfusions for the surgery that will probably put the hepatitus C into remission.

Monday, February 8, 2016

  When we were in Eagle Mountain to see our granddaughter Jessie in a play, Ruth had Keith check her eyes because she had been having some issues. He discovered that her cataracts have really grown and he could see why she was having problems. Ruth wasn't wanting to address the issue until after we completed our mission, however, she was getting more and more frustrated with the eye problems so this week she made an appointment with Dr. Hammond who did my cataract surgery for an assesment. They discovered she has two cataracts and so she made the decision to have them surgically removed. She's a little nervous but I have assured her, and the doctor did as well that it will all be worth it in the end.
  This past week has not been extremely busy but our elders are just working hard. We had one baptism on Friday night, one more on Saturday this week and possibly five more by the end of this month! That is great for us. We began teaching new member discussions to a nine year old that was baptized about two weeks ago. He is a neat young man and so sharp! It is a neat experience to teach such a young man with desire to learn the Gospel.
  We have had some wonderful visits with families this week during our dinner appointments. It has been such a struggle to find people home to teach this week, even though the weather has been snowy and cold.
  Saturday we had registered for Discovery Days at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City. This is an annual conference sponsored by Roots Tech who develops the system that runs Family Search. It is a great conference. We left early in the morning and stopped in to register. Then we traveled on to Sandy where we attended the funeral of my cousin Julie Castleton Hemple. She was the youngest daughter of my Uncle Vernon and Aunt Norma. She had suffered from cancer twice and passed away earlier in the week. It was an impressive funeral. Most of the funeral was provided by family members who gave their memories of their mother. Some wonderful thoughts about the eternal nature of families and the importance of the Savior's Atonement. At the end of the day, her husband Wayne dedicated the grave site.
  We then returned to the Discovery Days. The focus was on doing family history and temple service. Both of them are important to those who passed on before the Gospel was restored or did not have the opportunity to receive the Gospel during their lives here on the earth. Some great presentations were made to show how important these things were for the exaltation of God's children. Of course, we know that not everyone will accept this work that is done for them but one of the guiding principles of the Gospel is agency.
  This discussion was the focus of our meeting on Sunday morning with the Stake Presidency. We have enjoyed helping families learn about family history and it looks like we will be spending even more time as we complete our mission to see that this work is introduced to as many as possible.
  We attended two of the wards yesterday involved in the boundary changes. There were quite a few callings announced and much more work to do for those bishoprics. The newly formed ward had a long list of callings to sustain and because of the difficulty for them to be fully organized, they only held a two hour block of meetings. They will hold the full three hour block next Sunday. The Gospel is true and the work continues to accelerate as we approach the second coming of our Savior.