Wednesday, March 23, 2016

  Well, the day has arrived. We had made arrangements with the stake president to meet following the caucus meetings last night. Since we were in different precints, we were a little nervous that he may get out before we did. Well, that came true, apparently he was in his office over an hour before we arrived. He was fine with that, he said their meeting lasted about an hour.
  It was interesting that as we left the afternoon temple dedication meeting on Sunday that a member just around the corner from us approached Ruth and asked her if we could come over Monday night and show them around the Family Search site. Of course we could and we had a wonderful discussion with them. The father was so excited that he installed Family Search Tree on his phone and tablet. The mother and one daughter were especially excited with the lesson. As we introduced decendancy research the mother found three or four names that needed temple work and we didn't even go all the way through her four generation list to see what others might be there. That was a fun evening for the last lesson of our mission.
  Our meeting with the stake president was wonderful! He asked each of us to share a special experience from our mission that stood out in our minds. He was very complimentary with his remarks about how we had been faithful in our calling and how many lives we had impacted with our lessons and examples of service. He then asked if I would join him and give Ruth a blessing and a release. He was so warm and thoughtful as the spirit directed him to thank the Lord for her service and example to many in our stake. He then paused as he put his hands on my head and gave me a similar blessing. He asked the Lord to bless our family and asked Him to bless us as we continue in our service wherever we are called.
It was such a sweet blessing, afterwhich he presented us with our letter and certificates of release. What a wonderful ending to a great experience that will continue to bring sweet memories as we associate with the people of our stake.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

  This has been one busy week but a great way to finish. We had as many lessons this week as we have had in any one week. We taught 17 lessons. We taught a young lady who is working her way back into the Church four lessons this week, at her request. She is studying the scriptures on a regular basis and has taught us some wonderful insights into what she has been studying.
  The other exciting lesson was one with the family we have been working with. The son has been meeting with the bishop and has determined a schedule for completing missionary papers. The father has made a definite commitment that he wants to receive the Melchizedek priesthood so he can have the blessings of the temple with his family. The family has made tremendous progress in the few weeks we have been meeting with them.
  One other exciting visit was to a less active member who is a returned missionary. We feel like his is creeping closer to activity but still has some family issues to resolve to make a meaningful commitment. When we saw him this past week, he asked us to let him know when we give our talks in our ward. He said he would like to attend the meeting when we speak.
  There are many feelings that arise when change is imminent. We feel good about our service and we will sorely miss the great people we have learned to love. We have tried to meet most of the people we have become closest to and one couple even took us out for lunch this week. We will miss our interactions with our  Senior Elders and Sisters as well as the young missionaries of our great mission. We treated our Elders to a meal at Olive Garden on Tuesday evening, we all enjoyed the meal as well as the time together. In our District Meeting this week we were given a Book of Mormon with some notes from other senior couples. Our senior leaders also presented us with embroeried towels from the mission. At the end of our meeting our young district leader asked us to bear our testimonies. Last night one of our senior couples came for a visit with a nice note and a loaf of homemade bread.
 Today we tried to see as many people from the stake as possible by attending all three sessions of the Provo City Center Temple dedication. We saw a goodly number of people and enjoyed each one of the dedication services. Each one was similar but each had different speakers and different experiences, each was wonderful. Elder Dallin H. Oaks conducted every session. The music was well done by small choirs in every session. How unbelievable it is to think when Pres. Monson was sustained to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, there were twelve temples operating in the Church. With the dedication today there are 150 operating temples. A majority of people in the Church live within two hours or less from a temple.
  As I was typing this blog, we received a call from our stake president. He will meet with us on Tuesday night to give us our official release.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

  Been so busy I haven't gotten around to this yet. Today was supposed to be our preparation day but it was a full day of missionary work.
  In the past week our elders have needed some extra help with transportation because of exchanges.     Things seemed to go well and they were able to help other companionships increase their teaching pools.
   Thursday was our final zone conference. At the beginning of the day the AP conducting asked us to stand and acknowledged that this would be our final zone meeting and we would soon be released. We felt a little funny about the recognition because we don't remember that kind of announcement being made for any of the other couples. The zone meeting was talking about members and missionaries working together to build the kingdom. One example that was used in a talk by Elder Martino was with Alma and Amulek. How Amulek was visited by an angel when Alma returned to Ammoniaha. The people had rejected Alma and his message and Alma left but after receiving instruction from the Lord, returned another way to teach. Amulek became his valiant companion in teaching after Alma had taught the Gospel to Amulek and his family.
  The missionaries were asked to bring their items of distraction (games, music etc) and deposit them in a container provided for that purpose. In each zone there must have been a goodly number of items deposited which were donated to Deseret Industries.
  One exciting teaching appointment was when we met with a sister and gave her a lesson on the restoration. When we arrived a fellow was there hooking up cable tv. He listened from a distance and after he completed his business he had the mother sign an order and as he was leaving, he told the daughter we were teaching, "Listen to these people, they know the truth." This sister is making great progress in her gospel study and testimony.
  We have visited several families we have previously taught and visited to tell them our mission is coming to a close. We have had some wonderful visits and wonder how often we will see these people after our service is complete.
  We had a wonderful baptism on Saturday, our elders have had an average of one baptism for every week they have been in our area. They have worked hard and the Lord has blessed them with success.
  Sunday we attended the 16th ward council meeting. The bishop had asked the ward council to extend their meeting an extra ten minutes so we could make a short presentation. We talked briefly about the importance of the role of the ward council in missionary work and then introduced them to the MY FAMILY booklet.
We then attended two sacrament meetings, the second was actually a ward conference. We were so thrilled to attend the ward conference and see the family we have been meeting with for a few weeks all in attendance. It was wonderful to shake their hands and welcome them to the meeting. The bishop and the stake president both talked with great power and testimony. Our final meeting with that family last night was really a good meeting and we feel they will continue to make progress in becoming an eternal family with temple blessings.


Monday, March 7, 2016

We had a good week, time just marches on. We had a goodly number of teaching appointments in spite of aome other things like doctor appointments to keep us busy. As we talk about who we should see each day, we realize how many people we have come to know and love during this two year time span. When we realize that in two weeks we will be released, we realize we probably will not get to see everyone we want to visit.
  Thursday was a day of surgery and recovery. Ruth had her other cataract surgery. Things went much better than the first one. Because the doctor was going out of town on Friday, she had a post op on Thursday afternoon, only a few hours after getting home from the hospital. Already her vision was 20/30 and the eye was still dialated. They didn't seem to put as much medicine in the eye this time and her dialation didn't last nearly as long as the first one. One comforting thing was that our home teacher asked if he could come and visit on Wednesday night. He and I gave Ruth a blessing. Even though she had a blessing before the first surgery, things are just better this time.
  We did get in some good lessons and visits. Our Monday evening lesson with the returning family was just great. They really enjoy having us come and asked us to come as long as we can. We had another lesson scheduled with a young lady who is returning as well, but her mother's car broke down and she was gone to pick up her mother from work. Later in the week we saw them coming home, had a good visit and set up another teaching appointment for this week.
On Friday we met with our young man who was recently baptized. He and the family were excited with My Family booklets and our discussion about filling out the information and learning more about their family.
 Saturday we went to several child of record baptisms and then we drove to Eagle Mountain to celebrate Keith's birthday. Ruth had crocheted an afgan for him and wanted to deliver it and celebrate. While there we were able to go to a vocal presentation where Jessie performed a number which she did very well.
Sunday was a busy day. We attended three sacrament meetings, our mission coorelation meeting and then had dinner with our Stake President. We discussed and demonstrated how to fill our My Family booklets on line. We really enjoyed our evening with their family. The President said they were struggling a bit to find a couple to take our place. We gave him the names of two couples he could consider. He was happy for that information.