Monday, July 28, 2014

July 28, 2014

Some of the highlights from the past week:

I attended a baby shower this week and had lots of fun.

After our district meeting on Tuesday we were all hungry for Mexican food.  A friend spent the day with us.  She was a great "missionary" and we enjoyed having her.
 Friday we attended a barbecue at the mission home with all the other senior couples.  We just love being with everyone. 

President grilled the hamburgers and hot dogs.  He was dressed in jeans and cowboy boots.  It was a "casual day."

The weather was absolutely perfect.  No bugs, no humidity and in the 80's.  

With some of the sweet Relief Society sisters in the Brooklyn Park Branch.  

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

July 21, 2014

It's been a very emotional week.  Many members of our branch are having terrible problems.  One brother is homeless after leaving his wife and a difficult situation.  One sister and her family are being evicted from their apartment because they can't pay the rent.  One sister stopped talking to us because we warned her against having a relationship with someone she has only met on Facebook.  One sister is very unhappy because she is not allowed to see her grandchildren and another is suffering from chronic pain.  There are many more sad situations like that.  We try to help by teaching them to apply gospel truths and to learn from opposition and hardships.  It can be very difficult and heart wrenching and we suffer with them. 

During our zone training meeting on Tuesday, Elder Lewis and I gave a fifteen minute presentation on overcoming adversity and discouragement.  We brought a large basket of pretty red and crisp apples and handed them out to everyone (about 25 missionaries).   Elder Lewis then explained how we can count the seeds in an apple, but we can never count how many apples are in a seed.  We shared our own conversion stories and then told the young missionaries that they will never know how many seeds they sow every day while talking to people and teaching the Gospel.  They might feel rejected and discouraged at times, but God is in control, and those who are searching for the truth will find it because of their service. 

President McConkie, (yes, nephew) 2nd counselor in the mission presidency, was also there and gave a very powerful message about representing Christ.  We just love him.

Elder Lewis is studying the Old Testament every day as he prepares for the Gospel Doctrine class on Sundays.  I'm almost finished with the New Testament again and I just love it.  We have both recently again started reading the Book of Mormon and are almost through 1st Nephi.  No matter how many times I read it, I am always amazed at how much I love that book and how much strength and power is contained in it's pages.  

We have been watching the video "Journey of Faith"  which retraces the steps of Lehi and his family.  To see the places where they probably walked is so amazing, and it makes everything come alive for us.  At the very beginning, Truman G. Madsen tells us that Joseph Smith said that in the next century, (this century) proof of the Book of Mormon would "come forth in droves."  I really don't need any more proof, I know the Book of Mormon is true, but it will still be interesting to witness. 

Thank you for reading our blog.  We love you and thank you for your interest in our mission.  This is one of the best things we have ever done.  It's not always easy, but then again nothing worth having is easy.  We are grateful for the opportunity to serve, learn and grow.  After all, that is what we came here to earth to do. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

July 14, 2014

There is so much of good and wholesomeness in this world, and so many great and wonderful people ... even though we see and hear so much that is not.  I'm hopeful that good will prevail.  My favorite quote is still one by Anne Frank who said:  In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.  

We're so grateful for all the amazing memories we are making and all the wonderful experiences we are having.  

Below are just a few examples.

Last week we attended our quarterly interviews with our Mission President.  While waiting our turn, there were bagels for everyone.

During our district meeting, our teacher told us to take off one shoe, put it on our heads, close our eyes and stick out the tongue and touch the nose.  I'm still not really sure what the lesson was, but oh well, it was fun anyway.
Ready to do service for Robin M.

We have had some terrible weather off and on, but the sunsets have been beautiful because of it. 

Our best buddy during a lesson.

I had a small and quick surprise birthday party for Elder Lewis.

Always a good time with these guys.

Dinner out with good friends in the branch.  

Always a pleasure to share a table with these two elders.

Monday, July 7, 2014

June 30 and July 7, 2014

Missionary service has its ups and downs but we are very seldom down.  I had one day this week where I chose to stay home, but then the next day I had even more energy - emotionally and spiritually.  Elder Lewis would like to go-go-go, but we both realize that we are pushing seventy - oh my, did I say that? - and we have our limits.  This morning we went on our normal walk, which is almost two miles up and down hills, and I'm grateful that I am still able to tackle that a few times a week.  

I would say that we visit on an average three families per day.  We also spend time taking members of the branch to appointments and such, and we enjoy being of service where we are needed.  Things like mowing lawns and carpentry work, we leave for the young missionaries and they love doing service like that.  

We talked to a member of the branch this week who is very worried about her finances, and we showed her how to write things down and make a budget so she will know where the money goes and plan accordingly.  Service or advice like that is often needed when visiting people that are less fortunate.  

The most important thing we do is lifting the weary souls and comforting the downtrodden, reminding them that Christ suffered not only for our sins, but also for our heartaches, pains and disappointments.  Everything will eventually be made whole through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

Lately I have been a little concerned about some of the negative things I have seen in the news, on Facebook and other places concerning women's rights in our Church.   I'm glad that our leaders, both men and women, have made several statements on the subject, and so happy that I know the truth.  I have had so many opportunities over the years to grow and learn by serving in leadership positions in the Church.  

I remember many years ago, when my mother and I were investigating the Church, someone tried to warn us by saying that the Mormons came to gather all the women, and then take them to Utah.  They would lock them up in the temple, and the women would jump out of the windows and drown in the Great Salt Lake.  I thought it was ridiculous and funny then, especially after I moved to Utah and found out that the lake is many miles from the temple.  Sadly we still have to deal with misinformation and untruths, but we're always willing to "take one for the team."

We love being missionaries for the Lord Jesus Christ.  We love it when people come up to us in the stores or on the street and ask us who we are and what we do.  We even love it when people just stare at us.  In the "Preach My Gospel" manual, page four, it talks about how special it is to be "set apart" as a missionary:

When you were set apart by priesthood authority, you received the right and privilege to represent the Lord.  You received a ministerial certificate that verifies that authority to the world.  President Spencer W. Kimball said:  "The setting apart may be taken literally; it is a setting apart from sin, apart from the carnal; apart from everything which is crude, low, vicious, cheap, or vulgar; set apart from the world to a higher plane of thought and activity.  The blessing is conditional upon faithful performance."
(The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball)

Below are a few pictures from the past few weeks:

Sister missionaries eating lunch at Ginos

Cute family on the 4th of July.

4th of July brunch at church.

Everyone had a good time

All decked out for the holiday.

Our Mission President: the best.

With his wife.  She is amazing.

Sister missionaries.

Good friends came to visit.  What a treat!