Monday, January 27, 2014

On the road again...

This week we have traveled quite a bit.  Elder Zwick of the Seventy was in Tennessee and Alabama and we were invited to dinner at our Mission Home last Sunday night and to have him address us as Senior Couples.  He told of us the impact Senior Couples are having in the missionary efforts of the church.  It really helped Dad and I to see avenues that we could use in our service here in Camden.  It also felt good to hear about the things that are happening with the main body of the church.  You know it is like it was in Oregon, you don’t see or hear much about the main body of the church in the news or the paper when your away and you feel a little disconnect, but you know that the Brethren are on top of all that is happening in our country and are giving us the guidance from our Heavenly Father to keep us going in our own little world. It is a 2 ½ hour drive to Birmingham, so it was late when we got home.  As we left, everyone told us to be careful and watch out for deer.  Dad said, “Oh, the deer are all asleep”.  Well, we were watching and saw a couple of large deer standing by the side of the road, when all of a sudden a BIG  deer...I thought he was turning away from the road, when he turned right in front of us and leaped across the road.  Dad slammed on his brakes...the deer got past us....we started to breathe again and gave thanks for all the prayers that had been said for our safe arrival home. 
Tuesday, we went to Greenville to meet with the Senior Couple there. Elder and Sister Specht are from San Diego.and have been out for a year.
Sister Specht is very good with Family History, so we went over for a crash course in adding information for members and for non members.  It helped us a lot.   It felt good to be with them, they are a wonderful couple and we had a great day with them.  In Greenville, the Church bought a church building from another church and updated the insides.  It is a wonderful little church building....much larger than ours.  Greenville is the next closest branch about 45 minutes away.  It is a much larger city, with a Wal Mart, Taco Bell, Wendy’s and McDonalds and lots more.
Wednesday, we went to Montgomery (1 ½ hrs away) for our first interview with our Mission President.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was a wonderful experience with some affirmation as to what we were doing and also some suggestions for things we should try to help the less active.  We really felt renewed when we left.  That night late, we got a call from President Hanks.  He said the Second Counselor in our Branch Presidency has some health issues and needs to be released.  President Hanks wanted Dad to know that The Stake wanted to call him to be the new second counselor and that the Mission was okay with that calling. So today at our Branch Sacrament Meeting dad’s name was presented and sustained as the Second Counselor of the Camden Branch.  The Branch members were so excited as they now feel we will be here for a longer time.   We were so glad that they felt that way.

Thanks for the love and support we feel from each of you.  It helps us a lot to know that you are with us and encouraging us in so many ways.  
Love, Grandma and Grandpa

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Making connections

Dear Family,

We have made a few contacts with some different Less Actives.  One was a positive response with “I’ll think about it”  The other was a pretty cold shoulder.  But then Saturday we were out looking for a family and thought we had the right house, but when the door opened it was the less active sister that had given us the cold shoulder at her house.  This was her daughter’s house.  We felt that it must have been an inspired stop so that we could connect once more with Ms. Cold Shoulder.  She was still cool, but not cold so we will try to meet up with her again soon.  The other contact was John.  He has been less active for about 40 years. He was active til he turned 20 and went off in the military. He lived for many years in Oregon, so that gave us a connection to talk about. He and his wife are now divorced and he is living here in Camden alone.  We invited him to attend church and he said he would think about it.  After we had learned that he had been less active for so long, that a “refresher “ course in the Gospel would be a good idea.  We told him we’d bring some banana bread out and visit again.  He said he would like that, so we have a plan.  He doesn’t have a TV or Computer.  He watches movies and he has a TON of movies.  Many of the folks in Camden are content with the ways things have always been and not too interested in the tech world.

Thursday we went to the school basketball game.  They had the 4th,5th and 6th grade teams play at the half times of the other games.  Consequently, there was a large crowd...Many of the less active families were there.  It was a great opportunity to meet some of them for the first time and they seemed to be very friendly.  One little boy about 6 whose parents don’t come to church, but he comes with his grandma....I waved to him....his eyes lit up and he ran up the bleachers and threw his arms around me and said” I didn't know you would be here....let me go get my friends!”   It shows that every effort we put forth has a blessing for someone here.

Today, Sunday, we are going up to Birmingham to the Mission Home for dinner and a fireside with Elder Zwick of the Seventy. Elder Zwick was the Authority that spoke to us at the MTC.  Of course he won’t remember us, but it will be interesting to hear him again.  President and Sister Hanks have invited all the Senior Couples to the dinner and fireside.  Birmingham is about 2 ½ hours from here but we can’t complain after reading Derek’s last letter.  We will be in our car with the Tabernacle Choir singing. Not Crowded or Noisy like Derek had on his last travels.

We are loving our mission although I get down when we aren’t able to accomplish all that we had planned.  Our Mission Motto is: STEADFAST IN CHRIST!  So I will leave you with that message...STAY STEADFAST IN CHRIST.         Love you so much.  Grandma and Grandpa
PS  Thanks Michelle for that beautiful piano piece played on the shores of the lake at Tony Grove.  So Spiritual!!  Thanks for sharing.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Temple Trip

Dear Family,

We finally have escaped the bitter cold spell.  Record lows for both nights and days for about 3 days.  Today it was sunny and fairly warm,....even for me, who likes it very warm.  We have not had much success with less actives again this week.  But we are trying!  The gospel of Jesus Christ seems so easy to live and it’s hard to understand how folks can just let it go.  We have made progress with our work in the community.  Members and the Branch President say they hear from their friends in the community that they sure like the new missionaries.  We go to the library, the basketball games at the school and to mingle with those at Hardees.  We had a Youth Temple trip yesterday.  There didn’t seem to be much interest, so we talked to the two boys and asked them if they would go with us.  They said yes and so we planned for it.  JP, our Priest got hurt in the basketball game Thursday, so he couldn’t go, but we took Stone. our Deacon.  A long way to go for  10 names, but it was a great experience for him and for us. Grandpa got to perform Confirmations, so he felt very good about his service. I asked Stone if he would know any of the youth and he said probably not.  But while we were waiting in the waiting room he said he thought that one of the girls participated in a 5K that he ran.  When he went down into the font, the baptizer, shook hands with him and said “Hello, Stone”.  I think that made him feel more apart of the group.  Stone was glad that Grandpa did his confirmations.  Many of them were Russian names.
Grandpa spent quite a bit of time this week helping one of the new Sisters get her tablet working.  She is so excited to have her scriptures, the lesson manuals and the Ensign magazines on her tablet.  We also spent some time Wednesday night getting her set up for Family Search.  Today she came over to our house and we put on her family sheet about 4 generations on one of her lines. We were NOT as well prepared as we should have been in doing family work especially starting from set up.  So...each of you get on the computer and get prepared.  Actually try putting in information and also in looking at records: such as census records and other documentation sources.  WE are happy and well.  Making plans for a good week ahead.
We love each of you and are so glad we have and feel your support.
Happy Birthday to Ryan!  Love Grandma and Grandpa

Monday, January 6, 2014

"Thanks to our Camden Missionaries"

January 5, 2014

Dear Family,

Hope you all had a wonderful New Years Eve and now are ready for another new year.
It was great to skype with you again on New Years Day.  Although, I have to admit that it made me pretty homesick for each of you.  I was a little teary eyed when we hung up. However we know how much you are supporting us on this mission and we truly feel it when ever we hear from you and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Friday was our Zone Training Meeting.  Many of you know about Zone meetings, but this is new to Grandpa and I.  There were about 50 of us, all young elders and Sister and 3 Senior Couples.  The meeting is conducted by the Zone Leaders (2 Young elders and 2 Young sisters).   I would say that they were all 19 years old. was so well organized.  We moved from gospel teaching topic to another with such smoothness and great planning.  They gave excellent teaching examples with great teaching points.
Their enthusiasm for the gospel of Jesus Christ was a great testimony of how very great this generation is.   They could conduct any business meeting that I have ever been to.

It had been very quite here.  It has been cold and people have been on the move during the Christmas Holiday.  They don’t go back to school until tomorrow.  I feel bad when I say cold here, when I see the temperature in Centerville and in Portland.  (We always check the temperature in each of our cities)  But I have to tell you, we have never been so cold as we feel here.  It’s like you can’t put on enough layers to get warm.
We are suppose to get a small rain storm tonight, but then the frigid air is suppose to come in right after that front passes through.  They are predicting the temperature to be 7 degrees in the morning with the possibility of icy conditions.  The people here say it hasn’t been this cold in 20 years.  We knew when we came that we would have wonderful and new experiences while on our mission and that is just what we are having.

I had been feeling a little down as it didn’t feel like we were making much progress, but then today was Testimony meeting and everyone who bore their Testimony “thanked their Missionaries here in Camden” .  They are thankful for us being here, for our offer of friendship and our loving support to their little Branch.  Truly Heavenly Father knew of our disappointments and sent us messages to encourage us in each effort we put forth.

We are so blessed to have the gospel in our lives.  To have been taught from our youth the teachings of the Savior which help us in everything that we do here in this life.  The gospel gives us such a wonderful way of living.  We pray for you several times each day and are so grateful for each one of you.  Our Mission Theme is:  STEADFAST IN CHRIST”  Let it be your motto too.   With love to you, Grandma and Grandpa