Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter, Conference and Coming home

What a glorious Easter Sunday we have had.  We were  fortunate enough to watch all the sessions of our General Conference and feel so spiritually uplifted.   We were invited to Mike and Donna’s for their family Easter get together between conference sessions.  They have 4 children, 3 of the families were together today.  We feel so much a part of their family and had such a wonderful Easter Dinner and then watched as the grandchildren and a little nephew hunted Easter Eggs.  We had to leave before the “golden” eggs were chosen, so we don’t know who got the big egg.  We will find out tomorrow.  We have not been successful in re-activating the less- actives in the family, but love and cherish each of them.


After the last session of conference, we went with the Young Missionaries to teach the First Lesson with Jimmie, Barbara and JP.  JP’s non-member girlfriend was there, so it was a very good introduction to the gospel for her.  The Elders did a great job.  We are trying this approach to teach the First Lesson with each member family, so that they see just how the lesson goes and will feel more comfortable in inviting their friends to come to their home for a lesson.  
After that, we took the Missionaries over to Kay’s house.  Kay’s grandson, Tucker, who is almost 7 has won a couple of roping contests and one of our new missionaries is just learning to rope.  Tucker was so excited to be able to show the missionary how to do it.  It was really to dark, but the connection was made.  Kay’s daughter is not a member and I think she would benefit from hearing the Gospel. 
Thursday night, we took chocolate chip cookies to Ro and her family.  Ro is a 14 year old black girl who we have grown to love, but she is a pickle.  Some times she visits with us when we call on her family, but most of the time she stays closed up in her room.
Last year for Christmas I gave her a set of pens and a composition book as her favorites subject is creative writing.
I hadn’t heard anything about it until about two weeks ago.  She came out while we were there and said she had been cleaning out her back pack and found the book.  She said that the date on it indicates that you only have 4 weeks left on your mission.  She was sad that there was so little time and I was thrilled that she felt sad.   But when we went again the next time she stayed in her room.  Thursday when we were there, she came out, I mean really came out.  We chatted for a few minutes and I asked what was going on at school  She said, spring break.  I asked if she had any plans and she said yes, I going with you!  I was dumbfounded.  She said she wants me to teach her to play the piano!  What is she thinking....piano in a week????  I plan to spend some time at the church on the piano and then maybe lunch and maybe we can make cookies together and maybe teach her about Indexing.  That will pretty much take us to Friday.  Then we will be down to 4 days. 
She said the sweetest thing about the cookies.  She said they are the best she has ever had.  She said, “It is because they are made with LOVE”
We have So many things to get down in this last week.   We have been over to Magnolia and said our goodbyes to them.  Theresa would like to get her Patriarchal Blessing before we go and several people we need to see one more time in their home.  The Branch is having a going away party on Saturday, Miss Ruby is taking us to dinner at Gaines Ridge (antebellum home) on Friday.  We will leave Camden on Tuesday morning and go to Birmingham.  We have been asked by our Mission President to attend the Transfer Meeting and the Dinner and Testimony meeting Wednesday.   We leave Alabama Thursday morning.  We will drive to Hannibal Missouri for the night, then on to Nauvoo Illinois for Friday night; then head West about 1:00 on Saturday.  We will be home either Monday or Tuesday.  We will know better after we leave Nauvoo.  We will keep you posted.
The Hawks will be moving out of our home on the 15th and finish with cleaning  on the 16th or 17th.  The Only real glitch is that we won’t be reporting our mission right away.  Due to  Ward Conference, Fast Meeting, Mothers Day and another homecoming and a farwell, we don’t know when we will be reporting.....but that’s okay.  We will be coming home and are very excited to be back with our real family and our friends.  This will be the last letter, as we will be packing later this week.  Thank you for sharing our Mission with us.  We have LOVED IT!  Love Grandma and Grandpa

Monday, March 30, 2015

Busy Two Weeks

As you remember, we have had a very busy two weeks:  4 days at the Birmingham Temple with the Young Elders and Sisters and then another day, Saturday with Theresa and lots of visits to branch members.  It has been a wonderful two weeks!!!
Theresa  was baptized in October of 2013 and she loves the Gospel of Jesus Christ and is trying to obedient in all things.  She completed her 4 generation group sheet when we started doing Family History with her.  She was glad when she got the four done and said, “I don’t want to do any more of that. “  Then she went to the Temple in January and now she can’t add names fast enough.  We feel like she will be able to continue working for her family after we have come home.  It was a great day yesterday with her.
Last night, we got a surprise call from our Mission President, President Hanks.  He said he was on his way to Camden and would be attending our church meetings with us.  We had hoped he would come down sometime, but we are so far away from Mission Headquarters, that we never thought it would happen. 
Finding a decent place to stay in Camden is not really possible, but he stayed anyway.  It is interesting how the Lord works to help us with our lives.  For example, Tuesday Miss Ruby on neighbor, landlord and dear friend, took us to lunch at the Montgomery Stockyard Grill.  (We had taken her there for a Christmas Thank You and she loved it).  She wanted us to share that experience again.  On the way home, she wanted to stop at a grocery store. ( A Good one) They had some beautiful produce and I picked up a big bundle of Asparagus.  I had purchased extra Biscuits last week and had a lovely roast.  We always have the Missionaries for dinner on Sunday and President McIntosh comes every Fast Sunday.  I had also prepared a dessert for the Women’s Session of General Conference.  I had been helped to be prepared for having such a wonderful guest in our home.  The dinner was wonderful and the company and conversation warm and friendly.  Mostly about the history of the church in Camden. 
Fast and Testimony meeting was very difficult today.  It was our last one.  I remember when we first got here and was a little lonely, I thought, only 18 more to go and now, we have had the last one.  We so love the people we have met here.  The members in our little Branch have become like family to us and it will be hard to leave.  However, you never lose friends, they will always be special in our hearts. 
Next Sunday will be our last letter home, as we start that next week, packing and shipping.  Again, we thank you all for your support in all the ways you have shown it.  Letter, texts, pictures Face book  and even a few calls.  We can’t tell you how much it has meant to us and how much it has kept us going.  We love each of you and are looking forward to seeing you.  Love Grandma and Grandpa

Monday, March 23, 2015

Wonderful Week!

FIRST OF ALL:  JP got his mission call.  He is called to serve in Brazil.  There have only been two other missionaries from Camden since it started as a Branch in the late 1890’s .  This is HUGE!  JP is the only Senior at Wilcox Academy who is a member of the church.  He is the Student Body President and so loved and respected by the students and teachers and the whole community. 

Wonderful week!  Monday and Tuesday night we had wonderful, meaningful meetings with two of our Branch families.  The kind of evening that is why we came on our mission.  To help someone(s) to draw closer to our Savior Jesus Christ.
District meeting in Selma on Wednesday.  These young Elders are so well prepared and so faithful.  They are obedient and diligent in serving the people of Alabama and serving the Lord.   We truly love these young men and are so grateful we have the opportunity to serve with them. We do miss the Sisters too.
Thursday and Friday we were with half of the mission at the Birmingham Temple.  Again, young people 18 to 22, clean in thought and deed and worthy to obtain this blessing.  It is sort of camera heaven after we dome out. Usually there are about 10 phones and cameras taking picture after picture; the next 10 come out and new photographers, same main picture.  President and Sister Hanks right in the middle and Elder and Sister Hepworth just to the side. Then it is photo of companions,  more companions, and just the joy of being together.   We just love these young people. 
Saturday, we prepared for our Saturday night activity.  President Memory from Montgomery came to Camden to speak.  “On the road to the Passover”  He is one of the most dynamic speakers we have ever heard.  Since it was Saturday night, he set the chapel up with a table like would have been used at the Passover.  The four goblets of wine, the bitter herbs, the lamb, the unleavened bread, the sweet fruit mixture and the vinegar.  He also had the  “ washing” place set up and the table that was always set for Elijah,  who will return.   He spent the next hour and a half explaining the meaning of each piece as relates to the Feast of the Passover and also the meaning of each piece as it relates to us in our lives.  To say we were all captivated,  humbled and blessed for our participation in the evening would be an understatement. 

This coming week we are again so busy.  Two days at the Temple with the other half of the Mission and then again on Saturday with our dear Theresa.  We are trying very hard to get two trips to the Temple in before we leave.

Then, we have to start preparing things here for our return home.  Since we are not being replaced, we have to close up our little house and there are so many people that we want to see and say good bye to.  Those final two weeks will be so very busy and very hard to say good bye. 
We won’t think about that today.  Just know that we are happy and blessed to be here serving.  We are so grateful to each of you for your love and support.  The Theme for our mission is “STEADFAST IN CHRIST”.        Please remember that phrase and try to live by it each day.  Love Grandma and Grandpa

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Raindrops falling all around

March 15, 2015

Today is a beautiful day in Camden, Alabama: Warm Temperature, sunshine, blue sky, green trees and daffodils poking up out of the grass.  Makes you so glad to be alive.  We had our Montgomery Stake Conference today and it was so very good:  Uplifting, hopeful, goal setting and glimpses of Eternal Life.
JP our only Priest was asked to speak.  He is a senior and will be 18 on May 17th.  He is waiting for his Mission call to come.
For those of you who do not know JP, he is the only Member of the Church in his grade.  He is also the Student Body President. 
Since it is a private Christian school, he starts everyday leading the school in their devotional.  All the kids really look up to him.
When the school had the program where all the seniors announced their plans for after graduation, there was a hush that fell over the crowd when it was announced that he would serve a 2 year mission for “The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints”.  He says he has had so many opportunities to explain what a mission is and why he wants to serve.  He is a great example to the school and the community.  His call should get here this week. (we all hope)

The country as a whole has had very diverse weather and Alabama is not different.  No snow or ice here in Camden, but rain!!  I can’t explain to you about the rain.  Not Oregon Rain. Not Utah Rain.  But Noah’s Ark Rain.  Most of the homes here in Camden have tin roofs.  You don’t know the sound of rain until it pours like that and lands on a tin roof.  Almost like thunder.  We didn’t get thunder and lightening with this band of storms, but I think the Gulf Of Mexico sent us more than our share. 

It is pretty certain, that we are not getting a Senior Couple to replace us.  We are sadden by this news. as we know first hand how much Senior’s can add in support and leadership to a small branch.  The Branch is taking the news pretty well.  We hope that we have left an example of Service and Love for the Lord that will help them carry on in supporting the Branch and each other.
Thank heaven for cell phones, we may be “on call”  for a while.
The next two weeks will be very busy with Temple Attendance for all the Elders and Sisters in our mission. Then before we know it, it will be Conference and then we pack up. 

Again, we thank you for your love and support as we have served here.  We love the people in our Branch and in our little town.
We have made many wonderful friendships and made wonderful memories.  Keep us in your prayers, will be in ours.  
Love Grandma and Grandpa

Monday, March 9, 2015

Edmund Pettus Bridge

This weekend was the 50th Anniversary of the Martin Luther King March from Selma to Montgomery.  The issue at this time was the Right to Vote.  The Blacks had the right to vote, but here in the South, they were kept from registering to vote by Militant Police and other leaders by making unusual requirements such as being able to answer questions like “How many bubbles in a bar of Soap”  or making them stand in line outside the Registration place, only letting whites go in and then telling them the office was closed and they would have to come back another day.  The black people were prohibited from having any public meetings, so they met within their churches.  Browns Chapel in Selma was where the March originated.  The first March ended at the east end of the Edmund Pettus Bridge when the State Trooper where waiting for them to drive them back across the bridge.  That day is called, “Bloody Sunday”.  President Lyndon Johnson stepped in a prepared the way for the march to take place.  Only 300 people were allowed to cross the bridge and march to Montgomery, about 45 miles.  It took several days and they were fed by the people as they passed by their houses.  When they arrived in Montgomery, the march quickly became ten thousand marchers. Changes were made

Our District Leader asked that all 10 of the missionaries in our District meet in Selma at the parade route and give out pass -along cards and Books of Mormon.   We heard that they expected 10,000 people to come into Selma.  The number was much greater.  President Obama and President Bush and their families came to town. They were in the parade, but the safety precautions they have to take now days, we could only see the big black SUV’s that looked so formidable.  You could not see in the windows and they did not drive in a parade.   We left after the parade and had our District meeting and then we thought we would try to see the Presidents.  NO WAY!  There were cars parked everywhere you could think to park a car.  People walking and walking.  We later learned that President Obama spoke at the base of the bridge on the west side of the Alabama River.  About 2:30 the dignitaries started their march across the bridge.  President Obama, his wife and two daughters, President Bush and his wife and many other government officials made the march. 
Today, Sunday, the official reenactment of the Bridge Crossing took place.  The people were lined up from onside of the street to the other...shoulder to shoulder; standing in line more than a block long.  It was estimated that there were 50,000 people making the crossing.    Because we were just young adults (22 years old) when this all took place, it was a special opportunity to be here at this anniversary. 

We just wanted to share this experience with y’all.  We are so grateful to live in the part of the world we live in and to have grown up with such freedom and to have been taught that we are all God’s children and to treat them as such.  We love each of you and pray for you happiness and obedience.  Love Grandma and Grandpa

Monday, March 2, 2015

Transfers, transfers!!

In the Mission, each 6 week period is called a “Transfer”  The Saturday night before the Transfer Date, the missionaries wait for the phone call that will tell them if they are stay where they are or whether they will be transferred.  Saturday night was Transfer Call Night and we waited and waited....usually calls come before 9:00.  At 10:00 the Sisters got the call....they are BOTH being transferred.  All our hearts were broken by the news.  President McIntosh and the members were sad too about the missionaries where they are most needed and effective and the Sisters are needed elsewhere.  We have a shortage of Sister Missionaries in our mission. We will be getting Elders and for that we are very grateful.   We news but they also know that the Mission President has to place know that they will love and serve the Branch and the people of Camden, just as the Sisters have done. 

The weather here has been so cold and rainy.  Coats and Thermals and Gloves.  Then, yesterday, it we 34 when we left the house to go watch the 10-12 year olds play baseball and softball.  About 11:00 the sun came out, the wind stopped and it was so pleasant.  We watched two games and came home about 1:30; AND we are so SUN BURNED.   Today, we are back to grey and colder temps.  I guess it still is winter....we are just anxious for warm and sunny.

President Hanks’ secretary called us last week and asked if we would stay a few days longer, so we could be part of the Transfer Meeting on April 15th.  It means that we won’t be home on the weekend of the April 18th, but more like Wednesday April 22nd.  We thought about it for a bit and decided that we will stay and be part of the “Transfer”.  We will leave Camden on Tuesday the 14th and be in Birmingham Tuesday night and Wednesday night and then leave early on Thursday.  At this point, we are planning on driving north to Carthage Jail and then on to Nauvoo.  We will visit all the sights and attend the Temple and then we will head HOME to Utah.    We have a very busy March with several trips to the temple, two different dates with the Elders and Sisters and at least one with our Branch.  We also have a Family History class this Wednesday taught by the Stake Family History Couple and know that they will be a big help to us and to the Branch.  Our Branch goal was to have every member have their 4 family history on the computer.  Also, to help them prepare names to take to the temple.  We have a lot to accomplish in the next 6 weeks.

We are trying very hard to not get “trunky”.  But it slips in every once in a while, like: “ This is the last toilet paper we will have to buy”  or “ Get the smallest peanut butter jar”.   Again, we are so very grateful that we chose to come on a mission.  We have been so blessed and have grown so much in our love for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and our testimonies have been so strengthened. 
Thanks to each of you for love and support.  We could not have done it with out you cheering us on in the background.  We love you and look forward (with mixed feelings) to next month.  Love, Grandma and Grandpa

Monday, February 16, 2015

We are Missionaries

Monday, we attended the last Zone Conference of our mission.  Zone Conferences are held once each quarter and they are a huge spiritual boost for missionaries.  The Elders and Sisters are so diligent and work so hard and it is hard to find those that have been prepared to receive the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There are lots of doors, lots of lessons, lots of promises and you just need a spiritual boost to remind you why you are here and for WHOM you are here.   President and Sister Hanks give so much of themselves in word and deed to help us be the best we can be in our service to the Lord.  We love them dearly.

I have to share an experience with Theresa.  She has been a member of the church 16 months.  One of our members is in a nursing home and I asked Theresa if she would go with me to visit Barbara.  Theresa has recently been assigned to be a Visiting Teacher and Barbara is one of her Sisters.  When Theresa came to pick me up, she was all dressed in Sunday clothes.  I looked at her and she looked at me and said, “ I thought I should dress like a visiting teacher.”  She had in her hand, her brand new scriptures: a quad in maroon with case.  She said, “I thought we should have a scripture”.  I introduced Theresa to Barbara and then we chatted for a bit.    Theresa said, I think we should have a scripture and she pulled out her book.  We visited a bit more and then Theresa said, “Could we have a word of prayer?”  Theresa was not yet ready to give the scripture or the prayer, but she knew that those should be part of a good visit.  Theresa then offered her help with laundry or any shopping she might need and promised to be back for another visit.  I felt like I had been with a “seasoned” Visiting Teacher. 
Theresa would be the first one to tell you that the Gospel of Jesus Christ and her membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has brought more to her life that anything she has experienced before. The Senior Couple before us, found Theresa and her husband and taught them the gospel.  They were baptized just before their return home.  We have had the blessing to teach and help them grow to understand more fully what the gospel means in their life.  Theresa went to the Temple January 24, 2015.   What a wonderful blessing for her and for us to have helped her be prepared for those eternal commitments.
We who live so close to the temple, do not fully realize what a blessing we have just a few miles away.  I hope that as you plan your week and month, you put the Temple high on your list and DO NOT let anything worldly get in your way.
We love each of you and pray each day that you will be protected and that the Holy Ghost will be with you to prompt you through out your day.  Love you!!!   Love Grandma and Grandpa

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Memories and Blessings

We’ve had a few memorable experiences this week here in Camden, Alabama.
Our little Branch has been selected to be a Family History Center. 
We received a new computer and printer, so we had to clean out the library and make room for this new equipment.  We spent about 5 hours three different days cleaning shelf by shelf and box by box.  An interesting thing about many of the people here in the South, especially here in Camden, they seem to keep EVERYTHING,  We had the container boxes from the old printer, and two television sets.  OLD lesson manuals, old Ensigns, Old, Old Old stuff.  Once we got all of that taken out, we had two big monster rolling carts, that once had the TV’s on them.  Those we took to the small storage building on the church property.  WOW ! We had some wonderful space.  We brought a long table into the library, placed the new computer and new printer on it.  Elder Hepworth did all the setting up and working with SLC Tech Support and lo and behold we have a wonderful Family History Center and a well organized library.

Our FIRST very bad Anti event.  The Sisters were in the Dollar General doing “Store Contacting”.  In Camden, they do this when it is later in the evening and its not safe to be just out tracting.  They were at the back of the store.  One of the Less Active’s came into shop.  He over heard the clerk talking with another customer about “The Sisters and Mormons”:  How they were evil and she was going to ask the manager to post a sign prohibiting them from coming into the store.  Phil, the less active, brought his items to the checkout.  He said he over heard them talking about the Mormon Missionaries and they said “oh yes.  They are so evil.  We are going to try to keep them from coming in.”  He said, “Do you think I am evil? They said, of course not,.  He said “I am a Mormon and take of those items you just put into the computer....I won’t be purchasing them and I will not return here to shop.”  The word of this has quickly spread through out the Branch and everyone is so very happy that Phil stood up for the Sisters and for all of the Members here in Camden. 

Yesterday, we got a package from Michelle.  She sent some little milk cartons, similar to the juice cartons with the straw attached.  They are from the Gossner Factory in Logan.  They are flavored milk cartons that do not have to be refrigerated until you are ready to drink them.  She made little Valentines that said “HAPPY VALENTINES FROM UTAH”.
At the end our meetings today, we had all the children and youth come into the kitchen and get their “Valentines”  They were so excited and they loved the flavors.   I think this little Branch will always remember their connection to UTAH and their friends out there. 

On Saturday we did help the Sister Missionaries with a Service Project of painting the trim on a house.  It was too Big a job for the Sisters, but they are so eager to be good missionaries and took on the project.  The Elder’s from Selma came down to help too.  The project turned out great and the woman was very appreciative.   Our mission has given us so many opportunities to serve.  So many great memories. 

We are glad to hear about all that’s going on at home.  We love the texts and photos.  Continue to do your best in everything you do.  Be good examples to all those around you.   Love and prayers, grandma and grandpa

Monday, February 2, 2015

Monthly Mileage Record

Where did January go?  We had a very busy January.  Our dear Theresa went to the temple for her first time. She came out just glowing.  Now she can’t wait to start doing her family names.  She gave me a list of ten she wants to take to the temple.   Sarah, who was baptized in December, went to the temple to perform baptisms yesterday and she came out glowing.

It was a wonderful month and we broke our record of monthly mileage: 3,307 miles.  What a blessing that we have the means AND the health to do it. 
The basketball season has ended and our Wilcox team didn’t do so well this year.  They did make it to the State Playoff, but only one game.  We hated to see the season end as we have made so many friends in the community and the school and now we won’t have quite the same opportunities that we had.  Although, like most school, grass does not grow under their feet, as the baseball and softball teams are already in serious practice. 

We had an interview with President Nolan of the Alabama Mission Presidency regarding our service here in Camden.  Our mission has a Mission Blog (albirminghammissionblog) and we will be spotlighted at some point about our service here in Camden.  I am sure that its purpose is to spark other parents and grandparents’ to turn in their papers to serve a Senior Mission.  We are certainly glad that we decided to serve.  The joy and the service and the friendships cannot be replaced in any other way.  Yes, you could live a very happy life without a mission, but OH WHAT JOY you would miss out on.  There is nothing else to compare.

WE SO APPRECIATE EACH OF YOU AND THE SUPPORT YOU HAVE GIVEN US WHILE WE HAVE BEEN HERE.   We have missed you and many of the special moments in your life, but thank you for understanding and just keeping us posted with texts, blogs and pictures.    We love each of you and pray for you every day. Please stay STEADFAST  IN  CHRIST!   Love Grandma and Grandpa

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Deer, Temple, Cookies, oh my!

First off...Last weekend our three daughters were here to visit and see where and how we live in Alabama.  We have talked and talked about how many deer we see...HOWEVER>>>not last weekend-Not a one!!!  Until Monday evening when we were coming  home from a less active members ....there---- two blocks from our house...4  Big Deer walked right in front of our car.  Almost strutting in front of us.  We just had to laugh.  No one to see it but us.   

We did have a wonderful visit and the Branch members so enjoyed meeting you and hearing your testimonies.  Roy said, “I knew the minute I walked in who they belong to.”  Thanks for coming and thanks to all you who let them come and all you who would loved to have come.

Wednesday was Transfer Meeting and Our Sister Missionary from Price, Sister Williams completed her mission and went home.  We have had three Sisters finish their mission here in Camden and it was hard to see them leave, but what a great blessing for this Branch that they came to serve.  Our new Sister is brand new to the Mission.  Sister Trotter is from Eagle Mountain, Utah and we have a little connection.  Her uncle lives in Centerville and served on the High Council with Elder Hepworth.  Sometimes this is a very small world.

One of the greatest blessings of our mission has been working with members to go to the Temple.  Saturday our dear friend Theresa went to the Temple for the first time.  It was a rainy day when we left for Birmingham and when we arrived, but when we came out of the Temple, the sun was shinning brightly....just like our spirits. So joyful!!!   She was baptized the month before we got here and we have been teaching her and helping her learn all that she would need to know in order to be prepared for yesterday.    
Tonight, we went over to Betty and Roy’s to visit.  The last several times we have been over, their teenage daughter would not even come out of her room, or even talk through the door. 
I know that she loves chocolate chip cookies, so I made a batch before we went over tonight.  She was in the kitchen with her little niece, when we arrived.  She smiled when she saw the cookies.  The family had just dished up their plates for dinner, so we told them we would come back in half an hour.  We returned and I noticed the cookies were almost gone.  The BEST part of the evening “Ro” stayed out in the front room and talked with us.  I told her about our daughters visit and wished that she could have met them and she asked if I had any pictures.  I told her I did and she asked me to bring them and come over so she could see them.  A little later in our visit, she said, she was cleaning out her back pack and found the writing book we had given her last year for Christmas and that we had written in it.  She said, “I didn’t know you have been here for over a doesn’t seem like it has been that long”.   I told her we would only be here until April, so we had to do a lot of visiting in the next few months.  She hugged us both as we left.  We came home ecstatic.

Oh the simple joys of a mission.  We are so very glad that we chose to come out on a mission.  It has been one of the best experiences of our life.  Thank you for supporting us and keeping the family going.  We love each of you.  Love, Grandma and Grandpa

Friday, January 23, 2015

Vistitors in Camden

Monday we received a call from Sister Newman of the Mission Office.  We chatted a little and then she said...” The purpose for my call is to let you know that you have 13 weeks left in your mission.  You will be receiving a letter in the next week giving your further information”.  I said...that can’t be right.   She counted it up again and said, yes, that is right.  Boy, that has sure gotten here quick.  There is still so much we want to do.  We will have to get busy!!!
Tuesday we had our interview with our Mission President.  He is such a spiritual giant and gives us such encouragement and direction.  Wednesday we had our District Meeting.  We have 4 sets of Missionaries in our District ( 6 elders and 2 sisters)  On Transfer meeting we are loosing 1 sister and 4 elders, and Transfers are hard.  You come to love each of the missionaries and want to stay with them, but the growth comes from making the change.  This is the first area for Elder Hills and although he is excited and ready for the transfer, he is also very nervous.  He asked Elder Hepworth if he could received a blessing.  It was such a special experience to see all those young Elders participating in the blessing.  We have such GREAT young people serving missions.
The Highlight of our week has been having Sue, Michelle and Alyson come to visit us.  We met up with them on Friday morning in Selma.  We did all the tour highlights of Selma, then on to Magnolia to tour the 100 year old LDS Church there.  That little building has such a spirit and such a history.  Ten of us went to dinner at Gains Ridge.  This is an antebellum home which has been converted to a lovely dinner restaurant.   This home was built in 1820.  (Think of what was happening to Joseph Smith in 1820.)  Jarrett ordered the appetizers which consisted of Fried Dill Pickles, Onion Rings, Fried Green Tomatoes and Fried Catfish.  OH SO GOOD!  The main course was pretty normal and dessert was Black Bottom Pie.  The food, the atmosphere and the company were so special.  A real Southern Evening.
Saturday we toured all the highlights of Camden.  The trapper’s,  various members homes,  downtown Camden,  Black Belt Treasures, and the Alabama River.  Dinner Saturday was a Pot Luck at the Church.  We had a wonderful time meeting and visiting with more of the members and several investigators.
Today, Sue, Michelle and Alyson were asked to speak and bear their testimony.  They will tell you that in the short few days that they were here, they too had grown to love the people here in Camden, the members of the Branch and people in the community.  Then today at 3:30, the wonderful visit was over and the girls headed back to Birmingham for their flight out tomorrow morning.   We hope that as you talk with them in the weeks ahead, they can share with you their feelings about life here in Camden Alabama. 
We love each of you and are so very grateful to have the family that we have and all the wonderful friends we have in our life. 
WE love you, Grandma and Grandpa 

Monday, January 12, 2015

It is COLD!!

Our little house just loves to give us adventures.  As you may have heard, we are having a very cold spell in Central Alabama. Thursday morning we woke up to a very cold morning and a very cold house again.  If you recall, last year they had to install a new furnace/air conditioner and it has been working wonderfully well until a week ago.  We called our furnace man, Turkey Jones, he said that there had been some problems with the new furnace blowers and that he would come over an re-set it or replace it.  Done!  We had heat again....Then Thursday...cold again. 
This time Turkey’s son came over.  The furnace was running just fine, but it was still cold, so he said he would crawl under the house to make sure none of the duct work had come loose. OH WOW WHAT HE FOUND!  The cold air duct return had rusted out and there was a 4 foot long hole.  He went off to the shop to get “some things”.  They worked under the house about 3 hours and when we looked out on the grass we could see the duct work from under the house.  All of it had big rust holes in it.  It’s a wonder that we ever got any heat. They will be back tomorrow to replace some additional duct work.  I bet our heating bills drop 50%. 
This weekend is the big Deer Hunt Fund Raiser for the Wilcox Academy.  ( The White school)  The last figure I hear was that they had killed 165 deer on the 3 day hunt.  Last year they made $100,00.00 on the hunt.  People come from all over the south for the hunt. The property owners open their lands to the hunters and it is hunt, hunt and more hunt. Wilcox county has more deer per square mile than any county in Alabama.  The deer are much smaller than in Utah.  A big one will weigh about 195 lbs.  They also count all the points on both sides, so when it’s a 8 point, it would be a 4 point in Utah.  Every one in town seems to be wearing camo.  Not the Missionaries!
On the spiritual side, we had a youth baptism at the Temple yesterday.  We only have 3 youth, but it was still a disappointment that we only got one to attend.  He had a wonderful opportunity to perform the baptism for his uncle who died in 2013.   His grandmother, who is not a member, asked that the work be performed for her son.  It meant so much to her to have it done and to be done by her grandson.  We also assisted Theresa in getting her First Temple Recommend by going over to Montgomery today to meet with the Stake President.  She is so excited to have her recommend and to be able to go to the temple on the 24th.   We are feeling the urgency to accomplish all that we have hoped to do. 
We have been so very blessed to be able to serve our mission here in Camden: Dear Members, Dear Less-Actives and Dear community members.    Thanks to each of your for your love and support.  We love you all.  Love Grandma and Grandpa