Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Sons of Mosiah

Here's the next installment of the murals from the MTC.
 Can you feel the hope that the sons of Mosiah had as they went to preach the gospel?
 I wish I could the magnificence of these murals.  My pictures don't due justice. 
 Questions to ask yourself:
Has my heart been changed, and can I serve with the same desire as the sons of Mosiah?
What can you do to be a better disciple of Christ, and thus a more effective missionary?
Both in the MTC and here on this mission, we've been instructed several times about repentance.  It literally means "change" or "turn."  The sons of Mosiah had a definite change of heart after the angel appeared unto them.  I have never had an angel experience, but I have felt that mighty change in my life.  
When the sons of Mosiah looked down upon the Lamanite cities, did they ever dream that the people would change so much that they would rather die than take up the sword against another, even in defending themselves?  They were able to do amazing things because of their example.
As we begin this mission, it isn't about us.  It is about the good we can do. We may not be preaching each day, but we are learning and growing and being that example to others.
I feel that I am married to one of the sons of Mosiah.  My sweet husband had a mighty change of heart when he learned about the gospel of Jesus Christ.  He is a strength to me in ways he doesn't understand.  I'm thankful that he is my companion.  Not only as a missionary but for eternity!

Friday, June 14, 2019

One Week

I strap on this tool in the morning and feel like Mick Dundee from the movie Crocodile Dundee.  It isn't actually a knife like he carries in the movie.  It's more of a digger/cutter/planting tool.  The sheath is handy though.
 I've been on the watering truck each morning.  That's an easy job and kind of fun too.  We water all the potted plants on Mulholland as well as all those in old Nauvoo.  We also have some flower beds including the one at President Lusvardi's home.  Afterward we weed or pick up sticks and branches.
The weeding isn't bad. There are six of us and we talk or just work together.  The time goes by fast as we have a six hour day.  It sure is nice being done at noon every day.  
We take turns driving.  It's alphabetical so today was my day.  I think the biggest issue is the sisters don't like backing up the trailer to ditch our weeds in the firepit.  I've backed enough trailers in my life so it wasn't an issue.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Assignments

On Monday, June 10th, we arrived in Nauvoo, met with our mission president and a few other people to get much needed information.  We also received the keys to our condo.  What a nice place!  We are the first people to live in this newly remodeled place. It is spacious and beautiful!  In the evening, we had dinner with our district leaders the Nelsons.  They are wonderful!

On Tuesday we met with Jordan, our FM manager; Markus, the assistant manager and Richard who is our grounds man.  We were interviewed and asked about our skills.  Afterward we were given a tour of the greenhouses with Richard and then with Markus of all the buildings.  Wow is there a lot of buildings and equipment!  The FM missionaries are asked to work six hours a day except on Saturday and Sunday.  We even work on holidays without the paid employees.

This morning we had a mission training with President Lusvardi.  The Bailies came to the mission with us on Monday and each couple was asked to introduce themselves.  We learned prior to this meeting that briefly introducing yourself by President's standard is giving us each maybe a minute.  I think we each took 20 seconds.  In our training we learned some of the backstory on the British pageant.  President gave a shout out to the City of Joseph and explained where the stage was and how it looked.  That warmed my heart.  I thought, "Someone important remembers!"

After the training we went to the FM office and Markus and Richard gave us our assignments.  This usually takes several days to receive but apparently we are just in time to replace a couple of people.  Pat will be the new handyman.  Elder Nelson is currently the handyman and will be leaving at the end of July so Pat spent the morning with him learning the ropes.  Pat says he gets to see places that others will never see.  He was in the basement of the Browning gun shop and also in the attic of the Heber C. Kimball home.

I was given the assignment to work with the sisters who maintain the grounds.  There were four of them and now with Sister Bailie and I there are six.  However, Sisters Nelson and Christensen will be leaving at the end of July so we are their replacements.  Usually Jordan gives out these assignments but he is on his way to Salt Lake City for meetings so Markus and Richard did it instead.  Markus bore witness that the Lord provides just the people they need when they need them. I will be planting, weeding, picking up sticks, whatever it takes to make this place truly beautiful.   I have no doubt that this is where the Lord needs us at this time.  Even though we applied for this particular mission, it is where we are supposed to be.

We were also assigned to the Red cast for Sunset By the Mississippi.  Since we got here too late, we weren't expected to learn the songs and dances for the show.  Well, the Jensens are leaving in July so we will have the opportunity to replace them.  We will be seeing the show a lot and also going early to be taught by Sister Whiting.

This is a great place!  We are excited to be here with all these other missionaries. I never thought that at 58 and 56 years of age we would be serving a senior mission.  The Lord does work in a miraculous way!

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Moses

While in the MTC (missionary training center) we were able to go to the new teaching building just to go see the murals on the walls.  There are 12 of them and I plan to share each one.  The first one we were able to sit and ponder over was Moses.  Each has a description along with it.  
There is no way my camera, or anyone else's for that matter, can capture these amazing pictures so you'll have to imagine how magnificent they are.
 As I sat in front of Moses looking out over the vast world that God created I thought how small and insignificant I really am.  God has this marvelous plan and he trusts me, little 'ol me, to share this with his children.
Ether 12:27 comes to mind.
And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness.  I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.
When I look at this mural I can see how small and weak I am but God will use me in whatever way he sees fit to bring about His eternal purposes.  I can become a stronger person and bear a witness of our Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ in a more powerful way than before.
So my questions are:
How do you feel when you look at this mural?
Proportionately, why do you think that Moses appears to be so small in the mural?
How do you think Moses felt after viewing God's revelation to him?
After pondering over this beautiful mural, I felt God's love for me in an overwhelming way.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

An Answer

For years we have wondered if we should or should not have Tom receive the Melchizedek priesthood.  I think it would be wonderful yet I've always been leary of whether or not we should.  That priesthood power is nothing to take lightly.  Could Tom understand the responsibility that accompanies it?  Should he enter the temple and make further covenants that he really doesn't understand?  Or would he?  Who am I to make that determination?

Today we had the opportunity to teach Elder and Sister Oram.  Interestingly, they picked the subject of faith to teach us.  We finished teaching them the lesson we prepared and they began their lesson.  In a strange turn of events, the subject of Tom came up.  I expressed my feelings about whether or not Tom should enter the sacred walls of the temple to do more than baptisms.  

As we talked, Elder Oram suggested that we sit down with the temple president and have him talk to Tom and follow his suggestion.  I told them about a sister that I used to serve with who has some mental limitations.  Her mother told me how Mandy has blossomed since working in the temple.  

I feel it was an answer to a question I have pondered for years.  My new question is, "Am I holding Tom back by not allowing him access to greater blessings?"  Is my faith insufficient that I am not allowing him opportunities that might make a huge difference in his life both mentally and spiritually?  Perhaps I need to repent and let my son grow in a way that only God knows he can grow.
In 18 months we will sit down with President Wilson and ask these questions.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

MTC

Day one in the MTC was wonderful.  We spent most of the day with all the other missionaries that reported on June 3rd.  There were about 140 of us.  That’s a big group considering the week before was only a group of 30.
We knew there was a couple here that Pat knows.  Garth Parker was the FM manager in Iowa City.  He retired a few years back. When we went to our first meeting and when we went to sit down our things were right next to the Parkers.  At lunch we saw Elder and Sister Reed who served in the Marshfield Ward only a year ago.  We also served in the temple with them.  Then we ran into Jack and Leslie Louthain from Sturgeon Bay.  What a small world.
This morning we stood in front of the world map and took the traditional picture.
 Yesterday we were also given a couple to whom we would be their “Others”.  We are their others.  Our charge is to get to know them and prepare a 15 minute lesson to help them strengthen their conversion.  Our others are Richard and Sharon Oram.  We already love this couple dearly.  They live locally so we don’t usually see them after our day’s lessons are finished.
Tonight we had a devotional given by Elder and Sister Gerrit Gong.  It was wonderful.  Better yet, Elder and Sister Oram sat with us.  They are truly some amazing people!
We were split into districts yesterday and it came as no surprise to me that Elder Pleshek was called to be the district leader of District A.  We are blessed with the Allreds, the Stewart’s and Carmens.  Our instructors are Sister Freeze and Farnsworth.  This experience has been tremendous so far.  I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.


Sunday, June 2, 2019

Two Special People

Here we are in Salt Lake City spending time with Andrew and Cierra.  We had a good day together shopping, eating, touring and making a special visit to Howard and Marjorie Sharp.  
When Pat was a young missionary, the Sharps were the couple who were serving as the Mission President couple in California San Bernardino.  Pat loved them immensely and upon returning from his mission thought he would never see them again.  
We reconnected with them at a mission reunion in 2000 when they returned from a mission to Russia. 
The. We reconnected again as he served as the president of the Palmyra temple when our family visited that area in 2006.
Since that time we have visited them on an annual basis as we came to Utah for General Conference. "They’ve met all of our children except Clare and her family.  Pat has said often how they molded and shaped him as his spiritual parents while on his mission.  
We haven’t seen them in two years and President has had some major health issues.  Still they both have such clear minds at 93 and 94 years old.  They have been married 72 years!
Looking at this once vibrant man with a witty sense of humor, he is frail. He didn’t get up to greet us but stayed in his chair for the duration of our visit.
As we were preparing to leave, Pat knelt in front of him and spoke tender words of love.  He in turn voiced that they most likely wouldn’t see one another again.  Tears for both of us.  
I am honored to have had the privilege to get to know them.  They are beautiful, amazing people whom I have come to love immensely..
Until we meet again...



Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Elder & Sister

On Sunday, May 26th, we met with our stake president, President Jacob Lonsdale to be set apart as full-time missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  
Clare, Sammi, Brock and Lydia attended and Erin, Andrew & Cierra joined us via FaceTime.
We were given some pretty great blessings.  Pat was told that he needed to be patient as he would teach a lot of things to others.  I would have the desires of my heart realized.  We should council together.  I can't recall the others things at this very moment but it was all good.

We will be flying to Salt Lake City on June 1st.  We'll spend the day with Andrew and Cierra.  Erin will join us on Sunday.  Then we'll go to Provo Sunday night and stay with Bill and Hawley Barrett.  On Monday morning about 10:30 we report to the Missionary Training Center for 5 days of Preach My Gospel training.

Exciting times ahead!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Releases

Pat and I have served as the Area Temple and Family History Consultants for the past two and a half years.  It's been a calling we weren't sure what we were supposed to do...at first.  There is no handbook for this calling.  Elder Scott is our area Seventy and he extended the call to us on December 4, 2016.  I was very unsure of how things would go.
Fast forward a few months and we began getting our legs under us.  We did our best to get our stake presidencies and high councilors trained and have them get a stake Lead in place.  By the way, the stake lead is no longer a calling.  
When we felt we could no longer move forward, we decided to go out and speak in the units.  We were quite effective at that.  We enjoyed going out and speaking in the units around the stakes.  We were as far north as Houghton, as far west as Prairie du Chien, over to Sturgeon Bay and as far south as Racine and Monroe.  We put on a lot of miles!
Elder Scott was in the area on May 10th and requested that we meet for him to extend our official release.  We invited him over for breakfast and visited about our efforts.  It was a little sad to leave this calling because we both loved it so much.  But there are things waiting in the wings in only a few weeks.
 We went to St. Paul on May 17th and 18th for our usual monthly temple trip.  I wasn't too sure about working in the temple when Pat submitted our names just prior to his release.  I didn't know if I would like it.  Again I was so wrong.  I loved it!  
As we finished our shift on Saturday afternoon, President and Sister Payne met with us in his office to extend our release.  This release was so much harder and bittersweet. We have worked with so many wonderful people over the course of our time in the temple.  I will miss them but will also miss being able to be the conduit through which sisters receive their ordinances.  I've felt the Spirit so many times.  I've had experiences where I know that God is pleased with my efforts.  I distinctly recall the first time I worked an endowment session.  As I was helping sisters, I felt that I was the Savior's hands.  It was so incredible.  I held back the tears as I was so touched.
While visiting with President,I was really thankful that he never actually said the words, "You're released."  I know I would have cried.  It was all I could do to hold them back as it was.  I look forward to the day when we can return again to be ordinance workers.  
Times and seasons in life are wonderful!

Monday, May 13, 2019

Her Name is Kim

In mid-February my brother Pat came over to tell me the world was coming to an end.  Rosy, who had been working at the Wood Fiber for 31 years had found a new job.  She gave us two weeks notice.  I immediately sent out feelers to find someone to hire.  I took over the job at the end of February and worked March and into April. I continually looked for someone who needs a job.  Still I had no one. 

I was beginning to stress about it.  I had Clare coming to the mill each Monday to learn to do the paperwork.  I figured someone needs to know how to do it in case whomever the new hire is, would need to be gone on a Monday due to vacation or would quit.  I was waking up at night and spending hours awake trying to figure it out.  I prayed over and over that I would find someone.  Each time I thought I had someone, it turned out to be a dead end. 

One day in Mid-April I was talking to Chad about the need to find someone and asked him if he knew anyone needing a job.  He said his sister-in-law was looking for a new job.  She called me the next day and we set up a time the following Monday morning for her to come in and see what the job was.  She seemed interested but had an interview with the Stockbridge tribe for a job opening there. She was supposed to know on Friday if she got that job.  Then it was changed to Friday and then it was sometime the next week.

I woke up early one Monday morning and went to the livingroom and got down on my knees and poured out my heart to my Heavenly Father.  I told him how I needed someone this week to hire so I could train them.  I felt really good and settled when I went back to bed.

That day at work I didn't stress about the fact that I didn't have a replacement for Rosy.  The next day was the same.  Just at the end of the day, Kim called me and asked if I still was looking to hire someone.  I told her, "Absolutely!"  She told me she could start the next week.  I felt so good about the fact that I had someone.  No only someone, but the person that God picked out. 

As I was recalling my experience to Pat, he sat in the chair and tears flowed from his eyes.  I, once again, was assured that my Heavenly Father cares about me and what happens to my company.  I've seen miracle after miracle at this company and this was just the latest one. 

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Florida Trip

We’ve had such a long winter with a lot of snow from mid January through February. Our friends Dennis and Phyllis have invited us to their place in Florida since they purchased it last winter. Pat decided he needed a vacation and we could take four days to relax in the warmth of the sun. We packed our things and headed to Florida the first week of March. 
We arrived on a Monday morning, met our new friends Cameron and Renee, had lunch and went to the beach. As always, Pat was in the water immediately. I’ll admit it was warm. It was surprisingly salty. I’ve never been in a body of salt water before. 
We spent some time walking up and down the beach. Temperatures were in the low 80’s. We left -30 wind chills only hours earlier. This was heaven!
Renee took this photo of us prior to leaving the beach. We went immediately to a restaurant where I devoured a bowl of lobster bisque. It was delicious. I understand why people leave the cold and come to the warm climates during the winter. 
Palm trees were everywhere. That’s so foreign to me. 
The coconuts are about ready to harvest. I did find one on the ground. 
Our new friends Cam and Renee Craigo. Cam was missionary companions with Perry Bohn whom we came to know doing City of Joseph.  Small world
The Allsops are now temple ordinance workers in the Fort Lauderdale temple.We were able to spend Tuesday night in the temple.  We did a bunch of sealings with the help of the Craigos.  It was a wonderful evening!
We were able to go out on the boat into the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday.  We saw a pod of dolphins which was really cool.  They came right up to the boat and then would swim underneath.  They played and showed off for us.  I took some good video of them playing.
Our view just as we were leaving and entering the harbor.  
The "no wake" zones were posted and most of them had nests on top of them like this one.
The was apparently someone's home many years ago.  It is made of concrete.  A hurricane came through and swamped the place so now these are just a place for the birds to sit on.  They look like they could be something out of Star Wars.
The beach on some island just before we hit the gulf.  There were some of the beaches that are filled with shells.  Billions of shells cover these islands.  Shell hunting is quite easy.
I took a long walk on this beach of an island where Dennis went fishing.  This was a lot of sand but still a person doesn't want to walk barefooted as there are too many shells that could cut your feet.  
The pelicans were fun to watch.  Cameron threw some shrimp and they reacted to funny as he faked them out.
The boat club where we got our boat for the day.  There was a forklift that was bigger than any I'd ever seen.  The driver would go over to the boat he wanted and bring it down and take it to the water.  Crazy!
Sitting on the beach Wednesday night watching the sunset.  I couldn't believe how many people came out to watch the sun set.  There is supposedly a "green flash" as the sun dips below the horizon.  I didn't see one.
We treated everyone to breakfast on Thursday morning at some crazy little restaurant called the Waffle House.  The food was delicious and made right in front of us.  
The Waffle House isn't very big so the only place we could all sit together was at the counter.  I sure love these people!
Dennis let us drive his Corvette.  We had fun driving around and then we visited a high end car dealership.  We waled through that place and I couldn't imagine paying the price to purchase any of those cars.
This little tortoise was caught in the waves.  He is actually a land animal so he was saved and put back on the land.  He's called a gopher tortoise.  He was just a tiny little guy.
Dennis's car needed a new battery so we took the thing to the dealership.  While we were there, Renee went in and brought us donuts and water.  Everything had a Cadillac logo on it.  These weren't very big but we just giggled at the fact that when you own a Caddy, you get special things.

On Thursday, Dennis asked what we wanted to do.  I told him I just wanted to stay home and play some games and visit.  We had a good time and it was so relaxing.  Mostly, I just wanted to stay out of the sun as my feet and legs were really sunburned from being on the boat the day before.  The weather was a bit cooler and so sitting on the boat I kept my legs in the sun for warmth.  Too much sun has given me quite a good tan on my legs and feet.

We flew out in the early evening and got back to cold Milwaukee about 9:30.  It was so much fun to get away and not deal with anything back home.  We did have to field some phone calls but it was a great four days to just be together and be with friends doing anything we wanted.  I now understand why these people do the snowbird thing.  Warm weather and no cares about work.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

A Mission Call

For many years I thought about and set the goal to one day serve a mission(s) with my dear husband.  I thought it would be when we were old.  Pat always talked about retiring when he was 57 but I didn't know how that could possibly happen.

Last year we found out that Pat would be losing his job this year.  In January we found out his last day would be May 31st.  After meeting with a financial planner we determined that we could serve this mission sooner than later.

We began the medical/dental part of the "paperwork" (everything is done online). Then the tedious task of filling out the application.  In mid January we had everything ready to go including the interviews.  Since you can't send an application until 120 days before you're available, President Lonsdale couldn't press the SEND button until February 1st.
When we first decided to serve, we went to the senior missionary website and there we found a list of opportunities.  There were several that were facility management type of missions.  One at the Nauvoo temple and another in historic Nauvoo.  What?  That's just the type of thing we would love to do!  We picked out several of those but there is no guarantee that you will get what you pick out. 

Pat is a guy who wants to know things and he isn't afraid to call people and find things out.  He called the mission department last week and found out that our call would be made on Thursday.  That means our call would probably be here on Tuesday.  On Tuesday I got a text at work as well as an email saying our mission call was available to view.

Now I'm a bit nervous.  I know what we picked out but where does the Lord want us to serve?  I printed off the call letter at work and sealed it in an envelope and I didn't peek!  We waited for family to gather and then with Erin and Andrew and Cierra on FaceTime and a live Facebook feed to our family group we opened our letter.  I invited the Thornes over as I've been talking with Tracy about this for months.

Pat said he's done this before so I needed to read the letter.  Interesting that we both got the same letter but one for each of us rather than one for both of us.  We got called to the Illinois Nauvoo Mission to work in the Historic Site FM Office.  Yippee!!!  We report to the Provo MTC on June 3rd.  Wow!  That doesn't give us any time between the end of Pat's job and the beginning of this mission.

I think our children and grandchildren were as excited as we are.  They love Nauvoo and this way they will be able to see us when they come for vacation.  I desire to serve and this seems like a good fit for us.  At least this time around.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

I Am a Daughter of God

This is me back in 1979.  I was a senior in high school. This is probably my favorite picture of myself.  It was totally candid.  I don't know who took it, but I got a copy.  I'm using it because I don't really have any photos of just myself.

A few weeks ago I had an experience that caused me some distress.  I felt like the only people that I could really count on were my immediate family.  I recognize now that the adversary tried to blow my emotions out of proportion.  I know that I have many, many people in my life that I have always been able to count on and will always be there for me.  

Still, I was hurt.  I also hurt for members of my family.

My sweet husband gave me a blessing and promised me that all would be well.  I spent several days in the temple where the world cannot affect me.  I also spent much time in prayer and fasting.

I had another experience where I came across an opportunity to serve.  I served this individual several days in a row.  My heart has been healed.

I see God's hand in my life.  He directs all things for good.  I feel blessed to know that He is real and He cares for me and loves me and calls me His daughter.  

Friday, January 25, 2019

Family Pictures 2018

On December 28th, Erin, Andrew & Cierra came home to spend a week with us.  It is always so wonderful to have all my family together.  It makes my heart full to overflowing! 
We decided we needed a better family photo since we didn't get a good one at the wedding in May.  The consensus was to go out to the Wood Fiber and use something there as a backdrop.
As I drove into the yard, I decided we could use a pile of hemlock as the backdrop.  It was really a good spot as not only does it look really great, it blocked the wind.  These five incredible people call me Mom.  I am ever grateful for them.
 Together we make up a pretty great family.
So far, three of these children have brought three more wonderful people into our family.  How blessed we are to call them ours.  It would be tragic if all parents don't feel this same way about their "married in" kids as we do.
Of course, with marriage comes children.  We are currently blessed with eight little people who call us Papa and Nana.  I look forward to the day when there are more people added to this photo and to our family.  
I feel blessed beyond measure as I look at all of these faces.  Blessed to be able to call them mine.  Blessed to know each of their personalities as well as their strengths and struggles. God is indeed good!  I never dreamed 36 years ago, that this would be my posterity.  Blessed beyond words.

The Rose

I had a difficult week emotionally.  The reason doesn't matter.  What does matter is that I learned something beautiful through the Spirit.
As I was struggling, my husband offered me a blessing.  I wept as he pronounced God's words upon me and I felt His love.  He told me to learn of my Savior.  I spent the next day reading from the Book of Mormon and then from Jesus the Christ.
 Pat's job ends on May 31st.  We had a meeting in Minneapolis to help the employees find alternate employment and to understand what benefits they will receive. Since we were in town we went to the temple and again I felt of God's love for me.
I was planning to go back to the temple during the meeting but the roads weren't so great since it had snowed overnight.  I went out to do some shopping.  On my way back I heard the song The Rose playing on the radio.  I have always loved this song with the message of hope it gives.
As the song was ending, I heard the final words,
Just remember in the winter
Far beneath the bitter snows
Lies the seed that with the sun's love
In the Spring becomes the rose.
Those aren't the words I heard though.
I heard,
"Lies the seed that with the Son's love
In the Spring becomes the rose."
As I was singing, a lump formed in my throat and I wondered why I had never realized what the song was saying.  Then I recognized that the song didn't change, I did.  I heard it in a way that made it so much more powerful.
That difference from sun to son made all the difference in how I thought about my struggles from earlier in the week.  
My Savior loves me and when I recognize His love, I can become exactly what He desires me to be.  I am to become a beautiful rose and not remain a seed under the snow.
In other words, I have a potential that can only be realized as I embrace my Savior.
How grateful I am to know of my divine potential!