Monday, March 24, 2014

A Visit to Hutchinson, Kansas

After leaving Denver, there were still blizzard-like conditions until we reached the Kansas border. Must be a Wyoming and Colorado thing! Bad weather is their specialty. 

We drove to Hutchinson, Kansas where Bob served a mission about fifty years ago. He was excited to see the town and what had become of it. 

He's kept in touch with some of his converts. Many of them moved to Utah, and some of them have passed away.

This is the home of Brother Blanchfield who died many years ago. The building is abandoned, but still standing.

Another convert family moved to Utah and has stayed strong in the faith. There are over a hundred members in the family now. One of the grandsons lives and works as a fire fighter in Hutchinson. We drove by his house. He was at work, but we met his wife and sons. His sweet grandmother that Bob baptized has passed away, but we met her great grandsons. One will be ordained a deacon next week. I'm sure she is watching from Heaven. 

This is a chapel they meet in now.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

On Our Way

We left home filled with sadness and excitement. We are so happy to be going, and so sad to leave everyone for a while.

Our oldest daughter send a care package full of music we can listen to in the mission field, uplifting BYU talks, and plenty of nuts and mints to munch on across the country.

Our daughter-in-law had the grandkids make us  pillow cases to remember them during our mission.  They were so proud of their work.

With a CTR shield and loving hand prints with painted finger nails, we are sure to be successful!

We got into a blizzard from Laramie to Denver where there were two inches of new snow.
The next morning there was weather into Kansas before the sun came out.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The MTC Experience

The MTC is a wonderful experience. How blessed we are to have this facility where we can learn about becoming missionaries. It's so great to be around all these young Elders and Sisters. They are truly the elect of God. There are 75 senior couples training with us this week. They are all kind, devoted Saints, willing to serve their Lord and King. It's inspiring to be associated with them. This week has been a Celestial week in our lives.

Our two returned-missionary grandsons and us

Elder Monson and I have given the first lesson, The Restoration, and the second lesson, The Plan of Salvation, from Preach My Gospel to nonmember "volunteers" from the community. These people are also faithful Saints, devoting one morning a week to help us become better missionaries. It was scary to teach, but enlightening. It feels good to know we can still learn and grow at our age! We are tired!

We heard the following experience from an MTC fireside by Elder David Bednar. 

When he was a Stake President in the south, President Boyd K. Packer spoke at their stake conference. As they were having lunch, Elder Bednar reminded President Packer that they had met before when Elder Bednar was a young missionary in Germany. Elder Bednar was supposed to take President and Sister Packer to the airport to fly from southern Germany to the free section of Berlin during the time when part of Germany was controlled by communism.

The planes were grounded because of bad weather. So Elder Bednar put President and Sister Packer on a train to go to Berlin. He worried the travelers might get hungry on the way and slipped Elder Packer a 20 mark note, which was quite a lot of money.

As Elder Bednar told this story, he hadn't remembered giving Elder Packer the money. Elder Packer told Elder Bednar the rest of the story at lunch. President Packer repeated the story in a talk he gave at BYU Idaho when Elder Bednar was President there.

When the train got to the border of communist-controlled Germany, the police came through to check the passports. President Packer's was approved, but Sister Packer's was not because she had a three-year passport with an extension. The communist government didn't recognize it as valid. They returned it to President Packer and were going to put Sister Packer off the train.

President Packer slipped the 20 mark note into the passport and gave it back to the police. It was approved several hours later. He breathed a sigh of relief and offered a prayer of gratitude.

Elder Bednar couldn't have known that the money was necessary to get the Packers safely to Berlin, but the Lord knew. 

Elder Bednar went on to say that there are times when we unaware that we are an instrument in the hands of the Lord. The Lord can use us to bless others even if we don't know it.

That can be a testimony to all of us, whether full time missionaries or member missionaries. Let's remember that
The Lord may be using us to bless the lives of others whether we know it or not.

Here is a link to the entire talk President Packer gave at BYU Idaho

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

I Want The Lord to Know I Was Really Here

One of the wives of the MTC Mission Presidency shared these lines from Sister Hinckley. I want to live this way.

“The only way to get through life is to laugh your way through it. You either have to laugh or cry. I prefer to laugh. Crying gives me a headache.” Marjorie Pay Hinckley

“I don't want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails.
I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp.
I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbors children.
I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone's garden.
I want to be there with children's sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder.
I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived.” Marjorie Pay Hinckley

I love this last quote because I want the Lord to know I was here and really lived. Sister Hinckley outlines what true ministering is. I hope our mission will in some small way to  show Him this.

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Hand of the Lord

There are times in all our lives when we can just tell the Hand of the Lord is guiding us. 

We went to the Bountiful Temple one day last week to finish up some family names before we left for our mission. 

There in the temple we met a couple of dear, dear friends.  My assistant coordinator from the Ogden Temple was in the same session we were. It was a great opportunity to visit a few minutes and say good-bye. We both decided it was the Lord letting us know He was with us. What a blessing!

After the session, we went to do the sealings. The sealer was a former Stake President that Bob worked closely in Las Vegas when he was the Institute Director at UNLV. One of the witnesses was a Seminary and Institute man Bob knew well. It was a day of blessings by the hand of the Lord.

But more than that it was the Lord telling us he would guide us during our mission. I am grateful for that testimony.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Fruits of Missionary Labors

Elder Monson and a convert family from Hutchinson, Kansas
Bob served a mission fifty years ago in the Central States. This convert family has grown to almost 100 members of the Church over the years. Many of them have served missions and baptized their own converts. Missionary work blossoms, spreading far and wide, as righteous individuals accept and share the gospel.

What a blessing to be part of this work.

Now Bob will be serving another mission with me. We are so very excited. We don't know the impact we will have yet. But it's nice to look back at his mission and see the power of the gospel in the lives of those he baptized.

We had a wonderful farewell in the Waterfall Canyon Ward on Sunday, March 9th. We will miss all our dear friends in that faithful group of saints. Many family and friends came to support us. Family included: our son and his wife, Chris and Lanae Monson, their children Sadie, Lucy, and Daphne, our returned-missionary grandsons, Randy and Eric Slaugh, Bob's sister and her husband, Ar and Ed Gray, their daughter and her husband, Lynette and Dave Hughes, three of their daughters Carlie (She has her mission call to Taiwan.), Ericka and Melynda, a niece and her husband, Cindy and Kent Hafen, their children, Ashlee and Spencer. Our temple friends, Ione Hall, Norm and Joyce Lilly, Jed and Carol Harris, Ersel and Roberta Blain, Robert Morley. Golfing buddies Arnold Peterson and Jim Jones.

We are busy taking care of lasts-minute business and details. Monday morning, March 17th we enter the MTC.

I am as excited as a kid on Christmas morning. I've wanted to serve the Lord as a full time missionary for many years, and now it's my turn. Here's the link to a blog post I wrote for Modern Molly Mormon (Marie Leslie is one of my favorite people.) that tells how I feel.

I'll write an update each week. I don't know what day yet. We'll have to see what our schedule is. We send our love and prayers to each of you. Thanks for your love and friendship. You are a blessing in our lives and we are grateful to belong to you.