Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Joys of the Journey

Time is very precious on this mission and has gone so quickly. We are counting down the days now until we are finished. It was lots of fun to come into the mission field, but it will be very hard to leave it because our hearts are here with these dear wonderful people. Words can't say how we care for them. They are great! Loving and kind! Humble and willing to learn! We truly just adore them.

So we are savoring each moment we have remaining. This week has passed quickly, but we have treasured the time.

Last week's temple fireside was fantastic. We had 50 people from our ward attend. Most of them were either recent converts or nonmembers. There were 280 people from the stake. Great turnout.

A baptism.

And another.

A boy who will be baptized next month gave the opening prayer.

A young man in the large family we baptized gave the talk on the Holy Ghost. He told of his own spiritual experience with the mission president.

I have become a Mini Deseret Industries. Distributed all these donations, and more, to needy families. Bless the generosity of ward members. They are so Christ-like in all they do.

Dinner with the missionaries.

And more missionaries. (Notice the missionary eating all the cookies. No one even noticed. He had almost devoured the whole plate before the others saw it. You snooze, you lose!)

The children in our large family found out I wrote books. They wanted me to write a book about each of them. So we put together All-About-Me-Books. It took us several nights to complete the project. This is one of the nights. (Notice Elder Monson just chillin')

Time seems to slow down a little as we stop to treasure each moment. Maybe we can do that with the rest of our lives. What a blessing this mission has been in our lives.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Week of Love

Many small acts of service and love happen every day in this part of the Lord's vineyard. Here are a few.

Some of the children in the ward have more school supplies because of last week's miracle at the temple.

A little boy loves his sister at his birthday party.

A mother loves her baby.

A missionary turns nineteen in the mission field and receives not only a birthday dinner and party, but fifteen packages from home.

I had the privilege of teaching the three-year-olds last week in Primary. Two Sunbeams play find-the-lost-lamb. One would leave the room while the other hid the lamb. As soon as the one reentered the room, the hider would immediately show the seeker where the lamb was. They giggled and laughed and had a great time at the game. Lots of love in that Primary class. Sunbeam teacher is still the best job in the church!

We have a temple fireside tomorrow night at the stake center next to the Memphis Temple. It is such a privilege to talk to all the recent converts about the temple. The temple carries with it a feeling of love. How blessed we are to have this great gift from on high. Heavenly Father allows us to be part of a loving family for time and all eternity. 

The crowning act of love in our world is the Atonement of the Savior. May we all strive to exemplify love as He did in all we do.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Angels Among Us

We had the great privilege of going to the temple four days this week. One can always find angels at the temple, and the Memphis Tennessee Temple is no exception. 

On Tuesday several of the large family that was baptized went to the temple to do baptisms for the dead. The group included some of the grandchildren, and the youngest of the three daughters. She's the one who just had the preemie baby. She was so excited to go with the kids. When she got there, both missionaries that baptized the family were there as a surprise. Neither are serving in the city of Memphis now so it was a real treat for them both to be there. Everyone cried. I'm sure this is what Heaven will be like—every angel there so full of love for the Savior and each other. 

On Wednesday we served in the temple as ordinance workers. It was wonderful as usual. We will be gone next month, and I didn't get to say good-bye to one of the West Memphis workers. She only serves once a month, so our mission will be finished before she comes again. I was sad, but I phoned her and wished her well.

Friday we took the grandmother of the large family that was baptized to the temple. It was a beautiful afternoon, and we had a wonderful visit on the way there. When we got into the waiting room to sit and feel the Spirit, we began to whisper about her grandchildren. One of them (11-year-old boy) doesn't have church shoes. He wears his older cousin's (a girl) work shoes. Another one of  the boys (12-year-old) had to wear his grandmother's slacks to pass the Sacrament. We talked about going to Goodwill after a ward baptism that night to shop. 

Then we got up and walked around the temple grounds and admired the beauty and peacefulness of the place. When we got back to the front door, a blind lady who had been sitting in the waiting room, stopped us. "I didn't mean to eaves drop," she said. "But I'm blind so I hear things very well." She pushed a couple of bills into Grandmother's hands. "Let me help buy the boys' things."
Grandmother began to cry as she thanked her. "What an angel you are." 

We explained a little about the family—a grandmother, three daughters and eleven children.  We visited a few minutes and thanked her again. We took a few more pictures, and were about to leave.
Here came the blind lady again. "I just had to give you more money for all the other children," she said. This time she pressed a big bill into Grandmother's hand. 

Grandmother was crying before, but now she was really crying. "You are an angel. What a blessing," she kept saying. "Thank you, thank you, thank you."

You see there really are angels among us.

On Saturday we took another of our recent converts to the temple. She has had a hip replacement, and has had trouble giving up her cigarettes. She wanted to be in the temple waiting room to help motivate her to quit. We again enjoyed the beauty of the moment and that sacred spot. Ward members, all dressed in white because of a wedding, were there to welcome us. More angels.

My little West Memphis worker (another angel) happened to come to the temple with her husband for a session so I got to give her an in-person hug. God provides even the smallest blessings just to let us know He's always there. "Daily miracles," as President Eying called them. Enriching our lives in so many ways that sometimes we don't stop to count them.

Angels surround the temple and bless our lives.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Typical Day of a Typical Week

Just wanted to outline our day today. It's typical of what we do.

Always prayer and study is first. I love to read a chapter in my Book of Mormon and a chapter in the New Testament. I finish with an Ensign article or two. Then I record the scriptures I want to remember before I begin my day. Elder Monson has his own study method. He's teaching Priesthood on Sunday so he's been working on his lesson.
After breakfast we begin our missionary day.

We have a ward member who got pulled over by the police because she didn't have her seat belt on. The cop found that her driver's license had been suspended and she had no car insurance. We called to find out how much it would cost for her to get her driver's license reinstated, and what car insurance would cost.

Then we made phone calls to a couple of members to see how they were.

Lunch time—down pour.

I am putting together a cook book of low cost meals. Spent a couple of hours getting that organized and the fliers ready to hand out in Relief Society. (Hint: Never come on a mission without a printer. It is inconvenient to have to run to the copy place every time I need a handout.)

In the afternoon, off we went to visit members. First was our little Rosie. She has had a mix up in getting her SSI money, so her power was cut off. Of course all the food in her fridge, and her diabetes medication spoiled. She didn't call to let us know. We just have to show up at her house to find out the problems. Texted the Bishop to get approval to replace her food and medications. 

While we were in the grocery store finishing up that project, we got an emergency call from a sister in the ward, saying that she was going to commit suicide. I called a ward member to go be with her until we could finish buying the food and take it to Rosie's.

Then off to the suicidal sister. Spent an hour talking with her and making a plan:
*positive thinking
*be a good example to her girls
*look for a better paying job
*rely on the members of the ward that love her to be her substitute family.
(Won't go into the details of the whole story.)

Next came Sally, our hip-replacement lady. She needed us to take her to the drug store to get her meds so she can go to the gym on Monday and work out. After we went to the drug store, it was past dinner time and Elder Monson was  hungry. We took Sally to Popeye's Chicken. Both Sally and Elder Monson loved it! Sally has this joke about she and I running drugs because I take her to get medications so often. 

She thought it was way funny to stand by the police car with her drugs—legal drug running. The policeman didn't think it was as funny as we did. ( She did time for illegal drug running before she joined the church.) Read More

Back to the other side of town to visit a new convert and invite his wife to church. We only talked for a few minutes because he had another engagement.

Finally we stopped at the large family who was baptized to deliver a bike that a member's son had outgrown. 

The six-year-old was thrilled. (Sorry the 1st picture is out of focus. It was night, and I was tired. What can I say.)

The kids wanted pizza so it was off to Little Caesar's.

Home we came to kick our shoes off and get ready for bed. We are tired, but happy. It was a great day—filled with lots of service and great fun.