Tuesday, October 22, 2013

 Ok - here I am again- trying to catch up.  Once in a while I just throw in a few journal entries.  It may not even make sense, but I think it's the best I can do in this state of life I'm in.

 August 26-29th  Our General Authority Visit and Tour
A general authority visit is one of the best things that ever happens in our mission!  The missionaries look forward to it for weeks and they are never disappointed!  Elder and Sister _________(remember I can't use names)  arrived on Monday August 26th, in the evening.  President Shumway and I were thrilled as we had already had an opportunity to get to know them in our pre-mission training and at the Mission President's Seminars.  
Thursday September 5, 2013
After 4 days spent on a mission tour with Elder and Sister ______, and Mission Leadership Council Monday and Tuesday of this week, I don’t mind saying I’m a little tired!   President Shumway left Tuesday immediately after our MLC to go out and start his interviews.  He’ll interview all 250 missionaries in the next couple weeks.  Big job and he loves it-  though it is really draining. 
Drove out to do some training with two Sisters for a short time and  came back just in time to be here when one of our dear returned missionaries stopped by. Boy do we miss him!  He came with his parents and Grandmother- wonderful people.
Tried to work in some missionary medical work in between all the rest of everything that needed to be done today!
9-12-13 to 9-15-13  Mission President's Seminar in San Antonio
Got up at 4am to be at the airport in time for our flight to San Antonio.  I was so tired after only 3 and a half hours of sleep I knew I would have to rely on The Lord to get through the day and it turned out to be such an incredible day.  I hoped I could rest on the plane, but instead - on both legs of our flight I met amazing people who would talk with me about the church.  The first was a lady in Bartlesville and the second a lady in Salem,MO.  Both have seen the missionaries, both would let me send the missionaries.  I had wonderful conversations with them and I was grateful the Lord kept me awake to be a missionary!
Then we arrived in San Antonio and the first thing we did was to go to the temple.  What a beautiful sacred place.   It was such a gift for us to be able to attend the temple again.

We spent the next two days in hours of training-  but it is always a spiritual feast.   We learn so much that helps us in our training of our missionaries and it is a time for us to be buoyed up and prepared to continue our work.  

San Antonio Temple

Tuesday September 17, 2013
Got up early and got the kids out the door to school.  Taylor leaves by 5:30 on the days he attends Seminary.  He has been sick for the last two days with a sore throat and fever.  Dr. _______ my dear friend- called him in a prescription while we were gone, so today he is feeling better.  But he didn’t go to Seminary this morning so he left a little after 6 am to be at school for Trojanaires- the show choir at Jenks High School.  I’m so proud of him to be doing this and he really loves it. 
I drove Abby to school by 7;15 and jumped on the Broken Arrow Expressway right by the school to head to _______AR – 2 hour drive- to spend the day working with Sister _______- a Sister Training Leader, and her companion- Sister ___________, our sweet little Spanish speaking missionary.
I talked with them a little- some training, and then we went to lunch, just Wendys and then went out to work for a couple of hours. 
Saw a recently activated Sister who is really struggling.  Her husband's sons (stepsons for her) are moving in.  One is a drug addict and one is a recent convert to the church.  Bad combination.  She was really stressed about it- I would be too.  We shared some scriptures, talked about the blessings of the temple and eternity, and invited her to set a date to be sealed in the temple, which she informed us, she already has!
Then we visited an investigator who seemed very nice as we entered.  The Sisters have taught her several times and I had actually met her before when I worked in the area.  We chatted for a few minutes- she has just spent a couple of weeks in a drug rehab center.  All of a sudden a friend came in the door- a very nice young man.  And then the sister totally changed.  She began to tell us that she could not believe in the Book of Mormon, though she has not read it.  She used the scripture in Revelations about not adding to or taking away from that book of scripture.  We told her she could not judge something she hadn’t read, but she just wanted to argue, so we quit.  Her friend was very nice,  gave his info to Sister _________, and asked us to pray for them before we left!  After I’d left the area, the thought entered my mind that the friend might be the one who had encouraged her to stop investigating the church.  He just seemed too friendly and too quiet while she was blasting us.
It made me sad for both of them.
Thursday September 19, 2013
Special day-  we honored one of our Senior Missionary Couples-   They left the mission field today to return home.  We had a brunch here at the mission home with all the Senior Office Missionaries.  The returning couple were very emotional- Elder_____ sobbed uncontrollably at one point.  I wish all the older couples in the church could have seen that-  his heart is just broken to leave the mission and return home.   They have had such an impact in the small  branch of Pea Ridge-  the branch has grown tremendously and much of it is due to their work with less actives.   We gave them our special gifts and hugged them goodbye- they will be missed!
 Back to work.  Next week is transfer week.  President Shumway is just finishing making all the decisions related to that-  He tries so hard to stay in tune and understand what the Lord wants.  These decisions have far reaching effects- they have to be right.
Then- we have files of incoming missionaries to read-  and so much other planning and preparing to be done.  We’re always ready- just barely in time!
Monday September 23, 2013
We are in transfer week mode-  that means running!  Every minute!  So much to do.
We went to the airport 3 times today!  I took Abby to fly out to CA to spend a week with Jonathan and Sarah at Disneyland-  lucky Abby!  Taylor is mad.  Then President and I went two more times- to take missionaries who have been here in the OTM for just a couple months waiting for their Visas to go through for foreign missions.  Amazing how attached we get to them in such a short time-  it’s so hard to let them move on to their next assignment!
In  the middle of all of it, I got a phone call – from an investigator, that I met at the grocery store.  I invited him to come to the mission home way back then, to visit with President Shumway and me about the gospel.  And he did!  We had a wonderful lesson then and he accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon.   Later we visited him in the hospital after he had some surgery.  He’s called us off and on for the last months-  and about a month ago we invited him to come to church.  He said he would but he never showed up.  Today he called me because I had texted him to know if we might go to his visit him.   And today he said yes, but he told me that he no longer had a significant other.  They separated because he told her he wanted to come to church with us and they had a fight about it!   Amazing!  I think he already knows its true.  He is willing to defend the church and he’s never even been!
We had an incredible family home evening tonight.  Our wonderful four assistants- 3 of whom will soon be gone- ate dinner with us and we had family home evening.  They spoke directly to Taylor for half an hour- shared their testimonies of missionary work and told him how they had prepared, and how they wish they had done more to prepare.  They all expressed their love for him.  Taylor was emotional through all of it.  These are his “brothers” and he adores them.  They have been here when we couldn’t have the brothers from home, and they have saved him.  I will never forget them.  They are like our sons and our hearts hurt for them to move on.

Tuesday September 24, 2013
Miracles today!  I got up early, studied, walked on the treadmill and started running!  So much to do to get ready for 20 new missionaries tomorrow.  I was at Walmart getting a few last grocery items and the husband of my wonderful assistant called.  He said she’s been very sick and even had to go to the emergency room for breathing treatments.  She knows how much work this week requires, so she was going to drag herself to work!  I told her to stay home, and then I sat in my car and felt like crying, but only for a second.  The Lord ALWAYS helps when we need him-  and He did!  Over and over a name came in my mind-  a beautiful young returned missionary who doesn’t have a job yet.  I called her-  she was at the mission home within an hour.  We cleaned like crazy for several hours,  and I got a big chunk of the cooking done. 
The Assistants came and took my list of errands that I didn’t have time to finish.  Bless them!
The Senior office Sisters called and offered to help- they are angels.  So here they came at 7pm tonight after putting in a full day at the office.  They helped me prepare some of the Thursday night meal for the returning Elders and then cleaned up all the kitchen mess. 
There is no way I could have done this without help and I know it-  I’m so grateful to the Lord.
Wednesday- Friday  September 25-27
More miracles!   That wonderful returned missionary came again and spent 12 hours with me at the mission home!  We ran like crazy, but we got it done. 
Thursday morning I was up at 4:30 to get breakfast ready and  all those new missionaries out on the transfer loop.  We got over to the Tulsa East Stake Center by about 6:45 and then off went the caravan of new missionaries and transferring missionaries.  Then I had another miracle!  Two of our sister missionaries needed a place to be until their new companions came back from being picked up on the transfer loop.  And I had a place for them!  They went back to the mission home with me and all three of us scurried for the next 8 hours to have everything ready for the returning missionaries.  I would have been in so much trouble without their help.  Those two sisters know how to work hard!  And they could see what needed to be done- so nice. 
So it all worked out.  Friday morning we put 11 remarkable missionaries on the plane to return home and took one back to the mission home to meet his parents who were picking him up.  That is always such a joy-  to meet the great parents who prepared a fine missionary. 
Then transfers were over-  and we kept running!  Off to the Mission Office to finish up the last details of transfer week.  For me that means putting pictures on the computer to make a letter to send to the parents, and transferring contact information about returning missionaries to the computer, etc…   And President Shumway just goes on with his work. 
Our FOUR wonderful assistants! 

Our great new missionaries!

Oh do we love these missionaries-  they are finishers!  They stayed to the end and did what the Lord asked them to do!

Beautiful Sisters getting ready for the transfer.

Wonderful member who drives on every transfer loop!
Sun just coming up- early on transfer day!

 Taylor is having lots of fun lately-  involved in the Trojanaires-  the Jenks High School Show Choir!

Just after a performance-  choir!   

Taylor's finished his Eagle Project!   4 tied quilts that went in the "house warming kits"- which were boxes of things that we put together for homeless families to use to get started in their own apartments.  Plus 25 more quilts and tied fleece blankets for the homeless shelter.  Good job Taylor!
Our little Tulsa Family-

Wish I could share every detail of the miracles we see here- some day- when we have more time ....
Love and miss all of you - our dear friends and family!