Hi Friends and Family!
We miss you! I'm looking out the window at Oklahoma, but it feels like any peaceful Sabbath day. I'm grateful that the Lord's Spirit can be anywhere. I love Utah but I am going to tell you that Oklahoma has a huge piece of my heart- I love the people here, the beauty, the missionaries, and the great blessing that allows me to be a missionary. Here's our report of the week!
Love you so much!!
Wednesday June 25, 2014
This is not my first journal entry for June, but I made a very silly mistake several days ago, and deleted the whole June file. Oh well, I guess I could have cried about it, but I don’t have time for that. The days are flying by and each one is filled with beauty and miracles, and challenges too. But we are still here, and we are still working as hard as ever.
I have loved these last three days. On Monday about noon, 18 wonderful youth from the Battlecreek 1st Ward in Pleasant Grove Utah, drove into the mission home with their 6 great leaders. Spencer and Tara live in that ward. Spencer serves in the Young Men’s program, and he had come up with an idea that they could bring the youth in their ward on a “super activity” to Oklahoma to serve a “mini mission” here.
They were in age- 14 to 18. Two of them already have their mission calls. One will leave in two weeks for his mission in Kansas- they drove right through it to get here!
We treated them like any other incoming missionaries and fed them lunch, did some training, introduced them to their companions – our full time missionaries- and sent them out. That scene made me cry. Two of our grown Elders with 14 or 16 year old young men. Our Elders threw their arms around them as if they’d always known them, and off they went to their areas. Same thing with the sisters. There were only 3 young women, but our sisters were hugging them as if they were best friends.
They spent the rest of Monday, all of Tuesday, and Wednesday morning working together. They came in to the New Haven Building today- our ward building- and they were glowing! President Shumway had promised them miracles and that is exactly what happened. They could hardly wait to tell.
It was a tender thing to watch the youth say goodbye to their new missionary friends. We brought the youth to the mission home and had a special testimony meeting. There were many tears. They reported that their whole view of life has been changed, they saw poverty that they didn’t know existed, they didn’t know that they could love perfect strangers as they had, they felt the Spirit guide their actions and words, they didn’t know missionary work was so challenging, but they are more committed than ever to serve missions, they know that God lives and the gospel is true.
One young man said he would have done anything, traveled any distance to have the experience they’d had. I think the wonderful leaders of the Battlecreek 1st ward can know that all the work, effort and sacrifice required to bring these youth here – was a success.
Our missionaries felt the same way. I asked them if it distracted them from their work. Every one said it was just the opposite. It made them work harder, pray harder, and be exactly obedient so that they could be a great example to their young friends.
And there were incredible miracles. Elder ____ and Elder ____, along with the young man who was working with them, were teaching a new member lesson to a recent convert. They had decided to have it outside of the apartment building. Two of our senior sisters- Sister ____ and Sister ____ Here came a lady running- East Indian. She wanted to know if she and her husband could listen to what the missionaries were teaching to this new member. They were so excited to hear the gospel and after the lesson invited the missionaries into their home and asked if they could donate to the church!who had introduced the gospel to this sister, were also there.
President Shumway and I are so grateful the Lord blessed us with this experience for our mission. There was an incredible outpouring of the Spirit for everyone involved. It’s interesting to me that the Lord can get so much done all at once- bless the youth, our missionaries, and the many, many people who were touched by their testimonies. It was a miracle week.
|Battlecreek 1st Ward youth and leaders- All smiles after their Mini-mission! Honorary missionaries for the Oklahoma Tulsa Mission.|
Thursday June 26, 2014
A Happy Birthday to our sweet Bria and handsome Brigham! Our two wonderful grandchildren-
two “Bs” born on the same day!
This was a day to try and regroup. I was desperate to help Abby and Taylor with their online summer classes that have been so hard! I don’t think we’ll ever do online again. The programs won’t let them go back to study for the quizzes and tests, though they are able to take the quizzes over and over until their scores improve, but they can’t see what they missed! So I went in to talk to the online teachers, and they were so very kind, as the majority of the teachers in the Jenks School District have been- so willing to try and make things work for their students. I recognized their special and individualized help as a great blessing from Heavenly Father. It’s hard to keep myself balanced as a mother and a “mission” mom. There are days I just have to stop and really focus on Abby and Taylor, and I’m always grateful to the Lord for helping things work out.
This is such a wonderful place! I wish you could all spend one summer day in Tulsa Oklahoma. It is so green- and pink and purple! Lots of flowering trees and flowering bushes. And so humid and hot! I sat out in the back yard tonight on the phone, talking to a missionary, and the sky changed to pink and then gray, the cicadas starting singing their loud buzzing noise, the tree frogs (many of them!) start croaking, and the beautiful fireflies flew around me- they look so unreal- fluorescent green flashing off and on. I love a summer night in Oklahoma!!
And summer days! I always see little critters on my walks!
And beautiful trees and flowers!
And I've fallen in love with Oklahoma clouds! They come down so low- they are so huge! I'm always asking Abby in the passenger seat to lean out the window and snap another cloud for me!
They are heaven's beautiful art work!
Was I right? They are incredible! Part of the joy I feel about being here.
Friday June 27, 2014
I’m still thinking about the wonderful days we had with the youth of the Battlecreek first ward, and I realized I didn’t tell you that on Tuesday (the 24th), while the youth were out with their full-time missionaries, I took Tara with me to Muskogee and we spent about 4 hours teaching with the sister- missionaries there. We went together- all four of us- to visit a less active couple. As we were teaching we thought we could hear a couple of dogs in the room next. All of a sudden, the door burst open and ELEVEN dogs came jumping, leaping, running, licking and barking into the room! Some of them jumped right into our laps! It was like something from a Disney movie- we were all laughing! People out here love their animals! This is not the first time I have taught a family with that many dogs- one home had fifteen!
Then we split. Tara went with one sister and I went with another. I was so touched by one of our appointments with an 87 year old man- just baptized two weeks ago! Still very sharp in his mind, though he was having some trouble hearing us.
We taught him about family history and the temple. His wife died a few years ago, and this humble man, sitting in a wheel chair, just cried to know that he could be united with his wife eternally. We told him he still has important work to do and there was change in his demeanor as he thought about this- he still has something to live for- something very important to accomplish. He thinks that his sister-in-law is the one who should be baptized for his wife. His sister-in-law is not a member! But he dialed her number and handed the phone to Sister ____so that Sister _____ could invite her to listen to the missionaries- and she said yes. The Lord can use missionaries of all ages!
He reminded me so much of my Daddy- kind and good. I miss my Dad.
Saturday June 28, 2014- Happy Birthday Thomas! Our Grandson!
You wish you could have been with me today to see Taylor perform in Suessical- the musical! He had a leading role- Horton the Elephant! If you are not familiar with this musical you are probably smiling about that. It was so great! Taylor sang beautifully, and acted very well. I was so proud of him.
This was a one week summer camp, so nothing like Tarzan that he performed in this spring at the school- no costumes or beautiful sets- pretty bare bones. But so much fun!
Abby made in on the Jenks Cheer Team but she is still recovering from her ACL surgery. So she went to the Cheer Camp and sat and watched! Hard for her, but she is recovering nicely, and her leg is getting stronger and stronger, so one of these days she'll be able to be up and at it! I took a picture anyway!
President Shumway left very early to be 4 hours away for a baptism- and then on to a Stake Conference in Missouri. We felt it was important for me to be home for the kids this weekend so I stayed.
I attended the Baptism of a wonderful young couple. New members of our ward here- so prepared to hear the gospel. He was raised Lutheran and had begun to have doubts in the last year preparing him to recognize the gospel and join the church- where he says he feels so happy and comfortable. Many people say it feels like coming home. It always touches my heart to see our missionaries dressed in white- ready to use their Priesthood to help someone make that first covenant. These are the Zone Leaders for our Stake- they are outstanding in every way! I feel so proud of them- who they are- and I know of the faith that has been required of them to bring someone to this point.
Sunday June 29, 2014
I love Sunday- the Lord’s day. I feel His Spirit the minute I climb out of bed. I love the reverent Sabbath Day feeling as I study the scriptures.
Our traveling Sister Training Leaders pulled in this morning about 10:30. They will be here for a day and then head back out to continue the important work they are doing of training every sister in the mission! I am so grateful for them. It is impossible for me to get out and see them all.
THE BEST THING OF ALL!! Cabe and Jana, Preston, Carter, Ashton and Brigham- arrived this afternoon to spend the week with us! We are so excited to have them here! They are going to get to do some missionary work with us and we will have some time to just enjoy them too.
That's all for this Oklahoma week