Monday, December 15, 2014

Hi Dear Ones,
I'm just so far behind with this, Im not even planning on catching up-  the missionary work moves forward at an every quickening pace and we are running to keep up.  It is so exciting!  This is the best work ever!  I can't even begin to tell you how dearly I love these missionaries and how grateful I am for the privilege of being a full time missionary.  I know we haven't done it perfectly.  But we've loved it perfectly!  Here are a few more journal entries.

Monday Nov 3, 2014

Left at 7:00am to drive 2 hours to Bentonville AR, for our Mission Leadership Council.  President Shumway and I took separate cars because he will continue on from there to do his 10 days of interviews with every missionary in our mission.
It was our largest group of mission leaders ever!  43 of them!  26 Zone Leaders and 17 Sister Training Leaders and they are every one outstanding missionaries and wonderful people!!  I feel so honored to get to spend a day with them and learn from them.
We reviewed many of the things Elder ______(General Authority) taught at our Zone Conferences.  Our mission therapist from LDS Family Social Services, came to teach about “Dealing with Depression”.  We have a number of missionaries that struggle with this, and his presentation was perfect for our leaders to understand how they can encourage and help missionaries that are having a hard time with this.   We had training from two Sister Training Leaders – - about a program Sister _______ brought from a previous mission-  Home Primary!  This is going to be a great tool to use with less active families.  We also had training from two Elders about family history work-  they have had huge success with it in St. Robert-  dozens of referrals from members.  They taught us how to use Family Search to do missionary work-  excellent training!   President gave some inspired training-  it was just a great day.
Everyone helped get lunch ready-  Hoagies, chips, veggies, fruit, and cookies.   It takes a lot of food to feed that many missionaries- especially Elders!  I hauled it from the mission home in a giant cooler.
We finished with the meeting about 4;15.  By the time I cleaned up, and talked with a dozen missionaries, it was 5;45.  I got home after 8:00pm.
Taught Abby and Taylor a seminary lesson (I’m their teacher now- did I say that?).  And I’m done. 

Wednesday Nov 5, 2014

Gone by 9:00am to be in Muskogee for a District Meeting there with 8 missionaries plus the zone leaders-   Great district meeting, and then I stayed in Muskogee to go out with the Sisters missionaries there.  As it turned out they had arranged an exchange, so I was with one Sister and one went with a member.

It was a touching appointment.  This lady is sick-  she recently had a stoke because of diabetes.  She still needs a little support to walk.  She is a less active member of the church – probably 60 years old and living with a man who is not a member.  They have been together for years.  He has cancer- leukemia.  They are living in a trailer in back of a run down little house- her grandmother’s house-  who died years ago.  They can’t live in the house because the gas line under the house is broken and they can’t afford to fix it and the crawl space is filled with spiders.  It’s the same kind of poverty we see all over our mission and it breaks my heart. 
This sweet lady had a pure heart and her eyes welled up with tears several times while Sister ____was teaching her.   Especially at one point- as Sister ____ shared that her mother had been a less active member of the church for years and a smoker and drinker.   Just before she came on her mission, she and her brother, who was also leaving on a mission, approached their mother and told her how important it was to them that they be sealed together as a family before the two left on their missions.  It changed their mother’s heart.  She stopped her bad habits and made herself worthy.  They were sealed just a short time before Sister ____ left for her mission.
I had no idea this had been Sister ____background.  It makes me respect her even more.   Her father is an active member, but there have been so many problems because of her mother, and this sister has had the strength to  stay faithful on her own.
She’s a remarkable young woman.

Friday Nov 7, 2014
I spent a wonderful day in Alma AR with two sisters.  We visited an investigator who is struggling to know if the gospel is true and is having great pressure from her husband and other relatives to discontinue seeing the missionaries and stop reading the Book of Mormon.   She asked us what she should do.  The answer is always the same-  she will have to come to know for herself if the Book of Mormon is true, through study, prayer.  She will need to keep God’s commandments.  She will be blessed for all of it. And she will have to trust the Lord to take care of the rest-  it will take so much faith.  It hurt my heart-  it has got to be a scary thing.

In the afternoon I worked with the Sisters in Van Buren, AR-   They are struggling to find.  After some planning and prayer, we went to find a sister who had asked for her name to be removed from the records of the church.  She was so happy to see the sisters.  She still has a testimony-  she just wants her questions answered.  The sisters will help her-  we’ll see what happens.

Our mission, the world is full of people needing the gospel, searching for the gospel.  So many things get in the way-  because Satan is so good at what he does.  I’m going to pray for those two sisters.

Saturday Nov 8, 2014
Attended a baptism.  A wonderful young couple, baptized by one of our great Zone Leaders.  This is a young couple who got married and then baptized.   They are going to need a lot of support to keep making progress in the gospel, but they are focused on the temple and that will help.
President Shumway will get home about midnight tonight-  long week for him!

Tuesday Nov 11, 2014
I’ve had two incredible days spent with missionaries!   President is in his second week of interviews, and I went with him on Monday to the Springdale Zone and today to the Bartlesville Zone.   The Zone Leaders conducted Zone Training meetings while President Shumway pulled missionaries out for interviews, and I talked with the missionary who was waiting to go in next.  It was such a pleasant time to visit with our OTM missionaries that I dearly love.  Each one of them is so unique and each has divine gifts-  I see that.
I’m also so impressed and touched by the great desire they all have to be better missionaries, to be more consecrated, to be more obedient, to work harder.   They all want to do more!  Sometimes I am brought to tears as they tell me their challenges,  and their miracles.   These days have been a gift to me.

Tonight one of our senior couples, who have been serving in Salem, MO, came in to the mission home.  Their mission is completed.  They are an outstanding senior couple!  He has been serving as the branch president there.  When they first arrived they would get about 20 people out to church, sometimes as low as 11.  There was so much work to do.  They just started visiting and loving.  Last Sunday they sent us a picture of the ward family, standing out in front of the chapel on the last Sunday they were there.  80 people!!  They have truly made a difference there.  These are the sweetest, most unassuming, humble people you could ever meet and they love the Lord.  They are such a great example to me.

We had a special farewell dinner for them with a short meeting afterwards to hear their testimonies.   Our senior office missionaries and our assistants came. They will spend the night here in the mission home.  They will depart for home tomorrow.

  Thursday  November 13, 2014

What a special day!  I got to hear Taylor sing a solo for the Jenks High School Veterans Day Assembly-  he sang yesterday and today- the student body is so large- 5,000, that they can’t fit them all in the Performing Arts Center at the same time.  He was incredible, and the students loved it!
I went straight from there to the Tulsa East Stake Center to spend the next three hours visiting with Elders- no sisters in this Zone!  It was their Zone Training Meeting-  President conducted interviews with every missionary and I visited with every missionary!  Such a privilege to listen to the things they have learned here in the mission field, to hear their testimonies, to hear stories of the miracles that have happened in their areas, and to hear the miracles that are happening at home with their families.  The Lord has been so kind to all of them as they have given Him their time and strength to serve.  I love our missionaries!!

Saturday November 15, 2014
So much to do this day!  President, Taylor and Abby left at 8:am to drive one hour north to Bartlesville.  President and Taylor were presenting at our 3-stake youth fireside-  President speaking and they both sang for the youth.  Abby just got to enjoy it!
I went to the Broken Arrow building to do a workshop for a 3-ward women’s conference. 
President and Taylor got done at noon-  He drove north to St. Robert to teach at the leadership portion of their Stake Conference.  Taylor left in his own car to hurry to football for the Senior football pictures.  Abby came home with ward members.  I came home to hurry and change and take Taylor (when he got home from football!)  to Oklahoma City for auditions for the All-state Choir- a one and a half hour drive- one way.
I enjoyed the drive so much!  Taylor sang all the way there- practicing and warming up-  I love to hear him sing.  His choral director called tonight-  Taylor made it!  He’s in the All-State Choir!
On the way home we talked and worked on part of his Eagle Scout Application-  him on my I-pad. 
Poor Abby-  we just left her home alone all afternoon.  She worked on homework.
Got home-  made a grocery list- ran to WalMart-  home!
It’s 10:30pm-  that must mean it’s time to go to bed – we can only hope!


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