Saturday, November 29, 2008

Temple Square in Salt Lake City

Here we are posing by the lights.
Another shot by the lights.

The beautiful tree by the Joseph Smith Memorial Bldg.
The model M.



Large organ in the old church.




Friday, November 28, 2008

Belgium Here We Come

Well I got the call on Wednesday while I was at the movies with Ut Mommy and her friends watching Twilight. The phone kept vibrating and vibrating and I just knew it was the church office. As soon as we got out of the theatre I called and sure enough I had the message that we finally got our visas. We will be leaving at 5:00a.m. on Tuesday the 2nd of December. We will be traveling with the Phairs who will be in our same mission. We had the chance to meet this lovely couple last week. They are from Ca., but now live in Spanish Fork. It is their 2nd mission to the same area and his 3rd. His 1st mission when he was a young 19 yr old was to Bordeaux, France, where DH was born. I think it will be so nice and fun to travel with them. DH is sooo excited to finally be on the way. I am kind of excited, but now that we have delayed so long, I kind of wish we could have waited until Emily had her baby. I feel so bad leaving her alone. I wish I could be there to help her and to meet her new little baby. It's really so hard to leave family and friends, but I must do what the Lord wants me to do. I am also still struggling with the French language. I can understand a lot, but trying to say things is another story. I hope I will be blessed to be able to speak to the people over there.

Today I spent a long time packing and rearranging suitcases. We are taking 2 suitcases each and each can only weigh 50 lbs. It is a bit hard to pack stuff for 2 years. I am still not done packing.
Tonight we got to go out with Ut Mommy and her family, first to yummy pizza and then to Temple Square to see the beautiful lights and nativities. We drove to Sandy and from there we took a train to S.L.C. We met up with A and Yoho and their friends Erica and Sam. We had such a nice time together and it was so beautiful there.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Devotionals

Every Tuesday evening, we get to go to a wonderful devotional at the MTC. All of the Senior Miss. get to sit right in the front section. DH and I were sitting in the 2nd row in the middle. Before the meeting begins, the conductor has everyone sing 3 hymns to prepare. We were all singing the first song when suddenly without knowing why, the entire congregation, all the couples plus over 2,000 missionaries stood up and felt the most awesome, sweet, spiritual feeling. We very quickly realized that one of our apostles, Elder Holland, was walking in. It was one of the most spiritual moments I have ever experienced. If one did not believe that we have living apostles today, one would surely know after this meeting. As we listened to his words, the truthfullness of the gospel was once again witnessed to us. He spoke lovingly and yet firmly. We could feel the power of his spirit in every word that he said.
Sis. Holland spoke first: "God loves you unconditionally."
Bullets of Elder Holland's talk:
Thanked all of the missionaries for their service. "Take seriously what being a missionary means to you."
"The most important convert is you. If you do not have a testimony yet, lean on my testimony."
"Of what good is it to convert the whole world and lose yourself?"
"Spend time with the Lord, with the scriptures, and with the spirit."
"Learn to know the Savior." Mosiah 5:13 For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?
Alma 37:36 Yea and cry unto God for all they support; yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever.
If you follow these scriptures, you will be successful.
"Have your affections upon the Lord."
"Have your thoughts upon the Lord."
"Be the missionary they think you are. Soar with a cape like a super hero (I see evil, I will go down.)"
Missonaries, you have an obligaton beyond yourself."
He told the story of someone who was going to teach a lesson on the atonement. The teacher asked the question (Who do you know who is perfect?) wanting the answer to be Jesus. However a little, old lady in the back, a recent convert, raised her hand and said, "Elder-----, who baptized me. He's the most perfect person I know.:)
Elder Holland said that the key to being an effective missionary is to convey the Spirit of the Lord from your heart to their hearts. D & C 50:14 To preach my gospel by the Spirit, even the Comforter which was sent forth to teach the truth.
"If it is God's church, we do it His way."
"The gift of reward is His spirit."
"Live for the gift and power of the companionship of the Holy Spirit."
"Have a divine companionship."
"There are hard days ahead. Why is this so hard? Salvation is not an easy experience."
"The road to salvation always goes through Gethsemane."

I could never tell his words very powerfully, but I want you, my children, my grandchildren, and my friends to know that I know that this man is an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. I have felt the burning in my bosom as I listened to him speak. Our tears were flowing freely and we felt the sweetness of this servant of the Lord.

After the he was done speaking, Elder Holland gave us an apostolic blessing and said that he loved us. After the closing prayer, he waved to the congregation and blew everyone a kiss. We left by one door and the missionaries left by other doors. When we got outside, all of the missionaries were standing on the sidewalk. As we watched, Elder Holland's car drove slowly by with him waving to all of us and telling us that he loved us. All of the missionaries were waving back. What an outstanding experience we all had. I will never forget it.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Life Not At The MTC

My daughter Ut Mommy getting ready for work.
Yoho and T having dessert.

These two girls (aunt and niece) have loved each other since auntie was 18 mos old and niece was just born. A thinks she's D's Mom and has to take care of her.


Our favorite "Mt. man"

Part of the gang enjoying dessert.

M our beautiful little model/dancer.


S the computer guy/dinosaur fighter.
J our little monkey and busy girl.

Dani and Greg the love bugs.

Yoho and Ang the happy newleyweds.

My cute son M and adorable J.


The 2 birthday boys.





They actually blew out all the candles.


Wow! Look at all those candles.

S and his pretty Mommy doing homework.

Only 2 working when usually it's 4 plus Mom.

Life with Utah Mommy is very busy, but so much fun. Her DH is so funny! He keeps us in stitches all the time. The kids are very cute. We keep busy going to the temple, going to my language classes at the MTC 3 times a week, studying and going to a devotional on Tues. eves. Our visas have not arrived yet and now we have found out that Belgium is having lots of strikes. We think that is causing the delay. Ut.Mommy is so busy. She works, teaches 4 dance classes and 1 4-H class. She keeps her house spotless and spends lots of time with her kids. She amazes me. DH and I do what we can to help. In the evenings we have had time to play some games too.














Wednesday, November 12, 2008

MTC friends.

This darling couple are the Smiths. They will be serving in the Merida, Mexico Temple. They have been married only 1 1/2 years. She was a widow and he was a widower. Their mutual friends introduced them and a week later her propsed. 3 weeks later they were married. "We knew it was right and at our age you just can't afford to wait" they said. This is the 2nd mission for both of them.

Map at the MTC where the missionaries show where they are from and where they are going.

Bro. and Sis Alvarado from Puerto Rico going to Honduras and later to Puerto Rico. He is such a positive man. Whenever we had an assignment and he had to report he always said it went wonderfully or beautifully. "We have the Lord to lead us and so it is always wonderful because the Lord will always help us."


This is us with one of our teachers. He served his mission in Russia and we had a lot of fun conversing in Russian.



These are the Blacks going to St. Lewis, Miss. This is how we all felt at the end of the afternoon.



Bro. and Sis. Lawrence going to Denver, Colorado. They are serving an office mission. We were partners in our role play.Bro. and Sis. Gomez from Colombia going to serve in the Bogota, Colombia temple.




Bro Gomez speaks fluent French and had fun talking to DH.





Bro. and Sis. Grossarth going to St.Lewis, Miss (office). This is the sweetest couple. We role played with them also. Our role plays are when one couple takes a part of a less active member or a non member and the other couple either teaches them a gospel principles or tries to find out what is bothering them and try to help them out. It was a bit intimidating at first, but turned out good in the end.


These are the Brims. They are going to serve in the Palmyra Temple.

As you can see, we have met some awesome people. These are just a few of the people we became well aquainted with at the MTC. We spent many wonderful hours together getting lessons, reviewing gospel principals, going to classes, hearing inspiring stories, watching videos etc. The spirit of the Lord is so abundant when people are willing and want to serve the Lord.
We were ready to leave and begin our mission, but sadly our Belgian visas did not arrive yet. It seems as if Belgium is being very slow and difficult in approving visas at this time. Our French visas have arrived, but we need both in order to go. We were disappointed not to be leaving and yet we know that all things will happen in the Lord's own due time. So for now we have gone back to Valerie and Ryan's. We will be practicing being patient. I will be studying French at the MTC for 4 hours a day and DH will be going to the temple, acting as a volunteer for others to practice and whatever else our leaders want us to do.









Thursday, November 6, 2008

Life At The MTC

DH and I in the cafeteria (Salle a manger).
In our Senior Couple group. Couple in back are the Lynches, going to Nigeria. Couple in front are the Turners, going to Ghana. He is retired conductor for the So. Cal. Mormon Choir.
Elders and Sisters enjoying yummy MTC food.
Tues. is the day 100's of missionaries arrive at the MTC. from all over the U.S. There were 3 walkways with both sides filled with suitcases.
What an awesome day yesterday. Several hundred young missionaries arrived at the MTC. What an excitement in the air. Lots of tissue boxes in the large receiving room and in the lobby. The MTC now has abt 2,400 missionaries. Can you believe the power that is here! As we go to our classes and meet people and hear wonderful stories, we feel the spirit so stongly.
Yesterday I began my french tutoring. It is very difficult. At the end of my lesson a volunteer came in to role play. He was pretending to be a less active member of the church and we had to speak to him in french. Well he was perfect. His language, mannerisms and even expressions were exactly that of a frenchman. It reminded me of Beber, especially when he became upset. I spoke to him as much as I could and then when he became kind of obstinante I had to turn to DH for help in finishing up the role play. I was pretty nervous to speak to him in french, but I have to practice, so i do it. I also had to give my first prayer in french.

Today was another great day. After classes were over, we went to a meeting where we heard 2 couples who had served 2 mission each speak. The first couple was supposed to go to Greece. They tried and tried to learn greek and then were told that they would go to Cypress instead. When they got to the MTC, they learned that their call had been changed again. Now they would be going to Jordan. They spent a few day at the MTC and found themselves in Jordan with no language skills at all. What would they do? They began taking walks in the mornings and then decided they would start picking up trash because the area was so bad. Each day they would pick up trash, smile at people and try to communicate somehow. They came to recognize many and they became friendly with a woman who a few weeks later invited them to an engagement party for a relative of hers. At the party they were able to converse with a few english speakers. The next day they were on their knees praying for help. How would they interact with people not knowing any Arabic? As soon as they got up, they had a phone call. It was a young woman whom they had met at the party asking if she could come and visit with them. Of course they were delighted to invite her to their apt. After a pleasant visit, she offered to translate for them for the remainder of their stay in Jordan. She did just that. What a wonderful answer to prayer. Their next mission was to Switzerland. There they continued their hour long walks each day, but here noone would even look at them let alone talk to them. So, what did they do? They began talking to their dogs.:) That would break the ice and they were able to begin to do their work. The other couple served their missons in Canada and the Philipines. When they were trying to cross the border into Canada, the officer read their papers and since the word "work" as in missionary work was in their letter, he said they absolutely could not enter the country. What would they do? They had to go in to serve their mission. The Sister said that she just casually took her name tag out of her pocket and held it in her hand so that the officer could see it. Suddenly he rushed into the booth and then came out gruffly saying, "Let them pass". We don't know why he changed his mind, but we do know a miracle occurred and they were able to do the Lord's work.

My language class is held in the evening and so today we worked on common phrases and then my teacher taught me how to bear my testimony in french. That wasn't all, we then went out and she stopped first a couple of sisters and then a teacher to listen to me. I was to pretend that I only spoke french and DH was my translator. My job was to briefly talk to them and then to bare my testimony to them. I was so nervous, but as I began to speak to them, I was able to convey my message to them. All of us, each time, felt the spirit so strongly. We all were brought to tears. It is amazing to me to have such a strong testimony of the love that the Lord has for all of us.

At the end of the day which is about 8:30, we go back to our room and I am exhausted. I think it's not from too much physical work, but from all the mental and emotional effort that is put out all day long. I am grateful that I have wonderful children who are so supportive of us and of our mission. It helps me to do the things that the Lord wants us to do. Of course I am so grateful for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

MTC

I have no pictures to post yet, but I have to write and tell everyone how full my heart is. I thought that I shed all of my tears since this summer, but no, the tears are flowing and flowing. The spirit of the Lord is so strong here. I can't even begin to explain how awesome it is.
We arrived here on Monday morning after bidding our family farewell. After many hugs and kisses and smiles and tears and kissing sweet, little faces and hearing wonderful words of love, we were finally able to leave. We arrived to the hustle and bustle of many missionaries and a whole group of senior missionaries. They are an awesome group. Several of the couples have served multiple missions, 3 and 4 and even more. We have former Mission Presidents, Temple Presidents and others who held equally important callings. We have in our group the conductor of the Southern California Mormon Choir, whom I recognized. They are going everywhere in the world; one to Ghana, another to Nigeria and another to South Africa. None of them can take any jewelry, because of the high crime rate and so they are sporting lovely 20 dollar rings from WalMart. They are excited even though there have been some problems lately in that part of the world. Others are going to the Philippines, South America, Australia, Florida, Indian reservations, Palmyra and many other states in the U. S. Some are going on temple missions, others on church office or welfare missions. Others yet are going on work missions and of course some, like us, are going on proselyting missions. Our day was filled with classes, meetings and many inspirational stories.
The cafeteria is huge. There are four stations with 2 lines each which serve all kinds of delicious foods. The atmosphere is so friendly. All the Elders and Sisters chat and are so excited to be serving the Lord. I met several who are going to Russia and so I was able to talk to them for a while. Others are going to Mongolia, and just about anywhere you can think of. When the seniors are in line for the food, the Elders will often let them to the front of the line. When we come to sit at the table, they will stand up until the Sister sits down. They hold the doors open for us and are all so nice and friendly. Their Mothers would be proud. We did not finish until almost 8 at night and got home so exhausted we could hardly do our homework.
Today was another busy day. We had classes, studied, taught our first investigator and then went to a fireside. I was pretty nervous giving my part of the lesson, but it went really well and our investigator left happy and ready to learn more of the gospel. One of our teachers and another leader of our group were both young men who served in Russia and so I was able to talk to them too. They were excited to be able to speak Russian again. In the evening we went to a devotional given by Sister Beck, General R.S. President. While we were sitting in the hall waiting
for the devotional to begin, we sang 3 songs. You cannot imagine the power of all those missionaries singing together. WOW!!! Sister Beck said many important and interesting things. She said that 19 year old boys are turned into prophets. I pray that all of my grandsons will go on a mission. It is the work of theLord.
4 interesting points. I Missionary work is the work of the Lord. 2. You have help. You are not alone. 3. Members are the key to success. 4. Baptism is only the beginning.
I did not know that I would say this, especially so early into our mission, but I know that this is the work of the Lord and that He has a plan for us to be on this mission. I am worried and scared that I am not good enough or smart enough to be a great missionary, but I have been given the assurance by the Spirit that the Lord will be with me to help me and to guide me. I will certainly do the very best that I can.
I have been assured that my family will be blessed and watched over because we want to serve the Lord.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Really, really, official




On Wednesday we went to the MTC to be set apart. We arrived around 8:30 and met with Pres. Madsen(1st counselor in the MTC presidency). We visited for a little while and found out that he served his mission in France, in the Biarritz area, and later served as a mission president in the Paris mission. His french was great(according to DH and Yoho). He said that when he was a young missionary there was not a single chapel in France. When he became Pres., the country was dotted with chapels. Now there are about 9 stakes. Still not very many for a country, but pretty good for France. We'll have to see if we can do something about raising those numbers.:)
Then he gave both me and DH a great blessing. Some of the things he blessed us with was to have the Spirit guide us, to be good companions to each other, that our children would be blessed because of our going, and some other very awesome things. It was a very, very wonderful experience. We all felt the spirit very strongly and hope that we will be good missionaries.