Sunday, August 30, 2009

A little of our week

This evening as were driving home from visiting a new member family and as we turned the corner onto our street, we saw this hot air balloon. I love hot air balloons and so we became momentary balloon chasers and followed it.
It landed just a few streets away from our apt.

Fun to see it land and also to see many people rushing to watch it land.
Now that it's almost September and vacations are over, things are beginning to pick up. We have had a really slow month as far as the JA are concerned. E v e r y o n e takes "vacance". The churches are down in attendance and every person rich or poor leaves and takes a vacation. We have still been busy doing proselyting, but we have missed the young adults and their activities. Today after church we had our first planning mtg with the JA presidency minus one member. We got a lot planned and a lot accomplished. Our young adults are so awesome. Here I am with Remi, DH and Manu.

Here are DH, Remi, Anne Louise and Manu. Even though this young couple is getting married in the temple in September and are so busy with wedding plans, moving plans, and also getting ready for a new semester at school, they still are very diligent in their callings with the young adult program.
This is the Sunday School class for Villenueve D'Ascq ward. Most of these people are either new members or soon to be baptised members. Starting at the left are the Petrov's (the Romanians)for whom I translate every other week when we attend that ward. She is the blind lady that I wrote about and he suffers terribly from epilepsy. Yet, they are diligent and do everything that they should and can do. Then comes DH and next to him areRafaelle and Gregory and finally Lawrence and Sylvie.
The Petrov's are awesome. Any concept that I teach them, they immediately pick up and implement. For example I taught them about tithing. Now, this couple is living in a "foyer" a home for destitute people because they are here, in Fance, waiting for her to have surgery on her eyes. They are given 20euro a week for living expenses. As soon as they found out about tithing, the very next week she gives me 2euro to give to the Bishop for her tithing. They have faithfully paid ever since then. Then I explained fasting to her one fast sunday. The next week she excitedly tells me that they fasted the full 24 hours the day before. I told her how great that was. The next week she tells me that they fasted again. I explain to her that it is only required to fast once a month, but she replies that fasting makes them feel good and brings them closer to the Lord. Each concept that I teach them, they embrace and fully begin living that principle. She has been blind from the time she was a little girl and has only ever seen black. After having a blessing, she can now see light and dark. She is so grateful for this blessing.
Lawrence, Sylvie, Elder Hoskyns, Emmanuel, Elder Bertrand, and ?

Gael, Ben(the former Muslim who I wrote about before) and a brand new fellow. I don't know his name. Standing is our instructor. Usually this class is full of people all crowded together, but of course "vacance" so very few people were attending.
Elder Thompson, one of our favorite elders from Kortrijk. We all like the tall corn here. Most of it is a lot taller than this, but we had some free time last week and so we stopped to take a few pictures next to this shorter corn. Elder Thompson has only been out for 2 months, but he is the nicest, friendliest hard working, awesome missionary. We love him and we like working with him. We have been going out with Elder Thompson and his companion Elder Lystrop about 2 or 3 times all summer long. Whenever they have a french speaking person that needs to be taught, they call us and we drive there and teach them together. We have been quite busy doing that. These elders are Dutch speaking.

We had a few minutes to wait for his companion to arrive because we were on splits. Elder Thompson wasted no time. Here he is talking to a passer-by.

Monday, August 24, 2009


The years come and the years go and so many changes each and every day, some good and some not so good. This is my oldest and dearest friend Helen and her hubby Yura. We met when in the 7th grade. We have shared lots of fun times. We spent our summers together and our school years together studying, talking on the phone, going to parties, movies, walks, dating, beach, learning how to cook, practising reading russian aloud to each other while sitting on the rocks at Russian River, etc.etc.etc. We shared secrets, had weddings (or own and friends), had babies and then grandchildren and now even a great-grandchild. Now we talk on SKYPE when years ago we only heard rumors that there may come a day when people will be able to see each other while they talk on the phone. The years have come and gone. How does time pass so quickly? Any yet, I don't feel old. Only the body does not want to do the things it used to. Too many surgeries. It is wonderful to have memories and yet time continues and changes occur and we make even more memories.
My daughter Andrea and Yoho. They have been apart all summer while he has been working trying to make extra money. Money is always tight for a young couple and yet struggling together helps to cement and firm up a marriage . This awesome girl and her hubby are moving into a larger apt. so that they can have room for her sister and baby to move in for a while. What love and sacrifice.
Anna and Amadeo are excited to have a new change in their life. Their litte baby will be coming in December. What a blessing for this great young, hardworking couple. We can hardly wait to meet him.

TxMommy and hubby just moved to Maryland. That is a whole new lifestyle, living on the east coast. In addition, they are brand new grandparents. This is their engagement picture quite a few years ago.

Our son Michael has been gone working all summer with Yoho. Now he is coming back to Salt Lake area and will continue with his regular work.

Alec and Kelly after running a race for the cure. Their daughter just got her driver's permit. Wow, is she really that old? Alec and his 2 friends recently participated in a triathlon and came in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd for their age bracket. How fun to be on the winner's stand with your friends. Now Alec and Kelly are training for a 1/2 marathon. Wish I could run.

UtMommy and her hubby are in the midst of a huge change. He has gotten a new job and will be moving 4 hrs drive away. They will only see each other on week-ends for a while. Hopefully this will be a great move and they will be together soon. Meanwhile this move will be good for them in many ways.

Emily and sweet Natalia have just moved to be with her sister. This is a huge change and hopefully one for the best. I love to see this little baby growing and doing so well. She is adorable.

I have been blessed with a wonderful family. I have a DH who is the best. He is a great Patriarch in our family. He is good and kind, smart and loyal. And, he serves the Lord with all his heart, mind, might, and strength. I am lucky to be his wife and eternal companion. Our children are the best too. I feel so blessed that they all like me and that we get along so well. They are hard working, bright, kind, diligent, God loving people. And, they married well. I dearly love each one of my sons and daughter in law. They are, each one of them, quite awesome. Of course, I must remember my grandchildren and now great granddaughter. None can compare to them. I am indeed a lucky grandma. I am blessed to be serving a mission together with my DH. The only hard part is being away from those I love. It's hard not to see and hold the new babies or to carry on a relationship, except by long distance, with those you love. And yet, I do this gladly because I love the Lord most of all and I want to serve Him and show Him that I am willing to do this for Him. I want my family to know that I love them, but especially I want them to know that I love God and Jesus Christ. I want them to know that I know that Jesus Christ lived and died for us and I want them to know that if they remain true and faithful and follow all of His commandments, they can have eternal life and exaltation. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true and that we have a living prophet on the earth today. My dearest wish and prayer is for each of my children and in fact for all of my posterity to remain true to the end, so that they can have all of the blessings that the Lord has in store for them.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Great Granddaughter

This morning I received a wonderful phone call. Our little great granddaughter had been born about 15 mins before the call. WOW! So exciting! Our first granddaughter had her first baby, Tatum Ashley. My first daughter's first daughter had her first daughter. Four generations! I can hardly believe it.

Look at the beautiful pictures. I think both Mommy and baby look great. They are both beautiful. What a blessing. I don't know exactly how old little Tatum is, but it can't be more than an hour or so. I love technology. I love that I can see this sweet little baby right away.
Tatum is 6lbs and 6ozs and 17ins. She is a tiny, litte girl. Dani only had to push for 8 minutes. How lucky is that? I feel very grateful and very blessed.
She was born on the 18th of August although here in Belgium it is already the 19th.

Monday, August 17, 2009

My Golden Girl

On August 17, 1980, a beautiful little girl whom we named Anna Christine was born in Lancaster, Ca. I cannot describe the excitment that I felt as she was placed into my arms. We had prayed so long and so hard for this little baby and Heavenly Father blessed us so much. Anna was our 5th child. She joined a family of 2 sisters and 2 brothers.
Before I became pregnant with her, I had a very spiritual experience such as I had never had before. We wanted more children and had been praying for that, but at the moment I was still nursing her older sister. One evening as I sat in my rocking chair nursing V, I heard a very distinct voice in my head that said, "You need to stop nursing so that you can have a new baby." I was so surprised to hear that. I was really enjoying my little V and was not quite ready to stop nursing. The next evening I heard the same thing. "You need to stop nursing because there is a baby waiting to come to your family." Well, I knew I better listen to that voice. I stopped nursing and as soon as I could I went to the dr. to have my shot that I needed in order to get pg. That very month, I became pregnant.
Sunday the 17th, I woke up very early feeling kind of unusual. I was having contractions, but they were not regular. In fact I had been having contractions since the previous day. I was not sure if I was in labor or not. I just didn't feel quite right. We decided to stay home from church and see how things went. By late afternoon we decided to go to the hospital. My friend, Judy, came over to help with the kids and we left. I was admitted and continued to labor in the hospital. Late that evening, the dr. came in and said that he was considering a c-section but because I was "a proven birther" he would hold off for a while longer and see if I would deliver naturally. About an hour later this sweet little baby made her way into the world. I had no anesthetic of any kind and even though she was my biggest baby (8lbs 7 1/2ozs), I did not have an episiotomy, did not tear, and had a great delivery.
Anna was a beautiful baby and has grown up to be a beautiful young woman. I always have called her my golden girl because everything she does, she does exceptionally well.
When I was teaching V how to read at age 4 using Teach Your Baby How To Read we had this fun experience. We were visiting my parents in S.F. and I brought out all of the flash cards so that V could show off how well she was reading. She did perfectly and when she was done, we heard a little voice, "Can I have a turn not?" I showed A the flash cards and she knew every single word. She had learned just watching her big sister. We were so surprised.
I had tried to teach each of my children to play the piano and some of them do alright, but it was Anna who really took off. She took lessons with me until she knew more than I did and I had to get her a real teacher. She practised without being told and she is a beautiful pianist. She accompanies people, plays at church, and can play beautiful classical pieces as well as modern.
She went to BYU Hawaii on scholarship and graduated with the highest GPA of her class. And, she did not take easy classes. Her major was Information Systems and she minored in Math.
Anna is a great photographer. When she took pictures of her sister's wedding and the bride went to get the pictures printed, the store did not want to do it because they said these were professional photos and they could not copy them.
She makes beautiful cakes, does (cuts, colors, styles) hair. Whenever there is a big event coming up, you can be sure there are lots of girls who want her to do their hair.
Anna has had her share of difficulties in life. When she was in her first semester at BYUHawaii, she became very ill. The doctor phoned me and said that she was in the hospital. By the time I got there 2 days later, she had already had 3 blood transfusions and was critically ill. It turns out that she had ulcerative colitis. She was in the hospital for 5 weeks with no food or water by mouth. She had a central line through which she had all the iv's. The dr's had written in her chart that she was terminal.
One sunday a few weeks after I had been with her, I went to her stake conference. The one presiding was Elder Collister. At that time he was an area authority over the Pacific Rim Islands. He is now a general authority. The conference was great and after I went up to talk to him. In the conversation I told him that my daughter was sick, but that she was in the hospital. He asked if he could come and visit her. That was my secret wish and of course I said yes. The hospital was an hours drive from the campus and I had told Anna that he was coming. But, as the day turned to night, he was still not there. We decided that he probably had too many meetings and could not make it, but about 9:30 or so, he did come. He came with the Stake President and with his son, a brand new returned missionary from the Irish mission. They came and visited with us and then he asked Anna if there was anything he could do for her. She asked him for a blessing. After talking for a while longer about the priesthood he and the other 2 men placed their hands upon her head and gave her the most awesome blessing. I knew at that time that she was not going to die, but that she would live. And live she did! We are so grateful for her and for this great blessing from our Lord.
After graduating Anna married a great man, Amadeo. We love this wonderful guy. He is smart, funny, kind of loud, full of energy, kind and very supportive. She chose well.
Throughout the years she has suffered greatly with this disease and had to be hospitalized numerous times. She finally had to have her colon removed in a very serious and difficult operation. This has caused her fertility to go down over 30%. She ended up developing some kind of endometrial cysts which also had to be removed and then the drs were were not sure if she would ever get pregnant. However, because of some very wonderful blessings, she is now expecting her first baby. We are all so thrilled.
I love having Anna as my daughter. She is every mother's dream daughter.
Happy Birthday my little golden angel.

Anna in yellow with 2 of her sisters, TxMommy and UtMommy.

Anna with 1 of her brothers.

6 of our children. One of our sons couldn't be there because he was on vacation out of the country with his family and one of our girls is with Heavenly Father.

Anna with her oldest sister TxMommy.

Anna with Amadeo and their first baby Zoe.

At a baby shower where each guest decorated a onesie.

At the beach with UtMommy in the white sweater and her brother Michael. In the back are 2 of the Anderson girls, Alisa and Sabra.

I am a very blessed woman. I have a great family. My husband is awesome and so are my children. Luckily they have married wonderful spouses. I wouldn't trade any of them. They are good to my kids and they are good to me. I love them and thank the Lord for each one of them.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A few more pictures

Dh standing by the corn. There are many, many, many huge corn fields everywhere we go in this region. The corn stalks are so tall. There is also lots and lots of wheat growing everywhere. Amazing sight for a city girl.
Missionaries hurrying to the conference in Rotterdam.

Having a sack lunch dinner provided, for us after conf, with the Phairs.

Elder Nelson and President Brubaker.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Mission Conference August, 2009

On Thursday the 13th, we had a mission conference for our entire mission. That means we had the Dutch and the French speaking missionaries all together. Our main speaker was Elder Russel M. Nelson, one of the 12 apostles. Elder Nelson has had an amazing career as a cardiac surgeon. He was part of the team which created the 1st heart-lung machine and he performed the 1st successful cardiac surgery in Utah using the heart-lung machine. He later performed the 1st successful cardiac operation in Utah utilizing the cardiopulmonary bypass machine. He also performed the 1st successful pediatric cardiac operation on a 4 year old girl. Dr. Nelson performed successful open heart surgery on President Spencer W. Kimball, prophet of the LDS church. His first wife, the mother of his 10 children died in 2005 . His second wife, Wendy, was a professor at BYU university. She was also one of the speakers. In addition, we heard from Elder Christiaan Kleijweg the area authority, and Elder Erich Kopischke of the Europe Area Presidency, Member of the First Quorum on Seventy. Elder Kopischke is in charge of 37 missions.
Our day was so wonderful and spiritually so uplifting. We arrived in Rotterdam, Netherlands by 2 buses, by train, by bike, and by car. It was amazing to be among so many wonderful, clean, dedicated young men and women and also senior couples. I think there were about 200 missionaries there.
A little summary of the talks:
Sister Kleijweg: Families of missionaries are blessed. The hardest things that we do are the most rewarding things.
Elder Kleijweg: Unity is the most important element in our work.
Elder Kopischke: We have been called of God by revelation. When we read the scriptures, we must apply them to ourselves. Think of the words in the scriptures, wherefore and therefore. Then read the answers to those words. He told us to focus on the questions that the Lord asks in the scriptures and to apply them to ourselves: "Adam, where art thou?" (Where is your heart?) Jesus to John, "What desirest thou?" Delight in the Lord and He will give us the desires of our hearts. We should have divine desires and we should trust those desires. The outcome of our lives will have to do with the desires of our hearts. Our desires will change our hearts. What is it that I should do for you? (3 Nephites) (bring souls unto the Lord). Finally, ask yourself this question. Do I have good, righteous desires or am I content?
SisterWendy Nelson: "..what wattage are you?" How much light do you emit? Get more light and then you will give off more light."
Elder Nelson admonished us to narrow the gap between what we are now and what we need to become. He said that God judges by comparing what you are as opposed to what you have the capacity to become. Demand more of yourself. Teach diligently that you may be more perfectly instructed. He opened up the mtg. to questions and taught us many, many other things. Before he finished he told us to look in the mirror and to marvel at who we are. Finally, he gave us a beautiful apostolic blessing. We were all filled with a wonderful feeling. The spirit in the room was so strong. It was great to be taught at the feet of an apostle of the Lord.

Some of the missionaries gathering for the conference.

The choir practicing before conf. began.
Larson Looney Bin: The Elder on the top left is Elder J. Wells from the Dutch side of our mission.
I spoke with this really nice missionary and took these next pictures for you.

This is the chapel where the conf. was held.