Saturday, December 27, 2014

Oops! Missed a baptism on November 29th!

Tim's wife, Kathy, was baptized on November 29th.  She was originally going for December 13th, but she was afraid one or both of the Elders who had taught her would be transferred on the 10th. So... she moved her date up a bit.  She is an amazing and beautiful new member!  Some of these people come into the church and I'd swear they have been life-long members!  We have been so very blessed in the Branch this year!  Eight new members, including two couples and one whose wife was already a member.  Strong, strong people!  They are going to be a definite asset to the Branch!

Elder Weston, Kathy, 7-year-old Spencer, Tim (who was baptized a few weeks before Kathy) and Elder Arnoldsen.
 What a happy, happy day for this family!  Kathy has just blossomed since she decided to be baptized.
She is truly a part of the branch and will be such an asset!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Chapin's December baptisms...

Priscilla was baptized by Elder Weston and confirmed by Elder Arnoldsen.  When the Sisters met Priscilla, it was not the first time missionaries had come to her door.  She met with them in Walterboro thirty years ago, but moved away and lost touch with them and the church.  So happy that they found her again and brought her into the fold.

George's baptism, as President Bruno said, was a long time coming.  His wife has been a member and George has been through many sets of missionaries.  When their children were you, he helped with Boy Scouts, and he played basketball with members of the Dutch Fork Ward.  When Sister Billin came to the Branch this year, George said, "She touched my heart."  He already had a knowledge of the restored gospel, but he listened to the lessons again and started coming to church and finally knew that it was time for him to be baptized.  He was baptized by his brother-in-law and confirmed by Brother Duvall.  

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Prayer at a school choir concert raises questions.

The Chapin High School Choir Concert is held at the Chapin Presbyterian Church.  The Pastor welcomed everyone and then offered a prayer.  It was a gracious and heart-felt prayer, I thought.  One thing I did not understand was how he prayed.

1- He prayed to Jesus

2 He closed the prayer in Jesus' name

I've always been taught that we pray to God, the Eternal Father and pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Jesus is our mediator - our advocate with The Father.  That makes sense to me.

Clearly, most Christian religions teach that God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost are one being - the Trinity.  I wonder how many Christians really, actually believe in the Trinity?  It makes no sense at all to me.  At the baptism of Jesus, God the Father speaks from heaven and the Holy Ghost descends in the form of a dove.  All three members of the Godhead are present at that time.

Jesus prayed to His Father many times.  He begged His Father that the cup be taken from Him in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Jesus din't pray to himself.  What?

I had Catholic neighbors when I was growing up.  I asked one of the daughters about their Sacrament or Communion.  I asked about the wine actually turning into Christ's blood and the wafer turning into His flesh.  She said, "They tell us that, but I don't believe it."

I wonder how many Christian really believe that God and Jesus are one in the same being.  Really, I can't comprehend such a thing.  That is all.  :o)

Monday, December 8, 2014

He jumped the gun!

Jack was recording baptisms on Thursday, December 4th and came across one that had been submitted last week, but had the baptismal date as December 6th - two days AFTER he received the papers from the missionaries.  He called the District Leaders to find out why the date was wrong. They told him that the newly baptized member had originally planned to get baptized on the 6th, but he was at a baptism on the 30th of November for someone else and he had had all the missionary discussions, had passed his interview and had come to church twice...and hey!  The font was filled and ready to go, so he just decided to go ahead and get baptized on November 30th.  The Sisters who taught him had just forgotten to change the date on his papers.  :o)

While Jack was talking to the District Leaders, he also asked how the new member had been found. We keep a record of that too.  Was it a member referral?  A self referral from  Did they find him by knocking doors, or what?  The DLs said that the Sisters were walking down the street and saw the guy talking to a minister.  He was asking all kinds of questions, so the Sisters just kind of hung around till the minister walked away - then they moved in.  :o)  They introduced themselves and told the man they would be happy to answer any of his questions.  I guess he liked their answers, because he scheduled an appointment with them, was taught and decided to be baptized.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Feeding the fowl

As we walk around the lake, we attract a few ducks and geese.  They know who we are, because we always take a bag of treats for them.  There are 5 ducks - one white one and four mallards and also two geese - one with a broken wing - who follow us around the lake till we get to a bench where we sit and feed them.  The ducks will come right up and eat out of Jack's hand.

A great way to get rid of stale cereal!  The ducks and geese love it!

Sister Stoker's Perch :o)

Whenever the missionaries come to dinner, they take the last 10 minutes of their dinner hour and present a spiritual message.  Sister Stoker has taken to perching on our stationary bike as she delivers her thought.  This picture was taken when 4 young Sister Missionaries and also Sister Ta'ala were here, but even when it is just the Irmo Sisters, Sister Stoker and Sister Clark, this cute little one removes the pile of pillows and climbs up on the bike, using the dashboard as her lectern.

Sister Stoker delivers her message after dinner.

An apology from the Zone Leaders...

We heard second hand a few weeks ago that the Zone was having an activity on P-Day.  I was giving the ZLs a bad time for not inviting us.  They planned to get together and play volleyball and basketball.  I'm sure they didn't invite us because they didn't think we'd come - and they were right. Still I felt like I should badger them a little.  The next time they came to the office, Elder McAllister presented me with...

A rose!  :o)

A new addition to the family!

Bronson, and Magda holding baby Teddy

Dann and Dalena and baby Teddy

Theodore James Arrington...Isn't he beautiful?!?!?

Object lesson at DDM

We love to go to DDM when ever we get the chance!  District Development Meetings are wonderful! The missionaries talk about their investigators and get suggestions from one another on how to help the investigators progress.  We are invited to pray for investigators to help them overcome obstacles to their being baptized.  There are always a couple of trainings, which are very well presented.  The Chapin sisters also had an object lesson at the end of this particular DDM.  Each companionship was supposed to plan and then work together to flip over a hand towel while standing on it.  Neither companion could touch the floor while the towel was being flipped.  It was pretty hilarious!

The Dutch Fork Elders (Elder Lund and Elder Sprunt) came pretty close to accomplishing the feat!  (Elder Daynes is looking on from across the room.)  When everyone had tried and failed, the Chapin Sisters took their turn and showed us all how to get the job done.  Planning and cooperation and working the plan = SUCCESS!

What NOT to pack in a missionary care package

A package came to the office for one of our Elders on a Friday.  We put his current address on it and set it in the pile of mail to go out on Monday.  Monday, however, we noticed that it's contents were leaking inside the box and out.  We took it to the back of the office and opened it up.  It STUNK so bad!!!  A sweet, 82-year-old grandma had packed up two plastic containers with her missionary grandson's favorite for his birthday.  Two batches of lasagna with a note that said, "I'm all cooked - just warm me up in the micro-wave and enjoy."  We tossed the lasagna and the box in the trash outside.  Couldn't wait to get it out of the office!  We managed to salvage some candy and other sealed-up treats.  I gave the missionary a call to let him know what had happened.  He just laughed and said, "My grandma is so old!"  But she did know that he loved her lasagna - and it was his birthday, after all!

Moldy lasagna!  It wasn't the mold that smelled bad though - it was the rotten tomato sauce.  Yuck!!!

Cola pit stop on the way to a cruise...

Lisa and some friends booked a cruise out of Charleston months ago.  She picked that one specifically so she could come back to visit us in SC.  :o)  The kids got in on Saturday morning morning and spent most of the day in Charleston, then they drove up to West Columbia.  We took them to dinner at Farm Boys' BBQ and then they stayed overnight with us.  After a quick breakfast Sunday morning, we all went to church at the Fort.  We caught Sunday School and Priesthood/Relief Society at the Chapin Branch then came home to finish up dinner.

It was our turn to feed our wonderful APs that Sunday and we also invited Sister Ta'ala, since she wasn't feeding missionaries that day.  Dinner was good!  We had Cafe Rio Pulled Pork, beans and rice, as I recall.  It was fun having Lisa and her friends with us a couple of nights!  They went on to have a memorable cruise in the Bahamas.  How fun!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Look who popped in for a visit!!!

The door opened this afternoon and in walked Sister Koeven!  It was such  treat to see her!  She was one of the Sisters who lived with Sister Barlow and came to dinner at our home on Sunday.  I asked her how long she'd been gone.  I expected her to say 5 months - maybe 6...but no!  She left a YEAR ago!  Last November!  Unbelievable!!!

It was so fun to see this girl!!!

Perfectly Franks!

We went to Charleston with Dena November 1st.  It was cold and kind of rainy, but we were still able to get to Boone Hall Plantation and the Angel Oak, Rainbow Row and the Pineapple Fountain, Battery Park and...Perfectly Franks!

Dena had the Frank Sinatra, I had the Aretha Franklin and Jack had Frank Cuda.
Best hot dogs ever!  (If there ever was a good hot dog.)

Snow in Lexington November 1st?!?!?!

I got a text on November 1st from the Larsens, who had begun their trip back to Vegas that morning. They were driving through SNOW in Lexington!!!  Unbelievable!

This was the view from the Larsens' vehicle as they drove through Lexington!

Had to make pumpkin cookies!!!

I bouoght a pumpkin cookie cutter mid-October and almost forgot about making cookies!  I remembered Halloween night, in fact!  I had bought the cutter and I felt compelled to make cookies with it!  I finished baking and decorating them around 8:30 at night and Jack delivered them to Sister Ta'ala and the Irmo Sisters, the Nolans and all the Dutch Fork Elders.  We took the rest of the cookies to the office and the APs took them to Fort Jackson role play Saturday morning.  They were really, really good!  (Thank you Mrs. Jones!)

Maybe the best sugar cookie recipe ever!  Mmmmmmmm

End of mission for the Larsens!

We enjoyed working in the office with Elder and Sister Larsen.  They came in when Elder and Sister Fenton left in May.  They did a great job in the office and in Union. where Elder Larsen was Branch President and Sister Larsen was Relief Society President (I think).  We'll miss working with them!

Elder and Sister Larsen - on their way home to Las Vegas

Another trip to the Farmer's Shed

Every time we have visitors, we take them to The Farmer's Shed.  It's such a fun and friendly place to go, and the food is good!  I love their collards!!!

Dena loved the Shed!  Most of all, I think she loved that it wasn't crowded!

Behold, the field is white, already to harvest! (D&C 4:4)

Dena and I spent the afternoon of October 30th lost!  We headed out after lunch for Congaree National Park.  Dena's GPS is messed up.  We ended up taking the looooong way around to the park, making what should have been a 45 minutes trip almost a 3 hour trip!  But that allowed for time stopping at the AWESOME cotton fields we happened upon along our way!  They were the most beautiful cotton fields I've seen since coming to South Carolina!  Dena took lots of close-up photos and we picked a few bolls to take home to the grandkids.

Beautiful cotton fields located out by St. Matthews, SC.  They were amazing!  

Going to miss those Dutch Fork Sisters!!!

At transfers October 29th, both Dutch Fork Sisters were moved out of their area and reassigned to Greenville.  There were six missionaries in Dutch Fork - too many, really.  Now there are only four Elders.  We're going to miss Sister Daniels and little Sister Bowman.  They were so fun to have over for dinner on Sundays.  Darling girls and awesome missionaries!  Love them both!

Sister Clark, Sister Stoker, Sister Daniels and Sister Bowman!  How we love these beautiful Sister missionaries!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Can we do anything for you, Sister Arrington?

You can pretty much depend on every missionary who comes into the office saying before they leave, "Can we do anything for y'all?"  They are great!  And if there IS anything they can do - I put them to work!  The Dutch Fork Elders were in on Friday for interviews.  While Elder Lund was in President's office the other three came and asked.  I told them there were a bunch of empty boxes that needed to go to the dumpster across the street, so...

It was a joint effort!
Elder Bateman, Elder Bowles and Elder Sprunt  :o)

Bye bye, Sister Billin!

We're going to miss Sister Billin!  She is being transferred, so will no longer be assigned to the Chapin Branch.  She's been there a long time!  She is a sweetheart and a great missionary!  She is also the niece of my sister-in-law Julie's sister, Carrie...and her grandpa worked at the Ogden Temple with Dad.  Sister Griffiths is staying in Chapin and will get a new companion.
Sister Kimberly Billin and Sister Melanie Griffiths
Sister Griffiths is the missionary who got the letter addressed only to Smelly Melly.
It took me a while to figure that one out.  :o)

Our first DDM (District Development Meeting)

We in the office usually don't go to DDMs because we're busy doing office stuff, but Jack and I went last week.  Probably the main reason was that Elder Weston said he was going to make and decorate a cake and bring it.  I wondered if the smaller meeting would be kind of casual, but it wasn't.  The missionaries take their assignments very seriously and conducted themselves and the meeting extremely well.  The one thing I like about DDMs is that the missionaries discuss individual investigators.  They talk about problems they are having and write their names on the white board and ask all of us to pray, specifically for them.  They LOVE their investigators!

Here's Elder Weston and his cake.  I had a little bite of Jack's and it was delicious!
He said he learned a little about piping before he came out and he was excited to show off his talents.  FYI, there is SCCM and a smiley face on the top and piped rosettes around the border.

Go directly to the source! Ask God for direction in your life.

Missionaries and converts have lots of stories about how God has answered the prayers of those who are seeking His guidance in their lives.  The Irmo Sisters were just telling us last week about a young girl they found and started to teach.  At the end of the first lesson, they asked her to pray and ask God if what they had just taught her was true.  The Sisters said she started to cry.  She told them, "I didn't tell you this, but just a couple of days ago I was praying and asking God to give me direction in my life...and then you came."  She felt as if the Sisters were a direct answer to her to her prayer.

Sister Mary Roberts, who, along with her husband Larry, was baptized last Spring, said that they had moved to Chapin from Texas.  They had always attended Christian church in Texas, but hadn't been able to find just the right church when they got to South Carolina.  She said, "We were pleading with God to let us know which church to go give us direction in our lives."   Soon after, a couple of Elders knocked on the door while Mary was home, ill.  She talked to them through the door.  They left her a pass-along card and she set it on the table and went back to bed.  Later, she had the impression that she needed to call the number on the card, which she did.  The first time she called, she got an answering machine, but she left her name and number and prayed again, "If this is the direction we need to go, please God, let them call back."  Someone did call back and Mary was taught by the Sister Missionaries at Temple Square in Salt Lake City.  Soon, they felt like she was ready to receive the Chapin Elders into her home.  I remember the day that I got the referral for Larry and Mary at the office.  I was excited, because it was for the Elders in the Chapin Branch, where we've been assigned to attend church.

The point of these two stories is this...If you are seeking guidance in your life, go to God.  He knows exactly what you need at any point in your life.  He is your Father.  He loves you!  You may be perfectly happy with your life as it is right now.  You may or may not attend church. You may have a close and loving relationship with God and don't think you need more, but God may have something more in mind for you.  Ask Him if you should visit with the missionaries.  Ask Him if you should read the Book of Mormon.  He will let you know!  Things could be better that you even thought possible!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Cracker Barrel with the Dutch Fork Elders

We took the Dutch Fork Elders to Cracker Barrel for breakfast a while back, but dang!  We forgot to get a picture!  So....we had to take them again.  We were afraid one of them, or some of them would get transferred this month, but nope!  They're all staying.  :o)

Breakfast with (l-r) Elder Bateman, Elder Lund, Elder Sprunt and Elder Bowles.  There is an older lady at Cracker Barrel who is a server there.  Twice she has stopped and talked to the Elders.  She told us that she sees them at the library on Mondays when they are emailing their families.  She assured us that they are all "good boys."  That's always nice to hear!

So many variations!

I was looking up a scripture on prayer this morning...Matthew 6:7.  Instead of going to and just getting it from the church's KJV, I just Googled it in and got several different translations.  It was interesting to me to see how one word in this scripture has been interpreted in so many ways.

"But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking."  Matthew 6:7

The word "heathen" is changed to eight different words or phrases!

"pagans" - New International Version
"people of other religions" - New Living Translation
"gentiles" - English Standard Version and NET Bible, American Standard Version
"idolaters" Holman Christian Standard Bible
"unbelievers" - International Standard Version
"worldly" Jubilee Bible 2000
"those who are of the nations" - Darby Bible Translation
"the nations" - Youngs Literal Translation

I am thankful for the Book of Mormon, which was translated by the gift and power of God by the Prophet Joseph Smith.  He translated directly from the original text that was written upon plates of brass and gold by the inhabitants of the American Continent who were followers of the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. There is no question.  The Doctrine of Christ, in the Book of Mormon is clear and pure.  I promise that anyone who reads it with a pure heart and real intent to know if it is the word of God, that God will manifest the truth of it to them by the power of the Holy Ghost.  

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sister Jacob's farewell talk...

Today Krista Jacobs entered the Provo MTC.  She will train for two weeks and then travel to her mission in Anaheim, CA.  She will be a great missionary!!!

In her talk Sunday, she told of an experience of being guided by the Spirit.  She said she had talked a lot aobut going on a mission her senior year of high school.  She just graduated from Chapin High in June.  She wanted to hand-write and deliver notes to some of her teachers before she left on her mission.  Three of them were her favorites, and they liked her and she knew they'd be interested in knowing where she was called to serve.  She wrote out the three notes, but then she thought of another teacher, Mrs. White, who was a good teacher, but not one of her favorites.  In fact, she wasn't sure if Mrs. White even liked her! But, she felt impressed to write her a note.

It was Krista's intent to go to the school and hand-deliver the notes to the teachers on a Monday.     When she got to the school, she found out that she couldn't just go in a visit the teachers in their classrooms.  She had to register at the office 24 hours in advance of her visit.  So, she registered and planned to come back Tuesday.  As she was leaving the school, she thought of another teacher that she really liked - one that she hadn't thought of initially.  Before her visit back to the school the next day, she had time to write him, Mr. Sullivan, a note also.

On Tuesday, she delivered the first three notes to her favorite teachers and they were all glad to see her and wished her well.  Some of them had questions for her, like what she would be doing, how long she'd be gone and so forth.  When she went to visit Mrs. White, she found out that she had not been doing well.  She found out over Summer break that she has cancer, so she's been battling that. She was grateful for Krista's visit and her note.

When she first went to Mr. Sullivan's room, he wasn't there.  Someone told her that he had lunchroom duty, so she went to the lunchroom, hoping to find him there, but she didn't.  On her way out of the school, she thought she'd stop by his classroom once more and she found him there.  He too was glad to see her.  He said, "Now, what's the name of your church?"  She started to tell him that she belonged to the Church of Jesus Christ..." but he finished her sentence for her.  "Of Latter-day Saints?"  She told him yes, that was her church.  She said that his face really brightened up as he said that.  He told her, "I've been thinking a lot about that church lately and I want to know more about it." He said that it was neither the time nor place to talk with her about it right then, but that he'd like to talk with her about her church.

Krista was convinced that she was prompted by the Spirit to contact Mrs. White and Mr. Sullivan. They hadn't been in her initial plans, but she was glad that she took the time to write them notes and visit with them both.

They think they're coming to South Carolina for work...

The Charleston Sisters called today for 13 copies of the Book of Mormon...6 in Talalog, 3 in Portuguese, 3 in Spanish and 1 in French.  There is so much diversity in South Carolina!    I was reminded today of  what one of the departing Spanish Elders said in Transfer Meeting last month.  Elder Call said, "They think they are coming to South Carolina for work.  Little do they know, they are coming to find the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

We are seeing more and more evidence of people being prepared by The Lord to receive His Gospel! I am so thankful to be a part of his great work!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

We are here in SC for a reason.

Today was Krista Jacob's "farewell."  She leaves Tuesday to serve in the CA, Anaheim Mission.   I know Krista was called to Anaheim for a purpose, known to The Lord who inspired a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to assign her there.  Brother Starling was one of the speakers at today's service.  He quoted a talk that was given in October General Conference in 2011 by Elder W. Christopher Waddell.  I love this story!  I have heard many like it.
A few years ago, Elder Javier Misiego, from Madrid, Spain, was serving a full-time mission in Arizona. At that time, his mission call to the United States appeared somewhat unusual, as most young men from Spain were being called to serve in their own country.
At the conclusion of a stake fireside, where he and his companion had been invited to participate, Elder Misiego was approached by a less-active member of the Church who had been brought by a friend. It was the first time this man had been inside a chapel in years. Elder Misiego was asked if he might know a José Misiego in Madrid. When Elder Misiego responded that his father’s name was José Misiego, the man excitedly asked a few more questions to confirm that this was the José Misiego. When it was determined that they were speaking about the same man, this less-active member began to weep. “Your father was the only person I baptized during my entire mission,” he explained and described how his mission had been, in his mind, a failure. He attributed his years of inactivity to some feelings of inadequacy and concern, believing that he had somehow let the Lord down.
Elder Misiego then described what this supposed failure of a missionary meant to his family'. He told him that his father, baptized as a young single adult, had married in the temple, that Elder Misiego was the fourth of six children, that all three boys and a sister had served full-time missions, that all were active in the Church, and that all who were married had been sealed in the temple.
The less-active returned missionary began to sob. Through his efforts, he now learned, scores of lives had been blessed, and the Lord had sent an elder from Madrid, Spain, all the way to a fireside in Arizona to let him know that he had not been a failure. The Lord knows where He wants each missionary to serve.
I know that the Lord wants Jack and me in South Carolina.  At one time, I thought I knew why, but for whatever purpose, He wants us here, and I pray that we will be equal to the tasks that He wants us to accomplish.  :o)

Monday, October 13, 2014

More scooter-pootin' took us to Cypress Garden in Monck's Corner

Since we only have a few short months left in the mission, we're trying to get out and about and see some of the things we've never seen before!  I had wondered for a long time what a town named Good Creek looked like.  I've also wanted to see Monck's Corner since they used to give us such a hard time with forwarding our mail.  And Summerville - we wanted to make a stop at "Perfectly Franks," another place that was featured on Guy Fieri's Drive Ins, Diners and Dives.

Once we arrived in the area, we shot out a text to the local missionaries to see what they recommended.  They told us they hadn't done a lot of sight seeing - which is always a good sign - but they had heard of a couple of plantations and a park, and some of them mentioned Cypress Gardens. That was a winner!

The cost to enter the park was just right with a senior and a military discount!  Once inside the park, we could have taken a paddle boat out at no charge, but we opted for a guided tour which was $5 each.  It was so worth it!  Our guide, Mark, was very knowledgeable and very friendly and accommodating!  He had us out on the "swamp-lake" for 45 minutes.

 Out on the dock waiting for the guided boat tour

 Cypress knees everywhere!

 Great boat ride through the swamp/lake!

 I'd like to be here in Spring with lilies in full bloom!

 A bridge that was in the movie, The Notebook

 Bald Cypress Trees has needles but they change color in the fall and drop over the winter!

What a beautiful scene!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Come and see...

Here is Elder Bednar's talk from the Sunday afternoon session of October General Conference.  It is directed to those who are NOT members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It is directed to those who are NOT Mormon.

Please, please listen to what he says!  I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ so much.  I love it, and like any other thing that I love, I want to share with the people I love.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sometimes I get discouraged...

After watching two days of General Conference, I'm sad to see it come to an end.  The final talk of conference this afternoon was by Elder Bednar's.  He spoke to people who are not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  He told them WHY we as members keep inviting them to hear the gospel message.

1 - We follow the counsel of Jesus in the scriptures when He said, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.  Amen.

2 - We know how the blessings of the Gospel have enriched our own lives and want to share them with those we love.

It seems like I've been inviting and inviting and testifying and nobody is interested.

It's kind of like cooking for days to prepare a banquet for those you love, but nobody shows up - or if they do show up, they refuse to eat.  They won't even TASTE a bite to see if they like what you made for them.

Maybe there are some who are influenced by what I write, or what I post on FaceBook.  Maybe I'll never know.  It does get discouraging, but I'll keep sharing.  I HAVE to share that which is most precious to me.  I HAVE to share with the friends and family members I love because I want them to feel the joy that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has brought into my life.

Friday, October 3, 2014

A prophet just like Noah, Adam, Moses, Enoch, Abraham...

I am so excited for Conference Weekend!  I was thinking this morning about how many of my friends and family members do not know that there IS a living prophet in the world today.  President Thomas S. Monson is a prophet just like Adam was a prophet, or Enoch, or Abraham, or Isaac, or Noah, or Moses were prophets! He speaks for God today.

If YOU don't believe there are still prophets on the earth, I invite you to read through this brief prepared by attorney Hugh B. Brown shortly before WWII. He prepared this brief at the request of a colleague in England who thought his belief in a living prophet was fantasy.

I began by asking, “May I proceed, sir, on the assumption that you are a Christian?”
“I am.”
“I assume you believe in the Bible—the Old and New Testaments?”
“I do!”
“Do you believe in prayer?”
“I do!”
“You say that my belief that God spoke to a man in this age is fantastic and absurd?”
“To me it is.”
“Do you believe that God ever did speak to anyone?”
“Certainly, all through the Bible we have evidence of that.”
“Did He speak to Adam?”
“To Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jacob, Joseph, and on through the prophets?”
“I believe He spoke to each of them.”
“Do you believe that contact between God and man ceased when Jesus appeared on the earth?”
“No, such communication reached its climax, its apex, at that time.”
“Do you believe that Jesus was the Son of God?”
“He was.”
“Do you believe, sir, that after Jesus was resurrected, a certain lawyer—who was also a tent maker by the name of Saul of Tarsus—when on his way to Damascus talked with Jesus of Nazareth, who had been crucified, resurrected, and had ascended into heaven?”
“I do.”
“Whose voice did Saul hear?”
“It was the voice of Jesus Christ, for He so introduced Himself.”
“Then, my Lord—that is the way we address judges in the British Commonwealth—I am submitting to you in all seriousness that it was standard procedure in Bible times for God to talk to man.”
“I think I will admit that, but it stopped shortly after the first century of the Christian era.”
“Why do you think it stopped?”
“I can’t say.”
“You think that God hasn't spoken since then?”
“I am sure He hasn't.”
“There must be a reason. Can you give me a reason?”
“I do not know.”
“May I suggest some possible reasons? Perhaps God does not speak to man anymore because He cannot. He has lost the power.”
He said, “Of course that would be blasphemous.”
“Well, then, if you don’t accept that, perhaps He doesn't speak to men because He doesn't love us anymore and He is no longer interested in the affairs of men.”
“No,” he said, “God loves all men, and He is no respecter of persons.”
“Well, then, if He could speak, and if He loves us, then the only other possible answer, as I see it, is that we don’t need Him. We have made such rapid strides in science and we are so well educated that we don’t need God anymore.”
And then he said—and his voice trembled as he thought of impending war—“Mr. Brown, there never was a time in the history of the world when the voice of God was needed as it is needed now. Perhaps you can tell me why He doesn't speak.”
My answer was: “He does speak, He has spoken; but men need faith to hear Him.”

I know God lives.  I know that He loves us still today and that He has sent us prophets to guide us back to Him.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Hey Dummy!

President Turner asked me to alphabetize his interview book.  All the missionarie' interview sheets had been organized into the six zones.  I pulled out a couple of zones and tried laying each sheet in a pile according to the last name.  I could see that that wasn't going to work!  Not enough space on the table for 26 piles!!!  Next, I decided to put them in the book one at a time, according to the first letter of the last name.  Too many openings and shuttings of the binder.  Hmmm.  Then, it HIT me!  I seriously felt as if the Spirit whispered in my ear, "Hey dummy!  You have an alphabetizer file that you use for the mail.  Go get it!  It will make your job simple!"  Not sure the Holy Ghost would actually say that to me, But I felt like a dummy.  Why couldn't I have thought of that in the first place?  Why? Because I'm OLD!  That's why!  This was one of the many, many times I have felt the Spirit guide me in my work at the mission office.  :o)

Transfer Day - only 4 to go...

It seems like transfers comes around every three weeks, rather than every six!  The time is going so quickly!  This one was a little different.  The incoming missionaries didn't introduce themselves. They stood as they were introduced.  One of the APs (Elder Willie as I recall) told who they were and where they were from.

Then the departing missionaries each spoke briefly, bearing their testimonies and talking a bit about their missions.  I jotted down a few thoughts...

Sister Derrick -  I'm thankful for the opportunity to serve.  The work is amazing.  God's goal is to have all His children return to Him.

Sister Miller - I didn't want to open my flight information.  It was the best 18 months of my life.  I loved seeing the change the Gospel brought into people's lives.

Sister Rogers - I'm a finisher!  I know that God knows me and this mission was tailor-made for me!

Sister Roundy - I'm thankful for this time to serve and see change in people.  Change is good.  Don't be afraid of your potential.  Testify to the enabling power of the atonement.  The worst it's ever been is wonderful.

Sister Mumford - When I came out, I thought I was making a big sacrifice.  It's not a sacrifice at all!  I am blessed to have been a part of it!

Sister Winsor - Love is the motivator!  Change is necessary and good.

Sister Boyson - I'm fixin' to leave. :o)  I'm excited to go home and move on, but kiss the ground, for it is heaven.  Christ is my Savior and friend.  I need the atonement!

Sister Willis - The measure of success is intent, effort and commitment.  It wouldn't be wonderful if it wasn't hard.  I'm thankful for the struggles.

Elder Davis - I'm grateful for the changes people made.  "What we see around us is what we seek in life."  Elder Oaks

Elder Potts - My mission changed my life.  The people of South Carolina impacted me!

Elder Harris - I'm grateful for the people I met on my mission.  My mission will always be a part of my life!

Elder Call - I have a simple testimony.  Two years is nothing!  I did my best and gave God my all. I'm thankful for the opportunity to serve.  I loved seeing the families come into the church.  So many of them came to SC for work.  Little did they know that they came here to hear the Gospel.

Sister Law and Sister Patterson sang "I Feel My Savior's Love."  Beautiful!

President Turner - The Lord is in charge of this mission.  No time is that more evident than at transfers.  Inspiration comes, and it comes with clarity.  Do not give me any credit.  And do not blame me.  :o)  Heavenly Father has a grand plan and He has an individual plan for each one of us.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Temple Square Sisters

We are blessed once again to have Temple Square Sisters come to our mission for their two-transfer proselyting experience.  Sister Mathias is from Germany and Sister Torino is from the Philippines. They have been on their missions  at Temple Square since last November.  I expected Sister Mathias to have a German accent, and I was brushing up on my language skills so I could speak a little Deutsch with her, but out of her mouth came beautiful British English!  Sister Torino came to the US knowing no English.  She said she just knew that she would be called to serve in the Philippines, so she studied another dialect as she prepared to serve, but instead of being assigned to the Philippines, she was sent to Temple Square in Salt Lake City. Her 1st language is Tagalog.  Now she knows three languages,  :o)

Sister Mathias and Sister Torino

Sister Mathias, Sister Rudy, Sister Wheelock and Sister Torino

These four met and went to the mission home so President could interview the two Temple Square Sisters - then he assigned them to their new trainers.  Sister Mathias will spend the next three months in Summerville with Sister Wheelock and Sister Torino will be working with Sister Rudy in Camden.

Switching Missions Mid-Stream

We've been blessed to have three visa-waiters in our mission for a good long time!  Elder Gonzalez and Elder Blackner have been in the SCCM a little over a year.  Elder Orchard came in January.  Finally...FINALLY, their visas arrived!  They were "excited but nervous," to be going to Brazil.  All three went to different missions, but they got to travel to SanPaulo together.  They will spend two weeks in the MTC down there before they ship out to their assigned areas.  President Turner said, "Actually, I'm a little bitter.  I just lost three GREAT missionaries!"  :o)  Glad we will be seeing them again at our SCCM reunions.

Elder Blackner and Elder Orchard spent their last night with us, then Jack took them to the airport.

Elder Orchard, Elder Gonzalez (who met up with us at the office) and Elder Blackner

I had to get a shot of Elder Gonzalez' ring!  A member made it for him out of a dollar bill.  :o)

Losing one of our Sisters...

It is getting harder and harder to see our missionaries go home.  Sister Roundy has been a Sister-Training-Leader and has come to our home for Sunday Dinner for quite some time.  Now she will be leaving the SCCM and returning home.  We love Sister Roundy!

Last Sunday with Sister Roundy...

Monday, September 29, 2014

State Farmers' Market

Finally!  A REAL farmers' market!  Most of the farmers' markets you see are a little bit of produce and the rest food booths and assorted crafts, etc.  This is a real farmers' market with produce from all over the state of South Carolina.  It is huge!  It is so big that two lanes of cars can get down the center of the building with room to spare.  Produce is lined up on either side of the open-air building.  It is pretty cool!  We tasted muscadines for the first time ever!  I had never even seen a muscadine!  The green ones taste just like a green table grape Dad used to have in his orchard on 12th.  They are a lot bigger than a regular grape - and round.  They have VERY thick skins though, and I have a hard time getting past that.

Half bushels of raw peanuts

Sweet potatoes and bushels of raw peanuts

Colors of the fall harvest 

Outside the building.  Farmers just drive right up and unload their produce then display and sell it under the shelter.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Just a couple a Farm Boys...

We took the Chapin Elders (Elder Arnoldsen and Elder Weston) to Farm Boy's BBQ last night.  We sign up once a month to take them and the Chapin Sisters to dinner.  If they loved closer, we'd just have them come to our apartment, but they don't.  It was my first time there.  I had collards again, but I didn't like them as well as the Farmer's Shed's.  Those boys really filled up their plates!  :o)
Look at these two!  Love 'em both!  Elder Arnoldsen's plate reminds me of that saying I saw at Cracker Barrel...

"It ain't food if it ain't fried!"

Going home...

Sister London Walker and Elder Jordan Saunders stopped in at the office Thursday on their way to the temple.  The had dinner that night at the mission home - then stayed over so they could leave early for their flights home.  We will miss both of them!

A member gave Sister Walker this long-board (guess that's what it's called) and Elder Larsen said he'd ship it home for her.  :o)
Ready to ride!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Surprise party for Sister Munson

Bienheim Ginger Ale

When we were in Charleston, Danny and Dalena went to Harris Teeter's.  He loves Harris Teeters from his GWU days where he lived right across the street from one.  Anyway, they found some ginger ale, which he also loves, so they bought an 8-pack.It happened to be Bienheim's, a ginger ale that is made in Hamer, SC.  It was THE STRONGEST ginger ale I've ever tasted!  It almost tastes medicinal!  We ended up bringing two bottles back to Columbia with us, so we decided to see if the Elders would like it.  When we were explaining it to them, Elder Muir knew exactly what we were talking about.  He had had some a while back and had been looking for it in this area.  He was thrilled to help us finished it off!  Elder Willie?  Not so much.  He had one word for it...NASTY!

It's stronger than root beer!

Working on the Harvester

Sister Barlow was such a great help in doing the Harvester each month!  I would throw all the pictures and stories together, then go into her office and together, we'd perfect it.  She was such a perfectionist!  And we had so much fun together!  Sometimes we'd get giggling and I'm sure the others thought we were having a party in there, but we put out some great newsletters!

Sister Barlow:  "Which do you like best?  Number one?  Number two?  Number one?  Number two?"
Me:  "You sound like my optometrist!"

A visit from the Okies

Danny and Dalena, Magda and Bronson came to visit us last week.  It was so good to have them here!  One of my favorite sights was to walk past the bathroom and see a baby in the tub!  Ahhh! Loved it!

They visited a few of the Triple-D eateries while they were here...The Farmer's Shed, Pawley's Front Porch and we tended the kids while D&D went to the Early Bird Diner in Charleston.

We went to the beach and to Boone Hall Plantation.  The kids loved being on stage with the Gullah presenter there.  They also liked the wagon ride - well Magda did - it put Bronson to sleep.

We went to the zoo, early in the morning.  We left by 11:30 because the kids were tired and it got so dang hot!  But they had fun.

It was a joy having them here with us, and there was, as always, a great big hole in my heart when they left.

This is how they met us at the airport.  :o)

Magda like posing for silly pics and then looking at herself on my camera.

Ready for the beach!

On stage at the Gullah presentation

Watching Grandpa Jack feed the birds

Dancing in the mister at the zoo

Riding the turtle

Mr. Independent - putting on his own shoes

Rub-a-dub-dub, two kids in the tub!

Portrait by The Wall