Sunday, January 26, 2014

Columbia West Stake Conference - "It's like eating a cookie! It's GOOD! And you just want to share it!"

Saturday night session of Stake Conference was marvelous!  A counselor in the Stake Presidency, a young, returned missionary from the stake, President and Sister Holm and our Stake President all spoke.

President Barfield talked about compasses, or Liahonas in our lives...Scriptures, prayer and our patriarchal blessings were three of them that I got written down.  We all need compasses to help us find the way back to God and His Son, Jesus Christ.  God has provided us with many compasses - and we need to use them!

President Holm told of an experience some of our missionaries had this past week.  They were helping a bishop with a job in his ward, and the truck they were in stopped in the middle of the country.  They got out and opened up the hood and went through the process of trying to find out the problem so they could fix it and get on their way.  I guess they worked on the engine for quite some time and were about to give up, when the bishop's 7-year-old son hollered to his dad from inside the cab of the truck, "Try it now, Dad!"  (as if he had done something to help).  His dad decided to humor his boy, and climbed into the cab and try again.  This time the engine started right up.  He said to his son, "What did you do?"  The 7-year-old replied, "I said a prayer that the truck would start."  Ah!  The faith of a child!!!  Love children!!!

President Shurtleff is an institute teacher at USC and Clemson, and he is a stellar speaker!  He started off by asking people in the congregation to share missionary experiences with everyone.  It was a little slow getting started, but in the end quite a few people shared their stories.  It is interesting that almost all of them were young people - one young girl who couldn't have been more than 12!  It is so amazing to see how prepared some people are to receive the gospel.  Heavenly Father is certainly working on the hearts of the people of this state.  He wants all of His children to return to Him, and the only way that is possible is for them to receive the ordinance of baptism by the proper priesthood authority.  Missionary work in the south will be exploding in the next few years!

One young black boy, about 16 or 17 years of age, shared his story.  He had friends at school who kept inviting him to church, and finally he took them up on their offer.  He went and he loved it.  He said he felt like he was home.  (We heard that from a lot of people, actually.)  After he was baptized, he was relentless in asking his other friends to come to church and to join him in church activities.  He told us, "It's like eating a cookie!  It's GOOD and you just want other people to try it too."  He was SO cute!  Beautiful big, white smile!!!

There were more stories - but I'm done for tonight.  Been talking to the family and it's LATE!  Time for this old Sister to go to bed!

Back to Ecuador for Elder Zurita

Thursday was Elder Zurita's last day in the mission.  He never worked in the Columbia area while we were her, so we didn't get to know him really well - but I've heard that he was an outstanding Spanish-Speaking missionary!  When he and Elder Noyes got to the office, Elder Zurita was nervous as a cat!  I told him he reminded me of a soon-to-be new father in the waiting room of labor and delivery!  He was totally pacing.  Pacing the office!  I put him and his companion to work blacking out postal codes on the letters and packages.  We chatted as they worked.  I asked, "So, Elder Zurita, does it seem like your time has passed quickly?"  "Oh, Sister Arrington!" he exclaimed.  "You have no idea!"  (Actually, I do!  I cannot believe 1/4 of our mission is over!)  Elder Zurita plans to go home and work till fall, then go to school.  He would really love to get into BYU, but if he doesn't, he'll go to a university in Ecuador.  I know he will be successful in whatever he does!!!  Bless his heart!
Helping to mark out the postal codes.  Love this young Elder!!!

Senior Training

Tuesday, January 21st, at 2 PM, we met at the Irmo chapel for Senior Training.  We postponed this meeting till the 21st so the Fergusons would be able to attend.  They just got into town last weekend.  It was so fun getting together!  The Towers weren't able to make it, because Sister Towers was sick, and the Schallers couldn't come either - but everyone else was there and it was great!  We had training from President and Sister Holm, then we adjourned to the Mission Home for a wonderful meal, prepared by Sister Contini.  We got home just in time for our call from Dad.

One thing Jack and I both took from the Senior Training, is the fact that we need to be more engaged in the branch.  We have been assigned 3 less-active families to fellowship, and we need to work harder on that!  We got some pamphlets at the preparedness class a couple of months ago.  I'm thinking we should drive out to see our assigned people, taking them the pamphlets...and maybe a loaf of Dilly Bread.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Two New Sisters!

We're doing Sunday dinner rotations a little differently now.  Because there are three Sister Training Leaders in the area - and 4 Sisters living with Sister Barlow, there are three of us in the rotation now.  Sister Barlow will alternate with 4 sisters and 3 sisters - and the Fentons and we will have the elders every other week and alternate the 4 sisters and 3.  Jack drew up a schedule so it wouldn't be too confusing for us old folks.  :o) Check out these cute sisters!

Sister Schauerhamer, Sister Law, Sister Davis and Sister Lester.

After dinner we all went into the living room for their spiritual thought/lesson.  As we were walking in, Sister Schauerhamer said to Sister Law, "Did you change your skirt?"  Sister Law replied, "Yes.  This is my eating skirt."  I wondered if it was washable and the other one wasn't...but nope!  The one she changed into had an elastic waist, so she could eat as much as she wanted.  Hahaha.

Making Our Home Our Own

I have not loved the pillows in our living room.  One is a reddish orange and the other three are black.  I wanted some color!  So, we stopped in the fabric section of our local Walmart and found these two pieces of fabric.  Now...if I can borrow Sister Fenton's sewing machine, I'll be in business.  They should be pretty easy.  Sew 'em up and stuff the pillows inside, right?

I can't wait to see them done.  I love the floral print!  Three new pillows for $10 - not bad, eh?
We went to the Fentons' Tuesday night and got the pillows sewed up.
It was so fun to sit and visit with Elder and Sister Fenton. was nice to finally have my pillows covered.
There are actually two floral pillows, but only one is in the pic.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Elder Sunshine Barker

Here's a shot I got of Elder Barker - nickname is Sunshine - at Red Robin.  I sent it to his mom and she was thrilled.  He's a cute Elder - very young.  I think he just turned 18 in May, so just a couple of weeks older than Tyler.  He replaced Elder Nisson who is up in Gaffney now.

Elder Barker in the lobby at Red Robin.
He's holding up the Book of Mormon as a light unto the world.  :o)

Caught With My Hand in the Cookie Jar!!!

We had signed up to feed the Chapin Elders last night, January 14th.  Usually, when we feed the Chapin Elders, we pick them up and their place and take them to dinner in Chapin, because it's a good 20 minutes away from us, and to bring them to our place for dinner and take them home would be way too time consuming!  Restaurants in Chapin are very limited, so when we heard that there was a zone training meeting all day at the Stake Center and Elders Speck and Barker would be there, we were excited, because that would greatly enhance our options for dinner. What we should have done was bring them to our home for dinner, then take them on to Chapin.  (Didn't think of that till just now!)

Instead, we asked them where they'd like to go.  Elder Speck had a $10 gift card for Red Robin, so he said he'd like to go there.  We put Red Robin in the GPS and it said there was one 28 minutes from the Stake Center.  Well, that would have been fine if we had been heading toward Chapin to get to Red Robin.  Instead, we were heading in the exact opposite direction.  But off we went!  I was feeling very uncomfortable the whole way.  I knew we were way out of our area - more importantly, out of the Elders' area.  It seemed like it too forever to get to Red Robin!

Jack and I ordered the same thing we always get at Red Robin at home (been there 1/2 a dozen times), but it wasn't nearly as good as I remembered.  The Elders loved their burgers, though, and we had a nice chat over the meal.  

Just as we were finishing up and preparing to leave, I noticed that someone was calling my cell phone.  I pulled it out of my purse and looked at the screen.  "President Holm - end/answer."  I passed it off to Jack.  "I'm not talking to him!"  Yikes!  HOW did he know where we were??? 

When I verbalized that thought, "How did he know???"  Elder Barker said, "He has eyes in the back of his head." Haha!  

Turned out that the President actually wanted to talk to me.  He was in the office and noticed that I had several name tags bagged up and ready to deliver to missionaries, throughout the mission, who had ordered them.  He was going to be up in Greenville today and wanted to know if he could take the tags that needed to go to that area with him.  Whew!

The drive back home seemed a lot quicker.  Shortly after we left Red Robin, I heard Elder Speck on the phone in the back seat.  He was calling the APs to let them know what we had done.  Confession!  Haha!  I guess he felt that he needed to come clean.  :o)  Elder Hatch told him not to do it again and have him a "slap on the wrist over the phone."  

The part that made me feel worst was that we didn't get the Elders back to their apartment till 7:00.  We had wasted an hour of their prime time for finding and teaching.  That won't happen again!  

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Thank Goodness for Cans O' Beans!!!

We invited the 3 APS to dinner this Sunday, along with the standard, Irmo Elders, but they said they wouldn't be able to make it.  When I realized it would just be two missionaries and us, I decided to "take the day off" and just heat up the Buckaroo Beans that were left from the Chili Cook-off last night.

When we got to the car this afternoon after church, Jack had to run back in because he'd left his scriptures.  When he came out and got in the car, he said, "I'm going to be in big trouble."  What?  "I ran into the APs and told them we were sorry they couldn't make it to dinner, but their schedule has changed, and they're coming."  Holy cow!!!  I didn't know what I was going to do!  There was plenty of soup left for four of us, and that, along with Amy's cornbread would make a great meal.  But SEVEN of us?  And the three APs are BIG guys!  One of them is an all-state football player and wrestling champ!

Had to do some magic...and Elder Arrington had to help!  Luckily, I had a couple cans of black beans and a can of pinto beans in the pantry - also a can of diced tomatoes.  Extra onion, green pepper, spices and 1 1/2 lbs. of ground beef later and we were in business.  I made up the new soup, dumped it in with the old and heated it in the slow cooker set on high.  Made up a full recipe of Amy's cornbread, which they all loved.  It all turned out great!  No need to panic! Whew!

Five well-fed Elders!  Love 'em all!!!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Chapin Branch Chili Cook-Off

Tonight we went to the Chapin Branch's third annual chili cook-off.  The chili's I had were delicious!  There were about 15 entries.  I took Buckaroo Beans.  There were quite a few left, so I'm feeding them to the missionaries tomorrow...along with some of Amy's famous corn bread!

Brother Lee, a convert of about a year, made this beautiful trophy for the cook-off.  It's a rotating trophy, carved out of wood.

The Cashes had the trophy last year.  This year, Brother Starling's chili won grand prize.  :o)

We're Goin' High Tech, Y'all!

Ann sent each of us two sheets of QR code stickers to use on our Pass-along cards.  Pretty cool, huh?

I want to see these work!  Pretty high tech, eh?

Friday, January 10, 2014

Our Daughter the Mayor of West Haven City

We got to watch, via FaceTime, our oldest daughter, Sharon, as she was sworn in as Mayor of West Haven City on January 6th, 2014.  So thrilled that we "got to be there" for that!  Congratulations
, Shron!  We have every confidence that you will do an amazing job!  We love you so much!!!

The swearing in

Sharon and her Grandpa Grose...
So thrilled that he could be there for this occasion.  It meant the world to Sharon.

Taught and Humbled by My Children

Jack and I decided to take a few days and go home in March for the wedding of our first grandchild, Alexis.  When we asked President Holm for permission Wednesday night, he readily gave it.  "But," he said, "Let me tell you what you're going to be missing."  Another apostle is coming to our mission on March 8th.  We don't know who, yet.  We told President that we could probably come back in time to hear him speak.

As I checked airfares last night, I found that if we left on Tuesday, March 4th, and returned on Monday, March 10th, the fare out of Columbia would be only $392 round trip.  If we left on Tuesday and returned Friday, it would be $539!  That's quite a bit of money.  So I was thinking that it would be cool to stay the extra few days and save some money as well.  We'd be giving up listening to an Apostle, but it would be okay.  I asked Jack what he thought, and he said he'd rather come back on Friday, even though it would be more expensive.  I was leaning toward coming back on Monday, but knew it wouldn't kill me if we came back early.  I decided to email the kids and get their thoughts on the matter.  I was thinking that they'd all say they're like us to stay a little longer.  Ha!  Not!

These are four of the replies we got, before I finally texted them and told them to stop!

"Come home for the wedding and get back to your mission.  You're coming home for a purpose, not a party."

"I think you're old enough, but not too old, to make your own decision."  :o)

"It would be nice to have you here longer, but it isn't every day you get to be taught by an apostle.  I would say you are pretty lucky to come back for the wedding and you, your family, and the missionaries you serve will be blessed if you return to where you are called to be."

"If I'm trying to make a hard choice, I try envisioning making each one and how I would feel.  Sounds simple, but it works.  If you missed the apostle to save money, would you be okay with that?  If you heard the apostle by paying more would you feel satisfied that it was worth it?"

Our minds are now made up.  Our tickets are now purchased.  We will be flying back to Utah on the 4th and returning on the 7th, and it will be worth it.

I am so grateful for our children - everyone of them - and for our children who have married into my family. I love them all!!!  How could we possibly be more blessed???

Seven New Ford Fusions!

Everyone in the office (everyone but me), along with four local Elders, left this afternoon to go pick up SEVEN brand new cars for the mission.  I am so glad that I opted to be the one to stay at the office!  It took 15 minutes for them to drive over to Dick Smith's on Two Notch Road to pick up the cars, and almost an hour to get back to the office in a driving rainstorm!  Thankfully, they all arrived safely, and without incident. If we have a good day tomorrow, I'll run out to the parking lot and get a pic of the 7 new vehicles.  Nice cars!

And here they are!  Our new babies!  They'll be out in the field the first of next week.  :o)
 Those young missionaries better take care of  'em!

$.99 Cent Chicken Sandwich

I went to Wendy's yesterday to get Jack something for lunch.  He was tied up at the office.  I knew he liked spicy, so I ordered him a Spicy Chipoltle Chicken Sandwich.  When the worker confirmed my order, she said it would be $1.06.  I asked her to repeat that.  "$1.06."  What do you have for my order?" I asked.  A chicken chipoltle sandwich, was the reply.  When I got to the window for pick-up, the worker said, "How much you think it was going to cost?"  I told her more than a dollar!  I asked to look inside the bag.  Hmmm.  "I thought it would be a lot bigger than this!"  It was about 2 1/2 inches in diameter.  It was good, but it was small.  I told the woman it was for my husband and she said, "Oh, he's goin' be mad at you!!!"  Good thing we had a big breakfast and Jack wasn't very hungry!

Gone in two bites!  Hahaha!

The Dearly Departed

A truly wonderful group of young men!  We got to have dinner at the Mission Home with these departing Elders on Wednesday night.  They all flew home the next morning.  Nothing is more difficult than leaving a mission that you've poured your heart and soul into for 24 months!  I admire these six Elders so much!

All the Newbees - What A Wonderful Group!!!

Eleven elders and ten sisters.  What an amazing group!  President Holm said someone from the MTC called and told him that he was getting the best of the best!  Only the second time in 2 1/2 years he's gotten a call like that.

Off to Transfers!

Here's a shot I got of the three new sisters who stayed with us before the January Transfer.  Just love them to pieces!  We had just left the apartment to drive them to the church to get their new companions and leave for their assigned areas.
Sisters Lamborn, Ridley and Vaifanua

Love These Missionaries!

The Elders and the Sisters are always so appreciative of us office workers!  Missions truly bring out the best in these young people!  They always thank us for the things we do and they're always telling us they love us.   Gosh!  It's great to be in the office and be in contact with so many of them!  I talk to so many of them on the phone, but never get to see them to really put names with faces.  During transfers, and training meetings and zone conferences, I get to see a lot of them, so I'm getting to be a little more familiar with them.  I decided Saturday, I'm going to keep a file on my desk that has all the missionaries' pictures in it.  Whenever they call to order media, or  new name tags, I'm going to look at their pictures as I talk to them.  :o)

Got money in the mail Monday to pay for Elder Marberger's new name tags.  He included this note and origami as a thank you.  :o)

Love this cute origami missionary shirt and tie...and name tag.  ♥♥♥

Three New Sisters Sleep-Over!

We were blessed with the opportunity to house three new sisters again this transfer.  Sister Lamborn is from Providence, UT.  Sisters Ridley and Vaifuna are both from Southern California.  All three are beautiful young women - inside and out.  I admire them so much for choosing to serve!  It was so fun to sit and visit with them a bit in the evenings, after they returned from training and knocking doors with their temporary trainers.  Monday night, I walked into the kitchen and saw something turning around and around inside my was a COW!  What???  A cow in my microwave?!?  It belonged to Sister Lamborn.  It was a microwavable beanbag cow.  She was heating it up to take to bed with her to keep herself warm.  One of the cutest things I've even seen!
A COW in my microwave?!?!?!

Sister Lamborn's cow  :o)

Is There More than "Finding" Jesus? Matthew 7:7

One of my FaceBook friends posted this picture today.  It's clever, and I'm sure that a lot of people feel this way.  I am GLAD that the person who created the sign found Jesus!  There is NOBODY who isn't a better person by having FOUND Jesus!

People who have found Jesus, who love Him and worship Him and try their best to follow Him are some of the best people on earth.  I have many, many friends who have found Jesus, and I love all of them!  They have found Jesus...but have they found His church?  The church that He, Himself organized when He lived on earth, in the Holy Lands?  The church with Apostles and Prophets, and the authority to baptize and perform holy ordinances in His name?

The church that Jesus established was taken from the earth shortly after He and all His Apostles died, and it was not restored to the earth until a young, 14-year-old boy went into a grove of trees to pray, and ask God which of all the many, many churches he should join.  He was confused.  Some of his family had joined one church, and some another.  He wanted to know WHICH of all the churches he should join.  As he read in his bible, in the Book of James, chapter 1, verse 5, he read, "If any of ye lack wisdom, let him ask of God - who giveth to all men librally and upbraideth no, and it shall be given him."  Joseph had been taught to pray, and he, even at his young age, knew that God answers prayers.  So he got up early one morning and walked into a grove of trees across from his farmhouse and knelt to ask God which church he should join.

While praying in that grove of trees, this young, 14-year-old boy, Joseph Smith Jr., received a vision of God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, who told him to join none of the churches, but to prepare himself, because he was the person whom the Lord had chosen to help restore His church to the earth once again. The time had come that was spoken of in Revelation 14:6..."And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,"  The angel was Moroni, a Book of Mormon prophet, who taught and trained young Joseph until it was time for The Lord's church to be restored.

I testify that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord's church restored to the earth. Not re-organized, but restored, just as it was in ancient times, with all the power and authority it once had.  I know that the Book of Mormon was revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith, and he was allowed to translate it and publish it so that all the world would be able to read this other record that, like the Holy Bible, testifies of the divinity of the Lord, Jesus Christ.

I invite all who read this blog to read the Book of Mormon and study the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Do it and pray, and God will let you know that it is His.  Don't take my word for it - find out for yourself.  

You can learn more about the church by going to  You can read on your own, you can chat with some one who will answer your questions, or you can request missionaries to come to your home and teach you.    

Let me close this post with my testimony.  God lives.  He hears and answers our prayers.  He LOVES us. We are His children!  He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to teach us, to set an example for us and to redeem us from our sins so that when we die, we can return to live with God and Jesus again!  He has also given us holy temple ordinances, where we can be joined as eternal families by those who have the authority from Jesus Christ to do that. 

I love my Heavenly Father and His Holy Son, Jesus Christ.  To them I owe EVERYTHING.  Without them, I am nothing!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Out of the Mouths of Babes...

I almost always take note during testimony meeting, but I don't always post them.  There were two today, however that really touched my heart and I want to remember them.

The first was a young mom, who told about the prayer of her little 7-year-old daughter. She and her brother and sister are always afraid of robbers and boogeymen who might come while they're asleep.  So every night they pray that Heavenly Father will bless them so they won't be afraid and they'll be able to sleep.  One night, after the mom had left the room, the 7-year-old got back on her knees and said a silent prayer.  Later she told her mom what she had prayed about.  She said, "I asked Heavenly Father to help the robbers and boogeymen to know that they are a child of God.  Then, if they know that, they won't do all that bad stuff."

How sweet is that?  I LOVE little kids!

The other testimony I want to remember is one related by a 14-year-old girl.  She is a dancer.  She went to a fireside with the Young Women a few weeks ago and they had a special guest speaker who talked about modesty.  This young 14-year-old made a commitment to herself that night that she would always try to be modest in her dance.  Just a few days later, the dance coach brought the costumes that were going to be used in a dance routine the girls had been practicing since June.  Six whole months!  And the young girl had her place secured in the routine.  However, when she saw the costumes they'd be wearing, she was concerned.  She felt that if she wore that costume, she would be breaking the commitment she had made to herself.  She went and talked to her dance coach.  She told her that she had a problem with the costumes and asked if she could alter hers.  If not, then she would not be able to participate in that routine.  The coach abruptly told her that she was out of the routine.  It pretty much broke her heart.  But she stuck to her guns and kept her commitment.  There was no parental persuasion involved.  It was something she decided on her own.  A while later, the coach called her back and told her that she could participate and could alter her costume.  By then, however, she was content with the decision she had made.  She told us, "I didn't really feel comfortable with that whole routine anyway."

That was a testimony to me of the strength of the youth of the church!  I hope my own grand kids will always hold on to their values and realize the blessings that the Lord has in store for those who do.  :o)

Orientation Booklets

Before the Mihlbergers left, Sister Mihlberger cut about 17 booklets so we wouldn't have so many to do for the next transfer.  Bless her heart!  I only had to cut 12 more of them to cover all the new missionaries and have a few extras for visa waiters.

She had me help cut them, so I'd know how to do it when the job was mine alone.  It was easy enough!  But with her gone, and me with a very bad memory - it took a while before I figured it out again!  Two cuts, turn it upside down and two more cute.  Finally got it and finished up all the cutting and stacking in order.

Jack had to help me figure out how to cut the fronts.  He ended up making a paper copy of the printed cardstock, just so he'd have something to practice on.  I appreciated his help so much and started to realize that I really COULD get the booklets done by transfers!

I remembered the hole punching and the rest was a piece of cake, although a little time consuming!  Dena was freaking out that we do all the booklets by hand - but it's really not too bad if you stay on hop of the job.  When I was down to screwing the little bindings onto the booklets, the STLs asked if they could help me, but I declined their offer.  I just sat at my desk and finished up - and too media orders and requests for help from missionaries.
It was fun screwing in the little bindings.  I told Reagan I'd save her all the little short pieces.
 I'm sure she could think of a project using them.  :o)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

An All-Out Media Day!

So, Wednesday there were LTMs  (Leadership Training Meetings) at the Irmo Chapel.  Jack remembered how in the past, the office was deluged, after the meetings, with missionaries wanting media.  The office was closed on Wednesday because it was New Year's Day.  Jack asked President Holm if he wanted us to go over to the office around 4:00 so we could get media for the Elders and Sisters.  President Holm said he didn't want us to have to do that, so he told Elder Stadel (AP) to send out a mission-wide text letting everyone know that if they wanted media on Wednesday, they needed to call the office and put in their orders.

That was around noon on Tuesday.  From that point on, my day was shot!  I'd barely put down the phone and it would ring again.  When I had 12 orders piled up on my desk, I thought I'd better get to the back room and start putting orders together.  Jack said he'd answer the phone for me and write up any additional orders.  I must have been gathering media for 3 1/2 hours straight and I was pooped!  I admit that I was also murmuring.  When I finally finished and went in on Elder Fenton's computer to check referrals, Elder Hatch, one of the APs,  appeared in the doorway and asked me if I'd do him a favor.  Without even thinking, I said, "NO!"  He started to laugh and I mellowed.  He just wanted me to look up the phone number for Marco's Pizza.  He and Elder Stadel were staying late preparing for the LTMs and needed some dinner.  Jack and I  ended up running to Jimmy John's for sandwiches.  It was my peace offering.  I really was ornery that afternoon.  It's a great idea to send out a text, but send it a week in advance next time, I say!