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 to...to 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 lds.org 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.