Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing……..D&C 109:8

In this second week of living out of a suitcase, I’ve realized the great need to be organized.  When leaving the MTC I divided my clothes and such into keep-and-send-back to California piles and carefully washed my clothes of the week. I felt like I was prepared.  I get frustrated when digging through the suitcases to find something I know is there and disrupting all the piles until I can’t find anything the next time I get in.

District in the MTC with Sister Peterson our teacher who served in Norway
Elder and Sister Long going to Salt Lake City, Elder and Sister Archibalds going to Russia as volunteers and the Adams.
This relates to missionary work also. There are many things I know are true but they have lain collected on my memory shelves until this mission when I threw them all together and came out to serve. I need to have a bright testimony of doctrine that I know and where to find it. I know Jesus Christ lives and is our Savior and Redeemer – How do I share that conviction with others? And if I did share would I know where to find exactly what I’m looking for?

I have decided to get some 2-gallon ziplock bags and put my underwear and clothes of the day with accessories in and then when I change clothes the next day I’ll have a bag to put the dirty clothes in. I’m hoping that if I can organize and “see” where my clothes and future living things are, I won’t be so frustrated.

Everyday I read the Book of Mormon and pull out doctrines and principles so they will be fresh and bright in my mind. I’ll have to tell you another day if this all works or not.

My sister Susie and my niece Becka helped me figure out how to pack a suitcase knowing where all the items are

Friday, October 14, 2016

MTC Spirit

There is nothing like sitting on the auditorium floor singing songs about our Redeemer with the voices of hundreds and hundreds of missionaries voices coming from the surrounding risers!

Sunset in Concord, CA a week before we left
Actually it is very hard to join in singing with tears running down.

I met one of those missionaries in the book store when she introduced herself as Sister Jensen and said she we looked familiar from the Stake. Do you remember the Jensens from our ward? I'm pretty sure her name is Anna and I know she attended Girls Camp with us. She is going to Oregon in a Spanish Speaking capacity. I keep looking for others from our Stake, it's pretty hard with about 2000 missionaries here.

The spirit of the Lord is almost palpable while walking down the sidewalks and classrooms of this MTC campus.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Why Are We Called To Foreign Missions?

In May Jeffrey and I met with Elder Lance Wickman of the First Quorum of Seventy. He spoke with us for a bit and invited us to pray about going on a mission. Jeffrey would work in the legal department and I would serve under the direction of the Area President.
In July we received the call. We were asked to serve in the Asia North Area in Manila, Philippines. Why are we called on foreign missions in this church?  I know that men and women from the Philippines are called to serve in foreign lands including America also.

Taking a good look at my home last May, I realized my “stuff” or belongings were crowded, unused, and taking up space. There were many projects waiting for ‘someday’. Knowing I would be gone for 18 months I made a concentrated effort to finish my someday projects. By September I had finished a 12-year quilt, a nine-year quilt, a seven-year quilt, and a quilt started last year. (Beware if I start a thank-you quilt for you, it may be years till you receive it.)
Since May there has been has been a gradually accelerating process of dedication and focus to this new assignment. I started to sort out and decide what my priorities for the next few years would be. After July my direction sharpened.

Sorting through the accumulation of “stuff” has been overwhelming at times. My desire to hang on to “stuff” that may be useful someday is hard to overcome. Nate thoughtfully built some shelves floor to ceiling U-shaped in the garage so Jeffrey and I could box up our ‘stuff’, things we can’t throw away yet. With this design we can pull out boxes from the front or back and Nate has made it very accessible.
Shelves that Nate built! Now very full.

 I do know of some things in there that I could now throw away but the time is gone. The closer I got to leaving for the MTC the more ‘stuff’ I was able to throw away. In fact the last day Jeffrey and I put our suitcases into the living room and brought in clothes and necessities to bring while sorting out the rest of our living space and it became easy to throw away ‘stuff’. There were more things to do than I had time for.
A last minute trip back to the store to take off a security tag was the last straw. When I got home after the sun had gone down, I scooped up the waiting piles to be packed and threw them into the suitcases and said, “I’m done.” After sleeping a few hours we left at 3:30 am and drove across the Nevada desert to Provo. I felt bad about leaving the floors un-vacuumed, dust in all the corners and piles of shoes and debris to throw away. Kelsi and Nate kept assuring us they would take care of it – I still felt bad leaving that way.
It is not only my physical stuff that I’ve been throwing out. I’ve been trying to rededicate my life on the spiritual side also.
Michael dropping us off at the MTC

My point is that setting aside some time to be dedicated and throwing out the less needed can be very helpful in changing and turning my life closer to God. I can go to another land where I am not known and decide to be a different person. They have no idea what I have been like and done before and with this new slate I can become a different person because they don’t know me as what I was. I can throw out “stuff” that is hindering my progress to be like the Savior.

Being called on a mission is to rededicate my life and focus my attention to spiritual wellbeing and the spiritual wellbeing of others.   
Taking a walk at night across the street

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Forty One Days Until We Leave

It is amazing the difference between men and women or maybe just between Jeffrey and I. As we get ready to go to the Philippines in October to serve a service mission for the church, we are getting ready in different ways. I've been going through the website and checking off items on the checklist. Jeffrey is taking hours each day to finish a project he started on Isaiah. Yes, I have a few have-to-finish-now projects (like a picture book for my mother-in-law's Christmas) but Jeffrey has a very ambitious project to take all the translations and put together the most comprehensible and readable Isaiah he can. He probably is getting ready for a mission in a much better way than I. I always have the feeling that in the Mary and Martha category he is the Mary - "hath chosen that good part" - while I'm thinking about technicalities. It's a good thing I can benefit from his efforts. My life is so richly blessed by his study and research.

I've been noting the many circumstances that have "fallen into place" as we have started this adventure. Our son, daughter-in-law and adorable grandsons (worthy of its own blogspot) came to stay for a few months while they set up a virtual office. The virtual office was granted two weeks after they got here but they are staying on to look after our house while they get permission from the Patent Office to live in Alaska. So one big concern about what we do with our home was answered before we even knew we'd have a concern. Our youngest daughter is leaving for school in Idaho and another son has taken it upon himself to make sure she has a "home" and family to come home to. Another concern taken care of before I'd even registered the question. I have noted that I don't need to worry or be anxious that everything will get done. As I plod along each day items of priority come to the fore and get done on time.

I'm looking forward to this new adventure!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Studying Isaiah

Studying Isaiah is an awesome endeavor. Jeffrey has been interested in this book of scripture for years and has studied different translations in his quest to understand and find the different symbolic meanings. I was able to read through some verses with a mix of these translations and found it is sometimes easier to understand.

10 Moreover the LORD spake again unto Ahaz, saying,  11 Ask thee a sign of the [Mother of the, MB]  LORD thy God; ask it either in the [depths, BM] depth, or in the [heights, BM] height above.  12 But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt [OR test, try] the LORD.  13 And [Isaiah, P] he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; [Is it not enough for you to try the patience of men? G; B also]  Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, [the young woman with child shall, G; the Queen of heaven, MB] [the, P] a virgin shall [be with child, and shall bring forth a son, Matt 1:23] conceive, and [shall, BM] bear a son, and [the virgin, P] shall call his name Immanuel [HEB With us is God].  15 [Cream, G] Butter and honey [OR Curd and honey--the only foods available to the poor at times] shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and [to, JST] choose the good.  16 [Before the child is able to make his own moral choices, the kingdom of Syria and Israel (Northern Kingdom) will be laid to waste, P] For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good [IE before he is mature], the land [whose two rulers you loathe shall lie forsaken, G] that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings. Isaiah 7:10-16 (The Sign To Ahaz: The Immanuel Prophecy.)

1.  "And ... I looked and beheld the great city of Jerusalem, and also other cities.  And I beheld the city of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white.... [a] virgin, most beautiful and fair above all other virgins.....  And he said unto me: Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh."  1 Nephi 11:1, 15, 18.
2.  "And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God."  Alma 7:10. 
3.  This prophecy about the two kingdoms was fulfilled within a few years, while Mahershalalhashbaz [Isaiah’s son]was still under the age of eight, when both Syria and Israel fell to Assyria. P.

MB refers to Margaret Barker, Temple Themes in Christian Worship.
BM refers to The Book of Mormon Another Testament of Jesus Christ.
P refers to Parry, Parry & Peterson, Understanding Isaiah. 
B refers to Brown, Drive & Briggs, Hebrew & English Lexicon. 
G refers to Avraham Gileadi, The Book of Isaiah: A New Translation With Interpretive Keys From the Book of Mormon. 

It looks evident that Isaiah saw the whole picture, the whole panorama of how nations rise and fall. He could foretell the coming of Jesus Christ and the imminent fall of his own nation. He could foresee into the future of events when the Savior will come again. Reading these prophesies can be of assistance and warning to us in this day.

Gileadi's translation of Isaiah 30:8-11:  "Go now, write on tablets concerning them [the rebellious sons, v. 1]; record it in a book for the last day, as a testimony forever.  They are a rebellious people, sons who break faith, children unwilling to obey the law of the Lord, who say to the seers, See not! And to those with visions, Predict not what is right for us: flatter us; foresee a farce!  Get out of the way; move aside, off the path!  Cease confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!"   And perhaps this in response:  "The look on their faces betrays them: they flaunt their sin [and] cannot hide it.  Woe to their souls; they have brought disaster upon themselves!  Tell the righteous [one that he is good, MB] it shall be well with them; they shall eat the fruits of their own labors. But woe to the wicked when calamity overtakes them; they shall be paid back for the deeds they have done!"  Isaiah 3:9-11 G.
 See footnotes above.

This is a warning that our deeds will be noted and an assurance that evil will not go unchecked, there is a time limit attached to God’s patience.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Love from God

     I got to spend time with my newest grandson when he was four days old. He is now a whopping two weeks old. As I held him and looked into his dark blue eyes, I could feel eternity and God's love for us in his quiet stare. I am humbled at the realization that for thousands of years babies have come and this baby has DNA from an ancient time. None of the old ruins, huge trees or rock formations are as old as the DNA formula that continues to bring forth this miraculous miracle of life. I am in awe.
I'm also in love with this little guy, his brother and his cute cousin! I love being a Nona!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Trust in God

There are times in our life when responsibilities seem to be overwhelming. We are frustrated and discouraged because we aren’t “there” yet. We aren’t intelligent, healthy, rich, popular, capable or a nice as we feel we should be. There is not one thing wrong with wanting to be better or become a better person. As Elder Uchtdorf[1] said, “God created us to grow and progress. But remember, our weaknesses can help us to be humble and turn us to Christ, who will “make weak things become strong.”[2] Satan, on the other hand, uses our weaknesses to the point that we are discouraged from even trying.”
We need to be valiant in our testimony of God and willing to become the person He wants us to be.
Gideon felt he was the bottom of the barrel in status as he referred to himself as “the least in my father’s house”[3]. But the angel of the Lord called him a “mighty man of valour.”[4] He told Gideon that he would save Israel from the might of the Midianites. I thought it was interesting that Gideon didn’t say no I can’t do this, he asked for a sign that this was really an angel from God speaking to him. When his offering was consumed by fire he knew the LORD was speaking to him.
Gideon called up an army to fight the Midianites who had come into the valley to fight. Gideon then reduced it to 300 men as the LORD commanded. He followed the LORD’s commands and with lamps in pitchers, horns, and the shout, “The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon” he won the night after surrounding the enemy, then breaking the pitchers and shouting. The men in confusion ran their swords into each other and then fled. Afterward lots of the men of Israel started running after the Midianites.
Gideon always knew the LORD had directed his efforts and refused to be a king of the country when invited to do so. He had a strong understanding of just who really won the day.
We need to see ourselves as God does and how He wants us to change and who He wants us to be. And then of course we need to go do it.
I really doubt I will ever be called upon to fight a huge army but sometimes the jobs I take on seem to be overwhelming and way too much to handle. I need to have the "valour" that Gideon showed and have faith and trust in God to accomplish those goals.

[1] "It Works Wonderfully" by Elder Uchtdor October 2015
[2] Ether 12:27
[3] Judges 6:15
[4] Judges 6:12