Monday, October 31, 2016

Sister Stewart

I’m not sure why I felt before I left on this mission that I would be given busy work jobs because Jeffrey had a meaningful one; getting the email from Sister Stewart (the dentist’s wife) certainly eased that thought.

The first time I saw Sister Stewart she was speaking in Sacrament meeting. Keep in mind that I am a visual learner. She got up and showed us the sign for thought, heart and Spirit. She talked about the Spirit that puts things into our mind (thoughts) and if we put them into our heart and perform, we will have an increase of the Spirit’s direction. This is the cliff notes version of a ½ hour talk so I’m mashing up her eloquence. She is gesturing with her hands, has a hilarious sense of humor and told us a few examples of how she didn’t follow her promptings with the consequence.  Then, she told of how she was knocked on the head again and ended up with a very great outcome – all practically speaking sign language. This is my kind of communication.

I sat there in the chapel and thought that this is going to be a great mission.  I get to work with a visual, fun, energetic person.

After singing a hymn, Elder Stewart got up and delivered a talk in a calm, gentle and yet firm way that I have come to know is characteristic of him. He explained how they had been called to a signing ward that would only require a little time on Sunday. He paused for a moment to let us know the punch line was coming and explained how is really wasn’t that simple. His smile is contagious and the Stewarts work very well as a team.

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