Tuesday, March 10, 2015

More good news from home... and good news here!

We were so grateful to be able to Skype with our family on the day of our precious Heidi's baptism this last week.  We also talked to her on the phone as she opened up her "Heritage Book" that we give to all of our grandchildren when they are baptized.  She was just so excited to take this step in her life.  As we visit with people here in the mission field, we are more impressed than ever about how great it is when children can be put on the right path early in their lives.  What a wonderful and blessed life that Heidi.... and all of our other grandchildren.... have in store for them, as they learn and live the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We love you, Heidi, and are so proud and happy for you.

It is hard being away for occasions like the baptism, but we are also finding that the pain we feel is tempered by the sweet experiences that we are having here on our mission.  The spirit of service and missionary work seems to soften our longings for home.  We are just so happy that we can try to give to others the joy we feel from the having the gospel in our lives and seeing it blossom in the lives of our family members.

Ed (center holding baby) was baptized last week and it was one of those sweet experiences.  Brother Stoddard is standing next to him and has known and worked with Ed for 23 years to help him get ready for this day.  The elders on either side were just beaming with joy and even Brother Stoddards son, Eric, knew how important the occasion was.  Ed and his wife, Angel, have another twin baby and three other children.  What a great family unit they are and will become in the years ahead.

We also got a surprise and had a set of elders call us and invite US to dinner on a P-day!  They also invited President and Sister Johnson.  It was quite unique.  Sister Johnson mentioned that after 30 years of them feeding missionaries this was the first time they had ever been invited to dinner by elders.  We enjoyed dinner and wondered a little if they were trying to "butter up" the President a bit so that they don't get transfered OR get more miles assigned to them OR get to keep their car.  Also, the elder standing is the one who continually mentions Megan's picture to us when he comes to our house!  Anyway, it was fun and they did a good job with dinner and entertaining us.
After dinner we took President and Sister Johnson with us to visit the Matembu family.  We told the President about this wonderful family earlier. When he found out that they spoke French and that we were teaching Temple Preparation classes to them in their home he asked if they could go with us.  President Johnson speaks French and so it was a great experience for them to speak with him and for the Johnson's to get to know them.

We had another wonderful lesson with them last night.  They are so diligent and excited about learning from the scriptures. They also have the most beautiful singing voices.  It is such a treat
to be able to start and end our lessons by singing acappella with them from the hymn book.  They help to make our voices sound better and we even start thinking we can sing a little bit!

Our temple classes are also going well on Sundays.  We have LaShawn, Charlotte, Mari, Karen, and Calvin in one class.  In the afternoon class we have Peter, Mary, Carly, and Winnie.  We teach the same lessons in each one, but it is amazing how the Spirit directs the discussion according to the needs of individuals in the group.  If things go well, we hope to finish the lessons sometime around the first part of May.  We are looking forward to taking some trips to one of the temples (either Columbus, Ohio or Washington D. C.) with some of these wonderful people. 

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