Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Birthdays, Blessings, and Boys

On April 24th Jim celebrated his 67th Birthday in the mission field.  We're getting SO old, but there are definitely perks along the way and one of them is being around all of the young elders and sisters.  They help make us feel young again and we are so happy to be associated with the youth of this work at this time in the history of the church.

There were a couple of other elders who also had BIRTHDAYS the same week and we had occasion to sing to them at various times. But for the most part, birthdays on a mission are work as usual.

We did take our BFF (BEST FRIEND FOREVER), Charlette, out for lunch that day since her birthday is in April too.  Also, because of past events in her life, this month is a very hard month for her.  It was a very nice lunch and it seemed to  brighten up the day for her.

Charlette loves to give and get gifts.

She gave Elder Butler a cute card with a nice note in it.  The best part was what she wrote on the outside.  It gives a little hint to her cute sense of humor.

Jim also talked with each of our kids and many of the grandkids and got nice gifts from them.  It's always especially fun for him to talk to his 'Birthday Buddy', Megan! He says it was a really good birthday.

Now for the BLESSINGS part of the blog.  Our spiritual blessings have truly been amazing. We are continuing to work with members getting ready to go to the temple.  It has made the temple blessings seem even more precious to us as we have taught classes on Sunday and also visited individually in many homes.  Right now it looks quite

promising that we will attend the Washington DC Temple on May 16th with three sisters who will be participating in the ordinance of the 'endowment' there.  We are working with others who are hoping that they will follow later in the summer.

We also got up the courage to ask the leadership of the Vintage Senior Center near us if they would like us to present Family History Classes at the center.  They said 'YES'!!!!  And so it will be a little bit of community service that we think will be challenging..... but we are sure excited about it.  The classes will probably start the end of June or first part of July.

We also had a sweet experience of working with Denise this last week on her family history.  She is such a strong woman and just keeps going in her life.  She has health problems herself and she still
takes care of her 84 year old mother in her home as well as having two brothers live with her.  She also now has her granddaughter who is expecting a baby any day and two great granddaughters living with her.....all in a pretty small home.  Anyway, she has an interest in using the FamilySearch website and we got her signed up for Ancestry on Wednesday.  Sunday she bore her testimony about how wonderful it was for her mom to finally find the names of her grandparents after all these years.  Sometimes when we help people I feel like it is a little like the blind leading the blind, but somehow it seems to work because I think we have a little...or a lot...of help from the other side!

 On April 21st we had "transfer meeting" where all the sisters and elders who are being transfered or getting new companions meet at a church building with all of their luggage packed up.  There is such a sense of anticipation and nervousness in the air during this meeting.  We've heard it said that getting used to change and being flexible is one of the best things that young elders and sisters can do to prepare for missions... because every 6 weeks there are changes made.  It also makes us so glad that we will probably 'stay put' our whole mission.

The building is not far from where we serve and so we like to go if we can.  It is fun
to see where 'our elders' are going and meet past elders and sisters that we have served with.  This leads us to the experience of Jackie!

I met Sister Wade at the transfer meeting for the first time and she asked where we are serving.  When I told her the 'Oakland' area she was very surprised.  She said that she and three other sisters had just had lunch in Oakland and that a woman they met expressed interest in the church and shouted her phone number to them as they got on the elevator.  They didn't have time to get her name and didn't know who to give the phone number to.  Anyway,  she gave me the number and asked if I would follow up because, since they met her in Oakland,  they thought she might live there.  I phoned her later that day and it turns out that she lives in an area across the river from Oakland.  We set up an appointment to visit last Friday and kept wondering how and what to teach her because we don't usually work with non members, but she said she didn't want to meet with the elders just yet.

We kept wondering about the appointment and thought we would probably just visit and get to know her....then the inspiration of President Johnson must have kicked in!  He invited us to a training by two past mission presidents who are now trainers for the Missionary Department.  We were the only Senior Couple invited and wondered why... until they started teaching just exactly what we needed to know to talk with Jackie.

The next day we met with her, learned a little bit about her,  and answered a few of her questions about the church.  Her main question was 'how is your church different from all the rest?'  We presented the Restoration pamphlet pretty closely to how we had been taught and then gave her a Book of Mormon.  She said she would read both the pamphlet and the book and pray about the Book of Mormon.  She said a beautiful prayer at the end.  We left with a new friend and felt very humbled that the Lord had seen fit to help us through our meeting with her by providing exactly the right training that we needed.

One of the most interesting things about the visit was that she is a very influential woman in Pittsburgh.  She is on the Board of Directors of many charitable organizations in the city as well as a city-wide board that determines which organizations get tax money.  She lives in a beautiful, wooded part of the city and even though it isn't in our area we have found out about some of her neighbors who are members of the church.  She was surprised to learn this.  She is very busy, but we hope to meet with her again and soon introduce her to the elders in the area.  Like I said...BLESSINGS  BLESSINGS   BLESSINGS

Now it's time to talk about a couple of the cute BOYS at home!

Blankets for Primary Children's
We have been getting good reports about how these two are doing and just thought it was time for an update.  Luke will turn 11 years old in just a few days.  He is getting almost as tall as his mom and each time we see a picture of him we can see that he looks
just a little bit older.  He is doing really well in Scouting and just got second place on his rain gutter regada creation.  We think that he has the engineering genes from his dad!  Luke is also playing soccer and we hear that he is doing really well.  He especially likes having his Dad for a coach and having his cousin, McCord, on his team.

Next is Brexton.  He will turn 4 years old in October and is playing soccer for the first time.  We have heard that he makes a goal almost every time that he plays.  He has his big brother, McCord, to help him and play with at home.  Last Saturday we happened to be talking on the phone to him right before his game. He left, went to the game, made a goal, and then the
minute he got in the house afterwards wanted to call us and tell us about the game.  That really made us


He also sends great emails to us.  He sent us one a couple of months ago with the help of his mom and dad that went like this..."I like the zoo. My favorite animals are lions, tigers, zebras, and snakes. The zebras were fighting.  I didn't cry at church.  I didn't wrestle. I was good at Primary.  I am nice to my friends.  Love, Brexton

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