Finally Made it Back to the Logan Temple

20 May 2017

We loved getting to talk or text with some of our family on Mother’s Day! Sometimes, it already feels like we’ve been gone a really long time – although it’s only been 9 months.

This week we sent in a short video we were asked to make by our home stake. So, those of our friends and family who are in the Raleigh South Stake may catch a glimpse of us as part of a combined video they’re preparing for stake conference in early June. (I assume it will be shown at the Saturday night session, June 3.)

On Tuesday, we attended our monthly mission conference and Elder J. Devn Cornish, of the Seventy, was our guest speaker. Elder Cornish mentioned several things, but, in part of his talk he said that although obedience is the first law of heaven, it’s not the last. There is another, better way. He referred to John 8: 28-29. These verses describe how Christ was always obedient to the Father, and that he also always did “those things that please Him.” (He also made this point in a talk a few months ago) There is such a difference between doing things because we think we HAVE to — that we’re compelled — and doing them out of love. If we love our Father in Heaven enough that our desire (our behavior) is to please Him, we are living the law of consecration.

Elder Cornish gave an interesting example. Suppose we have a teenage daughter and she comes downstairs ready to go to a dance, but is dressed in a way that does not represent the best standards. If we approach her with something like, “Do you think that’s the right thing for you to be wearing?” – we will likely end up in what he called a “Law of Moses” discussion. (How many inches? How high is too high, or low is too low? etc.) But, if, instead, we gently say something like, “Have you and your Heavenly Father had a conversation about whether this outfit is pleasing to Him?”, we would be encouraging her to act according to her relationship with her Heavenly Father. 

Of course, a foundation for that kind of discussion would need to have been laid – but, if we act from a position of love, and can teach our children to act based on their love for their Heavenly Father (and His love for them) and their desire to please Him – rather than just following rules — how much better than ending up in arguments about “how many inches.”

We also got to attend a special Family History Department Spring Devotional this week. Elder Ian S. Ardern of the Seventy (from New Zealand) was the main speaker. He started out by saying how glad he was to see that there was an interpreter there signing for the deaf. He said he has a grandchild who was born deaf. Then he paused, looked at the interpreter and asked, “Are you getting my accent?” (LOL) Of course, he then gave an interesting and inspiring talk about baptism for the dead. (Referencing 1 Peter 4:6 and John 5:25, among other scriptures.)

Yesterday, we finally made our way back to the Logan Temple, where we were sealed on April 18, 1973. It’s the first time since then that we’ve been back, and it was lovely! We went with Lillemor and Loren Hubbard and really enjoyed the trip.

Interesting Week

13 May 2017

This week started out kind of rough. As senior missionaries, a typical day involves about 8 hours of service. (That probably doesn't sound like much to some people, but, at our age, it feels like plenty.) However, Tuesday turned into a 13-hour day! (long story)

It has been improving each day since, though, and I’ve received some great Mother’s Day cards and gifts – plus some priceless pictures, hand-made by a few of our grandchildren! :-)

A funny thing happened Monday night. We had a joint Family Home Evening with missionaries from other parts of the mission, and, near the end of the evening, one of the sisters asked me, “What country are you from? You have such an unusual accent.” LOL!! (What!!?) 

I got to do some family-file sealings on Wednesday, and loved the sweet feeling that always comes with that. There’s nothing else like it.

Thursday, we had lunch with our friends, LouAnn and Randy Brady. It was great fun to visit with them and catch up on things back in NC. The time went by too quickly!

We’re excited for our daughter-in-law, Amanda, who is graduating with honors from NCSU today! (Wish we could be there to celebrate with the family.) She has a full scholarship to continue her studies at UNC this fall. Geology is her field. She loves rocks!

And, congratulations also go to our granddaughter, Sophia, for being inducted into the National Elementary School Honors Society! Woohoo!!

Yesterday afternoon we got to take a tour of the Church’s Humanitarian Center. I’ve been wanting to see this for years and am glad we finally did! The Church helps so many people, in so many ways, all over the world. It’s amazing! 

For Mother’s Day, President Tate has asked us senior missionaries to volunteer our mobile devices so the young Elders will each have a chance to do a facetime, skype, or hangouts call with their families. (They’ve just done regular phone calls before this — no video.) We have two young Elders calling from our place early in the a.m. and another set who will be here later in the p.m.  Between us we have two mobile phones, two laptops, and an iPad, so they can contact their families with whichever service works best for them. The four Elders who will be here tomorrow all serve in our zone, so we know them pretty well. We definitely have a special place in our hearts for each one of the young men serving here.

So far, on this mission, I find there are two things I wish for: that someone else would make dinner every night, and, that I could eat anything I want and still be healthy and not gain weight! LOL!! (Ahhh, fantasies!) Oh, well. . .  :-) 

We’re blessed to be serving in this mission with all the wonderful people who are here and are grateful, as always, for the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ and for His precious atonement.

Spring is Here!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

It's a beautiful morning here in Salt Lake City. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and it finally feels like spring may be here to stay!
Later this month, we're driving up to Logan, Utah and will attend the temple there and see other sites in the area with some friends. It will be the first time we've been back since Bob and I were sealed in April of 1973. Should be a great trip — looking forward to it!

We're also excited to see and have lunch with our friends, LouAnn and Randy Brady (from NC), who will be in SLC next week. Since we've been here, we're happy to say that we've enjoyed brief visits with several friends and family. Plus, the missionary who baptized me, Rich Sheen, and his wife, Donna, are stopping by one day in June. They live in Texas, and we're not sure if they're driving through on their way to their native Idaho, or if they're visiting family nearby - but we get to have lunch with them while they're in Salt Lake. We love getting the chance to see friends and family!!

We read/studied the most wonderful discourse by Gerald N. Lund this week. Brother Lund served for many years in the Church educational system, and was a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy at the time it was published. Its titled: The Grace and Mercy of Jesus Christ. I sent a copy to our family in case any of them want to read it. I highly recommend it.

The Gospel is true!

The Precious Gift of Prayer

29 April 2017

This past Sunday, Bob and I both spoke in sacrament meeting. As part of my talk, I shared a couple of personal experiences that I’d also like to share here.  

(In addition, I used a quote and a story from the following two talks – which are both awesome! — https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2007/04/using-the-supernal-gift-of-prayer?lang=eng and

Once I became a parent, my appreciation for the gift of prayer increased dramatically. There are too many things about parenting that make us realize we really need help. 

For instance, one of our sons was as a child who — practically from the moment he could walk — would just disappear. He would decide to go somewhere, and he’d be gone, and never communicate with anyone. (In his mind, he knew what he was doing, so what was the problem?) No matter how many ways we disciplined him, or punished him, or, as he got older, tried to reason with him, his behavior did not fundamentally change.

I'm sure most of you can relate to the kind of fear that enters the heart of a parent when a child is missing. Because of this child, one of the things I learned early on was that, when I was trying to find him, I could first stop and say a prayer — so that I knew he was okay — that he was not in harm’s way. Then, once I felt that peace and comfort of knowing he was safe, wherever he was, I could go about the process of searching for him with relative calmness.

As he got older, and in his teens, (this was before cell phones and texting were available) there were many times when he was gone and I had no idea where he was or when he planned to be home. A few times, on those occasions, I prayed, and asked Heavenly Father if He would please have the Holy Spirit prompt our son to call home. Each time, within less than an hour, I would get a phone call. I truly rejoice that Heavenly Father heard and answered my prayers and that our son was attuned enough to the spirit to respond to the promptings he received at that time.
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One other experience I’ll share happened a few years ago, while I was employed full-time. I needed to drive to a class that was being held a couple of hours away from where we lived. I had everything in the car, and once I was behind the wheel, said a prayer for my trip. Before I even finished my prayer, I heard a very loud prompting that said, “Check the oil!” This was an older car, and we sometimes needed to add oil. So, I got out, lifted the hood, and sure enough, the dip stick indicated the oil was extremely low. Fortunately, we had several cans of the right weight in the garage, so I filled the oil and was quickly on my way.

But, if I had not stopped to pray, or, if I had not heeded the prompting I received, I could have ruined the engine. I most likely would not have made it to my destination, and we would have had both the expense and the inconvenience of having to tow and repair, or possibly, even, replace that car – not to mention being without the use of it for any number of days. I am filled with gratitude that a loving Heavenly Father cares enough about me and my family to tell me to check the oil in an old car!

It is a reminder that we are all safely in His hands, and He is waiting to bless us. 

Prayer truly is a precious gift!

The Gospel is True!

22 Apr 2017

We’ve had a wonderful week! Yesterday, we got to attend the Provo Temple. A beautiful place! Loved being there! We also saw the amazing stained glass window installation, at Utah Valley University (UVU), that was created by Tom Holdman and others. Fabulous! There are 80 separate, complete panels that used more than 600,000 pieces of glass. The project took 10 years, from conceptualizing to completion. There are classical references as well as cultural ones, and some members of the UVU faculty worked with the artistic team to assure historical accuracy. You could spend a long time taking it all in!

We’ve been reading in the Book of Mormon this week, and I've been struck, again, with how much our spiritual growth is stopped if we allow ourselves to become, as the scriptures say, hard-hearted and stiff-necked.

People in the scriptures who are described this way are ones who have turned away from God and toward the world. Their hearts are hardened against the Word of God. They become too proud, so, they won’t bow their heads in prayer—seeking for understanding and guidance.

Several years ago, in a conference talk, Elder Delbert L. Stapley said, “The heart is the hinge on the gate of our actions.” How important it is for our hearts to be in the right place!! 

I pray that I and all of my loved ones will have hearts that are filled with the Love of God!

The Gospel is true. It is the gospel of peace. And, our Heavenly Father loves each one of us.

Easter

15 April 2017

With tomorrow being Easter, I want to share my profound gratitude for our Savior, Jesus Christ, and for His atoning sacrifice to redeem us all. There are not words adequate to express the depth of my wonder and amazement that He endured all that He did for the benefit and salvation of each of us.

I’m also grateful for the precious gifts of repentance and forgiveness, and the joy we can have as we apply those principles in our lives.

This week I was blessed with the opportunity to attend a special one-hour “Lunch and Learn” with Brother S. Michael Wilcox. I have read a couple of his books, and he was also the guest lecturer for our trip when Bob and I went to China a few years ago. He has wonderful insights!

His topic was the temple, and how God teaches us through symbols and symbolism in the temple. There is symbolism in all sacred ordinances, of course, not just those performed in the temple, and we can find various meanings in each of them. For instance, someone might say baptism is like a bath, because I am washed clean from my sins. Another might say that baptism is like a birth, because when I am baptized I am born again to a newness of life. And, another might say that baptism is like a burial because the old me was buried under the water and the new me arose. And, they would all be correct (and, in fact, each is based in scripture.) By using symbolism, the Lord teaches us layer by layer and will increase our understanding as we are prepared to learn.

Brother Wilcox cited the first three verses in 3 Nephi 17 where the Savior gives instructions to the Nephite people about what they should do in order to prepare themselves to learn from Him the next day. Jesus told them to go home, ponder upon His words, and pray unto the Father for understanding, then “prepare your minds for tomorrow”, and return. This is the same pattern for learning in the temple, too. We can go to the temple, then go home, study and ponder the scriptures, pray to the Father for understanding, prepare ourselves, and then, return again to the temple. As we do this, over time, more will be revealed to us.

Bro. Wilcox used the example of Naaman, the Syrian captain, who visited Elisha and was healed of leprosy by dipping in the River Jordan seven times. Then, he asked, “Which of those seven times healed him?” The answer is all of them. It was the cumulative effect of repeatedly keeping a simple commandment that healed him. We can be blessed and healed in the same way as we keep the simple daily commandments the Lord has asked of us. (i.e. prayer, scripture study, FHE, sacrament meeting and temple attendance)

Bro. Wilcox also related how we learn in the temple to the miracle of Christ feeding the five thousand with five barley loaves. After the Lord blessed those loaves, everyone there took what he wanted and was filled, and afterward there were 12 basketsful left over – even more than they started with. . .

Each of us, as we go to the temple, can be filled with what we want and are prepared to receive, and we can also know that there will always be more.

He also talked about what he called the “dangerous decade” – those years between the ages of 13 and 23 which are so pivotal in determining the course of our future lives. He spoke of how fervently he prayed for his children to be protected from the evils of the world, and how his regular and frequent temple attendance was critical for his own insight for his children during those years. (We also pray fervently for our grandchildren who are now experiencing those important years.)

There was much more to Bro. Wilcox’s presentation, and I wish everyone could have heard it. What a blessing it is to live in this day when temples dot the earth and we are given the privilege of performing sacred ordinances on behalf of our ancestors!

God loves us, so He sent His Son! Happy Easter!!
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We learned this week who our new mission president is going to be. President Tate will leave at the end of June, and, on July 1, our mission president will be Elder Boyd Fenn. We heard he has previously served as a mission president in the Chicago area, and that his wife is one of Bruce R. McConkie’s daughters. Transitions are sometimes challenging, and President Tate will be a hard man to follow, but, we look forward to meeting and working with President Fenn.