Its All About the Dash

28 January 2017

Yesterday we got to attend the Oquirrh Mountain temple, about 21 miles south of us. It’s a lovely temple, and it’s always interesting to see how each temple is “managed” a little differently. This one is a small temple, like Raleigh, as far as seating, but, it’s very tall, (the celestial room is at least two stories high.) It has a grand staircase, plus a chapel that people gather in before the session begins. When you enter, they hand you a little plastic, imprinted tag that shows the time of your session and you must turn that in to get on that session. For instance, we thought we were getting there in time for the 10:30 a.m. session, but, they’d already given out all the tags/seats for that session and the earliest we could get was 11:15.
Since we had a 2 pm phone call appointment we decided an 11:15 session might not work as well for us, so we ran some errands, had lunch, took care of our business call from 2-3, then went on the 3:45 pm session. It’s always good to be in the temple.

Bob and I spoke in the mission-wide devotional on Monday, introducing ourselves and sharing our testimonies. Afterward, it was nice to receive good comments from President Tate about how effective he thinks we’ve been as zone leaders. We work mostly with President Hansen, the second counselor, and weren’t sure President Tate was all that aware of us.

I’ve been debating with myself about whether to include my talk here and finally decided I will.
We were limited to 3 minutes to tell all about ourselves. J Here’s what I said:

“Good morning! My name is Betty Crenshaw. I grew up in a small town in Missouri, in a rather spectacularly dysfunctional family.

My husband, Bob, and I met in college, while he was dating a friend of mine. We married in the summer of 1968.

Just over a year later, he entered the Army, and after he finished training, was assigned to Berlin, Germany. A few months before his enlistment ended, we were tracted out by two young Americans who were serving a German-speaking mission. Only the Lord would know to send a farm boy from Paul, Idaho and another one from Wellsville, Utah all the way to Germany so they could teach and baptize a young couple from Missouri. That was in 1972, and, of course, joining the church was the single best decision we ever made!

Although we’ve moved a lot in our 48 years of marriage, and, have lived in many places, we came on our mission from North Carolina – which is where our six children and most of our 13 grandchildren live.

I returned to college after our kids were all in school, and finally completed my degree a few months before I turned 50. Since then, I have worked as a graphic designer in the creative services department at IBM, and then, at a private women’s college. Later, I had my own free-lance design business.

I love our Savior, Jesus Christ, and His glorious gospel. I am filled with gratitude for the many ways in which we have seen the Lord’s hand in our lives.

In March of 2008, I was diagnosed with cancer and underwent surgery and radiation treatments. Then, about the time I finished my treatments, my husband took a job in Brisbane, Australia, and . . . we met many wonderful people there.

In November of that year, on my 60th birthday, I wrecked a motorcycle. As a result, I had seven broken bones and a severe laceration near my right hip. Besides a six-week hospital stay, and multiple surgeries, I was in a wheelchair or on crutches for more than six months afterward. Again, the Lord’s hand was evident in the healing I experienced, and for that I am truly grateful.

Back in the U.S., and about the time I turned 63, I wanted to do something that would challenge my body a bit, so I took classes in rock climbing. I really enjoyed it, a lot, but, unfortunately, I didn’t have anyone to go climbing with, so that didn’t last very long.

After that, I took up quilting. I set a goal to make a quilt for myself, my husband, and each of our children and grandchildren. So far, I’ve completed 9 of those 21 quilts and it gives me great joy to plan and make each one.

I know that our Heavenly Father knows and loves each of us, and He wants us to be happy.”

And, of course, I closed in the name of Jesus Christ.

I’ve been using this blog for most of my journaling for several years, now, but, trying to condense my story into a three-minute talk helped me realize how important it is to record more of my life experiences. There’s a great initiative on the Family Search Blog called “Define Your Dash - #52Stories Project” (dash = the dash between the years on most people’s headstones) and it gives 52 prompts for telling parts of our life stories. Since memories are not particularly structured or orderly, the article encourages everyone to just add one story a week to our life story and not try to write about ourselves chronologically. I should give it a try. . .

It's a Winter Wonderland Here

21 January 2017

As I type this, I'm watching a heavy snow fall, and everything I see out our window is covered in a blanket of white. We're supposed to get up to 4 inches, and, since this was predicted, we ran errands last night so we wouldn't have to go out today.

The only big excitement this week is that Bob fell on the ice yesterday. He’s kinda bruised, but mostly, he wrenched his bad knee, and has gotten some treatment for that. He’ll be sore for a few days. He’s been cautioning everyone else in our zone to be careful walking on the ice, but, he was hurrying, and said that he forgot that he, too, is old, and needed to be careful himself!

Yesterday we got to attend another “Go Forth” meeting, where the mission president tells new missionaries what their assignments will be. (We’re happy to get one new missionary – it’s better than none – but, we had three FTMs go home this week, so we wish we could have more.) At this meeting, President Tate likes to share from the missionary journal of Claudius V. Spencer, who was called on a mission to England in the early days of the church – and later, on his way back from England, led a company of saints to Salt Lake City. I’ve searched for Claudius V. Spencer’s missionary journal with no luck (though I found a little about the company he led west and, also excerpts from an earlier journal, before his mission) so, I’ll have to ask Pres. Tate if I can get a copy of what he has. (He may have gotten it from the Church History Library, which is currently closed for renovations.) Claudius was a bit like Jonah, in the Old Testament – he tried to avoid being called on a mission, and, then, went very reluctantly to that mission, once called. Eventually, he caught the vision of what the Lord had for him to do and was very successful, but it’s interesting to hear his experience in his own words. (Pres. Tate usually says he hopes no one in that room is feeling like Claudius about their assignment, and he relates some of the inspiration, and, guidance from the spirit, that goes into determining each assignment.)

Last Sunday we received the materials for our mission reading challenge for the next 13 weeks. Wow!! What a wonderful course of study!!! It’s something President Tate put together for our mission and the theme is “Christ in You”

We’re reading from the New Testament, from Jesus the Christ, and, from a selected group of talks assembled into a booklet for us. The talks are from a variety of Church leaders -- mostly apostles and prophets -- but, also people like Stephen R. Covey, Sheri L. Dew, and Daniel H. Ludlow. All of them are meant to help us draw closer to our Savior. What a blessing to have these!

Since, as a mission, we don’t have to follow the same course of study as the rest of the Church, we’re also using these readings (which are broken down by week) for Sunday School and for Relief Society and Priesthood. 

In Sunday School, we’ll focus on the scriptures and the readings from Jesus the Christ, and in RS/Priesthood, we’ll be taught from the talks assigned for the week. 
Our sacrament meeting talks will also be on topics related to that week’s readings. I don’t know what we’ll be doing after Easter, but, these next few months will be awesome!

The zone leader role, as I’ve mentioned before, continues to expand, so Bob will not only be teaching some of the Sunday lessons, but, will assign all the sacrament meeting talks for specific months, and, will also assign and assist people from our zone in providing talks, and the sacrament, to members who are in a nearby Elder Care facility.

We already feel like we spend most days going from meeting to meeting, coordinating with staff for their needs, holding periodic interviews with each missionary in our zone, and attending to other details. And, we’re also trying to have occasional, fun, “team-building” activities with our zone. (It takes extra time to plan and develop those, so we finally got an assistant zone leader and wife to help with that.) Plus, some of the sisters in our zone who speak English-as-a-second-language often need extra help with things. . .

I guess that’s why we’re here, though! It’s good to be busy!

Life in the Zone . . .

14 January 2017

We had something funny happen in our zone this week. My husband is not a morning person -- but, as the zone leader, he conducts our zone devotionals first thing each morning. For a while now, he has stood up and said, “Morning.” And, when several people respond with “Good Morning.” He says, “I didn’t say ‘good’” . . . or some such thing. Last week, one of the sisters came in singing and he gave her a bad time, telling her it was just too early in the morning to be that cheerful. So, a couple of days ago, she secretly talked to others in the zone, and plotted a way to get back at him. When Bob stood up and grumbled, “Morning” the whole room burst into singing, “Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ayMy, oh my, what a wonderful day!. . .” And, we all laughed and sang the whole song! It was a great way to start the day! (Naturally, Bob pretended to be horrified and plugged his ears.)

We got tickets to attend part of the Roots Tech (genealogy meets technology) conference being held here next month. It will be at the Salt Palace, which is pretty much within walking distance of us. Although I’m not a fan of being in a crowd of 15 – 20 thousand people, I think it will be interesting. We’ll get to hear LaVar Burton as one of the keynote speakers. Then, on Saturday, Pres. Russell M. Nelson and his wife will be the featured speakers. Of course, we’ll also take some classes and browse the exhibits in the expo hall.

Bob had to meet with a woman the other day (who heads up one of the departments our zone supports) to talk about their needs for missionaries to help with certain projects. While they were talking, she started recruiting him/us to run one of their data centers. He said, “Ummm. How about if we finish the mission we’re on, first?” I think it just goes to show how much all the departments are needing missionaries. We don’t seem to be able to fill the slots we have, and I know it’s the same in other zones.

We’re grateful for all the missionaries we do have, though. It’s a blessing to work with such dedicated and faithful people serving together to hasten the work of salvation. Its so different from any other work environment either of us have been part of. Not that there aren’t challenges, there are, but, we definitely feel we’re in the right place, doing the things we should be doing.
Today a small group* of us went to the Provo City Center Temple, then had lunch together. Really enjoyable day!
(*Us, Elder and Sister Tuinei, Sis. Wiltbank, Sis. Lowe, Sis. Filip, Sis. Kappel, and Sis. Aidarbekova)

What We Do in the Digital Imaging Processing Zone

6 January 2017

Since Bob became the zone leader for the Digital Imaging Processing Zone in mid-October, there have been a number of changes, and our responsibilities have increased in several ways.
We are in a zone that has people working on many different things and in several locations, so, we thought it would be good (and, hopefully, unifying) to have a zone newsletter.
I'm sharing our premier issue here, because it tells a lot about what we do in our zone (and there's more that wasn't listed.)
Here is the January 2017 issue of our news:

Ring In The New!

1 January 2017

By way of celebrating New Year's Eve, we participated in a delightful activity on Temple Square. There was a Broadway show-tunes Sing-a-long held for an hour in the Assembly Hall. It was great fun sitting with a room full of strangers with all of us belting out songs from Newsies; Annie; Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat; New York, New York; Man of La Mancha; Sound of Music, and several more! We loved it! We didn't stay out much longer after that, but, came home and prepared a small table of goodies.

This morning we were excited to hear that our 21-year-old granddaughter, Ryann, (our oldest) is now engaged to be married. No date has been set, yet, and we haven't met her intended, but we're happy for her.

Today was our first day to meet as the new Ensign Peak Missionary Branch and we had great meetings. Since we are studying the teachings of President Gordon B. Hinckley this year, our special guest for a joint Priesthood/Relief Society meeting, was someone who knew President Hinckley, personally. And, it was awesome to hear some of his experiences. The guest was Brother Herbert Klopfer, whom I mentioned in a previous post. He was the stake president to several prophets, including President Hinckley.

He also served on the Church music committee with President Hinckley back in the 1980's, while the committee was selecting hymns for our current hymnbook.

Hymn #135 – My Redeemer Lives –  is interesting because it’s the only hymn in our hymnal that is entirely written by general authorities. Gordon B. Hinckley wrote the words and G. Homer Durham, who was a Seventy, wrote the music. Brother Klopfer said that when the decision was made to put Pres. Hinckley’s words to music, there were 17 different submissions for possible tunes. When they told Pres. Hinckley they had chosen the music by Elder Durham, Pres. Hinckley said, “That’s wonderful! He was a boyhood friend of mine. We played sports together and even wore the same size shoe. So, in high school, we would play tricks on each other by taking the other’s shoes.” Plus, they served in the same mission together in England.

Bro. Klopfer also related stories about Pres. Hinckley’s warmth, and his kindness to others. We enjoyed hearing these stories in preparation for our Priesthood and Relief Society study this year.

As this New Year begins, we are feeling blessed to be in this mission, at this time, and look forward to many opportunities to serve others throughout this year.