Lots of Changes

1 July 2017

I imagine most people have heard the same news we heard this week — that the Raleigh, NC Temple will be closing for renovations in Jan 2018, and, won’t reopen until sometime in 2019. That means when we get home from our mission next year, we'll have to travel a ways in order to attend the temple. We are spoiled here in the Salt Lake City area with so many temples within an easy distance.

I guess the closest temple, once the Raleigh temple closes, is in Columbia, South Carolina. It’s hard to think of having to drive 3 - 4 hours to attend the temple! (But, of course, we'll do it.)

This week we packed up our office, and all our stuff will be moved to a different building sometime today. Because of renovations scheduled in the Church Office Building (COB), everyone on our floor has to move. Some of us are going next door to the Joseph Smith Memorial Building (JSMB), and a few will move to other floors in the COB. People in our zone will then be located on three floors in the JSMB and on two floors in the COB. Crazy!

Wonderful news for us this week, though! We were assigned FOUR new Church-Service Missionaries on Friday and we are feeling beyond blessed!! As I’ve mentioned previously, our numbers have been shrinking, and it’s a real boost to get these part-time missionaries who will help out in several areas of our zone.

Our new mission president officially starts today and we’ll meet him on Monday. Later next week he’ll tour all 20 of the zones in the mission. We’ve been working on a presentation to help him understand the many and varied tasks performed in our zone. President Fenn previously served as a mission president in Chicago, but, it was a typical, proselyting mission, with about 200 missionaries. This mission has more than a thousand missionaries, and, the work we do is incredibly varied and multi-faceted, so it’s a bit of a learning curve for him.
In our morning devotionals, the past couple of weeks, we’ve had several missionaries who’ve shared some interesting and amazing stories of modern-day miracles that occurred at different times and places. Some were experienced by family members, some by friends, some were simply accounts they’d read. Some were small and some huge, but, each reflected the tender mercies our Heavenly Father shows us, and His awareness of and love for each of us. If we trust in Him and allow Him to guide us, life is a miracle! (Sometimes, because we’re not looking, we miss the little daily miracles that come our way, and fail to recognize His hand in our lives. I’m trying to do a better job of recognizing these things.)

Wonderful Visit with Old Friends!

24 June 2017

We had a great farewell dinner Monday night for President and Sister Tate. All the full-time senior missionaries and the young elders joined together for a pot-luck dinner and program at a nearby stake center. Earlier, every missionary was given an opportunity to submit individual thoughts, memories and good wishes for the Tates. Then, they were all compiled into a hard-bound book for them. I heard they were up until 1:30 in the morning looking through it!
 They’re wearing leis because the evening was billed as an “Aloha” dinner.

Just prior to the farewell dinner we had a wonderful visit from Rich and Donna Sheen. Rich is one of the missionaries who taught us in Berlin, Germany, back in the early 1970s. And, he’s the one who baptized me. We love him so much!! It was great to visit with him and his sweet wife, Donna! They could only stay a couple of hours, but, we’re making plans to visit them at their home in Texas on our way back to NC next summer.
I only have this one, lo-res, blurry photo of us on our baptism day in Feb 1972. Rich is on the left, then us, and then, David Owen, the other missionary who taught us.

And here we are, 45 years later! (We’re glad Donna took this picture, but, I’m kicking myself that I didn’t take one of the two of them.)

Payson Temple / New Missionary

17 June 2017

Since I didn’t get a post written last week, I’ll start by mentioning the wonderful trip we took, with several others in our zone, to the Payson Temple, last Saturday (June 10). I think it’s my new favorite temple!! I posted some photos on Instagram, but will repeat them here, too.
What a fabulous place, and, the spirit was so strong, it was amazing!

We had another great mission conference this week. Brother Richard Turley, managing director of the Church public affairs department was the speaker. While he said several interesting things, something that stuck with me was what he related about the story of Nicodemus. Do you remember that story in the New Testament — of the Jewish ruler, Nicodemus, who wanted to know more, and went to see Jesus by night to talk to him? (Because of his position, he didn’t want anyone to know he was with Jesus, so he went under cover of darkness.) Bro. Turley said that, in Greek, the word that is used for “by night” is very specific, and means that the action taking place begins and ends within the specified time. Because of that we know Nicodemus went to Jesus when it was dark, and also left in the dark. In this case the spiritual seems to match the physical actions of Nicodemus. He was in the presence of the Savior, the Light of the World, and, yet, he refused to receive that light. (Later accounts of his actions give us hope that he may have become a believer at some point – but, not that night.) It was interesting to go back and read the account in John 3 after hearing Bro. Turley’s talk.

We are feeling blessed! Yesterday, we finally got another full-time missionary in our zone! (Woot!!) It’s been almost five months since we were assigned any new missionaries – yet, we kept losing some we had (because of people completing their missions). We’re excited to have Sister Nickle in our zone, and hope this is the beginning of a trend.

In President Tate’s talk at the “Go Forth” meeting, yesterday, he mentioned a verse in the Old Testament, Ezra 7:10, that he said tells us everything we need to know about serving the Lord. It says, “For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek for the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.” — 1. Prepare your heart / 2. Seek (to know and understand) the law of the Lord / 3. Do it (obey) and, / 4. Teach others.

We are grateful to have the opportunity to serve in this mission, and especially to serve with a good man like President Warren G. Tate. We will miss him when he leaves the end of this month.

Our First "Great One" - and, Park City

3 June 2017
The big news this week is that our granddaughter, Ryan, had her baby on Sunday, May 28th! Arriving at 7 lbs, 15 oz, this sweet girl appears to have stolen hearts already. The photos we’ve seen are precious and we can hardly wait to meet little Kyan Milani Harris, although she will be more than a year old before we see her face-to-face. (Hard to believe we're great-grandparents!)

Last Friday afternoon, (for Memorial Day weekend) we drove about 30 miles up the mountain from SLC to Park City. It’s beautiful—majestic and serene—but, I don’t see how people live there year-round. I prefer living somewhere that does NOT get 25 feet of snow every winter.

Because it’s such a predominantly tourist area, they have a Visitor’s Ward in Park City that we attended on Sunday. We were astonished at how many people were there. It looked like a stake conference! (And, we were told it’s that full most weeks.) Plus, we even ran into some people we know. President and Sister Hansen, the 1st counselor in our mission presidency and his wife, were there. (They said they just needed to get away, and had spent most of their time sleeping.) We also saw Brent and Celine Godfrey and their family. They used to be in the Cary Ward with us. Since they moved to Utah 12 years ago, they have a family gathering in Park City every Memorial Day weekend. It was fun to see them again. 

In the downtown, historic, part of Park City, the Church has a Family History Center that was put up in preparation for the 2002 Olympics – and even now, they said they get about 20,000 visitors a year. It’s beautifully designed, with some very engaging displays.

We had fun touring the Olympic Park, as well. Here’s a pic of us in one of the bobsleds.
It was nice to have that little break—and now we’re back to our usual routine.

We were in the Salt Lake Temple yesterday, waiting in the hall outside the sealing rooms to do some family file sealings, when Elder David A. Bednar walked by, right in front of us. Evidently, he was there to perform a live sealing of a young couple.

Our mission is having a special fast this Sunday for more missionaries to come to serve in our mission. Our numbers keep dropping, though there is still plenty of work to do. . .