Tuesday, November 1, 2016

October 25 to October 30

Warning---I finally learned how to put pictures on the the blog and there are a few!
On Tuesday we drove to Manhattan Kansas for interviews with our missionaries. I get to visit with each of the elders and sisters before they go in to interview with Mitch. It really is a pleasure to get to know each one of them individually. Here is a picture of the Manhattan Zone.IMG_1083.JPG
IMG_1093.JPG
Aren’t they awesome. Half of the zone comes in the morning and the other comes in the afternoon.  There is training going on by the Assistants while each missionary is being interviewed.  Manhattan is the home of KState. It is a beautiful city and here is a picture looking out the front door of the church.
IMG_1072.JPG
A typical picture of Kansas.
We left Manhattan and stopped in Ellsworth which is the town in a Rascal Flatts song.  We had dinner at the diner and probably won’t go there again but I got to see the town and that is what I have wanted to do since we have been here.
IMG_1076.JPG
Downtown Ellsworth.
IMG_1079.JPG

I thought this house in Ellsworth was so cute. The picture just didn’t turn out too good.

We made it that night to Great Bend where we stayed the night.  The next day we drove an hour to Garden City for our next stop of interviews.  Here is our missionaries in the Garden City Zone.
IMG_1087.JPG
IMG_1081.JPG
After interviews we drove about an hour to Dodge City because Mitch had to do a  baptismal interview. The ward there was getting ready for their Trunk or Treat and it was busy with happy kids in costumes. After the interview we drove to Liberal.  It was after 9pm when we got to the hotel and we were both exhausted though Mitch had some correspondence he had to do.  I wrote in my journal and it was lights for me!
Here is the Liberal Zone.
IMG_1088.JPG
IMG_1084.JPG
We got home Thursday night after 9pm again.  The next morning we had our last round of interviews for the Derby Zone but I don’t have the pictures for them.  At 5pm We got to go on our weekly date! Yay!  I do look forward to those especially after a busy week like this one.
Saturday we worked on planning Zone Conference and MLC for next week.  By noon we were on our way to the Salina Stake Conference.  Salina is about an hour and 20 minutes away.  The first meeting was a Priesthood leadership meeting so Michelle Steel and I drove around town and shopped for a little while.  Michelle’s husband, Matt, is Mitch’s 1st counselor in the mission presidency.  They came up from Garden City to be at the conference.  I thought we were speaking Sunday because that is what Mitch told me but I found out that we were speaking at the adult session that night.  Under other circumstances I would have freaked out but I knew what I was going to talk about and it was actually nice to do it then and not have to worry about it all night long. In my talk I said I grew up in Mesa Arizona and I had several people come up to me who were originally from Mesa too.  You talk long enough to anyone in the Church and you can find a connection to someone!  We left the Steels car at the church and they came home with us and stayed the night.  We have become good friends and we had great conversation and taught them how to play skipbo. The next day we drove back for the Sunday session of conference.  The Salina stake is solid with lots of faithful members.  Here is a picture of us with the Steels at the church.
IMG_1100.JPG
The Steels left for home after the conference and we came home in time for Mitch to drop me off, have a snack and drive to Ark City, an hour away, for a baptismal interview.  When he got home we had dinner with Sister Poulton, our new mission secretary, and the assistants.  We got to visit for a little after dinner and then we had to head out to the 29th street building, 25 minutes away, for a Mission President’s Devotional.  Mitch spoke about Joseph Smith’s first vision and then we have recent converts bear their testimonies.  These are the best and so filled with the Spirit and happiness for how the Gospel has changed their lives!  We love these devotionals!
That was pretty much our week.  It’s busy but we love it so much!
The Gospel is True!!!

Monday, October 24, 2016

October 2016

I can't believe it's been over a month since I have posted on this blog. So much has gone on and kept us busy.  September was a slower month but October has been very busy and it looks like November is going to be just as busy! This has been our month for interviews and interviews take 9 full days. Mitch has to visit with each missionary in our mission, which if he sees everyone including the senior missionaries, he would visit with 206 people over 9 days. He loves visiting with everyone! In this round of interviews we went to Burlington Kansas. We've never been there and we have two senior sisters, sister Nielson and sister Cochran. We got to see the nice house they live in and go to lunch with them and just visit about all the wonderful things they are doing there in Burlington. These women are involved in a lot of service for the community and are really setting a good example of the church. It's such a cute, clean and just overall nice little town. After we went to lunch and visited with them for a couple of hours we drove up to Hiawatha Kansas. It was also our first time there and the town is adorable! Tree-lined streets, cute houses with front porches, so much character. I can't say enough how much I love seeing these quaint little towns. Kansas is a visual smorgasbord for me! We met with sister Jones and sister Abercrombie. They also have a really cozy little house and garden outback. We took the sisters plus Elder Herbine and Elder Hawks to dinner. We were going to go to Gus's Diner but it's closed on Mondays so we went to the Chinese restaurant. There aren't many places to choose from in these small towns but the food was pretty good and we enjoyed our time with these missionaries. Afterwards we went back and had a special visit with sister Jones and Abercrombie. They too are very involved with the community and ward.  We love our senior sisters! They are so valuable to the Kansas Wichita mission! They do so much good for the communities they reside in.
After these visits we drove to Kansas City, Missouri for a Mission Presidents Seminar.  We started by doing a temple session with 25 other mission presidents and their wives plus Elder Wilford Andersen and his wife.  We don’t have a temple in our mission so it was a pleasure to get to do a session. We spent the next two days being taught and spiritually nourished by Elder Soares, Elder Andersen, Elder Grow, Elder De Feo and others. On friday we loaded a bus and went to see some church sights.  We went to Independence, Liberty Jail, Far West, Hamilton and Adam Ondi Ahman.  Brother Baugh from the church history department at BYU was with us on the bus and told us all of the history of these places.  It was a really wonderful day and I love our church heritage of faith and determination! Saturday we finished at noon and we stopped in Lawrence Kansas to visit with a new senior couple serving there at the institute.  They are the Cullimores and very impressive people.  I love the faith and desire to serve of these senior couples.  They do so much good!
We got to attend the baptism of Bill on Sunday.  He was so happy and we were so happy for him!!!  The Gospel is true and changes lives.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

September 11 - 22, 2016

Mitch now has two counselors and his presidency is organized!  He called Mark Elliott from Topeka to be his second counselor and last Monday we drove to Garden City where we met with Matt and Michelle Steel and he called Matt to be his first counselor.  Both of these couples are wonderful people who will be a great support and help to the Kansas Wichita mission. We are very excited to have them be a part of this.
Thursday, September 14th I was at Walmart doing some shopping when I got a call from Mitch telling me one of our sister missionaries had been in a biking accident. He didn't know what her status was but knew that they were taking her to St. Francis Hospital in Wichita. Her companion was freaking out as she had seen the whole thing happen and was extremely upset and worried. Thank goodness for my phone's GPS that got me quickly to the hospital! I went to the emergency room and was taken back to the waiting area where Mitch was visiting with the hospital chaplain. He didn't know what the status was of  sister A other than the gurney went by with her on it and he said she didn't look very good.  That's all we knew. The office Elders showed up with her companion and we brought her back to the waiting room with us. She was pretty upset and shaken and she began to tell us what happened. Their car was in the shop getting fixed because it had  been in a hit-and-run so they were riding bikes.(In this mission a lot of the missionaries drive a car but also ride bikes because everything is so spread out they put a lot of mileage on the cars. They park the car in the neighborhood and ride their bikes as they go out and work.) The brakes weren't working very good on Sister A’s bike. They were going down a little hill and she could see that Sister A wasn't going to be able to stop and there was a truck pulling a trailer on the street.  She proceeded to watch Sister A hit the trailer and it caught her and then flipped her, ran over her foot and then she was laying in the street. (So thankful for these two sisters obedience in wearing their helmets because we probably would have had a different outcome if not.) Sister F ran over to her and said there was a lot of blood on the street. There were people who saw what happened and called 911. The driver of the truck was pretty upset but it wasn't his fault. They eventually came in and told us we could go see sister A.  Her companion, sister F, grabbed my arm and was quite nervous about what she was going to see. She was laying on a bed with a neck brace on but she was awake and alert and talkative. There was some caked on blood under her nose, it looked like she had a nosebleed plus her arm had road rash, her face on the left side was banged up, bruised foot, various scrapes and bruisring. Once we talked to her I knew she would be fine.  I think we all breathed a sigh of relief. A couple of hours later they finally got her cleaned up and to her room. We were able to go in and visit with her and talk with her. We felt very blessed and that angels had watched over her because it could have been so much worse. She works in the Spanish branch and  many of the branch members came to visit her.  Friday I went to the hospital to check on her and find out when they were going to release her.  She told me that she had found a new investigator. She was sharing a room with another woman and once the woman was discharged a hispanic lady came in to clean up the room and Sister A started speaking spanish to her and ended up giving her a Book of Mormon and getting contact information so they could go and visit her. Bless her heart, in all things she was a missionary first! The final verdict was a concussion and a broken nose plus some bumps and bruises. They kept her overnight for observation and she was able to go back to her apartment the next afternoon. We are so thankful that she was being watched over!
Saturday Mitch and I had to speak at the Wichita Stake Conference. Not my favorite thing to do but it went ok. This is the second stake conference we have spoken at and both times the President of the Oklahoma City Temple and his wife, the Campbells ,have been there speaking too.  We have gotten to know them and they are great people. That night we had dinner at our home with an elder that was going home the next day and the Assistants.  Elder Chlarson is from Payson Arizona and is such a good guy and a great missionary.  The next morning we had him and the assistants over for breakfast at 6:15 am.  That was an early one!  His flight was at 8:00 am.  Monday mornings we always have an office staff meeting but this Monday I took sister A and sister F to sister A’s plastic surgeon appointment. They thought we should make sure that her nose was set and ok so that she won’t have issues down the road. The doctor looked at everything and said even though her nose is broken it hasn't moved so everything is going to be perfectly fine. After I dropped them off at their apartment I went back to the office where they were having a luncheon for sister Caulder, the mission secretary, for her birthday.

Monday, September 12, 2016

  We never thought we'd have to worry about anything but tornadoes here in Kansas but last Saturday morning we had an earthquake!  It was just after 7 a.m. and the house started shaking and we both immediately knew what it was. It went on for a little bit and then it just went away. After researching I found that it was a 5.6 earthquake in Pawnee Oklahoma. That's not a really big earthquake but we sure felt it here in Wichita. That same Saturday morning we headed off to Emporia Kansas for a baptism. We got about halfway there when we were told the time of the baptism had been changed so we turned around and stopped in El Dorado to get some lunch. I have so enjoyed visiting all these little towns here in Kansas that are so cute, so quaint and so filled with history.  This state has a lot of wild west history, I mean Dodge City is in Kansas!
    Every Saturday we get in the car and drive to baptisms throughout the state. In this mission you do a lot of driving! This past Saturday we finally went to Emporia for a baptism, it was the first time we've been there and once again I fell in love with this town.  We had a lot of rain Thursday and Friday and it was pretty obvious in Emporia that they had a pretty intense storm. There were broken trees and branches strewn around but no reported tornadoes!  We attended the baptism of a 9 year old.  We see a lot of young kids being baptized and I am amazed at their faith and desire to be a part of the church at such a young age. After the baptism we drove to Topeka hoping to make it to another baptism but we had the time wrong and as we got there everyone was leaving the baptism. We did get to visit with some of the elders and I even started on a church tour with Elder Call and Elder Brunsvick with a sister that they were introducing the church to.  One of the things the missionaries do is take investigators on Church tours and show them the chapel, the baptismal font and other areas of the church and explain what goes on in these rooms.  I didn't get to be part of the tour for very long because Mitch and I had an appointment with two other elders. After lunch we headed off to Junction City to visit with some of the sisters serving there. I love the sisters! We got home after 7 p.m. and it was nice and cool in Wichita. We've had some pretty intense heat and humidity in this city. it's been nice lately and it's starting to cool off a little bit. We were able to go for a walk again and I loved that!  
     We spoke in sacrament meeting in Hutchinson. Hutch is about an hour and five minutes away.  I'm getting much more comfortable with speaking. That's a good thing because we are going to be doing a bit of it. Next week we have to speak in the Saturday and Sunday sessions of the Wichita Stake Conference. I never really saw myself doing this but here I am and I'm learning so much from the experiences I'm having here on the mission. After speaking in Hutchinson we came home and Mitch headed out again for a correlation meeting with our area authority and the five stake presidents in our mission. His meeting started at 1 and he didn't get home till after 6!
    We've had our first senior couple that served in the office come to the end of their mission. We love the Cocannours and are going to miss them so much. They've taken off on a trip to visit their kids and and go to the Philadelphia Temple open house.  I'm happy for them to get to go and have some fun.  I feel it was a privilege to get to know them. The O'Briens have taken over and they are wonderful people too. All of the senior missionaries that serve in this Mission are such a huge part of this important work. They make a big difference in the mission  and they make a big difference to the missionaries they work with. All of the elders and sisters love them! Don't know how you'd run a mission without them!
    We had MLC  this past week and I did all of the food for it. We picked the theme The Kickoff.  That's perfect for this time of year so all the food I made was game day food. We had chicken wings, meatballs, chicken ramen salad, queso dip, bean dip, caramel popcorn, brownie bites and fruit.  I really enjoy preparing the food for the missionaries and they are so appreciative.  MLC went really well and the mission has set some good goals for baptisms. Mitch and his assistants did a lot of teaching  and it was really good and motivating.  I am always impressed with these 3 guys, they do such a good job. We were pretty exhausted afterwards and as usual after these kinds of meetings, we ordered pizza from Pizza Hut, picked it up at the drive-thru and sat in bed and ate it. It's a fun tradition we started.

  We never thought we'd have to worry about anything but tornadoes here in Kansas but last Saturday morning we had an earthquake!  It was just after 7 a.m. and the house started shaking and we both immediately knew what it was. It went on for a little bit and then it just went away. After researching I found that it was a 5.6 earthquake in Pawnee Oklahoma. That's not a really big earthquake but we sure felt it here in Wichita. That same Saturday morning we headed off to Emporia Kansas for a baptism. We got about halfway there when we were told the time of the baptism had been changed so we turned around and stopped in El Dorado to get some lunch. I have so enjoyed visiting all these little towns here in Kansas that are so cute, so quaint and so filled with history.  This state has a lot of wild west history, I mean Dodge City is in Kansas!
    Every Saturday we get in the car and drive to baptisms throughout the state. In this mission you do a lot of driving! This past Saturday we finally went to Emporia for a baptism, it was the first time we've been there and once again I fell in love with this town.  We had a lot of rain Thursday and Friday and it was pretty obvious in Emporia that they had a pretty intense storm. There were broken trees and branches strewn around but no reported tornadoes!  We attended the baptism of a 9 year old.  We see a lot of young kids being baptized and I am amazed at their faith and desire to be a part of the church at such a young age. After the baptism we drove to Topeka hoping to make it to another baptism but we had the time wrong and as we got there everyone was leaving the baptism. We did get to visit with some of the elders and I even started on a church tour with Elder Call and Elder Brunsvick with a sister that they were introducing the church to.  One of the things the missionaries do is take investigators on Church tours and show them the chapel, the baptismal font and other areas of the church and explain what goes on in these rooms.  I didn't get to be part of the tour for very long because Mitch and I had an appointment with two other elders. After lunch we headed off to Junction City to visit with some of the sisters serving there. I love the sisters! We got home after 7 p.m. and it was nice and cool in Wichita. We've had some pretty intense heat and humidity in this city. it's been nice lately and it's starting to cool off a little bit. We were able to go for a walk again and I loved that!  
     We spoke in sacrament meeting in Hutchinson. Hutch is about an hour and five minutes away.  I'm getting much more comfortable with speaking. That's a good thing because we are going to be doing a bit of it. Next week we have to speak in the Saturday and Sunday sessions of the Wichita Stake Conference. I never really saw myself doing this but here I am and I'm learning so much from the experiences I'm having here on the mission. After speaking in Hutchinson we came home and Mitch headed out again for a correlation meeting with our area authority and the five stake presidents in our mission. His meeting started at 1 and he didn't get home till after 6!
    We've had our first senior couple that served in the office come to the end of their mission. We love the Cocannours and are going to miss them so much. They've taken off on a trip to visit their kids and and go to the Philadelphia Temple open house.  I'm happy for them to get to go and have some fun.  I feel it was a privilege to get to know them. The O'Briens have taken over and they are wonderful people too. All of the senior missionaries that serve in this Mission are such a huge part of this important work. They make a big difference in the mission  and they make a big difference to the missionaries they work with. All of the elders and sisters love them! Don't know how you'd run a mission without them!
    We had MLC  this past week and I did all of the food for it. We picked the theme The Kickoff.  That's perfect for this time of year so all the food I made was game day food. We had chicken wings, meatballs, chicken ramen salad, queso dip, bean dip, caramel popcorn, brownie bites and fruit.  I really enjoy preparing the food for the missionaries and they are so appreciative.  MLC went really well and the mission has set some good goals for baptisms. Mitch and his assistants did a lot of teaching  and it was really good and motivating.  I am always impressed with these 3 guys, they do such a good job. We were pretty exhausted afterwards and as usual after these kinds of meetings, we ordered pizza from Pizza Hut, picked it up at the drive-thru and sat in bed and ate it. It's a fun tradition we started.
   The Gospel is True!
   

Sunday, August 28, 2016

August 15 - 28

I don't know what happened but I just lost the whole blog post that I spent the last hour writing! Hope this one makes sense because I am tired and ready for bed!!!
Do I say this every post? It has been a busy couple of weeks! I spend a lot of my time with Sister Worthington who is our mission nurse. She's very experienced and very good at what she does. Last week we visited with missionaries  to work out some mission issues. She is wise, kind and a whole lot of fun to work with. She makes me laugh! We call her Nurse Ratchett!
Friday night the  Meyers who are over all the mission housing invited all of the mission office seniors to come to their home for dinner. They live in Mulvane Kansas which is about 35 to 45 minutes from the office. They live in a very old farmhouse with a porch around the front, lots of big trees, green grass,  just a charming, cozy atmosphere! I absolutely love their home. We enjoyed dinner with our office friends and while we were there it was stormy. We had lightning and thunder and rain and the electricity  went off for a few minutes. We ended up having to leave just a little bit early because Mitch had to do a baptismal interview across town and it was going to take us about 25 minutes to get there. On the way there we came into the hardest rain storm I think I've ever been in. There were cars pulled off to the side waiting for it to let up because visibility was very limited. I don't know if I've ever seen that much rainfall at one time. Thankfully we got to where we needed to be safely but we did find out the next day that Mulvane received 7 inches of rain in 90 minutes. They had some pretty severe flooding but thankfully it didn't affect the Meyers home. I guess that storm was one for the record books!
Sunday we spoke in the YSA ward. We haven't been to our ward in about a month And I don't know when we will get to our Ward again!  After lunch we drove out to Garden City with Elder Labrum and Elder Gilliam. We had a mission president's devotional there and on the way we stopped at Dodge City.( Yes, this is the “get out of Dodge” Dodge city!)  in Garden City the mission president gives a message and then we had new converts get up and bear their testimonies. A 10 year old girl and her little brother that's 8 shared their testimonies about how happy they were to be baptized and how much they want to be able to go to the temple someday. Their 6 year old little sister bore her testimony about how excited she is to get baptized in 2 years. I am so amazed at these young children and their testimonies and desire to follow Jesus Christ! We also heard a lot of other testimonies. Testimonies that were very uplifting and testimony building to the rest of us.  We stayed around for a few minutes visiting and then we left because we had to stop back in Dodge City to visit with a couple of sisters there. We didn't get home till about 12:30 a.m. It was a good night.
Monday was a big preparation day because Tuesday we had 29 new missionaries come into the mission. We had to prepare a meal for them for lunch and I did a dinner for them at our home Tuesday night. Mitch interviews every one of them and with that big of a group it took quite a long time. He was totally exhausted at the end of the night. They are such great young men and young women and we are so pleased to have them here in the Kansas Wichita mission. The Assistants  took the elders to stay with them and we kept the 9 sisters here at our home. I went downstairs and visited with them for a while. They're all pretty exhausted at the end of the day because the missionaries coming from Provo MTC have to get up at 2:30 a.m. and the missionaries that come from the Mexico MTC had to be up at 3:30 a.m. It was a long day for them and they were ready for a good night's rest. I had to prepare more food before I could get to bed and a few of the sisters helped me!

Wednesday morning they are picked up and taken to the office by 8:30 for breakfast. The trainers are trained and the new missionaries are trained and then they are placed with their new companions. It's quite special to watch them meet each other for the first time and see how happy and excited they are to serve with one another. We did another big lunch for about 70 people of taco salad. The Meyers are doing most of it I'm just helping them out with my own assignments. After lunch they go into the chapel and see a video of all of the baptisms from the year. It's quite inspirational to watch. Mitch got up and shared a message on the Atonement and then we had one sister and 5 Elders who were going home the next day get up and share their testimonies so these new missionaries could hear the missionaries going home’s testimonies.  After that meeting I came home to finish preparing a meal for the 6 missionaries that are going home tomorrow. We always do a special meal with just them and us and it's fun to hear them reminisce about their missions. After dinner we go downstairs and have a little testimony meeting for them to share their testimonies one last time with us. It's a very special event. The assistance and Sister Training Leaders came and took them for the night and they were back at 7:30am Thursday  morning for breakfast at our home before we headed off to The Keeper of the Plains for their last and final mission picture. Then we went to the airport and sent them off. We only knew them for about seven weeks but really enjoyed getting to know them and we will miss them. I was pretty much done for the rest of the day! Friday I had to clean house and get groceries just so we could live! Saturday evening we had our first stake conference adult session. It felt like being at stake conference at home! Sunday Mitch and I both spoke at Stake Conference. I better get used to it because I think I'm going to be doing a lot of speaking these next three years! As soon as conference was over we took off to Hutchinson Kansas where we had a baptism. It took us about an hour and 15 minutes to get there but we made it in time. When that baptism was over we headed over to Newton which is about another 45 minutes to see another baptism. After that we left for the Kellogg area of Wichita, the Spanish Branch for the baptism of 2 more people. What a great way to end our Sabbath day by attending these baptisms. We love going to baptisms!

Monday, August 15, 2016

The last two weeks have been crazy busy. We had our Mission Leadership Council on  Tuesday August 2nd. This was the second one since we've been here so we felt like we knew a little bit about what we were doing. I made the food for lunch and did a back to school theme. It was fun for me and I think the missionaries enjoyed it. Wednesday and Thursday were spent on the road interviewing the missionaries from the Garden City Zone and the Liberal Zone.  Once again I got to sit and visit with all the missionaries as they came through and I really enjoyed a few moments getting to know each one individually. On Saturday we were going to attend some baptisms out on the road but things came up and we weren”t able to leave which actually was a blessing for me because I was finally able to get some groceries and get some things under control at home for Sunday. We did  attend one baptism in Wichita which is always a treat.
On Sunday two things happened. It was our 36th anniversary! Where did the time go? It’s been a wonderful 36 years culminating with 6 children and 15 grandchildren! We figure we will celebrate all of our anniversaries when we are released in three years. We drove to Salina to attend church and visit  some elders and sisters that needed a visit. I love Salina! It was the first town in Kansas we stopped in and I love how green and pretty it is. When we got home from Salina I had food to prepare for 2 elders and 2 sisters that were going home that week and having their final dinner with us.  We had Sister Hansen, Sister Furner, Elder Bingham, and Elder French for dinner. Mitch took about an hour with each one for a final interview and then we had dinner together and visited and had them share their testimonies with us. What a beautiful experience and what great people they are!
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday was Zone conference. These were the first Zone conferences that we have done since we've been here and I think they went really well. The first one was in Wichita then Junction City and after that Garden City. I was assigned 40 minutes with just the sisters and that was fun for me. We got to just be women for a while. Our drive from Junction City to Garden City was beautiful and green and we drove through Ellsworth, Kansas. One of my favorite Rascal Flatts songs is called “Ellsworth” and I ‘ve wanted to see this little town since we've been here. The road took us right by it! It was so cute!  
We arrived home late Thursday night. Friday I was able to finally clean the house. I think it's been two or more weeks since I've been able to do that. Later in the afternoon Mitch and I took our P day and we went to a movie and out to dinner. I was certainly ready for a change of pace.  Saturday morning we were up at 6 a.m., packed and on the road back to Liberal. We attended the baptism of Humberto. We met him a couple of weeks ago and Mitch told him that we would come to his baptism. After his baptism we went with him, the sisters and the Zone leaders to a taco truck for lunch. The food was good and we enjoyed visiting with everyone. We then went with the Zone leaders to visit some of their investigators. We drove to Forgan, Oklahoma to visit Mary and then back to Liberal to visit Emma. We had to leave by 4 p.m. to get to Garden City for the baptism of Juan Rivera who is an 8 year old boy living in foster care with an LDS Family. After he was baptized he bore his testimony and he was so happy and so proud to do it. As soon as that baptism was done we had to drive to Hugoton, which was about an hour away, for another baptism.  Hugoton has the smallest church building I've ever seen. The chapel and the cultural Hall are pretty much one and the same. This baptism was for another 8 year old boy named Jaden. His 13 year old brother Alex was baptized 2 weeks before him. The missionaries met these two young men and taught them the gospel and they wanted to be baptized. It's amazing to see these young kids feel the spirit and gain a testimony of the gospel and move forward on their own without their parents. Alex the older brother gave his first talk ever. He gave the talk on baptism. I was so impressed with these two boys! We enjoyed meeting President Clark ,the branch president, and his wife and various other ward members there in Hugoton. It's just a branch and they struggle keeping families there. They say people move in and move out all the time. Oh but what great people we met while we were there! After the baptism we drove back to Garden City where we stayed the night. Sunday morning we were up and to church at 10 a.m. We met so many great people. I attended Relief Society and it reminded me of Relief Society at home in Utah. This is a great Ward. Mitch had a coordinating Council with the Zone leaders and the Stake presidency. I sat on the couch outside the door thinking I would not have anything to do but there were so many people that came by and we're friendly and visited with me. I really enjoyed myself. President Clark and his wife were there whom I had just met the night before. They were there to see one of their former young men get set apart for a mission. This young man will be serving in the Ogden Utah mission. When Mitch was done with his meeting, before we headed out to Dodge City, the Steel family brought us a huge plate of chicken, mashed potatoes, pasta salad, carrots, rolls, carrot cake! It was like Manna From Heaven. We were hungry and traveling and it was just what we needed. So thankful for thoughtful people!  We got to Dodge City where Mitch had to meet with two people to do  baptismal interviews. While he was doing that I got to visit with the 4 Elders that serve in that area and they are so fun to talk to. They also had a new convert with them and another girl who was not a member of the church. I told her she needs to look into the church and that the missionary should get the sister  missionaries visiting with her. When Mitch was done with those two interviews  we headed for home. We got home around 9 p.m., pretty much just in time to unpack, do a few things around the house and start a new week! This is mission life and I am loving it! Thankfully this week is going to be a little slower. At least I should say we won't be traveling until Sunday when we go back out to Garden City for a mission president's devotional.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Kansas Wichita Mission

Last week we were on the road from Tuesday to Saturday interviewing missionaries. Our first stop was Salina, then Manhattan, Topeka and we ended in Lawrence Kansas. Every day was a new day talking to the elders and sisters of this Mission and what a great group of missionaries they are! Once again while Mitch interviewed each missionary I got to sit and visit with them as they waited their turn to go in. I am so grateful for an opportunity like this to get to know each one a little bit individually. I also enjoyed  driving to each of these cities and seeing how beautiful and green it is here in Kansas. It was my first trip to Manhattan and Lawrence. Both  are college towns and they are really pretty, green and with lots of trees. In Lawrence it was about 10 degrees cooler and that was a nice break from the heat!  We got to have dinner with President Knapp and his wife from Manhattan and President Averett and his wife from Topeka. Such wonderful people. We also had dinner with the Brinkerhoffs who are our senior couple out  in Junction City and when we were in Lawrence we had dinner with the McBride's who are serving with the CES institute in that area. Because we were already there  we stayed Saturday and went to a baptism in Lawrence for Rae and Robert. I'd like to post their pictures but we've been told unless we have written permission from those being baptized we're not supposed to post their pictures. Hopefully I'll have some pictures that I can put up of our new members next week. We got home at about 3:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon I was pretty much done and just wanted to do something different. We were able to go to dinner and a movie. The movie we saw was the new Star Trek movie and it was pretty good and entertaining. It was a nice break for us. After the movie when we got home it was cool enough that we took our first walk around the neighborhood. It's been so hot here and doesn't cool off much at night that we haven't taken the opportunity to walk around the block so we really enjoyed being outside again! (Haven't been able to do it since then though....)
    Sunday I went to my block of meetings at my ward while Mitch and the assistants drove back to Junction City to meet with some Elders they needed to meet with. While Mitch was gone I went and visited with some sisters that needed a little counseling. Don't know that I helped much but I loved the opportunity to visit with them. Madison, a guy we met when we bought our new mattress for our bed, came to dinner that night along with the assistants He's like our first friend in this area that's not involved in the mission!
Monday morning we always have an office staff meeting from 10 to 12 in the foyer of the church where the mission office is. This Monday it smelled so bad in the foyer that we had to meet in the primary room. We all thought it smelled like a dirty diaper but there was not one to be found. The stench pretty much lingered all day! I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening purchasing food and preparing it for our Mission Leadership Council for Tuesday. It seemed extra hot and I hated going anywhere and being outside. We didn”t get to bed till midnight and we were both pretty exhausted.
Tuesday was MLC. Once again the hallway at the church smelled awful and there were people there trying to figure out what was going on. The Church had been baited to kill mice and rats and so we wondered if there was  something dead lying around and rotting. Finally one of the FM workers noticed that a ceiling tile was soft and squishy and figured something was wet up in the ceiling. Look at what they found!  
IMG_0687.JPG


That is a dead possum!!!! And look at the size of it! No wonder half of the building smelled so bad! Hopefully this possum didn't have a family living up there too. That was an exciting start to our day.
MLC went really well I am always amazed that we can have a missionary meeting that starts at 9 in the morning and ends at 4 in the afternoon and the time flys by.
Tomorrow we head out again for the last of our interviews.  We will only be gone 2 days this time!
Just a little FYI for any Mesa 15th warders out there.  One of our missionaries is from Mesa and as we spoke we figured out that his grandpa was my Sunday school teacher when I was about 14/15, Ken Rowley!  I also met the sister of my 9th grade core teacher from Kino Jr. High, Mr. Davidson. She lives here in Kansas and her younger brother married the girl that introduced the gospel to Mitch’s sister which started all of this!  SMALL WORLD!!!!!!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Last Sunday night we were in Topeka doing a Mission Presidents Devotional. Once a month Mitch and I plus the two assistants go to a different city and put on this meeting. The missionaries bring investigators and then newly baptized converts are asked to share their testimony and conversion story. This was our first devotional and what an amazing experience it turned out to be. It started with Mitch sharing his family's conversion story and talking about the Joseph Smith story and showing a few clips from the Joseph Smith movie.  6 new members had been asked to get up and bear their testimonies and what a treat it was to hear their stories! These people came from all walks of life. One was a college student from Africa, a high school student, a young woman who had been homeless for a while, a woman who had dated a member and found out about the church, a young man who had been in jail and didn't have much of a relationship with his family, and then the last one was a young man who made meth, used meth, sold meth and fathered a child at 13 years of age. Each had their own story to tell and yet each of them came to the same conclusion and that was to be baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They all spoke of the faith and peace that came with joining the church. The Spirit was strong in that meeting and I know there were some investigators who became even more interested in finding out what the church is all about. It was a real spiritual high for those of us who were in attendance! It is so amazing to see how the gospel changes lives!
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday was spent with Mitch interviewing all the elders and sisters from the Wichita and Derby zones. This was pretty much an all day event that went from 10 in the morning till about 5 in the late afternoon. I know Mitch really enjoyed the opportunity to speak with each of these missionaries on a personal level and I must say, I am impressed with the energy he had to do that day after day. I know he was exhausted every night and on top of doing that he had to read letters from all of the missionaries in the mission. They write him every week and there's about 170+ missionaries right now. I took the opportunity to visit with as many missionaries as I could too. As they waited to go in to visit him I got to talk to them for a little bit. They are such a wonderful group of young men and young women giving their lives to the Lord for 18 months to 2 years! I love them all!
We had all of the senior missionaries that serve in the office, 3 couples and one sister, come to our home for dinner on Tuesday night. We had so much fun visiting and getting to know one another better. They are such wonderful people and I'm so thankful for my friendship with them. They have helped to make my mission experience so enjoyable and I love being at the office with them. Also Tuesday night Kasey and Kenzie were flying in to spend a few days with us. They were supposed to get here at 10:15pm but their plane had mechanical trouble and  was delayed a couple of hours. They were going to have to stay the night in Denver and were told there were no more hotels available because there had been some bad weather and the planes had all been grounded. Lucky for them and for us their connecting flight was also delayed and they were able to make their flight here. We picked them up at 1:30 in the morning and even though it was late we were so happy to get them here with us.
Even though Mitch was busy we would go to the church where he was interviewing and stay for a while and visit with the elders and sisters. Then we went to some sites in Wichita like the Nifty Nut House, Hurts Donuts, Keeper of the Plains etc. On Friday we took our PDay and went to Hutchinson, Kansas to the Salt Mine. It starts with a ride in an elevator going 650 feet down through the ground. In the mine there's a museum and a little train that you can ride and other tours that you can take. It's pretty fascinating and a little scary being that far down in the ground and when the lights are turned off it is pitch black. We got to pick some salt rocks to bring home which I had the girls take back to the grandkids.

Sadly on Saturday we dropped the girls at the airport at 1 p.m. and they flew home. We had such a fun time with them and it was such a pleasure to have them here! After dropping them off, Mitch and I drove to Guymon Oklahoma to meet a new senior couple that was arriving that day. It's about a four-and-a-half-hour drive. The Walkers are from Weiser Idaho and they are fantastic people who will be such a support to the Sisters and Elders in Guymon and such a support to the ward. We were very impressed with them. We took Elder Wallace and Elder Winegar and sister Filigrana and Sister Wadsworth along with the Walkers to dinner at Hunny's BBQ. The food was really good and the company was even better! We feel like that area is in good hands with these wonderful valiant people. We drove back to Liberal Kansas which is about 50 minutes away to stay the night and then on Sunday we attended the ward there in Liberal.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

3 Weeks in Kansas

3 weeks ago today our mission began in the Kansas Wichita mission. So much has happened  these last 3 weeks ! I am amazed at how busy and wonderful life is when you're involved in missionary work.
On Tuesday July 12th we received our first batch of new missionaries, fresh from the MTC. One of the things that was so great about that is, we met all of these missionaries when we were  in the MTC. There were 10 elders and 7 sisters. The assistance each drove a van, one with the trailer hooked to the back, and we went to the airport to pick them up. We walked upstairs to wait for them and see them as they came walking down the hall. (Of course the assistance tried to do a little missionary work while we were there!!) It was a great reunion and hopefully comforting to the missionaries to already know us. I wish I could hug all of them but I got to hug the sisters and Mitch got the hug all the elders! After taking a few  pictures at the airport we loaded up the vans and all of their luggage and headed to The Keeper of the Plains.

-Keeper of the Plains is a statue of an Indian where the Arkansas and Little Arkansas rivers meet. (oh here it’s not Arkansas it’s pronounced Ar-Kansas)
There is a tradition in this mission where they go straight to The Keeper of the Plains and have their picture taken and then at the end of their mission before they go to the airport they go back to The Keeper of the Plains to have their picture taken again. That's a tradition we will keep! We came right back to the mission office where they had their first taste of Kansas barbecue. Once their stomachs were full they were paired up with a missionary and sent out to do missionary work for a couple of hours. I came home and worked on preparing dinner for 21 of us. They showed up around 5:30 p.m. exhausted and yet happy and ready for a good meal. It was a pleasure to sit and talk with his sisters and find out how their new experiences proselyting had gone. They had been challenged to invite people to be baptized and I think pretty much they were all able to fulfill that challenge. Once dinner was done the assistants took all 17 of the new missionaries down in the basement to do some training and while they were training, each missionary came upstairs to be interviewed by Mitch. There was always one missionary waiting on the couch and so I got to visit with each one and find out all about them. I really enjoyed getting to know each one of them, such great young men and young women excited about serving the Lord. The assistants took all of the elders to stay with them and the other office elders while all the sisters stayed here in our home. I loved going downstairs to check on them and seeing them all sitting there reading scriptures, writing in their journals and studying. It was such a peaceful, sweet feeling down in that basement. All of  missionaries had been up since about 2:30 in the morning, if they even slept at all, so they were exhausted and the lights were out by 10 p.m. In the morning, following Mission rules, they were up at 6:30,ready, studying and getting ready for the day. We had them over to the mission office by 8:30 in the morning where they are able to have breakfast. The missionaries that were going to be their trainers showed up and then there was all kinds of training going on. The new missionaries in one room and the training missionaries in another. Afterwards they were paired up, ate a huge lunch and off they went to their assigned areas.
A couple of hours later we were off to Topeka (an hour and 45 minute drive) for a visit with some missionaries and a coordinating council with a stake presidency. Then turned around and drove right back home.
Saturday we drove over to Dodge City ( another 2 and a half hours) for the baptism of Simon Dang. It was a beautiful experience. Got back in the car and drove over to Derby (just outside of Wichita) for the baptism of Robyn Williams and her daughter Dianna. Both baptisms were filled with SPIRIT and so wonderful! I will never forget the look on their faces and the joy they radiated. It was priceless. The Gospel changes lives. It’s a joy to be apart of this wonder and true work.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Our first 10 days in the Kansas Wichita Mission!

We headed out  Tuesday Morning June 28th for Wichita, Kansas.  Once past Grand Junction Colorado and into the canyon it was an absolutely gorgeous drive. We drove through Glenwood Springs, Eagle, Vail then on to Denver for the night. The plan was to stay in Denver but we couldn't find a hotel anywhere! There was some kind of baseball tournament going on and nothing was available so we drove on for another hour or so. We ended up in a small town called Limon Colorado where we found a hotel. It was decent and we stayed there for the night. We had a nice thunderstorm come through and it rained really hard. The next morning we found out that Denver had a flooding rainstorm so we got the tail end of it there in Limon. We tried to figure on the map where our mission boundaries started and we figure it was Flagger Colorado. Mitch said his heart started pounding so he knew we must be close! We drove to Salina Kansas which is a really nice city and found a nice hotel to stay in. I wanted to get a pedicure so I drug Mitch with me over to a place called Divine Nails. A man named Kenny and his wife Christy from Vietnam own Divine Nails. We both got a pedicures and Kenny was so friendly and talkative with us.  We told him it was our first day in Kansas and he asked us why we had moved there. We told him that we were there as missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or Mormon church. He said I know the Mormon church I watch Sister Wives. We had a good laugh over that and explained to him that those people on the TV show Sister Wives have broken off from the Mormon church. When I've gotten pedicures in Utah nobody talks to each other. When we got this pedicure in Salina everybody in the shop visited with us. Everyone was so friendly and so talkative it was a really nice Introduction to the people of Kansas. We have found in our 10 days here that people are so friendly and open and very kind.
Thursday morning we left Salina and drove to Wichita. The drive was beautiful! Everything here is green and there's corn fields and I think Alfalfa but it's just beautiful and we loved everything about the drive! People comment about it being so flat and a lot of it is but it's so pretty and there's so many water towers!  We arrived at our new home and found it to be very nice and comfortable! We got into our church clothes and headed over to the mission office where we got to meet president and sister Bell, the outgoing Mission president and his wife. They are wonderful people and we so enjoyed our visit with them. We had lunch with all of the mission office staff and they are also wonderful friendly people! We had a “meet the president” with the missionaries from the zones around Wichita. We went in and shook everyone's hands and found out a little about them and then spent about an hour-and-a-half letting them know who we are and talking about the mission. After the meeting we took the assistants who are Elder Labrum and Elder Gilliam and the sister trainer leaders, Sister Fountain and Scaister Wade to dinner. We are so impressed with these four young men and young women. After dinner Mitch went with the missionaries and I went with the sisters to do some missionary work. The sisters had a man they were going to visit who had just had surgery but he didn't answer the door. They looked around and down the street saw a woman raking her yard. They said let's go talk to her so off we went in the blazing hot Kansas sun to go visit someone they had never met. I'll be honest, I was a little nervous. This woman her name is Janae, she has 4 children and was very friendly and receptive to talking about Jesus Christ! She is a religious person and said that she would come to a chapel tour. We then visited with her nephew and his girlfriend who were sitting on the doorstep.  They too were friendly and happy to talk with us. I was so tired from all that we had  going on that day and all I wanted to do was go home after dinner but I am so thankful that I went with the sisters and experienced meeting these people! There is Spirit in missionary work that is amazing and I was energized! Mitch had a great experience with the elders as they visited with a woman they've been teaching for a short while. This was our introduction to the  Kansas Wichita mission. it was the best day ever!
We have done four other meet the president meetings across the state with different zones, held an MLC which is a Mission Leadership Council, been asked to share our testimony in two Sacrament meetings and we’ve attended various other meetings and activities. We had dinner at one of the stake presidents (President and Sister Daley) home last sunday and they showed us around the area Friday. It is a busy life but we love the work and the people!

ission1We have already traveled all over this state and we will be traveling every week. Mitch has already filled up his car 5 or 6 times in the 10 days we have been here! Everywhere we go we find strong members and people interested in hearing the gospel. Yesterday we attended three baptisms in 3 different cities which took us all day to drive around to. There were several more baptisms that took place yesterday we just couldn't get to them all since they were spread over the state. Today at church Janae came to sacrament meeting for the first time and I was so thrilled to see her with the sisters! This is mission life and I love it!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Welcome!

We've set up a blog for mom to keep everyone updated on their adventures in Kansas. Hopefully she can figure out how to do this :)