Thursday, December 21, 2017

December 2017

  I'm sitting here in the hall at the Lawrence church building as Mitch is doing interviews.  I  meet with each missionary before they go in to talk to him.  Right now he is doing a departing missionary interview which usually lasts about an hour.  Sister Lee came to Kansas the week after us and was in the group we met at the MTC when we were in the MTC.  It is so weird to think that she is going home.  It's also weird to think that we are at the halfway point of our mission.  Time has gone by so fast!   

  This was what our drive to Manhattan looked like on Monday.  It was so foggy but it finally looked and felt like Christmas.  The weather has been sunny and not too cold lately.  It is starting to change.  I love white Christmas's but I'm pretty sure we won't have one here. I'll take the fog though!
  Last week we had zone conferences across the mission from Monday to Saturday.  Normally we would have just been 5 days but the Stake Presidency in Garden City wanted to do a special dinner for the missionaries and could only do it on Saturday and Mitch and I needed to be home by 5pm on Saturday.  So.....we split zone conference in Garden City and it was amazing.  We did service projects with our "Light the World" t-shirts Friday night.  Some rang the salvation army bell at Walmart, some cleaned up a lot near a school, some helped organize toys for tots at the salvation army and some built a playhouse for a school.  It was a wonderful night and when we were all done we went to the Steels home for dessert and sharing what we did.

                                                This is the whole Garden City Zone at the Steels.
For Zone Conference each missionary had a wrapped gift under the tree plus a letter from home and 2 ornaments with one word written on it chosen by their family that described them.

Ugly sweater contest!

More ugly sweaters!

It was a wonderful and exhausting week of zone conference but the privilege of being with these awesome missionaries was worth it! What a wonderful time to celebrate the life of our Savior!
  The "Light the World" initiative  has been a blessing and fantastic focus at this time of year.  Our missionaries have been involved in many service opportunities and have been able to involve ward members and investigators.  Mosiah 2:17 When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.  That's what it's all about!
  In November we had a mission tour with Elder Vern P. Stanfill and his wife Alicia.  It went from a Tuesday to Sunday.  We combined zones and had 3 days of zone conferences and ended at the Topeka Stake Conference Saturday and Sunday.  The Stanfills are such great people and so down to earth.  We really felt a connection with them and were edified and taught so much by both of them.   
  The Gospel is true and brings so much light and joy into my life!

Friday, November 3, 2017

November in Kansas

I can't believe it's November already!  Time is flying by.  Last week we attended our Mission Presidents Seminar in Jackson Hole Wyoming.  We met up with all the mission presidents and wives from our North America Central area plus Idaho.  These are wonderful people that I look up to and admire so much.  We got to attend the Star Valley Wyoming Temple one day and enjoy being in the temple with this great group of people.  The temple is beautiful and there were mountains all around us.  (Kansas doesn't have much in the way of mountains, just beautiful rolling hills. )  For 3 1/2 days we were fed spiritually and physically.  They really do feed us great food and lots of it at these things but more importantly we are taught and lifted spiritually.  Our Presidency that is over us, Elder Soares, Elder Wilford Andersen, Elder Nattress and Elder Parrella and their wives were with us and then we had a special guest Elder Neil L. Andersen and his wife Kathy.  These are all great leaders and wonderful teachers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I am thankful to have been in their presence and felt of their love for the Savior and for us.  We came back to our mission being lifted and taught.  Actually we got back in a mad dash!  We flew in to Wichita Saturday around 1 pm, stopped at the house long enough to unpack and repack, then headed to Salina for Stake Conference.  After conference on Sunday we drove to Emporia to visit with some missionaries and then got home where I had 45 minutes to get dinner made for the Assistants coming over for dinner. That is not an uncommon couple of days in the mission field! 
This is the Star Valley Wyoming Temple               
With Everyone

Jenny Lake with all of the Mission Presidents and Wives we started with in 2016.

On Tuesday we had MLC with all of our mission leadership.  We start our meeting at the church but end up at the mission home for dinner and final business.  I always make the dinner and by request we had our best imitation of Jdawgs.  (a hotdog place in Utah) This is the second time I have made them because some of  the missionaries love them so much.  It was also Halloween and the missionaries loved being able to open the door for trick or treaters.  They also loved putting a pass a long card with a picture of Jesus  in the candy bowl!  They are always missionaries!   
The next morning we had our Sister Training Leaders over for breakfast and some training.   These are some wonderful sisters who serve, uplift and teach the sisters in their areas.

They liked that we have a selfie stick!

We are here because we love the Lord and know that it is His Church and His Gospel.  This matters, this is real!  Let's us not forget that we lived before we came to this earth and that we will continue to live after we leave this earth.  There is an eternal perspective in all we do and in the choices we make. May we find peace and joy in living a life centered in Him and His gospel!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

August 2017

  It's official.......we are a smart phone Online Proselyting mission.  We are rolling it out today with the Mission Leadership Council!  We've been a technology mission since before we got here, meaning our missionaries use Ipads and Tablets.  Today they will get their smart phone and begin to set up their Facebook accounts to share the Gospel.  It's pretty incredible when you think of how the message of the Gospel can be sent throughout the world because of smart phones!  Of course with it comes much responsibility on the part of the missionary to use it appropriately.  We have wonderful missionaries in the Kansas Wichita Mission who I believe will honor their calling as ambassadors of Jesus Christ. The work is moving forward!
  We had a wonderful experience last weekend with a visit from Elder Oaks to our area.  For the first time since we have been here, by request, we brought in all the missionaries for a mission wide meeting with an apostle.  Accompanying him were Elder Nattress a general authority 70 and Elder Rawson an area authority 70.  Elder Rawson is from Wichita.  He served here as a bishop and then stake president. We have become very fond of Elder Rawson and his wife Linda, they are good people. Elder Nattress served as a mission president in the Gilbert Arizona mission before receiving the call he has now.  It was fun to talk to him about Arizona since I grew up in Mesa.  Our missionaries were wonderful in doing all they were asked to do to prepare for this meeting.  I felt like a proud parent!  We were able to get a picture with everyone which was quite a feat working with almost 200 people but they were in place and ready when Elder Oaks showed up.

  Every single missionary got to file into the chapel and shake hands with these great men!
The spirit in the meeting was strong and I was a little weepy throughout the whole thing.  Mitch and I both took 5 minutes and then the time was turned over to Elder Rawson, Elder Nattress and Elder Oaks. We had a special number by Elder Winegar, Radman, Murphy, Davies and Sister Casos and Bench accompanied by Sister Daly.  It was beautiful and added so much to the spirit that was already there. The meeting was only 1 1/2 hours long and as soon as it was over the missionaries reverently exited the building and got back on the road to their areas.  What a spiritual feast for us all! There were two more meetings after that we attended for ward and stake councils and then youth and YSA.  It was a long day but so good.  We got to spend a good part of time with Elder Oaks in between meetings and have dinner with him.  He is kind, funny, and an all around fantastic person to be with.  Sunday we picked up Elder Nattress and took him to 2 different Sacrament meetings.  We attended the Park Hill ward and then the Kellogg Spanish Branch.  After we met up with the others at an airport and sent them off on the Huntsman Jet.  What a fantastic weekend or really I should say 25 hours!
  Our daughters Becca and Kristin and their combined 8 children paid us a visit the week before my birthday.  Little did I know they were coming.  It seems like usually when someone is planning a surprise you have an idea that something is happening but I was 100% clueless.  I was driving us home from 2 days of zone conference and asked Mitch if he wanted to stop in El Dorado for dinner.  He said he wasn't feeling really well and wanted to just get home and change clothes and then get something in town.  I was ok with that.  When we got to the house he handed me my purse and said I'll get the rest in a minute.  I walked into the house and turned on the light and all of a sudden my family is yelling surprise!  I was stunned!  Had no clue! It was wonderful and so much fun to have them here for days.  I felt bad because Mitch had to do 2 more zone conferences without me but not really that bad ! 😊  What fun we had!  I love my family!

One last picture before they leave.  It was to bright outside so we took it in the garage!

Downtown Wichita at the Old Mill Tasty Shop.  It was our first time there.

Grandpa having a gospel talk with the kids.  It was really good and I think I even learned some things!

  In July we had a Senior Missionary activity.  All of our senior couples and sisters came into Wichita.  We had dinner the night before at Olive Garden.  A member of our ward was there and took a picture for us.

After dinner those that wanted went to the Keeper of the Plains and then we got ice cream at Braums.
Saturday morning we had  breakfast and games plus we got on our family tree apps to see if any of us were related and of course many of us were!  It was a great time and we are so blessed to have all of these wonderful, faithful and diligent seniors serving with us in Kansas.  I can't say enough how much these missionaries are a help and support to all they serve!  WE LOVE THEM111

And here is one last picture......Mitch with Elder Benziger and Elder Saari, our office missionaries, looking at the eclipse.

Monday, July 10, 2017

July 2017

  Summer is in full swing here in Kansas.  Everything is green and lush and of course the fire flies are a plenty in the back yard.  I love it here!  So far we have been able to take a morning and nightly walk. Last year we didn't even attempt it because it was so hot and humid.  We've either gotten used to it or it's not as hot as it was last year!
  We've been speaking 2 or 3 times a month in different wards around the mission.  I love that it doesn't matter where you go, it feels the same in each ward we attend.  There are wonderful people everywhere we go!
  Yesterday we attended the baptism of Edward and there were 40 plus people there to support him! It was awesome to see so many people from the ward welcoming him in.  His wife should be getting baptized soon and they are so happy.  Most of the wards here are very welcoming and supportive of converts.  I love seeing people change their lives and make themselves better, to see the light in their eyes.
  I've learned many valuable lessons since living in Kansas.  Growing up in Arizona and then living the past 36 years in Utah have been similar experiences.  The lifestyle has been pretty much the same but Kansas has been different.  Church in Kansas feels pretty much the same but you see things in church that I never saw in Az/Ut.  In Az/Ut we all looked, dressed, acted, etc. the same.  Here you will see people dressed in all kinds of attire.  Some even smell of cigarette smoke or alcohol.  This is not what I am used to but.......they are at church! They are striving to live Christlike lives, make changes in their lives and make themselves better.  It's quite amazing to see and they are accepted and loved for who they are, children of God on the same life journey as the rest of us.  This is something I will take home with me!  Heavenly Father loves ALL His children and we are in essence brothers and sisters, a family.  Families help each other, love each other, accept each other.
  June 30th we hit our one year anniversary.  That went by fast!  We feel like we are finally figuring things out and things run smoothly for a moment or two.  There is always something new to deal with!  Of course the best part of all are the missionaries who are giving 18-24 months of their lives
to full time work for the Lord!  We watch them stumble and fall and pick themselves back up and in the process learn and grow into wonderful, dedicated disciples of Christ.  This is our joy!
  The Gospel is true of that I am sure!!!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

June 4, 2017

WOW! Almost 4 months have gone by since I last wrote!  Time is ticking by and so much is going on.  Now that we are on a 6 week rotation it's like a mad dash to the finish line!  People always ask me what do you love the most about your mission and I always have to say....being with the missionaries.  They are such wonderful young men and women.  They work hard, play hard and are here to serve the Lord and take His gospel to everyone and anyone who will listen.  It is hard, rewarding work!
Joe was baptized on Tuesday evening and it was a wonderful meeting.  What a great young man and what great faith.  Sister Thompson and Curran, our Bel Aire Sister Training Leaders, taught Joe. Many ward members from the ward and from the ward he is moving into were there for him. Support from the ward is the Best!  Kansas is full of wonderful people!
Wednesday night we had the Mission Leadership Council or MLC to our home for dinner. All 30 of us ate up stairs then went to the basement for the rest of the meeting.  It was the first time we have had them all in our home together.  Usually we do this meeting at the church but this was much better, much more intimate and everyone loved doing it this way.  
The next day, Thursday, we took our MLC to the Oklahoma City Temple.  The only bus we could find available to drive us was a school bus.  That sure brought back memories of my elementary school days!  The Temple is about 2 1/2 hours away.  As we drove there, Mitch led a discussion with the missionaries and did some teaching. We are being very prayerful in working to move this mission forward. There was nothing better than seeing angel Moroni on the spire as we drove in.  I LOVE the TEMPLE!!!  We were able to do a session and then meet with the Temple President, President Campbell and be taught. We met he and his wife last summer as we both spoke at the Derby and Wichita stake conferences together.  What wonderful people they are!  We ate lunch in the church building right across the parking lot from the temple.  It was nice and cool and gave us a little more time in air conditioning before we headed back in the bus!  The ride home was much warmer then the ride there but we made it! It was a beautiful and memorable day for all!
Yesterday we had the privilege of attending the baptism of Terry in Burlington Kansas.  I drove and as we stared out it began to rain like no other.  Sister Worthington, our mission nurse, calls that a frog choaker! It was a little scary but I just slowed down and all was well.  The baptism was at the outdoor community pool.  Terry was seated on a lift and was lowered into the water while Elder Lemon and Clawson stabilized her.  Elder Lemon baptized her and it was a beautiful thing.  We headed back to the church for the program.  Our two senior sisters, Sister Cochrane and Junior spoke on baptism and the Holy Ghost and did a wonderful job.  I was so touched by both talks and the Spirit bore witness to me that all they were saying was true.  This Gospel is true and it's so amazing that our Heavenly Father has provided a way for us to return to live with Him again.  He is our Father! He loves all of His children!  He wants us all to return to be with Him! I KNOW THIS IS TRUE!
Today, Sunday, we are holding a mission wide fast.  What a great way to end the wonderful week we have had.  THE GOSPEL IS TRUE!!!

Friday, February 17, 2017

February 17th 2017.
  Time goes by so quickly in the mission field. It's always busy and things are moving all the time. We enjoyed a world wide missionary broadcast on January 25th and it was amazing that the senior brethren of the missionary executive council, Elders Oaks, Bednar, and Anderson, invited all missionaries into that meeting via a teleconference live feed and it was awesome!  How many missionaries can say that they have prayed with an Apostle! Or watched how a council meeting is held.  They taught the principle of teaching repentance and baptizing converts and stressed to “not skip a step”.  We also had brother Donaldson from the missionary department and brother Glazier from the Provo MTC come that same week and do some training with our missionaries. It was fantastic! They are both wonderful and insightful teachers and we all learned so much about how to share the gospel with our brothers and sisters. The interesting thing is everything we learned was just going back to basics and tied to our missionary purpose. You have to build faith in your investigators before they can move forward. Such a simple thought and yet so easily forgotten. The missionaries that were able to attend were very excited about everything they learned and were anxious to get back to the missionaries in their area and share with them the new trainings. Everyone seems to be very excited about using these teachings and have seen the benefits of sticking to the basics in their teachings already. We love our missionaries and we love the Kansas Wichita mission!
  We sent home so many awesome missionaries lately who completed their missions and we miss them already.  They make such a mark on the mission and with the other missionaries.  We’ve had many new come and it is exciting to see their progress.  Missionary work is work!  It’s living on a schedule, following guidelines, studying, keeping close to a companion, making goals, keeping track of people you’s a time of losing yourself and focusing on others.  It can be quite an adjustment but I love when I see the missionaries finally get it and lose themselves and get into the work.  What an awesome thing for anyone to do….lose yourself in the service of God and your fellow man!
  We just started a new round of stake conferences for the year. Last weekend we had  conference in the Wichita stake. The stake presidency was changed and they had two visiting authorities, Elder Weatherford Clayton, a General Authority Seventy, from Utah and Elder Spackman, an area authority seventy, from Canada.(Elder Claytons niece just finished her mission here with us 6 weeks ago!)  All of the talks were so good and motivating.  President Williams was released and his first counselor President Chandler was put in as the the new Stake President. Such good men!  We had to leave as soon as conference was over to drive 3 ½ hours to Garden City for a missionary training meeting Mitch and his first counselor Matt Steel were doing for all of the bishopbrics, ward mission leaders and stake presidency.  After that meeting we held a mission president’s devotional.  We had new converts share their conversion stories and testimonies as well as some more seasoned converts do the same.  It was a powerful meeting on how the Gospel of Jesus Christ changes lives.  I am so impressed at all that Mitch does and the energy he has to do it all.  The Lord has truly blessed him in this work to have the stamina to do it all!  It is the busiest thing we have ever done!
  Yesterday we sent home Elder Gilliam who was one of the assistants when we arrived June 30th.  He has been having some back problems his whole mission and it just was time for him to go and take care of his health.  I loved making food for Elder Gilliam because he could eat and I love when people eat my food.  You’d think with the way he could put down food he would be a big guy but he’s not!  Anyway, I will always be thankful to him and Elder Labrum for being our guides when we first got here and didn’t know what we were doing.  I love these two young men!
  We've had a few really cold days but for the most part it's been a pretty mild winter. I'm looking forward to leaves and green grass!  
The Gospel is TRUE!!!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

November and December

December 22nd 2016

   I can't believe it's been almost 2 months since I last wrote on this blog. Life has been very busy and we find ourselves now on the road 3 weeks of the six weeks between transfers.  We are doing 4 Zone conferences, 9 interview days, MLC and 3 days of transfers every 6 weeks.  It keeps things busy and eventful!  It is great to be busy in such an important work and we love being here in Kansas and we especially love being with all of our missionaries! I can’t say enough how much we love them and love being with them.  
  Since I last wrote we have done 8 zone conferences, 18 rounds of interviews and MLC.  Also throw in there a mission tour with Elder Wilford Andersen and his wife Kathleen(who by the way are from Mesa) which consisted of 3 more zone conferences and an MLC with them teaching.  We loved having them here and learned so much from them!  They are wonderful people and such great teachers.  The missionaries were very Spiritually fed those 3 days.  We had one day in Topeka, the next in Dodge City and the last in Wichita.  They had just come from another mission tour in Des Moines, Iowa.  Talk about busy…….!
  We had Thanksgiving with our 18 zone leaders and 2 assistants plus 3 of our office staff.  IMG_1135 2.JPGIMG_1137 2.JPG

I have more pictures to post but now I can't get it to work so... I'm a little computer challenged that's for sure!
  Thanksgiving was a great experience in the mission field but different from being at home. There was no relaxing and watching football or just doing nothing.  Nevertheless it was a good day and we got to talk and FaceTime with family as well as enjoy being with these elders.
  We were supposed to go to a live nativity and devotional in Liberal on Saturday December 17th but they were expecting bad weather and it was cold! Everything was cancelled and we got to stay home which I was happy about because I had things to do for Christmas but I was also bummed because I was really looking forward to the live nativity that we had heard so much about. They even cancelled church in some areas. That Sunday morning as we drove to church here in Wichita the thermometer in our car registered -1 degree. I think it was a good thing that we didn't  go to Liberal that weekend as they said it was -22. Kansas is known for it's wind. The wind can really blow and in the winter it's a very cold wind!  In a lot of ways the weather reminds us of a Utah winter. It's cold and you just put up with it for 3 months and then it starts to get warm again.  We have finished 1 month of winter!
 Our 4 December Zone conferences were so fun.  We had an ugly sweater contest, watched some cute Christmas videos, tied some fleece blankets as a service project for “Light the World” and we had all of the missionaries write on a little card a gift that they are going to give to the Savior this year.  We were also fed yummy meals by the stakes and appreciate so much what they do for us.  As fun and lighthearted as part of zone conference was, it was also a time to reflect on the Savior, His birth and all he has done for us. He is the reason for the season!
 Kasey and Kenzie came the friday before Christmas and we had such a good time.  The first night we went to the Prairie Pines Theater for dinner and a play.  It was pretty funny and we had some good laughs.  Saturday morning we took them to the Doo Dah Diner for breakfast.  If you ever come to Wichita you have to have breakfast there.  It is so good, they have this banana bread french toast that is to die for plus Tanyas eggs benedict.  There is usually a long wait but they do have call ahead seating.  You still have to wait even with that but it helps.  
When I called that morning, the hostess kind of discouraged me saying it was busy but I was determined to take these girls there.  When we got there we got right in!  They loved it and I’m so glad they got to experience it. On Christmas day we had Sacrament meeting and then in the afternoon we had an open house for the missionaries close by.  We also got to facetime with all the family which was fantastic!  I sure love my family.  The week after Christmas was transfer week so the girls got to see how that goes.  We only had 5 missionaries come and we sent home 5 elders and 5 sisters.  It is hard to say goodbye to these wonderful missionaries because we love them so much.  The new missionaries coming in are stellar and we are excited to have them be a part of the Kansas Wichita Mission! On Wednesday we sent Kenzie off at 6:30am and Kasey at 1:55pm.  Unfortunately they had different flights because Kenzie had a plane ticket she had to use.  It was so good to have some family with us!  New Year’s Eve was uneventful in fact we went to dinner and didn’t even think of it being new year’s eve until our waiter said something about it!
 And now it is 2017!  I still remember how everyone was worried about what was going to happen in 2000 with computers and everything.  Where has the time gone!