Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thursday, November 14, 2013 We are now home. We were greeted by friends and family and there was a huge welcome sign on the garage and front window from the Rudders and dinner on the table from the Pools. Kyle, Melissa, and Avery came to help unpack the car and Greg went to the airport to pick up Connie, Lindsay, Camden and Grayson. What a welcome home. I'll post the wonderful greeting. It was a perfect ending to a series of last times. Monday at the last office meeting we had great words from the President. Quoting the scripture in Moses 1:39, he said we were to add our name at the end so that it read: "For behold this is my work and my glory - to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of CAROLYN and JERRY." This would make it personal. God is the organizer and even with our free agency, what happens is not random. Then the President had a great Janpanese story. The elders called him one night as they had tracted out a Janpanese couple who only spoke Janpanese (they said). So the elders asked the President on the phone to talk to the couple in Japanesne and tell them who they were and why they were there. Then the wife got on the phone and said in perfect English, "We speak English, we just wanted to get rid of them" and then she hung up. We had to laugh at those polite Japanese and as my grandson, McKay, says from Sendai, "Even when they slam the door in your face, the Japanese do it politely." Later that day we had our President's final interview. He gave us a $2 bill and said that the two on the bill meants both us and the Savior. If we ripped the bill in half it would not be worth $2. Only when it is together will it work. We are to keep it as a remberance of our mission. We need always to have the Savior with us. Sister Weaver gave us a CD of the mission songs in a "Return with Honor" case. We learned to love those songs and now we can continue to hear our missionaries singing to us. Tuesday was the day of our official release and it was transfer day. We heard great testimonies from 11 departing missionaries. Here are some of their messages: "Let the mission change you. It is the best training ground for the rest of your life. I owe the Church my life. Helaman 5 - Remember, Remember this moment. And President Weaver ending it with: Preparing the world - one soul at a time. God loves you for doing it for Him." The Trotters had us to breakfast Wednesday morning so that we would have a nourishing start to our trip and as we drove out of the parking lot the Quillons stood with signs saying: Hurrah, Hurrah, Hurrah for Israel! Safe Journey. What a way to leave. Here are also a few pictures of the hugs and best wishes from our wonderful missionaires who we truly came to love. They will be in our prayers every morning and night, praying for their safety, success and future happiness. We can now say: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sunday, November 10, 2013 This definitely will be the last post from Washington Tacoma Mission as we lose our internet tomorrow. I'll wrap it up in Nampa some day when everything gets calm and hooked up again. Friday the office all got together and went out to dinner to say good bye, even the President and Sister Weaver were able to join us. That made it extra special. Then to top it off, Greg and DaNel made it just in time to order dinner. We were able to introduce them to all the people here who have helped us so much and made such a difference. Saturday we went Christmas shopping to the coolest Mall I hadn't discovered (to Jerry's thankfulness.) DaNel was thrilled to find things that weren't in Boise and especially to get items for a box to McKay for Christmas in Japan. That was so fun. She even had a list of items for friends at Trader Joe's. I will really missed that place. I think I've bought everything they have there in pumpkin flavors to get home to share with all. Then we tried to go to the movies but we bought the wrong tickets and were sitting in the very front row and Greg said we'd kill our necks and miss half the view so we got our money back and came back to the apartment and packed their car with all my boxes. I was so glad for the help. He got lots in, TV included and not the bike as the Harwoods decided they wanted to keep it here. Greg thought it was a great idea as he thinks I need to get rid of lots of stuff at home anyway. So what is left are clothes, groceries and cleaning supplies for us to pack in our car and we'll be on our way Wednesday morning. Then we have our interview with President Weaver and release on Monday, Transfer Day on Tuesday with incoming and departing missionaries and testimonies and then the last cleaning and packing. I'll post some pictures from our dinner and you can see the office staff. Such great people - the work will continue in the best hands!!! Love, Carolyn and Jerry

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thursday, November 7, 2013 Not sure when I will post or how often this ending week. Greg and DaNel arrive tomorrow evening to help us load the cars. That evening the office staff is taking us out to dinner. Not sure what Greg and DaNel want to do on Saturday. The weather is terrible. They will go home on Sunday and we will be living out of a suitcase with just cleaning left. This week has been a week of training. The mission will be left in good hands. Both the Hadlocks and Harwoods are very efficient and sharp. They get one instruction and they go with it. Hopefully all our good work of organizing has helped this turn over. We keep having highlights all week. I am posting pictures of the office to show you where we have been this last year. It has become a home away from home with good people becoming good friends. Sunday started out with highlights of the week. We took Hardwoods to church and then Harwoods, Hadlocks and Quillons came over to dinner before we left for a fireside. It was a fireside with the southern zone down in Centralia. Very well attended and the missionaries did awesome with their music and testimonies. We took the Steilacoom sisters with us and they are darling, so the hour drive down and back was enjoyable. We had the office meeting Monday morning. Weavers reported on their training with Elders Ballad and Rasband. The whole focus was teaching and finding. Everyone was to be out doing missionary work. The mission needs to run, but the focus is finding those looking for the Gospel and everyone doing it from President down to members. The President said they discussed the song "Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd." Look at the line that says "saved at such infinite cost." It really reflects our times and all the money it costs to run a mission what with 58 new missions and 30,000 new missionaries. We were told we would see the Twelve out more with this new emphasis and we will see this on the 23rd with a member of the Twelve talking to our missionaries. Strange things are still happening. Got a letter returned in the mail to the mission office from a Sister whose name no one recognized addressed to people no one recognized either. As we pondered the problem I looked at the post mark and it was stamped - February, 2008. Where had this letter been? It was a Valentine to a family this sister had taught. Records that far back were buried up in the loft of the office. I guess someone missed a Valentine. This could be a movie in the making. I think I've watched one like it on the Hallmark Channel. We got two new Cambodian speaking sisters on Tuesday. They were thrilled I had two cases of Cambodian Books of Mormon for them to get started with. They were cute sisters and eager to get started. Went out to dinner with Trotters that evening to celebrate her birthday and good bye to us. They have been fun to do things with and help us in the office. They say they will come to Idaho and we may finally get to see Mt Rushmore when we go visit them in South Dakota on the way. Harwoods want to buy Jerry's exercise bike. Now I don't have an excuse for Greg coming to help us get home, just my over shopping. Hey, I'm ready for Christmas. Well I will have more pictures of saying good bye to missionaries, but I may have to post it at home as they will turn off our internet soon. Keep posted on the final days to come and know that we made it - with lots of help. Love, Carolyn and Jerry

Saturday, November 2, 2013

November 2, 2013 Hope you all had a great Halloween. We started the celebration on Monday with P-Day in the office for the missionaries. I have some pictures of our treats and decorations. My favorite was the Dracula teeth in the doughnuts - idea thanks to Lindsay and Connie. The missionaries loved wearing the teeth. Hope they didn't go tracting with them in. Then the celebration continued Thursday with an evening with the missionaries at the Church. The President wanted to make sure all the missionaries were safe and off the streets for the evening. They studied, ate, we were assigned doughnuts and then we watched Ephraim's Rescue. We all loved the movie. (I only had to tell them to close their eyes for the kissy moment.) They were all home by 9:00. I liked our thought on Monday's office meeting. Did you know the symbol of our Church is not the cross but two missionaries walking down the street. It sure is a meaningful symbol to me. We also found out that one of the Twelve will be here on the 23rd to meet with the missionaries. We missed Elder Holland at the MTC and now we'll miss another chance to learn from one of the Apostles. Our luck isn't going great in that direction. I will read an extra Conference talk and still come home. Nothing will keep me from home. Got to take sisters to lunch on Tuesday and then drive with Jerry to Port Orchard to do a lease on Wednesday. That helps the week go quickly. Then I also had a bummer of a missionary experience. Now I know how the missionaries feel when after all you can do you still get a negative response. A lady called asking for help to move. She said someone had told her the missionaries would help her. She wasn't a member and it sounded like some members were just pushing her off on the missionaries. Anyway the missionaries went over and helped. She didn't have a truck, so they could only do so much. Well, she had called on Monday, and Tuesday and Wednesday. On Thursday she called again and said the missionaries hadn't come back with a truck and she needed them to take stuff to the dump. Again, we don't have trucks, and secondly you have to be a Washington resident to go to the dump. She was so mad at me and the missionaries that she told me we only cared about ourselves and that Jesus didn't love us. I couldn't convince her that the missionaries had tried and did help, but she was too mad to listen. I really wanted to say that I knew that Jesus loved me and really loved His missionaries too. Believe it or not she called back again on Friday saying she had a U-Haul and wanted help again carrying boxes. I really wanted to say, "Does Jesus love me today?" I held my tongue, which you know is hard for me. The missionaries said she was really a different lady and they really didn't want to go back. They told me to stop answering the phone to her calls, but it's hard to do when you don't have caller ID. Come to find out there were drug problems involved. No wonder she was being evicted and the missionaries had such a bad feeling there. You can't help everyone and you can't let the missionaries be used. Saturday was a windy, windy day. Lots of waves, broken docks and power outages. Four of us (Sisters) went to the Tacoma Glass Museum to see a demonstration by Dale Chihuly. He is a native son and well known for his development of team glass blowing. It was very interesting. You may have seen some of his work. He did the flower ceiling at the Ballago in Las Vegas. We also walked to the Glass Bridge designed by him. See the fun pictures. Then we picked up the men and went to lunch in a unique part of town with quaint shops. Our new office couple went with us and got a taste of Tacoma. The other office couple arrived this afternoon and will go to Church with us tomorrow and then to a Fireside with the missionaries that evening. Monday they start their training and Jerry and I get to train them - blind leading the blind. That will be our last full week in the office. I'll end this entry with a neat quote from President Monson that should apply to everyone: "If you want to give a light to others - you have to glow yourself." Love to all our "glowing" friends. See you soon. Love, Carolyn and Jerry

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Saturday, October 26, 2013 The missionaries in our ward announced on Sunday that they had a baptism on Friday. She is a young girl in the military whose husband is deployed in Korea and she has a little baby girl. I have been sitting by her in Relief Society and it has been wonderful watching her progress. Would you believe they found her tracking and she was the last door they knocked on at 7:01. They almost didn't do it. What a miracle and find. I'll post her picture. Her name is Shyanne. Well the new couple, the Hadlocks, came on Tuesday and so this was a wonderful introduction to the mission and our ward - going to a baptism. Afterwards we took them to the local seafood haunt - Steamers - and introduced them to the local cuisine. So now back to our week with our new couple. She use to be a secretary and accountant and so she just picks everything up and will be the new backbone of the office and knowledge. The mission will continue and be efficient. Had an interesting spiritual thought to start off the week in the office meeting. Elder Bingham reported on a Priesthood lesson in his ward that was on 4 Levels of service and obedience. The bottom level is that we serve and obey for reward and pleasure. The next level is that we do it out of fear. Then next we do it out of duty, which is good as we try to be covenant keepers. The fourth step is the big step and that's when we serve because of charity and love for the Savior. That is the ultimate and goal. I thought that was very insightful. I am definitely in the duty category. The President then told a miracle story. The sisters were biking, working on their member visit list. They realized one member was close and they back tracked to the house, but no one was home. Then they heard a voice yell, "Are you Jehovah Whitnesses or Mormons?" They answered, "We're Mormons." This elderly woman said, "Come here." She was an old convert who had later had her and her family's records removed but lately she had wanted to return and was phoning a friend to send the Church's missionaries, but she couldn't get through to her friend, hung up the phone and looked out and there were the missionaries. They taught, invited and the family was at Church Sunday. I had my own missionary experience on Tuesday, or should I say non or bad missionary experience. We were at Taco Bell for lunch and the young man who has waited on us all year came running up to us and said, "They told me you had come. It's my last day and I wanted to say goodbye. They are transferring me to Parkland." We told him we were leaving in November to go home and we'd hoped to see him before then to thank him for good and friendly service. Then we sat down and I told Jerry I felt bad. I'd wanted to give him a tip and a Book of Mormon. Of course, for once in our lives we didn't have a Book of Mormon in the car (and we're suppose to be missionaries!!) I did have an Articles of Faith Card in my wallet, so as we left I walked over and gave him the card with a tip and said we wanted to give him a Book of Mormon before we left to explain why we had been here for a year, but weren't prepared today. I asked him if he'd heard of the Book of Mormon and he said, "Yes." I said that the card listed our beliefs and if he'd read it and then had questions the name of our Church was on it. I then went back to the office and called the Parkland missionaries and told them they had to go eat at Taco Bell and find this young man. I'm maybe half a missionary. Alison got credit for a great missionary though. Sister Weaver got a letter from her daughter saying they needed to send something right away for their grandson's missionary Christmas package that the family was mailing to him in Chili. It had to be there at the end of the month. She wanted to send one of Alison's missionary shirts that she made me for the office bulletin board. Yeah, Alison, I was prepared because of you and now one of your shirts with tie and name tag will be in Chili. Today we went down to Olympia to a Stake musical production called "One Life." (I'll post pictures) It was the story of the Prophet Joseph Smith. They did a fabulous job. The one who played Joseph had a great voice. What struck me was that there was a flash back to Joseph at 14 years of age. The young man was that age who played the part and he looked so young. It hit me more than ever how young Joseph was to have received such revelation and responsibility. And then he never waivered. How blessed we were because of a young man who believed and was faithful to the end. I'll end with the lyrics of the central song, "One Life is all we're given, One Life a gift from Heaven. The value of the life we live is shown in service that we give. So we will live and we will give one life!" Thank you for also being in our lives. Love, Jerry and Carolyn

Saturday, October 19, 2013

October 19, 2013 The week started rather slowly but ended with a bang starting Thursday. We had to go to the airport to pick up an elder who had to fly to Las Vegas to meet with the Mexican Consulate for his visa. All they did was take a finger print and picture and he flew back. Don't know why he couldn't do it in Seattle, but to Vegas he went. Driving on these roads up here scare me to death and going to the airport is the worse. We survived and got the elder back to his apartment. It was a long and strange day for him. All week seemed to be preparing for missionary apartments inspections. Jerry had assigned all the senior couples areas and given them instructions of what to do and so off everyone went on Friday. We started at 8:00 and finished at 2:00. It was an interesting day. I will post some pictures from the apartments so you get a feel of where and how the missionaries live. These are the apartments Jerry has worked so hard finding and furnishing. The first elders' oven was a total mess. They didn't even know it as they said they had never opened it up. It happened to be a self cleaning oven and so Jerry turned it on for them and started it cleaning. Their frig was filled to capacity though which was different from one sisters' apartment. We opened their frig to check it and they had one jar of pickles and one jar of grape jelly in it. That was all. We asked what they ate and they said that the members fed them. I asked what about breakfast and they said they just ate whatever. We took all the missionaries we visited cereal, fruit, bread - things for breakfast and then some cleaning supplies. I think we should have taken the cleaning supplies first. Breakfast items were a good choice, they need to eat breakfast. They have an interesting way of thinking what is clean. It was an interesting day, but so fun to visit with the missionaries in their home quarters. The inside pictures of how one ward tried to make the apartment so homey by putting up rub on signs. It was really cute and I'm sure made the sisters feel welcome. We finished just after lunch time and so the last apartment go to go to lunch. We'd better not tell the others that we went to lunch. However, they are so busy with appointments and lessons. They are very good and obedient hard working missionaries. Next week starts with the next new senior couples arriving - one for Member Leadership Support and one for the office. The turn over has started. Saturday was a fun and relaxing day. We've had tons of fog and so driving anywhere is a mess. We went up to the Tacoma Dome. We've always just driven by it, never gone to it and they were having a Christmas Gift Show. You know me and crafts. Well we went with Elder and Sister Trotter and the rest of the Northwest. It's suppose to be the biggest craft show in the Northwest. Well the traffic was backed up on the interstate to get to it. Luckily we went through town. It was huge and crowded but we enjoyed it. I will post some pictures. Jerry enjoyed it at the food court. Greg and Kyle called a number of times asking where items in the basement went. They went over to put things away after the GREAT FLOOD. I really owe them, but then I remembered child birth. They said I might never find things again, but I'll be grateful just to have things put away and back out of the middle of the family room floor. They are good sons to do something that would have been second nature to their sisters, but they did it anyway. Well I'll end with the count down - 23 days, 3 weekends, 4 Mondays, one transfer. Love, Carolyn and Jerry

Saturday, October 12, 2013

October 12, 2013 It was a week of organizing. Sister Quillon is getting the office ship shape for the incoming seniors. We discovered things we didn't know we had in drawers and cabinets and some things we didn't know what they were or even want. We were tired and sore at the end of each day, but boy do we sparkle now. Had a lot of missionaries in and out of the office this week and that made it fun. They are so remarkable in all they do and say. The AP's decided they wanted new pictures on the bulletin board with Allison's white shirts, so they used the office camera to take more of themselves, but they made them so small there were these little heads sticking out of shirt collars. The OE's put them up anyway and I labeled a sign next to them with the words, "Honey, I shrunk the kids." So after a good laugh I took their pictures again with my camera close up and they looked so good when we put them up that the OE's wanted new pictures too. So we had another picture taking session. I just developed them today and on Monday we will have the picture adventure going again. Things like this make me laugh and keep me happy. Since it's October we are already getting ready for Halloween. I have treats planned and Friday found out that Becky Rudder beat me to it and sent us a Halloween package with cute sayings and treats in it. Everyone in the office thinks she is so clever and I just tell them, "If you only knew just how clever she is!!!" I have candy, cookies, signs and decorations ready for every Monday. I will forgo the costume this year. Any of you are free to send pictures of your costumes though. I hear Megan is going to be Cleopatra and Trevor is going to be a Russian soldier with the old wool soldier hat we brought back from Russia, and Avery is going to be Tinker Bell. I think Halloween is so fun. Today we went to see more Fall colors. We drove up the Peninsula to Kingston. It's at the furthest end. We called the elders there and took them to lunch. It's always so fun to visit with the missionaries one on one. Then we drove back through Port Gamble and their colors were the best. Here are trees and quaint houses and a little surprise family that appeared on the road one day to say hi (but don't feed as it's a $200 fine.) Have a good week and we will too. Tomorrow it's the official one month left. Some of the missionaries have actually told us they will miss us. I feel the love. Love you all, Carolyn and Jerry

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sunday, October 6, 2013 Just finished watching Conference and as usual it was wonderful. So relaxing to sit in lazy boy chairs in sweats and watch the computer screen. We even had beautiful weather to see outside our windows. After all the rain in September we are enjoying its fruits with the beautiful Fall trees. I'm enclosing a picture of one that is by the office. They seem to get redder every day. We survived another Transfer Day on Tuesday. The new missionaries arrived safely and our lunch went well and enough. You never know how to plan on how much they will eat. This group eats the least. I think it's because they are nervous and tired. The departing missionaries gave great farewell messages. Here are a few of their thoughts as they had mixed emotions on leaving - "joy and happiness." That caught me. I know those are two feelings I will have also. One said, "This mission will change you as you see miracles and peoples' lives change and my life changed too." We certainly will all be different because of our experiences. Another told the incoming missionaries, "Remember your dream - be a REAL missionary so that when you leave and sit in the Temple before you go home you can find that your mission has been acceptable to the Lord." And then the one that made me think as I start these last weeks - "Have I done enough?" Their instructions are always very meaningful. I had a supply room miracle this week. It seems the miracles in the office aren't as many as those with investigators, but here is mine. The Spanish elders wanted three "Covenant" Ensigns that they said came out in July 2012. We have Baptism and Temple Ensigns, but I hadn't heard of anyone wanting "Covenant' Ensigns. I even called SLC, but they said that Ensign was discontinued. Later I was getting an Area Book that someone ordered and I knocked over a pile of old Ensigns, didn't even know they were buried under the Area Books. As I crawled on the floor picking them up and cussing to myself for my clumsiness, there were the "Covenant" Ensigns and there were exactly three. I was blessed to fill the elders' order. Since they were worthy, I was blessed to bless them. It sure made my day. All the missionaries were excited for Conference. The sisters were predicting there would be an announcement that they were going to extend the service time for sisters to two years. Of course it didn't happened, but it shows how dedicated these sisters are and how much they want to serve. My friends Dawn and Gary Craner, who are serving in Washington, D.C., wrote a very insightful thought as we began Conference. They said that we would receive guidance for the next 6 months as we listened. "He gathers us and gives us information that we need through His leaders here on earth to be protected both spiritually and temporally. 3 Nephi 10:5" They were very right as we listened to Conference. Here are my highlights: Missionary Work - President Uchdorf "Why join this Church? I thought you'd never ask." This is what the missionaries want to hear. Then he said, "Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith." It's so easy to get discouraged - boy do I know this!!! Then the investigators say to the missionaries, "Stay a little longer." This is just what they are praying for. My favorite was Bro. Gifford Nielsen's talk and maybe because it reminded me of our family. It was his mention and picture of the bronzed worn out missionary shoes testifying of the effort of one young elder in the "Hastening of the work...." We had Greg's shoe with the hole in it bronzed when he came home from his mission. I'm not sure he was as excited about that Christmas present, but maybe now he will be. I love the scripture Brother Nielsen quoted: Isaiah 52:7 "How beautiful upon the mountain are the feet of them who bringeth glad tidings..." All the missionaries are bringing such glad tidings up here and what Elder Funk said, "What a wonderful season to be a missionary." Then again President Uchdorf said, and I hope each of our missionaries heard this, "You should hear President Monson pray for you." Wow, I have needed his prayers many times and I know you, my dear family and friends, have prayed for us. I will post pictures of these wonderful missionaries as they left Transfer Day and went out to work. Then look at my tree and remember President Monson's poem about TREES. There are great trees in western Washington. We love and miss you all. Only 5 more weeks left and we can see your beautiful faces. Love, Carolyn and Jerry

Saturday, September 28, 2013

September 28,2013 Well the rain is really here. They say it's their wettest September ever. They usually get 1 inch and as of now it's 5 inches and after today I think Noah has arrived. We were out discovering Port Orchard, the home of Debbie Macomber who is the author of the Cedar Cove books that have been featured on the Hallmark Channel. Not sure what we saw in the rain but they have cute antique stores there and I found some fish forks to remind me of the great crab, clams and oysters we have had here. Then we drove by a cute little house with the name "Debbie Macomber's Yarn Shop." I'm sure she lives right above it and that's where she writes her books. (You know how I like to have stories around my excursions, whether they are true or not.) Just look at the picture and you will see how cute the house is. We came back through the rain when we saw the flashing signs indicating severe winds on the Narrows Bridge. So not wanting to be blown off the bridge or be on it when it falls in the Sound again, we stopped in Gig Harbor for lunch and found the Tacoma Glass Works having a pumpkin sale. Jerry can't believe how lucky I can be finding places to spend money. Now back to our great week in the mission field. It started with Ward Conference on Sunday. Our Stake President talked. (His wife does the new missionary training lunches for us every transfer and is wonderful and knows what service means.) He was a mission president in Missouri and told the story of one day the missionaries called and asked him if he wanted to go with them to teach an investigator named Roger Boggs. Does that name ring a bell? Yes, he was the great grandson of Lilliburn Boggs, Governor of the extermination order. Of course he went and this man apologized for his great grandfather to President Gessel and the missionaries. Sometimes you have to wait hundreds of years to have an apology. I'm sure someone in heaven has been doing a lot of apologizing. He also said the most important message the missionaries give that people are looking for is that there is a living prophet today. "He hasn't just spoken. He continues to speak" through our Prophets today and if they say something in Conference twice, we'd better be listening. It's call Prophetic Priorities and they better be our priorities too. We are all looking forward to Conference next weekend. Missionary Monday was a success with a new cookie recipe I made. I thought there was too much oatmeal, but I've found the missionaries will eat anything and love it and thank you profusely for it. The bad news also came Monday with the report that there is a huge hole in the foundation of our Nampa house and that's why the water got into the basement. The neighborhood is contemplating how to fix it. What wonderful loving friends we have to take on our problems while we are gone. Update on McKay. We got our first e-mail from Japan. He has a Japanese companion and has had his first door slammed in his face. I thought the Japanese were polite and always bowing. I guess they bowed as they slammed the door. Go McKay, I'm sure he was smiling all the time. Wednesday started the mattress deliveries for transfers. I'm posting Jerry's favorite picture. He has three box springs, three bed frames and three mattress in the back of our car. I thought I bought that car so I'd have room for the grandkids, yet it's perfect for transporting missionary beds. We went to Silverdale and one box spring even fit in the back of a missionary's Subaru. We couldn't believe it and he just said, "Ye of little faith." Then they sent us to Sluy's Bakery in Poulsbo to get President Weaver his favorite doughnut and then told us to make sure we let the President know how much his missionaries love him - to even knowing his favorite doughnut. Wednesday night we went to missionary training from the Area Seventy, Elder Buzzy. Here are some of the highlights. President Weaver - "The mantle of a missionary - the love God gives them to love you. That is why they say, I felt something when I saw them." Elder Buzzy - Theme - "I will hasten My work in it's time." D&C 88:73 (Interesting note - when the Missionary Committee came up with the new guidelines as stated in October 2012 Conference, the change in age of YW to 19 wasn't one of the recommendations. It was pure revelation to President Monson. Elder Holland said, "I'll take one good sister to 5 elders.") We do have great sisters here - to go with our great elders!! He said our task ... the catalyst is LOVE." On Thursday I had the greatest surprise. For all of you in my family who don't bother to read my blog, I got a box with a wonderful letter and home grown maple syrup and chokecherry syrup from a mother of an elder in our mission. She reads my blog. I was so flattered and touched. She thanked me for letting her know what goes on in the mission. Sometimes the missionaries don't go into a lot of detail in their letters. I think Brent and Connie will fight me for a taste of the chokecherry syrup. How thoughtful can some people be. Well I'd better close and get ready for the Relief Society Broadcast. This is one of my favorite meetings. Love and miss you all, Carolyn and Jerry P.S. See sunset on the Sound.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

September 21, 2013 What a great week we had last week. I can't wait to tell you about it. It was Zion's Camp for all the missionaries. Our local Church camp is in Belfair, on the Peninsula, about an hour a way up the Hood Canal. It's a beautiful spot on 84 acres with it's own private lake. The lodge, kitchen facilities and bathrooms are state of the art stainless steel. The mission was divided in half and one half went on Wednesday and the other on Thursday. We got to go both days as we were in charge of dinner. We shopped all Tuesday for baked potatoes and fixings. Buying the potatoes made me think of Craig Castagneto and the many many potatoes he has given for events free of charge. We bought 150 lbs of potatoes. We also had tossed salad, apples, root beer floats and cookies for dessert. Well we surely didn't calculate very well because the first day we used up all the food. Those missionaries are hungry people. We had to come back and shop Wednesday night again. We made sure we had enough on Thursday. All the seniors helped in the kitchen preparing and serving. It was a fun and spiritual day. The missionaries did a "rope course." This is a physical activity with underlying spiritual messages. I got to watch and even participate in a few. I'll describe the events and show you the pictures of the missionaries doing everything. One event was the free fall. You climbed on a log about 3 feet high and with your back to 10 missionaries lined up behind you, you said, "I'm Sister Jones and I'm ready to fall." The missionaries then said, "Fall on Sister Jones." Then you said, "Falling..." and with body locked, straight back you fell knowing they would catch you. Of course, you all know the message there. You need to trust and have confidence in your companions and you need to be the type of companion that can be trusted. After everyone did each event they discussed and learn many other insights. Another event was the swing. There were two platforms on the ground about 10 feet apart with a swing rope hanging in the middle. Each had to swing from one platform to the other. The object was to get everyone from one platform over to the other without touching the ground in between. If anyone did then the whole group had to start over again. The first and the last to go had the most problems without someone sending and then catching on the other side. It really took arm strength to do it. They had to figure out how to help those who couldn't do it. I thought this was the most spiritual of all the events. What it came down to, was that when one couldn't do it then to watch the others come up with the idea that one of the stronger could say, "Can I do it for her?" It was just what our Savior said and did for us. This was a very moving event. Another was the "Wires" where each companionship tried to walk on tight rope type wires facing each other, but the wires progressively got further and further apart. They could use a rope for balance, but they had to move together and cooperate. Again, they learned how they both had to do it or they both fell. Another one was the "tire." It was suspended between two trees, off the ground and they had to go through it without touching the tire. Again starting out and finishing were the hardest. The group had to lift, carrying through and out and down. It really related to missionary work. The missionaries find and teach, but they have to work with the members to get the convert through and embraced in the family of the Gospel. They really learned a lot here. The last one was the "Wall." You had to help each one up and over the wall. Again, the first and last were the hardest without support and reach. I watched one sister try and try and finally make it. It was like the idea of no one left behind. Everyone wanted her to be with them and it looked like she wasn't going to make it. She just wouldn't give up and finally did. I didn't think she could. It also worked well when they didn't make it because everyone felt so badly that they had lost one. I hope you can get a little feeling of everything from my pictures. It was an awesome day ending with a fireside and singing. Not sure next week can top that, but we will be preparing for transfers and the leaving of our office couple that has been here since we came and is the backbone of the office. Their replacements don't come until the middle of October, so we will really miss them and could be very lost. Will report again. The count down continues with 51 days left. Home is looking good and thanks again for those who are helping make our home ready for us. Everyone up here thinks we have the best family, friends and neighbors and of course we totally agree. Love, Carolyn and Jerry

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Saturday, September 14, 2013 I'll start out with a new missionary joke before I forget it. Did you know that they are thinking of lowering the missionary age to 16. That way mother's won't be sad and the missionaries will already know everything. Now that doesn't apply to our great elders and sisters in our mission. They are awesome and then that grandson who will be leaving Monday for Japan has been awesome since he was born. We will be thinking of McKay more than usual on Monday. We just got back from a trip to see a couple who we were with at the MTC, the Brinkerhoffs, and were suppose to come to our mission as camp specialists and went up to Cascade Park Camp in the Everett Mission instead. They have a beautiful camp and we saw and learned some interesting things. I'll post some pictures. We saw how loggers cut down trees in the older days. They make slits in either side of the tree where they could stand and then with a two handle saw they would cut the tree down. Some times a new tree would grow out of the top of the cut down tree. Very interesting. Then the Snohomish River runs through the camp and the salmon were spawning and we saw the female swim up, push the pebbles on the bottom aside and deposit the eggs and then swim back and the male would swim up and fertilize the eggs and cover them back up. Wow, didn't know how that worked. They were just starting to swim back up stream and it was amazing to watch. Am I becoming an outdoors woman? It was a week of referrals. It's a great system the Church has. You get the information - name, address, telephone number and then enter it and the system pops a map that shows you the area where the referral is in and you can assigned the missionaries to go see them buy sending this information to their cell phones. It's amazing. Well one day the name Lindsay Jones popped up on my screen. She lived in Bremerton. Hope she is as amazing as our Lindsay. Jerry got 85 new cell phones to program and distribute to the missionaries next week. His work is cut out for him. Now for Nampa. What marvelous friends we still have working on our basement, drying it out. I'm so embarrassed they saw my mess in the box room. They will all think I am a hoarder. I am. I admit it, but I'm an organized one and it all fits in one room. When something doesn't fit, that's when I do a little throwing out. Please forgive me and thank you all for helping. My turn will come when someone else leaves on a mission. That will be my new Church calling - helping ward missionaries while they serve and inviting Idaho Nampa Mission Senior missionary couples over and making them feel welcomed. I've found that to be very important. We are waiting to hear the news of the new Stake Presidency and how it will affect our Ward. We know many fine individuals who could be called. We are very blessed. Have a good week and know we now have 58 days left. Love, Carolyn and Jerry