Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sunday, June 30 Remember Bro. Oaks' talk "Good, Better, Best"? Well we had that this week. The Mission was "good" as we were able to finalize the transfer of 30 elders and sisters to the new Federal Way Mission. Now all that's left is to send on their mail as it trickles in. We said our good byes at a Fireside last Sunday night. They are great young people and will do well wherever they are, but we will miss seeing them and hearing about their accomplishments. The "better" started as Connie, Lindsay and children met us Friday night in Leavenworth, that little Bavarian town a few hours north of us. We so enjoyed seeing them and seeing how the little ones had grown. We could walk around the town that is situated in a beautiful valley with gorgeous mountains all around. We ate great German food, brats, pretzels, apple strudel, spetzala, snitzel; and walked the cute shops. The kids swam in the hotel pool and we just talked and relaxed. (I'll post some pictures.) We made it back in time for the Church Missionary Broadcast and then on to the Fireside. It was fun to have the missionaries meet the girls we had talked so much about. Monday started with us going to the office and the kids beginning their exploration of Tacoma area. They found some not so good areas of Tacoma, but made it to the Mall. As the week progressed they went to Port Townsend, Gig Harbor, Vashon Island and a ferry ride, Point Defiance and the beach where Alison and Camden caught crabs. They enjoyed the seafood and also fun visits like Katie Rowe Wilson stopped by and Connie's old college roommate who lives up by Seattle came down for a picnic at a park. They were like teenagers talking and laughing it up again. Old friendships are the "best." We were able to have lunches with them and evenings, so all was great. The highlight came on Saturday when we drove them up to Mt. Rainier and hiked some of the trails. They loved the rivers, bridges, waterfalls and even slipped and slid in the snow still in the meadows of the mountain. Even though they know all about mountains, growing up in Idaho, they still were awed by Mt. Rainier. It truly is the jewel of Tacoma. Sunday morning they took off for their 10 hour drive to McCall. Keven flew in to Boise and was meeting them up there. All the kids will meet in McCall during the next two weeks. I told them to send me pictures of all they do. Alison was worried it would make me sad, but I said it would keep me happy seeing them enjoying our favorite place. Family is truly the "BEST." I'll post some pictures of our adventures. Hope you all have a happy 4th of July. We celebrated an early birthday for our 4th of July, all American baby girl - Connie. Another month down - who's counting? Love, Carolyn

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Thursday, June 20 I just had to record the feelings we had after our Mission Tour with Elder and Sister Pieper of the Seventy. We were able to have dinner with them and then he taught the missionaries for two days. We went today and he and his wife are marvelous people. They spent five years in Kazakhstan with his work. Found out where Kazakhstan is - east of the Caspian Sea, north of Afghanistan,south of Russia,and west of China. It's very large, with a population of 13 million. Their oldest son left there on his mission to Moscow. She said that the Lord's Plan is so much better than what we think ours is. Over there she was amazed to find that you can be an answer to someone's prayers and they had many missionary experiences. Elder Pieper gave us 5 hours of instruction - mainly for the young missionaries. He said he was a General Authority, not a specific authority. Here are some of his highlights for me: You don't need confidence in yourself, you just need confidence in Jesus Christ and expect to see miracles every day. His theme was Learn by Faith. We are all disciples first. He told the missionaries he was going to move them to help them be what they could be and to show them how to enjoy every day. I really need to focus on that one. Our big thrill of the other focus in our life was watching the trek of Connie, Lindsay and children from Texas and Oklahoma - ending in Washington tomorrow. All went well until Wendell when the timing belt went out and they were stranded. Peter Castagneto came to their rescue and they finally made it to Nampa. As soon as the car is repaired they will head for Washington and next week you will have a great saga of their adventures here. My favorite story of the trip was when they arrived in Nampa and Camden ran into our home and looked around and said, "Where are they?" Lindsay told him he had two more states to go. I was so touched. Of course they had me in tears as they stopped in Tremonton at Mother and Daddy's graves where Trevor sang "Jesus, Savior, Pilot me" to Grandpa Ned and sent me pictures of their visit. You never stop missing those loved ones. I'm posting two pictures. One is of a lily plant right outside our apartment. Everything grows here; and the other is at the office dinner party for Elder and Sister Pieper. President and Sister Weaver are sitting next to them.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Saturday, June 15 I have to show you these two pictures. The AP's and OE's have been playing a game with me. We have their pictures up in the office on the bulletin board (Alison made me the shirts)and they decided to be funny and change their pictures. We laughed so hard when we saw them and their funny expressions. So last Monday I tried to get them back and had Alison forward me some funny bodies to put their real pictures on. I had them displayed when they came into the office. All week they kept changing pictures. All wanted to be Captain America or Superman. They are great elders and we so enjoy seeing them in the office and hearing about all that they are doing. I think you can get a feeling of their personalities from the pictures. Monday we had FHE at the Mission Home with President Weaver grilling. All the senior couples from all over the mission came in. Then Sister Weaver gave us a great lesson using M&M's and related them to Missionary Moments and Marvelous missionaries and if you turn them upside down it stands for world wide. The President ended his message with his favorite Trike story. I loved it. "A little boy went to visit his friend down the street on his trike. He didn't come back and didn't come back and his mother began to worry. Finally he returned and when she asked him where he had been for so long he said his friend's trike broke and he stayed to help. His mother said, 'but you don't know how to fix a trike.' He said, 'I know, but I could cry with him.'" Sometimes we don't know how to help someone, but we can cry with them and love them. I loved the story and was touched by it. Started two projects this week - transferring files of the 32 missionaries who will be going to the new Federal Way Mission and getting ready for Elder Piper to come for the Mission inspection and tour. It will be a big week and we hope we are prepared properly. I will report next week. We had a big week for baptisms too. I sent 24 forms to Salt Lake. We haven't had that many for months. Today we went with Clarkes and Trotters to Port Townsend. This was the port that was to be the biggest on the west coast, but when the railroad went to Tacoma instead, the town's prosperity evaporated. It is filled with beautiful Victorian houses and now the best shopping street on Water Way. We had a great lunch looking at the harbor and seeing the ferries come and go and then looking at all the unique shops. It was a great day and beautiful weather. This will also be a week to look forward to Friday when we get Connie, Lindsay and kids arriving for a full week. We hope to show them many beautiful areas that we have discovered and keep them busy while we're in the office and then have fun lunches and evenings with them, plus two weekends. The pictures ought to be great next week. Happy Father's Day to all our wonderful friends and family who are Father's. You all are the best.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Saturday, June 8 It was a week that started with many baptisms to record. The missionaries have really been working hard. I love to record baptisms and send them off to Church headquarters - my little part of the conversion process. Now to get the missionaries to update their referrals. I got a lecture from the Referral Center on behalf of the whole mission. The President was going to give them the word. I felt badly that we got called on the carpet. It was Zone Conferences all week so the missionaries got lots of instructions. Had a few strange occurrences this week too. The Elders in Forks started the 4th of July celebration early by putting fireworks down their toilet and blowing it up. An Indian chief gave them the fireworks. The senior couple out there said the toilet deserved to be blown up. If they had waited the church would have bought the new toilet, now they have to pay for their damage. The man who owned a missionary apartment came into the office with the repair bill for maintenance and fix up - and it turned out to be Jerry's cousin. He actually lives in Arizona but owned a house up here he was renting as apartments. Jerry was so shocked. They had to call his sister who's on a mission in North Carolina and tell her who had found who. We've had great weather and so today we drove up to Mt. Rainier. They call it the crown of Puget Sound as it rises 14,410 feet and commands the horizon. It was a gorgeous drive through glaciers and glacier fed rivers, waterfalls and debris flows. We went to the Paradise Lodge which is situated at the base of the mountain. It was just magnificent. I will post some pictures. They really don't do the mountain justice. It erupted 2,000 years ago, but it is still active and at the top you can see the steam rising out of the fissures. We had great news and sad news this week. Keven came home from the Middle East and Connie and family are thrilled. Received McKay's graduation announcement and mission farewell invitation all in one. A year ago that wouldn't be possible. We are planning to be to the farewell. Then the heart wrenching news that Terah Young was operated on for ovarian cancer. We are sure praying hard that the treatments will be affective and she can have a wonderful future after this obstacle has been finished. She came to see us after we'd been here only a short time to give us encouragement and now it's our turn to encourage her. All of you please keep her in your prayers too. This week starts our preparation for Elder Piper and his mission tour and then the transfer of missionaries to the new Federal Way Mission. Lots of work ahead. Now enjoy the gorgeous Mt. Rainier.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Saturday, June 1 Here is another month down and 5 to go. I have a new scripture to keep me going - Ezekiel 34:26 "I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessings." We have enough showers here that if blessings come with them, we are truly blessed. We've seen this already with the safety of Connie and children in the Moore tornado storms - another one on Friday night. They spent the night in a friend's storm shelter. They lost their fence and utility shed and electricity, but they are OK again. The weather here is even getting better as well as the mission. The week was very hectic but the weekend made up for all the hard work. Friday night we went to a nice seafood restaurant on the Sound to celebrate 45 years of marriage. Yes, it's been 45 years and hopefully this mission won't end the run. Sharing one bathroom may do us in especially if Jerry doesn't learn to turn off the shower and I get hit in the head with water one more time. Then Saturday was "Duck Daze" in University Place. It's the official end of rain and the beginning of summer. They have a parade wearing duck outfits and everyone and their dog marches. They also have a big fair in the park. I'll include a picture. Then we went to Olympia to visit with the senior missionary couple who are there doing extraction work at the archives. They showed us around the area and we had a fun visit with them and dinner. It was a full day but very enjoyable. They are from the Idaho Falls area. Back to the week of 32 new missionaries arriving and 14 going home. We served lunch to 50 and all week missionaries were in the office getting supplies for their new areas. Sometimes there was standing room only. It was good though to get to meet and talk to the new missionaries. Here are some quotes from the departing missionaries: "I love my name tag. I'm going to sleep with it on so I can still wear it. There is no growth in the comfort zone. There is no comfort in the growth zone. If you can't have confidence in yourself - have confidence in the Savior. We are what we consistently do. Remember whose name is on your name tag as well as yours. Why did God appear to a 14 year old boy? Because he asked. The only thing harder than coming on a mission is going home." These young people are very wise and I learn from them everyday. We have another Fireside Sunday night. Even with losing a lot of talent, I'm sure the Fireside will be wonderful. They sing and bear their testimonies and it is very inspiring. Hopefully we are calmer next week, but June will be getting ready to turn two zones and 30 missionaries over to the Federal Way Mission. We also have Elder Piper coming for a mission tour evaluation. Hope we pass. Hope your summers are starting off in great style. Those of you who go water skiing, take a lap around the lake and think of me. Love, Carolyn