Saturday, December 28, 2013

Decembrer 29, 2013

Sister's Skidmore, Frampton, Stoker, Cloward, Pettingill
Elder Skidmore, Pres. Stoker, Elder Pettingill

This was our Christmas week.  It was different here in the mission field, but wonderful none the less.  The picture to the right are those of us along with the AP's (below) that had dinner with President and Sister Stoker at the mission home.  It was wonderful with more food than we could possibly eat.  Sister Skidmore, Sister Pettingill did the lion share of the cooking to ease the burden on Sister Stoker.  It was Sister Stokers birthday also.  She says she doesn't celebrate her birthday on Christmas, but in July so to break up the festivities.  It was a wonderful day.  Christmas Day was the only day we didn't work last week and that was something new for us also.  But the work goes on!
   Christmas morning we got up, picked up the moose(Chevy Van)and picked up 6 missionaries to go to Brother and Sister Larr's for breakfast.  They had invited us all over for Christmas Breakfast at 8am.  It was bitter cold, but the food and hospitality was outstanding.  We love the Larr's!    So between Christmas breakfast and Christmas dinner, we thought we would never have to eat again.                                                     
   On December 27th Nancy Lynch was baptized.  She and the sisters that taught her are shown below.  Sister Caffall completed her mission last transfer and she flew back from Arizona to be here for Nancy's baptism.  I was able to assist the sisters and Elders in teaching Nancy.  Miriam got to know her at a church Christmas party so we learned to really love her. 
Sister Caffall and her companion related a wonderful story in finding her.  She went out to Goffstown looking for a lady they had an appointment to teach.  Finding this lady not there, they decided to knock on some doors in the neighborhood.  Not having any success, they decided to try one more.  It was Nancy's.  Nancy scorned them off and as they were leaving, they noticed that her driveway had never been shoveled and it was full of snow.  The spirit prompted them to shovel the snow.  So they went to their car, got out the shovels and commenced to clear Nancy's drive.  While they were working, Nancy came to the door, ask them to come over, then ask them if they were Mormons.  The ice was broken, and the teaching began.  Nancy went through quite a number of missionaries until she accepted the Gospel.  I feel she will be a great asset to the Bedford Ward.
   So we had a wonderful, busy week.  We got to face time all the kids and grandkids and that was the best.  It made us miss them all so very much.  It is when you are away that you realize just how important families are.  Miriam and I count our blessings often and it always starts with family.  Our testimonies continues to grow.  We love the work.  Especially working with all the wonderful young missionaries in our mission.  They are the best.  The work isn't easy, but they continue on and on.  We love them so! 

Sister's Caffall, Nancy Lynch, Cloward, and Frampton
AP'S Elders Preslar and Guthrie

Monday, December 23, 2013

December 22, 2013

This was a week filled with wonderful experiences.  The week before Christmas is always special as I always contemplate how blessed I am as 43 years ago this week I was coming home to Arizona from the Army to marry Miriam.  Our anniversary is December 21st and this year I wanted it to be extra special as we are away on our mission in New Hampshire. 
I started looking for a sleigh ride a few weeks ago, and found that many times in December there is not enough snow.  The best sleigh rides are in January or February.  Well that just wouldn't work for me.  Anyway I made a reservation at The Farm in North Conway which is up in northern NH.  I figured if anyone would have snow they would.  And they did!  The picture below is Miriam and I there.  It was special as Miriam has long wanted to do this and the weather and the snow was wonderful.  Elder and Sister Pettingill went with us and we had a blast.  We ended the day with dinner at Shorty's, which is the best Mexican restaurant we can find here in New Hampshire.  It was wonderful.  I thank my Heavenly Father for that fateful dance Miriam and I met at so long ago.  I do love her.
Tuesday morning at 2am I get a call from one of our Manchester missionaries and he has a bloody nose that he just can't stop.  I get up, go get him and take him to the hospital where they coterized his nose in 2 places. I got home at about 5:30 am and work that day sure made me know my age.  President Stoker let me go home that afternoon for a nap and I was grateful for that.  Elder Betts is a great missionary and I loved to be able to help him.
Sunday was special with the Christmas program.  Our Ward had 5 boys and 1 girl sing for the primary, 4 of our missionaries gave short talks, the RS sang a beautiful number and the flute and piano was played by a members of the Bedford Ward, Miriam played the piano for the YW/YM and the Bishop gave some concluding remarks.  Even though it was small, the spirit was so strong.  Then the Ward took all of us missionaries in the RS room where they thanked us for the service to their ward and gave us Christmas gifts.  Tears of gratitude were flowing and boy was it special. 
Then Bishop Dickson and his wife had us all over to his home for dinner.  That is 12 missionaries, the Ward Mission Leader and his wife.  The dinner was lovely and so appreciated. 
Our hearts swell as we accept the love of the members of the Manchester Ward.  It is small and needs help in so many ways, but the love and gratitude they have for the work is spectacular.  It increases my testimony so much.  I know the Gospel is true, and the evidence of it is it's members everywhere in the world.  I am so thankful for our Lord Jesus Christ, his birth, life, death and resurrection.  The atonement means so much to me.  Our mission experiences are wonderful.  The work is His work and it is true!!!!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

December 15, 2013

 We had our first real winter storm last night.  We got 12 inches of snow, it was 17 degrees and it will get down to 2 tonight.  President Stoker grounded all the mission autos for today, so if any of the missionaries wanted to go any where they had to walk and that would be real tough.  I don't think it gets above freezing all week.
But it is beautiful and we are doing fine.  Our apartment is comfortable and we have all we need.
Last night we were invited to a Christmas Party by an inactive member.  WOW!  I have never seen so many Christmas decorations.  It was a beautiful two story New England house and it was decked out.  Patty and Eric were the hosts and it was wonderful.  They have lots of friends from every walk of life.  It is hard to imagine she says she will never come to church again.  It's a long story.
I had a great opportunity to teach with the Elders and Sisters to a single sister.  She fixed clam chowder and hot bread to feed us and it was wonderful.  Elder Harper gave her the
baptism interview, the Sisters gave a wonderful Christmas lesson and I was fortunate enough to participate when I was asked.  Nancy will be baptized December 27th.  She has taken a along time and gone through a lot of missionaries to get to this point, but it is worth it.  She actually lives the gospel, loves it and wants to live it.  She will be a wonderful member and a great asset to the church.
Then Thursday night  I get a call from the Elders who asked me go with them to give a blessing.  This was a non member family who has a baby with a large lump on her neck and she is going in for surgery next week.  They are not members but some of their family is and they convinced them that a priesthood blessing would be the best thing for her.  It went wonderful.
We work all day in the office and then when the opportunity arises, we go out at night to bless the lives of the people of New England.  We love the work.  The Lords way is the only way to bring true happiness into ones life.  Our testimonies continue to grow everyday.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

December 8, 2013

We had another week of transfers.  The picture to the left is us with Elder Resendez and Elder Dickenson at the Boston Temple. Eesendez as he served as an AP for the past few months.  He is from Chandler and was an outstanding missionary.  Elder Dickenson served down in Lawrence Mass. as a Spanish speaking Elder.  Got real close to him when improving their living conditions.  He is such a wonderful young man.  They both will do great in life.
The picture below is of the new missionaries that came in last Monday.  We had 6 come in and we had 6 go home.  I think the surge could be over. They helped decorate the tree in President and Sister Stokers home.  It sure is much easier when only 6 or 7 missionaries come in instead of 23 or 24. 
I am sitting her at my desk and watching is snow outside.  Winter has really come and it is beautiful.  We have already had a couple of accidents when missionaries are unable to navigate the slick roads.  Many of these missionaries have never driven in the snow before.  I think it is going to be interesting to see what happens during this long winter.
Miriam and I are attending the Manchester Ward.  Last Sunday at about 11:30 we got a call from the Bishop.  He needed Miriam to play the piano for sacrament meeting and me to speak.  Church started at 1:00 pm.  I was asked to give a talk on the Atonement.  The Bishop said everyone bailed on him for their assignments. Our Ward needs a lot of help.  We love serving there however.  Miriam played the organ for the first time for Sacrament meeting and she did wonderful. 
We have been invited to a members home Christmas morning along with our 10 missionaries.  The Lares family is wonderful.  I said to Brother Lares that I didn't want to mess their Christmas morning up with their kids.  He said that we couldn't mess it up unless we wanted to be there at 4am.  We are having our breakfast at 8am.  It sure is nice of them.

Monday, December 2, 2013

December 1, 2013

 We had a great Thanksgiving week.  We thought it was going to be major tough not having it with our family and it was.  But it sure made it a lot easier having Thanksgiving at the Mission Home with President and Sister Stoker.  They also invited Elder Resendez(Gilbert AZ and Elder Preslar (Sugar City, ID).  Elder and Sister Pettingill (Layton UT).
We had the traditional Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings.  Everyone pitched in to make dinner not to much work for anyone.  But as always the most work is always on the host and Sister Stoker is always a wonderful host. 
We have transfers next and with a short week this week, we had lots of work to do.  The number of missionaries coming in is getting less and less.  This next week we have only 6 coming in and we have 7 going home.  We had 4 visa waiters get their visa's so I know we will have to close an area and close an apartment.  This will be different as we have been adding to many with the surge.
The picture below shows everyone helping to put Christmas gifts together for all the missionaries.  President and Sister Stoker have interviews the two weeks after transfers and they wanted to give each of the missionaries a gift.  What a great idea.