Sunday, July 27, 2014

July 27, 2014

    This week we had 2 zone conferences.  Tuesday in Augusta Maine for the 4 zones in Maine, and Wednesday in Exeter for the 2 Exeter zones and the Concord South zone.  It is always a very busy time when we have zone conferences.  President Stoker has asked us to participate.  I taught a session on Provident Living and the use of these Sacred Funds.  Miriam taught a great lesson on teaching from the heart.
   We always have fun traveling with the Pettingill's.  They teach also and we have so much fun together.
   The eight pictures to the left are of the Sanford Days celebration in Sanford Maine.  The Church did this last year to celebrate Pioneer Day and the city so much liked it that they wanted to participate and call it Sanford Days.  
As you can see, there were a lot of booths with the different things pioneers did.  It is amazing how much work went into everything they did.  The missionaries had lots of fun and it was very well attended. 
   President and Sister Stoker were unable to attend as President Stokers father was in town and he was leaving this morning.  His father is in very poor health and President Stoker feels this may be the last time he sees his father on this side of the veil.
   The next four pictures are of us with the Pettingill's at the lighthouse in Portland Maine.  We decided to try and go see as much as we can every week end as our time here is closing too fast.
   It was the most beautiful day.  As you can see from the pictures we had lots of sunshine and ocean, sky and greenery was fabulous. 
    The bottom picture is of the Manchester Elders her for dinner.  Miriam prepared the most wonderful dinner.  We had Elder Plyler, Barnes, Warner, and Harrington.  Boy do the Elders know how to eat.  Miriam made plenty and with Strawberry Short Cake for Desert, nobody went home hungry.
   Elder Plyler gave us a lesson afterwards on the faith that is needed to have miracles happen in our lives. We reviewed 5 miracles in the New Testament and found that those that received these wonderful miracles needed only a particle of faith to be healed or saved from natures torments. 
   He then ask us to pray with this same faith tonight for our Heavenly Father to put someone in our paths that we can find and teach.  It was a wonderful lesson.
   We love the missionaries so much.  One of the blessings of working in the mission office is that we get to know so many if not all the missionaries.  We love them all. 
   We have one more zone conference this Tuesday in Vermont and then it is time again to  get ready for transfers.  This is the most work for Miriam.   It is hard to believe how much paper work there is to run the mission. 
   Our testimonies continue to grow and our love for the Lord gets stronger and stronger. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

July 21, 2014

   We have had the most exciting week.  It was pretty normal until Thursday when I and Elder Pettingill travelled 494 miles to inspect 10 apartments in the Augusta Maine North Zone.  We found them to be in real good shape.  The Elders and Sisters have really improved the organization and cleanliness of the apartments since our last zone conference.  The training and getting after them really paid off.  Good job zone.
   The pictures to the left are of the NH Fishercat baseball game last Saturday night.  It was LDS family night so President Stoker was asked to throw out the opening pitch.  As you can see from the picture he did an excellent job.  The missionaries set up a booth with lots of information to anyone who might be interested.  It was a lot of fun.
   We had a baptism in our Manchester Ward Sunday.  Brother Lahr's baptized his daughters boyfriend, Nathaniel St. Laurent.  We have really learned to love the Lahr family.  They are the ones that had us all over Christmas Day for breakfast and treats.  They are such great examples of what it means to be great Christians.  Elder Wells and Elder Zilles assisted in the teaching.  It was a great baptism.  I think almost the whole Ward attended.  The family is so well thought off!!!
   Then Sunday night we were invited to have dinner with the Lacey's.  The Lacey's are very good friends with the Pettingills and we were 
 invited to dinner with them.  It was so special. Sister Lacey prepared a New England steam dinner where she cooked shrimp, crab, sausage, corn and potatoes all in the same pot.  She then dumped everything in the middle of the table and we all sat down to a feast.  The picture to the left shows the steam coming up off the food just after it was dumped on the table.  It is a typical New England meal and it was wonderful.  Miriam made a chocolate cake and Sister Pettingill provided the ice cream.  We were all stuffed beyond measure when it was all finished. 
They attend the Derry Ward.  They have just become active after a long time away much to
help from the Pettingills.  Elder Gilbert (His mother and Becky Schlappi are sisters) and Elder Jensen are the missionaries assigned to the Derry Ward and I can't even tell you how much food they ate.
   The final picture is the Lacey's with the Pettingills and the missionaries.  What a fun night.
   It is times like these that make our mission so much fun along with the work.  There are such wonderful members throughout New England. 
   This next week starts a series of Zone Conferences that will keep us on the road and very busy.  We love doing the Lords work.  We are grateful for this experience even though we miss our family so terribly. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

July 14, 2014

   We had a first this week.  At the beginning of summer we sat down and started to make a list of the things we would like to do before our mission was over.  We have loved New England once summer came again.  The winter was unique and very beautiful but boy have we enjoyed having it warm up.  The trees are so green and the rivers and lakes are so beautiful it takes your breath away at every turn. 
   One of the things we wanted to do was go to Palmyra New York and see the Pageant.  We have been to Palmyra before and seen the sights, but it was not during the Pageant and we had heard how wonderful it was.  So a few weeks ago we asked President Stoker for permission to leave the mission to go.  We were pleasantly surprised when he said yes.

   The top picture is of Miriam and I in the Sacred Grove.  It was a beautiful day.  Warm, humid but comfortable.  It was such a wonderful experience again to feel the spirit in this special place.  It is just an excellent feeling to know that this is where God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith to usher in the Restoration.  It is so special.
   The second picture is at the Grandin Print Shop where the original Book of Mormon was printed.  That in itself was quite a feat. 
   The third picture is of Miriam and I at the Hill Cumorah just before the Pageant was to start.
   The fourth picture is Miriam and I with some of the actors.  These actors played the Prophet Abinadi and his family.  There were approximately 750 actors in the pageant.  It was wonderful.  We wish that every investigator could see it as it gives such a good overview of the Book of Mormon.  It started at 9:15pm and concluded at 10:30pm.  There were over 6000 people there to see it and I understand there are that many every night is shows.  It was wonderful.  I am so proud of our church and so appreciate all those that gave of their time and talents to put this wonderful show on.
   This last picture is of Elder and Sister Pettingill with Miriam at the top of the Hill Comorah.  We had such a great time with the Pettingills.  They go home from their mission October 3rd and we are sure going to miss them.  They are so much fun to be with.  They had seen the pageant before but went with us to see it again. 
   We got a flat tire at the top of the hill in the parking lot.  A kind man gave us a can de-flat which we used to get enough air in the tire to take us to Rochester New York to get it fixed.  This day and age it is hard to find a place that fixes flats late on a Saturday afternoon.  Service stations don't do it anymore.
   We got home Sunday evening and we loved the weekend we had.  Our testimonies grow and grow as we serve.  We were at church and had Brenda and Phil Frandsen come up to us.  We were so surprised and happy to see them.  They are from our Citrus Heights Ward days.  What great people they are. 
   We love the work.  We know that the true church is here on the earth and we are in it.  We are so grateful for our Lord Jesus Christ.  He lived and died for us and continues to live today.  His church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is his kingdom here on earth.  Thank you Lord for allowing us this opportunity to serve as missionaries.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

July 6, 2014

 The new missionaries that came into the mission this week are in the top picture.  They are Elder Hales, Sisters Keown and Gillies, Elders Penverne (France), Randrianarivelo,(Madagascar) and Sisters Innes, Halling, and Kimball.  All three Elders are French speaking missionaries.  We are opening French areas in Portland Maine.  They are all wonderful missionaries and we welcome them to the mission.
   The second picture is of the returning missionaries.  They are Elder McKnight, Sister Stoker, President Stoker and Elder Wikan.
Front row, Sisters Davis, Bickel, Griffin, and Fuller.  We took them to the JSM and we had a wonderful time.  We love them so much and we'll miss them.
   The 4th of July was Friday and it rained almost all day.  We had the day off so Miriam and I went to the mall and then a movie.  We really celebrated the 4th on Saturday the 5th.
The pictures to the right are at Old Orchard Beach in Maine.  It was the most beautiful day.  We have come to love New England with all its beauty.  The greens are so green and the blue sky is so blue when the sun shines.  But the price we pay is that it has to rain a lot to get this beauty.
   We spent the day with the Pettingill's and we had so much fun.  We traveled down the coast.  The traffic was bad, but we didn't mind.  We had dinner at a seafood restaurant in Kittery Maine and it was a great day.
   Today was Fast Sunday and both I and Miriam were able to bear our testimonies.  I testified to the truthfulness of the restoration and the gratitude I had for this wonderful country in which we live.  I shared the story of my brother Verles death in Vietnam back in 1968 and spoke of so many that sacrificed so much.  Miriam bore the sweetest testimony also on the light of Christ.  She doesn't testify often but when she does it is so special.  I love her!
   After the closing prayer Elder Harrington came over to my and threw his arms around me and cried into my shoulder for over 5 minutes.  His emotions came to the surface and he needed lots of hugs.  His father passed away a few months ago very unexpectedly and I think he needed to let his emotions out.  I love him so much.  There are so many trials these wonderful missionaries go through and I love them for their strength. 
   Elder Plyler came up to me during Priesthood meeting and said, "Elder Skidmore, this is a milestone day for me.  I have been on my mission for the exact number of days I was a member before my mission."  Elder Plyler is a convert and was called to serve a mission after just 15 months of his baptism.  He is such a wonderful missionary.
   We have 4 new missionaries in our Ward due to transfers and each gave a sweet testimony.  Our Ward was small due to the holiday week end but the spirit was so strong. 
   Miriam and I miss our family so much, but know this is where are to be at this time in our life.  We love the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We love to serve.  We love all of our missionaries.  We love our Mission President and his wife.