Sunday, September 28, 2014

September 28, 2014

   This week was historic for us.  We had the largest transfer of our mission.  We had 26 new missionaries come into our mission on Monday. They are shown in the top picture.  It took every vehicle we had to transport them from the airport to the mission home.  It was a late night when we got them settled in. 
   On Tuesday, transfer day, we had 160 missionaries involved in this transfer.  Our biggest ever.  It was long and yet very exciting.  The second picture is of the 19 wonderful missionaries we had go home.  We had a wonderful temple session with them.  We have gotten to know them and as such they are all so special.  I have to say they are some of the best missionaries ever.  We are going to miss them dearly
   Then all the paperwork needed to be done and
we had both of our printers go down.  It was pretty hectic to say the least.  Be we got the Xerox printer going and was able to get everything done. 
   The picture to the left is of us with the Pettingill's.  This was our last Friday night of pizza and games.  They go home this coming Friday.  We have enjoyed them so much and wish them well on their journey home.
   Saturday we went back to the Boston Temple for the wedding of Ashley Stoker, the daughter of President and Sister Stoker.  It was wonderful.  The Stoker family all came to the Boston Temple so President Stoker could be
with the family.  He can't leave the mission as Mission President.  Sister Stoker will accompany the family back to Arizona and Utah for the two receptions, but President Stoker will remain here.  He had a life size photo cut out of him to be put in the reception line. 
   The far right is the bride and groom coming out of the Temple.  The upper right is of President Stoker, his dad and his son.  Three generations of Stokers.  President Stoker is a convert to the Church and his dad is not a member.  He is very ill and it was a miracle that he was able to come. 
   The bottom right picture is of us with the Pettingill's in the shade observing all the doings.  It was a very warm day.  In the 80's and that is very unusual.  We then went to Pelham NH for the wedding lunch.  It was a long day, but wonderful. 
   We are so excited as we approach this next week.  All our children and their spouses are coming to NH to visit and we are so excited.  It feels like Christmas. 
   We love our missionaries, we love serving with them and love serving them. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

September 21, 2014

    We had a wonderful week.  We were blessed to have Elder and Sister Wilson of the Seventy come to the mission and teach us.  We had three zone conferences where they were able to meet and teach all of our missionaries.
   The picture to the left is of our zone conference in Exeter NH.  The picture below are some pictures of the lunch time at the JSM where the Montpelier Zone conference was held.
   The message that was given was on the importance of the Book of Mormon not only in the conversion process but also in the retention process. 
   The Wilsons testified of the importance of each

 investigator read the Book of Mormon long enough to feel the spirit and let the spirit testify to them of its truthfulness.  Retention is one of the Church's biggest concerns and a survey has shown that the majority of the new members have read very little of the Book of Mormon. 
   The challenge was given for each missionary to read this wonderful book with them.  Make sure they read the testimonies of the witnesses and then to take the time to explain to them what was happening and answer their questions.  Then to read 1Nephi:1 with them.  Making sure to read slow and explain everything that is going on.  Then to set up appointments to read with them through chapter 15. 
   Then they are to set up with the Ward Mission Leader to make assignments from the Ward members to read with them until the book is finished. 
   The promise was given that as they read and prayed, they would gain a stronger testimony of this wonderful Gospel.  They must learn to sink their roots deep into the Gospel to be able to weather the troubles that await them.  I know this is so true.  So soon after they are baptized, they fall prey to the advisories desire to derail them from the truth. 
   The picture to the left is of a nursery that Miriam and I went to Saturday.  Fall is definitely here and to colors are changing and it is beautiful.  We are so looking forward to having all our kids come to visit us on October 1st through the 6th.  We love and miss them so much.
   The Lords work is wonderful and we are blessed to be a part of this great mission.  This next week with certainly be one of the busiest ever.  We have 26 new missionaries coming tomorrow and we send 19 home on Wednesday.  Those that are going home are some of our very closest friends.  We have grown to love and appreciate them so much.  We have served with so many of them in different capacities.  If there is one thing out here that is certain, it's that things move fast and things are always changing.  We love them all so much!
   The Holms got to our mission last Thursday and they are replacing the Pettingills who go home in two weeks.  We have become such good friends with the Pettingills and can hardly believe their time is almost up. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

September 14, 2014

    The picture to the left is of me with Elders Barnes and Harrington.  I have been out teaching with them on a number of occasions.  We have taught a number of families and been stood up by a number of people.  But it is always good to be with them.  Elder Barnes goes home in 10 days and he is an excellent missionary.  He approaches everybody in his path.  One afternoon while with them, he approached homeless, teenagers, kids and regular people walking around Manchester.  I love the way he approaches.  I told him I thought one of the men was drunk and he said "They are all Gods children". 
   Elder Harrington has been going through some hard times.  His father passd away awhile back and he is still trying to process it all.  But I told him he needs to make his worn out shoes a trophy as Elder Nielsen did.  He is such a good Elder.
   The four pictures to the left are of our MLC (Missionary Leadership Council) held last Tuesday.  This is the leadership of our mission.  What great young men and women they are.  Elder and Sister Pettingill got in the picture as it was their last MLC before they leave. 
   One of our duties is to provide lunch for the meeting.  We truly have it down to a science now.  Miriam and I go and buy all the food, then we meet the Pettingills at the church where we prepare and serve it.  Then we clean up and head back to the office and keep on working.
   This last Saturday, we went up to Laconia to Lake Winapisakie to go on a boat ride to view the lake from the water.  The boat we were to go out on had been booked by a private party and they asked if we'd like to go out in a smaller one.  It was cold and rainy and we decided not to.  Instead we went on a train ride around part of the lake.  It was fun and a lot warmer. 
   Miriam and I have been given our release date.  It is December 19th.  We are so happy because if the weather permits we will be home for Christmas.
   Friday evening we went out to dinner with President and Sister Stoker and Mexican food at Shortys.  It was good and we always love being with them.  They have invited our kids when they come out to stay at the mission home.  That is so nice of them.  We are looking forward to seeing our kids after 15 months.  Love them so!
   Our church was wonderful today.  Sacrament Meeting was so good.  The spirit was strong and messages were excellent.  Sister Smedley played the Violin accompanied by Miriam on the Piano and it was beautiful.  Then after the block, we had a linger longer where a lunch was prepared for all to enjoy before going home.  The Bishop does this a few times a year to help all the member to linger and get to know each other better.  It was nice. 
   Now we are going to have a week of Zone Conferences with Elder Wilson of the Seventy.  I will write about it next Sunday.
   We love all the missionaries and we love the work.  It is starting to get cold and we feel winter coming on strong.  Summer was so short.  Oh well, we are in New England!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

September 7, 2014

   This week was so full.  Last night we had dinner at the Stokers with the Pettingills and Patty and Eric, good friends that live in the Stokers neighborhood.  As usual the food was outstanding.  We played games after and I have discovered I need to figure how to win Five Crowns.  It was fun, but I lost. Oh well!
   Monday night was asked to go out and teach with Elder Barnes and Elder Harrington.  They had an appointment which fell through and 2 backups which also fell through.  As we were walking the streets of Manchester, Sister Smedley and Sister Collins drove up and said
the member they were teaching needed a blessing.  So we went to her apartment where she was so glad to see us.  Her name was Jo Anne and she was struggling with the adversary as she was preparing to go to the temple.  She asked that I give her a blessing.  I think this is the reason we were out Monday night.
   Wednesday night I was ask to help teach with Elder Barnes and Elder Pemberton.  This was a family that was almost agnostic.  But we gave the Restoration lesson and I was able to share my testimony of the blessings of family.  They were interested to know that I had been married to Miriam for 44 years and that we had 5 children.
They thought that there was no god because of the hardships they were going through.  When I shared with them that we lost Monica at birth and yes it was hard but we consider her a blessing as we know we will raise her in the spirit world.  Then when I shared with  them we have 4 other wonderful children and they have blessed us with  19 grand children where one of them, Ethan, we lost after he was only 6 months old.  Bad things do happen to good people!  I bore a strong testimony of my love for the Savior and His Gospel.  The spirit was so strong.  They asked all to come back this coming Thursday. 
   Friday, Miriam and I did apartment checks in the Augusta South and Bangor East Zones in Maine.  Above in the middle are some the pictures with the Elders and Sisters.  We love them so much and they are doing so much better
at keeping their apartments clean and neat.
   Then Friday evening we drove over to Bar Harbor Maine.  They pronounce it "Baw Hawbaw".  For some reason they don't pronounce their r's.  It was absolutely beautiful.  We stayed in a wonderful hotel, had the best clam chowder ever at Geddy's and walked the busy streets doing what Miriam does so well, shop!
   Then Saturday we went through Acadia National Park which is breathtaking.  We had so much fun.  We are trying to see as much of New England as we can before the summer ends.  We are now getting ready for the next transfer where we are getting 24 new missionaries.  Then all of our children are coming on October 1st thru the 6th.  We are looking so forward to that.  We miss them all so much. 
   Today at church we had some of our recent baptized members bare the sweetest and heartfelt testimonies.  The work is wonderful and we love it!