Sunday, October 26, 2014

October 26, 2014

   We have had a great week here in the NH Manchester Mission.  The top two photos are of zone conference in Exeter New Hampshire last Tuesday and the next two photos are of zone conference in Augusta Maine held last Wednesday.
   President and Sister Stoker had just returned from the Mission President Conference held at Palmyra NY where Elder Holland was the presiding authority.  President Stoker shared some of the things he said.
   "The Sacred Grove is the most sacred place on earth next to the Garden of Gethsemane".
   "The miracle of this dispensation is the Mission President and his missionaries".
   "53% of the sisters now serving missions would not have come out if they had to wait until they were 21". 
   "Today 30% of all missionaries are sisters. It   
 was 12% before President Monson lowered the age".
   The theme of the zone conference was the Book of Mormon.  He taught how the B of M teaches over and over the significance and power of the Atonement. No other scriptures does this.  He had a contest having all the missionaries find a scripture that referred to the atonement.  It was awesome and there are a lot of them.
   Then he spent time teaching the significance of the Fall.  The way it was in the Garden before and after.  He then compared that to us and the atonement, before and after.  It was wonderful.  The more we learn about the restored Gospel, the more I know it to be true.  There are so many scripture references and as we truly look into them and the depth of their meaning, a whole new light comes on. 
   What great lessons our missionaries are learning.  No where else could they receive such wonderful training and be touched by the spirit so powerfully.
   President Stoker had me teach a little of safety and importance of their CO detectors.  Elder Holms taught about the hazards of driving in the winter.  We all love the work and more the missionaries.
  The bottom 4 pictures are of our little trip Saturday through southern NH and up into Vermont.  The weather was fabulous and we had a great time with the Holms.  The  Vermont Country Store was awesome.  Christmas shopping has started.  I was glad to get a kiss at the kissing bridge.
   We love our mission.  We are trying to take advantage of every minute we have left in it.  New England is so beautiful in the fall.  We have tried to take advantage of every spare moment to find more things to see and do.

Monday, October 20, 2014

October 19, 2014

   I had the opportunity to assist Elders Plyler and Pemberton in teaching Amy the plan of salvation (picture to the right).  She is the daughter of members in our Ward.  She has turned down the opportunity to be taught many, many times.  Her mother asked her to listen to the Elders and she said ok.  She is going through lots of problems.  She and her 14 year old daughter do not get along at all and the daughter has elected to live elsewhere.
   This was the third lesson she has received and she has loved it.  She has accepted the baptismal challenge and she is scheduled to be baptized November 22nd.  It is amazing how she has changed and how happier she is now that she has accepted the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  The Gospel does work miracles in the lives of all those who accept it. 
   The tree below their picture was so radiantly red that I just had to take a picture.  It was just outside the
Elders home.  I was enjoying it while I was waiting for them the night we taught Amy.
   The next picture is Sunday evening at the JSM in Sharon Vermont.  I was asked to drive the Moose and take 4 investigators and 6 missionaries to a fireside that President Stoker was speaking at.  We got there early enough that they toured the site.  It was cold but wonderful.  The beauty of the area is always exceptional.  The leaves have started to fall.  It rained some and the wind was blowing, so it was cold.  The meeting lasted about an hour where President Stoker gave a great history of the early days of Joseph Smith and the many miracles that happened to bring us this wonderful restored Gospel.  We had light refreshments afterward and we got home about 10pm.
   It was a long day but wonderful.  Our sacrament meeting was great.  I was asked to teach Priesthood while we were in Sunday School.  I read the lesson while in SS and gave it in Priesthood.  I think it went ok.  The Lord truly helped me and we all felt the spirit testify of the wonderful man President Joseph F. Smith really was.
   It has now turned colder.  The cold weather has come late this year and that has been ok with us.  We now are getting ready for zone conferences which start tomorrow.  We are expecting a lot of rain this week so it will be interesting.  We will travel lots of miles but it will be great.
   Miriam and I realize that we only have two months left here in New England.  Our release date is December 19th.  We see that date coming so fast.  It will be a bitter sweet time. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

October 12, 2014

   This week was different in that Monday we took all of our kids to the airport and said good bye.  It was so sad to see them go and yet so wonderful to have been able to spend time with them in New England.
   We then went to work and started our time serving with the Holm's.  They are the new senior couple that replaced the Pettingill's.  The three pictures to the left are of a dinner we had with them last Thursday night. 
   The Holm's are from Idaho Falls and this is their third mission.  They are wonderful and I know we will enjoy serving with them.
   We miss the Pettingill's and wish them much success and love.  We know we will see more of them as we have already planned a trip with them next summer.   They had the Lacey's and another couple at the dinner also. 

   The 4 pictures to the left are of our little trip Saturday with the Holm's.  We went up through Laconia to the Castle in the Clouds.  We had a lot of fun and the beauty of New England was just breath taking.  The Castle in the Clouds is on a high hill top so you could see a lot of Lake Winnipesaukee and the valley.  The fall leaves are at their peak or just a little past.  We always have fun exploring New England with the companionship of our friends.
   Thursday night I had the opportunity to teach with Elder Harrington and Elder Pace.  We taught prayer to the McCoulagh family.   We taught from Enos in the B of M.  It was wonderful.  Sister McCoulagh is ready to be baptized and Brother McCoulagh is working hard at quiting smoking.  We pray for him constantly and know that soon he will make it.  He came to church today and it was good to see him there. 
   Miriam and I took the Moose (mission van) to pick up the McCoulagh sisters and Jody.  Then coming home we took them and three other investigators home.  It is always an adventure and we love serving them.  Our Fast and Testimony Meeting was very special today.  So many of our new converts stood and bore the sweetest testimonies.  Our chapel was the fullest we have ever seen.  The fruits of the missionary labors are sure evident.  We love them so much! 
   We love all of our missionaries so much.  They sacrifice so much and work so hard that it is an inspiration to all of us.  We can see our mission dropping in the number of missionaries as we see in the future transfers of more going home than coming out.  This will require a lot of adjustments.  President Stoker is working hard to make decisions on what to close etc.  It will all be good for sure!

Monday, October 6, 2014

October 5, 2014

This was the week we have been waiting for a long time.  We have been on our mission 15 months and new that our children were planning on coming to New England to visit us.  The time finally came and all four of our children with their spouses came.  Greg and Heidi brought #19, our little Livy. 
   Lance and Aimee are shown in the first few photos because it took them 2 days to get here due to plane trouble and bad weather.  But they finally got here Thursday night and we had 2 wonderful days with them too.
   The first two pictures are of all of us at the office.  We took them down there to meet all the people we work with.  They wanted to see where we worked and who we worked with.  It was the Pettingill's last week and we also wanted to say goodbye.
  The second picture is us around the dinner table just after they got here.  Miriam fixed a wonderful dinner that we all enjoyed in our little apartment.  Everyone but us stayed at the mission home that's to the hospitality of President Stoker. 
   The pictures to the left are at our visit to Boston.  Casey and Brianne flew into Boston and we picked them up from their hotel and spent the day in Boston.  It was cloudy and cool but luckily there was no rain.  We had so much fun.  We walked the Freedom Trail, rode the trolley to all the sites including Old Ironsides.  There is so much history there.  Our country and its freedom started there. 
  On Friday we went to Vermont and it was the most beautiful day.  The sun was shinning and we really enjoyed the fall season with all its
beauty.  The leaves were changing and color was wonderful.  We went to JSM and spent time touring the beautiful site of the birth of Joseph Smith.
We then went to Quechee and shopped, viewed the gorge and had a blast.  We then went to Woodstock to complete the day. 
   Saturday we went to Maine.  It was cold and it rained all day.  Very typical weather for Maine.  We toured two light houses and topped the day off with a lobster dinner ant the lobster shack.  It was the first time we had lobster like this.  We had to have a lady in the restaurant show us how to eat it.  It was so fun.  We got back in time to watch the Priesthood session.
  Sunday we went for a short hike, where Heidi dropped her I Phone in the water.  It took time to find it but the forest was beautiful and the sun shined.  We then went back to the mission home and watched conference.  After the 2nd session, Miriam had a wonderful dinner ready for us.  We had President Stoker eat with us and it was wonderful
   We took everyone to the airport this morning and Miriam and I were back at work this afternoon.  Our mission has made us even more aware of how blessed we are to have such wonderful children.  We love and miss them so much.  We are so grateful for the Gospel and it eternal blessings.