Sunday, November 30, 2014

November 30, 2014

     What a wonderful week we just had.  The pictures to the left were taken last Wednesday.  Miriam and I were asked to take Sister Buonforte to the Boston Airport as the flights out of Manchester were being delayed because of the weather.  The snow was just starting to fall and we were a little worried about going.  But we loaded up her luggage and took off.  The closer we got to Boston the snow turned to rain so we had no problem getting there.  Then on the way back, the farther north we got the more snow there was.  It was a wet snow and it stuck to the limbs of the trees and it was beautiful. 
   It is interesting that things that seems to be making things hard, when you take a minute to stop and really look at them, they are beautiful.  We stopped as we were coming into the parking lot to take a selfie.  It was really snowing and we
were having so much fun in it. 
   The next picture is out my office window.  Wow, lots of snow.  When we went home, our lights were flickering off and on.  Little did we know  that thousands of peoples power was going out.  The heavy snow caused lots of branches to break and fall on the power lines.  Actually over 100,000 people lost power.  We got a call from President and Sister Stoker and their power went out and they were concerned about us.  The mission home has a back up generator so we still had Thanksgiving there.  The bottom pictures are of us all there. 
   After dinner we all helped clean up then some put up the Christmas Tree and some of us helped put Christmas treats together for all the missionaries.  Then we all had Thanksgiving pie.  It was wonderful!
   We are now starting to get ready for transfers.  We have been notified that Grace Sewell received her mission call to our mission.  That is so cool!  We feel bad that we won't
be here to welcome her.  But we know she will love it.
   We have 30 missionaries going home and 7 coming in December.  So we are closing 8 areas which mean I have been asked to close 8 apartments.  I have sent out the notifications and preparing to close all those apartments.  Lots of work and lots of extra furniture!
   We have had 2 senior sisters come into the mission and they will work in Maine.  President Stoker has asked them to help with the apartment inspections and that will really help.  We had a new senior couple come to work at the JSM also. 
   Miriam and I have less than three weeks to finish things up and start home.  Lots of emotions are going through us.  We have been asked to speak in our Manchester Ward Sacrament Meeting in two weeks, so its all coming at us so fast. 
   I have been able to teach Christina a couple of times this past week with Elder Pace and Harrington.  She is an awesome lady.  She has 3 kids and life if really hard.  She is reading the B of M and loving it.  I hope she will continue.   I love seeing the excitement and joy people feel as they are introduced to the gospel.  We see her again Monday evening.
   Amy is being baptized this coming Saturday.  She has asked me to say the opening prayer at her baptism.  I was fortunate to help teach her with ELders Plyler and Pemberton. 
   Joe has committed to baptism on the 12th of December.  He is a great guy.  I have been fortunate to help teach him with Elders Harrington and Pace.  It has been so wonderful.   Missionary work is the best.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

November 23, 2014

   The pictures that are shown are of the new missionaries with their trainers at New Missionary Training.  This is a meeting that is held 2 weeks after they have entered the mission field where they receive training from President and Sister Stoker as well as the AP's.  We always prepare lunch for them and after lunch they play some games before they go back into their classes for more training.  The games they play are pretty awesome as they are usually scripture chases. I am always amazed at how much they know. 
   President and Sister Stoker work hard with the new missionaries as they start their missionary journey.  There is a lot of adjustments to make and some make them easy and some really struggle.  It is the goal always to keep them going because if they continue trying they will
adjust and make it.  This group has some exceptional missionaries but their are a few that struggle.  Their is one sister that has decided to go home.  She leaves this Wednesday and it is sad. 
   I had a wonderful experience teaching with the missionaries Wednesday night.  We taught Joe.  Miriam and I have taken him to church a few times and he is a great young man.  He was struggling with tithing, quitting coffee and some other things.  The teaching with  Elder Harrington and Pace was great.  I asked if he would like a blessing.  He said he wasn't sure what that was.  We explained it to him and he wanted it.  He asked if I would give it and it was so special.  The spirit was so strong.  He said he loved it and had some special experiences while it was given.  He has set a baptismal date of December 14th.  The Sunday before we start for home.  We are so excited for him.
  We had Concord Stake Conference this week end and it was great.  The Saturday night meeting was devoted to missionary work.  All the speakers were converts and gave their conversion stories.  They were wonderful.  President Stoker spoke as did President Anderson.  It is interesting to note that all the converts were former Catholics.  One sister said her boyfriend took her to the visitors center when they were in SLC, showing her everything.  She loved the statue of Christ and the one of Joseph Smith.  After going though the center, she asked where the statue of Jack Mormon was.  She had heard so much about him.  That got a good laugh!  After finding out what a Jack Mormon was she determined never to become one!
  Another sister was a sophomore at Dartmouth University.  She played for the woman's basketball team.  She was from Sun Valley Idaho and had some introduction to the church but never looked into it.  The missionaries found her and invited her to learn more and she thought she would ask "google".  She learned quickly that it was the wrong place to look for answers! She said it was better to ask god not google as to what things are true. While she was traveling with her team, they stayed at a Marriott Hotel and her roommate say a Bible and B of M in the night stand drawer and asked her what she knew about the B of M.  She realized she knew the B of M was true and testified as such.
   She went to Peru last summer on a humanitarian opportunity and she was quite supprised that while there she ran into two sets of Mormon missionaries.  They invited her to church and she loved it as the spirit enveloped her.  She will be wonderful convert.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Novenber 16, 2014

   We had a pretty quiet but very busy week.  The picture shown here is of us with Elders Harper and Lund.  They are the assistants to the president and they are awesome.  Elder Harper is from Arizona and his aunt and uncle are Mike and Patty Pierson. 
   We are working hard to get ready for the next transfer.  We have 9 new missionaries coming in and we have 30 leaving.  This is requiring us to close 10 areas.  This means we have to close 10 apartments, pick up all the furniture and adjust the missionaries all over the mission.
    We anticipate having more missionaries leave in the January transfer than is coming in also.  So it appears that the surge is over and we just don't know how it will all shake out.  But we know we will have a lot fewer missionaries that our high of 226.  We could be down to 160.  This will take a lot of the pressure off President and Sister Stoker. 
   We have 4 sets of senior missionaries coming in the next 60 days and that requires a whole set of work in itself.  But it is all good and work is wonderful.
   Miriam and I are now training Elder and Sister Holm.  They are our replacements.  They are from Idaho Falls and they are learning everything fast. 
   The weather has turned cold and it sure fills like winter.  No snow yet, but it won't be long.  We have received three invitations for Thanksgiving dinner.  We are grateful for that, as we will be having Thanksgiving dinner with the Stokers.  We sure love them!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

November 9, 2014

   This week was so awesome!  The pictures to the left are of the new missionaries that came into our mission last Monday.  We had 15 come in.  10 sisters and 5 elders.  It was wonderful to welcome them into the mission and give them the training they all need just to get started. 
   Tuesday was transfer day.  All the new missionaries were paired up with their trainers and assigned an area.  You could see the nervousness in their eyes as they wondered who they would be serving with and where.  But they were all excited and quickly off to start their missionary journey.  They are a great bunch!
   During the Tuesday morning transfers, the Elders and Sisters going home give their Golden Truths and a chance to bear a short testimony.  They were all wonderful.
    The next pictures is of those missionaries going home at the Boston Temple.  It is always a highlight to be able to go to the Temple with them.  They are such special experiences.  We have served with them and it is hard to see them go. 
   Those going home were Elders Chapman, Crockett, Farnworth, Jessop, Weikes, Warner and Walker and Sisters Brown, Shipley, Taylor, Turley, and Lassen.
  Elder Walker served as an AP just before he left and Miriam and I got so close to him.  We love them all and know they will be great leaders in the church.
   Then last Friday night, the Holms and us went to Pizza Mart for pizza then played Rubicue afterwards.  Sister Holms won with Miriam coming in 2nd and I and Elder Holm pulled up the rear.  We always have fun getting together as senior couples for good food and fun.
   The bottom picture is of Elder Harrington, myself, Rob and Kathleen McCullough and Brother Young (ward mission leader).  What a special Sunday this was.
 Rob and Kathleen have 3 daughters, Heather, Hattie, and Sarah.  They have previously been baptized a few months ago and have been waiting for mom and dad to get ready and follow.  Rob worked hard at quitting smoking and did it.  Kathleen wanted to wait for Rob so they could be baptized together. 
   I was blessed to be able to help teach this wonderful family.  As I have said previously, when we went to their home the first time, I was surprised to see the whole family waiting for us around the dining room table with their scriptures and list of questions.  It was awesome.
   They live very frugally.  Rob works at Dunkin Donuts and Kathleen is a stay at home mom with lots of health issues.  The growth I have seen in this family is remarkable.  I watched Rob approach the Bishop today giving him a donation envelope.  Rob was so happy!  He was so shy and now he talks to everyone.  He told us that he has received a promotion at work which he never expected.  Not surprising to me!
   I love Elder Harrington so much.  He has been a very successful missionary.  His father died a few months ago and he did not go home for the funeral.  He stayed to do the Lords work.  And by doing that, the Lord has blessed him so much. 
    Miriam and I love all the missionaries so much.  They all have a story to tell.  They have sacrificed to be here.  They all love the Lord and they are all learning that service and sacrifice brings the blessings of Heaven.  This is a great work. 
   The Ward has been successful in missionary work this year.  There is another baptism scheduled in 2 weeks and I counted at least 5 investigators in Sacrament Meeting today.
   It has turned cold and we are wondering when we will get our first snow here in Manchester.  It has already snowed in northern Vermont, NH and Maine.  Maine got tons of snow last week.  But the time is going fast and before you know it Miriam and I will be on our way home.  Our release date is December 19th.  Goodness!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

November 2, 2014

    The three pictures to left is of the zone conference held at the JSM for the Montpelier and Concord North Zones.  It was wonderful as was the other two.  The missionaries were taught how  to teach using the Book of Mormon.  President Stoker always does such a wonderful job in teaching the missionaries.
   The next picture is Sister Skidmore and Sister Holm's with the sister missionaries at the zone conference.  They are always such a delight to be around.
   After the zone conference we took the Holms through Queechee and Woodstock.  A lot of the leaves have fallen and it wasn't as beautiful as when we took our children there just a few weeks earlier, but it was still very pretty.  We shopped at the old country stores and even did some Christmas shopping.
    We are enjoying serving with the Holms.  They are very hard workers.  President Stoker has told them that they will be doing our jobs when we leave the mission next month.  So they will have a lot to learn as they have just learned to do the Pettingills job.  But they are willing to do what President Stoker asks and we sure love them for that.
   The zone conferences were over after Tuesday and all our energies were focused on the upcoming transfers.  There is always a lot of work to do to prepare for transfers.  President Stoker seems much more relaxed this transfer and we are all happy about that.  We are ready
 for tomorrow when the new missionaries arrive.  It is always very busy but so wonderful to greet the new missionaries. 
   The next picture is all of us with President and Sister Stoker at Carrabas.  We went there for dinner for Halloween.  The dinner was great and then we went to the mission home and played 5 crowns.  And would you believe I actually won this time.  The first time ever.  We had so much fun and Sister Stoker made the best apple cake which we enjoyed with ice cream.  It was such a good Halloween, even though we missed our grandchildren and their costumes.
   We had a wonder Sabbath today.  The next two
pictures are of Miriam going into church showing all the leaves that have blown to the steps. Today it is cold and the wind is blowing.  It feels like winter.  She played the piano at Sacrament Meeting which she will do this month.  She always does such a good job.
   It was Fast and Testimony Meeting the testimonies were wonderful.  We had lots of missionaries bare the sweetest testimonies.  They know that they will be transferred this Tuesday.
  Amy Herberts (scheduled to be baptized at Thanksgiving) mother came up to me and shared how is was a miracle that her daughter has accepted the Gospel after being so stubborn for 20 some years.  She shared the miricale of her coming to their home when they had the missionaries there for dinner.  She just showed up and she hit it of with Elder Plyler and Elder Pemberton.  They love these Elders so much.  I was able to bare my testimony of my love for the Savior and His Church and my love of these wonderful young missionaries.  The spirit was strong and it set the stage for wonderful block of meetings.