Wednesday, December 24, 2014

December 19, 2014

    It is hard to believe that this was our last week in the mission.  It was such a busy week.  But as usual, the busiest weeks are the best weeks.
   Monday we received 7 new missionaries.  What was unusual was that they were all Elders.  This is the first time we have not had any Sisters come in on a transfer.  The picture to the left is of the seven Elders that came in.  They are a great bunch of Elders and an asset to the mission.
   The picture below is of the 29 missionaries at the Boston Temple the day before they fly home.  We are missing 3 Sisters as they were late getting to the Temple so they missed the pictures. 
   But with 29 going home and only7 coming in, lots of changes had to be made.  We closed 10 apartments.  This also required moving lots of furniture, bringing in 6 cars, and of coarse 10 phones. So their was a ton of coordination to get everything done. The sad part is that all this moving furniture and cleaning the apartments happens after transfers and after Sister Skidmore and I left for home.  This was a lot of work for Elder and Sister Holm.  We did as much as we could but the physical work couldn't happen until we actually moved the missionaries out. The Holms are wonderful and will do a great job!
  The biggest changes were due to the fact that 17 Sisters were going home and none came in.  So President Stoker had to make lots of changes to the rest of the mission getting all the Sisters taken care of.
   The picture to the left is of us with Elder Quinn and Elder and Sister Holm.  Elder Quinn is such a big man.  He plays football for BYU.  I wanted to get this picture because it showed his size.  Every time he would see me he would give me a great big hug at which time he would lift me off my feet and crush me.  He is a great Elder and we love him. 
   The Holms are from Idaho Falls and this is their 3rd mission.  They sure work hard and are so wonderful. We love them so!
   The next picture is all of us at the Boston Temple.  What a great group picture.  We love these missionaries so much and are so excited for them to return home to the families that love and miss them.  Words can hardly express the love each of them have for the Lord.  It is shown by their dedication and hard work for Him.  The world is a better place because of them.  The future of the Church will be good hands as they continue with their lives and hold to the iron rod.  They are our friends.
   The next picture is of MLT (missionary leadership training) meeting.  President Stoker changed this meeting to Friday because he wanted to train all the new Zone Leaders,  

District  Leaders, and Sister Training Leaders that occurred because all the leadership going home.  It was our last assignment before we left. There was about 60 missionaries there.  It was a bitter sweet time as we got to say our last good byes.  They all sang "God be with you until we meet again" to us and it was so emotional for us.  Tears were flowing.  It was sweet!
   The next pictures are of me with Elder Harrington and Elder Plyler.  I had so many teaching experiences with each of them.  They were assigned in Manchester for a long time which gave me great opportunities to serve with them.  They were great missionaries and had a lot of success.   I love them both so much!
   We had our 44th anniversary on the way home.  We stopped in Asheville NC and toured the Biltmore mansion.  It was decorated for Christmas and WOW!  It was so beautiful!
   Miriam and I had the most wonderful mission.  We made such good friends and learned to love our missionaries on another level.  But most of all our love for the Savior grew leaps and bounds.  We knew the Lord had restored His Church and that we were a part of it, and this experience added to the testimonies we already had.  Our love for the Work has grown so much!
Now its almost Christmas and celibrating the Lords birth just adds to the spiritual feast we are having. 
   Thank you Lord for this experience!  We love you!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

December 14, 2014

  Well we just finished a lot of our lasts here in NH Manchester Mission.  This week was a big week of preparation to leave this coming Friday, December 19th. 
   The pictures to the left are of some of our good friends in Manchester Ward.  We had our Christmas party last Friday night.  It was dinner with some Christmas Caroling and Santa did come.  The top picture is us the Bishop Dickson.  He was converted 12 years ago and he is a wonderful Bishop and person.  The far left is me with Keith Stickney.  He taught the Gospel Doctrine class and Miriam and I got close to him and his wife.  His wife, Linda, teaches early morning seminary.  They are wonderful.  Miriam is with Elaine.  She is just the sweetest lady.  We just love her to death! Everyone was starting to say their good byes and it was so nice.
    The next picture is of President Stoker with his Assistants, Elders Lund and Harper.  They all work so hard running the mission and it was good to see them relax and have some fun. 
   The next picture is of the transfer board in President Stokers office.  Next week is transfers.  We are receiving 7 new missionaries and we are sending home 29 missionaries.  So we have been working on closing 10 areas.  That means 10 apartments, cars and phones.  It has been a ton of work.  We are seeing the backlash of the surge that happened after President Monson announced the lowering of the age for Sisters and Elders to enter the mission field.  I think we will be down approximately 50 missionaries from our high.
   Today, Sunday, 12-14-14, Miriam and I gave our farewell talks in Sacrament Meeting.   Miriam gave a wonderful talk on the light of
Christ and I talked on the miracle of His birth and life.  Jake Baldwin was the youth speaker and he spoke on Revelation.  Everything went well and we were surprised when the Bishop announced that they planned a going away get together for us in the Cultural Hall at the end of the block with cake for all.  It was so nice!!!!
   Then we had the baptism of Joe Rouleau.  All the missionaries in the picture had the opportunity to help teach Joe.  This was the most wonderful way to end our mission. 
   I have been so blessed to be able to teach with so many wonderful missionaries.  There were times when Miriam and I both were able to  teach with the missionaries.  There was a time we had 10 missionaries in our Ward.  This has been the most successful year for our Ward.  We have had over 10 baptisms this year.  Our prayer is that they will grow and continue in the faith.
   The picture below is of the area board showing all the areas we serve.  We are actually in 5 states.  It is really amazing.  We have learned so much!  Missionary work is the best.  We love our missionaries so much.  It is going to be hard to leave this next week.  We have a busy week with transfers and everything. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

December 8, 2014

   Winter is truly here.  Today the high will be about 20 degrees and it sure is cold. The low last night was 13.  Most of the snow that we got the week before is almost gone however.
   Monday we had all the local missionaries come to the office for Pizza and then they helped us put together the last 90 gift packets.  These are going to be given out to all the missionaries for Christmas. They are sure a wonderful group of missionaries  Starting from the left, Sisters Smedley, Holm, Skidmore, Craig, Frame, Elders Lund, Harper, Vaughn, Harrington, Erekson, Hanning and Pace.  Sitting are Sisters Danner and Tyler.  I took the picture!
    The next picture is of Amy Marquis's baptism.  She was baptized by her nephew, Brendon Herbert, from Baltimore and it was very special.  Elder Plyler and Pemberton were instrumental in her conversion.  I was fortunate to be able to help teach her.  Her parents are members and she took along time and lots of missionaries to finally accept the Gospel.  She is shown with Sisters Smedley and Craig who really helped her in her journey.  Her mother relayed the miracle of her conversion.  She learned in a RS lesson that if you would read the B of M with a person in mind and pray from them, miracles would happen.  It did.  Elders Plyler and Pemberton were in the
parents home for dinner when Amy stopped by and she listened to them.  It is wonderful miracle. 
   I heard Elder Plyler bare strong testimony of the Atonement as it related to his forgiving his alcoholic mother and it was really special.  Missionary work is so wonderful!
   We had dinner last night at the Lacey's home in Derry NH.  They are such special people.  They are so generous as they are always having missionaries over for dinner.  We are with Elder and Sister Holm and Elders Christensen and Perry.  The food was excellent as always.
   This week will be the week of preparation for transfers next week.  We have a lot of work to do getting ready to send 29 missionaries home and only receiving 7.  18 of those going home are sisters.   We are closing 10 areas which is a ton of work.  But it is all good and we will get the job done. 
   We only have this and next week here and it is bitter sweet!