Monday, June 30, 2014

June 30, 2014

What a busy week!  It doesn't seem that it should be so busy, but the time flies by.  The Branch President, President Tedjamulia, is warm and welcoming.  He has made us feel needed and wanted.  He gave us assignments that were meaningful and should be helpful to the Branch.  Here is a picture of him and his wife:

He was born in Indonesia, but raised in Brazil.  We find this Branch is like the United Nations.  They are an amazing group of people from all sorts of places.

We will be moving into our apartment this week.  This is the complex and I didn't photoshop it:

We will also get to meet the new Mission President this week.  We look forward to his insights in our service.  We only got to meet President Wolfert for a short time when we arrived, but we feel that he has greatly influenced our Mission in wonderful ways.

We are trying to be helpful to a Branch of wonderful people who are stretched thin.  They just lost their Primary Chorister, so I volunteered.  They had already called a new Chorister, the ward clerk will be serving in both capacities.  I am working with the Relief Society Presidency as they get ready for a Visiting Teaching conference.  The Relief Society President is also a kind and warm person who has welcomed me and is willing to use me as "a third counselor."  I love that.

We are just beginning to work with the Ward Missionaries, the Young Women and the High Priests.  Many of the organizations are led by newer members and people who have not had similar responsibilities before.  They have the challenge of people who speak only Portuguese, people who speak only English and people who speak both.  They also have people who have to travel great distances to attend church and meetings.

Despite the challenges, these people are amazing.  They have increased the Branch from about 20 members to around 80 in three years.  They had a Branch Temple night a few days ago and over 20 people attended.  How cool is that!

Elder Dixon and I are going to start some language training through the Missionary Training Center, hopefully this week.

For anyone who was wondering, our little granddaughter's name is Ilana.  Pretty name for our sweet baby.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

June 25, 2014

Tonight, I feel a tremendous sense of gratitude.  Today, we were blessed with another grandchild  She is beautiful and both she and her mother are fine.  For me, each time one of my loved ones gives birth, it is a time of reflection.  We have been so blessed.  Our babies have been healthy and strong.  And, their mothers sacrifice to bring them into this world.  Thanks to our Heavenly Father, and thanks to my daughter and daughters-in-law for loving these wonderful little children.

We won't get to hold our little P2 while she is an infant because we will be here serving.  We will just have to hug her through our prayers.

Monday, June 23, 2014

June 23, 2014

     We still don't have everything together.  Tonight we left with plenty of time in order to watch with other Branch members when Brazil played soccer.  Problem was, we had the wrong time and arrived after it was all over!

     That proved to be a blessing, though.  On Mondays, we have been asked not to disturb our members and their families.  Earlier, we discovered that we had left the cord for the printer at our home, and we needed to print some things.  So, we ventured out to Costco to replace the printer (since we could not find anywhere that stocks replacement cords).  While there, the cute young man who helped us was intrigued with our name tags.  He started talking to us about Jesus.  He indicated that he didn't know anything about our church.  We did a very quick summary of the restoration and explained about the Book of Mormon.  He indicated that he would read it.  We happened to have a copy of it in the car and left it with him with instructions to pray.  He seemed very interested.  It is truly amazing what can happen if we are doing our best!

     We had a great week!  We have been able to stay with Elder Dixon's brother for a few days until our apartment becomes available.  We arrived in Atlanta on Wednesday.  On Thursday, we were able to meet with the Mission President, President Wolfert.  Of course I forgot to get a picture with him, but this is the one from when he was called.

He is a warm and welcoming man.  He was very kind and explained the prayer that went into the decision to assign us to the Portuguese-speaking branch.  We already knew that it was inspired, and we may never know exactly why the place or timing were so important, but we are happy to be here.

Senior couples are so desperately needed throughout the world.  It is the Senior couples who do things like maintaining vehicles, getting apartments set up, taking care of finances and generally keeping the day-to-day matters handled so that the President and his counselors can be out in the mission.

     We are blessed to have great Senior Missionary couples in our mission.  We DID remember to get pictures of them.  They were very gracious and took us to lunch to welcome us.


The pictures on the wall are of the missionaries serving in our mission.

We couldn't wait for Sunday, though, because that was when we would meet the Branch President and get an idea what we could do to help the Branch.  He was awesome!  He had carefully thought of ways we could help.  It sounds like we will have lots to do, but most of it involves loving the people.  Learning the language will be a challenge for me, but I really want to learn.

This is President Tedjamulia and his wife.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

I had a learning experience the other night.  On Sunday night, I either had a dream or received a strong impression telling me to keep my name badge safe.  I remember thinking "No problem.  I tossed it into my suitcase."  The next morning, I went to put on the name badge and couldn't find it.  I searched for about half an hour and was very concerned.  I realized at that moment how significant that badge is.  It represents the authority that I had been given to act as a missionary for our Heavenly Father.  I realized that it was important to keep that close to my heart and take care of it. Once I understood how important it was, I quickly found it.   I will never toss it in a bag again.
June 18, 2014

     We are finally in Atlanta!  It has been a long drive, over 44 hours of driving (including eating meals).  We left Utah on Saturday, drove to Denver to visit with my brother, Roger.  It was delightful to spend that time with him.  Forgot to get a picture, but really enjoyed the visit.  Roger was blessed with the gift of getting to know people easily.  He can start a conversation with anyone.  I was really wishing I could bring him along on the mission!  I don't have his gift.

     On Sunday we drove to Kansas City, Missouri.  No offense to my Kansas friends, but that was the LONGEST ride.  I told my friend that I could take a picture from the front window and that would be the same view throughout the state.  I discovered, though, that the combination of the tint of our windows in the car, combined with the tint on my sunglasses made the horizon look amazing.  The picture doesn't do it justice, but I had to try to capture it.

     We spent some time in Independence Missouri, Liberty Missouri and Adam Ondi-Ahman.  One of our wonderful friends has taught us, over the years, about the "spirit of place".  It is an amazing thing.  When we are in the place where history occurred, it feels like holy ground.  I especially felt that when we were at Adam Ondi-Ahman.

     We then drove down to Bentonville to visit with my nephew and his family.  What a delightful family!  We were greeted with darling signs welcoming us.  It would be nice to be able to see them more often.  Two of the girls and I have hatched a plan for them to go to Orlando and stop to visit with us on the way. . . .

     We took a little detour to be able to see a dear former roommate of mine who lives in Bowling Green Kentucky.  Their family was literally in the process of moving, yet graciously welcomed us.  It was so great to find out what had happened in the years since we had seen each other.

     So, today, Wednesday, we are finally here.  Tomorrow we meet with the Mission President.  Our apartment is not available yet, so we are staying with Richard and Peter.  When we called about possibly staying with them, they also were wonderful.

     I guess that sums up the adventure so far, full of wonderful people.  Wish I had pictures of everyone, but we need a new battery for our camera.

Monday, June 16, 2014

June 16, 2014

Our brief stay at the Missionary Training Center came to a close on Friday.  I was sad to leave.  There is a special spirit there.  The power of that many people dedicated to something so good can not be ignored.  The thing that I found the most astounding was that we could know each other for such a short time, yet form lifetime bonds.  I really grew to love the Senior Missionaries and the young trainers who helped us.  I hope to have more time to detail the choice experience, but for now, here is a picture of only half of those senior missionaries who were in our training group.

They are headed all over the world, including Turkey.  They will be living in nice apartments, or sometimes in not-so-nice places, but in every case, they are committed to the Lord.  They are also some of the nicest people you could hope to know.

We did have a little bit of an interesting experience while there.  Elder Dixon developed gout (related to arthritis and causes tremendous pain in the joint of the toe).  Not a bad place to have a medical condition, because there were several doctors and nurses.  Two of them, Elder Morrison from our District, and Elder Allgaier (who will be serving as an area medical authority in Atlanta) took good care of Elder Dixon!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

We are in the Missionary Training Center

June 10, 2014

     We are here!  After the crazy fast pace of preparation, we are here in the Missionary Training Center (MTC).  I am thrilled to be here.  Watching and being part of this amazing group of people is a wonderful experience.  Our training will be short here.  We will only be here until Friday.

     The MTC is an amazing place.  The organization here is remarkable.  The young missionaries are such a diverse group.  We met a young man from Minas Gerais Brazil, the place where Rafael, our son, was born.  Mostly what I notice is the excitement and enthusiasm.  These young people want to make a difference in the lives of others.  They can't wait to get out and serve.

     Today I watched as one of the cafeteria staff lost control of layers of drinking glasses.  Layers of glasses flew and broke over a large area.  Within seconds, missionaries came to the aid of the man and cleaned up the mess.  There was no sense of condemnation or teasing.  They simply went to work to make things better.

     This is the view from our room.  The Temple is the Provo Temple.

If I can remember, I will include the little pink peep in pictures for my grandchildren.

 June 8, 2014

     Because we had our farewell the day before we went to the MTC and needed to have our belongings packed so that my son could move into our home, having our close family and friends over for food seemed impossible.  I told my youngest daughter that I thought we would forego having anything.  She said she thought we should have something for guests and she would take charge.  She did well.  She organized family who prepared food and with the help of her delightful mother and father-in-law and her sister, they baked, cooked and prepared a feast for everyone.  It was wonderful.  It wouldn't have happened without them.  Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of things until it was all over, and my two hostesses weren't exactly cooperative on a picture.  Thanks everyone!

June 5, 2014

      One of the things that we needed to do was to get rid of food that would not still be edible after 23 months.  We took over 300 pounds of food to the food pantry.  One of the things that I learned is that food that is marked "best by" continues to be appropriate for human consumption for 2 years beyond that date.  The pantry will take things past that date and beyond.  Thanks to the wonderful youth who helped unload it!

Monday, June 2, 2014

June 2, 2014

     Only one week until we enter the Missionary Training Center in Provo.  The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity to get ready.  We thought we were ready when we put in the papers, but there was still a lot for us to do.  We had hoped to have all the packing and furniture moved a week ago so that we would have two weeks to focus on spiritual preparation and our talks for church.  That did not happen.  We are tired!

     I am very grateful for the Sabbath.  Having one day to put away our labors, to rest, to reflect, to attend Church and be fed spiritually, is such a blessing.  We were able to spend the day quietly.  We watched some episodes of  "The District" ( and studied.  In the morning, we attended the Missionary Preparation class.  Today I feel like I can tackle the many things we have to do.

     The world has not understood this divine principle.  The Lord instituted the Sabbath as soon as he had completed his creation of the world.  In Genesis 2:2-3 it states:   
And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
     The world sees obedience to keeping the Sabbath day holy as a burden, a restriction. The world is wrong. If we would all observe the Sabbath, we would find our lives would be better the rest of the week.