Monday, April 25, 2016

Thanks, Papa April 25, 2016

On Saturday night, Will Thornley lost his battle with brain cancer.  I can't begin to express the sense of loss that we feel in our family.  Papa was a wonderful grandfather to Titan.  They played cars, watched movies, flew planes, and were close friends.

When Elder Dixon and I were planning on a mission, we made a pact with Will and Chris that we would watch out for Titan while they were on a mission and they would do the same while we served.  Will and Chris lived true to that promise for us. They helped prepare food for family and friends who came to the house after our farewell talk.  While we have been gone, they watched out both for Titan and for our daughter.  They took care of things we could not.  They continued to watch over Titan even when Will's health had deteriorated.

Even though my daughter and their son divorced, they continued to love her as part of the family.

I had so hoped to be able to make it back from our mission to be able to thank Will and Chris.  He just couldn't hold on that long.

Thanks, Will and Chris.  You have made our lives better.  We will miss you, Will, but we will not forget you.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

The counsel of a Prophet April 17, 2016

This week I have been thinking a lot about the counsel that we hear from our leaders.  I fear that for some of us, unless we can see the immediate confirmation of the truth taught, we ignore or discount the counsel.  We want to see the Lord's plan NOW.  If the Lord was to do that, there would be no need for faith.  We fought in heaven for the chance to have free agency.  It would cease to exist in a world where we did not have to struggle.

I remember a book I read years ago called Hinds Feet on High Places.  At one point in the tale, the main character is to take a journey.  For companions, the character is given Sorrow and Pain (I believe).  The character is confused.  How could it be fair to assign them as the companions.  What is learned is that it is through Sorrow and Pain that the heart is carved out to have room for joy and happiness.

I have been especially interested this week in the latest research that is coming out regarding pornography.  Those who have heeded the counsel of the prophet have long-accepted the destructive power of pornography.  But, in the world, there has always been a line drawn and protected with cries of "freedom of speech".  With that cry, the destruction of adult pornography has gone on basically unchecked.  Now, scientists are discovering that those who are addicted to pornography no longer have the ability to engage in natural sexual relationships.  They are no longer even attracted to natural sexual relationships.  The question before states and nations is whether pornography has now become a public health crisis.

We have long known.  It is more than a public health crisis.  It is a destructive force for our nation and the world.  It destroys the desire to form family units, it destroys men's feelings for women, it demeans women, itputs our children at grave risk and it destroys the values of our society.

Priceless treasures April 17, 2016

This week I received a priceless treasure.  Before our mission I bought scriptures that had larger print because I anticipated that my sight would get worse.  In that prediction I was correct.  The problem with the larger print is that I have not been able to find a good case in which to carry them.  Over time, my poor scriptures have gotten a little beaten up.

Here in the mission, many of the missionaries protect their scriptures with customized boxes they have created themselves.  Elder Cottle knew that I would like a box for my scriptures and he is very talented at making them.  He puts tremendous thought into it.  He used his preparation day time and other minutes he could squeeze out, to create this beautiful box for my scriptures.  I cannot begin to say how much it means to me.

These young missionaries are so wonderful.  Not only do I become the recipient of wonderful things from them, but so do hundreds of others.  Elder Cottle was working on a collage of pictures for a recent convert.  He has included in the collage the pictures from the baptism, but also included pictures of the Savior and the Temple.  It will also be a priceless gift.

Here are four great men in my life.  Elder Burrows and Elder Cottle have been serving as the Assistants during this transfer, but President Bennion decided he wanted the influence of the Assistants to be felt by many missionaries in this transfer.  So, he called Elder Paulson as an Assistant.  Elder Paulson (on the right) and Elder Burrows (on the left) are now traveling Assistants.  They travel to an area and then split up to work with the missionaries there.   Elder Cottle has been assigned to remain here in the office and attend to the reports, logistics and trouble solving for the missionaries.  In addition, he is also having daily exchanges with missionaries.  

It reminds me a lot of the Book of Mormon.  As Elder Burrows and Elder Paulson were leaving, I imagined what it must have been like when Alma the Younger and the Sons of Mosiah were departing for their assignments.  In their case, they literally did not know if they would ever see one another again.  I imagine that as they were departing, they did the huddle/hug and then departed.  I imagine there was some degree of loss because they had been so close for so long.  So tonight, I look forward to their reunion for a day.  And I will smile an think about the sweet reunion between Alma the Younger and the sons of Mosiah.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Hats off to loving leaders! April 10, 2016

IMG_0473.JPGThis week, President and Sister Tedjamulia, opened their home to all of our Young Women for a sleep-over and temple trip. On Thursday evening, Sister Tedjamulia fixed an amazing taco bar while President Tedjamulia traveled many, many miles to pick up the girls.  They gave me time to be able to have the girls focus on a flag and cheer for their upcoming girls' camp.  That was incredibly kind because they had planned several activities for the girls.  When we finished the camp things, the Tedjamulias had other activities, dessert and more food.  The Tedjamulias are such a good example to me of charity and love.  They truly care about those girls.  I missed the mummy activity, but it certainly looks fun!
DSC03103.JPG On Friday, they all went to the Temple.  What a great way to end the activity.
The Senior Couple who will be replacing us has been called.  I had the opportunity to talk to them on the telephone this week.  What nice people!  I am so grateful to know that our mission family will be in good hands.
I have been reflecting on the Lord's hand in our lives.  I have had some tough times.  During those times, I didn't always handle it well.  I lost my perspective.  I lost hope.  I lost confidence.  And yet, when I look back on those times, I wonder if the trials were caused because I was not listening, because I was not ready for change, because I was comfortable and it was time for a change.  Do we cause our own difficulties because we resist the guidance that will help us become who we want to be?

Monday, April 4, 2016

What a conference! April 4, 2016

 There were so many wonderful and powerful messages from Conference.  I feel blessed to be part of this Church.  We have such a great opportunity to find the path to eternity when following their counsel.  I didn't have a favorite, but I definitely found messages that meant a lot in my own journey.

One of those messages was the support for fathers.  I have believed that is a critical part of our society, and that we are losing our perspective.  When I was growing up, there were sitcoms on television in which the father was a strong, wise, example to his children.  "Leave it to Beaver", "My Three Sons", "Father Knows Best" and even "Gidget" had fathers we could all look to.  They were loving, kind, and taught their children.  They were involved with their children.

Now, fathers are portrayed on television as mean, calculating, clueless, and stupid.  Fathers are mocked and made fun of.  They are demeaned and even scorned.  Over and over they are portrayed as unloving and uninvolved in the lives of their children.

That has bothered me for years.  I have tremendous respect for the fathers in my life.  While they may not be perfect, they are trying.  They love their children and sacrifice for them.  I believe most fathers are like that.  So, to hear Elder Christofferson say those things from the pulpit was wonderful.  I hope that people will turn off productions that demean parenthood.  I hope they will value their parents.  I hope people who produce programs will see the value in portraying families that are functional and are real.  Then, maybe instead of our youth believing that their fathers have no value, they will see their eternal value.

So I want to thank my Dad.  I want to thank him for loving my mother.  I want to thank him for overcoming a tough upbringing.  I want to thank him for being willing to leave his beloved Iowa in order to have his children have opportunities.  I want to thank him for being creative.  I want to thank him for all of the games he allowed me to join.  I want to thank him for helping me feel safe as I grew up.

I want to thank my husband.  He has been my partner, my support, my friend.  He was willing to sacrifice for our children.  He coached teams, helped with homework, made meals, gave blessings, set an example and tied lots of knots!  Because of his courage in trying things, we all tried new foods, and learned new skills.  He has been a wonderful example to us in being faithful in Church attendance and callings.

I want to thank my sons.  They have chosen two lovely young wives who have blessed our families.  I see the pictures of the boys with their families and am touched that they also are carrying on those valuable traits.  Their children clearly love them and feel safe.  What a blessing!