Tuesday, December 4, 2012

December 4, 2012

Today was a beautiful day here.  Reached a record high of 70 degrees here in Palmyra.  We certainly did enjoy it while it lasted; we know it will change tomorrow.  We took a walk in the Sacred Grove this morning and spent 1 1/2 hours trying to find some of the Witness Trees  and the Apostle Tree.  Look at the picture of Lee at the highest point in the Sacred Grove; over his right shoulder is one of the Witness Trees.  Many believe it was here at the highest point where Joseph knelt so many years ago.  The Witness Tree in that picture is 200 years old.  The Apostle Tree is so named because at one time it had 12 main branches.  It is an Ironwood tree that is dead.  It is the oldest tree in the Grove and is 400 - 450 years old.

Apostle Tree
Highest Point in the Grove
Witness Tree

Monday, December 3, 2012

December 1, 2012

Happy Birthday to by Dad!!  He is 91 years young today.  He is my rock and I sure miss him.  Today is also my daughter, Kerri and her husband, Aaron's anniversary.  Happy 17th anniversary to them! 

Me & My Dad
Kerri & Aaron
And to make this an even more memorable day, we woke up to our first "light" snowfall of the season.   Just the way I like it....here and gone by 10 AM.

November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!  It has been a really good Thanksgiving for us.  The sites had a shorten shift today - 10 AM -3 PM.  We were at the Book of Mormon Publication Site (fondly called the BOMPS) this morning until 12:30 PM and then we came home and Lee cooked two pork tenderloins for our dinner this evening with other senior couples.  Since he is the chairman for the Activity Committee, he has been responsible for this dinner.  We have worked with the Howells and Yearsleys to plan this dinner and get it ready.  Wednesday evening before site meeting we set up all the tables and got the decorations out for our dinner, so everything was ready for today.

At 5 PM 15 senior couples along with our mission president and his wife joined us for dinner.  We had so much food.  In addition to the loin, we had turkey, ham, stuffing, veggies, all kinds of salads, bread, and lots of desserts.  We had enough food to served 30 more people.

Pres. & Sis. Christianson
I guess if we cannot be home for Thanksgiving, these are some of the best people in the world we could spend this time with.  Today I am so thankful to be serving here and have the opportunity to walk these sacred grounds and feel the Spirit each and every day. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Service with a (Southern) Smile

November 6, 2012

Election Day!  Have a feeling I am not going to like the outcome of the presidential election.  Putting my trust in our Heavenly Father that He will continue to watch over this great nation and preserve it.

On a brighter note, we did our service tonight at the Palmyra Lions Club.  Lee & I and another senior couple help with their dinner meal before they have their meeting.  We serve the meal and then clean up afterwards.  I really enjoy this.  Bonnie Hayes, Palmyra Historical Group, oversees this and she is a wealth of knowledge concerning historic Palmyra.   Hopefully when the weather gets warmer, we can visit some of these sites on our preparation day.

Lions Club

Could Use the Spirit of God Like a Fire is Burning!

November 4, 2012

Fast Sunday and it is another COLD day.  We arrived at church early for a correlation meeting.  While we were waiting in the hall, looked out the window and it was snowing again.  Thank goodness none of it has stuck thus far.

Unfortunately there is no heat in the Relief Society room and the air handling unit will not turn off and it is blowing out cold air.  Thankfully the Bishop has decided that the sisters can meet in the chapel for Relief Society and the brethren will meet in the Relief Society room.  Glad Lee wore a sweater vest this morning.  Top on my list for this week is to purchase a blanket to bring to church...can't stay very spiritual if I am freezing.

Time to Pull Out the Winter Coat!

November 3, 2012

Brrrr!!!  It is cold!!!  Working at the Book of Mormon Publication site this morning and we have a mixture of rain and snow.  Glad we only have a short distance to go and we will only be there four hours.  We started our winter schedule on the first so the sites are now closing at 5 PM. 

Since Lee is the Activity Chairperson for the senior missionaries, we have been busy planning our Thanksgiving meal.  There are two other couples on the committee helping us.  We are having turkey, honey ham, and pork loin.  The committee couples are providing the meats.  Any guesses what the Strouds are providing?  We are going to expose all these Utah Mormons to some southern cooking.  Everyone else has been asked to provide a covered dish (salad, vegetable, dessert, bread).  We hope to have 50-60 people there.  It should be a great time to relax and enjoy some fellowship.  


October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween everyone!  We worked at the Joseph Smith Farm this morning.  Another day with very few visitors.  It is beginning to get really cold here, so I guess that is why we have a decrease in visitors.  We normally have site meetings every Wednesday, but since this is Halloween,  Elder Searle thought it would be great for us all to attend the temple tonight.  We had the opportunity to attend either at 6 PM or 7:45 PM.  Our session was full with all the young sisters and there were nine senior couples attending.  It was great!  The temple is closing next week for a couple of weeks for cleaning, so it was great to have this opportunity before it closed.

The Winter Lull

October 30, 2012

It's going to be a long winter.  The week has been fairly uneventful,  Worked our shifts at the historic sites.  Handled our first solo shift Sunday at the Peter Whitmer Farm.  We were the only senior couple and we had Sis. Chatterton and Sis. Lee with us.  We had a grand total of six visitors in six hours - a very long afternoon.  Guess the winter lull has begun.  We have been asked to speak Sunday, November 11th, in our ward.  I will speak on Obedience and Lee will speak on Gratitude.  Sure hope these people can understand our southern accents.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Her Bucket List

October 17, 2012

We worked the Joseph Smith Farm this morning and had the privilege of taking a young woman and her mother on a tour.  The young woman was in her early 20s, in a wheelchair, and when we asked her what brought her to Palmyra she replied, "This is on my bucket list." I looked at her mother and she had tears in her eyes.  Needless to say, my heart broke.  Alisha is dying with lung cancer; any exertion and she goes into a coughing spasm that about takes her breath away.  But she was determined to see everything.  We arranged to take her to the log home and frame home via a golf cart.  In the log home there are steep stairs leading to the bedroom where the angel Moroni appeared to Joseph.  She was determined to go up.  With Lee in front and her mom behind her, she made it upstairs.  The church has special wheelcairs that can be used in the Sacred Grove; her mother was able to push her through the grove without difficulty.  She is a remarkable young woman with a strong testimony of the restored gospel.  I am so thankful we had this opportunity to meet Alisha and feel her spirit. 

We're Here!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

We arrived in Palmyra at 10:30 AM and Elder Searle, Site Director, met us at the Hill Cumorah Visitor's Center.  Elder & Sister Searle met with us for about an hour and gave us a new missionary orientation to the historic sites.  He suggested that for the rest of this week we visit each of the historic sites as often as possible and take tours.   That seems to be the best way to learn what goes on at each site.  We received a schedule for us until the end of October.  We will be really busy! 

We found out today that we cannot get into our apartment until later this week.  So, we are staying in the Martin Harris home.....can you believe it!  This home is not open to the public.  There are actually three apartments and Facilities Management couples live in them.  We will be staying in a guest room....at least it has a king size bed.  Hopefully we will be in our apartment by Friday morning.

Martin Harris Home

Our Home for the Next Year!

October 13, 2012

We are finally in our apartment.  Elder & Sis. Malan left today headed back to Utah via Kirtland and Nauvoo.  We wish them a safe trip home.

We spent this week visiting all the historic sites and taking tours, listening to the young sisters and other senior couples and trying to take it all in.  It is truly awesome to walk these sacred grounds and know that we are walking where the prophet Joseph Smith walked and be in the Sacred Grove where Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared. We will be conducting tours at the Hill Cumorah Visitor's Center, Joseph Smith Farm, Peter Whitmer Farm, and the Book of Mormon Publication Site.  So much information to learn; I'm sure some of my brain cells have died; so, it will take me a long time to retain all this information.

It will take a couple to weeks to feel like we have really settled in, not only to the work, but also to our "home away from home".  Elder Searle, our Site Director, told us before we came out that our apartment was "adequate".  Actually, it is very comfortable.  It will be hard to go back home and have an entire house to clean.

We start working at the sites Monday.  Wish us luck!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

New York or Bust!

Monday, October 8, 2012

We left this morning at 8 AM in the drizzling rain.  Traveled in the rain most of the day.  Hope the carrier on top of the car keeps everything "mostly" dry.  We have packed the car with about as much as your can and still have room to sit and drive.  This is what modern day pioneers look like.

Modern Day Pioneer

Drove until 7:30 PM and stopped in Corning, NY.  We are about two hours from Palmyra.  It has been a long day.  It's cold and damp.  Ready for some warm dinner and bed.  Tomorrow we report to our mission.


Sunday,  October 7, 2012

What a weekend!  We arrived home last Thursday (Oct. 4th) morning at 9 AM....dead tired.  Overnight flying is not for me, plus I have a sinus infection.  Glad we had until tomorrow to recover and start our trip to New York.  General Conference was great....missionaries may now serve at 18 (young men) and 19 for young sisters.  I think that it is wonderful and it will greatly increase the number of missionaries, especially young women. 

The weekend has been really busy.  We surprised Maxine & Bobby (sister & brother-in-law) for their 50th Wedding Anniversary.  She thought we left for NY Friday morning.  It has been hard to dodge her the last two days so we could keep this a surprise.  We even went by their house Thursday night and told them good-bye.  It was great to see the expression on their faces when we walked in at the last minute. 

Maxine & Bobby Jackson

Saying our good-byes today has not been as difficult as I thought it would be.  I know what we are doing is what our Heavenly Father wants us to do and that is a great comfort...and it is for a year not two.  I will have to admit, I will miss my weekly Subway lunches with my sister.  I look forward to our time together and now I will look forward to resuming that when I return. 

Goodbye MTC

October 3, 2012

We finished our MTC training today.  This week has been really inspirational.  Elder & Sister Mitchell are great teachers.  Monday morning we toured Temple Square with a couple of young sisters.  Then we ate lunch in the Nauvoo Cafe.  Elder & Sister Germer and Elder & Sister Monsen ate lunch with us.  Discovered that Sis. Germer's cousin (Bro. Earl Rouche) married us in the Washington DC  Temple.  It is truly a small world in the church. Had dinner tonight with the Sam Crowley (former missionary in our area) family and had a wonderful time....great family.

Sam Crowley & Family

We have been spiritually fed for the last ten days.  Hopefully we have learned how to be historic site missionaries and to teach by the spirit.  Now we head home and watch General Conference this weekend before we head out to New York.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Our First Week in the MTC

September 28, 2012

We have survived our first week in the MTC!!!  My brain is in overload, but it has been truly a spiritually uplifting week.  The classes have been very informative; teachers are great; and everyone has been so helpful.  The young elders always hold the door for the senior couples and allow us in line ahead of them.  And you have never heard "The Army of Helaman" or "Called to Serve" until you have heard approximately 2000 missionaries sing it.  WOW!! 

We have made such great friends while we have been here.  Elder & Sister Barber are going to Missouri St. Louis Mission as Member Leadership Service missionaries.  They both have such strong testimonies of the gospel.

Feeling Real

September 24, 2012

The day is FINALLY here!  We reported to the Missionary Training Center today.  Of course, we were the first senior couple to arrive; you know Lee is not going to be late.  The first thing we did was get our name tags.  We feel really official now.

But more important than that was our ministerial card that gives us the authority to preach the principles of the gospel,  That is when it really it me - I am a representative of Jesus Christ - what an awesome responsibility.  There are 64 senior missionaries here in our group.  Two other couples will be serving in Palmyra with us - the Howells and the Heyns.  The MTC is expecting 121 senior missionaires beginning October 1st.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Flying out to the MTC

September 20, 2012

The day has finally arrived.  We left this morning for Salt Lake City, Utah.  We will spend a few days seeing some of the sister missionaries who served in our area, visiting the temple, then we will report to the MTC Monday, September 24, 2012.   My Dad, Lee's Mom, my sister (Maxine) and Sammie & Elaine Howard saw us off at the airport.  Our flight was uneventful today - thank goodness.  We picked up our rental car and had dinner at the Red Iguana tonight.  Tired from the trip, but otherwise, excited to be here and preparing for our mission. 


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sunday on Temple Square

September 23, 2012

We had the opportunity this morning to be in the tabernacle for Music and the Spoke Word....what a treat!  As usual the choir was wonderful!  After the program concluded, the choir sang "God Be With You Til we Meet Again".  Needless to say, Lee & I lost it.  With us reporting to the MTC in the morning, we were both very emotional today.

We had planned to attend Sacrament Meeting at the Joseph Smith Building today.  With the Brigham City Temple being dedicated today, there were no meetings being held in any of the local buildings.  That was okay because we had been spiritually fed in the tabernacle.  We spent some time walking around the temple grounds and enjoyed the quiet and peace you find anytime you are on temple grounds.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Being Set Apart

September 19, 2012

We traveled to the Greenville Ward building to meet with Pres. David Walker and be set apart as full time missionaries.  The following people were able to be with us:  Jasper & Stella Gray, Frances Stroud, Maxine & Bobby Jackson, Forrest & Sandra Gray, Margie Sutton, Austin Sutton, and Andy Sutton.   Pres. Walker gave us each a beautiful key chain prior to setting us apart. 

The blessing Pres. Walker gave to each of us was wonderful.  We feel that we are now ready to serve and be the best missionaries we can be.  It was truly a spiritual experience for us.  Now, to finish packing and head to Utah in the morning to the Missionary Training Center.  Utah here we come!

Farewell Sunday

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Today we spoke in Sacarament Meeting for our farewell.  Even though we have talked of this day for years, have had our call for 3 months, and have been packing for a week, I am still not ready.  We asked Shane Whaley to share the program with us.  He is such a fine young man; he will be leaving on his mission next year and will not be here when we return.  He spoke on Honesty.

Lee was asked to speak on basically service.  I spoke on a talk given by Pres. Utchdorf..."Waiting on the road to Damascus".  I did okay until my Dad gave me a hug afterwards and told me how proud he was of me....I lost it! 

This is a picture of me and one of my best friends.....as you can see I had cried all of make-up off. 

Me & Sandra Stanley


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Saying Goodbye

September 15, 2012

Family and friends gave us a farewell get-together tonight.  Approximately 150 people attended.  Needless to say there was plenty of food.  It was really hard for me to walk around and talk to everyone and not be in kitchen (where I usually am) helping prepare and serve the food.  We owe a special thanks to all those who planned, provided food, worked in the kitchen and attended this special event in our honor.

In addition to this wonderful send-off, we had a family gathering with Lee's family last weekend.  It has been a week of "good-byes".  We are sad to be leaving family and friends, but look forward to our year of service. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

It's Getting Close...

September 6, 2012

Wow! Two weeks from today we leave for the MTC.  Does not seem possible.  The time has really flown by and I'm still not ready.  We spent this past weekend with some of our grandchildren.  And believe it or not, we left without a tear....well, not too many anyway. 

I spent this afternoon working on my talk for our farewell.  We will be speaking in Sacrament Meeting September 16th.  As the time draws closer I feel more and more inadequate.  I know that is Satan working on me and I keep reminding myself that wherever He calls me, He will qualify me.  Regardless, I am excited and scared all at the same time.  Much to do in the next 14 days....

Friday, August 17, 2012

June 30, 2012

We received a packet of information today from Elder Richard Searle, Director of Hill Cumorah Visitor's Center.  Included was the location of our soon-to-be home, itemized list of what is in the apartment (dishes, furniture, etc.), and three (3) manuals.  We are suppose to have these manuals read before we arrive in New York.  The manuals are guides to the Joseph Smith Farm, Book of Mormon Publication Site, and the Peter Whitmer Farm.  We also should have read some in the Preach My Gospel booklet.  Guess all this reading will definitely "increase our spirituality". 

In addition to all this reading, we continue to do a "little spring cleaning" to get our house ready for Stephanie Tyndall.  She will be living in our home while we are away.  We are grateful to have found someone to live here for a year. 

Each day that passes and brings us closer to leaving, I get more and more excited.  I love this Gospel and am so excited to be able to give this year of service to our Heavenly Father.

Friday, August 10, 2012


After months and months of talking, Lee & I have started the process of becoming senoir missionaries.  WOW!!  Did not know it was this involved....dental checkups, physicals, tests (some where the sun does not shine), immunizations....feel like I am spending most of my time in a doctor's office somewhere.  Oh, and did I mention that Lee does not like a computer?  So, most of that has to be done my me....  it will be worth it when it is all said and done.

APRIL 17, 2012

WE DID IT!!  Finished all our requirements and pressed the button tonight to submit our mission papers to the Bishop.  Now we wait for our interview with the Stake President.  Cannot believe it has taken four months to complete the process and get them to the Bishop.  Lee & I talk about where we would like to serve.  We both would like to serve in a historic site.  I kid Lee that we will be called somewhere where he will have to use a computer everyday....since he loves them so much.  All I keep telling myself that wherever He calls us, He will qualify us. 

MAY 2, 2012

We had out interview with Stake President (David Walker) tonight...spent about an hour with him.  The advice he gave us as we were leaving was to increase our spirituality as we prepare for our mission.  Now the waiting begins....hope we hear something real soon.  I have never been a very patient person.

Getting Our Call!!!!

JUNE 8, 2012

ITS HERE!!!!  We finally received our mission call!  We have been called as visitor center missionaries in the New York Rochester Mission.  We report to the MTC September 24, 2012!  WE ARE SO EXCITED!!!!!

Guess you would never know that from the picture.  Cannot believe we will be serving in the "cradle of the restoration".  It does not get to be more historic than that.  We were fortunate to have approximately 30 people (family and friends) here when we opened our call and our daughter (Kerri) was on the phone as we read it out. 

We feel so blessed to be able to serve this mission.  We see our Heavenly Father's hand as we have made preparations to serve.  Our family has supported us every step of the way and we are so appreciative of that.  I pray that all will be well with our families while we are away.