Monday, August 19, 2013


July 2013

What a month!!!  I never been so busy....and so tired!!  But it was a great month!! We kicked off the month with a July 4th Breakfast for all the senior couples.  Seems whenever we get together, we like to eat.  Everyone brought a breakfast dish to share, and it was a feast.  At the end as we began to clean up, we decided it would not be complete until we stood and sang the national anthem.  Never been more proud to be an American!

July 11th saw us going into "pageant mode".  Lee & I were assigned to beat  the Smith Farm & Sacred Grove during pageant.  For eleven days we were at the Smith Farm 5 hours/day; either morning shift or afternoon shift.  Each shift had 9 volunteer couples and 3 sets of sisters.  We were well staffed and we needed it.  One day we had over 3300 visitors come through the farm.  By the 15th, the weather turned hot and we suffered.  Lee & I were outside during our 5 hour shift each day, and the temperatures were in the low 90s with a heat index of 101-103 degrees.  By the end of the shift we were drained.
Typical Pageant Day

Pageant Volunteers

The Hill Cumorah Pageant was fabulous!  We were able to see it 3 times and each time was wonderful. 

The last Friday night of pageant (7/19/13) a bad rain storm came up with thunder & lightening and the pageant had to be cancelled.  Across the street in front of the pageant, the "antis" had set up three small tents and tried to distribute literature each night before the performance began.  During the storm their tents blew down.  The cast members and volunteers from the pageant went across the street and helped them set their tents back up.  What a Christ-like thing to do!  We are all children of Heavenly Father and He loves us all.

July 24th we celebrated Pioneer Day and Post-Pageant with a cookout at Zion's Camp.  Hot dogs, hamburgers, and drinks were provided.  Senior couples provided side dishes and desserts.  All sisters, office staff, senior couples came along with President & Sister Frances and their boys.  We had 96 people attend and everyone had a great time...lots of good food and fellowship.

July 30th Lee & I spent the day in Niagara Falls.   We left Palmyra around 9 AM and returned at 8:30 PM.  The falls are beautiful!  How anyone can look at this and not believe in a heavenly creator is beyond me.

What a month!!  We have 8 weeks left on our mission....time is flying by.  Visitors to the sites are beginning to slow down some, which is good.  I am tired.  My foot seems to be doing fine; the doctor finally released me, so I guess I am good to go.  Heavenly Father has truly blessed me these last ten months...more than I could ever count.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


June 2013

This month got off to a great start with Lee's Mom and sister coming to see us for a few days.  Frances and Susan arrived June 1st.  We were able to take them to all the historic sites and they also got to visit all the buildings at historic Palmyra.  On our preparation day we toured Sodus Bay Point and the George Eastman House.

This month the senior couples had the opportunity to visit Harmony, PA, site where the priesthood was restored to the earth.  Half of the couples got to go on the 3rd and the other half on the 10th.  We were in the last group to visit - what a treat!  It rained most of the day but it did not dampen our spirits at all.  Bro. Baker and Bro. Gammon (CES) went with us and gave us so much valuable information.  We also toured the Joseph Knight home and the Josiah Stowell home; then visited the marker where Joseph and Emma Smith were married.  Fabulous trip!  So glad we were able to do this.  The weekend before our trip, Elder Bednar made a visit to that stake to announce the way had been cleared for a visitor's center to be built on the site at Harmony...that would be a great mission in which to serve!

Harmony PA

Aaronic Priesthood Restoration Monument

Harmony PA

Joseph Knight Home

Cemetery Marker in Harmony PA

Statue t Joseph Knight Home

Marker where Emma & Joseph Smith were married

June 13th brought the arrival of Kerri and Maggie to visit for a few days.  Kerri was here to cover the Gwinnett Braves game with the Rochester Red Wings.  Since she is the Social Media Consultant for the Braves, she was able to get tickets for the games Thursday and Friday.  The Howells were able to join us on Friday and we enjoyed having them with us (since they are avid baseball fans).  Lee and I had a shift at the Whitmer Farm Friday morning and Maggie went along with us.  She really enjoyed spending time with the sisters and getting to know them (especially Sis. Madsen).  June 16th was Father's Day and it was great to have them here to spend the day with Lee....something he does not get to do very often.  All too soon it was time for them to leave.

This month also saw us saying good-bye to five wonderful sister missionaries...Sisters Aiello, Madsen, Earl, Potts, and McManama.  They were terrific missionaries and will be sorely missed by all of us.  We have been blessed to know them and be able to serve with them at the historic sites.  

Sis. Madsen

Sister Earl

Sister McManama

Sister Potts

Sister Aiello

This month has been a fun filled one.....lots of family and lots of fun things to do.  Now...looking forward to July with the 4th and the Hill Cumorah Pageant.  Wish us will be an exhausting month!


May 2013

Seems as though our days are going by faster than ever!  The sites are getting busier and we have so much we want to do before we leave our mission.  But first things first....

My foot continues to do good.  It has progressed as expected all month.  By the end of the month I am able to wear shoes and go barefooted around our apartment.  It has been a LONG time coming.  Feels good to be able to do my part during our shift.

The first weekend this month a terrible tragedy happened in Palmyra.  Mark's Pizzeria, a well-known establishment in downtown Palmyra burned along with several other businesses. Missionaries always enjoyed going by and getting a slice of pizza for lunch when they were at the BOMPS.  This placed will be missed in Palmyra.

May 3, 2013

May 4th we had our first experience handling a bus tour.  Two buses arrived at the Book of Mormon Publication Site with 83 people.  Lee & I along with another senior couple and two sets of sisters were on duty.  We got these people in and our in 48 minutes.  We did good!!  The tours could not have gone smoother.  I am sure all of them won't go this well, but I'm sure glad our first one did!

May 8th saw four of our sweet sisters going home.  Sisters Brown, Larsen, Raines & Schank all served an honorable mission.  They will definitely be missed, but we will learn to love the new ones that arrived just as much as we love those that left.

Sisters Schank & Raines
Sister Larsen

Sister Brown

Sister Schank

Sunday, May 19th Maxine & Bobby arrived for a visit.  They brought us some good ole NC barbeque and Maxine brought me 16  2-liter bottles of Diet Coke.  She does love her baby sister!!!  Cokes are expensive here ($1.44/2-liter)....she got these for $.99.  We were able to take them to all the historic sites.  It really took a toll on Maxine with her fibromyalgia.  She will never know how much it meant to me to have her & Bobby here for a few days.

May 20th we were privileged to have Kim Smith, great-great granddaughter of Joseph & Emma Smith here to tell us here conversion story.  She also had her son, Bryan Davis, with her.  He also spoke and they both sang.  She gave a perspective of Emma that I had not heard before.  What an opportunity to hear her!  Glad Bobby & Maxine were here for this.

Me & Maxine


Sister Kim Smith

We had the opportunity this month to spend two of our Preparation Days with the Howells.  We always have a blast with them.  May 15th we spend the day at Sodus Bay Point and the 29th we spent the day at Letchworth State Park (Grand Canyon of the East)...14 miles of beautiful park with three waterfalls and gorges and trails. 

Sodus Bay Point Lighthouse

Stuart Howell & Lee


Middle Falls at Letchworth

Has been a wonderful month filled with family visiting and going to some great places with wonderful friends. 


April 2013

April has been a busy month for us in some respects. The month started with General Conference.  We had a morning shift at the Book of Mormon Publication site and were able to hear part of the first session of conference.  We were not busy until just before conference started and then it got really busy.  I guess ALL Mormons do not watch ALL sessions of conference...hehe.

We received our assignment for pageant week.  We will be working at the Joseph Smith Farm!  We are so EXCITED!!!  The Smith Farm is right next door and we will be able to walk to our assignment every day.  During the ten days of pageant, we do not rotate to all the sites.  We are assigned one site to cover during that ten day period.  I know it will be tiring, but I am really looking forward to the Hill Cumorah Pageant.

The next missionary transfer date is not until May , so we did not lose any of our young sisters.  It is always so hard to see them go, but we learn to love the new ones coming in just as much.

I had my foot surgery April 19th.  Afternoon prior to surgery Lee & Elder Howell gave me a priesthood blessing.  Afterward, I felt perfectly at peace; this surgery is the right thing for me to do.  Dr. Carrie O'Neill performed a decompression osteotomy on my left foot.  That means she replaced a screw in my left great toe, removed a bone spur and cyst, shaved the bone, realigned the malformation of the bone and re-inserted a screw.  OUCH!! The surgery went really well.  Following surgery, I could not believe the outpouring of love from all the senior, phone calls, food, more food, shifts covered for a couple of days, and even flowers.

Recovery is slow, but I see improvement every day.  Looking forward to being able to walk in the Sacred Grove and feel the spirit there...soon.

April 26th was our 17th wedding anniversary.  How blessed I am to be married to such a wonderful man.  He honors his priesthood, is a wonderful example to our grandchildren, and such a sweet and compassionate husband.  Throughout this trial with my foot, he has been wonderful.  I love him dearly and look forward to many more years together. 

By the way, did I mention that it snowed April 20th & 21st!!!!  Just flurries, but I am so ready for Spring!!

Saturday, May 11, 2013


March 2013

Our month started with the touring cast of the musical "The Book of Mormon" coming to The Hill Cumorah and Book of Mormon Publication Site.  They began at the Hill with lunch and a tour and then off to the BOMPS.  Those who took them on tour said they were very nice, polite and respectful.  At our site meeting the next week we heard that one of the cast members did a "self-referral" to hear more about the Gospel and others stated that the "blue book" prop would never be the same.  Who knows....maybe this visit made a difference in their lives.

This month several of the senior couples did a tour at the Everson Maple Syrup Farm.  Our guide, Darryl, was great and very informative.  We were shown how the trees are tapped, the sap cooked, and made into maple syrup.  This farm does it the old fashioned way and does not use pumps to gather the sap, but rather they rely on gravity to gather it.

Darryl, our guide

Tapping the trees

Mr. Everson

On March 20, 2013, at our site meeting, we had an awesome surprise.  Kuha'o Case was here visiting the historical sites with his grandparents.  He is 15, blind, and plays the piano like you would not believe.  When we enter the theater for site meeting everyone is usually laughing and talking because we are so excited to see everyone.  That night we all sat quietly and listened to Kuha'o play and felt him bear his testimony through the piano.  He is an amazing young man; I will never forget how I felt as he played.

Kuha'o Case

This month we had to say good-bye to three terrrific sister missionaries....Sis. Park, Hausauer, and Hatch.  They were all wonderful representatives of Jesus Christ.  They will be missed here in the NY Rochester Mission and we wish them well as they return home.

Sis. Hausauer

Sis. Hatch & Sis. Park

Sis. Park & Strouds
This has been the month of decision with my left foot.  I have had to wear my surgical boot since February 20, 2013.  Without warning, my left great toe started having piercing, stabbing pain; to the point I could not stand for a sock to touch it.  I spent this month trying to determine the cause of the pain.  After seeing a podiatrist (Dr. Carrie O'Neill), I have tried a taper dose of Prednisone, steroid injections, uric acid level to rule out gout, and lastly an MRI.  The MRI revealed a bone spur, cyst and a malformation of my toe joint.  We have scheduled surgery for April 19, 2013.  When Pres. David Walker set me apart for my mission, he blessed me that I would be able to handle whatever adversity I would meet while on my mission.  I have been able to still conduct tours and be at all our shifts.  Our site director has been so kind.  When I phoned to tell them our plan of treatment, they insisted that our shifts would be covered the 19th and 20th and we are off the 21st and 22nd.  Hopefully by the 23rd I will be able to at least sit in the office at the sites.  Just glad to have a diagnosis and plan of treatment.  I do not worry about having surgery here while on my mission; I know Heavenly Father will watch over me and the doctor.  Lee & Elder Howell will give me a blessing before the surgery and I will put it in the Lord's hands.

Still cold here and we had snow right up to the last week of March.  Hope Spring is right around the corner.  I am ready for some sunshine and warmer weather....I did not say HOT weather, just warmer.

Monday, February 25, 2013

February 2013

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!  This has been a bittersweet month for me.  I turned 64 years old on the 11th.  We spent it quietly with dinner out and some shopping.  Lee bought me a Kindle Fire for my birthday so I can download books to read.

We had planned to do a temple session for Valentine's Day and had our appointment made.  However, a recent convert in our ward wanted to do baptisms and needed some Priesthood help.  Elder Searle asked Lee if he could help him in the baptistry and of course he said he would.  So, Sis. Searle and I did the endowment session together.  Elder Searle and Lee where waiting for us in the Celestial Room.  I thought as I entered, "This is how it is suppose to be."  It turned out to be a wonderful night.

February 19th was transfer day for three missionaries in our ward.  Sis. Fetuli returned home, Sis. Graham and Elder Houskeeper were transferred.  Sis. Graham went to Hornell (full proselyting) and Elder Houskeeper is training a new elder in Henrietta.  All three will be greatly missed.  We had all the missionaries in our ward over for dinner before they left and had a great time.  They are all wonderful missionaries and work really hard.  They all touched our hearts...I doubt they realize how much we will miss them and what great missionaries they are.

Sis. Park, Fetuli, Graham, Tran

Elders Houskeeper & Allred

Our District

Our last Saturday this month at the Joseph Smith Farm was BUSY!  We actually had lots of visitors.  A youth conference was being held at Seneca Lake Camp with about 100 youth and they toured all the historic sites Friday & Saturday.  Plus we had about 15 sisters meeting in the basement planning girl's camp for their stake.  Approximately 84 visitors and 68 took a tour even though it was snowing and sleeting.  Now that's what I call a good day!