Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A couple pictures from Dad:

 Looking at the Mississippi from the Nauvoo temple

Nauvoo Temple

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A quick picture before leaving for Nauvoo this morning...

Dad, Tara, Mom, and Sam. 

Yay for families!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Sunday's experiences...

We had an interesting Sunday. We got up early, and Brad and Tara with Myia (spelled her name wrong before) showed up to go with us to Cedar Rapids where Sam and her family live. Her husband is Ryan, an electrical engineer. He works on circuit boards for space something or other. Another really nice guy.  (We had waited for Brad and Tara to get there because Brad had to check his cattle in the morning. He found one that had been hit by lightning during the night and had to check to make sure it was the storm that had killed it. He said it's tongue was still warm so it had happened early.)  Some "rendering" business comes along and picks up these cattle to get rid of the animal.

Brad had to drive because he had a car big enough for all of us. It took about 2+ hours to get there. Sam's family includes two children, Henry and George. I had seen both kids on Facebook before, and I knew they were cute.  Seeing them in person was a treat. Henry is 6 years old and wears glasses. I think of him as Harry Potter. He is very bright and inquisitive about everything. He's in kindergarten and is big for his age. George, the baby, has had quite a time with his health. He is 8 months old and already has had pneumonia and the flu which put him in the hospital for several days in the last couple of months. He has these big, big eyes that just stare at you. Makes you want to just hug and hug him.

We had lunch together which was a treat. Everyone talking and going on about our lives. There were two other guests with us. Stephen (it could be Steven) is the son of Gregg Pasdiora's brother. His friend, Jesse, was there also. Stephen is into insurance on the benefits side. I've forgotten what Jesse said he did. Both young men were very nice and a joy to meet.

Sam and Ryan (I just remembered I hadn't mentioned her husband's name before) live in a nice community in a wooded area sitting on a hill. Ryan has become an avid birdwatcher and loves to sit on his deck and soak up the "nature." While there, we saw several deer down in the woods. When Ryan fills his bird feeder, he includes deer feed also because they are going to eat what is offered. Their animal friends also include raccoons and rabbits.

Cedar Rapids was flooded in the 1990s. I remember when it happened. There is water everywhere and the entire downtown was covered. I guess it changed the downtown scene quite a bit. It sounds like they are still dealing with the effects.

We took several pictures. One minute it would feel warm outside, and the next, we were freezing. l hope the pictures have gotten to Mallory so they can be placed here.

 Dad with the Pasdiora men (names, Dad??)

Tara and Sam with their husbands

Finally, when we left to come home, a terrible storm was beginning to let loose with the water. It rained really hard, we could see lightning all around us. The sky was really dark (we were actually driving into the storm). It was a little scary, but Brad is a very capable driver. We got home around 6:00, and we had a very good day. It was an excellent day getting to meet new relatives and making new friends.

We have found that Des Moines is a beautiful city. It is a lovely place to live. There is a new facility for Facebook going up here (I'm just saying) hahahaha. It is very clean city; Ada lives in a very nice neighborhood. She has two dogs and a love bird whose mate died a while ago. The bird and dogs keep her hopping.

We will be leaving to go to Nauvoo today. We will leave later in the day. It's only 3 hours from here.

Elder and Sister Lenhard
Mom and Dad's email from Saturday night. Getting closer to the mission field!

We started out from Colorado on Thursday morning. As usual, we had a hard time leaving our babies.  We had worked hard to help Mallory and Brad move into their new home. It will be a wonderful place to raise their little Cohen and baby sister. We had to get on the road to head to Des Moines, Iowa, and visit with Ada Jo Pasdora, my sister.

 Cohen is newly obsessed with cars. Climbing on the hood was the only thing that would keep him happy that morning!

 Mallory and Dad's obligatory we-forgot-to-take-pictures-until-time-to-leave pictures. Love it, though!

Is Mom shrinking?? ;)

We were captivated by the scenery as we drove through Colorado. We headed toward Ft. Collins and bypassed most of Denver. The land was beautiful but lonely. There are plenty of cattle in Colorado. It made us wonder what Indians lived there. It must have been quite a place to live back when there were no fences and just open space. I found no thimble from Colorado. Someone who lives there needs to get me one for Christmas sometime.  hahaha

As we moved into Nebraska, which is a state we have not visited before. We were blessed with beautiful weather, and it was an enjoyable trip. There was very little traffic, so the drive was easy. We got on I-80 there and had to go 500+ miles to our destination. We got to see wild turkeys, some antelope, and again, lots of cattle. We enjoyed nicely kept roads, and believe me, if you are on the road long enough, you really enjoy roads that are kept up. I was able to get a thimble for Nebraska, so this makes the second one I picked up. The first was in Wyoming.

Finally, later in the afternoon, we finally began to see the signs for Des Moines, Iowa. It made us very happy to think we were actually heading in the direction we needed to go. We went through the city of Council Bluffs in Iowa. Craig asked me why we knew this city. I did not know, but it was so familiar that Craig looked it up. This was the city that the Saints used as a stopping point on their way to Salt Lake City. There is a visitor's center there. Orson Pratt, Ezra Taft Benson, and George Albert Smith helped the Saints from there to move on to Salt Lake City. Now that I write this, I ask myself how old these men could have been at the time. I'm not sure if I have this right, but maybe someone of you can help me and do some research as to how they helped the Saints. Evidently, every rest center in the state of Iowa has something about the movement of the Saints through the state.

We made it to Ada Jo's at around 7:00 p.m. She is the same Ada, but different. I look at her and see a very professional, mature lady. She still has such a funny sense of humor. She has a very responsible position in her work, but I believe this has always been the case. She lives in a beautiful part of West Des Moines. Her home is lovely, and it is obvious that she has a real talent for decorating. She has two cute dogs that are part Corgi. They aren't any taller than 20 inches and love to act ferocious. They bark like they are going to eat us up, but they really want to be petted. We went to bed a little later and enjoyed a good night's sleep. It is cool here, although Ada claims it is perfect.

This morning we got up and went out to eat breakfast at Cracker Barrel. Seems Ada and I are still very much alike, neither like to cook. Afterwards, we came home and messed around until we needed to leave so there could be a showing of Ada's home. She is trying to sell it and downsize. She took us out to see the "Freedom Rock" painted by a young man in honor of the men and women who fight our battles for us. Jon, you probably know all about this,but we learned this man has been doing it since 2000. He is trying to do one in every county in Iowa. What a talent to share with the world. Every Memorial Day, he repaints the rock here with a new theme for honoring Veterans. It is an amazing piece of work.

This evening we met Tara (Ada's baby daughter), her husband, Brad, and their child, Mija. Mija is two years old and a beautiful young lady. She kept us moving and was having a great time. Brad is a farmer (works a thousand+ acres) and is massive. He is a gentle giant and very nice person. He was good enough to answer our questions about what he does. Something we noticed as we drove through Iowa was the way the land was terraced in the acres being farmed. Neither Craig or I had ever seen farmland developed like this. It is unique. Brad says it is done by those who use bulldozers and other heavy equipment. He is going to do his land that way (it cuts down on erosion), but this is his planting time so can't do it now.  He is planting corn and soybeans.
Tomorrow, we head out to Sam's home. She is Ada's oldest daughter. We are excited to see her.

My discovery this week in studying the Scriptures was from the class material for the 10-11 year old class in Primary. The class was about Jacob and his working for 7 years for Rachel, only to get Leah. He then asked Leah's father why he had been tricked, and it was the tradition that the oldest sister had to be married first. But Jacob could work another 7 years for Rachel. I always thought he worked those 7 years and then got to marry Rachel, but actually, he married her one week after his marriage to Leah. Then he worked the last 7 years. I think that was persistence.

It is late, and we need to get to bed. Des Moines is a beautiful city. We have only seen the good side of it, but according to Ada, there isn't much of a bad side. Because of the cold weather, the trees are just now blooming.  Very nice to be here now.

We love you all. We are praying for you and asking the Lord to bless you. Our thoughts aren't very far away from you. Take care. Would love to hear more about a blog that we can all add to for keeping up with each other.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

We started our trip from our home in Utah with lots of tears. I know it is supposed to get easier when we grow up and leave home (lots of times) .  However, it doesn't.  We love our family.

I think an MTC rule that we should be reminded of is to practice your packing of the car before you actually decide on how to do it. I packed the car Sunday evening into the night.  Went to bed finally recognizing the fact that some things would have to come back into the house. So, back came the fan, the bread maker, and the humidifier.  Oh, well. they weren't really needed anyway.  sob, sob, sob.  No really, once I realized that we didn't have room for them, it was easy to let them go. They'll be there when we need them later.

We drove around Layton for about 20 minutes trying to find our way out.  hahaha  We figured we should see as much as possible before we left. Actually, we thought we knew where we were going - guess not!

Once we got on the road out heading north, it was a really nice drive. Starting at 8:45, we began our Missionary journey.  We had some interesting things to see.  I did miss every sign I wanted to take a picture of as we would enter a new state.  What happened to those signs that would tell you you are coming up on the new state. Craig seems to think he can get them from Google Earth.

Once we saw (in the distance) lots of dirt blowing around. It was a druck driving down a dirt road; so, when we came up on another area where there was a lot of dirt blowing around in a field, we coudn't really see what it was at first. Then we saw what looked like hundreds of sheep, all lined up in 4 or more lines, one right after the other, walking toward the watering hole. It was an incredible sight.

We loved the scenery in Utah as we headed toward Wyoming.  It is so stark and beautiful. We began to see some prong-horn antelope here and there.  It was fun watching for "wild" animals on the trip, and we continued to see them over and over.  There was hardly any vegetation, few trees, and just the scraggly brush everywhere.  When we hit Medicine Bow River, suddenly the trees appeared.  What a contrast in the environment.  Once the trees started, it was really pretty.

We stopped at one rest stop to get gas and buy a treat.  While there a man came up to us and asked us where we were going to be serving (we had on our badges). His name was Brimhall, and he and his wife were on their way to Palmyra for their fourth mission. It was fun meeting a member and one who was also going on their mission.

While Craig was there, a young woman who was at the register, looked so sad. Craig asked her some questions and found she was really unhappy here. She thought Americans would be friendlier than those she has found. Craig's regret was that he had no pass along cards.  Note to Linda and Craig: Get some cards and be ready when we meet non-members.

Our biggest news is that we were called by the Mission Home. We will be living in a Milwarkee, surburb  call West Allis. Our apartment is in a set of apartments called the French Quarters. Our apartment will be #7 on the bottom floor. Craig thinks the apartments are for senior citizens.  We are on the bus route and 2 blocks from the zoo.  We have a heated underground parking space, but no hook-ups for washer and driver. I worry that there is no dishwasher. I can handle that if my parking space is heated. The place is only 650 sq. ft. That is really small. Less space to dust. hahaha  I'll send the address when I can find it.

We are at Mallory's today.  They signed the papers for their house, and we packed and got lots of boxes over to the house. We are tired and plan to get more done tomorrow.

It was nice weather yesterday and today. Summer is officially on its way. I kinda hope that Wisconsin will be warm when we get there.

Cohen was so sweet all day. At first, he could warm up to us again.  It was really fun to get out and enjoy the sunshine.

Our biggest worry is when we dress down, do we wear our tags?

We miss you. Take care and know that we love you.


Monday, April 21, 2014

Last day in the MTC!

I've always found that when you don't write at the end of the day, chances are that you (I) won't remember all that I wanted.  It's a good thing I took some notes.

For our "guess what" moment. Craig thought he recognized a really tall (6'4") man who looked familiar. I don't think we ever go anywhere that he doesn't recognize someone. Craig saw the name tag and felt he might have some knowledge of a man we knew in our very first ward by that name. When he asked, this man was a half-brother of the one we knew. You may have heard me tell the story that we once knew a man and his wife who were both really tall and overall pretty big. Anyway, one night at a Church social, their little girl (about 5 or 6 years old) announced to everyone that her mommy was going to have a baby in a few weeks. We all tried to glance her way without being obvious because no one even knew she was pregnant. She has since passed away of diabetes, and he lives in a big house with all his children living around him. Again, a small world.  Sorry Katie, couldn't make a connection on your behalf, but we are going to Wisconsin and who knows who we will find there.  We did meet a couple who were going to Sierre Leone and had already had contact with Elder and Sister Kanzler who are looking for an apartment for them.

We were not as happy with our role practice in the morning. This same couple who I'm referring to above (the one Craig thought he knew) played a less active couple, and it didn't matter what we tried to say, they were going to stay less active. It turned out that they were playing the role of their adopted daughter and the daughter's husband. Craig and I did not seem to be on the same page, and afterward, we recognized the importance of being prepared to be going the same direction. I'm sure it will come with practice. At each practice session, we had a GTK (getting to know the people with whom we were meeting - someone said it is a good practice to "sit on the fence and watch the herd" meaning for us to just keep our mouths shut and listen to the investigator. Hear their hearts and don't be so quick to jump in with a solution.

We went back in and had a video of Elder Holland. There were several things that stood out to us:
At some point, Brigham Young was wondering what he should do (and I don't have the full context here), but he had a dream in which Joseph Smith came to him and he said, "follow the spirit." 

Elder Holland also talked about the Book of Mormon:  He stated that no wicked man could write such a book as this, and no good man would write it unless it was true!

Why does Satan want to discredit this book?  (a) to discredit Joseph Smith and (b) to discredit the doctrine.
He further stated that the Book of Mormon combined with the Spirit is the most powerful resource in conversion. We are not supposed to use the Bible to support the Book of Mormon. In another group meeting, the speaker was explaining how things have changed over the years. It used to be that the missionaries preached the Bible and how it supported the Book of Mormon. Now, we teach straight from the Book of Mormon.Prophets pray, receive revelations, write books, and may be called to die for it. This has been the pattern of prophets.

As Missionaries, we are on the Lord's errand. He has no intention of letting us fail. There are two names on our tags:  ours and Jesus Christ.  The Lord is infinitely capable of making use of us and helping us be successful. Missionaries must ask themselves if they left it better than it was when they came (give it your heart and soul), and did we use Preach My Gospel.  "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power and of love, and of a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:7). We both felt the Spirit and are ready to go. We are still scared, but we know if we listen to the Spirit and watch continually, we can do His work.  

Left to right: the Bolos(Nashville/MIL RELATIONS); the Gardners(Legal Council- CARIBBEAN AREA PRESIDENCY and Brad Ivey's Uncle and Aunt); Us; the Jefferies(SIBERIA).

L-R Lenhards, Gardners, Bolos, Jefferies, and our trainer, Bro. Rowe

We left to go home at 3:15 on Friday. We went by the Missionary warehouse and Sister Missionary store to see what they had. My thinking was completely changed at the MTC about what the Sisters could wear on their missions. I did buy a pair of shoes (flats) to help me. I have to say, just like I have for years, I can't wear even little heeled shoes for long periods of time. My feet were killing me. Then we went by Wal-Mart and returned some exercise clothes we had bought at the beginning of the week that we thought we might actually use in the small gym at the Marriott. No such luck - just too tired at end of each day. It was encouraging that we were counseled to get out and exercise. At our age, it was important.

We got home around 5:00, and it was fun to see some of our grandbabies again as well as Beverly and Noel Luke. They got to stay until today. We feel blessed to have a wonderful family.  Your thoughts and prayers were felt by us. We were promised that you would be looked after while we served. I believe that.

Today, the Lenhard's here got visited by the Easter Bunny. It is nice to know the bunny has things in his basket such as books, coloring books, coins in the eggs, etc., and not just candy. I'm sorry our Easter Bunny didn't do that more. Course when you have a mom that grows up thinking candy is as good as money, it's hard not to buy out the store to fill the basket with what mom thinks is valuable. Like I have said before, your Easter Bunny will be smarter than ours was.

We have not done much except get our clothes cleaned to be repacked tomorrow. I'm looking around and will probably not pack much until tomorrow afternoon so I can decide whether we can fit much into the car. We will be like two old hillbillies driving down the road with stuff sticking out the windows and flapping in the wind.  hahaha  It's all good!

I am hoping that once we get to the Mission, we will have the time to write the grandkids once every week or at least twice a month. It's hard to come up with individual thoughts and ideas for each child. But, I'm thinking we will need to make certain nights for each set so that we only do a few at a time.  We'll figure it out.

We love you so much. As far as I'm concerned, I'll continue to write, since we are on our Mission.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Today's email, and some pictures!

So, we are now on the down hill slide. Today went really fast. We had more training with "investigators."  It was really a special experience. We had really good people to practice with, and we learned how to react with an investigator with lots of questions. I know it won't be as easy in the field, but at least we are starting to think of ways to work with investigators.
Mom at the MTC--doesn't she look like a natural wearing that tag?? (Hopefully we'll get one of Dad soon...hint hint!)

Our trainer, Elder Rowe won't be with us anymore. We got a picture with him and said goodbye. Before he left though he showed us a video of a talk Elder Bednar gave on how to decide if the "prompting" we get is from the Holy Ghost or is it just me.  His counsel was to quit worrying about it. Do what is right and the Spirit will lead you and you will go where you are supposed to go. He then told us about the 20 Mark Note story. Elder Bednar was Stake President in Arkansas and Elder Boyd K. Packer came to visit. They were having one of those regional conferences where several Stakes were meeting together. The day before the Sunday meeting, they had a Priesthood meeting for the Stake leaders with Elder Packer.  He asked all the presidents to introduce themselves. When it was Elder Bednar's time, he told Elder Packer that they had actually met years ago when Elder Bednar was a young missionary in Germany, Elder Packer visited with his wife. They arrived when the Mission President was visiting somewhere else and Elder Bednar had to pick them up from the airport and deliver them back again when they were ready to leave. The plane was delayed and Elder Packer had to leave so they got he and his wife on the train to get them somewhere else in Europe that they needed to be. They drove them to the train and as the Packers got out of the car, Elder Bednar handed them 20 marks and when asked why he was doing it, he said they might get hungry and need some money to buy food.

As the train arrived at the border between East and West Germany, East German soldiers boarded and started checking everyone's passport.  Sister Packer had a passport that had originally been good for 3 years and she had extended it to 5 years. East Germany was not honoring these types of passports. When they handed over the passports, the soldiers told them she did not have one that was valid. Elder Packard described the soldier as the meanest, surliest, nastiest man he had met. Things were about to get really ugly because Elder Packer was not about to let them take Sister Packer off that train. Then he was prompted to hand over the passports and to put the 20 marks within her passport. The soldiers took them and walked off. It wasn't long before the passports came back and they were allowed to continue on the train.

Elder Bednar said that Elder Packer referred to the story as the 20 mark note. When you get a prompting, listen to it. Elder Bednar told us to follow the promptings and not to worry about where it was coming from. Just do what was right, and the Lord would take care of us. One other thing we learned from it is that we have the power to make promises with regard to our calling, and the Lord will honor those promises.

Lenhards, Gardners, Bolos, Jefferies, and kneeling, their trainer, Elder Rowe

Right after lunch we met our new "can you believe it." One of the Elders came up to us. He and his wife are leaving for Hawaii. She is a nurse, and he will work in the office. We had talked with them off and on several times over the course of the week. He said that he kept thinking that he knew the Lenhard name, but it just came to him. He worked with Adam. He was head of economic development for the state of Utah. He really likes Adam and said he was the best thing that had happened to Clearfield. It made us even more proud to call Adam our son.

Can we believe how we have been blessed to make so many connections?

Tonight, we went to a wedding reception held for a cousin of Brad. We went just to meet Donna (Brad's mom) and Donna's dad. He is the grandfather that Cohen got his middle name from (Levier). What a nice man, he is 98 years old. To make it even better, friends of the bride's family were there and they had gone on their mission to Wisconsin 10 years ago. It was cold then too.

Sister and Elder Gardner, Donna Gardner Ivey (Brad's mom), Dad, Levier Gardner (Brad's grandfather), and Mom

We got home and I got some genealogy done. Now I'm going to pack for tomorrow. We do some more practicing. Tomorrow, it will be on working with less active members.

We are ready to get going with this mission. We learned we have to pay more attention to our promptings and seek the Spirit's help in all we do. We are excited.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

The most recent email...

Today was the most relaxed day so far. We got up early, got out of here, and on to breakfast. From there we moved on to class where we prepped to meet our first "investigator."  The Sister we were to teach was older like us, was a widow, and helped keep us on script. I don't know how much of the information she provided was true, but that's what we had to go on. We had to find out what she wanted to know about the Church and then teach her what the Spirit prompted us to do.
As we talked with her, we were really touched with her spirit. We felt impressed to talk about the Plan of Salvation (or at least I was since I was first talking) so off I went. I could see that Craig was scrambling and thinking I'd lost my mind. He did catch up though and followed me. We have to find a way to communicate better what we are going to do. As we presented the first part of the lesson and assured her that Heavenly Father loved her and wanted her to come back to him some day, we ended up with Craig mentioning the Atonement and its importance in helping us get home. Anyway, she started to cry and wondered how we knew the Atonement would help her. She said she had gotten angry with one of her grandchildren and yelled at them because she misunderstood a situation. I think it probably really happened. She felt so bad about it and wondered if she could repent and help her granddaughter forget how mean her grandmother was to her.
We talked some more, and I could see that she was feeling the pains of remorse. Boy, haven't we all felt that. We were able to discuss a couple of things beyond this, and then I looked at my watch. I thought our instructor had said to be finished by 10:00and I hurried us out. Craig kept trying to keep us there, but I won out.  Boo for me. We had 10 minutes left. I'll do bettertomorrow.  Afterwards, we were evaluated. Elder Rowe said we did great, especially with both of us participating in the teaching. I know we could have done much better if we had finished better.
We went to lunch and sat with a new couple. They are going to right outside of D.C. into the area near Alexandria, Virginia and start a new program for the singles. They tried it here in Utah but the CES leaders felt too territorial and were afraid they would pull the young adults away from their programs. So this couple knows nothing about where they are supposed to be, what they are going to do, what the program is all about, or anything. They will be here another week and are looking forward to getting more information.  For once I didn't feel bad because we do know where we are going (almost), and what is expected (almost).  hahahaha
There were lots of new young Elders and Sisters who came in today. They were everywhere getting checked in.
For the afternoon, we had another teacher, Elder Carver. He is in advertising. He was a good teacher also, more relaxed. We had several breaks, I think because he had things to do. But we got some more information about tomorrow when we will definitely teach the Plan of Salvation. We will get a new investigator tomorrow. I hope we don't get the one the Bolos got today. Sister Bolos is a retired math teacher also (7th, 8th, 9th). She wants everything to be laid out and to know it word for word. I guess her investigator would not cooperate at all. Everything the Bolos said, the Inv. was negative about it and kept asking off the wall questions. Sister Bolos had prepared last night to teach the Plan of Salvation and doggone she was going to do that. She said they were all over the place, and she was so upset we laughed at her description of what went on. I told her that she probably got the most realistic of the investigators because there are those who don't want to know the Gospel, they just want to take up the Elders' time and try to prove them wrong.  Like I said, I hope we don't get their investigator tomorrow.
After class today, we went to the health clinic. They had made an appointment for Craig to get his second hepatitis A/B vaccine. When we got there, he wasn't on the list. I'm glad because instead of them filing insurance, we would have had to do it ourselves. So, we will both wait until we get to Wisconsin and do it then. We are also going to get a pneumonia vaccine. I've had too many relatives who died of pneumonia to let it go. When you get our age, pneumonia kills you. One shot takes care of you for life. We had to watch a film produced by the clinic discussing the need to be vaccinated. The Church wants us to get the vaccines. To go out of the country, you have to have them.
We got back to the Marriott Courtyard where we are staying and couldn't get into our room. After replacing our keys a couple of times, the manager had to check us back in because something checked us out. It was nice to get in earlier and get some things done.
We are enjoying our work. I've gained a greater testimony of the work of the Lord. He has a plan. If we listen to the promptings and follow the plan, we will make it back to our Heavenly home to live with Him. Take care and love each other more tomorrowthan today. Take time to hug and kiss the kids. Tell them how much you love them.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Mom and Dad's email from Day 2 in the MTC. The world is really a small place! :)

After I finished writing this morning, Craig and I got ready and took off for the MTC. It is only about four blocks away. I'm grateful that Craig can tell the way because I wanted to tell him to go down different roads. Maybe tomorrow I will have paid better attention.

We began in the Chapel again for about an hour. We were introduced to our trainers today. They are a young bunch, but really special. Elder Rowe was our morning trainer, and he got us started.

Our lesson in the Chapel began with a reminder of our purpose as a Missionary. We had received the purpose statement before we left home, and we had memorized it (pretty much). I find myself still cheating when I have it written in front of me, but I can do it with some thinking.  So, I guess I'm saying I'm still slow.  Craig is better at it than me.

When we left the Chapel, we went to our class which consists of four couples, the Jeffries, the Bolos, and the Gardners (I'll tell more later about this couple). The Jeffries are going on their second mission - this time to Russia (Siberia) for CES, the Bolos are going to Nashville, TN as military relations missionaries. They have been married for 49 years (but you couldn't tell by their looks), and for 40 of those years he stayed with the Greek Orthodox Church. Then it just felt right, and he joined the Church. The Gardners are in Utah. He is a lawyer and evidently lost most of his sight over the years. When little he suffered from macular degeneration and can see little now. It is hard to tell that he has so little sight. His wife is devoted to him, and to see them together, she is like his eyes and they work like one. I was a little intimidated with him at first because he is a lawyer, and I figured he would be so straight-laced about doing everything. Yeah Raegan, I'm not intimidated by you. I've seen you at home. We have found out that he is so sarcastically funny. I just did not expect it of him, and it is obvious from his comments that he is very smart, and she is his equal. He is going as legal counsel to the Church in the Caribbean, and she will serve in the office.

We spent the lesson time in the morning working on planning our lessons. Elder Rowe is really good about keeping us moving along, explaining how to approach the teaching process, looking for ways to be more effective. Along with that, we were encouraged to "Listen to the promptings." Write them down. Tomorrow, we are teaching a 45 minute class to an investigator. Of that, 15 minutes will be used to get to know the investigator, the other 30 will be to teach an individualized lesson according to what we have learned from the needs of him/her. It is a little scary, but we have done it before when we were at Ft. Benning teaching.  We discussed how to begin teaching, and how to ask questions to gain a firm understanding of how quickly and how well the investigator is learning and applying the doctrines we are presenting.

At noon we went to lunch and found the Gardners. We sat down and as usual began to get to know them better. He explained to us what their mission will entail. It sounds like they will be an important addition to the Caribbean Area Presidency regarding all kinds of legal stuff. As Sister Gardner and I were talking, Brother Gardner and Craig were discussing something about his family and the name Levier was mentioned. Craig looked at me and repeated the name, and he said, we know that name. Craig asked if Brother Gardner knew a 90 year old man named Levier. Sister Gardner said that Leveer was Brother Gardner's brother to which he said, "he's my dad." I then asked if they knew Brad Ivey and the connection was made. Brother Gardner's dad is the grandfather that Brad and Mallory named Cohen after. It was so fun. Immediately, I called Mallory to do the "guess who we are eating dinner with." We took pictures of each other, and claimed kin. They love Mallory (you did good girl), and Brad is special to their family.

Brad's Uncle Ron and Aunt Janet at the MTC

In the afternoon, we had a new trainer by the name of Sister Sanford. She was only with us today because she has finals coming up and has study groups to attend.  Our lessons were on making effective commitments. Sister Sanford had served her mission in Siberia also. She is getting ready to graduate. We enjoyed working with her. She encouraged us about our lesson tomorrow, and we continued the role-playing that Elder Rowe started that morning. At the end of the day, we went to eat and then on to the Devotional. We got there early enough to get a good seat in the senior's section. While waiting for the speaker, some brothers and sisters behind us were talking about their ancestors in Waterloo and Kitchener, Canada. Craig turned around and started asking questions and before they were finished, the man has some references to possible Lenhards in those areas. These are the areas where Craig's family came from into the States. It is no accident that we are here in the MTC at this time or that we are in the right place at the right time.

Our speaker was Neil L. Anderson. Sister Anderson came with him, and she is about a foot shorter than he is, and he doesn't look that tall. She is tiny. She spoke for a few minutes on the importance of having the Gospel in our homes. She reiterated something I've been hearing a lot about lately. Many couples are taking the Conference issues of the Ensign and discussing one talk each week with the family in HE. I think this is a good thing. Wish we had done it when you guys were growing up. She said that the General Authorities have been know to make as many as 15 drafts of their talk before giving it at Conference, so there is a lot of thought and prayer that goes into each one. I can believe that.

Elder Anderson expressed thanks for the missionaries who had dedicated themselves to going on a mission. He referred to a survey showing that of the Millennials (18-29 year olds), one out of five do not believe the Bible is Scripture. They are less likely to read the Bible and are moving away from Biblical truths. These are the people we will most likely be teaching. He re-emphasized that the Book of Mormon is the great teacher of doctrines of Christ and encouraged us to get to know these doctrines and where to find them.  Some included 2 Nephi 31, 3 Nephi ll, 3 Nephi 27. He told us to ask ourselves every day - what would Jesus do, how would He act, what would He say, or what would He teach. Study the qualities of Christ and then pattern our lives after Him. Follow Him. Find favorite Scriptures and memorize them. If we will do this throughout our Mission, when we get home, it will be planted in our souls and we will not stray.

So, another busy and successful day. Time to turn in. We miss you all. Our thoughts and prayers are often about you. We especially are now thinking of the times when our grandbabies, both girls and boys, will find themselves here to prepare to leave on their missions.

Take care of yourselves. We love you. Write us.
Mom and Dad

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Mom and Dad's first email from the MTC, day one of the mission!

Like so many times when we would go places, I find myself wanting to share our experiences. My computer was down again last night, even though it said I was connected. Ugh! I obviously have not appreciated the technology that I use so much because when it is gone, I've felt helpless. I had homework to do last night, and I'm wondering if the Lord knew that I needed to do that and not write like I'm doing now.  When I woke at 4:30, I felt a need to ask the Lord to get my computer to work, and when I turned it on, it has worked like a charm. So, finally, I'm going to give a rundown of time from Sunday to this morning. If we do not call, it is not because we don't want to, we find we just have less time to do so.

We are in the MTC.  What a great place.  The Church is so well organized working with the missionaries.  There are 112 couples and 4 single sisters in our group. There were so many coming on one day that they staggered our check-in times. We were everywhere.

We first went to the wrong place to park, and then we were directed to the right place. We were here, just in the back and not the front of the building. Our GPS told us we were in the right place, and heavens know that when the GPS says we have arrived, we should stop there. We then drove around to the front of the building and were officially welcomed to the MTC. We picked up some important papers, and went from the book store where we could get some good discounts on missionary stuff (thank goodness we didn't need anything), to the health station where Craig got an appointment to get another shot that the doctor said we had to wait 6 months to get - I knew that wasn't true, but let them set the pace.  Wish I had insisted that Craig get it at home.

We then proceeded to the Chapel where we began to get lots of information on what we could and could not do. Senior missionaries really get a lot of leeway on what we can do. As they say, we are adults. We know (or should) what is expected of us. It was good to get some concrete information and be reminded of the fact that we are not 18 years old and are responsible adults. hahaha I'm not sure if they were talking about Craig and I.
We got set apart on Sunday by our Stake President Alex Jensen. We have had so many computer problems, not being able to connect to the internet, that I allowed my frustration to keep me from sitting down and writing about my blessing that night. I knew better because I can't remember much of anything. President Jensen gave me the longest blessing I can ever remember getting. I thought at the time that I must be a really needy person and the Lord wants to remind me that I am more than I know. Not that I'm that great. During a meeting yesterday, every couple stood and introduced ourselves as Brother and Sister so and so. Then where we were from, where we were going, and what our calling entailed. As couple after couple got up and told us of the fabulous places they were going, it ran through my mind, "And we get to go to Wisconsin." It then went through my mind, that evidently, I need to remember who is in charge, and he knows where we need to be. It's not where we serve, but how we serve. I feel much more humbled about our call. I just hope we can serve honorably.

Back to the blessing. I was blessed with many things. I will be able to remember more of what I needed to remember. I will be given opportunities to work with the youth and single sisters. There are a lot of people out there that I need to open my mouth (like I have ever kept it shut) and just talk to them. I don't always have to be trying to convert people, just love them and help them as needed. It is not about me but about others. I know I shouldn't have to be told these things, they are simple truths that should be evident to me from all the years I've been in the Church. It was good to hear them from the Lord.

We definitely don't have to worry about starving here. There is way more food than we can eat, and they are generous in providing for us. We could easily gain weight this week, and neither Craig or I want that. I hope we get to exercise later today, if not too tired again.

After lunch, it was back to meetings until 4:30. We heard from those who work with us here at the MTC. We have all kinds of help. The day was a day of building us up, reminding us of why we are here, encouraging us to share our experiences, and get organized so we will know who to go to for problems and where to go to get the information we need. Tonight (Tuesday), we have a devotional with one of the General Authorities. They won't tell us who and somewhere I read that if we know who it is, we shouldn't tell others.  hahahaha

We have met so many interesting people. One couple lived in Albany, GA in the 70s. They saw the Church then when the Stake Center was in Albany. Recently, Craig got to go with Noel Luke (Belinda's father) to visit a Brother Glenn Rudd. Craig and Noel are both interested in the welfare program of the Church (how it started, what was involved, etc.). Noel is actually writing a book about it. Anyway, it turns out that Brother Rudd was the Stake President in the Albany area during the 70s. He found, taught, and baptized Richey Marbury who was our Stake President when we were in Columbus. What a small world. I think that was a big highlight of Craig's day.
As we talk with other missionary couples, we are learning so much. Many are from the Utah area and grew up with many of the General Authorities. How fun to hear about their life experiences. We are so blessed to be with these brothers and sisters as they strengthen our testimonies. We love it.

Last night Craig and I were so tired. At 10 we were exhausted. We had some reading homework that we had to complete. We will be working from the Preach My Gospel book. Adam worked in the MTC when this book was coming out. He told us about what a great book it was, and then we got to use it when we were called as missionaries to the Ft. Benning group on post. We used it for four years, and we loved it. Of course, once we were released, we haven't picked it up again. So, last night, I used my old copy and found many notes and thoughts that I had written way back when.

I like to write about our experiences during a day, so that I do hold on to the thoughts and ideas that come to me. I tell you it was so hard leaving Adam and Belinda's place and their babies. We have grown to love and appreciate them so much more. Those babies have such a big part of our hearts. Just writing about it makes me cry. I cannot imagine not being with them for the eternities. It also makes me appreciate all of your families more. So much of our talk is about our grandbabies and their parents. Our prayers include all of you every morning and night. We care about what is happening in your lives. You strengthen our testimonies. I truly believe we were together in the preexistence. I can see when Father asked, "who will be the mother," I couldn't wait to raise my hand, knowing you guys would be part of our family. (Please don't think - she couldn't know that we did that - it is my dream so let me have it.)

We now need to get going for the day. Craig says to tell you how much he is enjoying this experience. He has been sitting and studying the Preach My Gospel book. He stopped me a moment ago to tell me how in awe he is to recognize the book as Scripture, telling us not only what has transpired in the Gospel, but how to teach it to others.

If you have a moment, we would love to hear from you. Like I said, we will try to call, but if not, I'll definitely try to write something each night about the day.

Mom and Dad
Hello everyone! This is Mallory, the youngest (and arguably favorite) of the Lenhard clan. I will be maintaining and updating this blog for Elder and Sister Lenhard until their return in March of 2016. This blog will serve as a place to keep their emails, thoughts, experiences, and pictures in one place. If you have any suggestions or items to add, please contact me. For the time being, this blog will be public, but will become private shortly unless otherwise directed by the Lenhards. Please feel free to read about their wonderful experiences while they serve the Lord and the people in Wisconsin!