Saturday, May 31, 2014

Sister Lenhard helps a member with her genealogy while Elder Lenhard learns!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


OK, what do you teach four sharp Elders once the meal is over? FAMILYSEARCH using our wireless keyboard and SMART TV, of course.  

Hmmm, turned out that Elder Santos knew as much about using the website as Sister Lenhard.  

We are NOT looking forward to transfers next week! What great young men!

(photographer Elder Lenhard)

I know, I know. You wouldn't have to take so much time to read this if I would just do it each day. I really do mean to do it, I just can't sometimes. I'm too tired at the end of the day.  So let's get to it.

Wednesday, we had our very first Zone meeting. It was held in another building on the opposite side of town. As we drove through the town to get to the building, I was reminded of Columbus which existed of the southside and northside.  The south was the poor side of town, while the north was booming with all those moving up in the world and constantly moving further from the "town" as those from the south began to take over the older parts of the north. (Does that make sense?) As we drove into this part of town, it was obviously the new developments. There was a mall that was fantastic. Lots of stores we hadn't seen on this side. We decided that we would have to take a p-day to shop on their turf.

What a wonderful meeting! Craig had once attended a transfer meeting (where some of the missionaries are transferred to another area) in Columbus when he had to take the missionaries up to attend. He has always remarked on how spiritually touched he was with a room full of missionaries singing "If You Could Hie to Kolob." It is probably at the top of my list for favorite hymns. It started at 10:00 (they tend to tell everyone to get there about half an hour early - which we didn't know - so that everyone gets there at the real time).  We were fed spiritually, encouraged to fight the good fight (and hang in there), and taught Gospel principles. What more could we want? We actually were asked to bear our testimonies (because we are the old people). President Cutler was encouraging the younger missionaries to remember there are others out there like us who will welcome them in and hear what they have to say.

So, guess who I teemed up with at Zone Conference for role play. A Sister Osmond - yeah, like the Osmond Family. She is beautiful. I could see Marie in her. I didn't asked if she was an Osmond; we had been told there was a sister here from the family, but I didn't realize I would meet her. She has a wonderful testimony, and she has a talent to get you talking about yourself. I found myself realizing that I needed to do the same thing. I don't know which family she comes from, but her mother went to Argentina on her mission.

We had lunch, and then we were back at it until 4:30-5:00. We do a lot of role playing which helps the missionaries get ready for the real meetings with those who want to listen. It is so interesting to me and always has been that someone has to want to listen before we will teach. We will ask if they want to listen to what we believe, and if they say no, that's it. We are amazed though at the number of people who are looking for something that will bring joy into their lives. We love this work.

After the conference, we took the Hmong missionaries to dinner. I had wanted some Korean food, some Bulgogi (I think that is the spelling) to be exact. We had it in Columbus several times, and I loved it. One of the missionaries ordered some soup, and I looked over and asked what that was floating in his soup. We got a picture of it. I never saw him actually eat the little octopus, but I felt bad for it. It sat on the top of the soup like it was going to walk away like in "Nemo."  UGH!  By the way, the Bulgogi wasn't like what I remembered, it was ok, but I don't think we will go that way again. The highlight was watching these videos of some Korean singers. They all have the boy and girl groups. Each person in each group looks just like the others in the group. The missionaries explained to us that they all have plastic surgery to look alike - just perfect. They don't stay popular for long, but while they are, they make lots of money. All were dressed very modestly, but it was like watching groups of robots make all the same movements together. They looked like they couldn't be over 17, but the missionaries assured us they were all in their 20s. They recognized them from before their missions.

 Elder Lee and his new friend...

Elder Vang

On Thursday, we took a meal to a family who just had their second baby and got to know her. I had never met her before, but we felt we wanted to take them something. They are a nice couple, and he has finished dental school. He is 1/32 Indian and owes the tribes three years for having supported him in school. They don't know where they will be going, but they are looking at a place in Washington state.

Later, we helped the Elders teach a young lady. They cannot teach a single sister without another sister being there. This was her second lesson with us there. She has a hard time reading and doesn't comprehend what she reads. We spent the time this past week just reading the BOM with her. We didn't really get through one chapter before her boys came in with her social worker who was there to check up on her. She is working to get her babies back full time, and I hope she does it. So, as I was saying, we read and had to keep stopping to explain the "big" words to her. We had asked her to go to Church with us this past Sunday, and that we would pick her up. We made the mistake of not just telling her we would be there at a certain time to pick her up. When I called Sunday morning, she didn't pick up. I hope she will continue to meet with the Elders. She is a good person, but she has been into some stuff that has messed up her life. She wants to get back on track.

After this meeting, we went home to grab a bit of dinner and then off to the Pathway program and the genealogy library. We are getting prepared to take over the program in the fall. The students are fun to be with, very creative, supportive of one another, and willing to do what they need to do to get their education. Some have decided that they don't want to continue, several have signed up for full time with BYU-Idaho, and others have decided to go into another program now that they have found they are capable of doing the work. After opening exercises, we headed to the genealogy library down the hall, and two Sister missionaries were there with a mother and her daughter they had tracted out. These two are convinced that they are in God's Church already, and we have nothing to offer them. However, they came to start their genealogy, and although they had nothing to back up what they were doing, if we so much as found a name they thought should be theirs, on the tree it went. I can remember doing this same thing. The more I do now, the more I realize that the pieces must fit for the family puzzle to be put together correctly. As I worked with the daughter, one of the Sisters tried to talk to the mother about the Church. The mother wasn't having any of it. In fact, she almost appeared hostile without really being so. She would smile as she talked, but it did not reach her eyes. We set up genealogy accounts for them, and I hope they come back.

We didn't get home that night until after 10:00. We met another Sister outside of the building and ended up talking with her for a while. We were tired. I wish I could say that we slept in the next morning, but the sun comes into the room through the blinds and by 6:00-6:30, I'm awake. Craig sleeps a little longer, but he is also up soon after and we are studying. However, that morning, he was sick. He felt like it was some of the medicine he is taking which has the side affect of causing nausea and stomach upset. He spent the morning (all morning) practically in the bathroom. By noon, he was exhausted. We didn't get much done that day, but by 7:00 we went out and ate at a restaurant that I thought was a rest-home for the elderly.  There is no sign that says it is a restaurant. It always has lots of cars there, so we went to investigate. Craig was starving because he hadn't kept anything down all day, and I needed to get out of the apartment. This town is predominately Catholic. So guess what they all eat on Friday.  FISH!  Yes, we are so pleased. We got fish at this restaurant, but we will be looking at others. Lots of fish fries advertised. Oh the choices we have to make.

By Saturday, Craig was feeling a little better, but I could tell he was still dragging. I called a sister who had been sick earlier in the week, and I just wanted to check on her. She wants us to take a name to the Temple this Saturday when we go. Craig called Ritchey Marbury, our old Stake President in Columbus, to ask if he would mind talking to a young man who had finished his Civil Engineering degree and had no job as of yet. Ritchey consented to talk with the man, and we were told that Ritchey couldn't have been nicer and that he had helped him tremendously.

That afternoon there was a family festival (kite flying) downtown so we went down there to check it out. I actually got to speak to a man who was there with his family. We talked about genealogy, and I handed out a card to him and told him how important the family is. We could tell that he was a family man, and he loved them very much. Who knows where it will go, but we made a contact. Craig talked to a couple of others. Then I noticed that Craig's head was beginning to turn red from sunburn. We are going to have to get him a hat to wear when out in the sun. He burns in a short amount of time.

On Sunday, I taught the Gospel Principles class this week on charity. Next week Craig talks about honesty. We were missing some of the investigators that we had had last Sunday. We are beginning to realize that if it weren't for the visitors, we would have very few at Church. Yet, those that are there are really nice. One of the speakers was an eye doctor, and he talked about keeping an eye single to the glory of God. Another speaker was a heart doctor, and he talked about the pure in heart.  How appropriate don't you think?  One of the Hmong sisters remembered her talk early in the morning, but you would have thought she had spent a month on it. She talked about how her husband managed to have true love for his family even though they treated him so badly as he grew up. The Elders sang an intermediate hymn. What a great meeting. It is wonderful to partake of the Sacrament each week. That is the most important thing we do at the meeting, but having great talks is like having icing on the cake.

Today, we went to exercise and then planned on going down to the Memorial Day Parade. We had plans to help teach someone genealogy that the Elders found, but it fell through. We waited until really late to go to the Parade, but finally thought it sounded like something we would enjoy and may have a chance to meet some people. We are amazed at the number of people who see our tags and ask about them. It is great! We had no sooner than driven about a mile down the road when the Sisters called. They live in our apartment complex. Their carbon dioxide monitor was going off just like ours. They had no screwdriver to open it to change the battery. I told Craig that the Lord just wanted to see us get out and going, and he would give us something to do. We turned around and came back.

We are going to have these same Sisters and both groups of Elders in our Branch over tomorrow for lunch. So I spent the afternoon making a dessert (which is fabulous I might add), baked beans, potato salad, and deviled eggs. We found a Wal-Mart Supercenter finally and it is closer to the apartment than we thought. We had to pick up a couple of things there so we did do that before I started baking. I haven't cooked like this in over a year as Belinda would attest. It was good to actually make something (well, more than one something). I'm not a good cook, and I don't pretend to be. I decided a long time ago that some people weren't meant to be a good cook, and that included me. Oh, well. I think I have something they can eat, may not be the best (the dessert is - I found it on facebook), but they won't starve. Then while they are here we are going to help them set up their Family Search accounts so they will know how to do it when the Polish Festival comes around, and they have to know how to help others. Since this was Memorial Day, their P-day was changed to tomorrow. President Cutler felt they would have greater success finding people home today than tomorrow.

Lots of stuff going on around here. We feel that more people are beginning to meet us, and they are beginning to approach us for help. We like being busy. The Lord has truly been good to us to send us here.

Oh, yeah, on Saturday we have Stake Temple Day. We got a letter last week from one of the couples we met at the MTC. They knew Ritchey Marbury and lived in Georgia before we got there. They knew Glen Rudd when he was a Mission President out there. He actually introduced Ritchey to the Church and baptized him. Again, what a small world.  (Craig and Noel Luke went to visit and talk with Glen Rudd about Church welfare for a book that Noel is writing. I think Glen was or is known as Mr. Welfare because he was instrumental in setting up the welfare system for the Church.)  We are going to meet the couple on Saturday and go to the Temple with them. We had asked a brother in the Branch if he wanted to go, but he wasn't able to go because he is moving to a new apartment.

Our work goes on. Somedays we feel we are making a difference, somedays we want more. It is getting warm here. Naturally, I did not bring many cool clothes so will be looking for a few things soon. I'm hoping I can find some outlet stores here.

Love to all. Let us hear from you.
Craig and Linda
The two sets of Elders from the North Zone are coming over in a little while for a P-Day picnic. Leave it to Satan to try to dampen the day. It isn't going to happen, however. We can actually cook indoors if we want!
Elder Lenhard

National Avenue From Our Bedroom Window


These are some of the great folks we serve with in the North Zone. If you click on the link above the picture, you can find more detailed pictures in the official Mission Blog. 

What tremendous instruction on who we are and our place in these last days! 

Open your mouth, folks. Open your mouth! The Holy Ghost is waiting for you to share your love for your Savior. The field IS white. 

Sister Lenhard is Beautiful, huh?

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Thoughts from Elder Lenhard...(Side note from Mallory: I cannot figure out for the life of me how to get the text to not run into the sidebar in this post. I tried several different things, and nothing is working. Sorry! I will work to fix it.)

Are You Sleeping through the Restoration?

Second Counselor in the First Presidency

There is too much at stake for us as individuals, as families, and as Christ’s Church to give only a halfhearted effort to this sacred work

"I testify that the cleansing power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the transformative power of the Holy Ghost can heal and rescue mankind. It is our privilege, our sacred duty, and our joy to heed the Savior’s call to follow Him with a willing mind and full purpose of heart. Let us “shake off the chains with which [we] are bound, and come forth out of obscurity, and arise from the dust.”11 
"Let us be awake and not be weary of well-doing, for we “are laying the foundation of a great work,”12 even preparing for the return of the Savior. Brethren, when we add the light of our example as a witness to the beauty and power of restored truth, we will not sleep through the Restoration. Of this I testify and leave you my blessing in the sacred name of our Master, even Jesus Christ, amen."
Mom's update:

Well, let's try this again. I did not realize my computer was about to die; so after writing a delightful diatribe about our marvelously busy life, it suddenly disappeared.  Motto, check the battery life and save as you go.  UGH!
Saturday, I realized my hair was ridiculously long and frizzy (a fact that you may not know, in 6th grade the boys called me "Bush".  Can you guess why? I think it had to do with my long out of control hair that I wish I had been smart enough to do something with, but alas, that has bee the bain of my existence. Thank goodness I didn't have another bain or I might not have made it through my teen years.  hahaha  (By the way, I compensated for my shortcomings by becoming the best ball player in our middle school. I could outrun, outpitch, and outhit any boy on the field. I was always a captain, and I never let them forget that I was  the champion out there. I had a troubled childhood.  hahaha)  The short of this story is that I found a place that actually cut my hair short enough to look nice. I'm back in business. I had forgotten how humid air frizzes my hair.

Saturday morning we went downtown to see Lake Michigan. Marquette University was having graduation and possibly Univ. of Wisconsin was also. There were a lot of students out parading around in their robes. We drove right through Marquette's campus, which isn't hard to do considering it probably covers half of the downtown area. What isn't covered with a Marquette Bldg. has a Catholic Church or other really big Church built there.

We came out at the end of the city into a residential area overlooking the lake. It was quite a sight, but the water looked cold and uninviting.  The wind off the lake made for cold temps, and I was glad I'd worn a coat. The neighborhood where we landed had these several-million dollar homes that looked like museums. They were well kept up and very beautiful (I'm glad I don't have to keep them clean - they probably pay someone to do it for them). They certainly paid for the scenery, and it appeared they were built in the 1940s, 50s, when Milwaukee was still an industrial marvel. We found a road that would take us along the lake for a mile or so. There is a nice beach, not the white sand we are used to seeing, but fine-looking red sand. There were several groups in picnic areas playing volleyball, and I hoped they were moving enough to keep warm.

We did locate the main Milwaukee Library downtown and made a mental note to return to see what they would have in the way of genealogical resources.

That night, Craig prepared the lesson for the Gospel Principles class on Sunday. It was on the Word of Wisdom, and he did a marvelous job if I do say so myself.  We had a Thai family of investigators that the Hmong missionaries had gotten to come. There were three daughters who all looked really young, but the youngest was 17, then 22 and 30. Their dad came with them. They have been in America for one year and the 22 year old was the only one who could speak pretty good English. It was fun getting to know them. They are such beautiful women.

We had to get to Church early on Sunday because all the missionaries were asked to attend Ward Council. It is amazing how relaxed the meeting is when you are not in charge of anything. Out of all the members that attend our building, almost 75% are coming from other areas to support us. Our Branch President, several medical students and their families, and other leaders are almost all from other areas. It looks like we are losing three of our major families who live in our Branch boundaries. Hard to run a Branch this way. We don't even live in the boundaries.

Sunday night the Sister missionaries who live in our apartment complex came over. They do not attend our Branch. One will be leaving the first week in June. She lives in the Ogden area. They are two hard-working missionaries who love what they are doing. It is a pleasure and honor to work with them.

Yesterday started out nice, but by the afternoon the rain had come into the area again. We spent the morning taking the Sister missionaries to get groceries and to the library for them to write home to their parents. Then we went to eat at Panda Express. I had a box to pick up from the Mission Office, and we went to the Chase Bank here to open an account just so we can get cash when we need it.

The day was over before knew it, and we vowed to get up early today and get out to get some things accomplished.  We did just that. We took off for the Milwaukee Library downtown and talked to someone about volunteering to help once a week in the genealogy library area. We got the name of the person who we will need to talk with officially, and we got information about the Milwaukee genealogy society that meets once a month. Of course, this month we missed the meeting but the next one is on our calendar.

Tonight, we have some calls to make to follow up on some people we've met. We actually went to Sam's on Saturday to check on the lady that brought us breakfast. She said that she actually had a friend or two who also was interested in learning about their genealogy. She was so busy then, but we are going to call her and see if we can set something up.

We are grateful to be here. If you haven't had the chance lately to read President Uchdorpff's talk on gratitude given in this last Conference, do so. When I heard it the first time, I was so touched by the Spirit. When I read it again, I felt the Spirit testifying that what President was saying was true. What are your thoughts?
Take care. We love you.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Thursday and Friday (15th and 16th)

We are slowly finding our landlegs as we try to find our place in this beautiful place called the Milwaukee, Wisconsin mission. It is truly a beautiful part of the country. It is marvelously confusing in its layout, but Elder Lenhard is still the master of finding our way around. He has spent time on the maps, locating short cuts and better ways of getting to where we are supposed to be going. I have to say, it is appreciated, and usually, he finds a shorter and less traveled way of finding our destinations. I love it and am grateful he is my partner.

Thursday, we were on the computers for much of the day working on genealogy. We are heading up the organizing of much of the volunteers for the genealogy tent at the Polish fest. We are excited about it and met with the Sister Orne who is over the genealogy library in the South Stake (I keep getting it messed up with our being in the North Stake). She is over all the libraries in both Stakes, but she is careful about what she does outside of her stake. We are not doing the German fest unless we help another person who is doing that one. We can volunteer to help her, and we will. If she will accept us, we are good to go. We are still waiting to hear about the Irish fest.  I found the 10 best online sites for Polish genealogy online and was able to get a copy to Sister Orne. Several of them refer back to Family Search. Craig and I both also worked on our genealogy during the day. That night we had our Pathway meeting, and we are getting the layout more each week so we will be comfortable when we start. They are recruiting now, and it makes us more excited each time we go. We don’t really do anything, the recruiting is being done by others.  After the beginning of the meeting, we went to the library, and after a while, we got a tour of the library so we would be better prepared to answer questions about the libraries holdings. We were told to get a library card and then we could get on another site, which I don’t remember right now, but we dutifully agreed to do so.

Today, we got in our study time, and then headed to the gym. We really like the gym we go to – called Anytime Fitness. We are allowed to go anytime, even if it isn’t open. We have our keys, and it is open to us at all hours. Naturally, we will go when others are there in case we get stuck and can’t get out or off a machine without help.  Hahaha  There have been times!!!!!

When we left the gym, we took the left turn away from West Allis and headed out to see what we could find. We ended up in New Berlin, and what a beautiful area. It is out in the country. There is an historic part of the area, and we plan to go back. We passed two wonderful cemeteries. One is at a Reformed Presbyterian Church built by the Scottish in 1858 or maybe a little earlier. What a great looking building.  I always get  such a sweet feeling when I see old country Churches. I often wonder about the faithful who gathered there for so many years and had all the best intentions in doing good for their families and their neighbors. Yet, they were missing that vital ingredient of truth and the Priesthood.  We are so blessed.  Anyway, the cemeteries look promising for research


We took one of the Hmong missionaries and one of the other missionaries to lunch at a Thai restaurant. The work is going slow for these missionaries. In the winter when it is so cold, if they don’t have an appointment, they stay in or go to ride the buses to GQ people there.  The Thai food was so good. We will go there again. They have a great lunch special, and we found nothing that we didn’t like. Craig slipped a card in with the bill.  Once we dropped the missionaries off, we came home to get organized (it was on the way), and off we went to the library in West Allis. We met a little volunteer named Georgi and asked her about genealogy programs. They have three computers with Ancestry  on them. I said if we had someone we wanted to teach, then we could bring them there. We got some information regarding the area and where we might find genealogy library holdings. She thinks there might be some in the main library downtown. We got some handouts on activities in the area. There are lots of things we can get involved in, and we will be looking into them next week.  

Elder Santos and Elder Lee (Hmong missionary) at the restaurant. My goodness, the food was good! That coconut with lemon grass beef soup was delicious. So were the Pot stickers! And brown rice.

(Apparently, Mom didn't want her picture taken. Dad tried anyway.)

I was watching one of the District videos this morning. I learned a lot about missionaries as young people who come together on their missions and have to learn to work with one another. It is the will of the Lord, and together they learn to be effective in His work. We are grateful to be a part of the work. We have had the opportunity to work together for 43 years prior to this time. We are blessed.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Happenings with Mom and Dad Sunday (5/11) - Wednesday (5/13)...

It seems like I've just written, but I guess I haven't from the view I got on the blog. Lots of stuff happens in a few days, but I think I have this under control tonight.

Sunday was another wonderful Sabbath. As Mother's day, I especially loved it because Craig had to do my dishes, but I enjoyed the sweet spirit present at our Church meetings. We were asked to teach the Gospel Principles class (the one I've taught for the last 4-5 years), and we had to laugh about that. It is a great class, but we were asked to do it by the Missionary Leader. The Elders had been teaching it, and I think they were hurt when we told them we had been asked. I don't like taking away something the Elders really like to do. We met with the class for the first time, and there are only three who attend. They are great people.

On Monday, we got to participate in a lesson with a man who most likely has autism or asperger's. He is really smart and is going to be baptized on Saturday. When we asked if we could come, he told us he just wanted the Missionaries. We totally understand that. We didn't even have a reason for wanting to be private so we did not invite anyone to ours. I'm sure those Missionaries wondered what in the world they had done in teaching us.  
Anyway, he has hitchhiked out to SLC twice to see General Conference. He lives in a group home and rides his bike everywhere. He won't take clothes from anyone, and on Monday night when he got to the Church, it was cold and rainy. There he was on his bike. He was offered a ride home, but he wouldn't take it. We were there before anyone else, and we offered to let him sit in the car with us, but he wouldn't have any part of that either. When he was taught the lesson, he clearly knew what he was doing. He had the answers. What a nice spirit he had.

Yesterday, Tuesday, we had our District meeting. Again, I was so impressed with a young man just barely 19 (and he may not be that old yet), up conducting the meeting, using the Spirit to teach us. He is a good leader and the Lord will have many things yet for him to do in this life. We studied the talk given by Elder Ballard on Following Up. Remember to use the full name of the Church so that people will know who we are. We can use the nickname, Mormon, when we talk about specific aspects of the Church, like the Mormon pioneers, etc. We get lazy and confuse people when we don't use the name, and they don't equate the nickname to the real name.
Elder Ballard also encouraged us to introduce others to the Gospel. If they don't accept it, that is their right. We will never force anyone to join. But, as the Scriptures state, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ. It is hard for them to do so, if they haven't been taught. He says that we should invite someone to Church activities quarterly. So get busy!  hahaha  We are learning that there are many out there that are looking for something that will strengthen them in hard times. There are certainly enough hard times to go around, so why not seek out those who are looking for help. We pray that everyday we will have missionary opportunities and to recognize them when they come. They happen. We all know that Craig can open his mouth and talk to anyone. It truly is a gift. He can reach out faster than anyone I have ever known. It makes having him for my companion an extra plus. I don't have to be the one to always get to know a stranger first.  hahaha

Today, I've worked some on finding some genealogy sources that we can possibly use in our Polish Festival coming up in June. We will be showing people how to use Family Search and other resources for genealogy. Yeah, my favorite hobby. Tonight I spent time scanning in pictures I brought with us to work on when we are home at night. Finally, got photoshop installed correctly and am hoping to get more of the pictures in that we brought.

Tonight, we went to a meeting with the Elders as the taught a lady who lives alone for now. She doesn't have her children with her at this time, but she is hoping to continue to clean up her life so she can get them back. Her mother died in December, and it made such a hole in her heart. She promised the Lord that if He would just let her know that her other was alright, she would get her life together. She had a dream (which she doesn't really remember very well) that her mother was ok, and even thought she can't remember the circumstances, she awoke feeling a peace she hasn't felt in a long time. We will continue to work with the Elders as they teach her.
We received a lovely photo album today. It warranted a place on our coffee table.  hahaha  Now, between that album and our picture frame showing family pictures, it will be a constant reminder that we have a great family who is rooting for us here. McKay wrote and said that he wanted to come to Wisconsin on his mission. That was the sweetest thing he could have said. I hope he does.

We love you all. May the week be even greater. I've heard that Columbus is laying off teachers next year (those who are in areas they don't need or have too many of, those who aren't teaching in their area, and those with 3 or less years of experience). Wow, I'm so glad I'm not in that still. The Lord does bless us tremendously.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Thursday-Saturday (8th-10th) – Another diatribe. Hope you don’t fall asleep reading it.

We have to admit that there is a lot of down time during these last few days. There are things we can find to do, but they are not always what we think we should be doing.  I may have written about going to Sam’s to stock up on kitchen items that we would need to get started.  While checking out (with several others behind us waiting to be checked out), we talked with the girl at the register. She asked what brought us here, and I explained that we were on a mission for our Church. She asked if the Church had sent us here, and I told her yes.  She then looked at me and said that we obviously knew our purpose here, and I agreed. She said that was better than her because she didn’t know her purpose here yet.  Great opening, right? However, when you have other people behind you at a register, you don’t spend the time to explain the Plan of Salvation. We mentioned that we were from the South, and she is from Philadelphia, Mississippi. Craig knows where it is. We talked a little about grits and how much we loved them and only those in the south knew how to make good grits. We got a hotdog from Sam’s for lunch, and as we sat at a table there, we talked about our interaction with her. Craig then found a card that would act as a pass along card and wrote on it. He gave it to her right before we left.  Last night, Friday, we got a call from this young lady. She wanted to bring us breakfast with some real grits. We told her we would come pick it up, and she insisted that she wanted to bring it to us. She showed up at 9:00 this morning with eggs, bacon, sausage patties, another sausage, grits, and biscuits. She had some syrup that she said we could put on the grits if we liked or the biscuits, whatever. She came in for a moment, and Craig gave her a Book of Mormon. She is Baptist, and we encouraged her to read the BOM about Jesus Christ. We told her we would love to get with her again to talk with her about the things she will read. She was amenable, but she was going to talk to her preacher. Craig asked if she had ever worked on her genealogy, and we told her we would help her if she ever got interested in doing so. She was a ray of sunshine. We have her number and will follow up with her. Of course, we have to drop off her dishes next week, so we hope to see her again.

On Thursday, we were involved in a funeral for most of the day. We got there at about 10:15AM. The viewing started at10:00AM, and there were several family members already there. An elderly black sister had died after approximately four years of living with Alzheimer’s. She was dearly loved as we could see with the gym area beginning to fill up with other family and friends.

At around 12:00 noon, the service moved to the Chapel. We were fascinated with what happened. After each talk or song, the audience clapped and approved of what was said. The first speaker was a man in his 20s. He talked about the importance of family, and how it had been too long for the family to get together and how sad that they had to come together for a funeral (I believe I have mentioned this a few times to some children I know). I don’t want to be in my casket when you all get together so we need to plan on something in 2016.

Anyway, back to what happened. This young man had such a nice spirit about him. I hadn’t remembered seeing him at Church last Sunday, but then my memory isn’t as good as it should be. I felt he had to be a member of the Church. I found out later that he was a member, and he had been inactive for over 12 years. He has two young boys he is raising by himself, and he mentioned that he needed to get back to Church for his boys’ sake.  As it turned out, there were several family members there who were members of the Church and who had gone into inactivity. I just thought that if just this one woman’s family returned to the Church, our numbers would double. We have some work to do.

Another young man also stood up and talked about his Granny. She was the glue that held their family together as they grew up. It appeared that she dispensed great love and sometimes showed that love in her discipline with a switch in measured doses. There were a couple of musical numbers which very few knew the words to because they were from our music handbook. At the end, a daughter of the sister read her testimony. Two men behind us spoke out loud enough for me and Craig to hear them say it was a lie, and they got up and walked out. I thought that even if they disagreed, it was rude to treat the family like that.

While we were waiting in the gym area for the funeral service to begin, we got to talk with the funeral director. He was so interesting. He had served in the Air Force, and he had moved with his family to this area several years back. His wife is a resident at an area hospital, and his daughter is at the Air Force Academy in Colorado. He had a lot of history he could have told us about, and he did give us some background on the area. At one time, Wisconsin was the welfare state of the nation. There was a time when all the beer companies resided here, and the people made a good living, but as they moved out, nothing came to replace them. It is hard to recruit workers to come to the state. People began to move onto the welfare rolls, and it was easy to do it. As a result, the poor from Chicago, Detroit, and other major cities headed to Wisconsin. In the 1990s, Wisconsin got a wake-up call that said they could not sustain the welfare handouts they had created for everyone. This man was very coherent in his thinking. He said, “People have money for their wants, but then when they have needs, they want everyone else to provide for them. “ I had not really heard of it in that manner before, but it is so true. He felt like this state had a greatness about it, but it had fallen on hard times and needed to turn itself around to find its greatness again.

When the funeral service was over, they left for the graveyard that evidently was several miles away. They had a 2:00 burial appointment. Who would have ever thought you made an appointment for a burial. There were a about five of us Sisters and a couple of Brethren left to set up the gym to feed the family when they got back from the burial. A Sister Coleman was put in charge, and she kept us moving. Then a daughter-in-law who was actually divorced from the family member came in to help. It was interesting to watch the two Sisters decide how everything was going to be. As more family came in, they kept changing the arrangements until Sister Coleman threw up her hands and gave in. It was all good though, and when the family finally got back around 3:30-4:00pm, we were more than ready to feed them. I’m not sure if Sister Coleman knew the family was providing food or not, but in they came with pans of food. I’ll give you one guess what was the main dish – chicken – cooked so many ways, barbecued, fried, baked – spicy, plain, etc. It was a feast! There were other dishes: a ham, Mexican casseroles, rolls, ham and cabbage, spaghetti, navy beans with rice. It was wonderful. The family was able to eat and eat, and we were able to serve them and help with the children. There was a wonderful spirit, and there was much talk of family and memories. We talked with a young woman who came in a little late to the service. She was quite beautiful. At the end, Craig asked her if she was Mormon. She said no, and he said, “Well, you need to be!” Then she said she was thinking about becoming one. Craig got the Missionaries over to her, and before she left, she had a Book of Mormon!

Thursday night, we went to the North Stake Bldg. for the Pathway program. We got there a few minutes early to talk to the Sister in the Genealogy Library about the Polish Festival where we are supposed to help with a Family Search activity. She got there a little late (just as we were going to the Pathway class) so we had to come back afterwards to talk to her. There is a gentleman in the Library who works there who is not a member. He is an expert on German genealogy since that his background. We are hoping that this time together will help Craig with his work. The people with the Polish Festival have not contacted the Sister since their first contact, so she is supposed to get back and see what is going on. I hope we can participate in this activity. Starting in June, every weekend there is some kind of festival, the Polish, Irish, German, etc., etc. These festivals are something else, and we are excited to be here so that we can participate some.

There is also a genealogy group here that we want to get involved with and work with them. We missed the meeting this week, but next month, we plan to get it on our calendar. We want to make our presence known and be of help to anyone who may need to get started on their family lines. 

On Wednesday, we spent some time filling out cards that would lead people to the site.  We put the URLs on the cards that would take them to our profiles. If you haven’t done this, please do so ASAP. It could be a great FHE activity for parents.

Today, after we got the breakfast from the young lady, we invited the sister missionaries who are also in this apartment complex down to eat. It was too much food for us.

We left and went to another part of town for the Hmong market. Our two Hmong missionaries work the market every week. They are friends of the owners, and they have a good time. What a fascinating market. Do you know how many types of bamboo shoots there are, or how many different types of mushrooms are available? I sure didn’t. We missed the market the first time and went right past it. We arrived at our destination and found it was a car lot. So we reevaluated the address Craig gave me and the one he said he gave me (which I’m pretty sure was correct, but I only heard what I wanted to hear). We turned around and found it. As we got out of the car, another white couple were getting out of their car and coming our way. I saw her point to us, and the thought went through my mind that at least we wouldn’t be the only white people there. As it turned out, the missionaries from our Branch were also there. We had been invited to come down and try out the food. It is known for its spicy flavors.

I wandered down the aisles looking at the food for sale. This was the front market, and there were clothes, dvds and cds (all with beautiful women on the front). There were musicals being sung on several TVs. At this moment I can’t think of what you call them (you know like Michael Jackson did Thriller). As I came around the corner of the last aisle, there was the couple I had seen coming in. I made a comment about something, and we got to talking. It’s funny how older people have so much in common. We have noticed that people here will not give you their last name. If you ask a second time to see if you can get the whole name, they will repeat the first name again. Anyway, we had a great conversation. They were retired, and she had been a travel agent, so they had been all over the world. We invited them to come eat with us, and they did. It was fun. They shared so many of their travels, and they know where all the good restaurants are in this area. They actually live in north Milwaukee, and they have a summer home in Racine. They are going fishing there this next week. We have found that lots of people have those homes and yearly make the trek up north to fish. Some say that the lakes are still too frozen to do any fishing, and they are having to wait. The gist of my story is that we traded phone numbers and promised that we would keep in touch. I was able to give her one of my cards that I had made with my testimony URL. I told her if she wanted to know why I became Mormon, she could read it there. I hope we can keep in touch. They seemed so nice.

By the way, in the Hmong restaurant, I took one look at the cooked goose with its head lying on its back and decided I would stick to egg rolls. After all, it’s pretty hard to put organ meat in an egg roll (hahahaha). Craig got Pho soup (small size by the way and would have filled a medium size serving dish for us). It had a good flavor. Craig wasn’t thrilled by the tripe in it.

And that is our last couple of days. I’m doing laundry right now. Ugh! It’s in the basement, and there are three washers and three dryers. Of course, I have four loads. Almost through though, and it will be done for the week.  It is Belinda’s birthday today. What a sweet girl to wish happy birthday to. Amy had her 17th anniversary this past week. Wow, what’s up with that? Both daughters are very special to our hearts.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Here are a few pictures that Mom and Dad have taken lately. They are starting to get really busy!

 The agenda for Mom and Dad's first district meeting (5-6-14)

 Elder Hanson and Elder Wheeler

 Hmong Elder Lee and Vang

Renowned Milwaukee City Branch Building, Established 1933 and dedicated by President Grant 

Sister Clawson and Sister Griffin

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Monday's adventures...

Got up early today because we have our first District meeting where we meet with the Elders and Sisters in our group or Zone. We meet every Tuesday. Some of this I'm explaining for Ada who may not know what it means. Hope you don't mind Ada while I ramble on.
I decided to make some brownies for after the meeting. I had told them I would bring cookies, but brownies were so much easier. 

We were to meet at 12:30 (30 minutes earlier than the real meeting would start) so that we  could have 30 minutes of study time. We have three sets of Elders, one set of Sisters, and us old people. The young ones are so much fun, and they are on fire. When all had arrived, we began with a song and prayer. We have an 18, almost 19, year old who is the District Leader. His name is Elder Crandall, and he looks so young. His companion is Elder Santos and together they make a good team. We have the Hmong (pronounced mong) Elders who are Elder Lee and Elder Vang. They were explaining today that one is adopted by his birth father's first wife in a refugee camp in Laos when he was 5. The other grew up in Oklahoma where there are several Hmong people. They don't actually have a country that they can say they come from because their people have often been on the run from one ruling group or another. They may have started in Siberia, then to Vietnam, Laos, area where they worked with the Americans against the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. When the Americans left, they were on the run because they were targeted by the enemy. Then there are the really young Elder Wheeler and Elder Hansen (whose family by the way has a business in Clearfield where Adam is the City Manager). What are the odds? The sisters are Sister Clawson and Sister Griffin. Our lesson today was on the importance of Family History and teaching others the importance of family. I can see in these young people the beginnings of a desire to explore their families. 
We are a little scared about the area where the Church is located. There is a security guard that paroles the parking lot on Sunday. We parked right next to the Church today, and in the front so if anyone wanted our car, it would be right out where all could see. I don't really know how that could possibly keep a burglar away, but it was ok.
Our meeting lasted for two hours. It was very uplifting, and we felt the Spirit there with these young missionaries. Each set reported that they had one or two people goaled for baptism by the end of the month. As we heard them report, we were so excited by the work they are doing. There are so many good people here who are hungry for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We love it. 
Our GPS appears to be taking us here, there, and beyond. I don't think we can go and return the same way twice. Today, the Elders told us that I am not to carry a pocketbook, no cash, no credit cards, nothing. Craig should not have a wallet. Our licenses can stay in the car, and after dark, we had better be far away from the area. The police have warned them to get out of there by sundown. We had  been asked by a member to go see his brother who has lost the faith. The member is a policeman, and we talked to him before we went to get some particulars. We did not understand that his brother is a member who has stopped coming to Church, but when we talked with the Elders, they had also had this referral. We went by the house, down the one-way streets into areas with lots of young men prowling around looking for something to do. It was uncomfortable. Of course, I had my big purse, and I considered leaving it in the car, but decided I really need my car whole. I then considered leaving it in the trunk, but then everyone would see I was doing that. I sauntered up to that house with Craig, and we rang the bell and knocked, but to no avail. Guess we will be trying again at other daylight hours.
It was almost 5:00 when we got home, so I actually cooked (ladies, do you hear me?) an enchilada casserole (I already had the meat ready), and it was so good because it tasted like the way real Mexican food should taste. It is good American Mexican, cooked the Linda way.  hahahaha  If Mexico could just get their cooks to make it like mine, I could really enjoy eating their food.  The same with China. If China cooks would just cook more like us, their food would be great!  Oh, well.  Another day for that rant.
I have to get in touch with the person who is working on a genealogy project to be done at a Polish Fair in early June. We are going to have computers set up and show people how to find their families. Did you know that genealogy is the fastest growing hobby in the world. I can tell you why. It is just plain interesting and so enjoyable. There is something so satisfying when you can put names to the families. If you are really lucky, you can also get pictures..
Craig is getting his computer set up tonight. He fixed his desk last night and we got it set up in the bedroom. We have really big closets for both of us, so we put our dressers in there. I still have to get some curtains, but we are beginning to settle in. Yesterday, I did find a woman who trimmed my hair, and I like her. Now, if I can find someone to do my manicure and pedicure, I will be in lala land.
Adam and Belinda skyped us last night. Who will be next?
We love you all.
Saturday thru Monday
Saturday we spent the time (and I mean spent the time) getting things done around the apartment. We worked all day on a dresser. I was so ready to scream. I would put it together, look at the drawing and ask Craig what was the matter. He would turn it around a different way and I’d see what was the matter. When it was all finished, of course, the top drawer won’t close. I couldn’t figure out why until I remembered when we were putting it together that one of the bars used to slide the drawer in was bent. I mean that it came that way. I noticed it and hoped it wouldn’t matter, it was such a small bend, hardly noticeable. Guess it mattered.

We went out to the store, and we found a gym that Craig had researched so we joined it. Finally, we are able to get some exercise which we both need. Now I just have to find someone to do hair and nails.

I had to go downstairs to the wash room to do some laundry. Oh, how pampered we are in this world. To think I have to spent $3 just to wash and dry our clothes is ridiculous. The washer hardly gets started when it is finished. The dryer does well though. It is a great blessing for us to have a washer and dryer in our home at Layton.

There are two young sister missionaries in our apartment complex. They came over while I was washing the clothes. Their names are Newton and King, and they are really nice. One of them will be going home at the end of the month. She is ready, but it is obvious that they are working hard.  The other one hasn’t been out very long. They appeared to work together well.

Sunday was so surpisingly wonderful. I say that because I was expecting almost no one to be there from the way the Elders had spoken about it. I’d say we had 35-40 people. It is very multicultural. One sister bore her testimony in Spanish and another translated for her. Two young black boys gave the sweetest, most humble testimonies.  It was a touching meeting. There is a lot of poverty among the people, but you could see there is a lot of love there. Several of the white brothers and sisters are either on assignment there to keep the Branch going or have chosen to attend there to provide support.

The building itself was one of the few that the Church built during the Depression. The earlier Saints here were German, and they built it. It had fireplaces. They are bricked over now, but we can see one was in the RS room and one is in the Branch President’s office.  I guess the building has been reviewed by Church publications at least twice. It is located in a black neighborhood. The Church actually sold the building about 1960s or 70s to a group of Baptists. The membership had dwindled from the original German group. The Church then bought the building back when a lot of the blacks joined from the area. They spent time to remove many of the crosses that had been added by the Baptists. There are steam heaters in every room. I’m not sure if they are actually used anymore, but their presence lends a touch of age to the building.

There are very few children in the Branch.  Those that are there aren’t afraid to make themselves known.  We met with the Branch President who struck us as pessimistic about the possible future success of the Branch growing. He, himself, has been serving in the Branch for 6 years although he doesn’t live within the Branch’s boundaries. He is a nice man.  We didn’t meet his wife.

There are several things happening that we will be involved in this month. I will be donating some items to a group that will be making bags for the homeless.  There is a funeral this Thursday for a member’s mother. I didn’t hear that the mother had been a member. We will go to the viewing on Thursday morning, and we will help set up and serve the food after the family returns from the graveyard.

We have Stake Temple day at the end of the month. Maybe we will have a chance to go to the Chicago Temple, which is our home temple.

Today, Monday, we got our first referral. It is a brother of a member who has expressed interest in learning more.  We went to lunch at the Mission Office and celebrated Cinco de Mayo.

We will be working with the genealogy programs. If any of you have a family search membership, you can apply to get your free membership. You cannot do it unless you have been sent an email to do so. They are doing it I guess by regions. If you don’t have a Family Search account, you need to get one. Gracious, how do you think you are going to help us get our work done?

Our apartment is small, but we like it. The people are really friendly, and we like that. Our calendar is beginning to look less like a blank sheet (hahaha).  We finally got all the furniture together so we can now spend more time on getting out and meeting people. We are beginning to feel more at ease here and that’s a good thing. I even wash the dishes after every meal. It helps keep me feeling like we are accomplishing something.

Next  Saturday, we are going with the Hmong Missionaries to visit with the Hmong. The Elders will be introducing us to some they teach, and we will be eating there. We have been told that they like their food hot, hot.

Love to all. I am too tired to write more now.