Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tuesday to Tuesday (June 10-17)
This has been an exciting week. We have had so many wonderful experiences. May I just say that we love Milwaukee. It is a great place to do missionary work.

I’m not sure when, but sometime this past week I called Ada to talk with her. She is an amazing woman. It makes me realize every time I talk with her how much I missed out on over the last 30 years by not keeping up with her. I see her daughters and grandchildren on Facebook, and they are the epitome of her. What great sisters I have. I would love for my children to know my sisters better.

On Wednesday, we went to the gym that morning, and I came back and had to get the laundry done. We realized that at the end of a year with the costs of the washers and dryers here, we will have spent over $900 on that alone. Then the dry cleaning (which is $20 a suit) is about every week or every other week. Unbelievable what it costs to keep your clothes clean. I’m trying to stretch out the time between washings so I will have full machines when I do it. We asked the Elders about where they went to clean their suits. One told us (he’s been out about 9 months) that he had never had his suits cleaned. He stuck them in the shower and let some water flow over them and hung them to dry or he sprayed them and let them air out. I had to laugh. He always looks well dressed.

That evening we attended a PAF meeting. The PAF program was the first the Church put out for genealogy usage. It has been retired for several years now, but this group is holding on to it. They actually went to the Church (after it was announced that it would be retired) and asked for permission to continue to use it. You can download it from them. We went to the meeting (they have 600 on the roles for members) where there were about 200-250 in attendance. This room was full of avid genealogists. Their focus is German genealogy, but the group represented all nationalities. They knew what they were talking about.  The speaker that night covered how to use Google in our genealogy work. It was fascinating. I had heard some of it before, but this was very detailed. Then a secondary speaker urged everyone to go to Rootstech held by the Church every year in Salt Lake. Elder Lenhard and I actually attended one day this past spring, and when we get home, we will plan on attending all three days. He couldn’t say enough about how wonderful it was, so the Church is known in the world of genealogy and are being recognized for the work being done.

Thursday was Mallory’s and Ellie’s birthdays. Mallory was busy with her in-laws who were taking a vacation at her house, and Ellie was staying with Kathy Chamberlain while Adam and Belinda with Kennedy and Noah were in Colorado taking in a couple of Braves games and having fun together.  We hope that both had wonderful birthdays.

We had gym that morning and then at 1:00 we picked up the Sister Missionaries and took them to an appointment with a man who met them when they were tracking someplace. He came and asked them what they were doing, and he questioned them as to why they didn’t ask him if he wanted to know more. He is a housemom (I believe he now has a job as a director of a child center where he can take his two children with him), and he had two beautiful little girls. I landed the role of taking care of the children while Elder Lenhard and the Sisters talked with the man. It was obvious that his children had been taught about Jesus, and these teachings were important to the little girls. One of them showed me a book she was making, and I thought she was showing me a picture of a banana. She had told me what the book was about, but I obviously didn’t hear what she said because she had a drawing of a house with what looked like a banana which she told me was poop. A round thing in the house was a toilet. The thing that looked like a path from the house was the sewer line (she didn’t call it that but it was the thing that took the poop and pee from the house).  Anyway, Elder Lenhard did most of the talking during the appointment. I felt like the man (this was his second meeting) had been talking with someone that had prepped him on how to counter the teachings of the Church. Yet, he wasn’t happy with the answers he was giving, and in fact, almost appeared to be arguing with himself. He knows there is something there, and he will need to find out for himself just like the rest of us have. Elder Lenhard understood what he was saying while the Sisters and I were glad we didn’t have to talk. This man reminded me of my college professor who taught a religion class about the teachings of Paul. Don’t ask me what he taught, because in class, I couldn’t figure out what in the world he was saying. I remember asking myself, why can’t he just speak plain English. Well, I haven’t gotten any better as I’ve aged.

That afternoon we went to the park where they were setting up for Polish Festival. It was good for us to get an idea of where we would be going the next day and get a feel for what would be happening. It made us feel better knowing we would actually be able to find our way there without too much trouble. As soon as we finished there, we raced across town to a South Stake building where we took the place of the Pathway coordinators while the young men and women conducted their meetings. It was very interesting, and I’m kind of glad we won’t be in charge of them. They were very nice, but they are not as disciplined as the older group.

Friday through Sunday, we were at Polish Festival everyday, all day long. We had to be there by 11:30 to be set up by 12:00. It was a wonderful experience. We got to show hundreds of people about the genealogy program on familysearch, find many records for their families, and tell many why we as a Church believed so strongly in the work and wanted to help others with it. There were many hundreds of others that we just talked with because they didn’t have time to get on one of our computers and look for records. It was so fun when we would be able to find their family members that they had never known about before.  We were as excited about it as they were. We encouraged them to come to one of our genealogy libraries where they could put up their trees for free. We felt the Missionaries that worked with us were absolutely a huge success as they not only helped with the genealogy, but taught the people about Jesus Christ when they were asked. We loved it. We met so many good people; we also met a lot of inebriated people. They love to drink here, and it is a shame. They started as soon as the festival opened up and drank all day. How sad that they would not remember much of what they did the next day.

At night, I’m not ashamed to say that we were exhausted. We wouldn’t get home until about 10:00 or later, and we just hit the bed. We wouldn’t change the experience for anything, and the Missionaries also stated they felt the same way. One couple tried to pay us for helping them find some work for a relative who was dying. It was such a compliment. Most could not believe we were doing it for free. This Church accepts no monies to pay for a minister or for any person serving in any position!  It is hard to believe that, when many Churches are ministered by those who are constantly asking for more.

Yesterday, we got up and visited a Basilica. We have visited some of the big Catholic Churches in Mexico when Amy and Jon were living there. I was amazed then, but compared to this one, the ones we have seen before were dark. From what we could gather, a Basilica is a building approved of by the Pope. This place had burned when it wasn’t very old, but they rebuilt it. We are including some pictures so you get an idea. It was light and beautiful. The big picture windows were unbelievable. The problem was that there were shrines all over the place, too many pictures , too many murals, very ornate, very other worldly, but it did not bring to mind the Heavens. We could acknowledge that there are so many wonderful people out there that this building serviced. They have a view of Heaven, but they know not where to find the truth at this point, and their worldly building was the only way they have to express their desire for the spiritual.  We listened to the quiet that this building invoked, but it did not invoke the spirit we find in a Temple. We were in awe at the man-made beauty, but the quiet here came from the awe, not the spiritual peace that comes with recognizing that Jesus is the Christ, and that Heavenly Father is truly our Father.

I have always felt a special feeling when we come across a Church in the countryside, or when I see a beautiful Church built in special places. It makes me realize that people have a need and a desire to find our Father. I always want to give thanks for that building because it represents our searching for the Heavenly.

And so, this week has been a success. Today, we had a District meeting. Afterwards, we took four of the Missionaries out to eat, and we discussed a plan to divide up the number of those who are less active and to visit them and ask them to come back. We talked a lot about keeping up with the contacting, and how to do it. We will be presenting our plan to our Branch President and Stake President if need be. We still don’t know what will be happening to our area, but we feel a need to extend the hand of fellowship to those who we need and who need us.

Have a great week. We love you all, and we would love to have you come visit.

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