Sunday, August 31, 2014

018 Tuesday to Tuesday, Aug 20-26

Tuesday to Tuesday (Aug 20-26)
I’ll start off this week’s commentary with a quote from Elder Packer, “We are not obedient because we are blind; we are obedient because we can see.”  I love that.

It has been a week of grandbabies going back to school, and parents developing schedules to accommodate school schedules. Our oldest granddaughter, Maddi, has actually started college (dual enrollment allows her to take two classes at the local community college on Tuesdays and Thursdays). She says she enjoys them, and the English class is actually easier than that at the high school. Hummmmmm

Zach is in a STEM program, and I talked with him this week as he had a history project to get our parents’ names. His math class is advanced, but he told me the first homework he had was order of operations. I had to remind him of how many people would take 4 x 10 + 1 and get 44. He laughed like that was an impossibility, NO! I taught that concept. It sounds like he is really going to enjoy his classes in 8th grade. Rylie is in third grade! I thought it was a typo when Amy sent out her first day picture, but it has been confirmed. She has the same teacher as last year, so hopefully, she will enjoy school. While she can read, it appears to cause her great pain, unless she is reading about her favorite comic characters. She is fun to talk to, and I can’t wait to see if this teacher can bring books to life for her.

We have a couple of new kindergartners with Griffey and Ian – the start of a long journey. Wednesday the 20th was Griffey’s birthday. (These birthdays come so quickly in August.) He was a big whopping 5. Just in time to start school.

The first day of school, I don't think Griffey was impressed. On the second day, Griffey took his book to school for reading time, but no such thing happened. The next day he took another book and after waiting patiently, he decided to take matters into his own hands and asked the teacher if it was possible to having reading time that day. She informed him that they would have to wait until everyone was “ready” for reading (actually, the wording was more like when everyone had learned to read). I think Griffey was disgusted and wanted to tell the teacher he already knew how to read and could they just get on with it.  Ian, who has been in a Spanish preschool for the last two years, was a little put out on the first day when he found out that they were going to do baby stuff like colors, letters, etc. He, also, was ready to jump into the “hard” stuff and get the show on the road. It could be a long year for both of these boys.

Leah got to school 20 minutes early on the first day and ended up having to race to class because kindergartners take so much time getting into their classrooms. Jackson started the year with great macho. He is ready for a new year of teaching the class. As a teacher, we loved having kids who came to class prepared. I think that we are very lucky grandparents. All of our grandbabies are learners.

Anden started with a long face, but he appears to be adapting well. I believe his mother described him as embarrassed to have a first day picture taken and just wanted to get in the school. Finley and McKay have spent the first week taking math and some other type of test. What would we do without tests? How did so many of us make it through school without being tested at every step of the way? Finley started with none of her friends in her class this year. I hate that. She is so cute (looking more like her mother every day), and every child should have an old friend in their new class. McKay goes with the flow. He is like his Grandpa Lenhard in that everyone is his friend.  Graysen has recovered nicely from having his tonsils and adenoids removed. I hope he sleeps better. He still takes naps, and Katie hopes he never realizes that kids his age usually have stopped the daytime nap. Kyler is absolutely unbelievable. She has the cutest curls ever (and so much hair, I’m envious). Every picture we see of her has her smiling big time.

The Utah Lenhards really started school in August for about 3-4 weeks, now they are out for about that same amount of time, and then they begin again. This year-round school is confusing. Their family went off to play at the Aspens (a camp under BYU’s watch), and from the pictures, it would seem all are having a great time. Our little Bentley decided he would potty train himself – just like his daddy did, oh so many years ago. Another family without diapers!  Whoo-hoo. Take that you diaper industry!  

Ellie has begun to grow up big time, in a very mature sense.  She will be in a preschool class this year, getting ready for kindergarten next year. Bentley will be involved in a Joy School.  We love to skype with their family (hint, hint – anyone else out there?). Ellie showed us her kitty costume for Halloween (good grief, it’s getting to be that time already?). Kennedy is quite the reader. She loves to read about new worlds and the adventures of children entering those worlds. She has been reading Fablehaven and was excited to learn they are going to make a movie of it. YEAH! She and Leah, who is also a big reader, would make great reading pals. They are very much alike, and it would be fun to watch them grow up together. Maybe the two of them should become penpals and share what they are doing and reading. Noah is in his Chinese immersion program again, and this year has a male teacher for the first time. He says he likes him, so it will be interesting to see what happens as the year progresses.

And so, I get to my little girl who has her little boy and girl, progressing quite nicely. I predict that Cohen will be the death of her yet. Hahahaha  That boy is quite the learner, having figured out that if you pull a stool next to the counter you can climb up and get whatever is there.  Mallory will no longer be able to leave her treats on the counter thinking he won’t see them and she can sneak them without him knowing. He will not only know, he will get them. He is just shy of two years old, and Parker has been a major adjustment. He is making the transition much better, and it is probably because they are finally left alone as a family and no one is coming in to admire the baby. Parker is beginning to fill out, and no longer looks like spider baby with long skinny arms and legs. She is a good sleeper and is much more patient for a mom who has to deal with brother usually right before eating. I think Mallory has it way too easy! What do you think girls?

Now, that I’ve bragged about all my grandkids, please tell me I didn’t miss one, I’ll get down to my usual diatribe.
On Wednesday morning we had a webinar from Good grief, there is so much to learn. We need to know as much as possible since we are out there teaching people how to use it with Family Search. I hope each of you have your Family Search account set up and are working on it. It is fascinating work. Joseph Smith once said our family history work is the most important work we can be doing, and it doesn’t mean just collecting names and dates. We need to get the work done. We spent considerable time working on contacting and organizing information for the South Stake on Family History (FH) consultants with whom we will be working.

On Thursday and Friday, we realized that Spanish Fiesta was coming up quickly (Saturday and Sunday), and we needed to make sure our Spanish Elders were prepared. They had not attended a festival yet, and we hadn’t heard anything from them. I gave one of them all their instructions, shirts, wrist bands, etc. at the tour meeting with Elder Martino, but we hadn’t heard back. So Elder Lenhard worked on trying to contact them and getting the instructions down clearly so that they would know what to do. We also had to prepare for the Fiesta, and we were still working on trying to find the contact information for the FH consultants. I realized that I couldn’t find my emails regarding the feedback we had gotten from some of the Bishops/Branch Presidents on who was called as FH consultants in their wards/branches.  We sent inquiries to all leaders in both the North Stake and the South Stake. We are not working with the North Stake on the FH stuff, yet they were the ones who sent us the most information. We are supposed to have internet access to both Stakes directories for members and leadership information. The North has come through, the South not so much. Wouldn’t you know we would need the South and not the North? So we worked on a spreadsheet with the materials we had, prayed that we would get more information for the ones we needed, and tried to get organized.

On Thursday night, we had to go to one Stake building to monitor an ESL test for the upcoming Pathway year. This program is so important to the Church. It is growing by leaps and bounds, its focus is to bring people back into reactivity. What a great way to do so. Our class has met its goals, so we will for sure begin on the 18th of Sept. It will require a bit of preparation. We’ll both feel like we are back in the school room again, but it will definitely not be the worldly kind.

Friday night we went to dinner with a family named the Armstrongs. They are really a great couple. He is a member, she is not. For some reason, just the idea of getting baptized scares her to death. She says she does not have a good feeling about it. He has been a member for many years. They read the scriptures together, and they go to church more than some of the members do. They have a hard time with all the noisy children. Consequently, they sit in front. I told them I just thank the Lord I’m not having to wrestle with those children. We’ve done our time.  Hahahaha  I know the General Authorities have talked with us a lot about controlling our children in Church. We want them there to learn reverence; however, in the process, it takes lots of years to get them there. There really is no excuse for keeping a screaming child in Sacrament other than the parents have become so used to it that it doesn’t bother them, but it does bother the investigators who aren’t used to it. I’m so grateful all my grandbabies are good in Church. I know some of you don’t think so, but believe me they are good. My philosophy is to never sit in the back. It gives the little ones the idea that they can act like the others who are going wild. Up front it is quieter and more reverent. As a Church we struggle with this, but it is amazing to watch the children as they get older begin to mature and become more reverent, listening to the talks and paying attention. Anyway, we went to the German restaurant, Kegel’s, and had a great dinner. They are a great couple to fellowship, and they are our ages. She has made the comment that the majority of people in their ward are young, and they need older people to fellowship with and with whom to become friends.

On Saturday, we went to Mexican Fiesta. It was a delight. So much fun, but we have to say it was the one festival so far where people are the least interested in their family history. As many indicated, their parents are illegals and so were some of their grandparents; they don’t know who, what, when, or where to begin searching for family. We did learn some new information though. For example, during the years of the inquisition, when the Jews were being murdered, many converted to Catholicism to hide. As a result, many of Spanish or Mexican heritage have Jewish ancestors also. They are the Sephartic Jews. It was amazing how many of those who came to the festival already knew this, and those who did not found it very interesting. 


The performers love to dance and sing. I love the costumes.

Elders Ship and Gibbs working with Margaret Skrem the organizer of our genealogy booth.

Even the fiestas allow for confessions. There was a tent set aside as a Church area.
 One of the craziest things that happened on Saturday was the weather acting like something you see in movies. It was cloudy, the clouds were actually on the ground (if that is possible), the air was misty and every now and then you could feel raindrops. Visibility was poor, and in the park you could not see beyond 100 feet or so. When we looked out over the water (all of the festivals are held in a park next to Lake Michigan), you couldn't see anything but a massive fog. It was weird. I believe some poet talked about fog creeping along on catlike feet. If not, then a poet should have because that's the first thing I thought of when I looked around.

 One of the Spanish Elders who came to work with us acted as a greeter, and he could see the performers on stage in the same building in which we were working. A group was performing, and they were well received and there was so much noise, we couldn’t talk to one another. The Elder pointed to a young man on the stage and said, “I know him.” When the Elder was in Mexico (before his mission), he was in a Mariachi band with this performer. Afterwards, the young man on stage came down, and they were so happy to see each other. This young man lives in Madison, WI. He is a member, and I believe getting ready to go on a mission. How funny to see so many of these instances! 

Elder Jimenez and his friend from the band.

The fiesta was so bright with the beautiful colors and trinkets on sale. I bought two Day of the Dead dolls for Halloween and a manger scene with the characters made from corn husks. I love it. It is not the scene I want to buy for Christmas, but it is wonderful to add to my collection. When I get home, so help me I’m going to get all my manger scenes out and decorate from top to bottom. The upstairs Lenhards are going to be amazed at what I have to show.

They are so cute. Just in time for Halloween.

This is so vibrant in colors. I love it.
On Sunday, we went to Sacrament and then left for the festival. The Branch President has cut our meetings to 2 hours because he says there aren’t enough people to work. Our Mission President is trying to encourage him not to do this, but we have at least one more week this way. We have so many students who went on break, and they hold many of the callings in the Branch. Hopefully, they will get back soon. I think they want us for Primary. Our problem may be that we won’t be there every Sunday.  It should get interesting.

Monday saw us helping a brother get food; fretting over the Pathway program ins and outs; picking up Sisters from the grocery store; and sitting in with the Armstrongs for a lesson. We saw some powerful teaching that night from the Sisters who have been working with them. They are going on an Alaska cruise next weekend, and one of the Sisters and I decided we would make a list of scriptures (one for each day) that they could read and think about during that day. The scriptures would teach about Christ. I typed them up and got them to the Sisters to take to the Armstrongs before they left Friday. We pray they have a great time. We sure did when we went and would love to repeat the experience.

Tuesday found Elder Lenhard going to the jail to see a member who hadn’t paid child support for more years than he could remember. He had left the country, and upon reentry, they got him on an outstanding warrant for the money. He messed up big time. Full-time missionaries are not allowed to teach the Gospel to someone in jail. That is up to the members of his unit to do. So Elder Lenhard went to see how the man was doing and reported it back to President Fritz. We tend to do all kinds of odd jobs in the mission. It’s great!

We thought we had district meeting that afternoon, but it turns out we didn’t, so we took care of lots of paperwork at home and went to Costco to get some groceries. We got lost using our GPS, which just irritates Elder Lenhard tremendously, but I realized I had put in the wrong address again. I’ll eventually get it right.

Our Scripture for the month of September comes from the Book of Mormon, Omni 1:26:
“And now, my beloved brethren, I would that ye should come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of his salvation, and the power of his redemption. Yea, come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him, and continue in fasting and praying, and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth ye will be saved.”

Makes it sound easy doesn’t it. A Church that does not require sacrifice will not stand. The Lord wants it all, with the promise of great blessings than we can’t even begin to understand. Hang in there. Make prayer an all day activity. Start your morning and end your day talking with the Lord. He wants to hear from you. We love you all.

Saturday, August 23, 2014


We had a wonderful experience today while serving in a genealogy booth at Milwaukee's MEXICAN FIESTA! Wonderful Elders and new Milwaukee friends! Tremendous day!

It's too late to share anything else right now, but this is a sample of pictures to come!!!

Sorry it's blurry….it's from my phone!

Friday, August 22, 2014

017 - Tuesday to Tuesday, Aug 13-19, 2014

We finished another week with the question most on our minds – Where is the time going?  We passed some interesting milestones during this time. I finally finished the papers to get us buried. It is a doggone shame that you have to pay some much money just to rent a box for a period of time until we get resurrected. Surely, our leaving this world should be cheaper than when we entered it. Oh, well. It is done. The kids will not have to worry about what will happen. Like I said before, teach those grandkids how to play “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes. Enough with this, let’s get started.

Wednesday began just like any other day. We had to get out of bed and actually move like we were alive. I think it gets harder and harder to get up in the morning. It is my opinion that people tend to get old no matter what. We like to believe that we won’t feel the effects of age like our parents did, but it comes to the best of us. We moan and groan as our joints take time limbering up, and it takes a little walking around to convince ourselves that we are going to live. And, live we did. We got to go to the Chicago Temple with one of the young men we had been teaching in the Temple Prep classes. 
Elders Cutshaw, Santos, Ellsworth, and Ward. See the man working on the Temple in the background.
 His name is Xavier Watts, and he is headed for Birmingham. He says he will be going to Tuscaloosa and Huntsville, so it looks like they have a big mission area. How fun! We will have to contact some of our friends in both cities to be on the lookout for him. He told me he had looked up Bear Bryant – since he is too young to have heard of him before. He loves football so he is heading into football heaven. It was really special to see him at the Temple as he made special covenants with the Lord to do all he could to return to our Father in Heaven. We had to leave at 12:30 to get the missionaries we were taking with us and get on the road. Our wonderful GPS took us through some lovely unnecessary sites to get on the interstate. Xavier’s appointment time was 3:00, and we didn’t want to be late, but once again that GPS was smart enough to take us off the tollroads and into the back country. We saw some interesting places; some reminded me of Chilhowie and Abingdon. My sisters and brother will understand what I’m saying. We did actually make it in plenty of time and are grateful that we did. It was a nice cool day (as usual) with a bright sunlight. I love this weather. The Spirit was present, and we felt blessed to be in the Temple.

The Temple session was over at 5:30pm, and we had to get back to Milwaukee by 7:00 for a genealogy society meeting that we attend. We joined their organization and love to attend their meetings. They are a PAF group with 600 members. On average, 150-200 attend each month. These are serious genealogists, and they have a lot to share with those of us who are still rather newbies in the work. While there, the Stake Family History Consultant told us about the Scandia Festival that she wants us to attend. We love this place. It truly has an unbelievable international culture that is exhibited in their festivals. It was really late when we finally got home.

On Thursday, we were glad for a slow day. We began by visiting Jane Maher, the woman who was in charge of Irish Fest, and getting our tickets and parking pass for the festival.  She had mailed them to us, but we didn’t get them. With the tickets for Friday, she also gave us complimentary tickets for Thursday evening. We decided to go at the last minute, and it was a blast. There was some drinking, but it was mild compared to the German Fest. People were really listening to the bands – there were at least three that night. They were all good. We had a chance to stay after the closing (10:00pm) to listen to a band that was making a video and we could have been in the audience; but we were too tired.
I believe this may be a Scottish band playing through the Festival.
I think this is called an Irish Cross and was part of the decorations for the festival.
Just to prove that we were there!

One of the bands we got to listen to on Thursday night.

The morning of Irish Fest kept us busy as we had  much to do with organizing our work for helping new members do their genealogy so they can take names of their ancestors to the Temple for the first time. That is a big deal. We try to explain to people when they ask why we are so interested in genealogy that it is all about family. If we all do our family work, then we can find the connections that will bring us together. Families are so important in God’s plan, and if we raise good strong families, our world will be a better place in which to live. People in Milwaukee love to do family history, and if they haven’t done it before, they get so excited when we help them find some of their grandparents or great grandparents. It really means something to them, and that is why we enjoy doing this work. We spent the day emailing and making spreadsheets as we received information from throughout the Stakes.

Friday morning we went to the gym and then tried to get some other business cleared up before we began our work session at the Irish Fest that afternoon. We left at 1:30 to be able to find the parking lot. The night before we had located a man who sold some beautiful pottery. I had decided I wanted a piece and had told him we would be back on Friday. So we left ourselves enough time to do that before we began our genealogy workshift. I chose a beautiful red gravy bowl with lid. I asked him if he did the Scottish Fest also because I had seen the same pottery there when we went to the small one in July. I will probably pick up another piece when the main Scottish Fest comes back at the end of August. I’ve got to collect something, don’t I? 
Much redder than picture shows. I'm not as good a picture taker as Craig.
Hey, before I forget, children if you want to contribute to a manger scene for my Christmas present, I’ll happily take donations. I found it at Holy Hill, and it is different from all my other ones. One day one of you will inherit it. Hahahaha  - any takers???

The tent that we worked in that evening was really big and hot. I wore a dress for cool weather because the night before it was really cold. Naturally, it was too hot on Friday. We were in an area that blocked the normal breeze that would cool us off so I was glad when I could stop sweating later in the evening as the temperature dropped. We met such nice people at the festival. We got to work at one table that looked up surnames to help people declare that they really were Irish, and then later we worked the computers to help people find their ancestors. I worked with a husband and wife on his genealogy and found his great great grandfather and grandmother. We were able to find maiden names for all of the women in his family. He didn’t have any of the information for his people, and he was so grateful to find the information we did.

I may look like I know what I'm doing, but I'm struggling with all the information.
Let me backtrack for a moment. As of last Wednesday, we had not received any information about Irish Fest even though another senior couple had gotten their tickets. So, I had called Jane last Wednesday to ask if she still wanted us to work with her at the Festival. She sounded really old and grumpy and it seemed as if she didn’t think I was telling the truth about not having gotten the tickets in the mail because she had sent them. I assured her that we hadn’t gotten them, and that is why we had to pick them up the next day. I made the assumption that she was going to be a tough one to work for, but when I met her that morning, she was very nice. Then she gave us the complimentary tickets for Thursday also, and I realized I needed to change my opinion of her fast. When we met at the festival on Friday afternoon, she was wonderful. Her son is a Catholic Priest, and he was quick to make our acquaintance. Craig and he got along really well. It is humbling to make quick judgments without all the facts, and I’m glad we got to work with them. She told us that several years ago the LDS Church had promised they would set up a table in their tent to show off FamilySearch and at the last minute they called it off because someone said it was too dangerous to be at the festival . She called them and told them they were expected to come, but if they didn’t, it would be alright because she would put up a sign that said in effect, “The LDS Church was supposed to be here, but they decided not to come. Maybe they’ll come another year.” I don’t really think those were the exact words, but evidently we got the message because we showed up. However, it left a bad impression with her. We received a really nice compliment when she told us that it was such a pleasure to work with us, and she was glad the Church was willing to come again. She would love to work with us next year. If we hadn’t had to leave the next morning for Mallory’s, we would have worked all weekend.

Saturday, we were out of bed at 3:00am in the morning. Had to catch the 6:30 plane, and it was all we could do to make it out of the apartment and to the airport. I slept the whole way to Colorado, and I rarely ever sleep on a plane. We had a very short visit for Parker’s baby blessing. All of Brad’s family except for one sister was there, so Mallory appreciated that we could come and represent her side of the family. Parker has sure grown a lot in three weeks. Cohen is such a doll, but it appeared his two-year molars must be breaking through because he was not a happy camper for some of the time. When they gave him some pain medication, he finally began to return to his usual happy self. He is fun to be around, but I had to admit I was a little jealous that he kept calling Brad’s mom, grandma. That’s my name!  hahahaha  It doesn’t really matter, but I thought back and remembered that we always called our grandparents  as “Granddaddy Dowell” and “Granddaddy Walton.” They didn’t have special names to distinguish between the different sides of the family. Times are achanging.

Good picture captured by Craig.

Sunday, we went to Church for Sacrament and then back home to feed family members who were supposed to leave early in the afternoon. Brad gave a beautiful blessing to Parker, and we found other Ivey family members who also lived in Colorado. Mallory will be surrounded by family, and that’s a good thing.

Sorry the picture is so washed out, but this is Parker, Mom, and both Grandmothers.

Monday, we spent the day helping Mallory with chores around the house and getting prepared to leave that evening. Brad’s mom, Donna, was still there and would leave on Tuesday, so between the three ladies we got lots done. We hated to leave, but we were feeling the need to get back to our most important work at this time. We are grateful for a Mission President who allows us to participate in family events, but we go knowing that we must return quickly. We left at 5:00 (should have left sooner) and got into the slowest traffic ever because of two accidents about 30 miles away from the airport. Nothing puts Craig on the hotseat like being late for our plane flights. We actually did get there on time. It helped that I had prayed that the plane would be delayed, and it was for about 15 minutes. We were grateful. We got in after 11:00 and hit the bed as soon as the door was closed and locked.

Tuesday found us at District Meeting. We had to go to Denise’s place after the meeting because she was holding a farewell party for Elder Ellsworth who would leave on Thursday for Arizona. I had to make cornbread, and of course, I had no eggs. So I got all the ingredients ready to take and make at her place. We would buy eggs on the way over. She had also asked that I bring potato salad, so I had to get some of that too.

Our District Meeting was excellent as usual. Elder Ellsworth is a country boy, lives around Mesa somewhere on a farm. He breaks horses, and he always has some homey saying coming out of his mouth. Craig’s favorite is “you can lead a horse to water, but it is very hard to drown it.” Now, why is that funny? Don’t ask me its significance, maybe you already know. Anyway, he’s always coming up with something his daddy said. He obviously admires his dad a lot. He mentioned another saying that I’ve heard before, but it struck me again and I’ll paraphrase it here, “Good timber does not grow with ease, the stronger the timber, the stronger the breeze.” I know I’ve heard it in a Conference talk, and it strikes the truth within us. Our testimonies do not grow without opposition. A mission is the hardest thing we ever learn to love. Opposition is not to pull us down, but to lift us up and to strengthen our testimony in Jesus Christ.

Our Scripture this month is D&C 82:10:  “I, the Lord, am bound when you do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.”  What is that promise, eternal life with one another and Father in Heaven. What else is important? Nothing in this life is worth losing eternal life with our families.

At our District Meeting, I learned a couple of other things that stood out: Our commitment to the Gospel is important. If we keep the pedal to the metal and continue to move forward, if we are climbing a hill and we go as far as we can, as fast as we can, and as hard as we can, the Atonement will take us over.
Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

How often do we offer nickel prayers and expect dollar answers? We need to up the ante!

Keep up the good works. Try hard in keeping your commitments to Father in Heaven, and trust Him. He will direct your paths.

We love you all.

 Thusfar, most of my contributions have been photographs.  It's time for some reflections of my own.

Friday, August 15, 2014

16 - Tuesday to Tuesday (Aug 5-12)

I start a new numbering system today. Adam reminded me that I needed a way to organize my posts. I’d actually been thinking that it was disconcerting to go into the lists of my files and realize that I had to hunt to find the last one made so I could begin a new one. Thanks Adam for being prompted to encourage me to do so now, rather than later.

One of the things I love about our Mission is that we do get to travel here, there and beyond. On Tuesday, the 5th, we headed back to Kenosha, which is south of here. It is a great drive if you go through the country, but Elder Lenhard loves to take the “scenic” interstates. In all fairness, we had to be there by 9:30 and had planned a two-hour training with Elder and Sister Linsley on Family Search. It was then back to our City Branch for a District Meeting. I took my computer because we had been told last week that the genealogy library at the chapel would be closed. We didn’t think anything about it really and were under the impression that the Linsleys knew the library was closed. When we arrived, they were discouraged to find it closed and thought we were not going to be able to do anything. It turns out that there was a public library around the corner, so off we went. It was a productive morning as we tried to get in and point out so many things that would make their work easier as they taught those in their unit how to research and find their ancestors. Elder Linsley has now been called as the Mission Leader, a teacher for the Gospel Principles class, and something else. Haven’t many of us been in those kinds of situations? He is so gracious, and you can just feel the love he has for the work he is doing. Sister Linsley is such a support, but she laughs as she says she is hiding behind the door as much as possible. When we serve in small units, we do what has to be done. When we tell people that we have no paid ministry, I’m not sure that they can even imagine the responsibility that puts on the members. This is the Lord’s Church, and our service to Him includes giving all that we have to further the Kingdom. I’m grateful for this time in our lives when we can devote ourselves 100% to helping here in Milwaukee.

Our District meeting that day was well done. Each missionary there got to tell about the most spiritual lesson they had received during the last week. I, for one, never really understood how missionaries worked together. When we get up to do something, for the most part, we stand with our companions. I love that. My most spiritual moment was a realization that when we are prepared, we truly do not have to fear. On Sunday when we went to Kenosha and participated in that Sunday School class about Elijah and Elias, I realized that I was not prepared for that class. Elder Lenhard and I felt a need to stay hidden in the class because we were surrounded by so many who were not only prepared but who were willing to step forward and teach the rest of us. I knew some of the story from the Old Testament, but I had not ever studied it and the ramifications for us. It made me want to just stay there and be taught more. When the Spirit teaches us, it makes us thirst after greater knowledge and understanding. I can imagine that it must have been that way when we were in the presence of our Father in Heaven before we came to this earth.

We were shown a video at the meeting that really struck me. We see ourselves in terms of yesterday and today, but the Lord sees us in terms of eternity.  He knows what we are capable of becoming, our biggest stumbling block is ourselves. I love that thought. I especially like knowing that I am capable of becoming so much more than I am. If this mission has taught me anything, it is that I am not where I want to stay. I want to become the daughter that He recognizes.

Wednesday brought with it a day at home. We are involved in reaching out to the Wards and Branches in both the South and North Stakes to help the Family History Consultants (FHC) reach out to new converts and get them to begin their family history work. We have quite a few new converts this year, and we are including all those who have been baptized in 2014. An email has gone out to all Bishops/Branch Presidents asking for the names and contact information for the FHC in their units. This day was spent compiling information, checking off who we have heard from and whose information we are missing. I really love to put together these types of worksheets, but I have to admit that after I had started and restarted about six times (due to changing information and what we wanted on the worksheet and what we received), it was getting old fast. I finally came up with a sheet we can work with, but there are still some columns that need work. We also realized quickly that several of the replies we received were more along the line of “I’ll get the info to you” kind of thing. I know the Bishops and Branch Presidents are really busy. When they have so much to do for the unit they serve, it is easy to put away requests like ours to get to it another time. We feel bad about having to contact them again, but if we haven’t heard anything by next week, we will have to do so.

We also spent time on getting contact information to write to those who do the bulletins for their units. We needed to send out a blurb about the Pathway program. We now have made a presence in every unit in both Stakes, and we are trying to encourage those who are going to be registering for the program to sign up. Why is it that people are such great procrastinators? I don’t know why I even ask that question, because I am a perfect example of one who puts it off until the last minute. I know I have to do something, but maybe not right at this minute. It is a great blessing when I finally do whatever needs to be done, and I really feel better. Then I chastise myself and say, “Why didn’t I do this earlier so I could stop worrying about it?” Anyway, we are up to 18 people who have applied, and we need 30. We check the lists everyday to find out who has completed an application. Elder and Sister Phillips, who are service missionaries from their unit, are in the lead for the program, so we have left much of the worrying up to them as we have many other responsibilities. Sister Phillips keeps us up-to-date and has been good in helping us get on board with the program. She has told us that last year at the last minute, there was no trouble getting those who wanted to take the courses to sign up. We are excited about the program, and we are praying that this year is no different.

On Thursday, it was a quiet day that we spent working on our own genealogy and exploring some of the things we don’t normally use on some of the programs. We had to do some laundry also since we didn’t get to do it this past Monday.  

That afternoon we went to Denise’s house to be there while the missionaries taught her oldest children. It is a delight to visit with her, although it can turn into several hours because of the distractions. There are times when it is obvious that she cannot stay focused on something for too long, but she is like a teenager in some of the things she says. She is in her late 20s, but with the brain injury that she sustained, her mind wanders, and you never know what she will say.

Her oldest boys live with their father who is a member of the Church. I don’t believe he is active, but she has indicated that he does not support her in joining the Church. She wanted her boys to come to her baptism, and the father wouldn’t bring them. Their grandparents are members, but they are older and somewhat limited in getting to the Church. From what I can gather, the grandparents do support Denise, and they have been the instruments in helping the boys get to Church when they go.

The boys are 8, 10, and 12, and unfortunately, they haven’t lived with Denise for several years. When they come, they are wild, wild, wild, and they are not good listeners when Denise tells them to do something. The youngest could use a dose of medicine as far as I’m concerned. I don’t think I’ve seen a greater example of ADHD in a while. The middle boy is bright, bright, and bright, while the oldest is quiet and doesn’t openly get involved. When we got there, they Elders began teaching a lesson out of the Book of Mormon, using the children’s book version.  They were sitting around the kitchen table so we pulled up a chair and got in on the lesson. Across from me the youngest boy was balancing on his knees, the middle one was standing right next to me, and the oldest was on his knees between the other two with his head just barely above the table. Every question the Elders asked, the youngest screamed an answer (not always the right one), and the middle one next to me would give the correct answer. The oldest one never said anything  (maybe he was used to not getting a word in edgewise) unless he was spoken to directly. I asked the middle one some things just to get a better feeling for his understanding and was just impressed with what he knew. It was exhausting. I know why old people should not raise little ones. We have neither the patience nor the stamina to keep up with them. I remember chasing Cohen around the house just a few weeks ago, and by the time I caught him, I was exhausted. I can still see him turning around looking at me and laughing hysterically as I came after him. I used to be a pretty good runner, but I’m afraid those days are fast receding into the background. Ellie and Bentley would run and laugh and scream as I tried to catch them. I once thought that there was no way children their ages could get away from me. I now humbly recognized my error in judgment. They can and do run faster and can run longer than I have the ability to keep up. If I didn’t go to the gym several times a week, I’d turn to mush.

Friday came and went. It was a light day, but I know we were involved in something that I failed to put on the calendar. We went to the gym that morning, and then it …. I must keep up with stuff.

We looked out our front window, and for the first time, we saw that the leaves are beginning to change colors. It is actually getting cool here. The weather has gotten nippy in the morning, and many days are no hotter than the lower 70s.  You know how the sunlight begins to look different when fall is approaching. The days are not quite as bright as they have been. Fall is coming and fast. 

I just look outside and think about the start of school. I am so happy I’m not in the schools any longer. I do keep in touch with a few of my fellow teachers, and from what they say, it makes me glad I’m not there any longer. My old school has a new principal this year, and a new superintendent that came in right after I left. Someone has decided that since all the schools aren’t performing at the level they should, everyone has to change. So Blackmon (my old school – which was the best in the district) has changed their 5 class schedule (4 academic and 1 elective) to a 6 class schedule. It means that every class is now 55 minutes instead of 70, and every teacher has to teach an odd class at the end of the day. The teacher who took my place now teaches a social studies class as her last class. Some teachers have to teach their last class at another grade level. I would be miserable with a schedule like this; I taught this way when I first began teaching, and it was no fun. It’s the little things that make us happy, knowing that I don’t have to get up every day to face 100+ kids and teach to each and every one in their own distinctive learning style, while maintaining discipline, and keeping enough paperwork on each one to fill a book every two months, . . . I could go on and on, but I won’t. It is an unnecessary thought process that wears me down.  Hahahaha

Saturday was busy. We had to get up early and help buy groceries for a brother who has been in poor health lately. This brother has almost nothing to call his own, and when we take him grocery shopping, he gets nothing but what he absolutely needs. We often see pictures of those in our society who when they are offered help, they will take and take and take, until their lives are dependent on help and not their own abilities. Yet, here is a most humble man who is in need of help but strives all the while to get to the point where he can help himself again. If we were all more like him.

Before we left this man’s house, we asked if he wanted to go to a baptism in another ward. The person being baptized had been brought to the Church by him several years ago. He was excited to go, but we had at least an hour before the baptism so we dropped him off and drove around until we found a place to park and waited until we could pick him up again to take him to the baptism. The woman who got baptized is named Tubree. She has two children, one is 16 and the other is about 6. Neither of the children came to the baptism. There were lots of people there though, and it was fun to get to meet the people and be told that they were responsible for introducing Tubree to the Church. President and Sister Cutler were there, and they are the most gracious people. They never meet us but what they say how grateful they are for our service in the mission. One sister got up to give the opening prayer, and I thought she was the Relief Society President. I mentioned to Elder Lenhard that she was the youngest RS President I had ever seen. I teased her afterwards about how young she is, and she told me she is 31. She just finished her master’s. She looks 15. I told her she will be grateful for her youthful looks when she gets as old as I am. The Sister who gave the talk on Baptism was the president. She is a Stewart by marriage, and I feel like I need to talk with her husband about his family history.

While at the baptism, we met Bishop Canada. I introduced myself and mentioned that we had just sent him an email regarding the Family History Consultants. He laughed and said that since he now knew who we were he could feel better about sending us the information. He is a really nice person, very friendly and obviously loves the Ward he serves. He gave a great welcome to the Church talk, and I could see how members would feel comfortable under his stewardship.

On Sunday, we stayed in our branch. Elder Lenhard and I ended up teaching the Gospel Principles class on Temple work. We have two Hmong families in the class. In one family, the father does not speak English. He can understand some of it, but he does not speak it. One of the Hmong Elders translates for him. I always like to ask him questions, so an Elder translates the question, and then waits until the brother answers him before he tells the class what is said. It takes a long time to get an answer because they use many words for each of ours (or maybe the Elder who is doing the translation just condenses it down to a few words). However, every time he speaks, he has some really spiritual lesson to teach all of us. The Hmong people are so interesting. They have no homeland. I spoke to the Hmong sister who taught the RS lesson about doing Temple work. She said it is so very hard to even try to do their families’ work because they quickly get to a very short end. After a couple of generations, they don’t know where to go with their work because these people have moved from country to country without one of their own for several decades or longer. She said there is such a lack of documentation because of their movements, they have no records. It helps us understand that the time will come when they will know who their ancestors are, and all about their lives. They are very close with immediate family, so I’m sure they wish they knew more about their pasts.

After Church, we waited around to give the last Temple Prep class to our young men, Kohl and Xavier, who are going on a mission. It was a review of the things they have already been taught. They planned to go to the Temple on the 14th, then Kohl had to change it to the 13th  because his parents couldn’t go on the 14th.  We plan to go to the Temple with them.

On Monday, we took the Sister Missionaries down to the Joan of Arc Chapel after they had written to their parents and we had gone to the gym. I had to go pay the $2 I owed for the pamphlet that Nelda (the docent) had given us. Of course, when I got there, I had left the money in my other purse. I guess we will be going again.  The Sisters enjoyed the Chapel as much as we did. While we were there, a woman came in with two younger ladies. They had some of the original armor that was worn during Joan’s time, and they were there to take pictures of one of the girls dressed in the armor in that chapel. The woman taking the pictures was writing some kind of paper on Joan and the time period.  Of course, we waited to see it all happen. Elder Lenhard got a great picture of the girl kneeling in the act of prayer.  

After we left the Chapel, we decided to go to see the Pabst mansion. Unfortunately, they wanted $9/person to take a tour, and we decided to pass it by. It is a 20,000 sq. ft. home that must have been quite a showplace in its heyday. Today, it is surrounded by some sections of town that are not as upscale, and so you really don’t want to be outside when the sun goes down in this part of town. The Elders in our Branch live just a block away, but you can see the mansion from their place.

Finally, Tuesday brought Elder Martino of the Seventies and his wife to our District Meeting. I’m still a little fuzzy on these meetings, but this one included all the districts in our Zone.  Elder Martino was marvelous as he spoke to us about how we do missionary work. I will only give some highlights of his teachings but just know that being taught by him was a spiritual high.

  1. Missionaries are called to an area for two reasons: (a) someone in that area needs to be taught by that missionary and (b) there is something the missionary needs to learn from the Mission President and his wife.
  2. From surveys that have been done (not in the Church), it has been found that those in the 19-29 year old age range are the farthest from any interest in religion. What are the age ranges for a missionary in the Church?  The Lord knows how to help our young people stay close to him.
  3. A talk was recently given by a sister in the Church (and I’ve since seen this in LDS Living). She said, “this is a woman’s Church. It is the only organization that helps me see who I am and what I can become.”
  4. We must become agents unto ourselves to seek revelation. Our mission helps us to prioritize our lives. When we go home, we go home with power. In order to do this, we must have a change of heart, to become the person he wants us to become to return to Him. This change of heart comes by consecrating ourselves to His work and to be valiant in our testimonies of Jesus Christ.
  5. We must align ourselves with the Lord’s requirements: (a) repent, (b) exercise faith, (c) do good works (again and again), and (d) pray always – revelation is time sensitive. I especially love the last one. When revelation comes, if we don’t act on it, time will run out and we will have missed our opportunity.

So we leave you with a few thoughts:
In reading the Book of Mormon, we see there were a lot of little victories that helped the people stay obedient. Now is not the time to rest, rest will come when the Lord says the work is done. How sad we will be it at the last day we have become someone we don’t want to be because of the simple decisions we have made in our lives. Our preparation makes us acceptable to the Lord. When we are prepared, we need not fear. Father expects us to be prepared so that he can use us.
Romans 10: 11, 13 – Those who believe in Him shall not be ashamed and if we call on His name, we will be saved.
Mosiah 4:27 – Do not run faster than you have strength, but do not take this to mean you are off the hook. You may not win the race, but if you want to win, then push yourself harder than you think it possible. Success stories are made by those who work the hardest.

Love to you all. Have a great week.
Sister and Elder Lenhard