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


  1. Love the updates! Keep them coming!

  2. Wow. Everytime I read your updates I get all excited and remind myself to pray for more missionary opportunities...then the same ole same ole until I read again. I really need to beef up my personal gospel studies...

    1. I kid you not, preach my gospel is absolutely fabulous & will help you get into the spirit of missionary work!
      Bethanne, this really is the Lord's work. Use your fairh in Him. Let him guide your thoughts and actions. He wants to use you. You INVITE and the Holy Ghost teaches those who are searching with a sincere heart.