What a week! We are beginning to understand what it means to stay busy. It’s almost like being in a full-time job. Haha Evidently, the Lord wants to make sure we get things done, and we need to get them done all at once. Our calendar is now full of appointments, and we get calls constantly. Life is good!
Due to Labor Day on Monday, our P-day was Tuesday, and our District Meeting was pushed to Wednesday. It was a great meeting as usual. We discussed Christ-like attributes such as:
Patience – the ability to do God’s will and accept His timing. I’ve always laughed and asked, “Why can’t the Lord ever do anything when I want it done?” Inevitably, I’ve realized afterwards that if it had been done when I wanted it, it would not have turned out as well as it did when He did it in His timeframe. Without hope, we cannot endure patience. Have you ever thought of that – without hope, we would not be able to be patient. We learn not to fear the struggle. On a mission we are thrown into a circle with others who bear the same burdens. Growing in the Gospel helps us face our trials by praying for patience so that when trials come we will be better prepared to handle them. I think somewhere along the trail of life, we were told to never pray for patience. Life then is a challenge because we are given opportunities to develop those patient-like attributes. Does God give us trials to overcome? Or, is it part of life because of the decisions we make each day. When we focus on patience, do those trials appear to be more burdensome than usual because we are trying so hard to overcome them and feel good and relaxed while we do so. Hope is such a huge part of our patience plan. It helps us focus on the positive, and we can then deal with our burdens knowing our Father in Heaven is lifting us up, and we are not alone. It’s when we lose sight of our hope in Jesus Christ that our burdens become too heavy for us to carry.
Commitment – the word “commitment” is an action word. When we focus our commitments on helping others come unto Christ, our actions will compel us to move forward and stay focused on the Lord’s plan. John 7:17 says that if we will do His will, God will let us know if we are doing right. If we encourage others to keep their commitments to come unto Christ, we can promise that they will receive blessings that will change their lives. We see it happen all the time.
That evening we went to the North Stake Building to see Xavier set apart for his mission. He will be in the MTC for a couple of weeks, and then it is off to Birmingham, AL. Pray for him to find great success. He is truly a good young man.
Thursday became an omen of things to come. On Monday, the 8th, our Pathway students are supposed to be enrolled and admitted. I’ll be the first to say that the Pathway site is not user friendly. It should be understandable, but everytime I log in, I walk away with another question. That night we had an online Pathway training program. I even asked a question! I think that is big stuff considering I wasn’t sure what in the world I was doing. But I didn’t embarrass myself or Elder Lenhard, so it was ok.
I called the woman who was over the Indian Festival on Friday to tell her we hadn’t received our tickets etc. to attend. We made arrangements for us to pick them up on Friday from her husband’s business.
On Friday, we had to be at the Indian Festival by 5:00 for the rest of the evening. We knew we would have to go early to pick up our tickets and get to the festival in enough time to void some of the interstate traffic downtown. It is absolutely unbelievable how busy these roads are around here. It doesn’t help that every time we go out, they are working on the roads at one point or another. The winter did a number on the roads in this area. They are so rough in many neighborhoods that it is really uncomfortable driving over them. I often wonder if the bottom is going to fall out of the car from some of the ruts that we have encountered and can’t seem to avoid.
After getting some work done that morning, we started out around 2:00. It took awhile to find the address we were given to the husband’s business. She said it was on a corner of two roads. Her husband is self-employed, but the four businesses that were at the corner she gave us was not that of a self-employed person. I had to call her, and she declared she hadn’t given us that address. Now, either I’m getting crazier than a loon (which is always possible), or she is so caught up in all that had to be done for the festival that she was not thinking when she gave the address. I’m thinking it was the latter because how else would I have known where to go. She gave me the new address to a U-haul place. When I went into the office, there was no one there. Our tickets were sitting on a desk with our names on them, so after hollering “Hello” numerous times, I picked them up (I did leave a note to say I had gotten them) and headed out. Just to be extra safe, I went around to the back of the place and her husband was there tinkering on a truck with another person.
The Indian Fest was so much fun. It was for American Indians and is the largest PowWow in the U.S. This was their 29th year, and the first for an appearance for genealogy. The weather was not very nice that evening, and it actually got cold. We were on the water front at the festival park, and when that wind blows, everyone just wants to go home. We did get some good pictures of some of the Native Americans in costume. They take this seriously. There is an Indian Casino in town, the Potowatomi, and I guess they rake in the money. Our festival tickets have coupons for half-priced meals, and people have said that they have really good food. Another group of Native Americans are asking to build a casino not too far from here, and this group is a little incensed, to say the least. They are threatening not to pay all the taxes they owe if it happens. We did get some Indian frybread for food. This was the first festival where they allowed you to eat anywhere for the tickets we were given for food (we got them because we were volunteers). The food was expensive, and they gave us $5 in tickets each. We found by putting them together and sharing a drink that it was OK. The attendance that night was low. We felt it was partly the weather and partly Friday night. We wondered if it would pick up on Saturday.
We didn’t need to worry about attendance on Saturday. We worked from noon to 5:00, and we did not stop. We did get to go eat, and it was a relief to sit down. Elder Lenhard and I hardly sat at a computer. We had people who preferred to sit at the computers all day and not move (I can’t move after doing that – all of my parts hurt). So we talked with people. That’s certainly not a hardship for us. Elder Lenhard found someone who, upon knowing we were members of the Church, engaged him in doctrinal discussions (they actually were away from the genealogy tables), and it was felt that he was sadly disappointed when Elder Lenhard didn’t budge. They had a great conversation though, and it was not antagonistic in any way. Later, we saw the young man helping take care of the Indian horses.
|So many people came by to learn how to do their family histories.|
|There were many tribes other than the Navajos who had code talkers. If they spoke about it, this man said they lost their lives. His uncle was a code talker.|
|I love this picture. They held a PowWow at the tent site. There is a canoe in the water just below the tent. People went for rides during the festival.|
On Sunday, we headed out first to the Milwaukee Spanish Branch to visit and find out what we could about any family history consultants in the Branch. We found out the Branch has no consultants, so we have to come up with a strategy to help the new members of the Branch get to the Family Search site so they could set up their individual accounts and start uploading their family information. We got there early and hadn’t been there long before we were asked to go pick up an investigator. Thank goodness for GPS!!!
Have you ever set in a conference and realized that you have no idea what anyone was saying. That’s what we felt like in a Branch where there were hardly any English speakers. But, I will tell you that it was a very reverent and spiritual meeting. You wouldn’t have known there were children there; one or two got up to go to the bathroom, but there was no crying or screaming, just very peaceful and wonderful. We had some friends there from meetings we have attended in their homes with the Spanish Missionaries so it was great to see and talk with them. We had taken our handouts to give to the Branch President who wasn’t there, but we got the Spanish Missionaries to translate for us to one of the counselors. They have at least 10 new members from this past year that we are targeting. We have another couple on their mission here, and they are in a Spanish Branch further south. They will be helping us teach those in this Branch about the website and getting the members online.
We left there right after Sacrament and headed to the Indian Festival again. As we entered the tent, we found out that the festival had started earlier for a run that was raising funds for an autism organization. They raised over $120,000. We were very impressed. Once we put down our things and signed in, we never stopped. Come 5:00, I could hardly talk, but it had been a wonderful day. We encouraged so many people to come to our Church libraries or to go to the local library and get started on their family histories.
Some interesting facts that we learned from this festival. One member of the Ojibwe (we think part of the Chippawa) told Elder Lenhard that the land-bridge theory of how the Native Americans came to this country is all a lie. They don’t believe it at all. It is white-man’s way to explain what they don’t understand. The Native Americans say they have been here forever. Others said that there is no doubt that the Aztecs were up here in Wisconsin. Other tribes fought with them and told them they could not stay; they were cannibals and those that were here did not want to have anything to do with them.
On Sunday, we met a woman from Mexico who was of Aztec descent. We passed her in the parking lot – she was standing outside of her car putting on this beautiful headdress, and as we passed, I quickly glanced in her direction and did not recognize whether the person was a man or a woman. I said I hoped it was a man because she had legs that looked like tree trunks they were so huge. When we parked and were heading into the festival, she was still there so we stopped to meet her. She was really pretty and had on the most beautiful costume. We are including her picture here. She also stated that there is no doubt that the Aztecs were up in Wisconsin. There is a place above Madison called Aztalan where there are supposed to be some pyramids built by them. We want to go visit that place.
|This woman is a descendent of the Aztecs from Mexico. She had come up just for the festival.|
On the way out that day, we splurged with our tickets and bought some corn on the cob (yum, yum - Elder Lenhard got his in a cup with mayonnaise and butter), cheese curds (fried cheese), and some dessert. Took one more picture and bid farewell until next year.
|Elder Lenhard would have made a great warrior!|
Monday was once again our P-day so we had been invited up to a place called The Dells. It was about a 90 mile drive to the west of us, and we had been told it was beautiful. We had to leave early to get up there by 9:00 because we wanted to get back early that evening. The drive was beautiful, and we saw plenty of things we hadn’t seen before. People, there is a Great Wolf Lodge here! We passed Aztalan and from the road only saw a park, but we saw signs for a historic place to visit (that will be for the future). We went to visit a husband and his wife named the Porths. They used to be assigned to City Branch, and they were Primary teachers for Xavier when he was a boy. They promised that when Xavier went on his mission, they would buy him two suits. They went on a mission to Tucson, Arizona, and loved it there. When they got home, they left the Milwaukee area and moved to their present home area because his dad owned the land and it was willed to him. They had a beautiful double wide trailer put on the land (you could not tell it was a trailer at all), and they live in the country. While we were outside, I noticed birds I had seen in pictures, chickadees, and they were everywhere. Evidently, deer that come out late in the evening, and it sounds like a wonderful place to live. There are neighbors few and far between. They are assigned to a small Branch (not the one closest to them, but like us sent to a Branch that needs them), and they stay busy helping the members there.
They took us on a sightseeing tour of the local areas. We went to a Sprechers Restaurant for lunch. Sprechers is a local drink company. They make the most wonderful root beer, cream soda, and Elder Lenhard’s favorite so far, Orange Dream. Talk about smooth with little carbonation and sugar, in fact, they use raw honey in the drinks as part of the sweetening. We went through a town known as the Dells (I think) that is the indoor water park capital of the U.S. Everywhere you look there are these hugh buildings for indoor water slides etc. Then we went to Baraboo where the Ringling Brothers Circus started. They had buildings where they trained and housed the animals. This particular place was beside a rather large creek, and at one time, they would being the elephants down to the water and let them wash themselves. They had places for the performers to train and to present the show. It must have been quite a circus place because it covers quite a bit of the area.
Today, these areas are for tourism in the summer. They do have skiing in the winter, but it pretty much closes up after Labor Day. If you go down the streets, it looks like the streets in Florida where everyone goes to the beaches – for those of you who have been there, think Pensacola or Panama City. It just seemed so odd up here where it is not the beach. There are plenty of lakes and rivers where there are fishing, boating, and water sports. We are including some pictures to let you know what we are talking about. We were so amazed once again at what this state offers in family entertainment. We would definitely visit again, but it sounds like the summers are crazy with so many people coming in that if the warm weather would last, it would be fun to go after all the kids around here go back to school.
|Looks like Panama City, FL.|
|Ringling Brothers Circus Headquarters.|
|Indoor water park in the upside-down house.|
Before we left the area, we went to a candy shop and picked up some cow pies (looks like turtles, and oh, so good). What a fun place to be on a mission!
Again, our scripture for the month is 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.”
I don’t know if you can get a copy of the talk by Elder Tad R. Callister of the Seventy given at the MTC on Oct. 7, 2008 on Becoming a Consecrated Missionary. While it was meant for those of us on a full-time mission, it certainly would be relevant for everyone. He says that “Every mission has a number of good, even great missionaries, but most missions only have about five or so consecrated missionaries – those who are willing to lay everything on the altar of sacrifice.” I think we can say that about life. There are lots of good, even great people, but there are only a few who are dedicated to the Lord and willing to do all He asks of us. Let’s all try to be in that few. We will certainly be happier, and we will feel the blessings of the Lord. Let’s not just be content with being good when we have the capacity to be great. We love you all.
Elder and Sister Lenhard