I must say that I’m really glad to have bought a heavy coat, especially when I step outside. I really, really, like a heated garage that prevents our having to warm up a freezing car to start the day, or clean off the windshields, or anything else. We will have to make sure that we keep the car clean because of the amount of salt on the roads. There are so many cars here that look really nice until you look at the bottom edges and realize they are rusted through. Someone told us we have to wait until the temperature gets above 36 degrees to wash it. Hahaha Looks like it will be a while to wash the car or try to wash it off in the garage.
On Wednesday, Craig spent quite a bit of time getting the car winterized. We needed the oil changed as well as the other fluids taken care of for this winter. I spent the time getting some work done for other projects that we are doing. We met with Denise that afternoon and tried to teach a lesson. We wanted to read Joseph Smith’s visitation and then talk about the witnesses to the Book of Mormon. Unfortunately, Timmy got all the attention, and Denise spent a lot of time chasing him around. Her Social Worker dropped by and talked to her about a birthday party Denise wanted to give for Timmy’s 3rd birthday. According to the rules of her housing, there can be no more than four people in her apartment at any one time for anything. It was information that we were not aware of because there have been times when we were there with four other missionaries and friends from upstairs, etc. This woman kept trying to tell Denise that the party wasn’t for Timmy, it was for Denise because he won’t remember it. She argued that she wanted him to have a big party, and he would know. When the woman left, it sounded like Elder Lenhard and I would come early on the day of the birthday, and that would leave slots for others to come at another hour. We had lost the attention for the lesson, so we finally gave up for that time, but we plan to go back and actually get to teach.
Thursday found us coordinating meetings with missionaries. We have to figure out who we can help. We are guessing as the weather gets colder, we will be asked to help more. Hahaha We also spent time preparing for the Pathway lesson and copying the materials we would need. I got a bill from an insurance company that I thought I had paid when we left Utah so that it was taken care of the entire time we were out here. Guess not. Anyway, it took some time getting that taken care of because no one will answer a phone anymore.
We did work on trying to get a key to the building where we hold Pathway. The person who is supposed to open the building on Thursday for Pathway has been late for the last two weeks. BYU-Idaho has a strict rule about starting on time and ending on time (which I like). We have had to talk to several people and write lots of people before they decided we could have a key; however, it will come from the missionaries who taught the class last year. They moved to Madison, and we will have to wait for them to send it back to us. If we had known this, we could have asked them earlier. After our Pathway program, we had to meet with the Stake Family History Director getting some information together for our next meeting.
Friday, we got up and actually got to the gym again. I love the gym because I feel so much better later. I had to get my final hepatitis shot that afternoon, and may I say it hurt. Not the shot itself, but the medicine burned for a moment. It wasn’t bad at all, but I just remember saying that the shot hurt! I’m so eloquent. Afterwards, we had about an hour before going to the birthday. We had a nice time, but we were tired from running around.
Denise had Timmy’s birthday party that night. She wanted a really big party and wanted lots of people to come from the Church. She had asked RS to help her give the party because she couldn’t afford to do it. Her home teacher (who is a medical student) is stupendous. He talked with her about doing it simple (City Branch isn’t known for having a well-to-do group of members), but she had it in her head that it needed to be over the top. We found out that her group team had given her permission to have more people at the party than previously talked about because she had a big apartment and could handle it. We were asked to bring chips and dip or a vegetable tray. When we got to her place, her home teachers, four other missionaries, her neighbors from upstairs, and another friend and her son were already there. It was chaotic, but when Denise wanted all the attention on Timmy, she yelled at all of us to pay attention, be quiet, watch Timmy, etc. It was kind of funny. She was the little dictator, and Timmy was going to blow out those candles, and he was going to open those presents by ripping off that paper, and he was going to do this or that. Timmy could have cared less. She had cooked dinner for everyone, and we were expected to eat. Her home teacher had brought cup cakes, and she had made a cake so all the kids were getting their plugs of sugar which helped their activity levels. Haven’t we all been to parties like this? We old people finally had to go, but it was a 30 minute drive since, in trying to avoid the interstate in this town between the hours of 4-6 pm, we end up touring lots of places we haven’t been in before. They keep closing off roads because of construction and a route we could have taken one day will no longer be available, so we are like rats in a maze. Thank goodness Elder Lenhard has an innate sense of direction because I’m only along for the site-seeing. They have a saying here, that there are only two seasons, winter and road construction. (Don’t ask me, I don’t make up these sayings!)
Saturday brought Stake Conference. Elder Nash of the 1st Quorem of the Seventies was here, and what a marvelous speaker he was. Elder Lenhard attended the Priesthood session on Saturday, so I took him and got home by myself (a major accomplishment). Then I had to go back for the adult meeting that evening, and I have to say, it was more challenging than coming home. I got lost by exiting the interstate too early and realized I was lost. So I used the GPS to get myself back home and started again. (Thank goodness I had started out early thinking it might be a challenge for me.) This time I stayed on the interstate and waited until I got to the road I knew I had come home on and went straight to the Church. I love it when I can get somewhere without breaking down in fear that I may be entering a war zone and may never come out. Hahahaha
On Sunday, we went to two difference conferences. Both North and South Stakes were having their conferences on the same day, and it took some maneuvering on the part of the leadership of both stakes to pull it off. Elder Nash was only here for the North Stake. On Saturday, we met in their Stake building, because they knew there wouldn’t have been as many people attending. Children under 12 are not invited to come to the Saturday meetings, so many mothers stay home with the children. On Sunday, however, it was another story. Since South Stake has a larger Stake building, we went there for the meeting held in the morning. South Stake held off their meeting until the afternoon so they could use the building also. We decided to stay for both meetings. We live in the South Stake, but we are assigned to go to Church in the North Stake. We serve both stakes, so we felt we would benefit greatly from attending both meetings. We certainly didn’t regret it. Before the second meeting started that morning, the Mission President asked us to go pick up a nonmember who wanted to come and had no transportation. Elder Lenhard and the missionaries who were teaching her went to get her. She is a black lady who had the most infectious laugh. She wanted to sing out “Hallelujah” after everything that she agreed with was said. I sat next to her, and she kept me laughing. I told her if she had done it, we would have just looked at her funny and wondered what she was thinking. She asked a lot of good questions, and she appeared to have an honest truth-seeking heart. We enjoyed being with her.
To say that we were spiritually fed would be an understatement. Just to give you an idea of what we heard that strengthened my testimony include the following:
Our callings or the work we are given to do are a gift from God. We have a work to perform before we return to the Father. We must separate ourselves from the world and become instruments in God’s hands to do that which he has given us to do.
Satan will use the media to confuse us and create a world of false reality which is contrary to that which God would have us know and understand. Satan would have us believe that sin is normal, and we all partake of it. While it is true that we are all sinners, we do not have to succumb to the belief that we are evil if we do not tolerate and support those who deviate from God’s way.
There is joy in Heavenly Father’s plan, and we must avail ourselves of that joy through the work He has given us to do.
Happiness is only found in how well we live the commandments of God. As we do His work, we cannot help but be changed for good.
I may not be perfect, but I can be perfect in trying.
These are just a couple of things that were emphasized at the meetings. Can you see the theme here? It was a great weekend.
While at the conference, I was talking with a Sister whom I had met before and the weather came up. She asked if we had good boots. I told her those were the next items on our list, and she told us we needed to go to Minomenee Falls to a place called Fleet Farms. They carry all your winter needs, farming supplies, groceries, and much more. We headed off in that direction and found it wasn’t that far away. We were amazed at the stuff they carried, and we didn’t even spend a lot of time on anything but boots. It took me forever to find a pair that didn’t make my feet look like tugboats, but I’m happy with them. They are good to 25 degrees below. Elder Lenhard was able to find his much faster, and his are also good to some crazy temperature. So, now we are set. We have coats, gloves, hats, and boots. When I go out now, I wear my thermals, then tights, undershirt, outer clothing, coat, etc. etc. etc. (not yet into the boots). I look like an Eskimo, but I’m warm, and the cold, cold isn’t even here yet. Hahaha When the real cold comes, we will see how I hold up. I'll have to take a picture soon.
We spent some time setting up a meeting in another Ward on Family History. This one is Park Mills, so next Sunday we will head in that direction. I guess it is on the way to Madison. I love to travel and see the countryside. This is a beautiful area.
On Tuesday (11th), we had a Zone Conference which starts at 10:00. I had gotten a calendar earlier in the month with the meetings listed for the month. The calendar said that on this day it would be a District meeting (a smaller group of missionaries and it starts at 1:00). Unfortunately, I seem to have trouble with the concept that when a sentence is found at the bottom of the paper that says “this schedule does not apply on the day of your Zone Conference,” we should seriously pay attention. Anyway, the night before we got a text about Zone Conference, but we didn’t understand what was being said because we were prepared for a District meeting. We texted the Elders for more information and did not hear from them. On Tuesday then, we got up, went to the gym and stopped by Michael’s on the way home. I picked up my Christmas decorations at a really cheap price – I now have a wreathe, a nativity, a Santa, a really small tree with lights, and a couple of ornaments. I will miss my big tree and hundreds of ornaments from Utah, but we will live. I am excited to decorate, but it is still too early.
|Us with Elders Cutshaw, Larsen, Allen, Ward, Pound, Bluth, and Sisters Reece and Cook in our last District Meeting together.|
Anyway, the gist of the story is that as I’m in Michael’s taking my time, the Elders text Elder Lenhard to say our meeting started at 10:00 (it is now past 10) and it is much further away than we had expected. UGH! When I got back to the car, Elder Lenhard gave me the news and whisked us off to clean up and get on the road. We got there around 11:00 – I thought that was really pretty good. We saw all those looks when we came in – “the old people just don’t get it.” We apologized to everyone we met, and we tried to explain. We still got the looks! Hahahaha Give us a break! We were only an hour late. The meeting went until 4:00, so we were able to enjoy the encouragement of the young Elders and Sisters to hang in there and continually look forward. We were encouraged to talk less and listen more. Everyone has a story, and we should listen to their story and offer the Lord’s blessings through Jesus Christ.
We have been uplifted, encouraged, strengthened, challenged, and loved this past week. What more could we ask for as we serve in this part of the Lord’s vineyard.
We love you all.
Elder and Sister Lenhard