Sunday, February 8, 2015

039 Tuesday to Tuesday (Jan. 14-20, 2015)

The middle of the month, a very busy month. People still have their Christmas decorations up, lots of people. I love the lights, tinsel, ornaments, creches, Santas, good food, you name it, I love this time of the year. I do believe there comes a time when you have to wrap it up. Keep the good feelings, the resolutions (hope you haven’t already broken all the good intentions you had), the remembrances of your kids opening their presents and being grateful for the thoughtfulness of others in giving them something, the snow (which we continue to receive and receive), and all the good wishes you receive from others feeling the joy of the Season. It seems like more people than ever are keeping up the decorations for longer periods of time. Maybe it’s because it makes them happy. 

Myrlan Dowell who love to skip school to go fishing.
 I spoke to Aunt Peggy about her remembrances of Christmas when she and mom and her brothers, Max and Myrlan were little. She said they didn’t have trees when she was little, and she remembered that they might have gotten an orange or treat of some kind, but that was about it. No presents like we get today; no big decorations like we are used to having; no caroling in the neighborhood. They lived out in the country and it was too far to walk to other’s homes. 
Max Boyd Dowell (named after a famous 

Peggy Anita Dowell with Buddy the Dog and Louvene's doll.
Louvene at about 8 years old.

 My dad’s family weren’t rich, and they worked hard for all they had. During the Depression, they worked at apple orchards throughout the area of Virginia and Tennessee. One Christmas Eve when daddy was little he had already gone to bed before his dad came home. When Granddaddy Walton got there, he had a huge stuffed bear for my dad’s Christmas. They left it on the foot of dad’s bed, and the next morning when dad work up, he saw that bear and went berserk. He was so scared that it took a while to get him to calm down. I guess that wasn’t such a great way to surprise a little boy on Christmas morning.

Sybil, Billy, and Wallace Walton

Enough about the past. Let’s get on with the now!
Wednesday, was a busy day with visiting Denise and taking her to her monthly group meeting. We had to leave early and take Timmy to the bus stop so he could go to school and then come back and pick up Denise. Those meetings can take forever. By the time we took her home, the morning was gone.  That evening we had a MPAFUG meeting. This time it was on internet security. It was very informative, and we learned that we aren’t secure, but we were better off than most. We learn so much from this group, and even when we go home, we would subscribe to their group because they have so much to offer.

Thursdays are now really really busy days. This one saw Craig taking the car back to Sears to get the brakes worked on. They had fixed them a couple of months earlier, and something broke or whatever. Anyway, they took care of them while I prepared for the Pathway lesson that night. We are learning math this time around, and it is just basic math. However, if you are dealing with people who are 31+ years old, you are talking about some who haven’t had a math class in many years. That means you are talking to people who have missed a few renditions of the “lastest” in learning math. The terms have changed because heaven help us, we can’t call “reducing” fractions by that term anymore. Now, it has to be “simplifying” fractions. Try telling a Spanish Sister that we need to find the multiplicative inverse and see the look on her face. She can’t even pronounce it, let alone remember what it is supposed to be. Sure there are videos, which go too fast. I have trouble keeping up with them, and the videos assume that the students know what they are talking about as they toss the terms around and fly through the solving of a problem. That night’s class was on fractions, decimals, and percents, converting from one form to another, positive and negative numbers, and basic word problems. I have to do all three of the 2-page practice sheets, make sure I know what the lesson is about in case I need to help, and write the students to remind them of things that they need to be aware of for the class. We don’t teach the classes, the students do, but we have to be prepared to help if necessary. There are some really smart people in the class, and they are also very helpful. The members help each other, and it is something we love to see. We had one student who decided she would just drop out because she was 16 when she quit school and she quit because of the math (I’m sure there were other problems as well). Anyway, I convinced her to hang in there and that I would help her anyway I could. It is funny how much I’m enjoying doing math again. I don’t miss the classroom, but it is fun to sit with these brothers and sisters and teach them something I enjoy.

On Friday, we went to the Salvation Army again to finish up the organizing, counting, and storing of the toys for next year’s Christmas. We hope to get involved in helping the people shop next year. That took the whole morning, and when we left there we headed to Denise’s place. She has been lax on coming to Church lately, and she is realizing that if she doesn’t come, she is more tempted to turn to her old ways. She wants to be affiliated with the Church, and we believe she wants to be a good mom and a good Sister in the Gospel. She has had so many strikes against her, and she lives in a place where there isn’t much good happening. She has been slacking on her scripture reading and expressed the need to get started again. She has too much free time on her hands, and she needs to be involved more in the Church. We will keep working with her.

The next morning we headed to Denise’s again. She now gets to see her older boys for 4 hours on Saturday, but she can’t control them when they come. She demands that she have more time with them, but then she is so upset when they come because they don’t listen to her, and she spends so much of her time screaming at them and threatening them because they don’t listen. She loves the boys, but she never had parents who spent a lot of time with her growing up, and she has no idea how to work with them. It is our hope that as she gets to know other members of the Branch better, esp. the younger sisters, that she will learn how to be the mother she wants and needs to be for her kids.

We had hoped to go to the Farmer’s market with the Armstrong’s on that Saturday, but they couldn’t go so we asked the Senior Missionaries who worked in the Mission Office to go with us. When we got there, it was so crowded, there were no places to park. One of the brothers has a hard time walking long distances, and the only place they could park their humongous truck was to move out into the neighborhood that would have taken him far away from the door – not to mention that it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to leave the truck unwatched. So they left, and we, who had the small car, ended up staying; however, they had moved the market out of the Domes and into another building altogether. We had a blast tasting everything we could. We bought some really good cheese and apple cider. We sampled everything else.

Sunday found us visiting City Branch for Sacrament and leaving right after so we could go to another Ward to hear a young missionary sing at their Sacrament. Sister Wu was assigned to the Salt Lake Temple Square Mission. When they go there, at some time they will be sent somewhere else for three months so they can see what “real” missionaries do. We were blessed to have her here. She joined the Church in China after an Aunt had come to America and joined the Church. When she returned to China, she gave her family some materials to read; however, she was the only one to read them. She was so intrigued that she was given a Book of Mormon to read and became converted because of the truths found in that book. In China, the people are not taught about there being a God. They don’t discuss it, and to her there had never been any understanding before that there could be a supreme being who was her Father in Heaven. It was very touching to hear her testimony. She got the permission of her parents and was baptized in China. They cannot teach the Gospel there, but if she asked, it was ok. In order for her to go on a mission, her family had to put up $150,000 as a bond that will be returned to them when she goes back to the country. She is hoping that she can go to BYU when she finishes her mission. It costs too much for her to go home and come back, so her mother told her to stay here until she was finished. She had started college in China but she had to quit and cannot go back now (I guess if they get the chance to go and don’t take it, they lose the opportunity to go later). One way she helped pay for her mission was that she was a singer and made money with it. As she sang in Church that day, I was very touched. She has a lovely voice, and I hope all goes well, and she can go to BYU.

That evening we went back to the Calabros in Waukesha for dinner. We enjoy being with them, and it was a pleasure talking to them about their experiences in the area. They probably won’t be here for very long because he can move wherever for his work. He was one of the first employees with Sams when the store was organized almost 27 years ago. He has worked his way up, and now works with the Pharmacies, traveling quite a bit each week.  We were asked to help their son with his Eagle project on the next weekend. They will be building bat houses. Last winter many bats died because of the cold, and they were building eight houses for the bats to stay warm in when it got cold. There are lots and lots of mesquitoes in this part of the world because of the number of lakes and water resources around the state. Those bats are important in keeping the mesquito populations down.

Monday found us at the gym. Have I said how much I love going to the gym. I don’t look forward to it, but once I’m there, I really enjoy what I do. We usually stay about an hour. It is hard to go many days because after we study the scriptures in the morning which takes time, people want a piece of our day. Craig is completing the Book of Mormon, and I started it anew this year. Then together we are reading the New Testament. It is good to study together and bounce thoughts and ideas back and forth.  Reading the scriptures helps us start the day right.

District meeting came around again on Tuesday. These young men and women are great examples to us.
The lessons really aren’t for us because we don’t proselyte, but we can find much to strengthen our testimonies. While God is preparing us, Satan is also preparing his soldiers. We must be ready when we are called to work for the Lord. Elder Boyd K. Packer said that “true doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the Gospel will improve behavior quicker this not the end, it is the means of the work.

It was a good week. We hope this finds all well with each of you. The weather continues to be mild, with intermittent snow. We have been spared the bad weather that most of the northeast has gotten. We are enjoying it, although there are days when the wind blows that we are reminded that it hasn’t gotten above 30 degrees since winter started. This is a wonderful place to have a mission. 

Our scripture for the month of January is:

Moroni 10:3-5
3.  Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.

4.  And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it until you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

5.  And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.

We love you.

Elder and Sister Lenhard

Saturday, February 7, 2015

038 Tuesday to Tuesday (Jan. 14-20, 2015)

Life is full of lessons. Some are fun, some are not. The snow did not just melt away like we would have liked from the first of the week. In fact, it just lingered on and on. It piles up into nasty mountains on the side of the road, in the parking lots and then turns into ice. I guess it doesn’t hurt that the temperatures are low and stay that away for days on end. The humidity helps to keep the heat away. We may wake up to a sunny morning, only to have the clouds move in by noon and the rest of the day is dreary. Hate when that happens.

On Wed, the 7th, we found ourselves going to the Mission Office. We love to drop in and visit for a moment with the other Senior Couples. Old people just chewing the fat. We learn a lot by talking with them. We offered to help the couple who inspects the missionary apartments, but they don’t need us. Anyway, we had an appointment with Denise which she cancelled at the last minute. She doesn’t understand that going all the way to her place takes a good amount of time. Sometimes she will call us later and ask us to come back. We are learning to say “No!” 

Thursday proved to be a day for lessons. It had snowed more that day, and we were in the apartment preparing for Pathway. The students are learning some basic math. Some are already complaining because they haven’t had any math in a long time. They are scared, and I know that feeling. I always told my students that math is the only subject that they started the year with comments like “I hate math,” “I’m not any good in math,” “I can’t do math,” and so forth. Anyway, we had to spend a lot of time preparing for the class that evening because we wanted to make sure we had everything we would need for the class.  We gave our building key back to the stake because it wasn’t the right key for the door we needed to enter the building, so we had to leave early to go by a member’s home to pick one up and we will be doing this from now on. The snow was still falling when we got to the Church building, and the parking lot had not been plowed. Before Christmas they found out that the contract had not be renewed to clean the lot, and I guess they had not gotten it taken care of by that day. We were the first car to enter the lot, and we made it in without difficulty; however, getting out was another matter altogether. By the time class was over, another two inches had fallen. Guess what! Hondas that are not four-wheel drive cars are not good as snow plows. We almost didn’t get out of the lot. We would push ahead until we couldn’t go any further, so I would back it up and Elder Lenhard had to get out and knock down the snow we were pushing, get in the car and start again. I was really scared that we would have to call someone to pick us up. Anyway, we finally made it out and back home. It sounded like we were dragging big ice packs with us, but we figured it was ok. 

When we got out the next morning, we found out quickly that it wasn’t ice we were dragging. There is a splash panel under the car. As we push the snow like a plow, the panel was bent back, and we weren’t going anywhere. We called our insurance about a tow truck and found that we couldn’t get one for at least four hours due to all the wrecks and trouble the night before. We had made arrangements with the Honda place to work it into the schedule if we got it in early. The tow truck wouldn’t get here in time. Had to cancel the two truck, it was Friday afternoon, they wouldn’t make reservations for Monday. We asked to borrow a Mission car, and Elder Barley came over and picked up Craig and took him to pick one up.  That night we were able to attend a High Priest Social in another Ward that was dedicated to Genealogy. It was a nice meeting.  While at the meeting, Elder Lenhard met a mechanic that told him to get the car over to him the next day, and he would fix it.

The next day was dedicated to getting the car fixed. Elder Lenhard really liked the Brother who fixed the car and wouldn’t take a penny for it. He is on the High Council for genealogy in the Stake, so they had lots in common.  

Later, we went to Sam’s for their health watch. Our blood sugars were great, my cholesterol is still up, but not as much as it has been. Craig has pretty good cholesterol, so we are doing ok.  One of the things I wanted to do was to find some decorations that Sam’s had before Christmas, but I didn’t want to pay the price they asked. I found them at the last minute for half price. YEAH! More Christmas decorations. 

Sunday was a wonderful Sacrament meeting. All of the speakers talked about repentence. Several good points were made such as, “suffering comes from lack of complete repentence,” “punishment is not repentence,” “confession is not repentence,” “sorrow is not repentence.” These attributes come about with repentence, but are not the act itself.  We should be careful of premeditated repentence – sinning now with the idea of repenting at a better time.
We should take time to record the blessings of each day. It will help us focus more on the Lord’s work in our lives and the need to constantly repent of our shortcomings.

Monday brought about our returning the Mission car and running to Sears to get our brakes checked. We had them redone a few months ago at Sears and they were dragging and sounding like something was not right. They couldn’t take care of it, and we made an appointment to do it on Thursday. We spent time that day emailing people in the Stake that we needed to work with on genealogy. 

Tuesday, (13th) we had District Meeting and interviews with President Cutler. It was a good interview wherein he asked us to fellowship with the Senior Missionaries (Yeah! We get to play.) We are to continue working with the Wards and Branches in getting the new members to the Temple as quickly as possible. We are going to be working directly with the missionaries in each unit to enlist their help in seeking the new members for the last year and helping the unit get them to the Temple.  We love this work.

Our scripture for the month of January is:

Moroni 10:3-5
3.  Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.

4.  And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it until you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

5.  And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.

We love you.
Elder and Sister Lenhard

Sunday, February 1, 2015

037 Tuesday to Tuesday (Dec 30-Jan. 6, 2015)

I haven’t written for the entire month of January. I’m sure some of you could care less, but for my sake, I want to continue my chronicle of our mission lives. I have spent the evenings writing 6 family histories that will be printed in a county history book. I know it is a money maker for the historical society, but I know in the past, my family has never been included. I could have written more, but as I was putting together the ones I did, I found myself spending more time in the records to verify information that I had. I was also able to identify more or less family members that needed to be added or deleted. Haha  I also called my Aunt Peggy for further information to help in the documentation. She is my mother’s only sister, and the only sibling living from her family. Aunt Peggy is a wonderful person to talk to, and I wish I had taken more time over the years to get to know her better. There are lots of things she doesn’t have the answer to, and she told me she has learned more about her family from me than she ever knew. She tells me she was very shy as a child, and she would never ask about any of their dead relatives. But she lived with her grandmother, Anna Elizabeth Wilson Dowell, and her aunt, Iva, for most of her life. In fact, she didn’t get married until late in life because she was devoted to helping her relatives. Great Aunt Iva broke her hip once (1954) which brought Aunt Peggy back home the first time. When she finished her coursework at a business school, she went to Knoxville to work, following a friend she had met in school. She got an interview with this company, but she was so bashful she says she made a mess of the interview because she couldn’t think of anything to say. She saw all these other girls who were interviewing and knew she didn’t have a chance, but later in the week, the man called her and asked her to come to work. Later, he asked her if she knew why he hired her. She told him no, and he said that he could tell she was scared and nervous. He knew she was from a small town, unlike Knoxville, TN. She liked the job and cried when they called her to tell her she needed to come home to take care of Aunt Iva, who was bound to a wheelchair for two years. She told the man she had to leave, but he told her to go and if possible, he would keep the job open. She had to call him back and tell him she couldn’t return, and it was hard for her. 

A young picture of Aunt Iva.

Margie Dowell in back, daughter of Ora Hallie Lee Dowell (Iva's sister), Mae Dowell in front left, daughter of Maggie Dowell (Iva's sister), Iva, and Janice (daughter of Margie). Iva and her mother, Mammie Dowell, raised Margie and Mae Dowell.

Mammie Dowell and Iva feeding the pigs.

Aunt Peggy, unknown child, Iva, and Mammie Dowell

Anyway, here I am writing another family story. I want our grandbabies, and my nieces and nephews to know the stories of their ancestors. This is what genealogy is all about. It makes the family come alive. As I learn more, I’ll write more, but I must get on to our time here in Wisconsin.

Wed., Dec. 31 – We went with the Armstrongs to visit the Jewish Museum down by the lake. It was fascinating. Who remembers Golda Meir? She moved from Russia to Milwaukee when she was 8. Here, she studied to become a teacher, and there is a school here that bears her name. She left Wisconsin at the age of 28 and moved to Palestine. She and her husband “played key roles in advocating for a Jewish state, including raising money for the cause. When Israel declared independence in 1948, Golda Meir was one of the 25 signers of this historic document. After serving as Israel’s ambassador to the Soviet Union, minister of labor, and foreign minister, Golda Meir became Israel's fourth prime minister in 1969.” (I had to look it up because I couldn’t remember all the details.) I remember her very well, and we studied her in high school. She was considered to be a great leader of Israel. Anyway, who would have thought she had lived in Milwaukee?  

This is a Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks, held 7 weeks after Passover, which celebrates the harvest and Moses getting 10 Commandments. That is a miniature Torah on top.

                                                The Jews have been persecuted for many centuries.

A Jewish fashion designer was trying to start a business                                      
when the Germans captured them.

                                                  A famous painting depicting Jewish history.

That evening, we went with the Armstrongs for dinner with the two office missionary couples serving here. One is a Brother and Sister Carter from around the area of Morgan, Utah; the other is Brother and Sister Barley from around the Bountiful, Utah area. Both couples are good friends, and we are enjoying doing things with them. We wanted the Armstrongs to meet other couples from the mission, and they are always looking for older people to do things with because their ward is so young. Sister Armstrong still has not committed to baptism, but she is a wonderful sister.

Thursday, was New Year’s Day – and it was low key. We hadn’t started Pathway yet for the new semester, so we spent some time on trying to make sure everyone was getting reregistered.

On Friday, we took some time to visit another inactive family in the Branch. The Youngs were baptized and very active for a while. Then the mother lost her job, and they slowly fell away. She wasn’t home when we visited, and they live in one of the worst parts of town. We met her two sons though, Fred and Vincent, two of the nicest young men you would ever want to meet. Fred is 19, and he studied at the Music Conservatory in town; the brother, Vincent, was only 12 and looked 14-15, he was tall. He also was very musical, but I don’t know if he was as interested in it as Fred. Fred was into the martial arts, and he was very courteous to us, but we could tell he wasn’t very interested in our visit. We asked if he would be interested in visiting the young single adult ward, and that caused him to pick up his ears and appear to be much more in tune with us. We got his phone number, and afterwards, we called some people in the young single ward and gave them the information. We hope they picked up the ball and got in touch with this young man.

Saturday found us going to Denise’s house again. We picked up the missionaries to take them to teach her older boys who were visiting for a couple of hours that day. Right after we picked up the missionaries, she emailed and said the boys weren’t there so we went and spent some time with her alone and then took the missionaries back to their apartment. On the way home, we passed the Milwaukee Domes which I’ve talked about before. There are three dome-like buildings that you travel between with different botanical settings in each one. There were so many people there that we decided to see what was going on. We have yearly passes, so figured it couldn’t hurt. We found out that every Saturday they have a farmer’s market inside the domes and while there you can visit for free. WOW, we will come back and bring others to see them. There were some wonderful goodies being sold, and we had no cash, which most wanted. We did get some soup with a debit card, and it was delicious. 

Everything looks so good - I want to taste it all.

Craig enjoying the flowers.

The beautiful Bird of Paradise flower

Our Fast Sunday brought snow. On the way to Church, as we came close to our usual off-ramp a police car zipped by us and closed off the ramp. What to do now???  It took an hour to get there by the time we back-tracked and had to take several round-about ways. The roads around the Church aren’t kept as clean as others. They are in a poorer part of town, so as usual, they don’t get as much care. We find it is rough going in that area. Then there are always the drivers who think they need to really go much faster than you, and they speed out and swerve all over the place. Crazy!

On Monday, we began some community service with the Salvation Army. We worked with a group of people who had to organize and count all the toys that were collected after 2014’s distribution and packed them away for next year so they would have an idea of how many they can accommodate for Christmas 2015. Man, it was not easy. I’d get started on a count, and others were around us counting also, and I’d realize I’d lost my number. Ugh! So you have to dig into these big boxes that are up to your armpits and try to recount before going on. After several hours of that, we could hardly move. It was cold outside, and we worked in a big warehouse that was not heated; however, after a while, we were taking off our coats, gloves, hats, etc. Old people get hot easily.  Hahaha

We work with Stephanie at the Salvation Army.. You can see the boxes we have to empty, fill up while counting toys.

On Tuesday, we had Zone Training, but we thought it was District Meeting day. Anyway, we were getting our hair cut and working out at the gym, when we found out we were supposed to be there at 10:00 instead of 1:00. We were scrambling to get home, cleaned up, and back to the Chapel. The Elders just look at us like “there they are again, late.” I promise it isn’t our fault. The calendar we had said there were no zone meetings in January, unless it is your week to have zone meeting. How does that work? We have yet to figure it out. Maybe by the time we get ready to head home, we will know what we are doing. We were reminded that if we aren’t prepared as missionaries, we won’t find prepared investigators. Although Elder Lenhard and I don’t proselytize, we do meet so many people who ask us questions about the Church. We have pledged this year to read the Book of Mormon on our own, but to read the New Testament together. We are enjoying the time to study the New Testament. We find ourselves paying attention to things neither of us have noticed before in our reading. I am trying to read the BOM at least twice this year, but I’ve found that at the rate I’m going, I might even get it done three times. I know that I’ve learned things this time around that I never saw before. I know all of us read the book at times in our lives when things that weren’t as relevant before just jump out at us. I love it when the Scriptures talk to me, and I know Elder Lenhard feels the same.

And so, another week has passed us by. Our scripture for the month of January is:

Moroni 10:3-5
3.  Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
4.  And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it until you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

5.  And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.

Read the Book of Mormon and ask the Lord if it is a book of truth. What do we have to lose? Nothing. If it isn’t true, the Spirit will let you know. But if it is true, be prepared to ask yourself “What am I going to do about it?”

Love you all,
Elder and Sister Lenhard