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.|
|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.
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:
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