Sunday, December 28, 2014

Protection by the Holy Spirit

December 28, 2014

About 2 weeks ago we met with security representatives from church headquarters.  They are continually monitoring missions and working with the missionaries to ensure as much safety as possible.  We do not live in a “safe” mission and have several incidents a week.  Fortunately these incidents are usually thieves just wanting a few pesos.  They have never resulted in any bodily harm.  We teach the missionaries to hand over anything they have when asked.  They have been instructed to offer no resistance.

Keith receives letters from the missionaries each week.  We were touched by the following letter – these two Elders experienced both of these incidents in one day!  We are so thankful for the blessings of the Holy Spirit!

From Elder Cam.
It was a day of interesting events. In the morning, my companion and I were walking through one of the streets that were a shortcut to a sister's house.  On the way three men surrounded us and began to ask for our money. The tranquility that I felt let me know that they weren’t trying to assault us or do us harm. I told them that my companion and I were representatives of Jesus Christ and we had nothing of value other than the Gospel. I felt like starting a contact (joke). The men moved away and relaxed and one of them said: "My respects for the messengers of Jesus Christ” and let us go.

After that, we were walking back along a street in our area and suddenly two men grabbed Elder Lar. and myself and wanted our money and said other things.  At that moment, I felt uneasy and thought that they would hurt us. Just then, a sister of the Ward walked by and we were given a chance to flee.

Things were never easy for the Savior, why would it be for us? The Lord was rejected and crucified by his own people.  Maybe we will not be crucified but rejection is something we have to live with. He felt discouraged but never stopped working until he had completed His work.  Yes, we are not asked to die for this work but it is something that we can never deny. That day I saw miracles and protection like I have never in my life experienced. I could not be in a better place now.

A sweet letter from Elder Ord.
This week we were able to baptize a sister who has been receiving lessons for 5 years. We always kept teaching but she never wanted to be baptized.

We continued visiting her hoping that someday she would be baptized. Then on Tuesday we ate with her and we were able to teach a lesson to her. We teach with the video "He is the Gift" and it touched her heart. We extended the baptismal invitation and we had not finished when she said "Yes".  Her husband is the 2nd counselor in the bishopric and was baptized 5 years ago. On Saturday she was baptized with her two daughters... Miracles of Christmas!

The safety and well-being of our missionaries is always in our prayers and in the prayers of their parents.  They are so often protected and guided!

Sunday, December 21, 2014


December 21, 2014

Music is so very powerful!  We attended one of the Neza Wards today.  Along with us came our youngest son Jeff, his wife Stephanie, and their 2 year old daughter Colette.  Stephanie had played a rendition of “Silent Night” the previous week in their ward in California.  Keith “offered” her abilities to the ward for the Sacrament service today.

She played so beautifully and I truly felt the love of my Heavenly Father pour over me.  It was a wonderful moment and I felt such peace.  Music can do that – it can open the spirit to feelings from above.

We struggle sometimes with music in the mission.  Do we let our missionaries listen to it – and what are the guidelines of what they can listen to?  Can they only listen to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir or can they include gospel singers?  What about classical music – and then the wonderful music from Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera?  Sometimes we wonder if we should draw the line or put faith in our missionaries to draw their own lines!

With everything that can be used for good, the adversary has found a way that it can be used for bad.  Music can turn you away from spirituality as quickly as it can turn you towards it.  It becomes one’s choice.

I personally find good music to be one of the quickest ways of turning my spirit towards my Heavenly Father.  It calms my soul and transports me to a better place.  At this time of the year, it is hard to express how much I love Christmas music.  It becomes a touch with my past and makes me smile.  It brings tears to my eyes as my mind fills with memories.  I am thankful for it.  Feliz Navidad!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Christmas distractions know no international boundaries

December 14, 2014

Christmas is always so busy.  I had hoped it would be a little different down here – that was just a dream.  I guess I thought I was always so busy because I lived in Oroville.  Wrong! Although the distractions are different, they exist none the less!

Distractions this week: broken garbage disposal, broken dryer, broken freezer, and van in body shop (another story), 7 hour long Christmas Party for 206, Elder at hospital, 2 Elders staying with us for 2 days, training meetings,  and one tired body.

Every Christmas day, I look back at the month of December and wish I had spent more time contemplating the birth of Christ and less time being pulled in many “Christmas” directions.  After all, Christ is the reason that we even have this holiday.  Once again, as in years past, I will try and have a stronger focus on Jesus Christ in the coming days.  What a blessing that our Heavenly Father loved us enough to send His son, Jesus Christ, to redeem this world.  What a difference that one baby made.

Focus Susan, Focus!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

I'll be Home for Christmas

December 7, 2014

This song had little meaning until I had moved away from home.  Before then it was just pretty words – afterwards it would pull at my heart strings.

We put Elder Somppi on a plane yesterday headed for home in California.  We were supposed to have him until the first part of April.  However a trip in his apartment, during a dark night, bought him a ticket home sooner.  Crunches don’t do well with uneven roads, lots of stairs, and miles of walking.

I watched him as we gave him the unexpected news – the news that he would “be Home for Christmas.”  He started to go through the five stages of grief with denial and anger (at least for a few seconds), but quickly passed on to the acceptance stage.  His parents flew right by all stages to land at pure excitement.  

As the news spread I would see the look on some of the other missionary’s faces.  It’s hard being away from those you cherish. Momentary jealousy, sometimes just longing, would be reflected.  And then, just as quickly, their dedication to continue serving the Lord in Mexico would return.  We all know that the Lord has His hand in all of our lives.  He knows where we are to be, and what we should be doing, if we just trust in His will.

“I’ll Be Home for Christmas” plays again in my mind….”if only in my dreams.”