Sunday, August 30, 2015

The blessing of good care

August 30, 2015
Each week at church, we have the opportunity to receive the sacrament.  This bread and water represents the sacrifice made by Jesus Christ in Gethsemane and upon the cross.  It is blessed and passed by young men, usually 12-18 years old.

As a young man brought the bread to me today, I noticed he was not looking directly at me but to the side.  I hadn’t noticed him walk towards me..   Therefore, when he returned to the front to prepare to pass the water, I watched more closely.  I watched him make his way down the row of chairs by keeping a hand placed on the chair in front of him.

This young man probably had a severe case of lazy eye.  Both of his eyes turned outward and he only had vision in one little corner of one eye.  This condition would have been treated and corrected if he lived where there was care.  I have a granddaughter Brooke, that has been successfully treated for this condition but the treatment has to start young.   But now, because of no care, this young man was mostly blind.

How thankful we should be for small blessings such as where we live or are raised. As I watched this young man, big smile on his face, maneuver his way around a large room with many people, I admired his courage and thanked my Heavenly Father for the care my little Brooke has received.

Saturday, August 29, 2015


August 29, 2015
We are not about numbers.  When we arrived in Mexico City, we felt our mission had been so focused on the "number of baptisms" that all other things such as obedience and true growth of the church had been over looked.  We wanted the missionaries to find converts that were truly looking for a change to a better life.  The number of baptisms was not nearly as important as changing the life of a person and bringing them closer to God.

Unfortunately numbers have to be used to measure progress and achievement.  Parents want to see numbers from their children's teachers.  Knowledge is measured by numbers.  I am a person who built a successful career out of numbers and what they mean.

So with caution, and with great respect for my missionaries, I was excited to see that out of 35 missions in Mexico, we are #8 in the number of baptisms year to date. That speaks to the hard work of our 170 missionaries!  Now that we have had our 5 minutes of fame, we can get back to work.

P.S. I won't be sharing this information around the mission to's that "focus" thing.

A visit from an apostle.....really!!

August 26, 2015
A visit from an apostle..really?  Keith was surprised when that call came from the states.  There are over 400 missions in the world.  There are only 12 apostles, and some of them are not in good enough health for travel.  What are the odds of our little mission getting selected?

And yet we were.  For two weeks we prepared.  The missionaries were given reading assignments.  The church was given special attention by church maintenance.  Missionaries were told to arrive one hour early, fasting and ready to be feed by the spirit.  We even took a few minutes of that hour to "practice" a quick mission photo in case there was time.  And then we waited, listened to music, and prepared ourselves.

Elder Christofferson was worth the preparations.  A beautiful musical number by seven of our missionaries set the stage for 90 minutes of learning.  He took questions and turned them into sermons.  He used scriptures to further our understanding.  He shook everyone's hand and spoke with great kindness and insight.  And when there was just 6 minutes left before he had to leave for another speaking appointment, our "practiced" missionaries got the cherished picture of all of us together.

Many of our missionaries have not even been in the same auditorium or city as an apostle of The Lord Jesus Christ.  This day left a lasting impression!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Simply stated, it is not of this world.

August 10, 2015
When this whole missionary adventure began in October 2013, I was saddened to read that the Mexico City temple would be closing in January 2014 for renovations.  The temple is very important to us Mormons.  It allows us deeper commitments to our Heavenly Father.  It also brings such blessings.

Even though I was sad, I knew we would be in Mexico City for the Open House and re-dedication of the temple scheduled for the summer of 2015. Having helped at the Open House of the Sacramento temple, I knew how exciting it would be!  I also hoped that some of our missionaries would be able to help.

The day has come!  Our sweet 17 sister missionaries will serve as greeters, showing the intro video, and answering questions in the reception area.  We have been practicing.  Today was the final training and tonight it opens for VIP's.  The sisters were told that they are the face of the church.  They will be watched and some life changing decisions may begin because of them.

Our little group of 19 (counting Keith and I) were the first group taken on the tour this morning.  Our tour leader was Elder De Hoys of the First Quorum of the Seventy.  As we walked through those sacred doors I was overcome.  Tears filled my eyes and I even made several small gasps as the spirit within those walls filled my heart.  The temple is exquisite, filled with crystal chandeliers and beautiful paintings of Christ.  Each room further confirmed my testimony of the existence of my Heavenly Father and His son, my brother, Jesus Christ.  No wonder we love the temple so much. Simply stated, it is not of this world.

Our sweet sisters saw the baptismal font, ordinance rooms, the Celestial room, rooms for the sealing of families and of course the bridal dressing room.  Tears flowed freely, many hugs were given, and we all walked out with our spirits celebrating.  What a blessing temples have been to my family and what a blessing this temple will be to Mexico City.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Our amazing Sister (Hermana) missionaries

August 6, 2015
Our mission currently has 17 Hermanas (sisters, women) serving.  In some part of Mexico, Hermanas make up half of the missionary force while ours is about 10%.  The group of 17 Hermanas that we now enjoy are all pretty new.  The “oldest” ones (in experience) came to us just last February.  They are a strong group and you can hear their enthusiasm in the letters they write to my husband each week.  Here a few excerpts.

Sister V.
We arrived at a house, knocked, and Maria let us in.  We sat down and told her that our records showed that 3 years ago there was someone living in the home that was investigating the church.  Maria said that was her nephew but he no longer lived there.  Without even starting with a hymn or a prayer, I asked her if she would come to church this Sunday.  My companion was afraid Maria would be angry but she started to cry instead.  She said, “This morning I prayed to God that he would guide me and give me a sign that would show me the way.” She said that “God sent us and we are her angels.”  She felt very happy and so did we.

Sister C.
So I had kind of a short but powerful experience this week. I was having a hard day and I was frustrated with the language. I would understand a need of one of my investigators, but the words wouldn´t come through my mouth. I was walking down the street, completely discouraged and wondering why, of all people, I was the one that was sent to Mexico because I felt like the least qualified of everyone. Then I had a prompting to look to my right. I turned and saw no one, but that was when the prompted thought came. "You may not see me, but I am here." I knew that those were not my thoughts, but a prompting from the Spirit that the Lord was with me and I needed to rely on Him to be able to speak the language. In the next lesson I tried to speak from my heart, and the words came! I am so grateful for my knowledge of the Gospel and for these experiences that make life just a little bit sweeter.

Sister J.
During one particular lesson I couldn´t understand a single thing that was being said. I was trying to understand but at the same time trying to think of a scripture to share so I was missing even more of what was being said. But I knew that wasn´t how I should do it, I needed to listen to what this Hermana was saying. So I said a prayer to help me listen to what she was saying and then when the time came to know what scripture to share. My mind was cleared and I was able to listen but I still couldn´t really understand anything. Towards the end of the lesson I asked if I could share a scripture. Without knowing what scripture I would share I started saying "One scripture that I really like is..." and then I knew that I needed to share 1 Nephi 3:7. So I shared it with her and definitely not by coincidence it is her favorite scripture and played a huge part in her experience of gaining a testimony. 
I love being a missionary and having experiences like this every day!

Sister W.
The miracles here are crazy! We have been GUIDED to where we need to go. My favorite was on Saturday. On Saturday we really REALLY wanted to find this one woman who had been a Golden investigator but was lost when missionaries were transferred. The only problem was that we didn't have an address or a phone number. Hermana W. remembered what part of town she lived in, and so we decided to walk over there. We then prayed to know where to go. We both felt that we should go to this one house. There was a group of people outside and we asked them if they knew this woman. They said there were two people with the same name, one in one direction, and one in the other direction, though they didn't know exactly which house. We felt prompted to go down one street... but when we were over there we were sort of just lingering not sure if we should start knocking door or what, when we turn around and Hermana W. gets so excited because there was a woman walking towards us and IT WAS HER. There are like a million people here. I have now doubt that God lead us to her. We showed her the restoration video and seriously, she is just golden. I'm so excited to finish teaching her."

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Vera Cruz Temple

July 30, 2015

The majority of our missionaries arrive to us having already gone through the temple.  The temple is a special place to LDS people.  We call it getting your “endowment” when you go for the first time to the temple.  Endowment means “a gift.”  The temple is a gift to us because of opportunity it gives LDS members to worship in a quiet, beautiful place.  We also make additional promises to our Heavenly Father when we attend.  These are promises of deeper commitment and service.  We feel we receive promises from our Heavenly Father of increased strength and blessings.

We recently received an Elder from Puerto Rico.  He had not had the opportunity to attend the temple and that privilege is given to each missionary.  We live a short distance from the Mexico City temple which is currently closed for renovations.  Our next closest temple is Vera Cruz which is a five hour drive due east – until you reach the Gulf of Mexico.  Literally, the Vera Cruz temple is a 2 minute walk to the gulf.

The drive was beautiful.  We often felt like we were driving through the Sierra Nevada mountains.  It was green and lush as we drove over two mountain ranges.  We had never seen this part of Mexico and all of us were surprised by the beauty and open spaces.

In the temple, we wear white clothing.  As we arrived at the temple early in the morning, we were warmly greeted.  The temple was already full at 7:30 AM.  Four buses had arrived during the night – all from Mexico City.  Faithful saints had filled those buses and driven all night long to attend the temple.  As I walked into the worship room I was overcome with the beauty of these saints.  Their red eyes did not dampen the sweet spirit they shared.  They were so beautiful with their black hair and white clothing.  What a peaceful, wonderful spirit filled the temple that day as we all worshiped together.

After our temple visit we walked down a beautiful beach, ate some seafood, and headed back to Mexico City a little more refreshed.