We started off the new year with new arrivals and a transfer on the 7 & 8 of the month. We have two Mandarin speaking sisters from Temple Square here in the mission for three transfers. What an incredible experience OUR sisters are having with these sisters. The one set is working in Ithaca, New York, home of Cornell University. They started with a "Get to Know You" evening and had about 9 Chinese students come. Their next activity there were 25 people who came to learn about the Church. It has been an incredible experience for the missionaries. The Chinese students were so excited to know that there is a God -- these students, if baptized, will bring the gospel into China. The two missionaries from our mission have Chinese name tags and one is trying to learn Mandarin. Along with transfers, we have our farewell dinner for the departing missionaries, which is always somewhat difficult. We do love the missionaries and don't like to see them leave.
|Favorite is the shrimp cocktail!!|
|Elders Tollofson & Houston.|
The end of January was zone conferences, and the other office couple had presentations to make at the five conferences. We did the mail those days, and all went fine. I kind of like doing the mail anyway -- a change in routine is always welcome. When the Utica Zone Conference was held I really wanted to go to the meetings this time. So often there are office duties that need to be done, but this time I was able to go to almost all of the meetings. Our assistants gave such wonderful talks, and I am amazed as to what they are able to do as they are so young. I know that the spirit qualifies those who have been called, and their reliance on that same spirit was so inspiring. I can't even write down all that I learned -- I would be accused of being SO preachy, but I just want to remember a few things. I know that faith in Jesus Christ is the sure foundation for a lasting testimony. We know that there is opposition in all things, but our faith in Christ will help us overcome the problems of a fallen world. Christ has suffered all for us, and we need to come unto him. (Ether 12:27...)
The other assistant gave a simple idea. "Instruction flees. But experiences will stay with us." He spoke about what we have to do to become converted? What sacrifices will I make to be truly converted and become a representative of Jesus Christ? (Sacrifice, experiences, lasting change). Is it MY will or GOD's will? we need to do righteous things and then become righteous. (D&C 18:15) Elder Holland said that if we bring only one soul unto Him, let's make sure that we are the one. Others great, but we must be converted ourselves.
That, in a nutshell, is what the AP's spoke about, and President Wirthlin spoke about The Doctrine of Christ and Real Growth. He said that we need to have absolute conformity to the will of our Heavenly Father. Faith is not so much something we believe -- it is something we live. A couple of missionaries sang -- p. 112, "Savior Redeemer of My Soul" -- beautiful melody and awesome message.
On Friday morning Dad woke up with vertigo -- he was totally tipsy and could not walk in a straight line. He was in bed all day Friday, Saturday and also Sunday. I fell on a patch of black ice on Friday morning and gave myself a good surprise landing. I landed on my knees and bruised and scraped both, plus gave my neck and shoulders a jolt. Old people are not supposed to fall! It has taken a while to get over the aches and pains, which is very frustrating.
The last Friday in January was Mission Leadership Council. I was so impressed with the missionaries. One of the Zone leaders shared an experience he had with an exchange. He was working with a new missionary from another part of the zone. They were going to an appointment and noticed a gentleman trying to move a TV and having difficulty with the job. They called out to him several times and he did not respond. In frustration they went over to the man and found out that he was deaf. This new missionary started signing with him and the gentleman was so amazed and then started asking them questions about what they were doing and why they were in New York. He wanted to know more about it all. The missionaries were blown away -- what are the chances that an exchange would bring an elder to the right place at the right time to be able to communicate with this deaf man. The missionaries were so touched by this experience, and stated that they knew it was no coincidence -- the Lord is in charge of His work.
On Dad's birthday it was fun talking to many of our family and friends. We had a relaxing day at home cleaning, doing laundry and resting. We enjoy our Saturdays. We had dinner at the Wirthlin's with the AP's, other office couple, President & Sister Wirthlin, and Elder Perkins of the Seventy. We had a wonderful evening. It is not often that one gets to have dinner with a General Authority and speak about what he is doing, what he has done, etc.
Valentines Day brought lots of mail again -- treats, cards, packages -- fun time for the missionaries to get their mail. We have fun watching the missionaries open their packages.
The next picture shows how beautiful the icicles can be -- go all the way to the ground.
This week is Transfer Week, so we have been getting office materials ready for the new missionaries and the trainers. We have three VISA Waiters coming and one Temple Square Sister plus twelve other missionaries coming. It is going to be difficult saying goodbye to some of the departing missionaries, that is for sure. We do get attached.
I continue to marvel at how the work moves forward and the tender mercies that we experience. We do know that the Lord does want this work to be done, and He makes ways possible for His will to be done. We have to have faith, and He does open the way. We have loved this experience of being missionaries, and as I have said before -- we see miracles with our work in the office, and we are glad to be part of the Lord's army. We love our friends and family -- we miss you and think of you often and remember you in our prayers.
Grammy and Papa, Mom and Dad, Herb & Sharon, Friend -- however you fit into our circle of love!