June to July 5, 2014
Well, this is the last month of our mission. This month we prepared for our last arrival of new missionaries (20), last transfer day and training of new mission office couples to take over our responsibilities. Since we started our mission, we will have seen 210 new missionaries enter our mission. Each missionary has been excited to arrive, but arrive with "deer in the headlight" looks. We have marveled at the changes which take place during their first 5 weeks because we see them for "Return and Report" day. They start their mission timidly and return with more confidence. It takes 12 weeks for them to receive all their training and we always ask them how the training is going. Their trainer is so important because if it is done right, then the rest of their mission will be successful. We have seen miracles happen when Pres. Wirthlin seeks the Lord's help in assigning the right trainer.
We have been putting together our own training books for our replacements. We didn't have extensive in-office training when we arrived, so we have prepared our own training books. At the first of the month, we were informed only one senior couple was assigned to replace two couples. So we were concerned. But Pres. Wirthlin decided to reassign a senior couple who was serving in the Lake Placid area to serve in the office. So the week of new missionaries and transfers, we started our training for the new office couples...very busy week. The new couples were overwhelmed at first, but by the end of the week they think it will be OK. The office couple who served with us left on Saturday the 28th and we will leave on July 5th.
Right now, we plan on going to Cleveland, Indianapolis, Chicago, Madison, Prince Rupert, Omaha, Mt. Rushmore, Devils Tower, Custer's last stand, Martin's Cove, SLC, Provo and home. We should arrive home about the 13th or 14h. But then we travel to No. Cal for my Mom's 96th birthday.
Our last Sunday in the Herkimer Branch was very sweet and tender. The primary children presented us with home made leis with pictures of each child. Then at the linger-longer they presented us with a large cake. We will miss the Branch and it has been a pleasure to have served there.
We have had many challenges while on this mission which tempted us to give it up..severe flu our first day of training, overwhelming flood of new missionaries, finding housing for 45 new areas and furnishing the units, getting food poisoning from eating possum which lasted for 6 weeks, delivering sooo much furniture to new apartments caused the need for a hernia surgery repair, then our grandaughter who had been sick for 8 years passed away which was a heartache, then another hernia surgery to repair the first one which didn't hold, I damaged the rear door panel of the mission van ($2000), damaged another new mission car which had just arrived and our own car was hit from behind with $2300 damage, we suffered vertigo and shingles also and to top it off, we experienced the coldest and worst winter in 100 years. But throughout it all, we determined never to give in or go home. We were called to serve and serve we would - no matter what was thrown in our way. We have endured and have been blessed for it.
As a closing thought, we want to bear our testimony of the truths of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. It is true that Joseph Smith saw the Father and the Son, the translation of the Book of Mormon was a miracle and is the Word of God, we have a living prophet today, Pres. Thomas S. Monson, and the Lord directs this church through his prophets. We are blessed with the restoration of the Priesthood which allows us to be instruments in the hands of The Lord to bless others. As Nephi said. "We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ...". We have learned to "Trust in The Lord with all our heart, mind and strength. And in the end all we can do is what Pres. Hinckley said. "If life gets too hard to stand, Kneel".
We hope our service to The Lord in our mission has been acceptable to Him. We leave with a clear conscience that we have done all we could and we feel blessed. Our family has been blessed beyond measure and we appreciate all their support.
Elder & Sister Cutler