Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A Week in the Life of a Senior Missionary

Dear family and friends,

What a fabulous week we have had in the Cambridge area!  We even had 2 days when the weather was warm enough that we didn’t need to wear a coat!  We are hearing birds that we have never heard before.  The blossoms continue to explode around us and as always in the Spring, we feel the hope and immense miracle of new life!  I love this season of the year!

We started our week with a p-day with the young missionaries!  We played 4-square, (I haven’t played that since gradeschool!), chair football, and ping pong, (all played in a dress I might add!!!)  We had a blast.  I think the missionaries were quite surprised that we were so competitive!  We love spending time with them.  For a few days we have been in a threesome!!  We have Elder Wood from Mississippi staying with us while President Stevens is juggling around some extra missionaries preparing for transfers.  It’s a pleasure to have him here, but we have to have him home on time, so we’ve had to tweak our schedule somewhat!  (Now I can say what so many young missionaries say, well, me and my companions. . . . . . . .!)

Tuesday, we attended a Zone Conference in Ipswich with our zone and one other.  As is the case, it was a spirit filled day with training from these wonderful young missionaries, and President and Sister Stevens.  They are magnificent.  We feel such love for them and the work they do.  (We jokingly told them that whatever they are getting paid, it is not enough!!!)  The conference was focused upon the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  We are on an accelerated reading schedule to finish the Book of Mormon again before Easter.  We heard a talk by Elder Holland given at a new mission president’s seminar.  I wish I could send a link because it was so inspiring.  Basically, Elder Holland asked the question, why is missionary work so hard?  Why don’t missionaries have pneumonia from being in the baptismal font all day?  Why, if the Lord wants us to bring the gospel to every living person, aren’t these people flocking to us to be baptized?  Then he showed a video of the Savior’s suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, and his crucifixion on Calvary and said, “Because discipleship isn’t easy”.   Jesus Christ, the only perfect man who ever lived on earth, didn’t live an easy life.  Anything of worth, is hard.  It made me think that we may be not baptizing billions, or hundreds, or even a few, but He is building character, faith in Him, and strength in ourselves.  He is building strong sons and daughters of God, strong and committed disciples!  It was a truly inspirational day for us!

We were able to teach the law of tithing to Andrew this week.  We asked Gail, his wife, what her feelings were about tithing.  She said, when she was a little girl, (she was raised in the church), her mother often testified of the miracle of tithing, but Gail said, they were always very poor, which I think made her wonder where the miracles were.  One Saturday, she remembered they paid their tithing and they had about 60 pence left in their budget.  Her mother promised her a sweet bun for a treat, and said with that 60p they would have a party.  Well, they went to the bakery to buy what they thought might be 6 sweet buns.  When they got there, the baker told them, he had two full sheets of buns that were a day old so he would sell her the two full sheets for 60p.  (I'm thinking Gail said, there were over 100 buns)  Gail has never forgotten the experience.  They had tons of buns, so invited family and friends for a party.  Her mother turned to her and said, you see, Gail, the Lord blesses us in many ways when we pay our tithing!

We had a delightful get together with our dear friends Mike and Sandra Budd this week.  They told us of a fabulous pub, The Dog and Duck!  (We have renamed it the Woof and Quack!)  We had fish (a mild fish called Brie sp?), without the heads, Brad had haddock, and Mike had duck and we had a fabulous apple and cranberry crumble with ice cream and custard.  For two hours we ate, and laughed and enjoyed our friends!  That night we had been asked to take dinner to our friends, Marcus and Dayloni Bateman who just had a new baby.  We had planned to pick up Dominoes pizza, make a salad and eat dinner with them.  I was so full from lunch that I just got to hold and cuddle dear little Westin while they ate dinner and we visited.  Brad and I are so grateful for the wonderful friends we have found here!  They are so very dear to us and really feel like our family away from home!

We were able to take a friend to Colchester (about an hour and a half away) to our Stake President’s home, so she could have an interview to get her temple recommend.  We were able to teach her the temple prep classes (in an accelerated course!), because she is heading to LA to receive her own endowments and then with her siblings, be sealed to her parents.  This was a real special experience for us as we were able to visit with Sister Fagg, the Stake President’s wife.  They are the parents of 7 children and we were able to have her share with us how it was to raise a family in the missionfield.  She said, well, it really is quite simple.  One just has to teach and live the gospel in the home and make the home a safe place to be, and children will learn.   There was a real spirit of peace in their home.  They haven’t had experiences with rebellious children, but her testimony of strong families was evident.

Saturday, we met with Lucy and reviewed the baptismal interview questions.  This sweet friend is so excited to be baptized.  As I said, it is scheduled for Saturday, March 26.  We discussed with her what would take place and talked about the program.  Sunday, when she came to church we showed her the font, found her a white dress to wear and explained the process.  This truly is a miracle!  She told her oldest son about her baptism, and he is very supportive of her and wants to be there.  We have really seen a change in her and her children have as well.

Saturday night we headed to Ipswich again for the Stake Roadshows!!!!  Yeah, I LOVE roadshows!  And Brad was in an entre act, can you believe it!!!!  I was so proud of him.  This was really out of his comfort zone, but he did great!  The man announcing their act didn’t know him, so kept calling him Elder Jackson (but we are used to that!!  He answers to both!)  Hopefully I can attach the video.  These roadshows were so fun.  Professional, they definitely were not, but there was such a feeling of fun, of support, and comraderie that my heart could burst!  Church events in the missionfield are so bonding.  I was truly inspired and filled with love for these wonderful, humble saints! 

Our hearts are full of gratitude to Heavenly Father for sending us here!  I feel my life has really been blessed to learn things that I could learn no other way.  This has truly been a humbling and joyous journey!  We love you all!  One of our YSA’s has a blog on facebook called I Mormon.  He has done a segment on senior missionaries.  If you want to see us, go look it up!  Of course, I hate to see pictures or videos of myself, but it’s a chance to see some of our YSA’s.

Have a great week.  Happy Birthday to David Bishop on March 20!  We love you David and are so grateful for the blessing of you being a part of our family!!!!

With all our love,
Grandpa and Grandma
Dad and Mom
a view during our morning walk!  We love the fog
the Woof and Quack!!!  one of our favorite pubs!!! Thanks Mike and Sandra
Brad and Vicki

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