Monday, December 20, 2010

Early Christmas

We had an early Christmas this year.

JoDee and Maryle arrived Thursday night. They went to the temple with us and afterwards we went to the Victor Village Inn where Mike works. We ate wings and Mike and JoDee sang karioke. Amber was also with us it was a lot of fun. Friday night Mike and Amber came over and we played games. We sure love to be with you kids. Thank you for being you.

Our two daughters sequestered themselves down in our basement for several hours with paint and glue and pictures they had printed off of the computer and made us an early Christmas present which they presented to us before they left. They said they didn't want us forgetting any of them while we are on our mission. They even left room for us to add more pictures as the expected grandbabies arrive. A picture of the finished work of art is below. Isn't it wonderful!
We said goodbye to JoDee and Maryle at 6am Sunday morning and drove up to Ogdensburg. The roads were great. We picked up one sister, Diane, for church and had another family come that we had invited last week. Diane has been inactive until the sister missionaries tracted her out a week ago. Last Sunday was her first time back to church in about 7 years. Yesterday she read a scripture in the Sacrament meeting Christmas program! She is excited to be back.

The Christmas presentation on the birth of the Savior was a collection of scriptures foretelling the birth of the Savior and an account of His birth. It was written by our branch president and he had almost every active member of the branch reading a scripture and being part of the presentation. We sang about five different Christmas hymns interspersed with the readings. It was a wonderful sacrament meeting and everyone felt the spirit. There was an investigator there, also, for the first time and two of the members knew him and one will be picking him up for church next week. We think the branch is making some progress. We feel that this was also an early Christmas present. We just love it here !

We hope you all have a joyous Christmas together. We know several families will be together in Utah and we are excited for you. May you all find love and kindness and remember the great blessing of the Prince of Peace. We miss you all but are too happy here to be sad about it.

Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 13, 2010

For Unto Us A Child Is Born

4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Jud├Ža, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior which is Christ the Lord
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

We pray that all of you will take time to ponder in your hearts the great blessing we celebrate this time of year. We can feel with wonder and awe that the Savior actually came to earth and lived and taught and suffered and atoned for us all.

We love you all and pray daily for you.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Is It Christmas Yet?

Last week we put up the Christmas tree and wrapped all the presents for our family. Yesterday we watched the 1st Presidency Christmas Devotional. Afterwards we looked up "The Mansion" by Henry Van Dyke, printed it out and read it. We then understood why President Monson reads that every year. It is a thought provoking story about a man who unlike Schrooge in the Christmas Story, was very wealthy and generous, but very careful to make sure he got the best "return" on his donations. You all may want to read that.
Susan decided the little angel tree top didn't work, so she tatted a star for the top. You can almost see it in this picture. We also made new tissue box holder for the temple. The old one looked terrible. Here it is below. Susan taught Paul how to stitch the pattern and he did half of the squares. Made the project go twice as fast.It is winter here!!! We got 10 inches of snow last night. We didn't go to the branch over the weekend because of the threats of lake effect snow. We may have had trouble getting home if we had gone. We went instead to the Fairport ward.
While at church we were again reminded of the power of loving people within a ward. We do not know how we would have raised our children without the help of the saints in each of the wards we lived in. We are very grateful and hope you also experience this great blessing in your families lives. We cannot return to our Heavenly Father alone. It is only as we lift and help each other that we can all make it back. As you accept callings and then do your best in each of them we widen the family circle to include the ward family and we help ensure there are no empty chairs there either.

Monday, November 29, 2010

No Empty Chairs

We have added a new song to our blog, "No Empty Chairs". Monday night, our FHE was a 50th Anniversary Celebration for one of the missionary couples. They are on their 3rd mission. Their family sent a dvd to use for the party which had this song as its theme song. We loved it, bought it, and put it on the site.

Listen to it below, ponder the words, and see if it touches your heart like it touched ours.

No Empty Chairs
by Janice Kapp Perry and Orrin Hatch

  1. Look around our family table
    Every person in his place
    Memorize this happy moment
    And each familiar face
    Look around our family circle,
    Feel the love that we all share
    Life is sweet and so complete with
    Each loved one gathered here
    There are no empty chairs at our table
    No empty feelings inside
    When all those we love are together
    Here side by side

  2. Time will fly, and all too quickly
    Some will leave to try their wings
    Empty places at our table
    Will tug at our heartstrings
    But the number at our table
    Will increase as children come
    Bringing to our family table
    Sweet innocence and fun
    We’ll add a few more chairs to our table
    A lot more laughter and love
    As our joy is multiplied daily
    To fill our cup.

  3. When there comes a time for parting,
    There will be no tears because
    We will set a grander table
    Where all may live in love
    There we’ll wait for all our loved ones
    Who will come to take their place
    At the feast that lasts forever
    In God’s eternal place
    We’ll have no empty chairs at our table
    No empty feelings inside
    When all those we love are together
    There side by side

  4. May the circle not be broken
    May each one return to be
    Safe within this peaceful haven
    Through all eternity
    We’ll have no empty chairs at our table
    When all are gathered above,
    No more empty chairs at our table
    In heaven’s home of love.

Our heart goes out to each one of you. Teach those little ones. Set a good example. Set goals that all of us will be around the table again and forever.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Traditions and The Lord Provides

Hello from the North Country. We had a great experience in the middle of the week. A father and his 12 year old son came from the Atlanta area. The boy had just turned twelve and this was his first trip to the temple to do baptisms. They had a tradition that when the child turned 12, the father took them to the Palmyra temple and the sites. You could tell this was a special time for both father and son. What a great tradition to take your son or daughter to the temple to do baptisms to celebrate their twelveth birthday. It struck us how important these types of traditions can be. I suspect we did not have enough of these, however we recognize how well you are all doing. We encourage you to develop your own family traditions that strengthen everyones testimony as they grow.

Friday night, we had a young spanish-speaking family come to the Palmyra temple to be sealed. They had driven up from NYC. The father spoke English fairly well but the mother spoke almost no English. Sister Strausburg, assistant to the matron, had been trying all week to get in touch with a sister in Rochester who spoke Spanish to see if she could come be a translator but wasn't able to contact her. I was assigned to be one of the greeters when the family arrived and saw the real need for a translator. I had learned from our working in the Provo Temple that whenever there was a need for a translator, the Lord would always provide and someone was found who could speak that language, even the most remote languages. I was confident that the Lord would provide someone here as well and so I was on the lookout for someone who could speak Spanish. Not more than ten minutes later, Sister Hall, whose husband had served as the President of the Spanish-speaking Branch at the same time Paul was Branch President of the other inner-city branch, walked in the door. I quickly explained our need for her and she was happy to be a translater for our little family being sealed. I took her to the dressing room where the mother was changing into her white clothing and they began conversing in Spanish. The mother who had been very tense and nervious up to this point visibly relaxed and I knew everything was going to be fine. I later learned that Sister Hall was the one that Sister Strausburg had been trying unsuccessfully to call all week. Sister Hall told me that she and her husband were planning to come on Saturday but then had changed their minds at the last minute and came Friday night instead. There are no coincidences in the temple and when there is a need, the Lord ALWAYS provides. It is His sacred work and He is intimately involved in it. I know this is true.

We testify that the Lord always provides for us also, and will for you as you trust in Him and seek ways to follow Him and serve Him. As we, in our lives, show Him we want to be with Him and do His work, He provides the opportunites. He finds ways to stretch us and to make us capable to do His work. He also blesses us with joy and happiness and makes the service a pleasure to give. God bless you all and may you find joy in your families.

Have a great Thanksgiving. Challange: Take a piece of paper and write 50 things you are thankful for. Once you start you will find there are so many.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Baptism at the Branch

Last Saturday we had a baptism at the branch. One of the men the sisters were teaching desired to be baptised. The baptism was held at Saturday at 1:00pm and I was able to confirm him on Sunday. We found it very special to be a part of this man's special day. He has made significant changes since he began to study and has truly felt the spiirit. It is a joy to see people who have had significant struggles in their lives, receive the gospel and begin to live it 's principles.

It reminds us, how we need to refresh those covenants in our lives each week. Every week as we partake of the Sacrament, we can remake our covenants with Heavenly Father. That we will take upon us the name of His Son. That we will always remember Him. That we will obey His commandments. That we will be a witness for Him in all places.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Moving Day

Here is our new apartment. First from the street looking at the apartment. Then from the porch to the yard. Isn't it pretty?

The door from the porch comes into the kitchen. This view is from the door.

Here is another view of the kitchen from the door to the living room.

Between the kitchen and the living room is a stairway to the unfinished basement where we can store our suitcases, empty boxes and my two cases of grape juice.

Here is a view of the living room taken from the bedroom.

And a view of the bedroom taken from the living room.

From the bedroom you look past the closets to the bathroom.

To the right in the bathroom is the sink and the commode.

And to the left is the tub/shower and the laundry area.

We love the new apartment. It is so spacious after living in the trailer. It has heat! You can see why they call this the Taj Mahal in the mission. There is even room to throw down air mattresses and sleeping bags if any of our sorely missed children/grandchildren/parents/siblings or friends come to visit.

The temple has been closed all week for cleaning. The timing was perfect to let us settle in. We also went in a couple of times to help in the cleaning. For all of your interest, the temple is going to be closed again the entire month of January for some remodeling of the entrance. We are going to be bored silly.

This weekend at the branch we had a district conference. In addition to an area authority seventy, the Temple President and Matron spoke on Sunday(AKA Uncle Bill and Aunt Kathy). It was a great conference and most of our active branch members were in attendance as well as an investigator who is going to be baptised next Saturday. I am looking forward to confirming him on Sunday. So what is going on with all of you out there?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Service Project Complete/International Fugitives

Hello From The North Country.
This past week we finished building the stairs for the Harris's. We spent two full days from 8am to 4pm. Both days we had to run to the temple to not miss the preparation meeting at 5pm. The Palmyra ward provided the manpower to dig the dirt the week prior. We then built the stairs with the help of several others. On Wednesday we built the stair frames from the top to the landing. On Friday we finished all the frames then installed the decking material. The treated lumber you see on the risers has to wait for a few months to dry before it can be painted. They will then paint it gray like the walls. Below is the result.

We had a miracle on Friday. Before we started Mary Harris offered a prayer that we could complete the project and asked the Lord to temper the elements. It was forcast to rain all day and it was raining as she prayed. Within a few minutes a patch of blue sky appeared above their house and stayed almost all day long. All around to the horizon was dark and stormy. It rained hard around the area but we never got more that a few drizzels during the day.

International Intrigue:
We were up in Ogdensburg for the weekend with our branch. There is a bridge at Ogdensburg that goes across the St. Lawrence river into Quebec. Sunday afternoon we left Ogdensburg to go to another town to visit members. We were passed by a funny colored car and noted that it was a US Border Patrol car. A few miles later there was a lady on the side of the road trying to flag people down. We stopped to see if she needed help. She said she was lost and seemed like a very nice lady. Trying to get to New York City. If you have been following our post, this is a long ways from NYC. About 5 hours drive. We describe to her how to go back to Syracuse and then follow the thruway to Albany then NYC. We gave her a small atlas we had to help her find the way. She was going to follow us to our next village and then keep on going. Further on down the road we noticed the Border Patrol parked on the side. He pulled in behind us and followed us for a while. When we got to a stop sign, I gave her some more directions and we continued. In about a mile, the border patrol passed her and pulled us over. He was curious why a car with Utah plates was working with a car with Florida plates. We described who we were, that we were US citizens, where we were going and what we were doing. We also described the help we were giving this lady. He then left us and went racing after her. We saw him with her pulled over down the road. We spent the rest of the day wondering whether we had been aiding and abetting an international spy, a terrorist, or a drug dealer. If you see something on the nightly news, let us know. She didn't look like a "bad guy". Just a lost, nice lady.

By the way, is anyone reading these posts? We never get any comments. We are having a wonderful time. We love you all.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Speaking in the Branch

Paul and I were asked to speak in the Branch yesterday and it was a great experience. I spoke first and introduced us a bit and then talked a bit about preparing our ancestors to go to the temple. Before I finished what I had prepared, I felt impressed to just bear my testimony and sit down. We then sang a hymn that beautifully summed up my talk and then Paul got up and gave one of the best talks I have ever heard on preparing to go to the temple. Here it is:

"We teach in the church the importance of doing the work for our kindred dead. The first ordinances we do in the temple for our ancestors are the same ordinances you participated in when you became members of the church.
Ordination to the priesthood
However Our Heavenly Father has much more for us and our ancestors then just becoming members of the church. In Elder David A. Bednar's talk in the April 2009 conference he said the following.
“The process of taking upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ that is commenced in the waters of baptism is continued and enlarged in the house of the Lord. As we stand in the waters of baptism, we look to the temple. As we partake of the sacrament, we look to the temple. We pledge to always remember the Savior and to keep His commandments as preparation to participate in the sacred ordinances of the temple and receive the highest blessings available through the name and by the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, in the ordinances of the holy temple we more completely and fully take upon us the name of Jesus Christ.”

So what are these temple ordinances and how do we prepare to participate in them?
First: What are the temple ordinances? I would summarize this answer in 3 parts.
1. We perform the saving ordinances of Baptism, Confirmation, and Ordination to the priesthood for our ancestors in the temple. When done for those that are in the spirit world these must be done in the temple.
2. Teaching. We often talk of the 3 questions of life
a. Where did I come from?
b..Why am I here?
c. Where am I going?
I like to summarize these three into one. Who am I? When you were taught the gospel in preparation for baptism, you learned the answer to these questions. In the temple you are taught these same things in more powerful, motivating ways. In the temple we call this an Endowment or Gift and it is truly a marvelous gift. As a part of learning these things we are also given the opportunity make covenants or promises with God. He in turn promises us marvelous eternal blessings.
3. Sealing Families. The temple work is focused on bringing Heavenly Fathers family back home from mortal life. Not just being resurrected, which all of us are promised, through the Savior's atonement. But exaltation or life with God and life with our family relationships.

Second: How do we receive these eternal blessings.
The gospel of Jesus Christ provides for all of us the opportunity to return to Heavenly Father in the Celestial Kingdom, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, of which the 1st four are Faith, Repentance, Baptism, and Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost.
In order to receive the blessing of life with our families eternally we must prepare ourselves and go to the temple to receive those ordinances which promise those blessings. We must be endowed and then sealed as families.
How do we prepare for Baptism, or becoming a member of the Church?
1. We are taught the basic principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The first principles and ordinances, the restoration, the commandments.
2. We learn what we are covenanting with God. Take upon us His name, obey his commandments, remember Him.
3. We have an interview where we express our faith, repentance, and commit to live the commandments.
Do we have to be sinless, perfect, No. We need to desire to do better and to work at it.
How do we prepare for going to the temple. Very similar to preparing for baptism.
1. Be a member for at least a year.
2. Learn as much as we can about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
3. Demonstrate to ourselves that we are keeping our baptism covenants.
4. Interview with the Bishop and Stake President. This is much like your baptismal interview only now they are going to ask if we are keeping the covenants we made at baptism, chastity, word of wisdom, tithing
When this is complete we are given a temple recommend which authorizes us to go to a temple and receive our endowment and to be sealed to our families. This recommend is good for two years. Every two years we have an opportunity to again interview with our Bishop and Stake President and affirm that we are making progress in more fully taking upon us the name of Christ and becoming more like him.

I want to now discuss a different topic and tie it in.
What is Sanctification??
I will answer that question by contrasting it with Justification. These two concepts are many times discussed together because they are both part of the process by which we receive forgiveness and become like God.
Justification is the process by which we avail ourselves of the atonement of the Savior, and receive forgiveness for our sins. It is an integral part of the repentance process and all of us must become justified so that we may be able to return to our Father in Heaven.
Sanctification is a continuation of the repentance process. It is the process by which we become a changed person. We experience a change in our hearts. We no longer desire to do evil but to bless all those around us.
Let me read two quotes on the subject of Sanctification.
Helaman 3:35
35 Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifing and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God.
Dallin H Oaks speaking of the many experiences we go through in this life said the following.
Through the justice and mercy of a loving Father in Heaven, the refinement and sanctification possible through such experiences can help us achieve what God desires us to become.

If those are reasonable definitions and distinctions between those two terms, let me now share an observation that Sister Sherwood and I have made in our lives. We have observed over many years of attending and serving in the Temples, that temple worship is a key part of the process that helps us become sanctified. We have seen that most of the people we knew that had the characteristics of becoming what Heavenly Father wanted them to be, were in the temple often. We first discussed this observation while coming home from the Denver temple one evening. We determined then that we wanted to be like them. This began our interest not just in going to the temple but serving in the temple. "

We truely believe that in serving others in any way we become more like the Savior and open our hearts more to becoming what Heavenly Father wants us to be. Serving in the temple as a patron or as a worker, opens our hearts even more as we participate in Heavenly Fathers's work of saving all of his children, and we become "saviors on Mount Zion" doing for others what they cannot do for themselves. It is really marvelous that Heavenly Father allows us to help him in this way and experience for ourselves the joy that is associated with this work. Our desire is that all of you will prepare yourselves to go to the temple often and learn for yourselves how much you are loved by Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
To our Children: Talk about this in your families and set goals so that we can all be together in the Celestial Kingdom. We want no empty chairs! Love to you all.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Susan's Folley and The Ogdensburg Branch

Hello from the North Country. In New York you have "the City", "the Lower Tier", "Upstate New York", and "The North Country". The City is obvious. Upstate is all along the throughway from Buffalo to Albany. This is also the path of the Erie Canal. The Lower Tier is the cities just north of Pennsyvania. The North Country is the area above Upstate in that portion of the state that follows the St. Lawrence Seaway from Watertown on Lake Ontaria to Vermont. This is a different world. They do not acknowlege being a part of any of the rest of New York. They are their own country. The North Country.
Our branch is an hour up the seaway from Watertown. Below you see some pictures.
Here is the branch building, a first stage chapel just a couple of years old.
Here is the missionary home. A pair of sister missionaries live here as well as a senior missionary couple. We stay here when we come up for the weekend. You can see the seaway to the left of the picture, left of the red cabin. All the rest of the pictures are taken from this house's backyard.
The following 3 pictures are a panoramic view of the seaway from left to right. Of course on the other side is Preston, Quebec, Canada. The big white building is a granery.
It is good to be going up there and working now. This weekend we went up Saturday night and met with the Sister missionaries. They told us all about the members in the Branch. We went to the services in the morning and had a brunch with them. Afterwards we divided the branch between the Guthries and ourselves and started calling the members in our area. Out of the 10 phone calls we made we were able to visit one. There was another branch couple there and we got to know them for about an hour. We feel like we know most of the people who come out to church. We are now going to work on meeting those who don't. We will drive up there on Saturday mornings and spend the afternoon and Sunday afternoon trying to visit people. If we don't have appointments for Monday morning we will drive back Sunday night.

We had an interesting experience while going to our visit. We passed a cemetary near Ogdensburg and saw a man all bundled up sitting in a folding chair by a newly dug grave. After going about 2 miles past, the spirit said we needed to go talk to him. We drove back, parked near him and walked over. He looked at our name tags and said he was grateful that we cared enough to stop and talked for about 1/2 hour. His wife had died 2 weeks prior and he found this was one place he could come and find "peace". He was familiar with our church but had found his answers in the Catholic faith. We got to know him and were grateful the spirit had sent us.

Now to Susan's folley. It was fall and Susan could not resist the urge to can. We went out and spent $20 for quart jars, $10 for a 5-gallon jug, and $30 to fill it with grape juice at a vineyard down in Naples, NY. It tastes great. It cost $3 dollars a quart for grape juice. Compare that at your grocery store. Next year it will be half that. Below is a picture of the 5-gallon jug and some of the quarts. Don't they look great! The Concord juice was not available so we bought Iona grape juice. Still a very good tasting juice and a beautiful color.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

We are playing in the mud

Monday night at the missionary family home evening, a call went out for any of us who had construction tools who wanted to be involved in a service project. We found out from President Sherwood that the Mary and Ron Harris home needed to have the front steps torn out and rebuilt. This is a couple that we knew here formerly. Susan worked with Mary with Reach the Children.

Their front stairs were falling apart and the gravel and dirt was being washed away. Ron had fallen and seriously damaged his leg. All the tendons and ligaments on his left knee were torn away. He underwent surgery two weeks and will be another 6 weeks recovering.

The stairs were simply risers holding back the dirt with slate layed on each step. The slate had all broken and the risers were coming apart. President Sherwood and I went there Wednesday, reviewed the problem and designed a new stair system. We need to remove all the slate and the dirt to below where the individual steps will be. We then will build a stair structure for each step and attatch them to the sides of the stair well. Susan and I went back Friday and reviewed the plan with the Ron and Mary. They were delighted and gave us the go ahead.

The first step needed to have a small concrete slab under it so that it was not sitting on the dirt. They had 3 bags of concrete sitting in the garage. Since the slab needed to be placed before the rest of the work could start we decided to do that while we were there. Susan and I dug out the 1st two stairs and poured the slab Friday. That was a lot of work moving that dirt for the two of us and it was only 2 of the 11 steps. When the slab is cured we will begin work on the rest. We need to get some younger helpers to move the rest of the dirt.

Below are some pictures of the stairwell, the dirt we removed and the slab we poured.

Part of missionary work is giving service and this is our first opportunity. It should be fun to see the project completed. There is great joy in being able to help someone who has a real need. When it is someone you know and love it is even sweeter.

Associated with this project we have a decision to make. Mom thinks it would be worth it to buy a sawsall and a power screwdriver to use on this project and to have available for other projects that may arise. We already have 2 power screwdrivers in Provo, and I have always wanted a sawsall. The question is, is this a good enough excuse to buy tools? We are looking for input to sway the decision one way or the other. What do you guys think?

The Fairport and Pittsford wards are doing an interesting service project in Rochester. They along with a few other congregations from other denominations in the area are sponsoring a Habitat for Humanity home. They are ahead of the fund raising schedule and start work on the construction this week. With this program a family is selected to receive a new home. The organization then raises the funds, then builds the entire home. This home is being built for a single mom with several children.

We hope you are all doing well and look forward to hearing from you. Are you all reading your scriptures and preparing for missions? They sure are fun.

Monday, October 4, 2010

For Time and all Eternity

I had the most beautiful experience last Thursday morning. A couple came to the temple to recieve their own endowments and to be sealed together for time and all eternity. My assignment was to accompany the sister and help her all throughout her temple experience, taking care of all the little things for her so that she wouldn't have to worry and could relax and feel the spirit of the temple and listen to all the wonderful blessings that she was recieving from her Heavenly Father in the temple. A couple of the brother temple workers were doing the same for her husband, which was more of a challenge because he was quadraplegic and was in a wheelchair. He has Lou Gehrig's disease and doesn't have long to live.

It was so touching to see Gail fuss over Frank, wanting everything to go perfect for him and it didn't start out very well because they arrived in a pouring rain and they were both soaked by the time they reached the temple doors but a couple of towels and a blow dryer soon had Frank comfortably dry again and Gail, seeing how Frank was being fussed over soon relaxed and was ready to begin her temple experience.

Everything went well from then on and after they finished the Endowment and were together in the Celestial room with all of their friends and family they seem so happy and excited . In the sealing room as she knelt across the alter from him and were being sealed together for eternity there were tears running down both of their faces as well as on the faces of most of their family members. After the ceremony, Gail jumped up from the alter and went around to Frank and started planting kisses all over his face and he just beamed. Afterward I heard his brother say to him, "Well Frank, now you've done it. It looks like you're going to be stuck with her forever!" Frank, struggling to speak, said, "Good. I'm glad!"

We marvel at how magnificent Heavenly Father's plan is for all of his children and how wonderful it is to be a part of helping to extend these precious ordinances to others of His children. To feel the joy of this couple who know that their time together on this earth may not be very long, now have the comfort of knowing that they now will have eternity to be together is indiscribable to me and strengthens our testimony even more that we have a loving Heavenly Father who knows and loves dearly all of his children. The Gospel is true ! We know that with all our hearts!

We hope you all enjoyed General Conference over the last two days. We felt the spirit greatly from our leaders and are so grateful for them. Chris, did you see and hear the MTC choir in the Priesthood session? That could be you in a year or two. I guess that applies to all you grandchildren, but Chris is so close. My heart swelled as I watched and listened to them.

We are grateful to be here on a mission and love serving in the temple. We are grateful for all of you and for the things we see you do that bring the spirit into your lives. The Lord has blessed us all so greatly. We hope you all follow President Monson's and Elder Holland's counsel and thank Him profusely.

Monday, September 27, 2010

New Assignments

We had another great week in the temple meeting new workers and renewing old friends from before.

Susan was asked by the Temple Matron to tat a new altar cloth. She has been working all week developing the pattern and that is now complete. The picture below is 4 squares with a border. The finished altar cloth will be 12 rows of 5 squares each. She is now ready to begin to tat the real thing. She is excited.
Saturday morning we met with the Utica mission president, President Bullock and his wife. They counseled with us on the status of their branches and where they could possibly use us. Together we concluded the most likely match was with the Ogdensburg Branch about 50 miles northeast of Watertown on the St Lawrence seaway. He is now going to discuss this with District and Branch Presidents and get back to us with an assignment. We are awaiting that anxiously.
We decided to go up to the branch yesterday even without an assignment. We went with the Guthries who are also awaiting an assignment. It was a 3-1/2 hour drive one way from Palmyra. What a delightful visit it was. We forgot to take the camera so there are no pictures. The Sacrament meeting was primarly the Branch President and his wife, Elder and Sister Johnson saying goodbye. They are senior missionaries whose time has come due. They have been there for their entire mission and have done a great work. It was special to hear their comments and feel the love from the branch members. There was about 20 people in attendance and that is pretty typical. That included 3 couple missionary pairs and a couple visiting from Cedar City, UT(The Esplins). The Esplins live around the corner from Linda and Dale Edwards. Small world eh?
The Johnsons live in a nice home right on the seaway. Two sister missionaries share the missionary home with them. Elder and Sister Johnson go home in a week and a half and that is one of the reasons they need us there. Sister Johnson invited us to dinner so we were able to spend some time with them and learn about the branch. We are fairly confident that one of the two couples will be assigned there. Maybe both.
It was a beautiful drive. The leaves are starting to change. But it was all day long. We left at 6am and got back at 6pm.
Last Monday we went to dinner with Mike and Amber. She still likes him. We gave Sandy the phone number and email for Amber so she can communicate the family reunion information. If any of you want to contact her, see Sandy or email us.
Have a great week and we hope to hear from you.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

First Week in Palmyra

We have completed our first full week in the temple. We are a part of 6 shifts.
Tuesday & Thursday-Morning & evening
Wednesday & Friday-Evening

On Tuesday and Thursday we have a 3 hour break between the shifts where we can eat and take a nap.

Monday we were set apart in the morning. We then were able to spend a couple of hours visiting with Mike and Amber in the afternoon. They seem to be doing well. We were able to get to know Amber and her family better. Did you all know she is a cake decorator. She and some family members have been doing very interesting work. Go to facebook and look for shambercakes. It was fun seeing their work. We are going to eat dinner with them tomorrow.

Monday evening we had a family home evening with all the temple missionaries. Presdent Strassberg, in the temple presidency discussed the meaning of words. He taught Latin in Buffalo and had a very interesting way to taking the words back to their Latin origins and was able to demonstrate nuances of meaning in our gospel language, redemption, repentance, atonement, etc. It was very interesting and faith promoting, but you needed to be there to understand.

It is different working on almost all the shifts. You get to know almost everyone who works in the temple. We already have known many, but there are many new ones also. Tuesday night we had the opportunity to run a session in the baptistry. That brought back a lot of memories and was fun.

Saturday we spent most the day wandering around Palmyra Canal Days festival with Elder and Sister Guthries from Colorado. We had lunch with them and it was a fun day. The streets were blocked, there was an antique car show, and many booths. In the afternoon there was a parade.

This week in the temple reminded us of a scene from A Christmas Carol in which the ghost of Christmas past was showing Feziwigs Christmas party to Schrooge. The ghost said to Schooge, "This was not a big deal for Feziwig to put this party on. He didn't spend much. But the people were so happy." Schooge said "That isn't the point. He had the power to make us happy or miserable under his employment, and to make our work pleasant or a drudgery. He was a good man to work for." How much more joyful it is to be working for the Lord in the temple than for Feziwig. He makes our work in the temple full of indescribable joy.

Our temple president observed how we can tell it is all worth it. When you see a couple run into the temple, harried, late and frustrated. Carrying the cares of the world on their shoulders. Then two hours later seeing them walk out slowly out holding hands. At peace with the world. They have been able to cut through the problems of the world and see again what live is all about.

We hope all of you are going regularly to the temple. You may get tired of hearing this from us, but too bad. We all need the peace and truths available there. We testify to you that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true and the power of the Savior is real. He will bless you through your families as you lead them back to him. We love you all.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

We Are Here!

Thursday September 2, 2010 Mom gave us a beautiful fairwell party where we said good bye to family and friends in Provo.

Friday morning we started our trip east to New York. We spent Saturday and Sunday with our kids and grandkids in Colorado Springs.

We traveled 2 days more to West Lafayette, Indiana and spent all day Wednesday with Maryle and Jared.

We then traveled to Palmyra arriving Thursday night.

Friday and Saturday we spent finding a place to live and moving in. We have an apartment in Pitsford that becomes available Nov 1. We needed to find a place for the 6 weeks before then. We ended up arranging with Pres. Dan Hare of the Pageant presidency to use a pageant trailer in Zion's camp.
Here is our home for the next 6 weeks.
From standing in the middle of the trailer, this is the kitchen and livingroom area including the computer 'Room'.
Looking the other way, this is the bathroom and bedroom. That's it.

We spent Friday night in the trailer with no heat and no hot water. Saturday Paul Rowe came over and helped us fix that. We are beginning to feel right at home.

Tomorrow morning we will be setapart as Palmyra Temple Ordinance workers and our first shift will be Tuesday morning. Next Sunday we expect to hear about our assignment to a branch. Today we went to church at Palmyra and Fairport and renewed some marvelous friendships.

We got in touch with Mike today. He is working today, but thinks he and Amber can get with us tomorow afternoon. We are looking forward to that.

We have been overwhelmed by how the Lord has helped us get here, moved in, ready to go to work. We know without a doubt that the Lord wants us here and we are anxious to begin doing his work. What a joy to be in his service. We hope all of you are feeling that same joy in your lives.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

We have had a marvelous 1st week in the MTC. In 1 week they teach the senior missionaries what they take 3 weeks for the young missionaries. We obviously get a shortened version. We had 20 couples this week and 2 senior sister missionaries. We were divided into districts of 3 couples the first day. Here is our district.

Left to Right: Elder & Sister Taylor, yours truly, Elder Dowda(our instructor), Elder & Sister Pack. The Taylors are going to Las Vegas West, and the Packs are going to Chile.

We also have another couple going to the Palmyra Temple. They are from Lake George, Colo. in your Uncle Bill's ward. He is recruiting everyone. Below are Elder and Sister Guthrie. We have become good friends and look forward to serving with them in the Palmyra Temple.

Tomorrow we start the temple mission training. There are 2 other couples going on temple missions. One to the Washington DC temple, one to the Halifax, Nova Scotia temple. All of us will be training together this week.
Tuesday night at a devotional Elder Jeffrey R. Holland spoke to us. What a treat. He encouraged us to make the most of our missions even though it will be hard, and there will be tears. We can't expect to become like the Savior unless we are willing to go through our Gethsemane's. But the he and the Lord don't apologize for asking us to do hard things. He quoted a French poem roughly translated.
"Come to the edge, the Lord called.
No I said, I will fall.
Come to the edge He said again.
No I said, I will fall.
So reluctantly I came to the edge.
He pushed me.
And I flew."
When we trust the Lord He will take us where He wants us to go and it will be far beyond what we ever dreamed.

Monday, August 23, 2010

MTC Training

Yesterday we became officially Elder and Sister Sherwood. We were set apart by our Stake President. This morning we entered the MTC. We are living at home but go to the MTC each morning.

What an exciting day. There were 20 senior couples and 2 senior sisters. Going all over the world. From England to Halifax to Singapore and all over South America.

We started off the first orientation meeting by singing "Called To Serve". Who would of thunk it. What a spirit that hymn brings. We were surprised to see that one of the counselors in the MTC Presidency was President and Sister Brienhold, former President of the New York, Rochester Mission that we new while in New York. We met another couple that is going to the Palmyra Temple, Elder and Sister Guthrie. They are from Lake George, Colorado. They lived right outside the gate to Camp alexander, where most of you boys went to scout camp.

Today we were taught how to stay healthy, organized into 7 districts, and reviewed the schedule for the next two weeks. In general we will be going home each night after dinner. On Tuesday's however we have a general authority for a 7pm fireside.

The rest of this week we work with the missionary trainers and learn how to teach the gospel. Next week we will be working with Brother Rex Pinegar and his wife on the temple side of our mission. We are so excited.

We probably will write again on Saturday. That is our preparation day when we also go to the temple.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Palmyra Temple, here we come!

We finally recieved our mission call and we are going to the Palmyra Temple for 18 months. Bill has found us housing already so we don't have to worry about that. We have started packing up the things we won't be taking with us so that the bedrooms downstairs will be free for my sister,Karen, to use while we are gone.

We are now waiting for the packet to come from the Temple Department giving us further instructions about what we will need to take with us. This morning we started using the suggested mission daily schedule and had an hour of personal study time and an hour of companion study time and have started studying the "Preach My Gospel" manual. It was a very productive two hours and got the day off to a great start. I look forward to doing it every day until we go into the mission home on August 23.

We have the option of living at home while we attend the MTC which will save us a few dollars each day. They are re-doing the Senior Missionary residence and all of the couples are going to a motel each night so we figured we might as well stay at home and save the expense.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The wait begins

We had our interview with the Stake President yesterday and he "punched the button" last night so our papers are officially in. Uncle Bill called us today to say that he had called the temple department to request us. So now we are waiting and hoping for the call to come. Your Dad thought he should start getting us passports, just in case. So we dug out our old ones and to our suprise we had renewed them in 2002 so they are good for another two years. Now he is trying to think of something else we can be doing while we wait. He would like to leave tomorrow if we could. He hates sitting around.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Count Down to the Mission

The last two weeks have been busy ones with doctor visits, dental visits, immunizations, and a series of tests making sure we are in shape to go on our mission. Now the papers are submitted and after our interview with the stake president on Sunday, the waiting for the call will begin. Then we will see how much influence Uncle Bill has. Will we be sent to Palmyra or does the Lord have somewhere else in mind for us. What do you think? Where will we go?