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.