Monday, January 31, 2011

Life in the Branch

Thank you Maryle, Rachael, and Karen for helping Susan with her talk Sunday. Your comments were all used and worked perfectly with what she was trying to say. You all have heard the many references where the Savior says he has always been trying to gather us as "A hen gathereth her chickens under her wings". She played off of that image pointing out that the temple is where he gathers us under his wings. There he can teach us, protect us, strengthen us and fortify us to face the trials of the world and give us a respite from our cares.

Sunday we gave a challange to a family in the branch that we recommend to all of you. They were having significant challenges and did not know how resolve the problems. They have not been coming to church. They have two grandchildren living with them who are also not going to church. Arrangements were made with the sisters to teach the grandchildren. We gave a Book of Mormon to each of the two children and challanged the grandparents to read everyday from the BofM with the children and promised them that if they would do that they would find the answers to their problems. They accepted the challange and the kids were excited to get their own copies. When you need the Lord to bless you, it is good to find a commandment that you are having trouble keeping and then make a commitment with the Lord to keep it. He will always bless you when you make and keep a commitment to Him. We want this good family to learn that truth. They have taken the first step.

Sunday we had a 1/3 increase in the attendance at our Sacrament meeting. First time we have been over 30. The new full time couple are amazing and are having a significant effect in challenging all the members. The Branch presidency has organized the home teaching and we have been given nine families to home teach. We are hoping that with consistant home teaching we will be able to strengthen and uplift those that are now active and encourage and teach and bring back those that are not yet active. We have great hopes for the Ogdensburg Branch. It will soon thrive .

Happy birthday, Tyler!Have a great baptismal day, too. We love you all and hope you all have a good week. Be happy! It's a choice, you know.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Call For Help!!! Good weekend at the branch!

Good weekend at the Branch.
We were able to go to the branch this weekend. There was a lull in the lake effect snow storms and we had no problems. The temperature Sunday morning was about -15 degrees farenheit. That is below zero. The car wasn't sure it wanted to start but it did. We may have to replace the battery before the winter is over. The weather report was saying -25 degrees Sunday night. We left in the afternoon after church and made a couple visits on our way home.
(Note: Today, Tuesday afternoon, it was in the mid 30's in Palmyra. Not even freezing. That feels so much better then -15.) We have learned to love flannel sheets.

The branch had a new missionary couple assigned from the Utica Mission. Elder and Sister Esplin are neighbors of Linda Edwards in Cedar City. Elder Esplin was called to be a counselor in the Branch Presidency and they are going to have a big impact. All the missionaries met with the Branch President after church and discussed all that is going on. There is a real spirit of progress being made and success coming. The home teaching effort is being reemphasized and that is going to be a great blessing to the Branch. It has been "hit and miss", "mostly miss" for the past year.

We were encouraged by all of our visits this weekend. Everyone of them is talking about needing to get back to church. If they are thinking about it, perhaps there will be some progress made. We hope that if they think that every time we visit them, that eventually they will begin to act on the thoughts.

A Call For Help!
Susan has been asked to speak in church next Sunday. "How regular temple attendance helps make the rest of your life go better". She needs ideas. Please share your thoughts. (Quickly!!! you notice we said "Next Sunday") How has it helped you in your life? Right now we are so immersed in temple "attendance" every day that we don't know what life is like outside the temple. It is hard to imagine not being in the temple, feeling the spirit and Heavenly Fathers love all day long every day.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Obedience is better than sacrifice

It has been a hard week for us. We were both hit with bad colds last weekend and were not able to go up to the Ogdensburg Branch, but spent the weekend and Monday mostly in bed trying to recooperate so that we could be back to work in the temple on Tuesday. It worked and we were both pretty much over our colds by Tuesday morning. However, our energy levels were near zero and the two ten hour days in the temple nearly wiped us out. Still, we made it through the week and by Saturday morning we were feeling great and were raring to go up to Ogdensburg.

We got everything packed and I made a big chicken and rice casserole for the potluck after Church. We were excited to meet the new missionary couple which had just arrived in the Branch as their full time assignment and who we would be working under when we come up on the weekends.

Paul decided to check the weather one last time before we left, which on Friday looked good for the Highway 81 corridor at the end of Lake Ontario. Now, there were new storm warnings for lake -effect snow between Syracuse and Watertown for Saturday afternoon thru Sunday.
What should we do? If we left quickly we could get to Ogdensberg before the storm came, but then we might not be able to come back until Monday night or Tuesday. We really wanted to go!

We have been told by our temple president, mission president and the district president that if there is lake-effect snow on the forecast to not go. The temptation to go anyway was very strong because we are needed there to help give rides to church to some of the members and investigators that don't have transportation and we are anxious to get organized with the new missionary couple. We figured those were good reasons for going.

However, If we are not obedient to the our mission presidents, how can we expect the Lord to bless our efforts? It all boiled down to being obedient... so we reluctantly unpacked and put the casserole in the fridge to be eaten for dinner every night for the next week of so.

So we spent another weekend not doing any missionary work and feeling bad about it but trying to be obedient and trying to show the Lord that we want to do His will and not just our own. We trust that He knows best and that our future missionary efforts will be blest as we strive to do His will. Obedience is always the best answer. Even when you are not happy about it.

Monday, January 10, 2011

New Missionary Tool

Hello from the North Country. What do all of you think of this new web site We were reading in the January ensign and have become very intrigued. It is a center tear out section. They point out that there are now over 25,000 profiles on it and their goal is 100,000 in 2011. We created one of those.

The idea is to create a profile where your testimony can be shared with people who are looking for information. I am impressed with how well done it has been implemented. They have made it very easy to create and to add to your profile with more "experiences" and "FAQ's". It is oriented to be an individual, not a couple. We intend to add more content to ours now that it is set up.

We put a link on our blog, over to the right that goes to our profile. A link further down goes to the site without a specific profile as a destination. On the profile, we also put a link that goes to our blog. In this way if someone wants to have more direct involvement with you they can do that.

I do not know how to evaluate how many people I know that would take advantage of this kind of opportunity to get to know members and their thoughts. I guess time will tell if this is a powerful new tool, but we feel it would be good to take the opportunity to share our blessings of the gospel. Let us know what you think.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Are We Diligently Seeking?

While reading 1 Nephi 10, yesterday in church, we pondered the significance of these verses.

17 And it came to pass after I, Nephi, having heard all the words of my father, concerning the things which he saw in a vision, and also the things which he spake by the power of the Holy Ghost, which power he received by faith on the Son of God—and the Son of God was the Messiah who should come—I, Nephi, was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of these things, by the power of the Holy Ghost, which is the gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him, as well in times of old as in the time that he should manifest himself unto the children of men.
18 For he is the same yesterday, today, and forever; and the way is prepared for all men from the foundation of the world, if it so be that they repent and come unto him.
19 For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come; wherefore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round.

In two of these three verses Nephi talks about the importance of diligently seeking Jesus Christ. As with all the things our Heavenly Father asks of us, he promises blessings for obedience.
What does diligently seeking mean?
What blessings does Father promise if we are diligent in seeking His Son?

We feel to give you a challange to discuss these two questions in your family. We would love to hear what you learn, either in a response to this post or in a separate email.

We love you all so much and thought about you much during the holiday season. We hope you all are doing well and are enjoying your family time together.

As you think and talk about making resolutions for the new year, consider the importance of diligence in whatever you do.