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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

It's a Battleground, But HALLELUJAH

The mission provides around fifty cars to missionaries that live on Long Island where mass transit is not available.  Mission cars are purchased new and are sold when they reach fifty thousand miles.  Missionaries are not to eat or drink in the cars and are required to keep them maintained, clean and washed.  Missionaries are tested before they are allowed to drive.  The cars have tee wees installed in them so they can be tracked if they exceed a certain speed limit or are driven outside the missionaries proselyting area.

Given all of these guidelines, but understanding the missionaries are between eighteen and twenty-one years old and this is New York, you can only imagine what can (and does) happen.

But, not to fear!  The mission is a major customer of a local car repair shop.  The cars are forever being rotated in and out for service and repair.

Now, in your widest imagination, can you guess the name of the repair shop?

HALLELUJAH!, PRAISE THE LORD Auto Repair Shop.  I am serious. Every time I think of it, I laugh.

Don't you just love it!#             Only in New York
No automatic alt text available.

You can even purchase license plate covers.....would you like me to pick one up for you?

Or maybe a business card?

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Senior Christmas Elves

This Monday for Family Home Evening, a few of the senior missionaries got together to stuff Christmas stockings and bags for elders and sisters who have not received Christmas packages from home.  Some of our missionaries come from foreign countries where it is very expensive to mail packages from home. Others come from humble circumstances where their families struggle to send them on a mission.

The senior missionaries, along with some of the parents of missionaries, contributed either money or suggested items to put in the bags and stockings.  It was so touching to see the amount of donations!  There were gloves, scarves, candy, cordless chargers, personal care items, and the list goes on and on.  We were able to fill 33 bags and stockings and still had money left over to purchase any larger item a missionary might need.

Sister Williams and Elder Adams

Elder Johnson wrapping presents; Elder Shapiro watching

Getting the bags and stockings organized

Sister Williams taking pictures (she probably has pictures of me taking pictures;
and Sister Peterson having some pizza)

Old Friends are the Best!

We had such an enjoyable day this week.  Our dear friends, Gail and Linda Goodman, were visiting a daughter and found time to met us in Manhattan.  It was one of the coldest days so far this year and very windy (as you can see from the picture).  We were anxious to catch up on Payson happenings and mission updates.  They just received another mission call to Hawaii Visitor Center and will report in July.  They certainly deserve such a wonderful calling as they have served one 18 month mission plus four 3 month dental missions.  So we get home and then they leave.  They are our card playing friends so maybe we can get a couple of games in before they leave.

Their daughter and two grandchildren joined us at the Stardust Cafe for lunch.  If you are not familiar with the cafe, the wait staff sing and perform the whole time you are there.  It was very noisy!  So noisy that we had to yell just to hear each other.  I told their daughter that when she serves dinner tonight to her children, she can't get angry with them for jumping up on the table and belting out a song. It was her idea to go the cafe.  Both of the kids looked comatose, simply overwhelmed by the noise and activity.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Our Mission Thanksgiving

So much to be thankful for.....each other, our family, the missionaries, old and new friends, and the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We are so blessed to be serving Him, through serving the missionaries, in the New York South Mission.

This Thanksgiving we celebrated twice.  First at our ward, Rego 1st Ward.  Here are some pictures:

This is bother Nunez and his daughter.  His sweet wife had to work on Thanksgiving. He has been such a blessing to us.  He is from the Dominican Republic and has been in the United States for few years.  His wife served a mission when she was younger and he is a convert.  They tell us they are planning to move to Arizona when we leave.

This young man, KC, is from Ghana.  He told us that the missionaries came to his neighbors home, but he was not home.  It was such a hot day KC invited them over for a drink of water.  Then he noticed their missionary name tags and he thought, "Oh, no.  I don't want them in my house."  It was too late, he could not be rude.  They taught him the gospel for 3 hours.  He excused himself, went upstairs, prayed, and knew the gospel was true.  Since that time he has gone to school at BYU for three years and wants to become a teacher.  Such a delight to visit with him.  He is such a happy young man.

This is a picture of Richard and I having lunch.  The man next to Richard, brother Galloway, is in our ward and for the last few years has planned the Thanksgiving lunch.  Next to him is his new neighbor of 10 days.  Through an interrupter, we learned he is from Russia.  It was so interesting to learn of his country and what brought him to the United States.  He talked about how Russia is crumbling from all the sanctions.  He was well to do in his country,.  He had a car, but no gas.  Groceries were limited. Banks could not do business because they had no money to lend. He sold all he had to come to the United States.  As we had lunch, we taught him some English words like water, fork, spoon, knife, water, etc.  He is an intelligent man and should be able to speak the English language soon so he can then get a job.

In the evening we celebrated our second Thanksgiving.  The senior missionaries and about 8 (jr) missionaries who live close to the mission office had a wonderful meal and enjoyed each others companionship.  The missionaries were so excited to have the traditional Thanksgiving dinner.  Mashed potatoes instead of rice, rolls with jam, turkey and was so joyous to hear their voices oohing and awing over the dinner.

Here are a few photos:
Elder Smith giving the "thumbs up"
Elder Williams and a Sisters Staker and Mejia 
Elder Johnson with our two Office Elders.  Next to Richard, Elder Powell and on the end Elder Reese.

That's me with Elder Powell.  He loves to tease me.

We weren't able to spend the day with our children, but we did get to talk to most of them on the phone.  So blessed!  We love each one of you so much.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Buenas Dias

We just rented our 27th apartment since arriving in the New York South Mission and feel so blessed.  It is is such a daunting task, and without the help of our Heavenly Father, we could not do it.  If you don't know New York, you will not understand the obstacles we have to overcome to find and rent a missionary apartment in the name of the Church.  The City is full of apartments and you would imagine it would be easy.  But, finding an apartment in the correct area, good access to subway and bus systems, newly renovated but not too expensive, close to the chapel, and that will rent to the church, is unbelievably difficult.

This last week we drove approximately 500 miles looking for one apartment in the Dyker Heights neighborhood of North Brooklyn.  We say 500 miles distance, but, in stop and go traffic going between 5 and 15 miles an takes forever.  To help you understand, the other night on our way home, we were about a mile and a half from our apartment, and I told Richard I was going to get out of the car and walk the rest of the way.  I was home 5 minutes before he arrived!  Now, you might understand New York traffic in rush hour, or maybe I should say "rush day" because there is only a small window of time in the middle of the day that traffic lightens up.

The most wonderful blessing happened in finally renting a Dyer Heights apartment.  We made such a new friend in the landlord, whose name is Jose.  He is such warm and accepting man. We called him Saturday morning to let him know we were at the apartment measuring for mini blinds and he came right over to help.  He told us about a store a few blocks away where we could purchase the blinds, and then walked to the store with us.  As we walked the few blocks to the store, he was greeted by all those we passed with a kind word.  He has lived in the area since the 1970's, after immigrating from the Dominican Republic.

After purchasing the blinds, he insisted on all of us going out to lunch for some of his native food.  How could we resist, you cannot tell Jose "no."  We all got in our car and we were off.  The food was great, rice, beans, roasted chicken, and avocado salad.  He insisted on paying for lunch, and during the meal we received a Spanish lesson.  It was delightful. He has invited us to come to the Dominican Republic to his home.  He said we buy the ticket and he will provide all the food and the "big bed."  We were not sure what the "big bed" meant and then he explained.  The big bed is the floor! We all laughed.

Jose owns two homes we know of in Brooklyn and one in the Dominican Republic.  When we got home Richard researched the home we rented and found Jose had bought it in 1991 for $129,000.00 and it is now worth $1,027,000.00. His career was working in a music store as a salesman, he is married with 3 sons. He is a great man and we are blessed to be counted as one of his friends.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Plan of Salvation and Running

When I was in my 30's and 40's, I was a runner.  I ran between 5 and 10 miles 6 days a week. Occasionally, on a Saturday, I would enter a race.

Now how is this like the Plan of Salvation?

Before a race I would prepare.  I would run, I would make sure my shoes fit and were not too worn, I would eat the right kind of food, and be rested.  These were all choices I had to make if I wanted to have a good race.

This is like before we came to earth, the preexistence.  That was the time for us to prepare to come to earth.  We were taught the things Heavenly Father wanted us to learn so that we could return to Him.  Some received more light and knowledge because they were valiant, they worked hard and prepared.  Like here on earth, we all had our agency to choose.

Finally, race day arrived.  It was exciting.  What would the race be like?  Who would be there?  Would I know anyone?  What would the course be like?  How would I do?  Had I prepared enough for the race?

I'm sure when our time had arrived to come to earth we were excited.  We shouted for joy.  We would receive our body, we would have new experiences, and would make our own choices.  Had we prepared ourselves for what was ahead?

During the race, I would put forth my best effort.  The course was set and marked.  All I had to do was stay true to the course and look ahead for obstacles that could create a hazard.

The Straight and Narrow Path

Some of the racers would run with their heads down not realizing the dangers ahead.  They would stumble and fall. Others would be tempted to look to the right or left and see people having fun and would slow down or join them.

At times, I would feel like quitting, I was tired, or thirsty, or hurting.  But, I knew what I needed to do.  Once in awhile, I would see someone struggling to finish the race.  I could offer a word of of encouragement.  I knew I had to finish the race and wanted the same for the other runners.

That is like life.  We know the course we need to take.  Jesus Christ set a perfect example for us to follow.  We need to follow the commandments and the teachings of the Prophets.  We must not be enticed by things of the world that can prevent us from returning to our Heavenly Father.  We will have trials and feel like giving up.  The course is straight and narrow, but we can have the Holy Ghost to be with us and to guide us.

Upon completing the race, I would learn how I did.  Would I be happy or disappointed?  There was no going back to do it again if I wasn't pleased with my time.  My chance was over.

Like this, life is our chance....our only chance.  There is no "do over."  The reward is the greatest gift we can receive from our Heavenly live with Him again.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

"It's the Hardest Thing I Have Ever Loved to Do"

I was visiting with a dear friend, Paula Williams, today.  She is one of the wisest, funniest, kindest, and dearest friend I could be blessed to know.  She is always happy and positive.

At the time we were planning on going on a mission, they had a family emergency that required them to move from Payson to the Valley.   For the last year and a half they have been taking care of their daughter's children while she is completing her nursing degree.  At the time they began as permanent babysitters, the children were 9 (girl), 6 (boy), and twin 1 1/2 year olds (girls).

Besides taking care of the children, they also are the primary care givers for Paula's 90 year old mother.  Paula and I are the same age, so I know it is not easy.

Now you can understand why I admire Paula.  Paula and her husband, Morris, are true disciples of the Lord.   Elder Bednar has spoken about DOING the Lords work, but more importantly BECOMING what our Father in Heaven wants us to become.

At the end of our conversation today, in reference to her life right now, she said, "It's the hardest thing I have ever loved to do."

A Little Family Time

This last week we had two of our daughters come to New York.  We have a son in New Jersey, which is about a half hour away from us, so they first stayed with his family a couple of days.  Christi and three of her daughters came first.  Her son, Josh, in the above picture has been going to school in New York.  Then came Laura and her daughter, Savanna.  Of course, we didn't have much time to spend with them, but we did make time for a dinner out with Laura, Savanna, and Josh.  Sorry, Christi but we didn't get a picture of you and the girls.

It was nice seeing family and remembering we do have another life; that we have only 25 grandchildren instead of the 200 missionaries that we think of as our grandchildren.  But, we love them all.

A Memorable Sunday

A few weeks ago we learned that we would have an all mission conference.  This is unusual to have on a Sunday.  Of course, everyone was speculating on why and who would be coming.  About a week before, President Reynolds shared with us that Elder Holland and his wife would be coming to speak to the mission. We were all to be in our seats at 8:15 and the conference was to begin at 9:00.

Before the meeting started, the mission wanted a picture of the all the missionaries with Elder Holland.  All 220+ of us arranged ourselves for the picture.

The first speakers of the morning were Sister Reynolds and President Reynolds welcoming the Hollands to New York.  This was followed by their son, Matt Holland, who is president of Utah Valley University.  He is a gifted speaker.  He spoke of his mission and how a mission can change your life.  Next was Sister Holland.  She spoke of growing up in a small rural town in southern Utah.  She told how she was and still is a very shy person.  When she was in her early 20's she lived in New Jersey and traveled each day to New York for school.  While on the train she read her Book of Mormon.  One day she noticed a nicely dressed man sitting next to her, probably on his way to work.  That day she happened to complete the Book of Mormon and upon closing the book exclaimed, "It is true."  The man next to her looked at her with a questioned look on his face.  She explained what she was reading,why it was true, and offered him the book to read.  He did and later was baptized.  

Elder Holland is a powerful speaker!  What a missionary he must have been as a young man.  He spoke of the similarities between Lehi and Joseph Smith.  If you read the 14 pages of 1 Nephi and then compare them with the Joseph Smith story you will understand.

He said you must read THE BOOK OF MORMON!  The Church of Jesus Christ is the right church because we still receive revelations from our Father in Heaven and we have the Priesthood.  No other church can make this claim.

He spoke of Salvation and how it requires some suffering in our lives; the atonement was not easy for Christ. He suffered for all of us.  If we are true disciples of Christ we must walk His walk and talk His talk ALL of the time.  It was not easy for Christ and it won't be easy for us either.  To reach salvation we must first travel though the Garden of Gethsemane.

We were blessed to learn from Elder Holland.  He is a true apostle of the Lord.

Can you find us???

Just Like a Grade School Field Trip

Saturday, September 24, a group of the NY South senior missionaries went on a field trip on the island to Old Westbury Gardens and Mansion.  Here's a picture of our group.  We just love serving with the good people, so kind and loving. The couple next to me were just called to serve as President of the Provo MTC. They have such strong testimonies and are so kind and thoughtful.  We will miss them. Next to Richard is the mission president and his wife, President and Sister Reynolds.

After touring the mansion and gardens we enjoyed a picnic together.  It was a fun Saturday.  So nice to see the beautiful sites of New York.


That is Little China is taking over Little Italy in Manhattan.   So sad, but true. Little Italy, which I prefer, is getting smaller and smaller, while Little China keeps inching forward.

Saturday while strolling through Little Italy, we notice a visible difference. Every site, sound, and smell was Asian.  It reminded us of Flushing or Dyker Heights in Queens.  It wasn't long before we came upon Columbus Park being enjoyed by the residents.  People, mostly men, playing a card game that was not familiar to us.  People sitting on park benches and visiting.  It is a real neighborhood where families have probably lived for generations.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Ninety Years of San Gennaro

T Shirt from the Day
San Gennaro is a festival in Manhatten's Little Italy. We had heard about San Gennaro on the morning news, and loving pizza decided to go. "Go" does not mean hopping in the car and driving there, it means walking to the bus stop a couple of blocks away, waiting for the bus to arrive, finding a seat on the bus, getting off the bus at the subway station, walking down, down, down into the subway station, finding a seat, and hopefully, not having to make multiply transfers to our destination.

It was fun walking up and down Lafayette street looking at the various booths. Games, vendors, and hundreds of food booths.  So many people having fun and enjoying the Italian culture.   It was hard to decide what we wanted for lunch, but decided it would be nice to sit down while we ate.  We found a nice outdoor cafe and shared a small pizza, calamari, and mozzarella cheese and tomatoe salad.

After lunch we finished walking the rest of the festival street.  As we walked down the path we noticed a parade coming our way.  Lead by a gondola with Tony Danza ( movie star for you younger readers) and a woman sitting in the gondola, and was followed by marching bands and floats.

It was a fun day.  So glad we made the effort and experienced some of the New York culture.  Here are some pictures:






Street View

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Legal New York Graffiti

New York graffiti is simply beautiful.  It transforms old dilapidated buildings into works of art.  It is not done in the darkness of night either.  Here you can see a lift enabling an artist to reach the top of the building.  I wish I had the time to just watch and even visit with the artist.

Now, don't be getting any might get arrested.

Orange is the New ???

Today we opened a new apartment in Jackson Heights.  Great neighborhood with nice people, shops, and restaurants.

We needed help setting up the new apartment, so we called on a few of the missionaries for help. More than needing the help, we just love spending time with them.  When the our work is done, we always treat them to lunch.

(Looks like orange was the color of the day.)  The two missionaries in front, Elder Opfar (left) and Elder Woodmansee (right), are the office elders. They are assigned to be our right hand men.  They call us every morning, Monday through Friday, to see what we need them to do.  I'll bet you wish you were so lucky! The other two missionaries are Elders Smith and Powell, who work in the area and were asked to lend a hand.

The other evening, Elder Johnson and I were working at this new apartment and walking back to our car we smelled french fries.  Lo and behold, we had parked in front of a restaurant that had homemade french fries, hamburgers, and shakes. We couldn't resist and went in for fries and a shake.  We began talking to our server, Miguel, and before we knew it he brought us a hamburger on the house. We decided then, that would be where we brought the missionaries for lunch, Emoge Burger.

Tomorrow we are opening another new apartment in Flushing.  The office elders will be helping along with Elders Jheng and Wu.  Perhaps we will be having Chinese for lunch (that's what we did last time with them).

We love spending time with the missionaries.  They are happy, wholesome, and dedicated young men and women who love to serve.  They live the example set by Jesus Christ by exhibiting charity and love for others.   The missionaries have strong testimonies of the gospel of Jesus Christ and know the only way to true joy is through living and following the commandments.  How blessed we are to be serving with them.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Missionary Treats

Missionaries love treats.  I think their mothers use to make them cookies for an after school treat.  I know I use to love to do that.  It's hard to say how many pounds of chocolate chip cookie dough I have produced in my lifetime.....but I think a few of those pounds have found their way to my hips.

So, I still make chocolate chip cookies and so many loaves of banana bread, 32 loaves this past week. but never seem to have enough to last a month.

Once a transfer, we participate in a new missionary training conference where we talk about, what else, apartments and how to keep them clean.  We try to make it fun.  One time we did a cheer, once a little skit, and which cleaning product to clean what.

This last time I decided to do a different treat.  They took forever to make, a little less than 10 minutes each.  I needed 45 this last conference so I got busy in the evening cutting and pasting.

Here is what they looked like.  Pretty cute, don't you think?

Coney Island Fun

We sure had some fun this last Saturday at Coney Island. We asked another senior missionary couple, Elder and Sister Williams, if they would like to join us. They are from Seattle Washington and serve in the office as the "car " couple.

Saturday was a beautiful day, overcast with a cool, steady breeze, a welcome change from a long, hot and humid summer.  It was a long trip by subway, about 1 1/2 hours, but well worth it.   We left our apartment at 9:30, went to the mission office, walked to the train station, caught the R train to 57th Street in Mnhatten, and then transferred to the Q train.  We arrived at Coney Island 23 stops later at 11:30, just in time for a Nathan's hot dog at the original Nathan's hot dog stand.  Nathan's is celebrating its 100 year anniversary.

I can understand why they have been around for so long.  They are tasty, but I'm sure they are not considered a healthy meal.

When we first arrived there were not many people, but by the time we finished our lunch, we were glad we made it our first stop.  There was a long line for a hot dogs!

After Nathan's we walked along the boardwalk, stretching at least a mile  The boardwalk is nice with beach shops. food vendors, and carnival attractions on one side, and the beach on the other. The beach is simply beautiful,  I can certainly understand why, after working in the city and living in crowded apartment buildings, people flock to the beach.

We decided to be brave and ride one of the carnival rides.  We chose the calmest of the rides, the 150 foot high Wonder Wheel (its really what we call a Ferris Wheel).

Here's a little sign that gives some of the statistics.

Before we could qualify to ride, we needed to be measured.

I didn't realize I was so much taller than Richard!

Gosh, once we were at the top of the wheel I was reminded of how frightening heights are.  And of course, Richard wanted one of the baskets that swung.  By the second time around, I was relaxed and enjoying the view.

That was enough of the rides for these old "foggies" so we decided to venture over to the aquarium.  The Coney Island aquarium is amazing.  We enjoyed looking at all the varieties of fish.  The tanks were so realistic and the fish would swim right up to the glass and just look at us, as interested in us as we were of them!

Aren't they just beautiful!  Would love to have this in my home.

See how interested he was in all of the strange creatures looking at him.  He was a big guy.

After viewing the fish we went to the sea lion show.  The sea lions could do as many tricks as a trained dog.  How amazing.  We sat right of front and enjoyed the show.

I think he's sticking his tongue out at us...or maybe that's a offer of a kiss?

A good day was had by all.

Our Heavenly Father blesses us in so many ways.  Look around at the beauties of the earth, the creatures, and all the kind and wonderful people in your life.  As you look at others, whether they are family, friends, or strangers, remember they are your spirit brothers and sisters.  They live lives like you and I, with joys, sorrows, and trials.  It takes such a little effort to smile and say a kind word.  That kind jester might be the only positive in their life that day.  Likewise you will be blessed by your charity and love.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Sunday Buddy

This is a little girl is in our branch and she is a little sweetheart.  She is one of six children in her family, all about one year apart.  Once Sacrament meeting starts, she will generally find her way to us and sit between us.  She has such a happy spirit and is so sweet.

Our New Favorite Meal

This is definitely our favorite "go to" lunch.  Our favorite neighborhood pizza place just closed overnight.  We could not believe it, one day slices for sale and the next day everything was gone!

But, not to worry.  Naan bread, marinara sauce, provolone cheese, tomato, red peppers, and garlic powder.  All from Costco.

So easy to prepare:

Now, who could resist this....yum.

We get hooked on a particular meal and we eat it for weeks.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Examine the Day

We know that Sunday is a special day....the Sabbath, a day of worship, a day when we draw near to our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ.  We attend our meetings to receive inspiration, to learn the gospel, and to contemplate our lives and the eternities.

But, what about the other six days of the week?  Do we stop receiving inspiration?  Do we stop learning?   Do we stop striving to be like Jesus or stop following His teachings?

Prior to leaving on our mission, Elder Johnson and I thought that our senior mission would be a time of spiritual growth.


We began our primary assignment as housing coordinators for approximately 200 missionaries in the New York New York South Mission, which entails finding new apartments, inspecting missionary apartments for cleanliness and safety, closing apartments that are no longer needed, ordering and distributing cleaning and housing supplies, teaching missionaries how to clean and maintain their apartments, and dealing with all the kinds of problems that come from renting over 100 different apartments in varying conditions, including bugs of all kinds, plumbing problems, worn out and broken furnishings, vacuums, lost keys and window air conditioning units.

Before the next missionary transfer day on August 7, we were told three vacant apartments were to be "blinded in".  That means a vacant apartment would be assigned to a missionary companionship on transfer day.  As part of our assignment we make sure the apartments are ready for the missionaries to move into.

As we began our inspections, we found that each apartment needed repairs, supplies and a thorough cleaning.  None of the apartments had air conditioners that worked.  It was close to ninety degrees inside, and it was hot and humid! After a full days work in each apartment we were dripping wet and exhausted.

Was this what a senior mission looked like....where was the spirituality?

And then we thought of the Savior.  During His entire mortal ministry, He was humble and provided love through His service to others.  THIS IS WHAT WE WERE TO LEARN!  Our service to the missionaries, showing our love for them by serving them.

Lesson Learned:
Each day we are given choices, a work to do.  Do we just go about the "job" and not pay attention to what we need to learn?  Do we recognize the blessings that are there for us?  At the end of the day, can you say to yourself, "I did what was asked of me, I did my best"?

An Elder's Testimony

Elder Johnson and I were both touched by the following testimony of Elder Young. Elder Young has been an AP (assistant to the mission president) since we arrived in December.  He is an example of a righteous, dedicated, and consecrated missionary.  He knows who he is and what is important in life.  We have no doubt that we he will be successful in all he endeavors to achieve.  We will miss him.
This is a picture of Elder Johnson with the AP's.  Elder Young is on his left. Here is his last testimony before returning home:

"The last full week is here! This will be the last email to share as
next Monday will be too busy to send an email! I have come to cherish
New York City and all of the people here, I am eternally grateful for
the lessons I've learned and most importantly the foundation I've
developed in Jesus Christ and His gospel. The Atonement truly is the
only way.

I want to give a big THANK YOU to all of my family and friends back
home and the ones I've gained here that have provided so much love and
support. Thanks for all of the prayers, packages, letters, and emails.
Most important I am thankful for the relationships I have been able to
feel strengthen as I have been away.

I have had many experiences, life changing events, and witnesses in
which I know God saved me specifically for this time to come forth and
give Him my all here in the NYNYS Mission. In due time whatever else
He has in store for the future, I am here to serve. I love His perfect
gospel and know it is up to the individual with a sincere desire to
have an understanding that Jesus is the Christ and his authority is
real and on earth once again. I testify that Jesus Christ's gospel is
brilliant and through him our Heavenly Father instituted the most
omnipotent plan. I love my God and Savior Jesus Christ, I know they
are in the most finite details of our lives. When it gets too hard to
stand, always kneel. I know as we learn to turn outward rather than
inward, we are revealed the path God has created for us. God lives and
I know he wants us to involve him in our lives, he wants you to be
successful. This church is the only true church and was restored by
the most incredible man, Joseph Smith. I revere him whole heartedly
and know he was and is a prophet of God. The Book of Mormon is the
evidence of the Restored Gospel. The Book of Mormon was written by his
holy prophets and has built my testimony of Jesus Christ and his
doctrine. It was inspired of God. Progression and change are the
fruits of living His gospel. I testify of that and close in the name
of Jesus Christ, Amen.

These are just a few things I've learned as I am very excited to come
home next week and begin a new chapter upon these foundations. As my
mom would say, "I love you more." And to finish my last words from
Grandpa Young, "Remember Who You Are."
See you all on the 14th!
Love the Elder in NY -
Elder Parker Young"
We trust Elder Young's testimony will touch each of you.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Choose JOY

We just had our mission "Sister's Conference"....and it was wonderful and fed my spirit.  The theme of the conference was "Choose Joy."

Here is a story that I think illustrates how we can choose to be positive instead of negative in our thinking.

There was a certain cowboy who had a beautiful stallion.  One day he accidentally left the gate to the coral open and his prized stallion escaped.  His neighbors came and said, "Oh, this is terrible. This is a bad, bad thing that happened to you.  The cowboy replied, "Well, I don't know if it is good or bad."

The next morning his stallion came back....followed by five additional stallions. His neighbors saw this and came running.  With smiles on their faces, they said, "Well this is wonderful,   What a very good thing."  The cowboy looked at the six stallions and said, "Well, I don't know if this is a good or bad thing."

The next morning the cowboy's son decided he would ride one of the new stallions.  He chose a nice looking one, put the saddle on, and mounted the horse. The stallion began bucking and threw the cowboy's son to the ground.  His leg was broken..  The neighbors felt so sorry for the cowboy and his son and said, "This is a very bad thing that has happened to you."  The cowboy scratched his head and said, "Well, I don't know if it is a good or bad thing that has happened."

The next day the military came to the cowboy's home and said they were there to pick up his son, as he was being drafted into the military.  The cowboy told them that his son had broken his leg the day before.  The military men said his son was not eligible to be drafted into the military.  The cowboy's neighbor's were so happy to hear of his good fortune and said, "This is very good."  The cowboy replied, "Well, I don't know if this is a good or bad thing."

Change your paradigm.  Decide to find joy in all things.  Trials are not pleasant, but instead of becoming discouraged, find the positive.  In every circumstance, there is both good and bad.  Find the good and use that knowlege to change who you are to what you want to become.

Life is not perfect.  We are given trials throughout our lives.  A part of being successful in life depends on how we meet these difficult time.  Will our trials overwhelm us, or will we turn to our Heavenly Father???  Let's not forget why we are be tried and tested.

Through the Savior's atonement we can be foregiven of our sins and transgressions after we follow the steps to repentence. The Savior suffered not only for our sins, but for all the pain and sorrow we will endure in our lives.  He understands.  The power of the atonement is in place to comfort us. When we turn to the Savior in righteousness, we are promised that He will comfort us.  He will not leave us!  He loves us.

Remember Ammon in the Book of Mormon.  He was a powerful missionary who encountered one trial after another.  Think of Joseph of the Old Testament?  His brothers tried to kill him, he served as a slave to the king.  Each time Joseph was releaved from his torment, another trial of his faith came.   Read about his life and how he overcame each trial by turning to the Lord.

I tknow for a certainty that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ knows each of us by name. We are important to them.  Heavenly Father desires that we return to Him. All things are made possible through Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

We Moved Up in Our Little World

As much as we loved apartment 204, the noise was too much.  We knew the comings and goings of the tenants as we lived above the garage door.  We knew what was going on in the "hood" as we could hear the street conversations. Friday an Saturday nights were lively.  One Saturday night at 2am I had to knock on our window to plead with two gentlemen to take their "convo" down the street.

Now, we live at apartment 403.  It's smaller, has less closet and cabinet space.....but it's relative quite by New York standards.  We purchased a shelving unit for the kitchen as we only have one cabinet which will hold our plates, bowls, and glasses.

On the upside, we have a balcony.  Maybe one day I'll buy some plants and flowers.  Wouldn't that be lovely.