Friday, November 24, 2017

A Special Farewell to Six Elders

This was a bitter-sweet farewell to six elders. From back to front, left to right: Elder Miller, Elder Lewis, Elder Harmon, Eder Wright, Elder Dickinson, and Elder Platero.  Elder Cox (our newest Assistant). Each of them had challenges on their mission, but grew in leaps and bounds and finished strong. As we were preparing for dinner, Elder Dickinson was playing the piano. He made a comment about getting some of the elders to sing. That idea became the highlight of the evening. Each of those missionaries have excellent voices. They sang the opening song. As they harmonized, the spirit was so strong in the room that it brought me to tears. It was just magical. It was truly a humbling feeling to be present, not only to hear them sing, but to be so privileged to witness the growth and triumph each of them made to complete their mission with honor.  

Saturday, August 26, 2017

August 26 - plannng for Transfer Week

This Monday Sister Courtney Hess and her family visited us at the mission home. She was one of our wonderful STL's and did a wonderful job uplifting other missionaries. It was so great to see her again.
This week is our plan and prepare week. We have a big transfer coming up with 28 missionaries arriving. Five are coming in from the Mexico MTC on Monday. Then we pick up the rest at 11:00 on Tuesday. I can house 16 but had to find members that were willing to take the rest. This is the first time we won't be feeding them at our  home because we don't have enough room. I will still cook dinner for them.

Jack spent three days this week with his assistants, Elder Christofferson and Elder Strader, to plan the transfers, Mission Leadership Council, the November calendar, and next months district meetings. It was the hardest transfer since we have been here because we have so many to train. 

Friday we held the largest 3-6 week training we have ever done -  41. This is when we train the newest missionaries after they have been out for 6 weeks. I cooked the Million Dollar Casserole and made a huge salad the night before. It was well liked and I almost ran out!! There was just barely enough to feed everyone. 

Elder Lee, who was an assistant previously and is now a zone leader, finished his mission this morning. It was sad to see him go. He is from Turlock, California. He is going to BYU and left early to get to school before the semester begins. 

After seeing him off at the airport at 5:30 A.M. we took a short nap and then took off fo a 3-hour drive to Wausau for stake conference. The visiting area Seventy asked Elder Benson, one of the parting missionaries to share his testimony. It brought me to tears. He has been so hard working, right to the end.  The ward just love him. The bishop said he was a breath of fresh air! He goes home Thursday along with 15 other missionaries. 

Tomorrow we drive back just in time for me to make dinner for Kealey, a recent convert who is in the middle of dental school, and her friend, Jordan, and the assistants. I have plans to barbecue steak but there is a thunderstorm warning so we will see how it goes!  By the way, Wisconsin is beautiful this time of year! 
Elder Lee (left), Elder Christofferson, and Elder Strader at our favorite Chinese Restaurant in Neenah

Sunday, March 26, 2017

All Mission Conference with President Russell M. Nelson - March 11, 2017

President Russell M. Nelson chose to visit Wisconsin in March, which was a great opportunity for our missionaries to be taught by the president of the Quorum of the Twelve.  He shook hands with all of our missionaries and spent two hours with them. We met at the Madison Stake Center. We were also taught by Elder Ulysses Soares and his wife Rosana as well as our area seventy Elder T. David Scott and his wife.

When I walked into the building and saw all our missionaries there it just filled my heart with so much love. They are such amazing young men and women. I can't describe how blessed we felt to be in the same room as them.

They had a busy schedule. I was so surprised at how fit and healthy President Nelson is. He conducted a meeting for the youth on Friday night, a missionary meeting Saturday morning, a leadership meeting Saturday afternoon for four hours with the stake presidents, bishoprics and Relief Society Presidents and their wives, and then a special conference on Sunday for the Madison Stake.

Jack and I were also speakers in the Leadership Meeting so that was quite an honor to be in the same program as President Nelson.  On Sunday Elder and Sister Soares went to our stake in South Milwaukee and held a special conference there. They are such humble wonderful people. We sure love them.

During the Missionary Meeting President Nelson shared how he was raised by less-active parents. He tried often to encourage them to be active but they did not change. Then, when they were in their up in years, President Nelson and his parents were invited to a birthday party for President Kimball at the Hotel Utah. When President Kimball entered the room he walked straight to President Nelson's mother and kissed her and said, "Thank you for raising such a wonderful son. He saved my life!" referring to the difficult but successful heart surgery that he had performed on President Kimball. President Kimball then turned to Brother Nelson and said, "Thank you for raising a son with so much integrity."  Then he walked back to the head table.  The next day President Nelson's father called him up and said, "I'm ready."  President Nelson said, "Ready for what?" and he replied, "I'm ready to come back to church." And he did and so did his wife. Not too long after they were sealed in the temple in their 80's. He emphasized that we should never give up!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Lisa's Birthday!

This is the second time I have celebrated a birthday in the mission field. The first time was when I turned 22. I was serving in Berlin and our zone had organized a missionary choir to sing Christmas Carols as a way to get people introduced to the church. On my birthday we were in front of Ged├ąchnis Kirche (Memorial Church) and the entire choir sang Happy Birthday to me.

Today was just as wonderful. Around 12:00 the Muskigo Lakes District (10 missionaries) showed up at my doorstep and sang Happy Birthday to me! Fun Day!

Saturday, November 19, 2016


Here it was November 19 and I had not seen any inkling of snow. As a matter of fact, we have been having cool but beautiful weather. Well, this morning as I was doing my exercises and looking out the picture window of our den, I saw white flurries floating down! It was so great to see our first snow. 
I had told the missionaries yesterday that I thought it was all a big hoax about these bad winters and they said, "Just you wait!"
We had amazing zone conferences this week. Each one was better than the last, but I think we just got better each time sharing our thoughts. We have been to the north-west in Wausau, then Green Bay, then Oshkosh, and yesterday Madison. The best experience of all just snuck up on us. During one zone conference the Sister Training Leaders had asked a missionary to share how a senior companion had changed his life. He was so humble and sincere. He talked about how tough and proud he had been but how this companion had shown true Christ-like love and had humbled him to his knees. After each zone conference President Williams has a meeting with the zone leaders, district leaders and STLs. He asks one question. "What did the Holy Ghost teach you that we didn't teach you?" One elder said his favorite part of the zone conference was this elder's comments. Then President Williams shared how this missionary was so close to going home because no one could get along with him, he was so abusive verbally and sometimes physically. In a last attempt to save him he assigned a past zone leader to be his senior companion. That senior companion called the president almost daily telling him he couldn't take it anymore. He shared how this elder would put him down and just get up during a discussion and wander around. There was little teaching going on.  The president kept telling him to see him through the eyes of the savior. Keep showing him love no matter what he said or did. It was so hard to watch this great missionary spend the last weeks of his mission going through such a tough situation. Then very gradually his comments about this trouble elder started to soften. Then one day President Williams got his weekly email from this junior companion. He said he and his companion were at a doorstep sharing their message with a woman who had no interest in their message. A thought just came to his mind. He asked her, "Is there something in you life that is missing?"  Her whole countenance changed. Tears started to stream down her face. She said there was. They listened. He said this was the first time in a very long time that he felt the spirit. It was the turning point in that young elder's life. There was a total change. After President Williams shared this experience other missionaries opened up about challenges they had or were having with their companions and how they would try to be like that senior companion that changed this elder's life. I think that meeting was the best experience of my mission so far. The atonement of Jesus Christ truly changes lives, especially that of the missionaries.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

September Transfer Week

Its Transfer Week! Lots to do to prepare for our five new incoming missionaries. We had a great spaghetti dinner and testimony meeting.  Our new senior couple arrived, the Johnsons. They are ready to go to work!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Two zone leaders, Elder Andreason and Elder Palacios, in Wausua asked President Williams to visit an investigator. He visited Debbie and she made the decision to be baptized! She is a wonderful sweet person. The ward is blessed to have her as their newest member. Her son also came to the baptism.