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.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

A Family of Five Baptism!

Elder Davis and Elder Stokes baptized a wonder Hmong family last Saturday. What a great day and what a wonderful spirit. The room was so full of members and non-members we had to keep setting up more chairs. This family had investigated the church for several years but weren't quite ready. This year they decided they were ready and actually got in their car looking for the missionaries!

August Mission Leadership Council

One of the most rewarding meetings of the month is Mission Leadership Council. At this meeting the Assistants, Zone Leaders, and Sister Training Leaders discuss how to improve and set goals for the mission. This is where we are train our future leaders. President Williams and I team teach as part of this meeting, which is a lot of fun.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Saturday is P-Day and Baptism Day

Dad and I decided to make Saturday our Preparation Day or P-Day as we lovingly call it.  For the last two weeks it has also been Baptism day.  We attended a baptism two Saturdays ago in Sheboygan (I love to say that word. It bounces out of your mouth). A 16-year-old Hmong boy was baptized and now his mother is taking the discussions. She is so happy her son has become a Christian.  Hmong love to cook so they had the most food I have seen at a baptism. Love their fried egg rolls.

This past Saturday we drove for 90 minutes to another baptism of a very sweet woman.  At the baptism we met a man that had been baptized four months ago. We saw him at the bus stop afterwards and offered to give him a ride home. During the 15 minute drive we asked him about his family and he shared a wonderful experience. We learned that his mother is now deceased but years ago she had a dream and in that dream she saw that her son had become a priest but that he wasn't Catholic. For years he wondered what that meant. Then in April he was contacted by the sister missionaries while taking a ride on the bus. As soon as they gave the first discussion he knew it was true. Then after his baptism he received the Aaronic Priesthood and he now understood his mother's dream!

I don't know if I mentioned I pulled some ligaments in my left foot. This was from wearing heels for four days all day long. Not something my feet are used to. The top of my foot hurt so much and began to swell.  I went to Urgent Care to get an X-ray because I thought it might be a stress fracture, but thankfully it wasn't.  Its getting better. Needless to say Flats are my friends now.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Our First Week in the Mission Field

This has been an amazing first week in Wisconsin! We arrived Thursday, June 30 and spent two or three hours with President Raymond and Laurie Cutler. They were wonderful and so gracious. That night Jack accompanied the Assistants to a discussion and I went with the YSA sisters to visit two recent converts. They were so fun!

The next morning we visited the Milwaukee South Stake Center, which is a short distance from our home. We shook hands and talked briefly with missionaries from two zones. Then without a break we hurried over to the Madison Stake Center, which is a 90 minute drive where we met the two Madison Zone and the Wausau Zone.  Then we quickly drove up to Appleton and had dinner with President and Sister (Heidi) Pleshek, the stake President. We had a delightful two and a half hour dinner sharing experiences. The next morning we were up early and drove to the Green Bay building to meet the Appleton and Green Bay Zones.  We were able to meet all 180 missionaries and senior couples.

Sunday we had church and meetings with the Assistants, Elder Christian and Elder Lavering. Monday was the Fourth of July. We picked up our first missionary, Elder Velasquez at the airport and brought him to the office for a short orientation and then to meet his temporary companion until transfers on Wednesday. Then we went home to finish work at home before heading to a barbecue with an part member family. That was fun to relax for a little bit!

Tuesday Jack spend the day reading 180 email letters from all the missionaries while I cleaned, unpacked a couple boxes, did laundry, and grocery shopped for the upcoming transfer and Mission Leadership Council.

Wednesday at 7:45 am Elder Wilcock arrived for Trainer Training. Elder Velasquez arrived and we trained them both. I ran to Subway and we had a nice lunch before Elder Wilcock and Elder Velasquez went on their way. We said goodbye to Elder Lavering, who is now a district leader and met Elder DeSantes, the new assistant.  Elder McDermott, a home-bound missionary came over for his exit interview. He, the assistants, Jack and I enjoyed a pesto pasta dinner. Elder McDermott spent the night at our home.

The next morning, we rose at 4:00 to take Elder McDermott to the airport. His two suitcases were both a few pounds overweight. The first Delta associate told him it would cost an extra $100 per suitcase so we went over to a scale to rearrange some weight. He took out a pair of heavy boots and we returned to a different Delta associate. Jack was very nice to her and even though he was still a little overweight she said he was fine. Jack asked if he could possibly put one boot in each suitcase and she said Yes! She said it was because we had been so nice. I called the two associates Miss Justice and Miss Mercy.  As we were driving home I began to feel so sad.  Even though we had only known Elder McDermott a couple days I missed having him in our mission. He was known for his uplifting spirit. He will be missed.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Our Setting Apart

On Wednesday, June 22 Jack, Jason's family and I drove to the Church Administration Building for our 11:30 am appointment with the church's newest apostle, Elder Dale G. Renlund.  We waited downstairs in the beautiful lobby until he was ready to accept us. We went up the elevator and were greeted by his receptionist. Elder Renlund was so kind and asked us about our family. The one thing I remember was that he said we can be assured the Lord want us in the Wisconsin Milwaukee Mission. The apostles prayed over each mission president individually.  Elder Renlund set Jack apart and then Elder Wilford W. Andersen set me apart. As he did so, everything that I had been concerned about or had been praying about was addressed. I could not keep the tears from falling. What a blessed day.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Blessings of Temple Service

We received this letter yesterday from the Sacramento Temple President, President Papa, thanking us for our service as ordinance workers in the temple this past year. It was not always easy or convenient, but we feel so blessed. We had a wonderful year and made good friends. 

We learned how to be quiet servants, trying to help without bringing attention to ourselves. We learned to see others as what they can become. We were constantly reminded of the blessings promised us through our temple covenants. It is there that the past, present and future become as one.

What a wonderful way to prepare for our mission.