Wednesday, June 8, 2011

May in New Hampshire Manchester Mission

It’s blossom time. We thought autumn was gloriously colorful. Spring is fall’s rival, from daffodils and tulips to dozens of flowering trees as well as the thousands upon thousands of trees in myriads of shades of green leafing in the warming weather. Most unusual are the maples which leaf in red, then turn to green.

Plant identifier please! We have not identified the name of this shrub. Its huge blossoms come in reds, pinks and lavender. The fern below is a fiddlehead, edible, seasonal and part of our supper menu.

And it’s mud season. The heavy snow packs thaw and the rains come. Rain!! Vermont newspapers reported 2.74 inches in a two day period, 16 inches in a month. Thus, flooding and flooding combined with strong winds. Only two missionaries were stranded as they attempted to return to their apartment; roads in Montpelier were closed; however they returned the following day and found flooding in the basement of the apartment. We were grateful for no other emergencies and all missionaries safe and accounted for with fifteen minutes of the President’s plea to know all their whereabouts.

Quote found on a church chalkboard. It says it all!

Do you recognize these wonderful friends? Yes, it’s Elder and Sister Excell serving their mission as employment specialists in the northeast area. They help members and non-members alike to access employment, education and self-employment opportunities. They came to the mission home to talk with the zone leaders and encourage missionaries to share with those they meet the resources of the specialists, the employment center and the website They have done much to strengthen members and non members alike and have helped to 'grow' the employment center. They exude the joy of missionary service.

We are also encouraging missionaries in some areas to extend to those they find the joys of searching our family roots not only the family history libraries in their areas as well as through the website.

Building a foundation. Elders Maxfield and Lowe serving in Bangor, Maine spent

couple hours of a preparation day devising an object lesson for zone conference. They built the foundation of their tower on first faith in Jesus Christ and personal prayer and study, companion unity and a dedicated, obedient “set apart” heart. Down the center of the tower is what you see sticking out at the bottom, a pvc pipe stabilizer which they called the constant guidance and influence of the Holy Ghost. They illustrated that each of those blocks is essential for the conversion and ultimate temple blessings of individuals.

Heavenly Majesty, Images of Creation. President is immersed in one of the spectacular images of the Hubble Telescope display now showing at the Joseph Smith Memorial Historical Site.

Parables and Parallels for Fishers of Men

We love being with the missionaries, with the members in their home wards or branches. Sunday, the 29th, May we traveled to Wolfeboro having scheduled that day months ago with the branch president. A beautiful drive in the early morning! As we entered the town, we saw people everywhere, walking the streets bordering shimmering Lake Winnipausaukee. It then occurred to us that this was Memorial Day weekend. Offhandedly, President commented,” This is the vacation home of Mitt Romney.” Sure enough, as we stood to speak, we noticed not only Mitt Romney and his family, but Bill Marriott and his. No fanfare. Same focus on the Savior. And for us, the same joys of interactions with the ‘year around’ Saints in Wolfeboro. (PS Mitt Romney and family stayed all three hours of the meeting block and stayed awake.)

On May 17 and 19, we held zone conferences in South Royalton, Vermont and in Augusta, Maine. Wonderful times to renew faith, to be instructed and to build unity in the mission. President Wilkey—with the help of his ‘ghost writer’ –sent the message below for the mission newsletter published once every transfer cycle—every six weeks. These glimpses summarize the fishing theme which he used to capture the interest of the missionaries and to point them to our call to leave our nets and become fishers of men.


A clinch knot if used by a fly fisherman will slip apart with little tension. However the improved clinch knot with one more loop in the knot binds the line to withstand any weight or tension placed upon it. Likewise it is the small and simple things lived that help us withstand the weight or tension of missionary work. Conversely we will slip apart under tension if we fail to do those small and simple things. Alma counseled his son Helaman, “by small and simple things are great things brought to pass…by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of souls.” (Alma 37: 6-7) What is moral of the parallel? We write our own conclusions as we examine ourselves: Are we living the little things? As we do live the small and simple, do we expect to withstand the “tension” of missionary labors and to assist the Lord in bringing about the salvation of souls?

A fly fisherman who knows where to fish and how to approach the stream –not slap cast but gently float the fly onto the water surface—will have fishing success. A missionary who approaches his divine calling and authority, his daily schedule, his study, his area as well as planning, finding and teaching with casualness will become a fishing “casualty.” In short, casualness equals casualties. On the other hand, a missionary who has reverence and respect for his or her calling, a willingness to live the daily schedule, to study with a desire to be taught and to prepare to teach and to follow with exactness the standards of missionary appearance and conduct will invite the Spirit to be a divine and constant companion. Reverence invites revelation.

“…Jesus walking by the sea,” invited two fishermen, Peter and Andrew, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.” (Matthew 4:18-20) Likewise we have committed to a prophet of God as we signed our call letter to leave all worldly concerns behind...(See Missionary Handbook p. 4) We follow our Master Jesus Christ as did the apostles “who forsook all and followed him.” (Luke 5:11) As Elder Holland passionately said, “Elder or Sister, you can’t go back. You’re in this for the long haul, all the way to the end.” The moral of the story? I quote the admonition and promise of an apostle who himself an avid fisherman. “As a special witness of him, I testify to you this day that the time will come when every man, woman and child will look into the Savior’s loving eyes. On that day, we will know with a surety the worth of our decision to straightway follow Him. That each of us may hear the call of the Master and straightway leave our entangling nets and follow Him is my earnest prayer…” (Joseph B. Wirthlin, General Conference, April 2002)

I testify of the love and compassion of our Savior. I know that His love manifested in the great Atonement defy description. What remains then for each one of us is to answer with conviction the same question that the Savior asked Peter who had gone “a fishing” (John 21) , “lovest thou me?” (John 21: 15-17) Do we love Him? Do we love Him enough to feed His sheep? As we do so, we can become like Peter who was filled with the Holy Ghost (Acts 3:8) We can become even as our Savior the ultimate ‘fisher of men.”