Monday, July 11, 2011

Joys in June & July

Looking back on a year of service on a joyful preparation day walks in the woods, Hirundi Wildlife Preserve near Bangor, Maine. President Wilkey in a relaxed moment (Those are uncommon.) looks out on a pond reflecting the beauty of the rich vegetation of Maine and a fairly rare but gloriously sunny day. Likewise there have been days rich in miracles but nonetheless we recognize the clouds along with the sunshine. We have been humbled continuously in our need to receive constant revelation for the welfare of the missionaries. We feel the urgent the need to know what the Lord would have done in the New Hampshire Manchester Mission to invite others to the fullness of the gospel. There have been times of great disappointment and discouragement along with those of overwhelming gratitude that a source far above our own abilities and understanding who does direct the work.

Sister Wilkey thoroughly enjoying the quiet of the forest –well, almost, quiet. It was happily interrupted by choruses of frogs, choirs of birds and the splash of frogs jumping from the banks into the pond—and the joys of contemplating the upcoming year of service

Three cubs in a tree –sure enough, the calm of the walk was joyfully and a bit nervously ended when we heard commotion ahead on the trail—a football field distant—then saw the source, a big sow bear heading away, fortunately, from us aggressively. Then immediately in the some trees in our path up slid three black bear cubs. Needless to say, we ended the reverie and forward advance into quick backwards, quiet retreat.

Memories of Memorial Day – we joyfully welcomed three sisters and two elders from the Mission Training Center. They are illustrating the gourmet breakfasts served at the Mission Home on the morning they meet, nervously, their trainers and leave for their first area of service. Sister Nelson and Sister Huntsman are enjoying Rutland, Vermont and Plymouth, New Hampshire.

Marvelously joyful moments with missionaries teaching in the Mission Home—Sisters Rankin and Walter organized a family home evening with the Shimmel family. Becca, a tall 10 year old is trying to negotiate “life” blindfolded and without a guide. She and her family then studied about prophets and the need for living prophets who guide us masterfully through the mazes of the present and safely into those of the future.

Meeting with ward and branch leaders!! Joy!! Do you recognize Bishop Caleb Franklin? He serves in Manchester, New Hampshire as the bishop. He and his wife Trina are living in a nearby town while Caleb works in a law firm here.

We enjoy meeting with ward leaders to explain the ‘oval’ chart-working with stake and ward leaders. Missionaries like Elders Kinyon and Kulberg who the President can trust establish and strengthen their area ward or branch. President’s two councilors do far more work with local ecclesiastical units.

Joyful celebration of those who have served and who do serve honorably our country in the military, in government office and in support of the constitution—The Joseph Smith Memorial hosts and organizes annually this event, The Hope of America. We were filled with gratitude for our heritage. The larger Vermont community is grateful for this celebration because –sadly—there are no other events honoring our country in this state of the Revolutionary War Green Mountain boys. The picture of the children singing is fuzzy but the day was clear. Of course, we wanted to stand with the navy flag, grateful for our Navy dentist, Jason. President is standing with Elders Barnes and Levie.

Joys of young men and women becoming Christlike leaders--

During Zone Leader Council lunch break, President challenged the leaders to work together in simulated break from prison. They had eight minutes to escape—scale a fence with three comrades with injuries including the one with broken legs and another blind. They made fabulous analogies afterwards to their responsibilities as missionaries and leaders to rescue others and to work to together .

Happily, the office couples, the Hymases and Franklins along with the two assistants insisted we have a 4th of July lunch and game of Kubb. Notice Elder Franklin’s intensity! He served a mission in Sweden years ago and was excited for a game.

We are happy to know when an elder or sister is really vested in the culture of the area. And what English royalty do you think the elder below is often mistaken for? Sure enough, Prince Harry.Elder Ashby alias Prince Harry slipped and asked for the zone leaders’ “idears” and didn’t even know he had added the ‘r’ on the word. Elder Gelwix (no, not son, nephew of the rugby coach) is on the Franklin Kubb team.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Quick, joyful trip

Okay, so it doesn’t get too much more joyful than this!! Sister Wilkey did get a week’s reprieve from full time mission life to full time grandma life!!!! A glorious stop in Utah and then on to Las Vegas. So like it or not, here are the results—family photos. In her absence, President Wilkey traveled to northern Maine for what we call specialized training in individual districts and companionships of missionaries. Regardless of what he says, she says she left him well supplied with food, travel plans and pre-arranged visits. And he left her with a suitcase with love notes.

Now this is JOY! Being surrounded by the –all must agree—some of the most adorable children on the planet. We say in the mission. “Missionaries leave their families for two years so that others can be with their families for eternity.”

Joyful meeting the two grandsons born in our absence. Collin Wilkey (Devin and Janene’s son born the day before Thanksgiving) and Ryan Hatch (Jason and Erin’s son born on Memorial Day)

Joyfully getting reacquainted with Gracie and Megan—only 3 months and not yet one when we last saw them. Yes Gracie has the Morris talent of funny faces. Megan celebrated her 2nd birthday.

Enjoying some Las Vegas sunshine and heat (but admittedly happy to leave 100 degrees for a cooler and much wetter New England. Double enjoying Katelyn and Logan’s enthusiasm for the water.

Joy mixed with parting—Jason’s departure for Navy boot camp. Erin and threesome will meet him again at their next home at LaJeune Base in North Carolina.

We have” no greater joy than … that our children walk in truth.”

We are joyfully grateful for their love and support, for caring for and supporting one another.