Monday, September 17, 2012

Missionaries Are Nice

“Missionaries are nice,” was Emma’s conclusion after a district meeting in Laconia, New Hampshire. After also actively participating in the district meeting, Vincent concluded, “Miracles can happen when you are on a mission.”  Both felt the power of scripture study and the “real” play following the lesson on honoring the Sabbath day.

The wonderful missionaries pictured with Emma are Elders Levie and Dorantes.
Janae is with Sisters Capito and Caffall, giving stellar service in Wolfeboro; Sebastian with Elders Irving and Preslar, loving their privilege to teach in Laconia. Elders Slater and Lewis were also at the meeting.

As you can see in the background, we weren't the only family
overwhelmingly happy about our visitors
   From the missionaries, we realized again the power in the Fundamentals of Preach My Gospel such as teaching by the Spirit and prayer.  Sister Capito said, “'When we stray from the fundamentals, our investigators just don't progress.”.  Elder Levie commented, “Through all the fundamentals, we invited the Spirit and we can work smoothly so that we and fulfill our purpose.”
Emma reaches toward the beautiful flowers on the Boston Temple grounds

Vince and Emma loved discovering!

Sebastian and Vince
Family Is Nice!!

We are grateful for the privilege to have had the Nilsson family’s love, support and encouragement. 


A simple google search yields innumerable ‘finds” for identity crisis.  This month—just for fun—we have been noticing the “identity” people place on their license plates: GR8LYF, WRDMAJK, LV2LAFF, BOSXFN (in northern New England YAKEFN would be dangerous!).  Remember the license plate game you used to play as children?  Do you have a favorite among the several we have found?  Notice how the plate and the make, model or colors of the car often coordinate.

Our purpose as missionaries is to help others to know their true identity as children of God with divine potential, a potential that blossoms through faith in Jesus Christ and willingness to follow His example and His commandments.
In our zone meetings of late July through early August, the stake presidents and/or their wives pled with missionaries to realize their identity not only as a child of God, but as a representative of Jesus Christ.  Repeatedly they counseled them to be missionaries to match their message.

REAL GROWTH and REPENTANCE – Zone Meetings and Zone Conference

"Will you not now return unto me, and repent of your sins,
and be converted, that I may heal you?
Yea, verily, ...if you will come unto me ye shall
have eternal life.  Behold mine arm of mercy is extended towards you,..."
3 Nephi 9:13-14

 Clips from Zone Conference
A 4th verse to “Because I Have Been Given Much”  shared by a sister missionary after zone conference.
" Because of thy life's mission Lord, I too must serve
I'll leave the comfort of my home to teach they word.

I'll seek thy sheep who've gone astray and those who have never known the way
I'll make my work your work today.                                    Another missionary put his feelings into these words: “There is nothing in the heavens or the earth that compares in the slightest way to that supreme act, the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  What a miracle the Atonement is, it allows for the change and rebirth of the human soul.  ‘Push, Push, Pop’ has become a phrase that is in my mind, as well as the incremental progression that accompanies sincere daily repentance.”

"President Wilkey recounted his experience in cleaning at the Moroni Feed Mill.  He was warned to clean regularly and often, to push the broom, push again and then pop off the accumulated dust.  If he or other employees became slack in their push, push, pop of cleaning, accumulated dust of the grains could detonate.  President Wilkey was impressed by the Spirit to use that story and correlate it to the importance of removing regularly and constantly the dust in our lives, the dust of discouragement, disobedience, doubt and lack of diligence.

Zone meeting workshops

Bangor Zone Meeting
from left, Elders Ward, Adams, Jessee, Gardner, Estes,
 Hill, Guthrie, Woodruff, Kalahiki
Here is the definition of repentance shared by an elder following conference: “An expression of our love for our Father and Jesus Christ, a changing of thoughts, actions and behaviors that is caused by a turning of the heart to Christ. Can only be accomplished through faith in Jesus Christ. When applied daily, it brings joy and peace unmatched. The first fruit of repentance is baptism.”

Time for stretch break.  Yes, I'm forever emphasizing exercise.
  1.   Establish daily holy habits and righteous routines 
  2.   Seek the Spirit as your constant companion
  3. Be exactly obedient as was the Savior. 
  4.   Be a trustworthy example.  Be cheerful, friendly, genuine
  5.   Be united with your companion.
  6.  Work hard and smart. Set goals. Be diligent daily in planning and acting the plan  
  7.  Become enabled by your confidence through faith in Jesus Christ in abilities enhanced by the Spirit.
  8.   You must know for yourself: Who Am I? What do I think of Christ?
  9.  Forget ourselves and love others, with their happiness more important than our own, we become a "real" missionary and we have true JOY.
  10. TAKE responsibility for those you have taught. "when you go home, do not forget them." 

“all things denote there is a …Supreme Creator” Alma 30:44

SURVIVOR!  We marveled at a tree downed and still surviving.

Imagine...a golf ball

Janae noticed this one, a walking stick

President Wilkey constantly urges the missionaries to “live the little things,” and “that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass,” (Alma 37:6).  He sees in each missionary greatness and divine potential. 

Similarly when we are going for our preparation day walks, he sees not only the grand picture—the magnificence of the Acadia National Park landscape and the beauty of one of many lakes--but he sees the small and simple—a caterpillar crossing the path to the mushrooms “blooming” this time of year.
Quick four hour visit in Acadia National Park

"Survey large fields and cultivate small ones." Harold B Lee

Acadia on a clear day.  Photo by Elder Ward

Acadia on a less clear day

Sister and Elder Starley
Elder and Sister Starley have served a year and a half at the Joseph Smith Memorial, giving freely their talents and time.  She designed and chose the flowers to be planted and they are beautiful.  Another one of the senior sisters shared one of the many miracles of those who maintain the grounds: “it was amazing. We should not have been able to transplant 14-20 inch tall bare root flowers in the August heat and have them live. They not only lived, but two of them are now blooming just five days later.”

Continuing to stress “leave no trace,” President Wilkey admonishes missionaries to leave the churches where they meet, the apartments and cars they use “no trace” clean.  In theory, each follows the counsel.  In practice…….

MISSIONARY MOMENTS – Mundane and Magnificent

We are relieved that Elder Peterson is recuperating well and
so are his three fellow missionaries, Elders Cook, Shelby and Garner

Gratitude. Have we expressed our gratitude for the devoted service of the senior missionaries—husband and wife—who serve several missions in the northeast as medical advisors? Dr. Saunders was available to consult for many medical concerns ranging from a persistent finger rash to a ruptured appendix.

We do see constantly the Lord’s protection, even when difficulties arise like the ruptured appendix.  Despite the seriousness, the elder’s companion and his district rallied to help him.  His companion wrote: “Tuesday night at the hospital emergency room while I waiting for my companion to go through all kinds of tests I felt like I needed to do something with my time so I pulled out The Book of Mormon started to read. At the time my companion was very in and out from the medicine they had him on. But four days later, he told me that when he woke up that night and saw me reading from The Book of Mormon he felt peaceful for the first time at the hospital and knew things would be ok. That experience strengthened my testimony of one more thing that the Book of Mormon can do in a time of need.”
Joy.  Individuals and families accept the invitation to come to Christ and His Atonement.

Happiness surrounded by our wonderful missionaries and our beloved New England brothers and sisters

President Wilkey enjoys moments he can share his magic tricks
and a friendly conversation.

Elders Dorantes and Levie pose with the Dubois family.

Missionaries return with their families after having served an honorable mission.
Sister Shaw returned with her family! 
Mitch Schwab returned with his wife!!

Satisfaction.  Finding a clean, orderly missionary apartment where the Spirit is welcome.
Discovering a missionary apartment door with uplifting notes and organization for a day’s work
Elders Jessee and Garner serve in Belfast Maine

These missionaries in Rockland will always leave their
apartment with a plan and an 'uplift."

Sisters Nelson, Wallentine, Johnson and Jaret
Smiles.  Catching the thoughtful sisters “heart attacking” the car.

               Enjoying the Assistants’ birthday “greeting” to the president on our front lawn.

Finding the greeting President Wilkey likes to use on a school marquee.

with Sisters Benjamin, Horton and Huntsman
Peace.  Temple moments with missionaries.

Embarrassment.  Old age is having a mouthful of green after eating lunch.


Farmers’ Markets and road side stands with vegetables and fruits purchased on the honor system.

  A side note: Our missionary with an emergency appendectomy and his companion always do service at the farmers market.  When the ‘well’ elder showed up for service with another companion, they were asked lots of questions. Many people were deeply concerned. Those people generously showing their love pitched in to get food for the elders and to send cards and flowers.  Even better, two of the people visited the hospitalized elder before heading to their homes.

A wonderful visit with the mission presidency second counselor, President Goodrich and his wife Ruth, and a wonderful experience listening to the loons on the lake. 

Appreciating the rich and colorful heritage of the New England states.

Countless road side signs heralding the upcoming elections.  The Church has again unmistakably announced its stand of political neutrality and the encouragement of individual members to serve in their communities and nations and to vote in their respective areas.

Seven new missionaries—we love their enthusiasm—came on September 3rd.  Elder Harrison is trying his first fluffer nutter sandwich.  Elder Niebergull, a ‘seasoned’ missionary is enjoying his.

Endearing and enduring New Englandisms—the sign on the front door.  Go around to the back!
Cemetery after cemetery, this one with the Atlantic Ocean as the backdrop.

Wondering if we were really in Maine or??

Acadia National Park

Where are we??