Sunday, March 22, 2015

 Homecoming Report Weekend 
We had a busy weekend.  Cole came down from BYU driving by himself and arrived in time to go to dinner with us at Don Pedro's.  It was a great start to the weekend having my favorite Mexican food in St. George.  David and his family came down and stayed with John, arriving about 2 am.  They like to travel that way as the kids are mostly asleep and the journey is peaceful.  Saturday we got to attend the baptism of Mason Corry Stevens.  He was such a handsome 8 year old in his suit.  He had practiced with his father and was confident to be baptized.  Austin gave a very good talk on baptism and Jana gave a wonderful talk using props about the Holy Ghost that made it very personal to Mason.  
Trenton White and Kalli Bennett.  We enjoyed their visit with us on Saturday.  Kalli had a death in the family and they could not stay any longer but we had a very thorough visit with Corry asking very pointed questions.  We could tell that they are in love and we predict they will be married by the end of the summer.  Elder White has a different side to him aside from the "AP" Elder White and he is very delightful.

Sunday we were thrilled to have 11 PPM missionaries attend our report.  They sang the mission song with us and it was so great.  I love that song!  We had the parents of Amber Ricks travel up from Gilbert AZ for our report and Amy McNeil came with her fiance, BJ Vickers and her parents.  We met the parents of Elder Tyler and Sister Jolley at our report today and it was wonderful to see them.  We had 3 of our Student Ward kids come with their kids or fiance and that was good.  Deonna and Neil Fuller came.  Bob and Twila and Kent Harman came.  Lindsay and Chris came and brought uncle Calvin Perkins.  Carolyn Kimmerle and Francine Shumway came with their spouses.  Loralee Barrow and family came.  It was wonderful and we were quite overwhelmed.  Sister Young surprised us and came from California.  It was just such a wonderful feeling throughout the entire day and we just felt so good about it.
 Sister Amber Ricks and her parents came over Saturday for an extended visit and again today.  We got to serve with this sister in Broomall and think so very highly of her talents.
 Sister Kindra Wilson and Kaydee Taylor attend BYUI.  They called at nearly 10 pm last night and stayed til midnight talking.  It was very fun to visit with them.  
 Elder Jordan Brown and his wife came down to support us.  They had to leave quickly as she had to work Sunday night.
 The PPM group minus Elder Shepherd and Elder Brown.  These are all those that sang the mission song with us.
 Sister Amy McNeil and Elder BJ Vickers are engaged.  Sister McNeil is very special to us as we delight in seeing her progress and happiness.
 Neil and Deonna Fuller came today.  They were our neighbors in Blanding and Neil was Corry's Asst. Coach for basketball.  They served in Palmyra, NY and just got called to serve in St. George at the historic sights.  We are going to be able to see them!  We got to go to dinner with them Thursday night.  We have so very much to catch up on.
 The Sisters from the PPM.  We were so very happy they came!
 Sister Rachel Young cleaned our apartment before we moved in.  We will forever love her for the wonderful job she did.  She is still steadily dating her boyfriend, but no engagement yet.
 Sister Collette Whitaker served with us in Broomall for a couple of transfers.  She is such a cutie and we love her.
 Sister Annabelle Hyatt came with Sister Whitaker.  Elder Jones had lots of dealings with her and cars.
 Our grandkids, our best support!  How we love them.  Abby is pictured above with a splint on her arm as she was playing basketball and took a tumble.  Sister McNeil's father had first aid experience and bandaged her up to support the injury.  We think it might be broken...The whole day was just such a sweet memory for us and we are very grateful for all those who attended and made us feel so special.  What a perfect way to end our mission experience.
Marilyn's Talk:
Homecoming Talk for 3/22/15

We were called to serve in the Pennsylvania Philadelphia Mission as MLS or member and leader support.  For our mission that basically meant that you were sent to an area that needed Priesthood support—usually a branch or struggling ward and you worked with the ward and with the Elders and Sisters who were serving in the area by attending their meetings, helping them in teaching situations, taking them to appointments and mission meetings and feeding them and being their grandparent support.  It is a wonderful calling with the ability to become really close to all of the elders and sisters you get to serve with.  When we arrived in the mission the couple who were coming to serve in the office were delayed by 6 weeks.  Young elders had been serving for about 6 months in the office and President was anxious to get them back our into the field.  So we were asked to step in and help in the office for those 6 weeks.  We must have done OK because President eventually changed our call, asking us to serve in the mission office.  I did records and commissary and then the finances.  Elder Jones was the service elders and over the 100 cars in the mission.  He wore a phone at all times and it rang LOTS.  One day Corry mentioned to the mission president that if he ever had some elders having a difficult time that he would be happy to work with them as service elders.  The very next day president took him up on that offer.  It was such a privilege for me to see my husband use his talent as a counselor to serve in this capacity.  He thoroughly enjoyed it and made some life long friendships.  So after about 5 months we both had the confirmation that we were serving where we were supposed to serve, doing what we were supposed to be doing.  We absolutely loved working in the mission office.  At our peak we were up to 270 missionaries.  We were in a position to meet them all at transfers or zone conferences or at the office.  We served with a great mission president and his wife, T. Gary Anderson and Pam from the Logan area.  Their mantra was to do all that they could to insure that the senior missionaries had a good experience and they succeeded.  We served along with some awesome senior couples and we ended up organizing monthly socials to encourage fellowship among us.  We were able to even attend the Palmyra Pageant. 

The Pennsylvania Philadelphia Mission takes in the eastern half of Pennsylvania, all of Delaware, the peninsula of Maryland and 1/3 of New Jersey from Atlantic City south.  Susquehanna is in this mission and the church will complete the Aaronic Priesthood commemoration monument sometime this summer.  That place is as beautiful as ever and our Elders do perform baptisms in this river.  The Philadelphia Temple is under construction right in the downtown area of Philadelphia and is scheduled for completion the summer of 2016.  This is the first temple that the church has actually sent a representative to facilitate this construction site.  It has a small visitor center and Elder and Sister Carr work hard to insure good will in the community and full utilization of the temple site as a proselyting tool.  I think most everyone ends up loving where they are called to serve and we are no exception.  We loved this mission and we loved the people the missionaries and the area.  I especially liked Valley Forge.  It just has a feeling of reverence as you travel through the park.

"Without the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of this great country, there would not be enough freedom of religion for the restoration of the Gospel. So without what happened in this mission no other mission would exist. Also it was from this mission that the Battle of Trenton was begun and won. It was the turning point of the Revolutionary War. Also in the mission is Valley Forge. Here during the winter of 1877-1878 the United State Army was able to survive and live to continue fighting the British and eventually win our independence. Without our independence the national church, Church of England would not have allowed a new religion to begin. It was in this mission at Harmony, Pennsylvania that 2 thirds of the Book of Mormon was translated. It was in this mission at Harmony that the Aaronic Priesthood was restored and the first baptisms were performed. Near Harmony the Melchizedek Priesthood was restored. It truly is the greatest mission in the world!"

Bishop instructed us to talk in some way about “hastening the work”.  Our mission is an I-pad mission and a Facebook mission.  These tools are specifically used to do just that.  We had the opportunity to go teaching with the elders or sisters and we had the fun of doing one series of lessons via Skype.  Because of the temple being constructed in Philly there is much emphasis to all of the members to be actively engaged in missionary work.  And they have also been instructed to be anxiously engaged in family history work so that when the temple is finished they will have a treasury of names to take there for ordinance work.  I have a testimony that where a temple is being constructed the Lord does prepare the people.  This temple has been under construction for about 2 years now.  Locals are very interested in its construction and the fact that it is taking a long time because the construction must be of such high quality.  Workmen have agreed not to smoke on the temple site and to refrain from any bad language.  Elder and Sister Carr bake homemade cookies for the workmen weekly.  Family history work was very much stressed in our stake.  We had a very awesome chairman who worked hard to teach family history.  Many, many non-members use the library and one man even helps man the library.  One of the reasons family history work is so stressed is that if a recent convert can quickly get to the temple with some of his or her family names they are much more likely to remain active.  Anabel is a recent convert, as is John.  They have both been twice to the temple with family names since their baptism this past winter.  A family history specialist works right after baptism to help them successfully find one of their family names to take to the temple for baptism. 

Near the end of our mission I was not busy enough one day so I decided to Family Search and just see if I had any relatives who had ever lived somewhere in our mission.  To my surprise I found several.  My maternal 6th great grandfather happened to lead the first settlement of Welshmen to land in Pennsylvania.  He landed just about 10 miles from where we lived. He was a Quaker, leaving Wales for religious freedom.  He settled right along the Schuylkill river in Philly.  I was able to find a letter that he wrote to William Penn telling him all about his journey to America and advising him what to bring with him to America.  We got to go to the cemetery where he was buried just 7 miles from our apartment. 

On our way home we were able to stop and visit our daughter and her family in Vienna, VA.  I have a grand-daughter that is fascinated with family history.  She has taken to it like a detective and delights in finding a name she can take to the temple.  We saw this in our mission and I testify that it is yet another way the Lord is hastening his work—this generation of youth understand how to do research on the computer and they are good at it.  In the ward we attended they called teenagers to be family history specialists—because they knew what they were doing.  Now back to my grand-daughter.  While we were staying with her she was up late one night and happened to connect a line on my family that had previously been undiscovered.  She was able to get many names.  So we went to the temple with 26 names from my family, Corry’s family and our son-in-law’s family and that was a very spiritual experience. 
In all of these ways the Lord is hastening his work in this part of the United States.  It was a wonderful experience to serve there.  We Feel very grateful to have been able to go on this mission.  For us the VERY best part were the wonderful Elders and Sisters that we got to meet and know and work with.  They treat senior missionaries tenderly and we felt loved.  And we loved them.  Some of them are even here today and I would now ask that all of the PPM missionaries come up here and we will sing our mission song.  As they come up I wish to thank our children for their support in every way during this last 18 months.  We hope that the blessings you received will outweigh your sacrifice.  I testify to you that the gospel we preach and the church that we represent are true and that my testimony was strengthened as we served and I say this in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.

 Corry's Talk:

I look out over the congregation and I see my family, who supported us on our mission with their prayers and thoughts. 

I see many of our long time friends who have played such a supporting role in our lives.

I see the ward members who are still active and have changed somewhat and who remain as important people in our lives.

I see the missionaries that played such a wonder role in our lives.  I couldn’t hope for more than this on this Sabbath day.

Having said all of that, I do hope that our main purpose for coming today is to partake of the Sacrament, to renew our covenants, and to rededicate our lives in remembering what our Savior has done for us.  If not for that, then all of these relationships we have fostered throughout our lives would end without hope.

Vehicle Coordinator:
1.      Wrecked their car, reported it, and told me they gave the other driver a pass a long card, while they were filling out the accident reports.  They obtained a appointment to meet and teach him a lesson.
2.      Lost in a snow bank, got towed out, I didn’t know where they were, and their phone was going in and out.  Once safe to stay and make sure the others got out.
3.      Put diesel fuel in their car.  Liken it to sin and repentance.
4.      RR tracks  GPS led them poorly, liken it to following the wrong directions

Service Coordinator
1.      Testosterone
2.      The Johnson family, crying, working, fixing, and making it work.
3.      The family that had the fire
4.      The Liberians came with nothing.
5.      Elder Cowley’s medicine delivery

My most heart warming responsibility was visiting with missionaries and to listen of their loves and desires to serve our Father in Heaven and to preach of His Son.  To listen to their joys, their heartaches, their confusions, their frustrations with not having prayers answered, trouble with companions, and most importantly to hear about the tender mercies that they witnessed as people were touched by the spirit and accepted the gospel in their lives.

Let me pause for a moment and give you some of my suggestions for preparing young people to serve a mission.

When they are about 3 or 4 years of age, teach them how to work, and continue that expectation throughout their life.  Don’t buy everything for them, teach them to work, earn and purchase things themselves.  Teach them how to clean their rooms, their clothes, make their beds and to cook.  Don’t do it for them.  Help them to assume responsibilities of driving a car, paying for the gas, checking the oil, and how to fix a flat tire.  Lastly teach them to develop a spiritual relationship with the Godhead.  Teach them the gospel, read to them about the gospel, and show the proper example of how the gospel has blessed your life.  You cannot wait for this to happen when they are 15-16 years of age.

Elder Packers thoughts

“I have long believed that the study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than talking about behavior will improve behavior”  Elder Boyd K. Packer

When I first heard this I was upset, why on earth couldn’t he have said this earlier in my life.  He clearly didn’t understand I had spent 8 years getting a Master’s degree, studying human behavior.  He didn’t understand that I have read 85 books on behavior, I have listened to audio recordings, attended seminars, trying to understand why people do, what people do.  I have read about Personality types, I have studied about Red, Blue, Yellow personality types.  I have tried to understand parachutes, and how that might give people peace of mind.  I have read about Yoga, meditation, I have tried diet plans, self help books. Now don’t get me wrong, I have learned many things through my studies, however I could have learned much more by applying the concept and principles of the Plan Of Happiness.  I started to understand the role the Christ plays in our lives, I understand what affect Satan has when we listen to his deceptions. 

Faith:  Do we really believe that Christ can do what He promises to do.  Can He take my pain and suffering away, Can He replace it with peace.  We have to come to the point that we have developed sufficient faith that He can and place our burdens upon him. 

Mosiah 4: 1-3  And now, it came to pass that when king Benjamin had made an end of speaking the words which had been delivered unto him by the angel of the Lord, that he cast his eyes round about on the multitude, and behold they had fallen to the earth, for the fear of the Lord had come upon them.
 And they had viewed themselves in their own carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth. And they all cried aloud with one voice, saying: O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified; for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven and earth, and all things; who shall come down among the children of men.
 And it came to pass that after they had spoken these words the Spirit of the Lord came upon them, and they were filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins, and having peace of conscience, because of the exceeding faith which they had in Jesus Christ who should come, according to the words which king Benjamin had spoken unto them.

The Lord has said:  “I am the Lord that healeth thee.”  Ex. 15: 26
                        “I have seen thy tears:  behold I will heal thee.”  2 Kings 20: 5
Scriptures testify of his healings
                        “He healeth the broken in heart” Psalms 147: 3
                        “Healing all manner of sickness”  Matt. 4: 23
                        “Healed the sick, cleansed the Leper:  Matt. 10

Repentance:  Can we humble ourselves sufficiently to admit that we have errored, and need help to restore our standing with our Heavenly Father.  We need to stop justifying our behavior and with a broken heart and contrite spirit place our misdeeds upon someone that can do something about it.

Alma 29:  29-30 
 29 And now, my son, I desire that ye should let these things trouble you no more, and only let your sins trouble you, with that trouble which shall bring you down unto repentance.
 30 O my son, I desire that ye should deny the justice of God no more. Do not endeavor to excuse yourself in the least point because of your sins, by denying the justice of God; but do you let the justice of God, and his mercy, and his long-suffering have full sway in your heart; and let it bring you down to the dust in humility.

Forgiveness:  Do we honestly believe that Christ has the ability to forgive us, and in turn can we forgive others that in our minds have done us wrong.  Knowing that if we don’t forgive others, then how do we believe we can receive forgiveness?

Matt. 6:  12, 14-15

12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:

 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Then we must commit to be obedient, diligent, and that we will endure until the end.

Elder Packer on another occasion has said.
            “It is contrary to the order of heaven for any soul to be locked into compulsive, immoral behavior with no way out?
            It is consistent with the workings of the adversary to deceive you into believing that you are.
            I gratefully acknowledge that transgressions, even those which affect little children yield to sincere repentance.  I testify with all my soul that the doctrine of repentance is true and has a miraculous liberating effect upon behavior.
            To you innocent ones who have not transgressed, but were abused as little children and still carry an undeserved burden of guilt, I say:
            Learn true doctrine---repentance and forgiveness, lay that burden of guilt down.

            Faith, Repentance, Forgiveness, Obedience, Diligence, Endurance = the peace and joy promised.

“I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done:”  John 13:15

Come follow Me, do as I do, walk where I walk, serve as I have served

The Mission Song:
"We'll Bring This Mission His Truth"
1. We have been called to Pennsylvania,
To New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, too.
Thrusting our sickles and preaching the
We won't go home until everyone’s heard.
CHORUS: We are as the army of Helaman.
We have been taught in our youth.
And we are now the Lord's missionaries
To bring this mission His truth.
2. We have been called to Phil-a-del-phia,
Where we will thrust with our might, mind,
and strength.
Planning and finding and teaching all day;
The Holy Ghost will tell us what to say.
3. We have been called to Phil-a-del-phia;
Baptizing, binding we do both so well.
Knocking on doors’ til it’s quarter to nine;
Stretching and jumping, it's line upon line.
We’ll bring this mission His truth.

No comments:

Post a Comment