Monday, September 30, 2013

Letter #62

Dear Family,

Too much news!!! Well, after our fabulous preparation day last week, Elder Alves and I put together a crazy plan to baptize everyone in the city. It didn't turn out exactly as we planned but it went pretty well.

We traveled to other areas to help them firm their investigators. And Thursday we divided with them as an elder was sick and they needed to work a little. I know I'm forgetting lots of things but it's mostly Friday till Sunday that sticks in my head.

Friday we received word that we would be moving Saturday and we needed to get our stuff ready to go, and get the keys from the office. So we packed all morning, got the keys, cleaned the whole old house, a terrible ordeal of horror as mold was waist high and dust up to the chins. I feel like I was spared, though, because I didn't have a single problem, which was really absurd. Just entering in the house before had set off problems. The windows were so dusty the lizard left a body print!

Elder Alves even got sick later in the day from cleaning. Certainly a tender mercy for me. Then I did an interview for E. Crowther and Diaz, while my companion taught two of our investigators with Crowther. The bishop taught with them and one man has an interview marked for tonight.

Saturday we moved and moved and lifted and moved everything. Just us two and the country truck guy who had breath that KILLED. It was like noxious waves of trench gas. Try lifting a bureau and respirating at the same time with this guy! Five hours and we were done, ate, and ran to do five more interviews. We stayed at the chapel after that, and had a very special baptism with President and Sister Genaro in attendance. One of the highlights was the President's excellent bass rendering of High on the Mountain Top in harmony. I joined in. And I directed the baptism.

Sunday we braved the thunderstorm to get to church and confirmed our investigator then had the bad news call that our two baptisms for the day had fallen through. We lunched, with humorous commentary by the members on all subjects, we examined Leviticus 11 and all the things that you couldn't eat in Moses' day and I learned some new vocab words reading about the animals.

After lunch the call came in that we had a baptism to interview for in another part of the city. We ran there, not really but managed to get a ride because the buses take forever on Sunday. It was a special experience to interview this man and see his desire to be baptized. We stayed for the baptism as our ride was going to stay. The attitude of 'let's help' in this ward instead of 'how can I get out of this' in our ward palpable and we reveled in the pro-missionary feelings that were in abundance. With a last minute notice about the baptism, there were still 15+ members in attendance. Ours, with 4-5 days notice had 2. Marked difference. But that leads me to today.

I was transferred : ) And I'm now a zone leader : ) In Marília : ) With Elder Carrell : ) So that's the big news. President called me personally this morning to congratulate me and wish me on my way. Marília here I come!!!! This will mean I've served in all the areas of São Paulo in the mission, which is, I suppose, noteworthy.

I think that's it. . . You'll understand I'm a little in shock but it was a very interesting week, a very different week. And I'm out of here.

President Genaro likes to open and close areas it seems. Elder Alves was also transferred to Presidente Prudente, my old stomping zone. He's pumped and I feel like I've trained him well. He's been by far one of my favorite companions so far. I don't think we ever had companionship inventory because it just never occurred to us. He's crazy, like me too, and we've learned a lot, grown a lot in these last three months. We leave tomorrow, early.

Read the story of Korihor this week. I love when Alma turns the questioning against him! He says: "And now what evidence have ye that there is no God, or that Christ cometh not? I say unto you that ye have none, save it be your word only. But, behold, I have all things as a testimony that these things are true; and ye also have all things as a testimony unto you that they are true."

We have all things to testify to us of these things! This week we have the special and sacred opportunity to hear prophets, seers and revelators speak in the name of the Lord. Invite all your friends to hear and feel their messages : )



Sunday, September 29, 2013

With All Our Love

Dear Tanner,

To answer your question, "I received a letter this week saying that my package had been sent back due to 'unidentified vegetables.' What did you send?" It might have been cranberries? In your next package I will be sure to include that copy of the Ensign. The only other thing that came back in the package was hot cocoa. Whatever was in the envelope was clearly identified on the mailing slip though, including the hat that was taken! Throw some birthday ideas this way...what's wearing out? What won't last until August?

We enjoyed reading about your fun preparation day. We did get more pictures, and some have been shared back with you in your blog email. We love getting pictures from your President and his wife. Other news about Brazil is from Dad who read that the only place in the world that makes VW bugs, the old-fashioned kind, is in Brazil, and that will be ending the last day of 2013. They cannot refigure their facility to produce the required updates (such as airbags), and will have to close. This is why you see a lot of VW bugs where you are! They're made there!

Other news around the world begins in France from Naomi, funny as ever: "We got drenched. Imagine standing in a shower, fully dressed, for about four hours. I honestly don't know how much umbrellas would have helped at that point. When we got back to the train station, I dumped about a liter of water out of my shoes. I love those shoes. They let all kinds of things in-water, rocks, probably a rabid squirrel if they had the chance-but they don't let anything out! Once it's in there, it's stuck for good. Actually I finally wore through the bottoms this week. Obviously I just put insoles in and am wearing them right now. I have other shoes, but I want to make sure I get the full usage out of these ones. As you can expect, my colleague and I have colds. I'm better at pretending I'm healthy than she is."

All the way from Japan and Julia's letter:"We taught him about prayer. He has never prayed before or been to a church. At the end of the lesson he we asked if he would pray and he did! That was the first prayer he has ever said in his life, it was awesome. We have to do a pass lesson because the Elders need to be the ones teaching him and when we asked him if that was okay he said, "Yes, it doesn't matter who teaches me, I just want to learn''! This story reminds me of Grampy, and the missionaries asking him to pray for the first time. Speaking of Grampy, got a hold of this most awesome picture yesterday, making the rounds on the computer, and just wanted you to see a picture of their cute smiling faces!

Back to Brazil, Elder Cummings had this wonderful thought: "This week, I told the other elders that I had the Young Women’s theme memorized and they were all making fun of me for a few days, but then one day they came back and apologized to me because they were teaching this young woman and they were trying to explain to the mom about what her daughter would learn in the Young Women’s program and they couldn't remember all of the Young Women values!!"

Elder Carroll had a wonderful story that I wanted to share with you. They left the house at 7am to go bring people to church and had about 8 people to bring. They started early because church starts at 9 a.m. but nobody wanted to wake up! Nobody even opened their door! "So we sat down for a minute at a park bench just trying to keep calm (no one ever said this work wasn't frustrating) and a mildly drunk man came and asked to sit by us. He was a ragged thing, his Hawaiian shirt was ripped and dirty, his sandals covered with mud, his toenails rotten, and he had just a hint of whiskey on his breath. He said, "It's annoying when people don't want to go to church, isn't it?" He continued, "You try and try but no one seems to want anything to do with religion." He came out of nowhere and seemed to know exactly what was going on at that moment. Maybe it wasn't the first time he found sad missionaries sitting on a park bench on a Sunday morning! He then stood up and said, "Don't you guys worry! Maybe no one will go with you guys but someone will be waiting for you guys at church!" and then left. And four people showed up at church!"

This week in southern Ohio was just a normal week with me hanging on for the ride. Larry and Sandy went on a little vacation last week, arriving home Monday evening. The first thing he did was walk over three huge boxes of Moonpies: chocolate, banana and vanilla. The more you eat them the better those graham pies are. What I didn't know was the story behind how they were made, which I appreciate more living in coal mine territory. In the early 1900s a Moonpie bakery salesman was visiting a company store that catered to coal miners. The miners told the salesman they wanted something solid and filling. He asked how big. A miner held out his hands, framing the moon, and said, "About that big." When the salesman returned to the bakery and saw workers dipping a graham cookie into marshmallow, he got the idea to add another cookie, and dip it in chocolate, and the rest is history. The moonpie was born.

Monday was also the day Sawyer had his three month MRI scan, to determine if there's been any growth, and with dye contrast to rule out cancer. We haven't gotten the results of the tests. But he was so much happier coming out than going in. He had gotten himself all worked up over the shot that would be given with the dye. I held his hand for forty minutes, as the MRI noise is just plain loud. And on we go. Your cousin Kaleb had a scan as well, and is seeing a doctor down in Boston for a growth in his leg bone by his knee. At first it was thought to be a benign bone tumor and now they're not so sure.

Speaking of the Orton family, in response to Becky receiving another child into her home, a cute as a button three year old boy with cerebral palsy, my twin wrote this, which I absolutely loved: "Becky, I love you. I love that your home is the safe harbor for those little ships who need rescuing. You're the lighthouse in the storm." Absolutely true!

Cooper's still thinking about your request for a spider monkey stuffed animal...he already has made a monkey so he's been stalling. And speaking of Cooper, he'll be having his own medical adventure tomorrow. He caught a football wrong, and hurt his pinky finger on his left hand. We all just thought it was jammed. But a week later, and after the swelling has gone down, it was obvious it was broken. The x-ray on Friday confirmed this, and because it's "angulated," it needs to be fixed. It's the lower bone in his pinky, and it's broken vertically. Speaking of Cooper, these are his last paintings, cars from Cars.

Thursday was the annual Optimist International change of officers dinner. Dad never told us he was put on the Board of Directors for the club...actually he didn't know until he arrived...but it was at the Golden Corral, the boys' favorite buffet! Speaking of Optimist, Dad volunteered to make paper mache corn dogs! What? He said what? He's so in charge of that project. He did buy the ginormous, long balloons, and began to paper mache them, as the Milton Pumpkin Festival kicks off at the end of this week. We'll miss your singing and salesmanship!

Your father coached his first home game this Friday against Athens. This is a team that's ranked 3rd in the state for their division, and has had only 28 points scored against them. Fairland lost 46-55. It was a good game, ultimately they could have won, but they played well. The kicker came through with a long field goal, and kick offs. They even squib kicked it a few times, which has never been done. This is a summary I thought did a good job explaining their record: "I know it may seem strange for people to understand this after we just lost 3 straight games...our team has gotten better each week! We have played 3 teams that will be in the playoffs and 2 of those teams are in larger divisions. Our boys can hold their heads up high going into the upcoming games. No one has put up those kind of points on Wheelersburg or Athens! Go Dragons!"

Saturday while two brothers were running cross country, a Dad at work, Breyer and I got to watch the soccer slaughter. Miller scored 3 of the 4 goals, and Sawyer had 3 out of 5. They are FUN to watch! Their feet literally dance around opponents and the ball. They've worked hard together, practicing in the yard every day. They love to compete against each other, and throw Ranger in as the wildcard.

We also got to go to a birthday party, the daughter of the brain surgeon that's working with Sawyer. Talk about a nice pool! As in heated so we could still swim! I say "we" as I borrowed a suit and joined the kids. It was a BEAUTIFUL fall day! Saturday has become one in which I just want to do nothing. No wash, vacuuming, dishes, cooking, get the idea. By the end of the week I'm toast. So to watch the boys play, and then move down the street to watch them swim, all the while soaking up 70ish sunshine was beautiful. Just needed a little more family around me to make it perfect.

To finish off the day, I got your Dad and Sawyer to come with me to a cemetery historical ghost walk. It was awesome! What a great fundraiser for their historical society, or cemetery, or anyone looking to make a little money in the fall. It was held in the city of Ironton, and members of the historical society dressed up in period costumes, representing someone specific that was buried in the cemetery. Wait until I can get those pictures up for you. The history of the area that we learned was very interesting, and we might even have a distant relative (Kingsbury) that ended up out here.

Missionary news of the week? Sawyer's friend has a baptismal date for the 17th! That mother is so excited! Her husband came to church today, listened to the lesson, and ate with the missionaries. They're going back Wednesday. The missionaries are SO excited as well. This mission typically doesn't have a lot, and they're all trying SO hard! They actually asked me to talk today in the combined third hour, as I apparently had a lot to say on the subject. They wanted me to show how it's not the actual conversion or baptism that is our responsibility but the inviting. Our job is to not worry about rejection or a yes answer, but to just invite. Their agency will determine what happens.

My thought of the week comes from the fifth chapter of Second Nephi. "And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness." What is the manner of happiness? What does Nephi teach us about how to be truly happy? There's some good stuff there! To mention a few, you're warned of the Lord, you have your family with you, you believe in the warnings and revelations of God, you hearken unto the word of the Lord, you observe to keep the judgments, and the statutes, and the commandments of the Lord in all things; and you bring your scriptures with you. You observe the manner of happiness, except for having your family with you, but you have your missionary family that surrounds you there, and your real family that surrounds you in love and appreciation for your example and love to us. Have a wonderful week!


Mom and Dad

P.S. Seven is the number of points by which your blood pressure will be lowered after hour-long laugh sessions every other week. Not that you have to worry, but that could add up to a 15% reduced risk of death from heart disease or stroke. So, not that hour long sessions are in your schedule, but be sure to laugh!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Go, Coach!


I love this project! If I was in the area, I would have wanted to join their raking in the sand!

"A pair of British artists have created this stunning installation of 9,000 silhouettes on a D-Day Landings beach to mark international Peace Day September 23rd.

The project, named, 'The Fallen' is a tribute to the civilians, German forces and Allies who lost their lives during the Operation Neptune landing on June 6, 1944.

The design was the brainchild of Jamie Wardley, 33, and Andy Moss, 50.

Together with a team of volunteers, the pair travelled to Arromanches beach, Normandy, to create the silhouettes, which were individually drawn into the sand.

Those taking part made the shape of a person by putting down a stencil and raking the surface to create a distinctive figure.

The shapes were then left to the mercy of the tide which washed away the 'fallen' after around four and a half hours."

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Super Spirit

Sawyer had a return appointment to check on his arachnoid brain determine if there is a change in size, and confirm that they're just cysts.
He was NOT thrilled about the MRI, nor the IV. Too much noise, and a needle.
Here he's waiting for the topical anesthetic to work.

But: The best part of the appointment was the stick-on ear muffs.
Definitely the highlight of his visit.

Here is Miller shooting laser beams with his new "equipment."

I LOVE how boys can turn anything into something they NEED to be a Super Hero!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Gym Nest

Birthday parties at gymnastic centers are THE BEST!
The boys are SO busy, and happy, and moving so fast they're a blur!



And after watching a little American Ninja Warrior, they were right at home!