Friday, January 31, 2014

Survival Skillz

Dear Tanner,

We've had an exciting twenty four hours, and as a result I am not sure how my usual letter-writing habits will be affected. Thus, I will write while I can! Your father came home in the middle of the day yesterday, and said he needed to lay down. He then went back to work. He came home later, and needed to lay down again. His diverticulitis flares up now and then, and we both thought that was what was happening. But all evening he was miserable, in a lot of pain, and having difficulty standing. Because of his nap, he stayed up, so I stayed up until midnight...but he was so miserable he went to the emergency room about 3:30 a.m. Since those rooms are notorious for being so long and slow, he wanted me to stay home with the rest of the family until he found out more.

I'm SO tired! Who can sleep after their better half leaves them? I got up and showered, and tried laying down, but the night was over. I called him around 6 a.m. and he said that he was waiting for a surgical consult, but hadn't been told why. (That's why you never go alone! You're not able to think clearly when you're in pain! Always bring your advocate - me!)

I called the Bishop and Jamie Wolfe and asked them if they could administer to him before they went to work. I taught seminary, packed lunches, called Larry, and when the boys went to school I left your sister with Larry (who was excited for a new morning routine!) and drove to the hospital. Hunter drove the older boys to school, and will bring them all home. Larry took Miller to school, and babysat Breyer. He also let me borrow his truck to drive to the hospital. And our other neighbor, Melanie, who saw me coming outside to Larry's truck, will be providing dinner for the boys.

Your father was diagnosed with a incarcerated hernia, in that he had a small portion of his small bowels outside the hernia. Easy fix is to sew up the hernia, a more complicated procedure would involve using mesh. If there is any tissue or intestine that had the circulation cut off, and is dead, then the fix would be a little more complicated.

Knowing your father, he who was, a hospital-free zone, and has no known allergies because nothing's ever happened to him was very brave going by himself. I know that was not easy for him to do. But sometimes we have to do hard things. He was in a room when I arrived, and I tried to make him laugh. Not just to see if it hurt to laugh, but to lift his spirits which were lower than normal, mostly from being alone. They have a new procedure in our hospital, which I nor you didn't do but Cooper and Jarrod did, which is to wash with an anti-staph, anti-mersa soap. So Dad had to take a shower. What man likes to put on those open-backed gowns! Grampy doesn't, and always asks for pants. That's a good piece of information I'm tucking away. Give me pants any day! After showering he asked for help with the ties, but wouldn't let me take a peek. Whatever! At least the nurse was LAUGHING!

We had a few teary moments, which are those defining moments wherein you know you will be stronger together because you're going through them together.

I was getting COLD, and tried to climb in bed with him, but after laying on his blanket, and bumping him, and squishing him, I got the hint. But I got a few more smiles.

What else do you do while you're on your 8th hour of waiting for the surgeon? A few kisses, a few arm rubs, a few emails to work colleagues, a few sneaky sips of nuts and water so you don't make the patient remember how hungry and thirsty they are...and a husband/wife selfie...

They finally took him back to surgery about noon. I told the team that this man has six boys and a little girl who need him back home, so perform with precision!

And they did. He was done in an hour, and qualified for the easy fix. I found out later that Stephen's father had called to have his name put in the Louisville temple. What kind of wife doesn't think of that?

For having to wait eight hours for the operation, and going on two hours in recovery, for an one hour operation, seems a little top heavy. Too much middle management! Too much paper work! I can't even begin to tell you how many questions he answered by so many people, over and over again. By 7 a.m. day shift began, and by noon, everyone was changing for lunch. But no matter who was tweek-ing the paperwork, they all loved your dad.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Princess s'POUTs!

"I don't like my horns!"

(Which ones, sweetheart?)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014





Monday, January 27, 2014

Letter #79

Dear Family, 

The amazing race is over. We're back home, safe and sound after twelve days spent visiting all ten zones for some amount of time or another. To give you the cliff notes version it went like this the last week: 

Monday: Foz

Tuesday: Foz then bus to Cascavel

Wednesday: Bus to Maringá, then with President to Londrina

Thursday: Bus to Presidente Prudente, then to Adamantina

Friday: Bus to Tupã then to Bauru

Saturday: Bus to Agudos then to Lençois Paulista then back to Bauru

Sunday: Bus to Marília then to Londrina, arriving 8:30 at night!

That's the bus schedule since I last wrote. I estimate conservatively that we traveled in all 1,300 miles or approximately 108 miles a day. Not bad. It was an amazing race to get from one place to another all in our short time. Some highlights:

The waterfalls I will leave to the photos to explain but it was worth every cent and all the hype it has been given. Put it on your "when I am in Brasil" list because they're AMAZING. It was a show! Each viewpoint succeeded in taking your breath away again and again and again. Really, it was that good. 

Then that night we had our dual zone meeting with the zone leaders over a rhodizia de Pizza, which translated is all you can eat pizza that comes to your table, and all you can eat ice cream etc, for the low missionary price of $7 : )

Tuesday we attended Elder Moeller's district meeting which was excellent and then spent the day with Elders Poore and Fletcher in Porta Meira. What an amazing area! We were ten feet from Paraguay and I've never seen a people more receptive in my whole mission. We found multiple families to teach and baptize within blocks of the church, many which had already gone to church or had family members baptized in other wards. Excellent stuff.

Then we caught two city buses to get to the bus station and headed out to Cascavel. We slept the night there, ate more pizza there (hey, I lost weight over all on the trip so it's alright ; ).

Wednesday we were almost stranded in Cascavel but managed to get the last two seats on the last bus out of there to Maringá, where, after five hours on the bus we met up with President and Sister Genaro who were doing interviews, and made the drive back to Londrina with them, an enjoyable experience with lots of laughs.

We slept in the secretaries' house, and early the next morning we grabbed the first bus to Presidente Prudente, 3.5 hours to get there. I slept, where after meeting with Elders Pereira and Firmino we lunched with the very first member I met in the mission, the man who got me from that very rodoviária my first day on my way to Tupã. Cool.

Then we set off at breakneck speed to Adamantina, where I reunioned with Elder Ancocnetani and we set off to teach and to interview and to baptize. We slept six missionaries on four mattresses.

In the morning set off for Tupã where, I had some down time in between busses and so chanced a visit to my first baptism, who is doing well, though in failing health and spends her time reading the new Joseph Fielding Smith manual. We prayed together and it was an eternally sweet reunion. I admit to being teary eyed.

We bade farewell to Tupã but only after I met up with my filho Elder Alves and friend Elder Carneiro, who brought us a little lunch, then we caught a bus for three hours to Bauru.

In Bauru we slept in the house of Elders Hendrix and de los Santos from Uruguay. In the morning I set off with him to Agudos where I lunched with the much beloved couple who always took good care of me and cooked up a very fancy feijoada just for our visit. Then we went to Lençois to help firm up a baptism there. We went back to Bauru and arriving at the stake center had another unexpected reunion with a young man and his family who are firm in the faith! What joy that brought! Moreover, I heard that a couple and their family that I reactivated are also strong and going to church. 

Then we headed to Geisel with Elders Haws and Morgan where we caught the end of one baptism and I, talking with a young man in the hallway, found out he wasn't a member of the church, and had been going to church for two months, so I pulled him in to interview and he will be baptized tomorrow : ) Super kid and future missionary. 

We had to run to get home on time after catching a tardy bus, so that meant more pizza to replace to calories. . . : ) 

Sunday morning another bus brought us to Marília to watch sacrament meeting in the Parati ward, lunch was bbq, then back to Londrina on the bus for four hours. 

Observations. I had a wonderful time, enjoyed greenery in Maringá.

And the different chapels which we opened up to investigators (which will be done on a mission wide scale tomorrow).


 Foz is very, very hot but not hotter than Texas. It is a crazy city to be sure. Cascavel, I can't say much but it has excellent pizza. Prudente seems cleaner than it was a year ago. Tupã is still blindingly scalding full of sunbeams. I have little to no desire to ever ride a bus again nor to eat in the restaurants that the bus stations furnish. I've been greatly swindled by their monopolistic prices and small portions. 

My letter is a little disjointed because I've been working in the office today off and on trying to also have a p-day. I couldn't find any new shoes this afternoon because it appears Brasilians have little feet. The President is going to bring me to another store that he said has larger sizes so we'll see.

We are on the verge of very important transfers and so we spent much of today discussing with the President the changes that need to be made, etc. Always the greatest of pleasures to work by his side.

I love you and hope this week is splendid.



p.s. If you could, would you send me some fly weight exercises in pdf? I got little 2 kilo dumbbells to exercise with in the morning : )

Rock Star!

With All Our Love


For once it seems like it has been more than a week since your last letter. I'm sitting down to write your letter, and I can't remember what I wrote last week, or what you wrote. Perhaps I'm tired. Maybe I'll take a chocolate break, and get back to you ;-) Actually, your brothers were off all last week, except for Friday. That was an unexpected blessing ;-) They had Monday off for Martin Luther King's Day, then bad weather prevailed the rest of the week. Friday began with a two hour delay, and it was HARD to get those boys out of the house! The weekend was full of wintery weather as well, but today we warmed thirty degrees, to a balmy 50, and the roads are clear. It's probably a good thing we're getting back into the swing of school, as I'm a little behind in seminary. We're over our allotted days off already, so we'll probably lose some of our spring vacation in March.

The boys spent a portion of their time off everyday at the Marshall recreation center. If the weather isn't conducive to having children travel to school, let's drive somewhere to play instead! And swim! Everyday they eagerly awaited the time when Dad would come home to transport them or meet them over at the rec center. Rock climbing was a popular first, with swimming as a close second. Basketball and racquetball were the runner-ups. Sometimes Breyer and I would sit at home LONG periods of time waiting for the boys to come back. Those two free weeks were perfect in their timing, as what else is there to do? Sawyer's basketball practices were all cancelled, as well as cub scouts and boy scouts. It was good to get out of the house and use some of that boy energy.

I went to a viewing this week, for two of the middle school teachers. Their mother passed away. Larry lived next door to their mother while growing up, and was the best man at her wedding, so I went with him and Sandy. It was fun waiting in line, watching him work the crowds. He knows everybody! He was secretly hoping I'd bring Breyer so he could show her off, but I wasn't interested in chasing her around there. We had a good time, and then a good cry, as we tried to comfort this brother and sister over the loss of their mother. Such a hard thing to go through. I'm glad I went.

Are you still traveling? Did you have a week to rest? Is this a transfer week? Although I guess transfers don't affect you any more!

I loved your impromptu chapel tours idea. If I understand correctly, one set of missionaries finds people to bring to the chapel, or send to the chapel, and you're there for the tour? Did you spend the rest of the week traveling and teaching the rest of the zones? Your cousin Greg was specifically told they could no longer do any knocking on doors. At all.

And how about those falls? I read on one website that as a result of its location near the border of Paraguay and Argentina, "the city of Foz do Iguaçu is prone to higher levels of drug and weapons trafficking than other areas of Brazil. Foz has a reputation for being one of Brazil’s more violent cities." Did you notice this while you were there, or not so much as you didn't get in the city as much?

I will say this, though, I need pictures. Going a week without any sign of your face is hard. Usually if you don't send one, someone else shares. But nothing at all this week! Be sure to send a lot!

I logged into BYU to check your ecclesiastical endorsement, looks like you already had begun the process...and had checked BYU Jerusalem Center? Hopefully that's for consideration while your brother is on his mission, not while he's coming out to be with you. He figures this is the last year for you and he to be together, so enjoy his sacrifice.

This year the Huntington Stake is holding a tri state youth conference, somewhere up north, July 24th-26th. Will you be home? Is that the week you come home? You're a hot commodity, and I'm already taking bookings for speaking/teaching engagements. They want you to do an hour long workshop on missionary work (rotated through three times), being a missionary, missionary experiences...Are you game? You'll have three brothers going ;-)

I don't want to get into a discussion of scientific experiments, but I do think there's some truth to a study done by Dr. Masaru Emoto, a researcher and alternative healer from Japan has given the world a good deal of evidence of the magic of positive thinking. The rice experiment is another famous Emoto demonstration of the power of negative thinking (and conversely, the power of positive thinking.) Dr Emoto placed portions of cooked rice into two containers. On one container he wrote “thank you” and on the other “you fool”. He then instructed school children to say the labels on the jars out loud everyday when they passed them by. After 30 days, the rice in the container with positive thoughts had barely changed, while the other was moldy and rotten. So don't be surprised when you come home to see two containers of rice - maybe we'll throw in a few beans to make you feel more at home - labeled "I love you!" and "You're nobody" - as we conduct our own Schenewark science experiment!

I read two quotes I loved this week and wanted to share with you. One was by Elder Marcos A. Aidukaitis, who spoke in a seminar for New MTC Presidents and Visitors' Center directors on strengthening faith to hasten the work of salvation and said, “The missionaries that will be coming to you don’t have a perfect knowledge of their capability to bring people unto Christ,” he said. “They don’t have a perfect knowledge that this is indeed a time of hastening the work. But they should believe with all of their power, that this is indeed a time of hastening, that Christ wants this hastening to occur, that if they believe it and God is pleased with their work, miracles will happen because of the power of God. And the work will hasten.”

The other quote, about a "spiritual blueprint" of the Church of Jesus Christ was the subject of remarks by Elder Tad R. Callister of the Presidency of the Seventy on Sunday, Jan. 12, as he addressed this year’s first Church Educational System devotional. Drawing an analogy from the construction blueprint for a house, Elder Callister said, “In a similar way Christ built a home to best accommodate the spiritual needs of His children. It was called His church. If one desired to discover Christ’s Church today he would want to match the spiritual blueprint found in the New Testament against every Christian church in the world until he discovered a church that matched the blueprint – organization for organization, teaching for teaching, ordinance for ordinance, fruit for fruit, and revelation for revelation. In so doing he might find some churches that had some similarities — a teaching or two that overlapped, an ordinance that is the same, some offices that bear common names, but he will only find one church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that matches the blueprint in every material respect. If one were to match the blueprint of Christ’s original Church against every church in the world today, he would find that point for point – organization for organization, teaching for teaching, ordinance for ordinance, fruit for fruit, and revelation for revelation, it will only match one — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Moreover, If one rejects this Church after studying the blueprint, then it will likely ruin him for any other church because he knows too much."

Today Dad and I went over to an investigator's house with the sister missionaries and talked with and taught him about the priesthood. It was a sweet lesson. We all got a chance to talk about how the priesthood has blessed their lives. I spoke about how grateful I was that my six boys could receive the priesthood, and watch them grow and learn in this responsibility, and the different callings your grandfather has had and the impact it has had in my life. Dad spoke about how he didn't realize when he was ordained as much as he realizes now what a great responsibility he was given, and how it has blessed his life. This man has been meeting with the missionaries for over two months, and use to have concerns about different doctrines, like the trinity, but now understands that the doctrines don't matter as much as finishing his reading of the Book of Mormon, and praying to receive his own witness that it's true. The doctrines will all fall into place if he believes the Book of Mormon. I almost leaped off of the couch!

That's a wrap up of the week, and I just realized I don't have ONE picture! What a bad mom! Hopefully there were a few good ones in your email this week to make up for the ones missing tonight. I've stayed in my pjs a few days this week, just for fun, and haven't had a pocket for my camera! Whatever the reason, I'll try to do better this week.


Mom and Dad

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Friday, January 24, 2014

Bedtime Story

"Once upon a time, there was a girl named Cinderella...

"And then the clock struck midnight!"

"Run home, Cinderella!"

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Monday, January 20, 2014

Letter #78

Dear Family,

You'll like this letter : ) though there won't be any photos as I left my adapter at home. . . which means that I'm traveling. . . and not a little. Since Wednesday morning I've been on the road, sleeping on the floor, teaching on the run, and baptizing on the fly!

Let's see if you can follow my route up till now:

Wednesday we surprised Elder Cummings and Pinheiro in Apucarana, arriving early and following behind them in the street for five minutes until they finally saw us. Pretty funny, our stealthy entry there. We promptly set to work and after a wonderful lunch I gave an impromptu training which has turned into something we are now passing on to the entire mission. We are revolutionizing the way the missionaries should work. Forget knocking on doors people! We had a blast with the only couple missionaries in our mission, the Limas, teaching them how to do contacts and then leaving them in the street to do just that - contacts. We stayed by the church and when it was opened up we began to bring families off the street to visit the chapel. #impromptuchapeltours! The President liked it and so now the whole mission is going to put it into practice.

Next we went to Maringá which has two zones and we spent Friday, Saturday and part of Sunday there working to help them uplift their zones in the best stake of the mission. All the while I have been breaking my record for most south EVER in my life : ) I spent all of Saturday with Elder Jouinsse, a simply fantastic missionary from Argentina. Sunday after church we caught the last bus out of there to Cascavel to meet up with Elders McGuire and Vergara. Six hours in the bus! quite the adventure. Then we got one more bus there for another three hours to get here, where I am now, in FOZ DO IGUAÇU! I'm very excited to be here of course. And as you may remember Foz has a very grand attraction that I will be seeing in exactly one hour : ) As cataratas, or waterfalls. . . . . . well, that's about all that's going on lately.

We are having great results from the mission even with the changes in rules about age and times in church. We are baptizing something like 600% more men and families than only several weeks before, and the faith of our missionaries is increasing and spreading like a wildfire. There are the inevitable growing pains from members to missionaries but we feel confident, really, down and hearty optimistically good, that everything is going to be great in this area as far the church is concerned. We have on the table four stakes to be created soon, four stakes that are on our drawing board to create within the year, some within months. President Genaro is the Man!

You are all incredibly wonderful. I got a package from the Duncans, THANK YOU SO MUCH!  I know my letter output is dramatically down but I promise I'll get back to you within the next six months ; ) Stay firm and be anxiously engaged in this great cause.

I was listening to hymns this morning ironing, (what else?) and I was struck by a phrase I've heard so often, "Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard? ´tis not so, all is right. Why should we think to earn a great reward if we now shun the fight? Gird up your loins; Fresh courage take; our God will never us forsake. And soon we'll have this tale to tell, ALL IS WELl, ALL IS WELL!" Let us not shun the fight but dive in head first sharing the gospel, living the gospel, and making the decision to do what Jesus Christ would have us do.

I love you,

Stay tuned for pictures ; )


Sunday, January 19, 2014

With All Our Love

Dear Tanner,

Another week has gone by! Yahoo! Google! You're on the way towards home! Every day is one day closer to July! Not that you need to think about that right now, but every once in a while it is okay for this mother to do that! Since we'll be visiting New England in August, before you head west (BYU begins after Labor Day this year!), tell your office to fly you into Huntington, WV!

Your AP letter arrived this week from your President. President Lim also gave me his copy this week as well. Your letter arrived here at the home. Sawyer loved his picture! LOVED, Loved, loved your baptismal picture last week. What a sweet day! I'm glad your drivers license arrived. Hurray! And the eye doctor. Sorry for the pain, and headaches. I'm glad you figured out to go there! What a blessing for your vision to improve. It's been added to my blessings from your mission list.

Elder Cummings got an email from BYU about his ecclesiastical endorsement. I tried to check your email to see if yours had come as well and I couldn't answer the security questions. Assuming those are new, and you've been on your account, then I won't worry about checking?

I read a funny account of most unusual foods missionaries have reported eating. Imagine eating a meal made up of tarantula, goat brain, monkey, raccoon, worms and a hairy cow tongue. While you’d likely never see them all together in one meal, if you visited all the LDS missions around the world, you might be served each of these foods and more! You've mentioned several things that made my eyebrows raise, and I'm sure you have several more than we would find TRULY unusual.

Dad wants to know if you've eaten any popcorn since you've been in Brasil?

Your cousin writes of unusual things happening in France. This week was about one house that had too many animals. "She already has too many animals in her house. It's a zoo where all the animals roam free. It's terrible. Nobody wants to be stroked by a cat tail in the face in the middle of saying a prayer. Nobody." She cracks me up! No, I wouldn't want to feel a cat tail on my face while my eyes are closed!

Sometime during the week, little by little water usage was restored to homes affected by the chemical leak. Huntington actually had the contaminated river water go by this week, as it headed over to Cincinnati, but it was diluted enough not to shut off the water. 

We left off last Monday headed to the doctor to have Sawyer's finger checked by Cooper's hand orthopedist. It was broken, his right hand index finger. He cracked the middle joint growth plate. It was a clean break, so he just needs to splint and/or buddy tape his fingers together for a couple of weeks. And he is allowed to play basketball.

Monday Cooper found out he had made the all county band. Not too many seventh graders qualified. Out of the fifteen chairs for clarinets, he is the 14th! He's in and he's happy! His friend that inspired him to practice during lunch hour plays the saxophone, and is 2nd chair! Very good for a seventh grader!

Monday Hunter found out he was chosen for Fairland's senior salute. If I remember correctly, you chose not to apply for this award, much to the consternation of your mother. He received instructions on getting his picture taken, and an invitation to the unveiling ceremony.

Monday after school the three older boys went to the church to play basketball with three friends six missionaries. I love when they go, as they all come home SO tired! That's a good state to be in when you're a boy ;-)

This week and next Marshall University, in an effort to entice more faculty members to purchase memberships to the rec center, offered free memberships. Dad took everybody swimming Wednesday. They came home SO cold! Arctic weather outside, and cold changing rooms made the little kids almost hypothermic. Porter and Hunter went again Friday evening, and everybody went back Saturday late afternoon. It's turned into a cheap way to get everybody bathed! After having to run our water continuously for days, so it wouldn't freeze, my, water bill is going to be painful. so I'll take any help to reducing water consumption that I can!

Friday I went into Miller's school and read in his class. That's always a good time. I told the kids I brought a book about penguins and a book about polar bears, because they were studying them in their class, and one boy said, "How did you know that?" So I told him. I said, "Your teacher tells us everything. She tells us who picks their nose, who doesn't cough in their sleeve, and who forgets their homework. Of course she's going to tell us what books we should bring!" Their mouths were hanging open. Okay, maybe the 'picking your nose' was a little extreme, but so funny! I also met with his speech teacher. I've been concerned about his reading or lack of, as well as his tendency to memorize instead of read. I think Miller is dyslexic, and she agrees, so he'll be tested on Tuesday.

Today is Porter's birthday. His sweet sixteen! We haven't planned any party yet, and haven't even made a cake. I keep asking him what kind, and he won't answer! So we'll have the official celebration tomorrow evening. The kids are all off school because of Martin Luther King holiday, so we'll help him feel extra love some how. Dad had the men sing happy birthday to him in priesthood. That was a nice surprise!

Just in - Looks like the Superbowl will include the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks...

This week your grandparents traveled up to New Hampshire to watch the three Ortons play ball. Serious ball handling skillz up there, good thing we share genes ;-) This is the gang being a bit rowdy!

And for a World War II / Church History moment, I bring you the conversion story of the Uctdorfs. Both Dieter and Harriet Uchtdorf were not members by birth; rather, their families converted after the war. President Uchtdorf’s grandmother was actually the one to encounter Mormonism first, when she met “a wonderful white-haired lady with a kind expression on her face” while standing in line one day, queuing up for supplies. President Uchtdorf continues, "My grandmother was a religious person, and she was always interested in the faith of others. So this wonderful lady invited her to come to church, and she went. She came home and asked my parents to go with her. They all decided that the children should not go, because they didn’t want to bring four children in to disrupt the meeting. But when they got there, they were surprised to see that the church was full of children. So the next Sunday all of us went, and actually from there on out we didn’t miss a meeting. It took a while until we were allowed to be baptized, because we had to prove we were firm in the faith, but eventually everyone in the family was baptized–except me, because I was only six years old." The sister that would lead the Uchtdorfs to Mormonism held the last name of Ewig, which means “eternal” in German!

Harriet Reich Uchtdorf has a slightly different story. She spent the war in the relative safety and comfort of rural Germany, but moved to Frankfurt afterward, where “things were very difficult. Food was very hard to find”. One day, a “blond, smiling soldier” walked up and gave her a piece of chewing gum. She recounts, "I had never seen anything like it. I looked at my mother, and she said it was okay to take it. So I had this little piece of chewing gum, and it was wonderful! I just chewed it and chewed it. After a while I said, “You know what, Mom? It’s still there!” I had never had chewing gum in my whole life before, so I didn’t even know what it was. My mother explained it. I kept this piece of gum for weeks. After chewing it for a while, I always put it back in its nice silver paper and kept it like a treasure. Every so often I would take it out and chew on it a little, but I saved it for a long time." Harriet Uchtdorf talks about knowing that these soldiers meant well, even though they had technically been enemies only a short while before. Years later, two missionaries come to the door, “smiling like that soldier.” Harriet had “such a positive feeling when [she] saw them, as if [she] was connecting them with the chewing gum that the very kind and nice American soldier gave to [her]”. Her father had passed away almost a year before that, and although her mother hadn’t wanted to the missionaries to come in, reading the Book of Mormon brought joy and light back into her life, and the Reich family was baptized four weeks later. These are great stories. Love the fact that the little things people did, like have a kind face, and a smile, because the gospel is suppose to make us happy, made all the difference.

As I read my seminary lessons each day I'm not thinking, "What would help Tanner?" But once each week, only once, on one of the days between Sunday and Thursday, while reading in the scriptures, I'll receive an impression that this is the thought you need this week. So this week's impression happened while I was reading Alma 13. In the words of Elder McConkie, "Some of our best information about the Melchizedek Priesthood."

"And those priests were ordained after the order of his Son, in a manner that thereby the people might know in what manner to look forward to his Son for redemption." Meaning, that Melchizedek priesthood holders - through their ordination, their example, their teachings, the ordinances they preside over - everything they do - points towards Christ.

"And this is the manner after which they were ordained—being called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works...called with a holy teach his commandments unto the children of men, that they also might enter into his rest." What a privilege to be one of the few with this power and trust and responsibility.

"And now, my brethren, I wish from the inmost part of my heart, yea, with great anxiety even unto pain, that ye would hearken unto my words, and cast off your sins, and not procrastinate the day of your repentance." Because you too have experienced this great anxiety and pain makes me love you even more for the love you have for the Brasilian people.

Have a wonderful week! We love you dearly!

Mom and Dad

Friday, January 17, 2014

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Wound Care

Cubscouts were lucky to have their nurse visitor teach them the ABCs of first aid...

helping them to make a first aid kits...

and taught them how to close wounds with butterfly bandages!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Letter #77

Dear Family, 

My what a time we've had this week! Baptisms, meetings, lots of pondering, deadlines, more pondering, and plenty of food. Not to mention a package each from the Lozadas, the Bachs and home. Today we will eat pancakes for lunch and my companion voluntarily bought bacon and eggs. It's going to be good. Good to have a break : )

Last week we killed our p-day to prepare for the leaders counsel and to have a war council with president. All in all, we will be doing many different things because that's what it takes to reach new levels. Already we've begun to see some results both good and bad. For example, our efficiency this week in terms of what we said we were going to accomplish with what we actually accomplished was spotlessly perfect, but with some of the new rule changes, going into play this week, what we accomplished was a little low. But I'm very optimistic with the results, and am very excited by the growth available to us in our mission. There are stakes to be created, cities to open (that will open!), and lots and lots of families to find and baptize, bringing them into the fold.

The brother of the young man who is leaving for his mission in April and who has been a member for ten months, was baptized this week, along with his wife. They had gone to church for the first time last week. How they have changed in six days! They have riveting testimonies and are bold to share them. We had a very successful turnout at the baptism as well, with more than fifty present, some investigators and lots of family and friends. 

Two young men who were baptized three weeks ago, also were interviewed for the priesthood and came to church in white shirts and ties.

Also this week we had our leaders counsel. The word for this one was material. Lots and lots of new material and rules, and work to pass on. We took a break in the restaurant which as you saw, I enjoyed. This is one quality buffet! I ate there again this week when we returned to the city for my eye exam. . . Speaking of which I went to the doctor for the first time ever in Brasil and it was interesting. Try filling out technical terms in English with a Portuguese doctor.

All in all there was nothing third-world about the visit, except that they dilated my eyes about 10x the necessary dilation which turned me into a very cartoonish missionary, which is not a problem. You can always break the ice with this :) but it was a very, very sunny day and they didn't have those disposable sunglasses we so often take for granted at home. Sooooooo, I held my companion's arm for ten blocks until we got to the mission office, effectively blind and in some pain. Note, we can't bear glory as Moses learned, without first being transfigured. I had a little too much glory in me so I passed out in the office for a couple of minutes until my eyes returned to a more normal level, allowing us to continue our journey. My companion took advantage of the pause to update numbers on the computers. Beware the eye doctor.

Good news from this you may ask? My vision has improved GREATLY in the mission, from 20/50 to 20/25, almost eliminating the need for glasses at all. With glasses I was seeing like 20/10 or better. This explains why wearing my glasses during the day was giving me nausea or tiredness, sometimes headaches. They were way too strong. This is one trend I hope continues. Also, I will be able to drive when I get home having received my new drivers license.

Having to change in some part the way we're working has led to a greater effort to work with members. What was before giving more headaches than glasses is becoming slowly but surely a blessing as we learn to work as one. Our greatest incentive is to follow Pres. Costa's advice who advised us to help the members invite friends and family to Family Home Evenings in their homes. We did this, helping them make invites, a cake, then delivering the two together. He promised significant results if we did this. We have five Family Home Evenings marked for this week, and I'm excited to see how this first wave of efforts turn out.

We also had to take care of some disciplinary things this week resolving problems between some elders. Not too fun. But I testify that the Lord helped me to resolve them and guided me to bring peace to the mission. That we have the right to this revelation I have no doubt and I was thankful for His divine help in my hour of need.

Not much news I know but this week will be great and I'll have plenty of things to share. I think we'll travel during the week, probably beginning with the zone of Elder Maguire. . .in Cascavel. Going south, baby!



P.S. Haven't gotten the Duncan's box yet, but I look forward with anticipation as I expect to finish my journal in two weeks or so.: )