Friday, November 30, 2012

Christmas Decorations!

Last night Ron and I had an appt. about fifty miles away at a part-member family's home. As we were driving up we had a few minutes before our appt. so we decided to go look at the Christmas decorations in this cute little farming town. As we pulled into town we could see a big dome that was covered in lights. We wondered what it was, but we keep finding all sorts of interesting buildings and structures having to do with the grain and cattle farms that are all over the place, so we went to investigate. The town was too small to have a "Dee Events Center-Tacoma Dome" type arena, so we really were curious what it could be all lit up in bright orange lights. As we drove closer to it...and seriously we were drawn to it like moths to a flame....we were just amazed at it's beauty and largeness...then we both said almost in unison: NUH UH!!  The big orange dome we were driving toward had now become a big orange ball barely up over the horizon...IT WAS THE MOON!!! Oh my goodness! I have never ever seen anything like it! We were partly laughing and how stupid we sounded and partly in awe of the beautiful sight that was right before our eyes! I know this picture doesn't do it justice, but let me just show you what we saw coming up just over the horizon (that's why it looked like a dome at first). That was our "boy are we city-slickers or what?" moment. Just some of the beauty we keep tripping over....literally. Heavenly Father is the ultimate artist! We are blessed.

This is just above the horizon in the farming town of Hanston.

Brother & Sister Strong & Mail Day!

This is Sister and Brother Strong. Amazing members of the ward. We had dinner at their home the other night. We keep being surprised by the members stories! I would have sworn that these two were "stock", dyed-in-the-wool- Mormons. Nope. Their story is just as awesome as they are!

                                                                                        We LOVE mail!!
A big ol' shout out to Elly, Owen and Amy for our awesome pictures! And to Abuela for the fun surprise she sent us! And to Erin for the card. Remember, we LOVE to get mail. Oh let me just repeat that. WE LOVE TO GET MAIL! Our case you wrote it down and can't find it, is" 805 Beeson Ct. APT.E, Dodge City, Kansas 67801. Don't forget to include the APT. E on there, cuz there's lot's of folks that live at this address and would love to get mail just like us.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

One month ... already!

Today marks one month that we’ve been in the mission field. With only 17 months left, we are feeling a sense of urgency. We have so much to do. We had some amazing things happen today... First, let me say there are times when things happen that sound tragic, but we have to laugh at them or we'd probably go a little nuts. And then there are things that sound kinda funny, and we cry about them. Today we had a little miracle. (but I'm out of Internet time so I'll have to go to the library tomorrow and post about it.) (lame Internet) ...ok back to the  little miracle...we were given a list of L.L.M. (long lost members) to find and invite to our Branch Christmas dinner. We did pretty well finding some of them, some weren't home so we didn't know if we had the right address or not. But we got to an apartment complex of eight big buildings each building had 12 apartments. We were given only the number of the building for this one sister. We found the building and decided to say a prayer to ask Heavenly Father to help us find which apartment of the 12 was the right one and could she please be home. Then Ron asked me "which one is it?" Since it was a single sister I decided to go with one that looked like it had curtains. "That one", I said. We got out of the car and headed up and heard people talking as they were coming out of one of the lower apt.'s. We stopped the family coming out and said "do you know Gladys....?" The lady said "yes, I'm her." Ron and I just looked at each other then at her and told her why we were there and handed her the invitation. we talked to her for a few more minutes then went to the car and said another prayer to Heavenly Father for answering our prayer so quickly! I know, it's not the parting of the Red Sea, or water turning into wine, but to us it was just one of the Lords tender little mercies for two weary missionaries.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

....and so my needs are great.

There are some people in this world that you just have to say to yourself, ‘‘this is a child of our Heavenly Father.’’ …and then know that Heavenly Father must be weeping because of what they have let their life become.

We went to visit “Trick Knee Guy” again today. See post from Nov.14. (We’ll just call him “Hank”) Ron made me do the talking this time and we didn’t have to ask him if he was Hank, we already knew his name. So when he came to the door I said “Hi Hank! Are you having a good day?” He looked a little puzzled, like ‘Do I know these people??’

I don’t know if he remembered us from when we came by two weeks ago, but he had just about as much to say…


“Well that’s great! I brought you some cookies!”

“What for?”

“Because I made them and I thought you’d like some.”


“They’re chocolate and soft.”


“Can we come back for a visit sometime, Hank?”


“Well enjoy your day!”


Hank lives on the outskirts of town in a military retirement (if you want to call it that) community. Where half of the houses are vacant. He lives alone, and I can’t imagine he has any visitors that aren’t government home health care workers. We have made it our goal, nay, our quest to someday be invited into Hank’s living room. That man needs to be reminded that he is a child of God.

Zone Conference In Pueblo

We went to our Zone Conference in Pueblo Colorado yesterday. It was fabulous! We had to get up at 5 a.m. to make the five hour drive. And when we thought we had made it with time to spare, we got lost…that’s the last time I rely on Sister GARMIN to tell me where to go! It was a great conference. Elder Steven E. Snow, of the First Quorum of the Seventy, and his wife spoke to us. Such a wonderful couple. Also our Area Seventy, Elder Hilliar and his wife spoke to us. They are a young-ish, energetic couple. As did President Anderson and Sister Anderson, our Mission President and his wife.

This is only half of our mission. Because our mission is so spread out, the other half has the conference today in "the 'Springs" as they call Colorado Springs.

President and Sister Anderson with me and Ron

We absolutely love our President. He is so kind and just a really strong influence on all the Elders and Sisters. And Sister Anderson is just as genuine as can be. We are truly blessed to be serving under their leadership.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

What a wonderful world!

This morning Ron and I had to speak in Sacrament Meeting for the English speaking ward. Ron’s talk was A-May-Zing! ( as usual, right?) I’m talkin’ members were asking him for a copy of his talk, amazing. I adore that man! His was on peace and mine was on gratitude. Then we had to speak in the Spanish Branch. I gave my first page introduction in Spanish, and Ron translated the body of my talk as I gave it in English, then I bore my testimony in Spanish. *baby steps* Honestly it took me so long to deliver my first page in Spanish, that the congregation would have had time to add a new generation, if I’d done the whole thing in Spanish! (I’m a slooow Spanish speaker). It was a good day.

Here are a few pictures we took on our way home this evening. These were taken on the same road. The moon with the rolls of hay are facing east.

 And the sunset is (obviously) facing west. These photo's are totally unmanipulated. I can't believe there is so much beauty in the world! 

Look how beautiful the sky is on the horizon! As you might have guessed, I am obsessed with these hay rolls. We are blessed.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The day after Thanks

Elders MacArthur & Wilde (Wilde is from Kaysville) Sisters Kartchner & Vanderholm, Sister & Elder Williams
front row: Elders Brandon & Hathcock.

Yesterday we had our District meeting with our Zone Leaders present. These young men and young women are great leaders now, and will be great leaders in the Church some day. It's a joy to work with them and feel of their strong spirits.

Here are just a few of the things that I will never take for granted again. Family and friends aren't listed, because they are a given.
  •  Having to drive 45 minutes to go to the Temple. The closest temple we live near is five hours away in Oklahoma and it isn't even in our district.
  • Trees and mountains. We've got trees, but not like Washington...and mountains? umm no.
  • Delicious water that comes out of the faucet. We buy our drinking water by the gallon at Walmart. The first day we sat down for dinner I saw Ron take a drink of his water and saw  nature-made floaties swirling around his glass and did the dry heave gag.
  • Deseret Book. I miss walking into a good, uplifting, book store. I miss the smell of new books. I miss being able to buy something that will lift my soul.

Friday, November 23, 2012

How was YOUR Thanksgiving?

Oh my goodness what a great Thanksgiving we had here in Dodge! My favorite part of the day was being able to skype with and see our kids and grandbabies. Although we didn’t have nearly enough minutes to talk to each one because of our lame internet plan, grrr! We had been invited by a couple of families to join them for dinner, but we told them we were skyping with our kids throughout the day, so we made Thanksgiving dinner for the two of us. I gotta say, it’s really hard to make a THANKSGIVING dinner for just two people.

And a little challenging when you don’t have all your normal kitcheny gadgets and dishes to cook and serve in. We got pretty creative in cooking the meal. But it turned out pretty well.


Then while Ron went to pick up the Elders, the Sisters came…and brought costumes!! These Sister Missionaries are so stinkin’ cute! Not only are they fun and clever, they have really strong testimonies and are very hard workers for the Lord.
When Ron came back with the Elders, this is what greeted them at the door!

Everyone got a homemade Thanksgiving “costume” to wear! Then we watched Madagascar 3 and Princess Bride, ate popcorn and chocolate pie, and played Bananagrams. It was a great Thanksgiving Day!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

We are currently working with the most wonderful people, some of which are living in very humble circumstances, even less than humble, I should say. It makes me embarrassed that I have so much and that I ever think that I need more. I feel the need to purge myself of everything except the very basic necessities of life. Even this apartment is beyond luxury compared to some. We are grateful to be serving the people of Dodge City, Kansas. As we count our blessings this holiday season, our most prized and precious blessings are our 14.5 children, our 18 grandchildren, and all of our extended family. We want to be with ALL of our family forever. No empty chairs. It is my testimony that Heavenly Father has blessed our lives with the knowledge of His Restored Gospel. We have it. We know it. Now we need to live it and share it with others. It is our responsibility and our privilege to do so. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tender Mercies

In yet another example of my sweet companion's sensitivity to spiritual promptings, today we went to visit a man in a care center.   Kathy felt prompted to go, having chatted with his wife before.   We went yesterday but he was sleeping so we didn't wake him.  Today we went again and found his wife there with him.  We invited the young sister missionaries to accompany us and they cheerfully agreed.   The four of us gathered in his room and asked if we could sing to them.  At Kathy's suggestion I brought along my guitar.    So we sang.   We sang "I am a Child of God" and other favorites from the Children's song book.   We also sang "I know that my Redeemer Lives".   His wife was teary-eyed.   Hopefully not because we were off key.   The thing is, just last week she told us that her husband was not responsive at all, was not talking at all.  But today, he reached out his hand, shook ours and thanked us for coming.  I cannot explain fully the overwhelming sweet spirit which was in that room.   What Kathy organized us to do is exactly what the Savior would have done if he was visiting Dodge City.   What a privilege it is to be her companion!  What a privilege it is to be in the service of our Savior and try to do what he would do if he were here.   Oh, and for those of you suffering under harsh weather conditions wherever you are, (and we know our time is coming) it was again 75 degrees and sunny here today!  Life is good.  We are so blessed to be here!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


We were out making visits today...BTW do you see that blue sky?
Yeah it was 75 degrees today! SEVEN-FIVE! Setenta-Y-Cinco Grados!!
And it's NOVEMBER! I know we're going to get hit with winter sometime,
but sheesh, we are loving the sunshine, people! But I digress...We were out making visits today for the ward, people who haven't been to church for a looooong time. This house was on our list. Well not the house, but the people who live in it. See those two doggies?Yep. They are there behind that fence to guarantee that naive missionaries like us don't ask people like them  to come back to church. Believe it or not my sweet, gentle,
always-wants-to-do-the-right-thing-husband, stood on this side of the fence calling to the house "Hellooo! Hellooo!" The dogs were mildly amused. I'm laughing just thinking about him doing it! I really love that man!!
Tonight we had dinner with this very strong member family from the Branch (La Rama for you Spanish speakers). I'll let Ron tell you about them.
They are wonderful!   They are the Linan family with 5  kids:  Diana, Natalie, Fernando, Alejandro and Karen.   We loved being in their home!   They fed us a delicious dinner and dessert.   We loved the spirit that is in their home.   Great parents and fun kids.   They have been members of the church for almost 5 years.   They even have the same Family Home Evening assignments chart that our daughter Erin has in her home.  We had a lot of fun with them and hope to be back to visit again soon.   They said "our home is your home".


Monday, November 19, 2012

You know we love mail!

 A BIG shout out to our Mission Pres. for our news letter (hey, ya gotta be thankful for what ya get!) And an even BIGGER shout out to my sis Deb for the words of love & encouragement on paper!  A Virtual High Five my Sista!
We had a great day today...visited with a sister in the Branch who is getting reactivated. Then we took the "The Girl Elders" ha! (Someone on the street, familiar with seeing the 'Elders' yelled out at them, ''Hey look, it's Girl Elders!") We took the Sister missionaries to the Salvation Army Thrift Store. Then later in the afternoon we had a wonderful second visit with a part member family. We taught about The Plan of Salvation and the first five principles of the Gospel- Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. We invited the non-member boyfriend/father to the little baby, to read the Book of Mormon. He agreed, so when we go back for the third visit we'll follow up on that. We have so many opportunities to share the Gospel here in Dodge City. We know it's a privilege to be serving the Lord.
*~This Missionary work is AHH-SOME!~*

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Funeral complete with Funeral Potatoes

Today we had the opportunity to serve lunch to the family of the sister in the ward who died on Tuesday. She and her husband have only been members of the Church since May, and the rest of her family are not members. The service was very nice (and short), and the family really appreciated the luncheon afterward, and it was a good chance to friendship some non-members. We worked along side two of the most awesome "anchor" sister's in the ward, Sister Mackey and Sister Nader.

Also helping with the luncheon were our two newest missionaries in Dodge City, Sister V. and Sister K. (Sister Vanderholm & Sister Kartchner)        Both are super great missionaries and both are super funny!
After the funeral we went for a drive up to the town of Spearville about 17 miles away, which is still in our ward. On the way home we had to stop and take a picture of these rolls of hay, just because they were so cool looking!
We are so blessed to have beautiful, interesting scenes like this.  Everywhere we look
there's something wonderful to see!
And the best part of our day......???
Coming home and finding MAIL in our box!
In case I didn't make myself clear on that, THE BEST PART OF OUR
Today we received an early Christmas present
from the Abrams family.(of course we can't wait 'til Christmas)
 A book of our family get-together in Washington! With photographs
taken by my dear friend Becki on a chilly Saturday morning.
What a treasure! Thank you so much Erin!
Also, we got some priceless artwork from Annabelle and Daniel! Thank you
to the May family, We've hung the art on our office wall!
It really is fun to go to the mailbox and find something in it! So
anyone reading this blog...yeah, anyone, feel free to drop us a
line and let us know what is happening in the outside world.

Friday, November 16, 2012

We had a wonderful teaching opportunity this evening at a member's home. I wish I could share details of the experience we had. Let me say that we know we are here in Dodge City, Kansas for a specific purpose. Each day it seems to be made more clear to us that because of our combined life experience, we can do and say things that junior missionaries would not be able to do. These are strong, humble people who we are getting to know and love. We are so grateful to Heavenly Father for choosing us to be here.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Some random pictures

We've got a few minutes before our next appt.,
so I thought I'd post a couple pictures.

These squirrels were chasing each other all over this guys yard.
Fun to watch, after "trick knee" guy bummed us out.
This is a cow farm. I guess it's called something else,
but there are a gazillion cows out here.
 This is only ONE of the cow farms.
This big boy was at the zoo. I don't know what his story is, but I was
talking to him and he was actually posing for me, I swear he was!
This hermana is the mother of one of our Branch members.
She's has the most beautiful skin.
I love the names of the roads out here! I told Ron I'd
like to live on Butter & Egg Road. It just sounds sweet.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Can't stop this

What an eventful day. This morning we knocked on the door of a long lost member, an older gentleman. We identified ourselves and asked him if we could share a message with him..."No. I have a trick knee." and he closed the door.  Wait. What? I looked at Ron. Ron looked at me. We turned and left his porch, totally unprepared for THAT response! Hmm we never had that scenario in the MTC. But we will not be deterred!

This afternoon we had an appointment to go visit a sister at her home. We prayed that our visit would be more warmly received. A beautiful spirit was felt as Ron so sweetly delivered our message to this Spanish speaking sister and the father of her four month old daughter. They had a picture of Christ in their home that Ron referred to as he testified of Christ's love for all of God's children. That visit really got us energized to keep moving forward.

Life on the plains

Just a couple of things....With the beautiful sunshine that we get to have and the flatness of the terrain here, my hair has gone from Roseanne Roseannadanna hair ( old SNL reference, google it) to being dryer than a box of Shredded Wheat!! Seriously, my hair has so much static electricity that I'm afraid one spark from my hairbrush running through it will start it on fire! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Also, night before last we came home and walked in the kitchen to see a cockroach (la cucaracha for you Spanish speakers)! Are ya kiddin' me?? I thought those little buggers liked humid environments! I was so grossed out! Ron killed him for me and we set about disinfecting the entire kitchen. Ghaa! I've got the willies just thinking about it!! You better believe yesterday's shopping list included a large can of ant and roach spray! Yikes!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What's happening today

This is in our office.
We made two posters, one for the English speaking ward and one for the Spanish Branch. Since we are assigned to both, we decided to keep track of everyone we make contact with or in some cases TRY to make contact with  (you R.M.'s know what I'm talkin' about right?). We hope to have every wall in our office filled before we go home.

Today is transfer day. We were asked to take the Elders up to Garden City. These are Elder's Evans, Gomez & Powell. Elder Gomez is on his way back to Mexico tomorrow. I call him the Davy Jones of the Elder's.

This is Wright Park and Zoo ...very close to our apt. Hey, looks like one of the animals got out! Har Har!

This is Dodge City's answer to the Hollywood Bowl! Our little amphitheater at the park.

.....and the most exciting part of the day....

Our first mail!!
We came home for lunch and checked our mailbox. Whadyaknow, we got mail! That was the fastest lunch I've ever made. Because we wanted to sit down and read them together. So a big THANK YOU to Janae, Angela and Becki for making our day with your letters and pictures! We LOVE 'em!


One other special experience:   When we attended church for the first time here in Dodge City on Sunday we were greeted by many people.  Many came up to see us and introduce themselves.  They were very warm and welcoming.   We also saw a woman near the back of the chapel who didn't seem to be getting much attention.   She was in a wheelchair, on oxygen and looked to be in poor health.   We felt prompted to go over and introduce ourselves to her.  She seemed a bit surprised to have us come over and then reacted warmly, introducing herself to us.   It felt good to meet her and be with her for those brief moments. We learned that today, just two days later, this dear sweet sister passed away. How grateful we are that we heeded that prompting to go over and be with her.  Little did we know it would be our only chance to do so.   It reminds us of President Monson's counsel to never delay acting on promptings to reach out and serve others.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Meeting the Members

Today we had the privilege of meeting with the members of both the Spanish Branch and the English-speaking ward in Dodge.   Wonderful people!   They had their primary program with all the kids singing and giving their parts.   They were wonderful as all primary programs are.   Kathy is picking up so much Spanish it is very impressive.   They all treated us as royalty and made us feel very welcome.   We are anxious to get to know them all better and have a few appointments already for this week to meet some of the members in their homes.  The weather got our attention yesterday.   A severe thunderstorm with lightning and thunder, rain blowing sideways, winds of up to 60 mph and severe weather advisories over the news.   Kind of fun to watch out the window but noisy!   Today, a very cold wind is blowing from the north and our warm weather seems to have blown away.  It's 39 degrees right now.   We may need those winter clothes after all!
This is what it looked like a few minutes before the big storm hit. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Our day in Liberal

This was our first Zone training today in Liberal Kansas.

These Elders are outstanding young men. So capable of teaching
the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and training others to be better leaders.
And then...
...and then this was afterward at their
tacky tie exchange.
And did you know that Liberal Kansas was the home of Dorothy?
And it's just as windy as it was on the movie. Here
I'm holding down my skirt so the Elders could take our picture.
In fact, it was so windy I thought I would have
to climb into the storm cellar with
Auntie Em and Uncle Henry!
Every day we are finding out fun things about our
new area. Next on Ron's list of places to see is the
World's Largest Ball of Twine!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Around our little town

This is the symbol of our town. Not Ron. The cow.
 But Ron could be the symbol of our town
because he's ''udder"ly awesome!

Between 1875 and 1886 four million long horns were driven from Texas up the trail to the 
Santa Fe Rail head in Dodge City. 

This is our cute little town can you see the brick streets?
We have our first Zone training tomorrow. It's in
Liberal, Kansas. Which is near the Oklahoma border.
We love it here. We are blessed.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Short time in Colo. Sprgs.

Here are some random pictures of our short time in Colorado Springs:
This is Elder and Sister Snow. We stayed in their home for two nights when we first arrived at the mission. They are just the salt of the earth.
This is a sign the Snow's have on their mailbox, and it really is true. They live high on the hillside and this is what we were greeted with when we went to load our car in the morning.
There were six of these guys wandering the neighborhood just munching on the lawns. Last week Elder Snow came out to his front yard to find a bear, yes a BEAR climbing up his crab apple tree.
This is Pikes Peak, viewed on the way to church on Sunday.
This mountain is where NORAD is located.
And here is my favorite picture (of course) from LaMar Colorado.We drove all along the Mountain Route (although we saw no mountains) of the Santa Fe Trail from Colorado to Kansas. Santa Fe translates to Holy Faith. That's pretty apropos I'd say!