Monday, December 31, 2012

Sending mail to Sr. Missionaries makes you more attractive.

The pretty little snowflakes that Shannon sent
in her Christmas box to us.
....We have REAL snowflakes today! We are having an honest to goodness heavy snowstorm today! The farmers are singin' hallelujah!!
I forgot to post our happy mail shout outs to every one who sent us something in the mail last here's virtual high-tens to: Christopher, Shannon, Kathy's sister DeeDee, Mark & Betsy Leitzinger, Emily Houg, Kathy's brother Gordy, Geoff & Jan Garrett, and Larry & Lorrie.
Thank you everyone who takes the time to drop us anything in the mail! We love you all!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Seriously Mormons...not always serious.

On our way to Colorado Springs last week we stopped at Oakley Kansas. We snapped a photo of two of Kansas' most famous dead people. Can you guess who they might be?
Annie Oakley & Buffalo Bill
Another Kansan that we ran across (almost literally) one day...famous for his role in the Wizard of Oz...Toto!
We think Toto looks like he's fallen on hard times...
or maybe he used Bruce Jenner's plastic surgeon.
I'm so grateful to have my wonderful companion who sees the humor in the same things I do. Who will take the time to stop and smell the roses with me and who makes me laugh every single day. Sometimes the work here is tough, and I'm not gonna lie, it can be depressing at times. We don't tell everything that happens here. Not yet anyway. While we have tried to share most of what happens here, we have had experiences that are difficult to put into words. And some that must be felt with the heart. I'm sure that one day our missionary journals will be read by our children and they will know what we are talking about. We hope those of our readers who have a testimony of the restored Gospel will not hesitate to share it with someone you care about who doesn't have it.

"The Lord entrusts a testimony of the truth to those who will share it with others. Even more, the Lord expects the members of His Church to open their mouths at all times declaring His gospel...Sometimes a single phrase of testimony can set events in motion that affect someones life for eternity."
                                     ~ President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

How do you spell HONDA?


Our poor little Honda has had its share of owies. First, on the drive down to Utah from Washington we were hit by an apple crate that fell out of the back of a truck. Then a few weeks ago we were driving (at night) through Spearville and didn't see the mother-of-all-dips in the road and pert-near jarred our teeth loose while pulling a "Dukes of Hazard" through an intersection. Today we had just pulled into the grocery store parking lot and a truck turned left in front of us while the driver was LOOKING RIGHT. Holy guacamole! The good news is we were not injured. My dear companion's cat-like reflexes and masterful Andretti-ish driving skills saved my life.
...and our car is still drivable. Ugly, but drivable. We are blessed.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas
One of my favorite paintings: The Nativity by Carl Bloch.
This is a bitter sweet time of year to be serving a mission. Bitter because we are away from family and loved ones. The end. Sweet, because of our circumstances we are "forced" to forgo the usual trappings of Christmas with all the hustle and bustle and worry and stress. Even the decorating has been simplified eliminated, and that's something that I usually look forward to a lot. With all that taken away, I have been able to focus on the Christ part of Christmas. I love my Savior. He is the Son of God and truly my Redeemer. The little baby in this painting grew up and did something for me and for you that allows us to return to live with our Heavenly Father. Think about that. Because of Jesus Christ's Atoning Sacrifice you and I may return to live with our families ~ that same family that I am missing right now ~ and with our Heavenly Father. May the power of the season bless your lives. May you feel the Savior's love ~ every day.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Writing to Sr. missionaries makes you smarter

This week we hit the mother load on mail! Thank you to everyone who has written to us...I can't express enough how much it really does brighten our day to come home and find real honest-to-goodness old fashioned mail in our mailbox!
Virtual high-fives go out to: Amy Bang, Jerry & Sue Coleman, Nathan Abrams, Kathy's Aunt Glenda, Kathy's sister Debbie, Ron's sister Patty, Sonia (aka Abuela), Bishop Scott, Doug & Mary, Ron's sister Chris, Steve & Tammy Langlow, and Brother & Sister Webber. Thank you again. And remember...even AFTER Christmas you can still write us  ; )

The Springs in Winter

We just returned home from a two day Sr. Christmas Conference in Colorado Springs. It’s comforting to know that Heavenly Father doesn’t just send you out as a missionary and leave you there, but he gives you great leaders who will teach and instruct you along the way. We met at President Anderson’s home for dinner and a fireside on Friday night, then Ron and I spent the night at the awesome President and Sister Sparrow’s home. Saturday morning we had a wonderful conference where each of the couples presented different topics. Ron and I lead a panel discussion on ward mission plans. The afternoon ended with a fabulous lunch of yummy soups and salads. Then Ron and I headed home with a slight detour up to Denver to the Temple. (outside our mission boundaries)

We have such an amazing group of Sr. missionaries! It's so fun to get together with them and hear of their experiences. Ron and I are sitting on the floor (because we may have been the only one's who could get back up once we were down).
President & Sister Anderson are directly above me, with President & Sister Sparrow on the far right, and Elder & Sister Snow second from the right...awesome people that we love!
Us at the Denver Temple.
(I miss being able to go to the Temple any time I want.)
As we drove home last night, this was the sunset with
Pikes Peak in the distance. 


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Oh the weather outside is frightful!

We are having our first snow storm of the season! I love being inside my nice warm apartment, all cuddled up with my companion watching (church) videos and sipping hot cocoa. ‘Joy to The World’ put out by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is a must-view this time of year especially! The wind is howling outside, and whistling through our windows and front door. Annoying, but I know there are some in this area that are less fortunate and not as warm in their homes tonight. So I shouldn’t complain. I can’t wait to wake up in the morning to see how much snow we got during the night. I will post a picture in the morning.....
It's morning!
Well, here it is. The view of all the snow from our living room window, looking Northeast just before the sun peeks over the horizon. I thought we would have to shovel our way out of our apt. this morning...but the wind took care of that for us.Yay! ... I mean aw, you know how much I love snow! >insert sarcasm here<

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Windmills, dirt roads & we're still in our ward boundaries!

This is us at one of the many windmill farms in Kansas.
We drove to visit a couple families in Montezuma Kansas and stopped at this windmill farm. These things are ginormous when you stand right next to them! It's so fascinating to us, all the flatness and crops, and even the lack of crops...the government pays the farmers to not farm some of their land for a period of time. Hey, I want in on that deal! I can totally not farm anything for as long as they'd like to pay me for not doing so!
...and you thought YOUR home teaching families were hard to find!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Random Christmas pictures

My favorite Christmas picture!
Running back to squeeze together before the camera clicked,
totally unscripted...I love Elder McArthur's face and body language!

Ron and me at our Stake Presidents home for a zone Christmas party.
Our entire zone. Mission President's wife next to me, President Anderson
sitting on the floor far right...such a great man.
Crazy Sisters "V" and "K"
We LOVE these two!

Us at Boot Hill. It's decorated for Christmas with pretty garland.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Confirmation of convert

Today my amazing companion confirmed our newest convert Javier, during Sacrament mtng. And he did it in Spanish. What a wonderful sweet spirit there was in our meeting this afternoon. I cannot express how much I love my dear husband, and how proud I am to have him as my companion. He makes every day a joy for me.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Mail Makes Us Better Missionaries

Just sayin'...
This weeks mail shout-outs go to the George family, the Moultrie’s, Holly Weirsma, my brother Gordy, Angela, Amy, Helen & Cecil Talbot, and the VanValkenburg’s. With extra blessings going to Angela for sending me a box of clothes with a special homemade surprise packed inside! Yum-O! Also, we received not one but two mystery boxes, labeled BYU Bookstore…can’t wait to see who those are from..(someone in Utah, perhaps?) Thank you to everyone who takes the time to write us. We love hearing from you, and we appreciate the effort it takes to send a letter via snail mail.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Breakfast of Champions!

One morning we were invited, along with the Elders to breakfast, prepared by the sweetest little elderly couple in our Branch. Because they live so far away, and to accommodate all of us, we met at the church and they made us an interesting Guatemalan breakfast.

I will just say, never judge a book by its cover...
or a food by its weird name. 

 The top left picture is frijoles...I know, it looks like something one of the Dodge City cows left. The top right is a corn tortilla thing with frijoles on it. Yeah, well, that's not even the one that grossed me out. The bottom left is stuff called Guate Mosh. It is gray and runny and lumpy. As she was pouring it into my cup I was thinking "just drink it Kath. Be polite. Don't offend our hostess." It was really hard for me because I am a "texture" kinda gal and weird stuff that I have to drink is more of a mind thing for me. I actually said a little prayer that I wouldn't gag in front of the sweet sister. But you know what? I wasn't bad. It was actually pretty good. And, they gave us a bag to take home and cook for ourselves. This is something I think Erin would's really healthy ; )

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


There are several things that are in abundance here in Dodge City Kansas. Fast food restaurants...there is one of everything here. We never eat at any of them because it's not in our budget, but they are here. Car dealerships...again, there is just about one of every kind (except the real fancy kinda cars like Mercedes, Lexus and BMW-you get the picture) and again, we never buy any of them, because again, it's not in our budget. Sirens...there is an abundance of sirens in this town. They are everywhere. They go off every Wednesday at exactly 12:00 p.m. and run for exactly 3 minutes. It seems like no matter where we happen to be on any given Wednesday at 12 o'clock noon, we are right near one of those sirens. And they are LOUD! They are run as a drill for tornado warnings. So if we ever hear one of those sounding and it's not a Wednesday at noon, we know we are in for something serious. I hope we never have to hear it go off at any time other than for the drill. But it's nice to know it's there to warn us and keep us safe.

This one spins slowly around at the top.
This one has horns all the way around.
I just had a thought. What if a tornado was coming on a Wednesday at noon? Would anyone think it wasn't a drill?

Dinner with Arkell's

The other night we were invited to dinner at the Arkell home in Spearville. They are an awesome family in the Branch. Their home is crazy busy, but a really good kind of crazy. The second oldest daughter brought out her guitar so Ron could show her some cords to play, and the minute he started playing all the kids gathered around watching. It was a total "Sound of Music" moment, with Ron playing the role of Fraulein Maria. (C'mon, that was funny!) Then he led them in some Primary songs before dinner. It was magical! They are a really solid, strong family in the Gospel.

Brother Arkell is a lawyer in town. He serves on the Stake High Council, and he serves as the High Priest Group leader in the Branch. (How’s THAT for wearing some busy hats?) Sister Arkell, who is as sweet as can be, (and drop dead gorgeous), just had her ninth baby.

Also at dinner at the Arkell’s were the Harman family. Brother Harman is also a lawyer in town, he serves in the Bishopric in the ward. They too, are a good solid LDS family. Sister Harman is uber-talented and super nice.

We had three lawyers around the dinner table....I know there's a joke in there somewhere...It was a great evening.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Our Journey Into Bethlehem

We were invited to go to a Christmas tradition in Jetmore (about 25 miles from Dodge) called Journey Into Bethlehem. It is put on by the community and sponsored by the Methodist church. We thought it was really well done. The scenery, both in and outside of the church was as good as any community production we’ve seen and they had some pretty awesome animals. (Of course I forgot to photograph the coolest animals, the camels…grr!) We were waiting for our turn on the tour with our little group, and when we were asked if we were with the Methodist Church, I said “No, we’re representatives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints!” *cricket-cricket-cricket. We were wearing our Spanish name tags, I think that kinda threw them. Here’s some pic’s of the event.

Ron and I want to be the Llama keepers at this shingdig next year. This little guy is sooo soft!
We asked if we could "feed their sheep", but they were afraid we'd convert  them.
These guys were outside the stable where Mary and Joseph were. See the little cow? Earlier in the evening
his handler was walking him across the road and I thought he was a bear...til I saw his long tail. I've never seen
a furry cow before. He's called a Highlander.
This is the cute little town of Jetmore during the day.
And this is the thriving metropolis of Jetmore at night. Look how cute the street lights are.
Before we started our "journey..." we went over to the Community Center where they were having a soup dinner fund raiser. There is no LDS chapel in this town. The members (if there were any, and there's not) who live there would come down to Dodge to go to church with us. So Ron and I were more than happy to start up conversation with the locals at the fund raiser. I just love small town folks. They are so genuine and ...folksy! They told us where the fun little places to shop are and they even have a soda fountain drug store. Doesn't that sound fun? We can't wait to go back.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Baptism for Javier

There’s nothing better than a baptism for a missionary!    We attended the baptism of Javier Sanchez today after church.  It was a wonderful baptism, and many of the branch members stayed after to attend.   We did not teach Javier, but we went over to visit with him before his baptism and had a nice chat.  He referred to our visit during his testimony after he was baptized.   We also loved it that a couple of people we have been teaching attended the baptism.    There is always a very sweet spirit at a baptism and this was no different.   We look forward to more in the future.   We love seeing people deciding to follow Jesus, and making changes in their lives because of his gospel.
 Kathy, aka Hermana Williams, Ron, aka Elder Williams, Carmello Sanchez<not related> Javier Sanchez,  Awesome missionaries: Elder McArthur, Elder Wilde

One of the sweetest things about this baptism was right after Javier was dunked and then brought up in the font, his little 4 year old boy said "That's my daddy!" Your Children are watching!

Christmas Conference in Garden & Johnson Cities

This week has been a really interesting week. We had our Zone Training/Christmas Conference/Christmas dinner with the Elders and Sisters. We had a great Zone training mtng., then a wonderful lunch put on by the R.S., then our Christmas Conference in Garden City, that really brought the true Christmas Spirit and the spirit of Missionary work together. I do not exaggerate when I say we have some future General Authorities in our Zone leadership. One Elder, (and I’m going to call him by name because he is amazing) Elder Durrant, gave The. Most. Beautiful. Talk. Ever. Honestly, I wanted to ask him for a copy of it, but he didn’t use any notes! And the scriptures he quoted were perfect for each interesting topic. I was thinking “this guy’s just twenty??“ Just awesome. We loved it. Here are some pictures of our Christmas dinner and crazy party with the Elders and Sisters in Johnson City. I was laughing pretty much the whole night because they are so fun and funny!

We had dinner at the home of our Stake President and his wife,
in their enormous (and super clean) garage...all decorated up!

Our Mission President & his wife chatting with us.
Some of our Awesome D.C. Missionaries!
Our Stake President and his totally awesome wife!
At the gift exchange, a little tie trading.
Cutest Elder ever! Trying to trade off this super ugg-O tie!
It was a super good day. We were so tired when we got home, it was the first FULL night's sleep we've had since we came to Kansas. We really needed the sleep zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Getting ready for Christmas

This is our Christmas tree that we bought at the Salvation Army Thrift Store. We strung cranberries and hung stars (borrowed from our branch Christmas decorations) to complete the festive look. See the two little cows in front? They will be added to our Noah’s ark collection when we go home. This is Cow town...couldn't go home without some cows!

This week’s mail shout-outs go to Debbie Gessel, Becki Blackner, and Rachel Hahn. We can’t thank you enough for making our trip to the CBU worth the trek! We love to hear from our family and friends! Do I sound like a broken record?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Midway USA

We decided to take a little road trip on Saturday.  Our area is quite large so even this 40 minute drive to the Eastern edge of our mission was still in our area.   We took a list of members who live way out in the small town of Kinsley and split up the list between our passengers, the ever-ready-for-any-adventure- Sister Missionaries and us.  We found some home, some not and had a nice visit with those we found.   We especially enjoyed the warm hospitality of the Nader family, one of the stalwart families in our ward.   At the end of our visit with them, they suggested we visit a sweet widow in a local nursing home.   We did.   Dolly is 89 years old and quite a lady!   She shared with us her life story of living on a farm, raising her two sons mostly on her own, moving a few times, being married to an “oil man” who went to Africa to work the oil fields in Libya and even how she followed him there and lived for 3 years in Africa.  It broke our hearts to see her now living in this small room in this little care center in this little town smack dab in the middle of the country.  (See the sign above).   Yet we were also humbled that the Lord knows all his children and would arrange things so that two of his servants would call on Dolly, letting her know that he had not forgotten about her.

La Cena de Navidad

On Saturday we had our Branch Christmas dinner over at the church. It was a light turn out, which was disappointing, but there was a wonderful spirit there and everyone had a great time. After dinner, the six of us missionaries sang Candlelight Carol to the accompaniment of Ron and his guitar. Then Ron played while everyone sang Christmas songs in English, ending in Noche de Luz, which is Silent Night in Spanish. It was really beautiful. Then we had the closing prayer and the Branch President brought out fun little treat bags for everyone. Here are a few of the pictures we took of the evening.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Christmas Devotional

The Dameron family
Marin, Ela, Sage, Abby
Lisa & Layne
The Dameron family is in the English speaking ward. (I specify the English speaking ward, because sometimes I forget and call the Spanish Branch a ward, capisce?) Anyway, they invited us over for Sunday dinner.  They served Kansas Beef Brisket, something we do not get often, (beef). I know, ironic isn't it? (because we live in cowtown) it was delish! Sister Dameron is the Relief Society President in the ward. Brother Dameron is a Dr. in town. A super fun, and very high-energy family of seven. (Their little boy Blake, was in bed when this picture was taken.) Then we got to watch the First Presidency Christmas Devotional all snuggled up with blankets on their couch. It was a wonderful evening.