Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Stop #4

Seven and a half reasons we love Ogden....The Ogden Temple and The Terry family...both due to be complete in September!

Coleman, Ella, Hudson & Cooper
DeeDee hosted a family dinner for us on Sunday. It was fun getting together with everyone.
We've missed them all so much.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Stop # 3

Here are five of the reasons we love Utah County... The beautiful Timpanogos Temple and
Tyler, Nathan, Bryce & Blake

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Stop #2 on our Mission Return Tour

Our second stop on our way home brought us to St. George, Utah. Here are 3 reasons why we love St. George!
Beautiful William and Gracie and the beautiful St. George Temple.
 It is the first temple to be completed after the Saints made their way to Utah.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Stop #1....5 of the reasons we love AZ.

Our first stop on the "Mission Return Tour" took us to Gilbert Arizona, where we got to
catch up with the happenings of the Bang family, including our newest little squish Henry, who was
born while we were in the mission field. We enjoyed the cool Spring temps (mid 90's) at the splash park.
Beautiful Elly, Emmett, Henry & Owen
We LOVE these little critters!

We also got to go see the beautiful, newly completed
Gilbert Arizona Temple.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Our Last Night in Dodge City

Some of our friends from the ward stopped by tonight. Kevin & Sunny Brinkerhoff, Dale & Elaine Chamberlin, Armando & Consuela Oviedo, Bishop Bunkall & his wife Robyn and their 4 adorable kids came by, as did our friends Lyle & Judy Smith and Gary & Carolyn Strong. So many great people that live here, and so many more who don't know just how great they are! They have supported our missionary efforts, fed us, fed us, fed us, and allowed us into their lives. Our Heavenly Father has answered our prayers time and time again, and has guided us to people that needed to be reminded that He loves them and is mindful of them.  Someone thanked us for our "sacrifice", but does it really count as a sacrifice if we gain more than we give? What a privilege it has been to be on the Lord's errand in the beautiful Midwest. We Are The Kansas Wichita Mission.

Some of the best people...

Here are some of the people we got to know and love in Dodge City.
Some of the best people that we didn't baptize!
Our sweet friend Jeannette. She's the librarian at DCPL.

Sharon & Lupe Guillen-Consuela's parents. Such good people!
The ladies from the YMCA-our friend Carol in front-even at 5:30 in the morning she was so friendly and kind. Love her!

Prayers really ARE answered...ward picture & final mail shout-outs.

Our purpose for our Fast this week was for members who are less active to come to church for our last Sunday in Dodge. One couple in particular we have been working with for a couple months, who we've just fallen in love with, we really made the focus of our desires in our prayers. Holy Cow, are prayers were answered!! When I saw them both sitting in the pew before Sacrament meeting I nearly cried. I dropped my bag and gave them both a big hug! I'm telling you, this guy hadn't been to church in over 20 years. It was the best send-off for us!
We arranged to have everyone who was at church (and everyone who stayed for the 3 hour block) take a ward picture on Sunday!
(it was pretty much like herding cats)
We LOVE these people! 

Our friends Rachel and Jaydon made these sweet lei's for us, from candy *YUM-O and silk ribbons.
Rachel served her mission in Hawaii so I naturally had a love for her from the moment we met!
Final :'(  mail Shout-Outs
Sincere thanks to everyone who has dropped us a line while we've been serving in the middle of somewhere. Today's shout-outs and Kansas Rock Chalk Jay Hawk (have no idea what that means) go to: Erin, Bryce, Tyler and JOE Abrams for the awesome letter finale! Alicia Katchner for the BIG announcement~congrats girl! Jenn Hartman's BIG BIG announcement~best of luck to you sweet girl! My sister DeeDee's Easter Surprise Box~can't wait to hug yer neck! Holly Weirsma's card with the sweet message~you are AWESOME~thanks for all the encouragement! And the very unexpected, very last piece-o-mail-because-we-turned-in-our-change-of-address-letter from my dear friend Becki who has faithfully written me twice a month with encouragement, news from home, and sweet little nuggets of inspiration. WE LOVE YOU ALL AND THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF OUR HEARTS!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Saying Goodbye

One of the great things about serving a mission is all the amazing people we get to meet and serve with. Our President and his wife are two of those amazing people. So genuine and gracious. Both are very accomplished and so talented. It's been a pleasure getting to know them both!
President Bell, Elder and Sister Williams, Sister Bell

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Our last Wednesday... :' (

As our final week ticks away here are a few things that are difficult to see come down...
...and we've each been staring at our respective walls for 18 months...
We have mailed home 3 boxes full of papers, programs, pictures and artwork.


Sunday, April 6, 2014

...It is True and It is Perfect.

We were at our final Zone Conference Friday :'(    and President Seger, counselor in the Mission Presidency, spoke about this book in his talk to us.
It is one of the original 5,000 copies of the Book of Mormon, and he owns it. Cool, huh?

I can't believe he let us touch it, hold it, turn it's pages....
See the diamond shaped creases in the middle of the pages?
Those are from the weights that held down the page during the typesetting.
Interestingly, the TESTIMONY OF EIGHT WITNESSES is in the back of the book, not the front.
Also, the book had not yet been sectioned into verses, making it much more difficult (for me) to read.
Thank you Joseph Smith Jr., for being courageous and unashamed in restoring the True Gospel to the earth!

Friday, April 4, 2014

We see some pretty whacky things out here... ANSWER BELOW

Who can tell me what this is?

Hahaha...some good guesses. I loved Amy's guess of a gross dead hand...but Shannon was the closest with a guess of  dead cow leg...though I'm pretty sure he only had 4 not 5 : )  Yep we were following behind this nasty smelling gross display of bovine carnage when the Elders riding in our back seat said "PICTURE! PICTURE!" (me rolling eyes....boys!)
Elders Pettit and Farnesworth

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Caviat: Long post. You might want to pack a lunch.

So I made an appt. to get my hair colored cut at my friend Sunny Brinkerhoff's about two weeks ago. I love going out to see Sunny, because not only am I comfortable enough to go out to her place without any makeup on and my legs not shaved, (remember I wear dresses) but we laugh and talk and just have a great time. She is an awesome lady. Sisters Tap and Bradshaw wanted to go out to Montezuma with us so they could get their hair trimmed as well.
By the time we left our apt., drove up to their apt. to get them we were running late and I hate to put Sunny behind when she's doing my hair...(not a good idea to rush your hairdresser). So I was a little stressed. Then on the way there, the girls wanted to stop and take pictures at the "scenic overlook" windmill sight. So I called Sunny to let her know we would be a few minutes late, but we would hurry. She said "no problem, I'm running a little behind." Whew! That made me feel a little easier about getting out to take pictures of the Sister's at the windmills.
I still didn't want to make Sunny wait for us. By the time we got out to her house which is a 'quick' 40 minute drive from our apt. + 15 minutes up to the sisters apt. + a 10 minute stopover at the windmills...we were plenty late. We pulled up in front of her shop and I saw Sister Hahn from our ward's car. Sunny also does her hair, so I was excited that we would be able to visit while she was there! I opened the door to the shop (which is basically a whole house they built with a bedroom, bathroom, laundry room and total man cave attached) and there stood Sunny and Sister Hahn...and Melanie Perry, Glenda Mackey, Donna Smith, the other sister missionaries Sisters Nash and Beuchart, Barbara Carter, Lisa Dameron, Robyn Bunkall, Kasandra Montoya, Shannon Aikin, Consuela Oviedo, and Bonnie Marcum...and they all said "SURPRISE!!" Oh boy, was I confused! My first thought was 'are you all here to get your hair done too??' Then I realized ''oh they wouldn't ALL be here for their hair"... Just then I remembered what I must look like. Confused, no makeup, grow out that needed some serious attention (both on my head and on my legs, OY!), deer in the headlights! I wish I would have had an inkling of what was really to take place that morning, because I would have practiced "A Surprise? For Me??" face, instead of "Dur."
I am so touched and flattered that they, #1, would drive all the way to Montezuma for ME. Seriously, none of those sisters live out there. At least one of them had to drive an hour and forty minutes to get there, because she lives on the very opposite side of the ward boundaries. And #2, they brought food and cards and it was just lovely. And the thing that kills me is they all knew about it for the past two weeks! How did that not leak out?? * Funny conversation I had with sweet little Sister Carter: "I tried calling you this week twice and got the wrong number both times." Me: "Oh I'm so sorry Sister Carter, what did you need?" Sister Carter: "Well I wasn't sure what day the party was." HaHaHa! Sister Carter is a little confused sometimes and she probably forgot it was a surprise party. Good thing she got a wrong number both times! I love that lady!
(*Oh yeah, those innocent looking Sister missionaries in the backseat of my car...yeah, they were in on it!)
(**And that hubby of mine...totally in on it too and kept it a secret from me for two weeks!)
I tell ya, I was amazed  shocked that all these people would take time out of their busy schedules on a Saturday, for me!
And here are our dear friends Sunny & Kevin. (After she had done my hair after the party. Sweet girl.) They are seriously two of the most generous, kindest people on the planet. I've seen them do so many kind things for so many people. And always without fanfare, and usually anonymously. And way more times than I can count we have been the recipients of their generosity and service. I want to be more like them.
Oh, and I didn't even get to the most fun surprise of the day!
Sunny made me a quilted table throw and all the ladies in the ward signed it.
It says: With Love from your Dodge City Kansas Ward Sisters 2014. Kansas is the Sunflower State, so the fabric on the front has sunflowers and the back fabric is little farms because Brinkerhoff's live on a farm. Isn't it wonderful?!
We are so blessed to know these amazing people.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Our True Identity....

The General Womens Meeting broadcast was incredible. What amazing, inspired women leaders we have in the Church. The music brought me to tears. Especially when Sister Wixom, the Primary General President had, first the Primary girls sing Teach Me To Walk In The Light, then she had all the women join in. Sister Burton's talk makes me want to be a better woman of faith. Have I laid aside the things of the world? I love that she identified the word "perfect" translates to mean "complete". ...Come unto Christ and be perfected in Him. I want to be a true Disciple of Jesus Christ, to Come unto Him and be "complete" in Him.
I am so proud to be a woman, a wife, a mother, a grandmother and a missionary in the Church at this time. Nothing brings me more joy in my life than sharing the knowledge that we have a loving Heavenly Father who knows us individually and wants all of his children to return to him. And He has given us a simple and beautiful plan to follow to help us along our way back to him. I am so grateful that we have inspired leaders in the Church, especially our beloved Prophet, Thomas S. Monson. I cannot imagine living on this earth without a living Prophet. Knowing that he is the Lord's mouthpiece gives me safety, security and peace of mind in this crazy world we live in. I want everyone to know that. I invite you to Come Listen to a Prophet's Voice this Saturday and Sunday in our General Conference Broadcast here.