Baton Rouge Louisiana Temple

Baton Rouge Louisiana Temple

Thursday, July 31, 2014

WWII Museum--Missionary Style!

2 pics of Elder Griffin--somewhere between a soldier and Rosie the Riveter
A very serious Elder Mecham
We didn't actually stay at the museum today, but only went long enough to get get our 4 Elders in, take a few pictures and send them on their way to Beyond All Boundaries. They haven't returned yet, but I hope it was a powerful experience for them. Here's a few of our favorite clowns!

Dressed and ready to board the train to Boot Camp

Just before the end of the day these lovely ladies came in on their way to the temple. This is our beautiful trio from McComb, Mississippi--Sister Scollan, Sister Trusciglio (our Italitan sister who returns to Temple Square next Wednesday with Sister Weidmann), Sister Paige, and their "chauffeur" (whose name I forgot.) The great thing about the chauffeur is that the sisters don't have to use their precious miles to drive the 200 mile round trip. 

A Day to Remember

Two weeks ago I swore Elder L to secrecy. DO NOT TELL ANYONE IT'S MY BIRTHDAY! PERIOD!
He promised, and then this is what we walked into today. The office elders apparently have too much access to church records, but how sweet are they This are notes and letters from many of the elders and sisters in the Baton Rouge Zone. Needless to say, I have no mascara left. Then Elder L went out and brought back Frank's homemade biscuits and chocolate milk. So we partied our way through the morning, in between the fun phone calls, texts, and emails from family, friends and missionaries. I must admit, it was a great start to the day! Needless to say, it took much longer than usual to accomplish today's tasks.

Need I say how much I love it when sisters drop by? It's so nice to hug them. Sister Lindstrom & Sister Weidmann were on exchanges & on their way to help a less active sister pack for a move. But I'm super sad because Sister W returns to Temple Square next week and by the time we get home she'll be back home in Switzerland. What a delight she's been to get to know.

Sister Bailey & Sister Jewett also stopped by after calling earlier and singing Feliz Cumpleanos en Espanol. Darling girls! They were on bikes today because it's the end of the month and, not only are they low on $$$, they're also low on miles. Money isn't the only thing missionaries have to learn to budget. Both Sisters went to the Mexico City MTC. Sister Bailey has been here since April and Sister Jewett came in March. Adorable!
So after the party came this box from Bath & Body which is almost as good as the goodies inside. The family sent lots of the best hand soaps and sanitizers. Danielle suggested that I share the 15 little hand sanitizers with the sisters. Great idea!

Could the day get any better? Well, actually it did. Marc had made reservations for one of  Emeril Lagasse's New Orleans restaurants--Delmonico! It's along the St. Charles streetcar line that runs through the Garden District. According to New Orleans info Delmonico is a legendary, century-old icon in the restaurant industry, serving traditional Creole food since 1895. After an extensive historic renovation, it was reopened by Emeril in 1998 and now serves a modern style Louisiana Creole cuisine.

I ordered from the "Taste of Summer" menu which included 4 courses. Good thing they were small portions. The starter was jumbo lump crab bruschetta with apple smoked bacon and parmesan cheese. Next came the soup of the day which was creamy with corn, sweet potato and jalapeno over a hush puppy. The entree was a hanger steak on saffron rice pilaf, green beans, yuca fries and citrus mojo. Wrapping it up was a warm blackberry cobbler with creole cream cheese ice cream and an oat-walnut tuille.

Marc went for the iceberg and blue salad with apple smoked bacon, grape tomatoes, celery, radish, croutons and point reyes blue cheese dressing. His entree was the aged, 20 oz. rib eye served with 3 sauces. By far the best was the bearnaise. And, of course, he had french fries. But they weren't just any fries. They were really good and crunch. They came with a lemon aioli. I wasn't a fan of the aioli.

After dinner we took a little drive through downtown New Orleans and the French Quarter. Honestly, how can anyone not love NOLA--even with it's bumpy, horribly maintained streets and city smells. It's quaint, historic, unique and lively.  

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

It just so happened. . .

Grandpa Smith called today, and it's always a happy day when he calls. He's so cheerful and positive. It just so happened that he asked about Elder Whittier who's from the same stake in Idaho. And who should be in the office at the very same time? Elder Whittier! Gpa was telling me that Elder W has a beautiful girlfriend back home. Perhaps in mentioning that, Elder W was a bit embarrassed but was a great sport. Anyway, Elder W (left) and Elder Beach were in the office to pick up a TIWI card for Elder W which will make it possible for him to drive. Elder W just came out with our most recent transfer, so he's pretty new but seems to be fitting in just fine.

Elder Beach is from VA, has been out for 15 and is Elder W's trainer. Unfortunately, Elder B had a biking accident and tore a ligament in his arm, so he's had a brace for 9 months! He'll need to have surgery, or it won't ever heal properly. Bummer. I don't know if he'll manage to complete his mission or not. I'd hate to have the condition worsen by not taking care of it.

Monday, July 28, 2014

A Visitor from The Advocate

Elder Mecham and Elder Griffin hard at work. Yes, they do have their serious moments, although it doesn't seem to be too often when they're in the office!

Every Monday morning they list the baptisms for the last week so I know what B&CRs to watch for. Something the missionaries forget to send the records into me, then the Assistants have to call and remind them to get them in the mail. Right now I'm waiting for 2 from June and 2 more plus this weeks additions as the yearly report needs to be submitted by next week.

This was such a fun day with missionaries in and out because it's P Day. Elder Watkins' and Elder Steele's district met here at the mission office to place some board games, but I conned Elder Steele into making a certificate for our Temple Square Sisters and Visa Waiters to receive when they leave our mission. Since they aren't being released we can't give them a Certificate of Release, so they receive kind of a "thanks for being in our mission" certificate. But it's stated much more thoughtfully than that.

We had our usual morning meeting, then the Hansen's left as they were scheduled to be interviewed by a reporter from The Advocate, the daily paper in Louisiana. A few hours after they left Sister Hansen called to say that they (the Hansens and reporter) were coming to the office, and it would be nice if there were some missionaries there. Oh, there were plenty--even a few in sports clothes. The reporter walked around, took pictures, interviewed some of the missionaries, and was very pleasant. The Hansens actually ended up spending at least 3 hours with him, and they said he was very positive about everything. The article should be in a Saturday edition in the next few weeks.

Elder Navitikula and Elder Rothschild were in the office for "game day." Elder N is our Fijian elder who's been out for 17 months and is presently serving in Baton Rouge. I can always count on a good handshake, and he rarely takes candy from the jar without asking .While he was here, he and Elder L had a great conversation. Here's a bit of what I gleaned while trying to work and listen at the same time.

Elder N is the youngest of 7 children and the first one in his family to be baptized and to serve a mission. Since his baptism his parents and siblings have joined the church, and 5 of the children were sealed to the parents in the Suva, Fiji temple just before he came on his mission. His mom's a nurse and dad used to work for the government until grandpa died and left him the farm. So dad left his job to take over farming yams, oranges, bananas, etc. Mom works at a hospital in Suva which is about 5 hours away, so she stays in the city for several days or even a few weeks at a time.

Before Elder N came out he was offered a position on the All-Black Rugby team which, I'm learning, is a very high honor. He could have had a place to live, a car and other bonuses but chose to serve a mission instead. Impressive. Now I like him even more!

Elder L was bold enough to ask Elder N if he has a girlfriend. Yes, he does. And she's also currently serving a mission, but neither of us could remember where. That's pathetic! Not the GF serving a mission but the memory thing. Maybe she's in the Philippines. She'll be released next month, so they must've left at about the same time.

Cute Elder Glauser was one of those in the office today. He's one of our Spanish elders and a great missionary. He was so excited when he saw the pretzels from Costco, so, as we were leaving, Marc had hims take the pretzels and animal cookies to share with the other 9 missionaries who were still there. I'm anticipating finding 2 large empty containers tomorrow morning:)

Of course, the day wouldn't be complete without Sister Lyons' comics for the day.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A God of Miracles

Do these two young people look like your typical companion speakers for a high councilman visiting your Ward or Branch. Of course not! But they were. They came with their dad and both did very well--especially Mya, his 9 year old daughter.

Mya talked about the 13 Articles of Faith, how they came about, and the Wentworth Letter. Then she proceeded to recite Articles 1, 3, 4, 6 and 13 and talk about each of them. She bore her testimony of the truthfulness of them and challenged the congregation to memorize one each week. Well done, Mya!

Austin's talk was  brief, but still impressive. He used Alma 1:25 as the basis for his talk and spoke on faith. ("Now this was a great trial to those that did stand fast in the faith; nevertheless, they were steadfast and immovable in keeping the commandments of God, and they bore with patience the persecution which was heaped upon them.")

When Brother Bascom spoke, I wasn't at all surprised at how outstanding it was. But before he began he told us that it had been the practice in their home to allow their children, when asked to speak, to choose their own topics and write their own talks! Wish I'd made that a practice in our home 50 years ago.

I'm going to try to recreate a little of what he said, with a lot of help from the Deseret News. He started with Alma 37:6-7, (By small and simple things are great things brought to pass, bring about His eternal purposes, confound the wise and bring about the salvation of many souls.) Moroni 10:32 (Come unto Christ and be perfected in Him, love Him with all your might, mind and strength, then His grace will be sufficient for you that you may be perfect in Christ.") and Mormon 9:9 (God is the same yesterday, today & forever with no variableness.)

Brother Bascom spoke of great miracle from the past and particularly Noah and the Ark. Then of a miracle from today. This miracle occurred on and just after November 15, 2013. Following is the portion of the story he shared. A longer version can be read from the Deseret News, but this should be adequate for now.

Surviving the typhoon: Fear, faith and miracles for 10 LDS sister missionaries trapped in the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines — The water was rising fast. In the darkness of early morning, Amanda Smith moved away from the window to shield her face from the slashing rain. She had shut it just moments before to ward off the raging storm whipping through the palm trees outside.

But now the wind had ripped it open, and the wooden shutters were slamming violently against the wall again and again. Sister Smith, an LDS missionary from Elk Ridge, Utah, couldn’t see anything outside, but she could smell the sea, which seemed to be getting closer and closer. They had to get out of here.

She had heard about the storm three days before, from a driver of a pedicab. It was typhoon season, and tropical storms were common in the Philippines. Still, the last storm warning had produced nothing but blue skies. Some of the missionaries wondered if this time would be any different.

There were nine missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with her in the house, a two-story structure made of cement blocks. They were young women from Utah and Alaska and the Philippines, all about her own age, 19. They had done what they could to prepare, hastily assembling 72-hour kits, and had even bought candles and rope, just like their mission president had asked, even though no one in the house thought either would be necessary.

Now, as water roared down the streets toward them, Sister Smith realized no preparations were too small. The worst storm in generations had just hit landfall.
She was with nine other sister missionaries, in a house quickly filling with a black, mucky water. As the storm worsened, she could feel the house shaking, metal poles outside snapping, animals howling and squealing.

At first, the sisters had all gathered in one central room on the second floor, thinking it the safest place in the house. But the water was now rising to their knees. Metal bars covered every window, preventing an escape outside. With no other choice they would have to go to the first floor, where the water nearly reached the ceiling, and try to open the front door to get out. They knew the current could pull them out into the ocean, but if they stayed where they were now, they would drown in what had essentially become a box of cement walls.

One by one the sisters slipped into the freezing water on the first floor. A few couldn’t swim; they held tight to their companions. Some of the women started to cry. Sister Smith was scared too, but she was determined not to let it show. She wanted to stay calm for the others.
The front door was locked with a metal latch on the bottom and the top. One of the sisters dived under the water and unlocked the bottom latch; another reached the top and did the same. But when they tried to open the door it wouldn’t budge. The water pressing from the outside and inside had sealed it shut.

What had been ebbing as a low level panic reached hysteria for some of the sisters, who began weeping and sobbing. Sister Smith could feel the panic rising in her chest too, but she had to stay calm. With a few of the other sisters who had become leaders of the group, she started to sing hymns, their voices muted by the stinky water rising to their chins. They quoted scripture. They prayed. Sister Smith put on a brave face, not daring to say aloud what she was thinking: “I never thought this is where my life would end.”

The sister missionaries worked together. Sister Schaap punched a hole through an opening in a flimsy wall, and the group of 10 swam through the murky water that would soon carry their journals and clothes and pots and pans out to sea. Those who couldn’t swim clung tightly to their companions.

The sisters used the rope to reach a nearby roof. Sister Smith stood on the rain gutter, the other nine sister missionaries shivering beside her, the rain still coming down in sheets. Hours had passed since the beginning of the storm, and yet the sky above Tacloban was still gray, shrouded by fog.

Sister Smith said thoughts of dying left her mind. But some of the sisters appeared pale and their bodies were shaking. The water was still rising and they feared it would engulf them. One of the sisters suggested they pray. They huddled closely together, bowed their heads, and with the rain dripping down their chins, asked God to make the water stop. And then, in what Sister Smith could only describe as the greatest miracle of her life, the sea stopped rising.

By the time Elder Ardern, first counselor in the Philippine Area Presidency, arrived in Tacloban four days after the storm, the water had receded, leaving a putrid scene of destruction in its wake. Bloated bodies lay exposed on the sides of the road, some covered by a blanket, or rusty corrugated roofing, others by a moldy piece of cardboard. The stench was sickening.

The city had descended into chaos and lawlessness. Survivors of the typhoon had broken into stores that hadn’t been flattened to steal televisions and toys, food, even light fixtures, despite the fact that there was no electricity.

Hours after the storm, the president’s two assistants had made the walk from the mission home to the house where the sisters had been staying. The house was destroyed but they had to kick through the door to get inside. When they found no one, they feared the worse, a sense that only heightened when a neighbor told them they’d seen four sisters leaving for a nearby elementary school.

“There were supposed to be 10,” one of the elders said.
They found all 10 at a nearby elementary school, and soon learned the story of the escape from the house and the hours spent on the roof, praying for someone to find them.

With the sisters now accounted for, the assistants and other missionaries assigned to the mission office fanned out through the city, trying to find the rest of their mission force. A dense cloud cover prevented even satellite phones from working, meaning the missionaries had no way to communicate with missionaries serving in outlying areas.
But these missionaries, they said guided by the spirit and survival instincts, made their way to the mission home. Some walked for four hours. Others hitched a ride on a motorcycle, relying on the kindness of strangers unsure how to feed their own children. One group of missionaries cobbled together more than a thousand dollars and made their way to Tacloban by boat. All 204 missionaries were now accounted for.

The two assistants to the president, one from Dallas and the other from Fiji, stayed with the 10 sisters and others at the mission home, supporting each other, especially at night when gunshots rang out.

With their own food running low, the assistants, under the direction of their mission president, decided they had to make their way to the airport. So before dawn, four days after the storm but again in pouring rain, they headed out with their flashlights pointing the way through the darkness.

“It was the hardest thing,” said one of the assistants. “People had gotten so hungry they had begun to attack each other. The worst part was the smell, the stench of death.”

Some sisters, their feet blistered, could barely walk. The looting had become more severe, and the missionaries had heard rumors that prisoners at the jail, which had lost its electricity and its guards, had simply walked out. The assistants stood at the front and back of the long line of missionaries — dozens and dozens — as they made the long march to the airport.

As they walked, Elder Ardern tried to arrange a flight out. He had booked flights in Manila, but thousands of other survivors had mobbed the Tacloban airport. The ticket agent told him if he wanted a flight out, he’d have to pay more to get his 204 missionaries to safety.

As Elder Ardern tried other options, the missionaries milled about what was left of the airport terminal, its walls blasted out by the gale force winds of the storm. And then, a final miracle.

An Army sergeant with a C-130 airplane, assigned by the U.S. government to fly Americans out of the disaster area, said he had a feeling he should walk through the terminal one more time. As he did, he saw out of the corner of his eye what looked like the nametag of a Mormon missionary. The sergeant, a Mormon himself, asked if the missionary was American. When he said he was, the sergeant told him he could arrange flights out for all the Americans and foreigners in his C-130.

Before the day had ended, many of the missionaries Elder Ardern had come for were flying out of Tacloban. By week’s end, all of the missionaries in the area would be evacuated to Manila, where they would await a new assignment in other missions in the Philippines.

God was, is, and always will be a God of miracles even though the world only sees it as chance. So, I didn't get anywhere near putting Brother B's talk down correctly, but it made total sense at the time. At least the story of the Sister Missionaries was available online, so it's complete.

Elder Browning came to Plaquemine on the last transfer when Elder Morrell became a Zone Leader and moved to Baton Rouge. Elder B is from Highland UT--went to Lone Peak HS where many of the BYU basketball players come from--and has been out for just over a year. When he's released he'll return to UVU for an undergrad degree then on to the University of Utah for a Doctorate in Physical Therapy. Everyone has told me that he's a great Elder and is loved wherever he goes. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Saturday with the Hansens

Yesterday at lunch Marc asked the Hansen's if they had time today to see a few sights. They seemed really happy to accept the offer as they haven't done any sightseeing yet. Stop #1 was Coffee Call for beignets. And then we went to Tony's. I'm not sure why this is such an important part of the tour, but Marc assured me that President Hansen would love it since he loves everything about fish and fishing. He even liked the smell of the place when you walk in the door!

Our next stop was the capitol, and what a beautiful day it was. Last night was another down pour, but we woke up to a beautiful day. The view from the observation deck on the 27th floor is unique. Each side is a different landscape--#1 is the Mississippi River, bridges, barges, paddle boat, USS Kidd; #2 is very industrial; #3 is more urban with lots of trees and a few homes peeking through the greenery, and #4 overlooks the downtown and Capitol gardens.

Our drive took us through downtown Baton Rouge, shotgun houses, one way streets going the wrong way, then on to Port Allen, across the Mississippi, the locks, the smallest doctor's office in the world, St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, also called "the cathedral on the bayou," in Plaquemine, our little Plaquemine Branch building which is right on the road to Nottoway Plantation. Then Marc looped around and ended up at the ferry. Of course he did! He loves that boat. We had to wait for a bit while a tug boat pushed at least a dozen barges upstream. Next we introduced the Hansen's to Mike, the LSU tiger. I only got a picture of the back of his head, but it was as close as we've ever been.

There were a few other points of interest along the way, but that's kind of a nutshell of our day. The last activity was lunch at Frank's for homemade biscuits with chicken fried steak, or gravy, or blackberry preserves, or eggs. All in all it was a fun day and so enjoyable having some time to get to know our new President and wife.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Getting rid of the hiccups!

Poor Elder Steele had been suffering from a lengthy bout of hiccups. They started around 10:30 this morning so he was pretty tired of it by 3 this afternoon. This was the final suggestion, and I'm not even sure if it worked, but someone told him to drink water upside down! How can I not absolutely love these goofy guys?

Today was the first chance we've had to get together with President and Sister Hansen for something other than office meetings. They've been so busy getting acquainted and acclimated and tending to mission needs that they're just now able to make some personal plans. So on Monday we made arrangements to meet them for lunch. We decided to go to Texas Roadhouse. That's become one of our favorites and, come to find out, it was one of their favorites in Boise. We had a great time visiting and talking over mission situations as well as fun things and family. They have twin daughters who will be here for a few weeks in August, and Sister Hansen is so excited to have them come. She says they'll be helping with the food for the incomings and go-homes. Sounds like they're really good at those sorts of things. 

I'm not sure if these are the Texan or Cajun version of the Ten Commandments, but it looks like a Louisiana bayou to me--'gator, tree frog, cypress trees and a Cajun home. Yup! It's gotta be Louisiana.

P.S. The little boat in the back is a pirogue. (See commandment #10)

Happy Pioneer Day!

It doesn't look like much, but I'm almost ready for the next transfer week, and it's still 3+ weeks away. This will cut down on the last minute hurry scurry. All the medical and driving files are made, 4x6 cards and summaries printed, incoming packets assembled for orientation and go-home packets complete, except for the CD's that I won't burn until the Friday before they're released. August will bring in 25 missionaries and send home 21. Whew.

The office was actually very quiet. Elder L and Elder F went to Oakdale to look at an apartment, and, because it was July 24, the Church offices were closed. So no calls from SLC or even from parents. They must've all been attending parades and having picnics. So by 2:15 I self-proclaimed a Pioneer Day holiday and went home:)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Costco Lunch Bunch

The Assistants and Office Elders got me good today. Earlier I thought they'd assembled a bike and were taking the empty box and some other boxes to be discarded in the trash bin. I wasn't really paying attention to who was inside and who was outside so when Elder Steele came in and wanted me to come out to see some baby birds in a nest on the ground I grabbed my camera thinking it was a killdeer bird. I did ask where the mother bird was, but he hadn't seen her. That should've been my first clue since she'd never allow her nest to be unattended. But did that stop me? Oh no. And Elder Watkins ran up ahead of me with a camera asking where to look. As soon as I got close to a very large pile of boxes Elder Mecham, in the box, came running toward me. I jumped back but hope I didn't scream as we all started to laugh. And Elder W was not taking bird pictures. He was recording the whole thing on Elder M's camera.

Then we went to Costco with Elders S & W and met some of the Baton Rouge Spanish Elders. They wanted to pick up a few supplies, and it's always fun to take them to lunch. Where else can you feed 8 people and entree, drink & dessert for less than $25.00? While we were there 2 different women came up and gave the elders a box of fruit snacks and a box of granola bars, complete with receipts. They were probably members of one of the Baton Rouge wards, and I thought that was a very kind gesture for these cute elders. At the back table, from left to right, are Elder Peltzer, Elder McMurray, Elder Araujo (who's on exchanges) and Elder Crook

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Wasps and Rats!

I took a call today from a distraught mom who'd received an email from her son yesterday telling her that he hasn't been feeling too good, has an ear infection and that he'd done a service project yesterday cleaning a bunch of rat cages. Ah, yes, the rat experience! I've heard about this from several missionaries who've been "blessed" with this "opportunity."

From what I understand, these aren't the little white rats that are barely tolerable as pets in cages. They're more like brown rats, wharf rats, common rats--icky, filthy, nasty sewer rats! It's a Rat Rescue run by a sometimes active, sometimes less active member who needs help cleaning which would give time for said member to attend church. That's all I dare say about that. As Bronson will say--Eeeew!! Elder Mecham said he actually cleaned cages for 18 straight weeks. What a guy!

Fortunately Elder Myers, the Zone Leader in the rat area, was in the office on exchanges with Elder Mecham when the call came in, and he spoke to the mom about it. He has a wonderful way of speaking to people and told mom that our mission nurse has requested that the missionaries no longer be involved with the project. Good call, Sister Nurse!

Since we were talking about service projects, Elder M shared one of his stories. He and companion were mowing the lawn for a less active member when he rolled across a nest of guinea wasps--at least that's what they call them in the south, which is mainly where they're found in the US. They build their nests on the ground. The first time Elder M mowed across the nest he noticed some activity, but it wasn't until the second time that they got really ticked and started to sting--they counted 29 times! They'd gone under his clothes and stung legs, arms, chest. Not a happy experience for Elder M. The elders returned one evening when all the little wasps had gone to bed and poured gasoline down the hole. Got 'em, or at least so they thought.

Two weeks later they returned again and discovered they'd built another nest, but they didn't figure it out till Elder M mowed over it and they swarmed around his legs. He took off running. This time he only had 9 stings but said that one arm swelled up to twice the normal size. He called Sister Wall, and she recommended he take benedryl immediately. There wasn't any in the apartment and he didn't want to spend $9.00 to buy it. Three days later it was back to normal.
Only the grandson would dare tangle with this creepy looking insect

I was about to ask if they returned to the same house for a third round but was interrupted by a fed ex delivery of 25 bike racks.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Joke of the Week:)

Sister Lyons, one of our cute Sisters serving in the Lafayette Zone and hairdresser from Calgary, AB, knew how much I enjoyed the jokes that she and her previous companion would tell. Sometimes I'd hear Elder Watkins laughing then repeating them. The bunny ones are the best but would make no sense if they're written. You really have to hear them. Anyway, Sister L is now calling me with "the joke of the week" for my blog. Here's today's entry.

A new bishop was visiting the homes in the ward. At one house it seemed obvious that someone was at home, but no answer came to his repeated knocks at the door.

Therefore, he took out a business card and wrote "Revelation 3:20" on the back of it and stuck it in the door.

The following Sunday he found that his card had been returned under his office door. Added to it was this cryptic message, "Genesis 3:10."

Reaching for his Bible to check out the verse, he broke up in gales of laughter.

Then Sister L sent this comic.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Moving My Mountain

I feel like I moved a mountain today! In preparation for "The Exodus" of 21 missionaries in August, all the letters, itineraries, certificates, etc. need to be sent to Stake Presidents, Bishops, parents and missionaries. As soon as Pres. Hansen signs the certificates on Monday all of these will be turned over to the USPS in hopes of proper delivery.

This is what goes in the 4 letters for each missionary.

Signed, mostly sealed, and almost ready to be delivered.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Missionaries Galore!

Today was such a fun day! Elder L and I went to the Mission Home to help Sister Hansen serve lunch to the 11 missionaries attending MLC. I still don't know exactly what MLC stands for, but it's something like Missionary Leadership Council and includes all the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders. It was so good to see so many familiar faces but got even better after the meeting ended and they started streaming into the office. Also, several of them stayed and had their quarterly interview with the President, so they came and went for about 3 hours.

Elder Mecham--Assistant to the President--relaxing after a busy day of training

Elder Griffin--Assistant to the President and Marc Blocker's double in almost every way. He even has many of the same mannerisms. I'll be very sad when he's released in August. 

Well, these Elders might not have been to MLC. On the left is Elder Borget. He's another visa waiter who's been waiting over a year to go to Brazil. Next to him is our former office elder, Elder Adkins. We miss his smile and great attitude! Elder Abbot is in the purple shirt, and I know nothing about him, and Elder Bracken is our St. George elcer who just retuned after a 3 month medical release. It's good to have him back and know that all's well with his health.

Elder Steele--one of our 2 ever hard working office elders. I don't know what we'd do without him and Elder Watkins!

This is Sister Ogden and Sister Betts, STLs from Alexandria Zone. Aren't they adorable? Sister O is from Chico CA & Sister Betts is now from Colorado Springs. She grew up in Long Beach and actually went to the building where Bronson and Rosa now attend. Her dad's a police officer and they moved to CO about 10 years ago. I'm thinking that was a very smart decision for a police officer.

Sister Allen and Sister Brady, STLs from New Orleans South Zone.  Sadly they weren't in the office for long--just time to pick up some planners and a case of copies of the Book of Mormon (40 per box) then head home to Houma--about 1 1/2 hours southeast from Baton Rouge.

After spending 30 minutes trying to rearrange pictures I've given up! The whole top of the post is messed up and Elder Mecham refuses to move down the page. That's just how it's going to have to be!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Leesville Sisters

Are these sisters not 2 of the cutest in the South? Yes the are! Sister Thornley was in Plaquemine when we first started attending there but has since been transferred to Gonzales, Hammond and now Leesville. We haven't had sisters in Leesville since Elder L and I have been here, so she and Sister Neeley are sort of ground breaking. There are, however, Elders and a Senior couple arriving next week.

Sister N is brand new as of last Tuesday. She arrived here with the 17 others, but one of her pieces of luggage took a little vacation and just arrived yesterday. So, while these Leesville Sisters were in the area for Sister T's last PT for her ankle, they were able to get the much needed clothing which managed to travel to Atlanta, somewhere in Florida and the Dominican Republic. So far she's only missing one wheel but I don't think she's had a chance to see what's inside as the drive to Leesville is about 3 hours. And just in case you're wondering, the things she most needed were in the bag that did get here safely!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

19 Points for a Good Missionary

This is the follow-up from last week when I mentioned Elder Rothschild from Hennifer UT. I think it comes from a book entitled Missionary Companion by Paul. J Allen. These are the 19 points that Elder R mentioned about how to be a good missionary. It looks to me like they could also be 19 points about how to be a good person.

1.  Be a righteous example (3 Nephi 18:24)
2.  Be bold, yet temperate (Alma 38:12)
3.  Cultivate desire and commitment (Alma 29:9-10)
4.  Be patient (Alma 26:27)
5.  Cultivate love and compassion (Luke 22:32)
6.  Cultivate the divine nature (D&C 4:5-6)
7.  Depend on the strength and support of the Lord (Proverbs 3:5-6)
8.  Find those seeking the truth (D&C 123:12)
9.  Follow the Spirit (Mark 13:11)
10. Give it your all (D&C 4:1-4)
11. Have the courage to speak out (D&C 28:16)
12. Keep the commandments of the Lord (D&C 11:9)
13. Keep the Lord foremost in mind while serving others. (Matthew 25:40)
14. Labor with the promised joy in mind (Jacob 5:71)
15. Purify yourself (D&C 112:28)
16. Study and pray (Alma 6:6)
17. Teach from the heart
18. Teach from the Book of Mormon (D&C 20:8-12)
19. Teach rather than be taught (D&C 43:15)

"Our missionaries are going forth to different nations, and in Germany, Palestine, New Holland, Australia, the East Indies, and other places, the Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done." Joseph Smith, History of the Church 4:540

Saturday, July 12, 2014

A Beignet Breakfast

What's better than a beignet breakfast with some handsome elders. The Office Elders and Assistants joined us at Coffee Call for something that at least 3 of them have never tried. I think they enjoyed them. Elder Griffin felt the need to help Elder Steele with the last of the beignets. Perhaps Elder G was hoping to get Elder S to inhale that mound of sugar.

After breakfast and errands we unloaded the groceries and went to the office. There was so much left undone on my desk, and most of it had to be completed before Monday. Lets' just say that this was a much more successful day than yesterday. The rosters are complete and 18 envelopes, including a letter from the President, a letter from their missionary, a map of LA marked where missionary is serving, and a picture with Pres & Sister Hansen, are ready to go out in the Monday morning mail.

While I was there for 3 or so hours there was a small stream of missionaries coming in, but none of them were leaving. Sister Schmutz and her new companion, Sister King, brought lunch for some of their district. But I didn't take pictures of  everyone.

Then Elder Mapa and Elder Morrell stopped by. Elder Morrell is an new Zone Leader in Baton Rouge, replacing Elder Adkins. So, as of last Wednesday, Elder Morrell will no longer be serving in Plaquemine.