Baton Rouge Louisiana Temple

Baton Rouge Louisiana Temple

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Go-Home Day

Today we had 18 missionaries leave Louisiana to be honorably released by their home Stake Presidents. Fourteen of them flew home, and 4 had parents pick them up. We were so happy to have beautiful Sister Astle stop by the office with her parents. The fun thing for Sister Astle is that her dad just happens to also be her Stake President, so she can be released then go on a swamp tour or whatever she chooses. It's not like she'll go crazy. That's just not her style. But most of the other missionaries will have to come back to take in a few of the sights and activities that they couldn't do while serving here. One more thing about the Astle's is that they live in St. George! Happy Day! I'll be able to see Ashley a little more often than the other returnees.:)
Sister Astle with her mom and dad
Elder Bennett with the newest Office Elder--Elder Whittier. They were on their way to empty one apartment and move a few others around, thus the P-Day attire. Welcome aboard Elder W. I think you're gonna like it here.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Where'd that 6 weeks go?

Today was another extremely busy transfer day. We didn't even get out of the office until almost 7 pm, thus missing the 5:30 temple session. Not good. Unfortunately we didn't have a choice. I'll just let the pictures do the talking for the day.
The New Iberia Sisters--Sister Encizo and Sister Vasquez--Sister V is one of our Spanish Sisters. She's now comps with Sister E, an English Sister who wants to learns Spanish. Good for her! I hope Sister V is a great teacher?:)
Elder Howald and Elder Joubert--they might be new companions, but half of  the New Orleans Spanish Zone was cut off from the transfer board I brought home.
Elder Browning and Elder Decker--the Baker Elders
Elder Rees, one of our new missionaries, and his 1st companion, Elder Nield will be serving in the Slaughter Branch.  Elder R is from Cedar City, his brother was the case worker for one of the Jordan's little children in foster care, and his dad spoke at the Enoch West Stake (our home Stake) RS Conference recently. Small world!
Same faces, different setting--Sister Call has been in Plaquemine and Sister King in BR. They're now companions in Plaquemine.
Sister Truchard, Sister Neilson, going to Gonzales, and Sister Hoskins and Sister Biver who'll be returning home tomorrow after serving diligently and successfully. We'll really miss them.
Sister Honey and Sister Greer in Opelousas and Sister Earl and Sister Arntz--Sister Training Leaders for the New Orleans and New Orleans Spanish Zone--4 super Sister missionaries!
Elder Romero (I'm told he's really fun and quite a clown), Elder McMurray and  Elder Cooley--two of the New Orleans Spanish Elders
Elder Smith and Pres. Hansen--Elder S's companion is Elder Romero in the above pic. They're in Jefferson. I think that's a bike area so they'll stay in shape:)
Sister Palmer will be training Sister Burns, one of our new missionaries. They're Spanish Sisters serving in the West Bank.
Elder Toone and Elder Olschewski--the very fun Mandeville Elders
Elder Madsen with homebound Elder McCutcheon who'll be going home tomorrow.
Sister Black and her brand new companion, Sister Whitney, who's from Long Beach. She's in the same Stake but not the same Ward as Bronson & family.
Sister Hafford and Sister Butterfield are the Prairieville Sisters and also the BR Sister Trainers. It'll be nice to have Sister H closer to the office so we can get to know her a little better. She's served in New Orleans and Denham Springs Zones, but now she's almost local.
Elder Murhula, one of the APs, and Elder Lauper
Elder Smiley and Elder Smith--After serving about 6 months in Natchitoches, Elder Smith will be in Oakdale with Elder Smiley and the Hastings, Oakdale's favorite Senior Couple.
It seems like I have mostly Spanish missionaries today! Here's Elder , Elder Passey, Elder Page, Elder Joubert and Elder Horrocks
Two California Elders--Elder Peltzer and Elder Glauser will be opening a new Spanish area in Denham Springs.
Sister Ng, one of the new Temple Square Sisters, will go to Leesville and Sister Abercrombie who'll be a new Sister Trainer in Albany, DS Zone
Elder Sabey serves in Many and his companion is not in this picture. Elder Smith and Elder Romero from Jefferson.
Elder Madsen will be training Elder Bown. This should be a dynamite companionship!
Elder Jean Louis and his new comp and Zone Leader, Elder Mills
Elder Cole, a BR North Elder, is now comps with Elder Baker who used to be in Plaquemine.
Elder Caldwell and Elder Hale will be opening a Spanish area in Chalmette, east of New Orleans. Yes, Elder Hale is from Hawaii. What gave it away?
Elder Allen and Elder Dobie--the LaPlace Elders
Elder Bown and Elder Madsen at the office
We had to say good-bye to Elder Casillas so he could bolster the Spanish ranks with his comp, Elder Jensen.
Notes from the Transfer Meeting
Sister Hansen ~ Missionaries need to learn to not be self-critical. In every section of "Adjusting to Mission Life" self-criticism is addressed. Focus on what you need to do today. Ask yourself, "How can I make today the best day possible?"
President Hansen ~ Ships in the ocean have barnacles that grow on them. They're small, hard shelled animals that attach themselves to the hull or bow and, as they build up, their weight causes ships to slow down--sometimes to half their speed. So the ship has to be put in dry dock to have barnacles removed. Portland, Oregon became a great port because it was discovered that barnacles would die in the fresh water of the port. By the time the ships sailed to Portland and unloaded their cargo the barnacles had died and they could sail without the extra weight.  

Sometimes we get barnacles that weigh us down. What's our port? Having the Spirit, being obedient, creating an environment where the Spirit can be. Elder Bednar said that "we're not her for planting, but we're here for the harvest." We're here to establish the Church in Louisiana--in each city and town where we work. Each of you is responsible for an area. Every day you need to decide what's good, better or best for that city. 

We're starting a new tradition in the Mission. This will be a time for the whole mission to pray together for one purpose and for heaven to hear our prayers. It will be called "Fridays for Families." Every Friday at 8 am we will pray to find families that we can find and teach and bring into the Church.

Parting words and advice from our returning missionaries:
Sister Biver ~ Don't mess with the "greenies." You have a big responsibility to be teach them correctly. Decide today that each companion will be your best friend. Never forget that truth is truth, but only pure truth can be found in the Gospel.
Sister McEntire ~ I've loved all 18 months, every opportunity to love and serve and am grateful for the changes I can see in myself. It's been difficult, but I've grown. Heavenly Father knows us better that we know ourselves and what's best for us.
Sister Hockemier ~ Heavenly Father loves each of us. A mission teaches tat He loves us so much. "You can do hard things with Christ as a Companion." This is on a necklace I've world every day. You'll do more good than you'll know. You may not see the fruits of your labors.
Sister Hoskins ~ Heavenly Father loves us and is there for us. He has a plan. The Brother of Jared, and his people commended themselves to God while they came across the sea in their small boats. We have to do that on a mission. Sometimes we're covered by mountainous waves, but He will be there to steer us. My advice is to love your companions. Take one day at a time. You can do it!
Sister Monk ~ Grateful for my mission and the amazing people in LA. Matthew 19:26 says that with God all things are possible. No matter what you go through you can have success if you rely on Heavenly Father.
Sister Astle ~ This is one of the best missions in the world. I was so blessed to come here and meet you. A mission is one of the most rewarding things you'll ever do. As missionaries we sometime get down on ourselves so remember Hymn #249 "Know This That Every Soul Is Free." Each of us is incredibly loved by Heavenly Father. The power of the Atonement changes lives. 
Sister Paige ~ "The Clock Man" by Shel Silverstein "How much will you pay for an extra day?" The clock man asked the child. "Not one penny," the answer came, "For may days are as many as smiles."
"How much will you pay for an extra day?" He asked when the child was grown. "Maybe a dollar or maybe less, for I've plenty of days of my own." "How much will you pay for an extra day?" He asked when the time came to die. "All of the pearls in all of the seas, and all of the stars in the sky." Enjoy the time you have on your mission.
Sister Davis ~ Heavenly Father loves us and has called us here for a purpose. Through the Atonement we can become better. 
Sister Smith ~ Heavenly Father loves you with an infinite love and always will. He gives you companions for a reason. They will change you. I'm forever grateful for the time I've been here and what my companions taught me.
Sister Worthington ~ Things I wish I knew before my mission. 1-This mission was designed specifically for me. 2-Heavenly Father would put me in difficult situations to help me. 3-I'd meet people here I knew before. People I may not have associated with somewhere else have become my friends and family here. 
Elder Gosch ~ I've been blessed with the chance to get to know and love so many of you. Quote from Pres. Monson to the Mission Presidents' Seminar 2013--"You may sometimes be tempted to say, 'Will my influence make any difference? I am just one. Will my service affect the work that dramatically?' I testify to you that it will. You will never be able to measure your influence for good."
I've come to know the Atonement is real. You can change. The people you teach may not know about the Atonement. We know and can teach it to others.
Elder Hall ~ 1-Treasure the Book of Mormon. It changes lives. There's a power there that can't be found anywhere else and you will come to know the Savior. 2-Treasure your mission. This is a once in eternity experience. It'll end quickly. 3-If you have a car, treasure it! I've been on a bike for 2 years!
Elder McCutcheon ~ Don't beat yourself up. That gives Satan more power over you. Think about what you're doing on a mission. I've been asked what's motivated me on my mission.I've loved my mission. It's hard to go home. I have a picture of Jesus that says "Do you love me?" The love I have for the Savior and what He's done for me has motivated me. If you're discouraged, think about the Savior. Let your mission change your life.
Elder Perazzo ~ Love everyone! As you work on your mission you'll lay up treasures in heaven. Like a body in motion stays in motion, on a mission, if you're working you'll stay working.
Elder Castro ~ Three scriptures: John 17:3 Get to know God; Mosiah 5:13 How can you know a master you haven't served? Mosiah 2:17 We are in the service of God. Service has been incredible on my mission. It changes hearts. Utilize it. You're here to serve and teach. Teaching is how we feed his sheep.
Elder Olsen ~ Be yourself. Be a missionary, but be yourself. God didn't call the qualified. He qualifies who He calls. A quote from President Wall: "First love them, then serve them, then teach them." This won't be easy, but it'll be worth it.
Elder Barker ~ It's okay to be excited to go home. That doesn't mean you didn't love your mission. Don't judge. It'll prevent you from loving people. Only God knows enough to judge. Moroni 9:6 Let us labor diligently that we may conquer the enemy of righteousness. Alma 31:38 Offer prayers that are heartfelt--prayers of faith. 
Elder Beach ~ We wear our name tags over our hearts so they go in our hearts. This is a gospel of change. It requires more. Be the missionary your mom thinks you are!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A Quick Trip to New Orleans

We made a quick trip to NOLA to give to of our missionaries the opportunity to go to the World War II Museum. It was their P-Day, and we picked them up from their apartment and dropped them back off--mainly because they're on bikes. If we didn't love them so much we would've let them take the bus home:)
Elder Joubert and Elder Glauser, the Kenner Spanish Elders until transfers tomorrow--They loved it!
One of the New Orleans sights and sounds we'll miss when we go home.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Tornado Warning!

This was the sky this morning at 9:15 when the tornado warning came in! I have to admit that my heart skipped a few beats when, from out of nowhere, some announcement said to take shelter--NOW! The tornado passed by Baton Rouge, but we heard that one touched down in Walker, about 10 miles east of us. We did, however, have a serious downpour and heavy wind but nothing critical. The mission was put on lockdown until further notice. Driving in the torrential rain is bad, but the flooded streets are worse. Missionary + flooded street + heavy foot on accelerator = trouble. The worst thing that happened here was a tree branch that fell on the roof of the mission van, but there was no damage. 
And this is what greeted us as we drove into our apartment complex.
Pretty sad, huh?

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Elder Abbott's Homecoming

Cute Kiersten is so good to send pictures whenever she gets together with returned LABRM missionaries. Today was Elder Abbott's homecoming. Most of these faces should be pretty familiar!!
Kiersten Lindstrom, Todd Hacking, Jeremy Abbott, Caden Steele and Chandler Adkins
Don't they look great?

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Lots of Weddings!

We've received 4 wedding announcements from 5 of our former LABRM missionaries in the past several weeks, and we're so thrilled for all of them!
Todd Helie and his wife, Rebecca, were married on April 11 in the Las Vegas Temple
Abby Thornley and fiance, Steven, will be married in the Brigham City Temple on May 9
Billy Watkins and Jenna Schmutz, both LABRM missionaries, will be married on  May 7 in the Salt Lake City Temple
Thomas Mecham and Taylor will be married June 20 in the Rexburg Temple, I think

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Some Faces We've Missed

Oh, Yay! Elder Trainor came into the office today! We really enjoyed him for the short time he served here as an office elder. Today he and his companion, Elder Toone, came to Baton Rouge to attend the temple with a former investigator, now member, from Natchitoches who was going through for the first time.

I did ask him about his new hair color! He wanted some highlights and another elder told him to just use some hydrogen peroxide. My next question for him was, "Did Elder M  by any chance mention that the more you get in the sun, the lighter it becomes?" No, he neglected that part, which Elder Trainor found out after doing a 3 hour outdoor service project!
Mandeville Elders--Elder Toone and Elder Trainor
Missionary selfies are so much better than the pictures I take! Here's Elder Trainor, Sister McEntire, Sister Hunter and Sister Hockemier
One more selfie that also included Sister Astle and Elder Toone. Three of these sweet sisters will be going home after next week's transfers. Only Sister Hunter will be left. And Elder Trainor leaves after the next transfer in June. We have a huge number of missionaries leaving in the next 3 transfers--almost 60--but there's no where near that many coming in:(

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Sophie's Back!

I'm always so happy for Sister Hansen when the twins come into town. Actually, this time it's just Sophie for 3 weeks, but Maddy will be here later next month. It seems like I was just writing about them beginning their Junior year at BYU, and now they'll be Seniors. Today Sophie is a temporary companion for Sister Widdison, a Covington Sister, while a little change is being made as her companion left today. They'll probably only be companions for an hour or two.
Sophie and Sister Widdison. a Covington Sister
Sister Hansen with two of her girls

Saturday, April 18, 2015


So glad we came into the office today, even though it's Saturday. It was fun to find elders that we don't see very often. And Marc just happened to have a package of fresh apple turnovers from Sam's Club. They disappeared in a flash!

While we were here I checked the emails, and that was a good thing. Referring back to Tuesday and the foreign calls, the travel office has been working since then to find a flight from Paris to Lille. They were still having trouble getting a flight or a train ticket as of Friday. Then I found the email saying that, after rethinking, the parents had decided to come into Paris to pick up their missionary. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Travel still hasn't booked anything.
Elder Lehr and Elder Richardson, Baton Rouge Zone Leaders, and Elder Horrocks and Elder Carson, BR So Spanish

Friday, April 17, 2015

Elder Cole and Elder Stevenson

This week has been so quiet and especially today! I'm pretty sure the phone didn't ring more than 5 times today, and.that's pretty rare. I'm as ready as possible for transfers, and they aren't until April 28. The Office Elders were out of the office for 2 days so they could attend the last of the Zone Conferences for this quarter, and the Assistants have hardly been around at all. Talk about lonely.

Tonight we went to Cracker Barrel with the BR North Elders, Elder Cole, from the Salt Lake area, and Elder Stevenson, from southern UT. They've been companions since the last transfer in March and were also companions in the MTC. We enjoyed getting to know them and hearing about their interests and talents. Elder Cole is into drama and music but plans to go in a medical direction post mission. Elder Stevenson quite an artist, according to Elder Cole, and will pursue that down the road.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Elder Nield's Artwork

Yesterday, when Elder Nield was here, someone mentioned that he was drawing on the whiteboard in the President's office. No problem. Pres. Hansen only uses it when we have our Monday meetings. I happened to walk back there today, and this is what I found. Pretty impressive!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Missionary Pack Rats

This is what greeted me this morning when I walked into the back room. The office elders had to clean out an apartment that we're vacating, and this is what they found. Holy Cow! Those elders must've been stockpiling church supplies for years. Unbelievable how much they had--55 copies of the Book of Mormon in English and Spanish, Bibles, Triple Combinations, 72 DVDs, 2 DVD players, 2 hymn books, a variety of church manuals, choir music and instructors' guides--one printed in 1972. Then there were the pass along cards, pamphlets in English and Spanish, family proclamations and baptism & confirmation forms numbering in the humdreds, maybe thousands! At least I can say that the commissary shelves are abundantly stocked.
Elder Condie and Elder Nield, the Slaughter Elders,(yes, we do have an area called Slaughter) were in to get an estimate for their car that was hit by a fire hydrant while making a U-turn. Or maybe it was the other way around.
Elder Horrocks and Elder Drollinger, 2 of the Baton Rouge Spanish Elders, also stopped by the office. It's always nice to have them pop in and say hi. I asked them what exciting things were happening, and they told me about their appointment and dinner with an investigator last night that went very well. The investigator even invited a friend who was passing by her house to join them, which she did. They found out that the friend was baptized when she was 12 but is less-active now. Also, the said they had $100  fried cheese sticks for dinner. I thought they were kidding. Nope. The lady had ordered them from South America, and that's what she paid for them. Suddenly the elders decided they were quite full.