Saturday, December 12, 2015

Time To Go Home!

 We were talking the other day about sacrifice.  I used to think a senior mission is a big sacrifice.  But now that I have have had such a wonderful experience here, I wonder, will I still get credit for sacrificing?
Goodbye Lake Superior.!
Oh Duluth!
Patti is my only piano student.
We have LONG  lessons because we have
 a lot to talk about and some
 of it is piano.!  I am going to miss Patti!

Just a couple of Vance photos because you can't
 have too many! We had good fun while I was in Brookfield
Scott & Ron put a new floor
 in the kitchen and sunroom so
 Vance doesn't get slivers in his belly..
  Vance approved!
Goodbye senior missionaries of  the Minneapolis Mission.

Goodbye food bank.
goodbye from Sister Christensen too.

Boy we had fun at the stake scripture activity.
  This game is life-size hungry hippo!

Goodbye Christmas lights at Bentlyville with
 Nolan and Amanda

Goodbye cute missionaries in my district.

We went to the mission home for a "last supper" for missionaries
 who are going home.

. And we went to the temple.

And then we had a testimony meeting.  It was awesome to be with these missionaries who have completed their mission.  Wonderful people and wonderful testimonies and a wonderful good work they have done.

So as we come to the end of our mission I have been reflecting on our experiences.
 I will list some things we learned on this mission:

1. How to study the scriptures and get more out of it.
2- People are just like people everywhere you go and that is mostly a good thing.
3- Land without mountains can be beautiful if you add enough lakes.
4- People can change their lives for the better when they find the gospel.
5- I learned how to take selfies. (Don't laugh. This is an important life skill)
6- I learned how to teach straight from the scriptures. 
7- I learned how to dress warm, and go outside anyway.
8. I learned how to talk to people about the Church.

(Some are Ron's and some are mine. Can you tell who's is who's?)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

A Different Kind of Service

Jessica and Tom at her wedding
Recently Jessica's (Stratton) father, Thomas Siegal, died unexpectedly.  Jessica's was very close to him and the suddenness of it added another dimension of sadness. We were able to come down for his memorial service and then Karen stayed to tend the baby. Tom has been Vance's daytime babysitter so there is one more reason for sadness.

Vance and Karen Selfie

 To give Scott and Jessica time to get another babysitter in place, Karen volunteered for for babysitting Vance in Brookfield, Il for most of November.  
Vance (Stratton) has many skills for a 7 month old. He can pick up broccoli and squash and mostly hit his mouth. He smiles amazingly well. And his brilliance also extends to his crawling and emptying toy bins and pulling himself up on things. I am so happy I was here for a couple of his milestones.

Ron and the volunteers Tuesday Food Shelf
crew at the Duluth Second Harvest
Food Bank
Breakfast of champions.
While Karen has been gone, Ron somehow held two seminary in-service meetings and handled numerous inquires about closing the grade books for the 1st quarter of the rolls. He continued to help at the food bank and feed the missionaries.  

We will spend Thanksgiving in Brookfield and then back to Duluth for the final two weeks of our mission. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

I love this Church!

 October is pretty wonderful in the state of Minnesota.  We had a visit from Grey and Robyn.  We had such a good time looking at ships, birds, leaves, water falls, pies and bikes--but no bears.

 We had a meeting the first evening they were here.  So we left them at canal park to explore and we thought we had given them enough information so they could ride the bus home because the hills are REALLY steep.  They found a homecoming parade to watch and walked to Duluth Pack and Duluth Trading and then they WALKED all the way back to our apartment!!

See how pretty the leaves are and
how happy they are to be here!

The view from Enger Tower

Big ship loading ore pellets

Hand and Foot at the Newtons

Mountain bike trail
Ron is making his last good weather count by riding lots of trails.
We attended Sister Webster's seminary class in Pine City.
So, one day I said to my friend Patti Newton that we should get together for Hand and Foot. So she invited us for dinner and cards.  I was still scratching my head wondering how I invited her but she was the one cooking dinner.  It worked out pretty nice for me!
Ashli and I were partners doing a worksheet.. 
Then we built an altar out of cookies.  Pretzel sticks were the wood for the sacrifice and we each sacrificed a paper lamb on which we had written a habit we wanted to break. Then our lambs were sacrificed on the cookie altar.

Then we went to visit a seminary class in North Branch and here are some photos from that class. (No fire)

The really happy boy is Jacob.  And we happened to be talking about Jacob in the Old Testament.
  When he was asked to read, he said, "And I said" instead of reading "and Jacob said."

 At our stake conference, Elder Neil Anderson was here.  It was an amazing spiritual experience.  He talked a bit about the 3 apostles who recently died or he called it "graduated".  His experience with each of them shortly before they died was pretty amazing.  I love this church!
We fed 16 elders and 4 sisters breakfast before we went
 over to stake conference.

This morning we went to seminary with Cora and Audrey Delich.
  Before seminary class, we did not know they were famous tennis players.

                                                                                    Last night we got invited to Elder Dover's going                                                                                       away dinner.  This was his first area and he is                                                                                           loved.

We also inspected the Elder's apartment in Virginia, MN and took them to breakfast.  Elder Frost ate a lot.  This is the breakfast he ate after he ate his own breakfast and some of mine.  He warned us that he is Samoan so he can eat a lot.  And it is true!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Milk inna beg!

 We went up to Thunder Bay, Canada last week.  And this is the kind of scenery we saw.  Lots of fall colors and somehow, we never get tired of Lake Superior. 

First we had an in-service meeting with the seminary and the institute teacher there.  They appreciated us bring in-service to them since it is so far for them to drive.

Then we inspected the missionaries apartment.  What do you think?  Did they pass? Well, we took them to dinner.

The next morning we visited this seminary class.  This teacher has 5 students and she uses her Apple TV for the music and for the scriptures and even for the questions.  I am always impressed when people can use their technology without a bunch of problems with it.

After picking up rocks, you wash them to make
sure you have amethyst.
Then we drove North along the lake to see some more scenery and we stopped at an amethyst mine.  The vein was discovered accidentally and it is the only amethyst mine in North America.  It is an open pit mine and you can see trays of stones, bigger than the ones we were allowed to "mine"

Many of these stones are purple, really, and we mined a box of rocks.
This is not going to make us millionaires, in fact we paid $3.00 a pound,  but it was fun. 

Then Ron went for a hike across a swinging bridge or two and down a zipline while seeing beautiful scenery.

On Monday we went to visit a seminary class in Askov, MN.  A woman teaches her two daughters in her home.  She did everything that a teacher of a big class would have done, although there were less people to say prayers. But her preparation would have been the same for a class of 2 or a class of 15. We talked on the way home about all the women in the Duluth Stake teaching seminary, miles apart, but having similar experiences of studying and teaching the gospel to a new generation of teens. And their goal is teaching the gospel, not just getting through a lesson, but living and teaching so that the Holy Ghost testifies to the students.  These are truly woman of the covenant who are dedicated to carrying the gospel by converting their own family first.

If you have spent any time in the North Country (upper MN, WI, ON) you learn to say things like "beg" for bag, "eggate" for agate,"aboat" for about and you put an "eh" at the end of a sentence (more prevalent the further north you go).   So I was in Kwik Trip (a gas station) and I saw a much lower price on the milk if you bought it in a bag instead of a plastic bottle. Then later when the elders were here for breakfast, Elder P said, "Oh milk inna beg."
Doncha just love Minnesota?