Saturday, January 24, 2015

Wow, it has been a while since I updated our blog. Either we are busy or having too much fun, or both.
 So since I last wrote, we have begun our apartment tours in earnest. These young elders and sisters are truly remarkable. They are so kind and spiritual. Even when we are making appointments to come and check out their apartments, they are, like (I hate that phrase, but it fit in this instance), "thank you so much, we look forward to seeing you." It constantly amazes me how kind and good they are. It has actually been fun to visit them and get to know them on a more personal level. We have found some things that need to be fixed and or replaced, and some unsafe environments, so we really feel like we are doing a great service, as well as getting them to clean their places.
 On January 12th we visited the housing of the missionaries in Liberty, Missouri. When we finished it was time to go home anyway, so we decided to take a tour of the Historic Liberty Jail. It has been at least 20 years since we were here. That is the above picture. It was a great experience. The jail was originally built in 1833. It 2 foot thick log interior walls, with loose rocks in between, then 2 foot thick stone outside walls. The jail cell is 14' x 14' x 6 ft tall. It has 2 very small window, I wouldn't even call them that, and they were facing North and South so they never actually let sunlight in. They were imprisoned from Dec. 1st ,1838 to April 6th
1839 of the following year. It was an extremely cold winter. The original jail was later torn down and a house was built on the site. The church acquired the property in 1939. Then in 1963 they partially reconstructed the jail and built the visitors center around it. The floor is the original floor and some of the stonework on the outside is thought to be original.
 Some of the most difficult times of Joseph Smith's life were spent in the jail, not just the conditions, which were horrible, but he knew how much the Saints, and his own family were suffering in Missouri. Through his trials he wrote some of the most beautiful and poignant scriptures, comprising Doctrine and Covenants sections 121,122, and 123.
  While we were there, I really felt the spirit of that Sacred place. Joseph learned so much about himself and his relationship to God there. It is a very special place.
  This is getting a little long, so I will close for now. I will update in a couple of days, because I have some more spiritual experiences to share with you.

  The above black and white picture was taken in 1888. One of the men in the picture measured the jail, and it was from those measurements that the church was able to reconstruct it so accurately.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Mission Updates

   We got bit  of a late start with our blog, so I just wanted to catch everyone up on our mission experience.
    We entered the MTC on December 1st, 2014. Boy that was organized chaos. We went from station to station. 1st we got our Missionary badges, that really did make us feel official, it honestly made me feel different. i was now representing the Church and the Savior. They had more stations, we went to the MTC bookstore to get out supplies, our finances we explained and an overview of our 2 weeks a the MTC. In the overview a sweet Sister told us how much she appreciated our service. She had a son serving right now, and she said that he loved the missionary couples in his Mission, and that she know we would take good care of the missionaries that were in our missions. That made us feel good, and that we truly could make a difference in the lives of the missionaries.
     The MTC was amazing. We wondered how we could spend a week learning about Preach My Gospel. We could have spent a lot longer than that. Since we are wearing name tags every where we go, anyone might ask us at any time about the church and we should know the correct answers. We learned that we don't just teach PMG, we teach people. We need to find out about them, and care about them before we do any teaching. It was a wonderful, spiritual experience, and we learned so much.
      We got here in Independence on Dec. 14th. We stayed in temporary housing until we got into our apartment on the 16th. Moving twice was a lot of fun, and it has taken us a couple of weeks to get settled in. We said that we would know we were finally settled when we didn't have to go to WalMart to get something every day. Then our kids reminded us that  Dad went to Walmart every day anyway.  (Family Joke) That is true, but here it is further away so I don't think it will be a daily trip.
    We started our new Mission responsibilities on Dec. 29th. We drove to the most northern part of the Mission. We went to 3 different areas and saw 2 sets of elders and 1 set of sisters apartments. It was actually fun to get to meet these Elders and Sisters who are so far away from the Mission office. We had never seen them before. It was an all day trip since we had to drive so far in between each area. What impressed us was how much all of there missionaries love their missions and love missionary work. What great attitudes!
     So last week and this week we have kept very busy visiting. It's kind of funny, 1 set of Elders told us that they had gotten to voice mail saying that we were going to be coming and to be prepared, but that we bought brownies with us, which we do. I figured maybe they wouldn't mind us coming so much if we brought goodies.
     It honestly has been so good to go to see these Elders and Sisters. We have taken light bulbs, fixed dresser drawers, taken some much needed kitchen chairs to a whole house full of sisters, found out that some don't have smoke detectors or CO monitors, some have bad mold problems, and need to be moved. It has really made us realize that what we are doing is important and needed.