Tuesday, October 27, 2015

October Happenings

The month of October is a very friendly autumn month this year. It is also a month for children when they eagerly dress up in their Halloween costumes and go on an adventure treat-collecting evening with their parents driving them around through out the neighborhood. Trick or Treat is the sweetest phrase on Halloween night when Grandmas sit by the door and hand out candy to their little goblin visitors. Happy Halloween everyone!

We might not have any tricker treaters this year but we have a very happy jack-o-lantern out on our deck to greet everyone who walks by.

Elder Hunt had a birthday on the 22nd. We were at our dear friends in Provo for a doctor's appointment and Serena cooked a delicious birthday dinner. We enjoyed it so much that we forgot to take pictures. We remembered when we got to the dessert. Then we played penny dominoes.


On Temple Square there is much activity going on in the gardens besides people of all cultures walking around the grounds. The flower beds that were so beautifully planted with all kinds of colorful summer flowers were pulled out and replaced with pansies of all colors and flower bulbs that will bloom in the spring. Youth volunteers from different wards come out to help. It's heart warming to see the youth working with their hands and shovels in the dirt. They seem to be enjoying yard work. It's a good service project for all who help. Thousands of flowers are planted throughout the year according to their season. They come from the Church's greenhouse. We learned that not a flower is wasted after it is replaced. It is used for mulch for all the gardens on Temple Square. The place is always clean and beautified with trees, bushes, and flowers. Most of the trees are now decorated with Christmas lights but are not lighted because they are not all decorated yet. We are told that they will turn on the lights in November on Thanksgiving day. It will be beautiful.


This is a story about this special 68 year old tree that is planted on the east side of Temple Square.
In 1947 a young Cedar of Lebanon was brought on an airplane by a traveling lady. She had the tree wrapped up and she kept it on her lap during the flight. She brought it to Temple Square and planted it and has been nurtured all these years. It is now a beautiful tree, all most as tall as the temple, Its boughs are very soft to the touch. This is one of a few times that it has been decorated because it is very sensitive to the heat from the electrical lights. Now that LEDs are used it will be safer for it to be lighted this year. It took over two months (August to early October) to fully decorate it with red Christmas lights. It will be very Christmasy when it is lighted for Christmas. We love walking by that tree every day as it seems to greet us to have a good day.

We have had three months of wonderful experience of serving and learning here at The Family and Church History Headquarters Mission.  We love our mission and all the missionaries that we serve with. We love working in the Family Search Center in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. We enjoy helping guests from all over the world find their ancestors names in the Family Search program. We still hope that our visas will come, but we will continue to faithfully serve our mission for the Lord here in Salt Lake.

Thank you for your love and support in every way.  We love you and you are in our prayers daily.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

September Mission Conference

Every month in our mission we have Mission Conference.  There are two sessions and we always love to go to the first session because everything the presidency talks about is for the first time and it may not be the same in the following session.  Although the talks and missionary assignments and challenges are the same.  Each month a different member of the presidency and his wife speak to us, but President Tate is always the concluding speaker.

In the photo: President Larson, Second Counselor on the right and Sister Larson with long hair on the left.

For September it was the Second Counselor, President Larson and his wife, Sister Larson.  Sister Larson spoke first.  She talked about her calling as an ordinance worker at the Gilbert, Arizona Temple.  She went in early in the morning with her husband, who had an earlier assignment than hers. It was so peaceful there.  There was plenty of time for personal prayer and meditation.  She just found a quiet place in the basement floor before the temple opened.  One day she thought, there is nothing keeping me in the basement until I report for work, I might as well meditate and pray on the main floor. Before long she used the same reasoning and moved up to the upper floor and into the celestial room.  This was the most beautiful place to enjoy the quiet and glorious atmosphere of the temple.  This became her permanent location for her morning routine.

Her question to us to think about was: Do we realize our potential to climb out of the basement of our lives and into the celestial level of our lives?  Are we stuck in the basement?  It is up to us to climb out of the basement and find happiness and joy in serving the Lord on our missions.

A story of her ancestor in the third generation that she found while researching names in the 1860 US census and found an 8 year old girl she had not added to her family tree.  She told us that 8 year old ancestor was stuck in basement anxious to be found.  She described her as tired and patiently waiting. And that she helped her get to the celestial room. She said that her joy of finding her was a indescribable.

She encouraged us all to make time to research the names of our ancestors.  To recognize where we are in our study and research and not to get stuck in the basement of it all.  Your hearts will swell with love in finding your ancestors.

President Larson's talk was based on the song he sang for us before his talk, "Lead Kindly Light". Some of the points he made were: 1) To pray always and over everything, even frustrations. 2) Without the Spirit there is no guidance to the things we do and we are not edified. 3) There is essential spiritual nutrients in gazing into the tomb and knowing that "He Lives"! 4) Jesus Christ is our supreme advocate. 5) We must see ourselves as God sees us. 6) We must love ourselves as God loves us. 7) We must learn that the best answers are found in the scriptures and at the temple.  8) We must study the scriptures to understand the atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ.  9) Go to the temple. It is the most sacred place on earth.  It is there that the words of Christ becomes engraved  in our hearts. 10) With His power we can overcome all challenges.

In the photo: Mission President Tate on the right and President Larson on the left.

President Tate expressed his love and appreciation for all the missionaries who are serving under his care.  He told us about the time in April 2009 when he was called as an Area Seventy and was seated with the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles at their meeting. He was overwhelmed with the love of Christ that each expressed in their character and being as they welcomed him. He remembers the 12 bearing their fervent testimonies of the Savior, Jesus Christ. Elder Holland said that there are millions waiting for our help.  Elder Uchtdorf said that when the Lord needs a job to be done He calls on capable men and women to get it done.

Everywhere in the world the Family Search History is being used to find ancestors.  The spirit of Elijah is bringing families together into the light.  The gospel is the point of light in a time when there is so little light the darkness seems normal.  Now the Family Search program is part of that light. We are here to learn all we can about Family Search so we can help others in the world.

We had our October mission conference already and our next mission conference is in November. We will report on the October mission conference in our next blog.

Monday, October 5, 2015

General Conference Weekend

We have enjoyed our involvement with October 2015 General Conference.  We walked around taking pictures of people from different walks of life and countries who have come to conference. Sister Hunt translated for the two days.  She hung out with the Navajo translation team while Elder Hunt stayed at the apartment and watched conference on the laptop. At the end of each session he picked her up at the same place where he delivered her before conference.

We were counseled by our local church leaders to be prepared for answers to our questions and dilemmas in the talks given by the prophets and general authorities.  They spoke on Saturday and Sunday sessions. We listened intently.  We learned these points in their talks as follows:  The Lord qualifies those whom he calls.  He helps us focus on what we can do, not on what we can't do.  We must have faith and not doubt our abilities.  That faith and doubt can not exist at the same time in the same mind.  We must trust and have faith in God and in His Son Jesus Christ and in the Holy Ghost.  To remember Him and obey His commandments.  To keep the Sabbath Day holy.  As we progress and learn our purpose on earth we have trials and adversities to strengthen our faith.  In the midst of it all we are helped and led by our faith and trust in God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost.

We enjoyed the stories and lessons taught through by the speakers.  We have been inspired and edified by their talks.  We look forward to listening to them or reading them again and again on lds.org and in the church magazine, the Ensign.

We love you and you are in our prayers.  We are enjoying and loving our mission.  Thank you for your love, prayers and support in every way.  Our visa could come any day and we will be surprised and happy.

We want to share some photos with you from the general conference.

Sister Hunt on her way to the Conference Center.
Sister Hunt at the translation floor security entrance.
The Navajo translation team L-R bottom row: Shirley C., Rosie J., Tammy B., Susie P., & Sister H.
Top row L-R: Leo P., Paul B., Justin B., Thomas B., & Jerome W.
People crossing the street going to the Conference Center from Temple Square.
It is a sight to see so many people crossing the street in their Sunday best.
An LDS Chaplain in the service of his country.  
There were many others in uniform.
We are truly thankful for their service to our Nation.
Faithful elderly Hispanic couple resting in the shade.
Faithful family among the thousands who attended General Conference.
Faithful and beautiful families like this South American family come
from all over the world to attend General Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.