We have completed our Senior Mission and returned to Texas

We reported our mission in the Northpointe Ward, Cypress, TX Stake on January 19th, 2020. Here is a synopsis of my talk. Some of this was taken from talk given by Sung Moon, the Westminster, CO Stake President:

“If any of you are thinking of serving a mission, perhaps this will tip the balance towards serving:  Almost every preparation day, from June to October, I took the missionaries fishing.  Now it was easy to do so because…we leased an apartment from Delta Bement who let us use her fishing pond in Boulder, CO.

If you decide to serve a mission, it won’t be easy, in fact it may be a difficult challenge, but you won’t regret it, it was very rewarding and we were extremely blessed for our service.  Someone once said “An adventure is inconveniences rightly considered”.  This was one great adventure!  Our leaders have asked for more senor couples to serve missions.  Please pray about going on a mission.  One of the advantages of serving a Senior Couples mission is that you get to indicate up to 6 preferences as to the type of mission you will serve and where you will serve.  Betty and I requested an opportunity to serve in a family history capacity, or in a visitor center or in a mission office.  As Betty has indicated we served in the CDNM Mission Office.  I was the Housing Coordinator for the mission.  That meant my responsibilities included:

Finding and leasing new apartments and member homes for missionaries and senior couples

Furnishing them with everything necessary for at least 2 missionaries

Purchasing everything beds, microwaves, vacuums, dishes, toilet plungers, dish rages…you get the idea

Coordinating maintenance repairs and renewing leases

Providing proof of insurance to apartment managers

Closing and cleaning out old apartments

Storing and inventorying furnishings

Providing monthly reports to the Stakes regarding member housing

PS if you decide to house missionaries in your home you will receive $75 per month to help with utilities

Funny stories: Cars towed because they forgot the parking hang tag, broken shower, mice infestations, bed bugs, stinky apartment and frozen shampoo, Fun experiences: sightseeing national parks and museums, concerts and dinners with other senior couples.  All in all a terrific experience and I recommend it highly.

I will focus the remainder of my remarks on walking uprightly and keeping our covenants with God.  To illustrate this principle I want to review a wonderful story from the Old Testament: the story of Elijah the prophet and the priests of Baal.

This story takes place during a time when the people of Israel worshipped false gods known as Baal or Baalim.  This was a constant struggle for the people of Israel, and still is today.  Even though they had been freed from bondage in Egypt by the true God – the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – and even though the true God parted the Red Sea and caused them to walk across on dry ground, and fed manna them in the wilderness, and worked many mighty miracles among them, the people of Israel frequently turned to worshipping false gods, whatever gods were in fashion at the time.  Such was the case during the days of Elijah the prophet.   One day Elijah called all the people of Israel and the priests of Baal to join him on a mountaintop.  There were hundreds of these false priests, plus the people of Israel, who were very numerous.  They were all gathered together atop a mountain.

Then Elijah asked the people a question: “How long halt ye between two opinions?”  Or in other words, how long are you going to try to serve two masters (Matthew 6:24)?  How long will you say you believe in the true God while worshipping these false gods?  Then he said to the people, “if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him.”  Elijah told the people to choose whom they would serve.  “And the people answered him not a word” (1King 18:21).

  • Then said Elijah unto the people, I, even I only, remain a prophet of the Lord; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men.
  • Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: and I will dress the other bullock, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under:
  • And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God.  And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken.

So, this is a contest between the true prophet and false prophets, between the true God and false gods.  The contest is to see which god will send fire to consume the offering on the altar.  And whichever god sends fire will be declared the true God.  Pretty good contest, don’t you think?

  • And [the priests of Baal] took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us.  But there was no voice, nor any that answered.  And they leaped upon the altar which was made.

Can you picture in your minds this spectacle?  From morning until noon these 450 false priests are chanting the name of Baal and taking turns jumping onto the altar and just making fools of themselves.

  • And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked.

This is the only instance I know of a prophet “trash talking” in the scriptures.  But Elijah knew the Lord would back him, and he was bold and confident.

The false priests continued their rituals into the evening and no answer from Baal came.  Do you think the people were surprised?  They waited from morning until evening, and I would guess some of them were surprised; some of them really expected Baal to send fire to that altar.  Well, now it was Elijah’s turn.

  • And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me.  And all the people came near unto him.  And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down.  (I guess with all the leaping on the altar the false priests must of messed up Elijah’s alter too)
  • And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, …
  • And with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord: …

Imagine what the people were thinking as Elijah erected those twelve stones.  Do you suppose it might have reminded them of the covenant which the Lord made with their fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (who was later named Israel)?  Did it remind them of the covenant they made with the Lord, which they had broken?

  • … and (Elijah) made a trench about the altar, …
  • And he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid him on the wood, …

Then Elijah had the people drench the entire altar with water three times, such that it was dripping with water from top to bottom and was encircled about by a trench of water.  Have you ever gone camping and tried to light a fire with wet wood in a wet fire pit?

  • And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word.
  • Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again.
  • Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.
  • And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The Lord, he is the God; the Lord, he is the God.

Brothers and sisters, I love this story.  I love this story because of the lesson it teaches.  We are Israel; I am Israel.  We are seduced by false gods, and we often follow them.  These false gods have many names.  They are watched and played on high-definition screens.  They have high-performance engines, fine appointments, and lots of options.  They are adorned with hardwood and granite and stainless steel.  They come with grand titles and annual bonuses.  They shower us with wealth as they consume all our time, or they just consume all our time while giving us nothing in return.

We live in them; we move about in them; we work for them; we travel far to get to them; we put them on our bodies; we hold them in our hands and endlessly poke at them.  There are pictures of them everywhere to remind us how much we need them.  And they all have one thing in common: Like the gods of Baal, our sacrifices to them are in vain.  They have no power … except the power that we give them.

I heard a story of a missionary who struggled with one of these gods.  He told his mission president that prior to his mission he played video games constantly.  He played them with his friends; he played them with his family.  He loved video games.  And then, on his mission, he couldn’t get those video games out of his head.  His mind was still playing those video games … while he was trying to teach a lesson, while he was trying to study the scriptures, while he was trying to sleep at night.  He gave power to that god, the video game god.

Most of these things are not inherently bad or evil, but the minute they become more important than the true and living God, they become false gods.  They hinder us from keeping our covenants with the true God.  They hinder us from drawing closer to Him and experiencing true joy.

Here are some questions we ought to ask ourselves…  Are these things preventing me from something else I should be doing – from doing my homework and chores, doing my job, serving in my calling, attending church meetings, spending time with my family?  Are they preventing me from paying an honest tithe, thinking of the Savior during the sacrament, feeling the influence of the Holy Ghost, attending the temple?  Are they preventing me from fulfilling my priesthood responsibilities, from giving my child a blessing?  Are they enticing me to turn the Lord’s Sabbath into a day of recreation?  Do I love the creation more than the Creator (Romans 1:25)?  Am I giving up excessive time and effort and going into excessive debt so that I can have these things? Do I control these things, or do they control me?  If they control me, it is because I gave them power.  I turned away from the true God and gave power to false gods.  When we come to this realization, then immediately we should return to the true God, His gospel, His law, and our covenants with Him.

More dangerous than objects are the false gods that are the philosophies of men.  We are warned about these philosophies in the temple.  They consist of some truths mixed with lies, which makes them very deceptive.  We are surrounded by preachers of these philosophies.  Our friends repeat them to us at school and work.  Endless TV shows and news programs teach these philosophies.  Celebrities and so-called role models, our teachers at school, the policies of the corporations we work for, and even our elected leaders teach these philosophies.  They are preached in classrooms and meeting halls, broadcast over the airwaves, and tweeted and posted all over the Internet.  They are popularized in songs with catchy tunes and lyrics.

These false gods – the philosophies of men – have many, many priests and teachers.  And we listen to them.  Sometimes we prefer to listen to them over the counsels of prophets, seers, and revelators, and of our local leaders.  Remember, these philosophies are deceptive because they mix truths with lies, and they are often more pleasing to the carnal mind (Alma 30:53).  The Book of Mormon warns that even the “humble followers of Christ … do err because they are taught by the precepts of men” (2 Nephi 28:14).

We should ask ourselves: Are these teachings in harmony with the teachings of the Savior, and of those whom we sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators – those who are true messengers from the true and living God?  If not, we should cast them aside as what they are – false teachings from false gods.  We should devote more time and energy to studying and striving to understand true doctrine from the true God.  The Lord said to ancient Israel: “… this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; … I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and [I] will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jeremiah 31:33).  If we are familiar with true doctrine through study and prayer, if God’s law is written in our hearts, then we will more easily recognize false teachings when we hear them.

Brothers and sisters, Elijah’s question to Israel is a question for us today: “How long halt ye between two opinions?”  How long will you try to serve two masters?  I testify to you that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will accept our sacrifices and work mighty miracles in our lives.  The false gods have no power, except for the power that we give them.  Our sacrifices to them are in vain, and lead to bondage.

Betty and I recently returned from a week in Arizona.  After we were seated on the airplane, the flight attendant gave her safety briefing.  Although I have heard these safety briefings many times, something was said that struck me like a brick:  “In the event of an emergency evacuation, leave all carry on items behind…” I thought about myself, and all the things (carry on items) I think I need to have:  My cell phone, my computer, our pickup, our furniture etc.   If the Lord called me home tomorrow, (this would be an emergency evacuation) all of those things would have to be left behind.  Naked come we into this world and naked we leave it.  You will not see a u-haul trailer being pulled behind a hearse. 

I pray that we will keep our lives centered on Jesus Christ and strive to keep on the covenant path.  That is the sure and only way to avoid these false gods of the world that surround us.”

Thoughts about being homeless…

Before we left on our mission, we sold our home in Tomball, Texas. We didn’t want to lease it to somebody else, and we didn’t want to leave it empty, so we sold. We were fortunate that one of our neighbors, Ray Rittenhouse wanted to “pick his neighbor” and agreed to buy it from us and subsequently sell it to their Dutch friend who wanted to move closer to Ray and his wife Anky. For this we are grateful, it saved us realtor fees and some closing costs. However we are therefore homeless. Betty hates it when I describe our housing status as homeless. It has a different connotation in my mind however.

We have a nice apartment here in the Colorado Denver North Mission that the Church leases for us. It has two bedrooms, two baths, and an outdoor swimming pool, hot tub and 5 hole miniature golf course. It is cozy, and warm and we have an attached garage, which comes in handy when it snows, and it snows here a lot!

In fact it has already snowed about 5 or 6 times since September. The last one was about 12 inches deep. I took this photo before it finished snowing and it already measured almost 7 inches.

On November 14th Betty was driving by herself in our Ford F-150 pickup to the office so we could rendezvous with President and Sister Savage for dinner. About 6pm she had a collision with another vehicle (not her fault). The airbags deployed, she was pretty shook up, here wrist was sprained, she has a few bruises, and was pretty shook up. The Truck is pretty banged up as you can see by the photo below.

We have been driving a rental vehicle since the accident. We don’t know yet if the other driver’s insurance company will total the truck or repair it. Hopefully we’ll know tomorrow.

We took a trip to Georgetown, CO a few weeks ago and rode on the narrow gauge loop railroad. It was quite an engineering feat back in the late 1800’s when it was built. It was restored in the 1970’s and now is a museum/tourist attraction.

So we continue to serve here in Colorado, enjoying being homeless, however God has blessed us greatly since being on our mission. We have a new granddaughter, we have been able to attend the temple several times, and we work with some wonderful missionaries and Senior Couples. We have made progress towards returning our Eternal home again to be with Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father.

“That’s a misionary’s life”

We had a performance program earlier this year here in the Colorado Denver North Mission. You can catch a glimpse of it on You Tube by clicking here. One of the songs was titled: “That’s a missionary’s life”. We have been quite busy from sun up to sun down and beyond doing the Lord’s work. We have had a few “P-Day” activities and some of these photos are taken from those adventures. The photo below is one I don’t think I posted before. It was taken earlier this year when Elder Nielsen and his wife visited the mission. From L-R, our Mission President, H. Scott Savage, his wife, Cindi, myself and Sister Weenig and Elder Gifford Nielsen and his wife, Wendy.

I didn’t realize how busy we’d be on the mission. I have not been very good about keeping this blog updated. I hope to add a few more blogs before we finish our mission this month.

Betty’s thoughts about our mission so far

Elder Weenig and I recently discovered we are past the halfway mark of our mission. The Colorado Denver North Mission has been a real learning experience. In raising a family of 5 boys and working in office jobs our entire careers, we thought we had the skills to prepare us to serve in the office of the mission. We were wrong.

Working in the office of a mission is like being on a roller coaster; you never know what is around the next curve or hill. One day we are boxing Books of Mormon to send to Zone Leaders to be distributed in their zones. The next day, we are traveling to the south end of the mission to pick up keys to an apartment that are needed at the north end of the mission.

My Job is Office Specialist. It is an undefined position that allows for a variety of interpretations. Commissary is the main focus. Ordering, distributing and managing all the materials our sweet missionaries need to accomplish their objective of bringing souls to Christ. In our mission, we handle all the mail for everyone in the mission. The mail is delivered every day to the office, sorted and delivered to the zone leaders once each week. There are also various odd jobs that need to be done like: ordering new ministerial certificates for missionaries, scheduling all the buildings for Zone Conferences, Transfers, Mission Leadership Councils and any other activities the mission needs, scheduling with Stake Relief Society Presidents for Zone Conference lunches, buying all the bedding for new missionaries to have when they arrive and a plethora of other unrelated tasks.

Elder Weenig is the Housing Coordinator.  This is a job no one could be prepared to undertake.  Finding, maintaining and inspecting housing for over 180 missionaries and 10 senior couples.  The responsibility extends from acquiring the apartments, signing and renewing leases and managing payments to furnishing the apartments down to every spoon, pot, table, chair, etc. the missionaries need.  Of course, with this many young people there are always issues; lost keys, locked out at the end of the day, wasp nest at the door, mold in the bathroom, plumbing problems, notices of eviction on the door, etc.  We have also discovered if a white board is purchased for one set of missionaries the entire mission becomes aware of this fact and every companionship in the mission needs a white board in their apartment. One of the most difficult challenges has been dealing with the amazingly wonderful members who house the missionaries and the apartment managers that have very unrealistic rules to be followed by young people who are only interested in serving the Lord.

It has been astounding to realize the many blessings we have seen. Not only blessings to us but blessings received by our families as well during our short 6 months of service to the Lord.  The week we entered the Missionary Training Center, we were informed of two events in our families that required intervention from Heavenly Father. The first, our sweet daughter-in-law informed us she was pregnant.  This was not good news since she had suffered 3 miscarriages in the last 3 years. The Lord has been so gracious and loving because the will be having a girl in September and the pregnancy has been uneventful.  The second, my youngest sister was diagnosed with lung cancer. She has undergone chemotherapy and removal of the lower half of her right lung with additional chemotherapy after the removal. She completed her treatments this week.  As you may remember, rheumatoid arthritis is a constant companion for me, however, on the mission my pain has been very manageable which is a tremendous blessing.  

There is nothing we have ever done in our lives to compare with the joy, heartache and hard work of a senior mission.  We recommend it to every couple when finance and health allow. The joy of seeing these sweet missionaries enter the mission with trepidation and watch as they mature, come closer to the Lord and blossom into these marvelous young men and women who accomplish miraculous things.  The joy of seeing this mission growing in numbers, numbers of missionaries we serve, numbers of baptisms each month, numbers of inactive members being reactivated and numbers of potential members attending church each week. This is due to these young diligent, righteous, obedient servants working to Gather Israel.   Realizing we are the part of this mission that supports these efforts is fulfilling and awe inspiring. The heartache of seeing some of these sweet young men and women struggle and eventually go home early, the disappointment they feel with themselves is just overwhelming. The heartache is real when we are saying good bye to these valiant young men and women as they head home to resume their lives, education and find their eternal companions.  The hard work is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Not knowing from day to day what our next opportunity to serve will be can be create angst and challenges as well as blessings and inspiration. 

The Lord in His wisdom and love created this Church organization to bring His children home.  We are grateful and honored to serve in helping to accomplish His mission. The Gathering of Israel is happening and we have been privileged to play a part in this great cause.  Please know that we appreciate your support in helping us reach our goal of serving a mission and are indebted to each of you for your encouragement, example and friendship.

Catching up and catching fish

It’s been quite a while since I posted, so we have some catching up to do. Speaking of catching, when I was on my first mission back in 1971-73 to the Cumorah Mission in upstate New York, I only went fishing one time, and that was towards the end of my mission. Yes we played golf a couple of times, but most preparation days we spent cleaning our apartment, doing laundry and visiting dairy farms to obtain free milk. But here in Colorado, I’ve had the opportunity to go fishing frequently. One of the missionaries’ quarters we rent is located in the basement of a home out in the country off Baseline Road in Boulder. The member who rents to the mission has several alpaca, lots of Canada geese and a large fishing pond. I take the Elders fishing there frequently. This week it was the Zone Leaders from Arvada. We each caught a fish even though we could only fish for about an hour.

Jeremiah 16:16 “Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the Lord, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks. Jeremiah 16:16 “

The Missionaries truly are fishers, fishers of men. Hunting down and gathering Israel here in the latter-days. God has been blessing our efforts here and it’s a good feeling to see the success that is happening in this part of the Lord’s vinyard.

We have a tremendous mission President. Henry Scott Savage and his sweet wife, Cindi are terrific leaders. They are led by inspiration and have really hastened the work, especially in the last few months. Our missionaries are being invited into homes more frequently and almost 100 of those whom they teach are attending church every week. It’s really exciting to see the work they are doing and the results of their efforts, thanks be to God.

Since it’s been so long since we posted, and since a photo is worth 1000 words, I thought I’d post a few photos taken over the last few months to show what we’ve been up to.

Anyway, Betty and i have had a terrific few months, it’s been a lot of work, but we’v had plenty of fun too. More on the next blog…

Choices, choices, choices…

The last few weeks (actually almost 2 months) have been rather busy. I had to choose whether to add to the blog or to work on housing our missionaries…so the blog went without being updated. That’s what choices are about, making decisions between good, better and best, not always between bad and good.

In the latter part of March, we attended a concert performance of “The Lamb of God” by the Colorado Mormon Chorale and Orchestra. We just happened to run into a few other Senior Missionary couples there at the Newman Center for the Performing Arts on the Denver University Campus. From left to right: Kenneth and Patricia Harker, Linda and Michael Harper, me, Betty, Sherri and Mark Petersen.

In early April, we asked permission from President Savage to fly to Houston for Conference weekend, and he allowed us to do so. Some photos of our visit with our son, John Gilbert, Stuart & Christy and their 3 boys are below.

We sure enjoyed spending a few days with our posterity, and watching Conference. After we returned, it snowed a few more times.

We’re now enjoying some wonderful spring weather. The prairie dogs and the geese are all over the place. The little prairie dogs stand on their hind legs on their dirt mounds and warm themselves in the sunshine.

I’ve got more ground to cover, but again, there are choices and the best thing I can do right now postpone the completion of this blog until later. Ok, later turned out to be much longer than I intended. More on the next blog.

Transfers this week and Micah Andrew Weenig gets Baptized in JH

A couple weeks ago we flew to Jackson Hole to attend the birthday celebration and baptism of our grandson, Micah A. Weenig.

Micah and his big brother, Elijah before the baptism.

We flew up to Jackson Hold on a Saturday and immediately went to a park nearby that had a nice sledding hill. Everyone enjoyed frolicking in the snow and because many of Andrea’s family, the Smiths were there it was truly a barrel of fun!

That’s me behind Betty in the my green “Kermit hat”. Here’s another photo of Micah at the sled hill:

Micah Andrew Weenig on the day before he was baptized.

Here’s Betty walking to Andy and Andrea’s house after we arrived.

Betty and her Scotland bag.

They have had more snow in Jackson Hole this year than any winter in the last 28 years.

Smiths and Weenigs after the baptism.

The baptism was held Sunday, here we are with the Matt and Julianne Smith family and Andy’s family except Luna who couldn’t be found.

Elijah Weenig at Kincaid Park in Anchorage

Our Grandson, Elijah competed in the Cross Country Junior National competition this week in Anchorage. He was part of the Intermountain team and did very well in all the events in which he was entered. Here’s another picture:

Elijah in the relay race Saturday, March 16

We’re very proud of Elijah. His mother was able to go to Anchorage too, here’s a photo of the Betty, Elijah and Andrea at the airport in Denver where they made their connecting flight to Alaska.

Last weekend, I went for a walk on the many hiking/bike trails near our apartment here in Westminster. I couldn’t resist posting this photo of some of the artwork painted on the side of one of the pedestrian underpasses.

So, yesterday was my birthday and St. Patrick’s day. We enjoyed attending our Sacrament meeting here in the Hidden Lake Ward and in Sunday School class we were introduced again. We came home after choir practice and enjoyed a terrific roast beef and rice dinner with cat head biscuits which Betty prepared afterwards I took a nap. Three of our sons, and 3 of our grandsons telephoned to wish me a happy birthday. We also heard from our sister missionaries who are serving in our ward, they sang happy birthday over the phone. The zone leaders from Denver North also called and sang happy birthday to me and each one shared an Elder Weenig memory, which was cool.

Elders Nyfeler, Kim and McMullens

We had transfers this week and were expecting 12 new missionaries to join our ranks. However, because of the record-breaking blizzard also known as a “Bomb Cyclone” aka explosive cyclogenesis which occured Wednesday (the day they were to arrive) and therefore they didn’t get here until Friday. Our new missionary orientation had to be postponed until Saturday. Here’s a photo of President and Sister Savage giving instructions and encouragement during the orientation meeting, March 16.

Elders Bushman, Daniel Smith (new missionary) and Mulleneaux

And above is a photo of one of the new missionaries, Elder Daniel Smith.

So our mission continues to be an experience of transfers, snow, blizzards, travel, challenges and joy. We are thankful to be able to travel to see our children and grandchildren. We are excited by every baptism but it is extra special when it is one of your posterity.

We love it here in Colorado even when it snows.

Last Sunday we were invited to break bread with the Crookston family (see photo below)

They are a great family in our Ward and the venison stew and home made bread was delicious! The sister missionaries in our Ward also were there.

It’s been snowing some more. And we took some photos last Saturday.

This is the driveway and garage to our apartment.

You can see our truck in the garage. The other photo was of a couple bags of garbage.

We moved the mission furnishings storage to a new facility last week. Consolidated two units into one larger one.

A few of our talented Missionaries are staging a multi-media musical performance all over the Mission this month. It’s called “Meet the Missionaries”. It’s for everyone. If you’re in the area, be sure you see it. One of the numbers is “I hope they call me on a mission” in bossa Nova style. Lots of beautiful music, song and a great script.

It’s snowing again today, but we are flying to Jackson Hole, WY to attend our grandson Micah Andew Weenig’s baptism.

The Lord is blessing our family because of our service here. The truth of the Gospel is like the snow. It covers our lives with beauty and provides living water for all.

Prairie Dogs, Colorado Temples, second hand furniture, snow and ice

Besides all the Canada Geese, we also see a lot of prairie dogs here in Westminster, CO. It is very interesting to see an empty field with hundreds of prairie dog mounds scattered all over the place. On a sunny day, they pop out of the ground and warm themselves in the sunshine. Prairie dog sunbathers! A couple more photos of prairie dogs are below.

Saturday is our “P” day which stand for Preparation. We try to clean the apartment, do our wash, and shopping and prepare for the week to come. It’s also our free time to pursue recreational activities etc. Last Saturday I got up before 5 a.m. and drove to the Fort Collins Temple. I was able to do work for my ancestors: Pieter Rietveld and Jan Smit. While there I also assisted a sweet sister from North Dakota with some work for her Sioux ancestors, including Harris Yellow Cloud who was born in the in the 1800’s. It was a special experience.

Betty stayed home and did laundry and rearranged things in our apartment. She was worn out and just wanted to relax on our P day. Since I’m responsible for housing in the mission, I shopped for some used furniture for the missionaries and moved some furniture last weekend. The black dresser in the photo above is one that I moved to our apartment. We have a furniture dolly and that helps. The 3rd floor apartment I moved it from had an elevator so that also made it easier. I also moved several box springs and mattresses during a snowstorm this week.

On Sunday we attended our assigned ward, the Hidden Lake Ward in the Westminster Stake. Here’s a photo of our meetinghouse and also a photo of our apartment complex from a distance.

We had snow and ice again this week. It is treacherous to drive in it, is beautiful to look at.

Betty writes: We experienced our first transfer week.  What an experience!  The President shifted many missionaries around.  We sent 6 missionaries home and got 20 newbies.  So now we have 186 missionaries in our mission and 14 senior couples.  Robert was going crazy trying to find beds for all the new missionaries. We had to purchase 10 new twin beds and get new apartments and get the apartments furnished.  He got very little sleep for a couple of days.  He says he will be more prepared next time.  

I had to get all the bedding and equip the kitchen and baths.  I had to do orientation when I was never oriented.  I just let them ask questions and gave them some info about mail, commissary and other things.  I think I will be more prepared next time as well.  

Robert and I have been talking about when we complete this mission doing a service mission.  These wonderful people we work with live at home and work in the mission office.  It is really a perfect fit for people who want to stay active yet not leave home.  

We love working in the Mission office and the wonderful people we work with. The Gospel is true and Jesus Christ offers us the opportunity to change our lives and serve Him through service to others.

Snow, snow and more snow!

Well, we’ve been here for almost 3 weeks now and it has snowed every few days since our arrival.  We love to see the snow as it covers everything making it look like a “marshmallow world in the winter” as the song goes.  It does, however make it difficult at times to get to the Mission office but we’re adjusting and getting used to driving on ice and snow.  The two photos below were taken at our office about a week apart.  Sun and snow.

There is one thing which we found surprising: the great number of Canada geese we see everywhere.

Geese
Canada Geese in Broomfield

The other day, Elder Etherington and I were unloading some furnishings from the mission truck and a flock of Canada geese flew overhead.  Just as I was looking up, one of them dropped a bomb (goose poop) on me and hit my shirt.  What a nice way to initiate me to the mission field!

Last Friday, we said goodbye to Elder Mark Etherington and his wife, Sister Patty Etherington.  They have been serving here for the last 12 months and we are expected to fill their shoes in the Mission Office.  They have been training us in our responsibilities for the last few weeks and now they are returning home to Morgan, Utah.  Below is a photo of Betty and I with the Etheringtons.  We already miss them.

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As for the work in the mission office, Betty is finding it somewhat tasking, with all the packages and mail the missionaries receive. not to mention the mountain of Church material that must be sorted and delivered to them every week.  She enlists the help of the Elders when they are around, and I help when I’m available, but lately seems I’ve been tied up finding housing and the furnishings required to make the apartments functional.

So, even though we have experienced lots of snow, we’re enjoying a warm welcome from the people we meet everywhere, and we love the work and enjoy helping gather Israel in as we’ve been asked to do.