Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

We had a fun Thanksgiving with many of the senior missionaries in Big Rapids today. None of us knew quite what to do with just an assignment to bring, rather than preparing an entire Thanksgiving dinner. But we somehow managed with the extra time and energy that afforded us, and had a fun day of feasting, creating a new Christmas decoration, playing games, and visiting. It's not nearly so hard to be away from family when we have good friends to spend the holiday with.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Baptism Day!

We recently had a very special day with a gentleman we've been teaching for awhile, Russell Lincoln. Russ was baptized on November 15th, and Ron was able to perform that sacred ordinance. It was an especially sweet experience as we participated with this kind man who has physical disabilities that necessitate being in a wheelchair. A baptism that was very challenging worked out beautifully as we witnessed many special miracles. We are so grateful to have the privilege of being friends with Brother Lincoln. This is a day we will long remember.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Homeward Bound

We've found that music often portrays our feelings better than words can express. When we listened to 'Homeward Bound' on a Tabernacle choir CD, in many ways it said what we are feeling:

In the quiet misty morning when the moon has gone to bed,
When the sparrows stop their singing and the sky is clear and red,
When the summer's ceased its gleaming, when the corn is past its prime,
When adventure's lost its meaning, I'll be homeward bound in time.
Bind me not to the pasture; chain me not to the plow.
Set me free to find my calling and I'll return to you somehow.

If you find it's me you're missing, if you're hoping I'll return, To your thoughts I'll soon be listening, in the road I'll stop and turn.
Then the wind will set me racing as my journey nears its end, and the path I'll be retracing when I'm homeward bound again.
Bind me not to the pasture; chain me not to the plow.
Set me free to find my calling and I'll return to you somehow.

And so, our mission journey nears its end. We have less than 4 weeks left in Michigan, and the path to home we'll soon be retracing. The sacrifice of our children and family, in some instances, has been great. But they 'set us free to find our calling' and we'll return to them somehow. What a special journey it has been. Filled with challenges and growth, great joy and love. It has not been easy. We suppose it was not intended to be. Kind of like our journey through life. And when that journey is near its end, we know these years will be treasured, never to be forgotten ones.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Season of Gratitude

The past few months we've enjoyed many special blessings. This verse from Alma sums up our feelings “…live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you.” Alma 34:38

It's nearly impossible to make a list of our blessings, but here are some we're especially grateful for:

Wonderful missionaries who have become our substitute children, our forever friends, our heroes and examples of what is good and right in the world

Heavenly assitance in the Mission Office helping us do things we do not know how to do and giving us energy we did not know we could have

Celebrating the 36th anniversary of our marriage in the mission field, and being too busy to really celebrate, but being okay with that

Despite all her problems, our wonderful land of America, and so many who have and continue to sacrifice for our freedom and safety

Daily uplifting and spiritually nourishing morning devotionals with our office staff

Recognizing now more than ever, that Heavenly Father knows and loves His children, and hears and answers prayers

Our wonderful, faithful children, who have become our truest best friends, and who are trying so hard to do and be their very best each day

Precious grandchildren who add sparkle and laughter to every conversation, and the announcement of a baby granddaughter to join our family in February ‘09

Missionary miracles – they are everywhere, and testify of heavenly help in the details of our lives

Less active members finding their way back to our Heavenly Father and activity in the Church, and so many seeking for something better in their lives, and finding it in the gospel of Jesus Christ

Observing the faithfulness and sacrifice of senior and younger missionaries serving around the world

Our children’s wonderful blogs that keep us connected with home and family

Webcams, telephones and emails – the modern miracles of senior missionary service

Zone conferences filled with learning, growth, insight and goodness

Safety in stormy weather travel

Appreciating the watchful care, love, and concern of President and Sister Jones for their missionaries and participating as the work goes forward in our mission

The blessings and power of the priesthood - amazing and life changing

Beautiful Fall days and cool Fall evenings and seasons of change

Wonderful members of the Church being 'examples of the believer' as they try to do their best every day in following the Savior

Family visits, phone calls, emails, and packages from home

General Relief Society meeting and General Conference – remarkable men and women providing spiritual insight and direction for our journey on earth

The baptism yesterday of a gentleman we've been teaching, and the miracles that were involved in that

Coming to understand better what life is all about, and what really is most important

Monday, November 3, 2008

Autumn in MIchigan #2

Dinner at our house with some of the best!
We're on the Departure Board :(
Elder Lopez headed home
Elder Brinton celebrating "hump day" - his half mission mark
Sweet friend Sister Rogers serving with us in the Mission Office
Ever faithful, wonderful Sister Fredline serving in the Mission Office
Let's eat!
Elder Brinton and Hermonatt - serving with us in St Johns
Sister power #2