Yearly Archives: 2006


09 December 2006

Our first day of Welfare/Humanitarian training. Basically all we did was meet with the Alsops for a couple of hours. For the third time each of us took some time to tell a little about us and where we were going. As I heard the stories about how each couple got their calls, other missions they had been on, and their thought about going, I was once again impressed with the great power of the couples the Lord is sending out to do his work. The Alsops also spoke about the three missions they have been on and how each were calls that came before they put in their papers.

We were done by 10:00 and we came home long enough to get our temple clothes and then went to a session. The Alsops and the Nelsons from our group were there. The Nelsons were selected as the witness couple and we all were in the circle. They asked for set apart Provo temple workers and I raised my hand. It was later I remembered that my letter released me as of November 1 – but I am sure the Lord forgave me. I did not realize the afternoon shift was so short handed. But it seems reasonable since you are tied up each Saturday from about 11:00 to 5:00 which cuts way down on what you can do.

We came home and took naps. In the evening the Alexanders took us to Red Lobster for dinner. We ate much too much food but I am pretty sure it is the last time we will eat there for at least 18 months. 


08 December 2006 – Friday

Our last day of regular training. The first half was quite good because we practiced helping new and less-active members. Our visit was to a woman who had not ever been active in her life. She got baptized because her mother went to relief-society. She was a pretty good volunteer and we were able to adapt our message to fit her needs. I did not feel it was great but adequate. The afternoon training was working with Ward and Stake Leaders and for anyone who had been in leadership positions, nothing new was introduced. However I am sure that the sisters probably learned from the lesson.

The best part of the day for me was the language training. We had a productive meeting with sister Tippetts and when it was done all those who were taking language training met together for a very short testimony meeting. I gave mine in Indonesian and as promised by sister Tippetts I could feel the spirit. So now I know that I can go and bear testimony of the gospel and the people will be able to feel as well as hear my words. It was very important to me.


The morning program was about the Book of Mormon and was taught by Ed Pinegar. He started by having us tell about who we were, where we were from and where we were going. It seems that he personally knew people to say hello to in about half of the missions. He then went through the ‘Great Questions of the Soul’ and the Book of Mormon. As he spoke I realized that it was what I just did not know the Book of Mormon well enough to use it as an effective tool in Preaching the Gospel.

He mentioned that if you read 5 pages a day that you could read the Book of Moron three times a year. I decided I needed to do that. I also decided to get a new set of smaller scriptures – the ones I have now is much too heavy.

The afternoon session included taking calls at the call center. I took two calls and both times the caller agreed to have the missionaries bring the article. It was not that I was really good, it was just that I was lucky.

Next we role played as missionaries and then less active so we could get the feeling of working with less actives. The couple who acted as less active for us was great. The sister was perfect – I do not think we had anyone better in the two years we were at the TRC. I thought we did pretty good but we still have lots to do. Of course in a real situation we would take time to get acquainted before we would start in bringing the gospel.

I also thought we were quite good as inactives. Of course since we had actually had some experience at this, it was not too hard. All in all it was a good day.

After dinner we went to the bookstore and got in by the skin of our teeth. I bought a new Quad so I could start reading the Book of Mormon tonight.

Sister Tippett had something to do so we had the evening off. But by the time we got home we were beat so about all we did was come home, watch a little TV and fall into bed. I did read 10 pages from 1st Nephi.


Since it was intake day, we had to go early to get a good parking space in the lot next to the MTC. We had time to eat breakfast with the missionaries.

Today’s lesson was on preparing to teach a lesson on the Plan of Salvation. The sister today was much better but I did not think we taught as well. I did not really feel the spirit. It was rather disappointing.

I just realized I forgot one of the most important thing about yesterday. We got our tickets changed to the 19th. I went to the MTC travel office and they let me call Salt Lake. The sister there was very nice and I told her I would be happy to pay any difference in the cost between the tickets they bought and the ones I had reserved. I told her the Mission President would be happy to have us on the 21st instead of the 31st. She put me on hold and went to her supervisor. I had already decided that if they would not approve it than we were not supposed to be there until the 1st of the year.When she came back she said that it was approved, that I did not need to pay any difference. However I would have to buy the tickets – I had already put them on reserve – and they would cut me a check. So I went on line and bought the tickets.

The second part of this was that the Kanes decided that even though they had a daughter and her family in the area, they did not want to wait until the 29th. So today – Wednesday – they called and asked the people to please try to get them out earlier. It turned out that SL somehow got them on our flight.

Unfortunately it seems that Elder Kane and myself hurt the feelings of the head of the MTC travel office and she was not at all happy with us for basically taking over the travel department’s job and going over her head. While I do not think we did anything to put her down, I am sorry that she was offended.

After dinner, we had a two hour language lesson with Sister Tippett. She reviewed some things we already knew and a couple of other things. It was a good lesson. One of the things I have been trying to do is learn to bear my testimony. I explained to sister Tippett that I could say the world but I did not feel them. She promised me that if I would keep trying and bear it to others the spirit would come.

We got home about 8:30 and was in bed by 9:30. I am not use to not having a nap sometime during the day. But I have not fallen asleep in any meeting.

Week One

I have been really bad about writing in this blog. I can use the excuse that when we get home from the MTC we are so tired that I just can not find time to write, but of course Marie Seimers took that excuse away from me 40 years ago.

It is true that we were very tired each day, but we found time to sit down and watch some TV and study Indonesian. That is enough repenting…now on with the show.

Tuesday was the real start of training. It started at 8:00 with a lesson on ‘The Message of the Restoration’ lesson. We learned how to give a 3-5 minute lesson – what we might do with someone we met on the bus, etc. I think we did quite well with this one. Next we spent two periods putting together a 45 minute lesson with each companion taking alternate parts. The highlight of this for me was working with our afternoon teacher. He wanted to check out how we were doing and so I taught him. I was able to feel the spirit as we taught and even came up with Jacob 2 to answer one of his questions.

I did not think the teaching with ‘investigator’ went as well. This was mainly because the volunteer talked too much. I know this could actually happen when we are in the field but the purpose of the practice was to allow us to teach. We were familiar with this problem of a volunteer taking up too much time. When we were running the program we used to tell them that they should speak about 20% of the time and allow the missionaries to use the rest. But even with that problem I think we did fairly well and by the end I was again feeling the spirit as we bore testimony.

The next step was getting our last two shots. One for polio and the last shot in the hepatits series. The nurse was really good and the needles are small so it was over in a minute -after waiting 25 for our turn.

 After dinner we went to the devotional. The senior missionaries get to sit near the front. Bishop Edgley of the Presiding Bishopric and his wife were the speakers. Sister Edgley showed a picture of an apple and a real apple. She said one was the image and the other was the real thing. She mentioned that just going to church was the image of a righteous LDS, but it was only when we were truly involved with our complete heart and mind that we are truly LDS. She said the same thing about missionaries – just wearing a tag and going on a mission does not mean that a person is truly a missionary. It is only when we are giving 100% that we can truly say we are missionaries.

Bishop Edgly told a number of stories one funny was the thought that we should call young missionaries when they are 16. At that age they know everything and their mothers will not cry when they drop them off at the MTC. He said that Boyd Packer figured out he was Nobody – until was given a calling. I am a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He siad in missionary work, faith is the power, obedience is the price, love is the reason and Christ is the message. It was a great experience and I look forward to next weeks devotional.



 I found our first day at the MTC interesting if not exciting and one problem popped up very early on. We checked in at about 9:50 – among the first group to arrive. After a short wait we were given a packet that contained a number of things, including my license to teach the Gospel and our travel plans. We were shocked to find that instead of heading out on the 18th as we thought, we were scheduled to leave on the 29th! Since we have already arranged for many things to shut down or be shifted on the 18th, I asked where we could see what happened and was directed to the travel office. We could not go right away because we had more processing to take care of but after getting our name tags, had our health records checked, etc., we found time to drop into travel.

The nice folks there called Salt Lake to see why we had been changed but the woman who handled our reservations was not in so we must go back tomorrow. They thought it had something to do with holiday travel. When we later came home, I sent an email to the mission president asking if the change was from his end or if travel had made the change. He wrote back saying that Travel said there were no flights from the 13th to 29th. I could not believe that so I got online and made reservations – non-binding of course – for flights on both the 18th and 19th. Tomorrow I will check in with Travel and see if it is OK for us to leave on one of them. Of course the mission president must also agree but I would think that there should be no reason we could not come then.

After a nice lunch we started the meetings. First we were greeted by the MTC president and one of his councilors. The one comment that I found worth recording was that it was good to see us ready to go out and serve the Lord instead of sitting at home watching our birth certificates expire. Part of the introduction was to have each couple or single sister stand and give their name, where they were from, where they were going and what was their assignments, and how many missions they had served. About half – including us – had been on one or more previous missions. One single sister was going out for her fourth. Among those coming in today the earth was pretty well covered. We – and the Kanes who are also going to Indonesia – were going the furthest but there were also couples going to Croatia and Russia.

 The other major part of our training was about how to stay healthy in third world countries – over half of the missionaries are going to one of them. The main point was do not drink, cook or put in your mouth any water that has not been boiled or come from commercially sealed bottles. I am rather glad we sent a package of water purification products to the mission home.

We finished with the day’s training by 4:15 which gave us time to go to the pharmacy to pick up Mary’s prescriptions before we had dinner. Our 35% came to over $1500 – which means that the insurance company picked up the tab for about $3000. Since we are paying $250 a month for insurance, the first year’s premiums were recovered before we even left.

After dinner we came home and watched Extreme Makeover and the Christmas Devotional. I kept falling asleep during the devotional and before it was over I came upstairs to see what other flights I could find to Indonesia on the 18th or 19th. The best one I found – and the cheapest leaves at 9:30 at night and we only have about 4 hours of waiting between the other two flights.

Bob called and we set up Skype. I found out the reason we ended up with static last night was because the plug to the mike got tweaked. When I straightened it up it worked fine. Gordon Creer called and gave me a couple of names at travel who might help us get out earlier.

Tonight we are studying the first chapter in Preach My Gospel about being a better missionary and also the first lesson. Tomorrow we will have a couple of chances to knock on doors and try our approach. I will try to remembe what I always told the missionaries in the MTC – it is not so much what you say but the spirit that you say it with.

Day One

Our mission – Day one….Sunday 03 December 2006 – I am not sure if today or tomorrow is the first day of our mission but since less than an hour ago we were set apart as full-time missionaries, I am assuming that like the Jewish day, it starts at sunset.– I am not sure if today or tomorrow is the first day of our mission but since less than an hour ago we were set apart as full-time missionaries, I am assuming that like the Jewish day, it starts at sunset.We had a nice gathering for our setting apart. Bob and his family came, Lynn Wardle our home teacher, bishop Pletsch and Paul Jamison of the bishopric were here (Matt was on his way to NY), Daniel and Becky, and Brian. President Esplin represented the Stake Presidency and set us apart. Tom and Jim’s family heard a small part of it via Skype.

President Esplin presided and asked for me to choose someone to offer an opening prayer. I asked Lynn to do this. I feel strongly about the power of the home teacher to bless our home. He then was asked to give a short message and he spoke about his relation with our family and that we would have many experiences. Bishop Pletsch spoke and commented on our work in the ward. He said he felt we could do anything we were asked to do. He also mentioned that he felt strongly that by not tying Father’s hand we had opened our selves up for maximum blessings. President Esplin spoke and also mentioned that he had found that those who left it up to the Lord as to where they were called were usually the best missionaries.

Mary was set apart first. The president told her that she was set apart from the cares of the world. Also that she would need to speak out and preach the gospel.

Then I was set apart. I tried hard to remember the things that he said but most of them were quickly lost. The one point he made – and he said it in some form or another was that besides whatever else I was asked to do by those in authority, I was to teach the gospel. About the third time he said this, I felt the spirit confirm his blessing.

He blessed both of us with the gift of tongues so that we could do all that the Lord had for us to do. He promised us that we would touch the lives of many people and that we would not know all the good we did. He blessed us with health and protection of angels while we served. He mentioned that our family would be blessed – our children and grandchildren. He said something along the line that our success would grow as our relationship grew.

After we were set apart president Esplin asked for comments about the blessings. Shane said that we were an example to him. Brian seems to have been touched by the spirit and had tears in his eyes. I think Bob did also – at least when his mother was set apart.

All in all it was a spiritual experience but the true significance has not yet set in for me. I do not feel any difference. But that is not unusual – I can not remember feeling different after any setting apart. Only that I have been given rights and responsibilities that I did not have before. I find the Lord’s yoke always easy to put on, even if later I find the burden rather heavy.

I am just very glad that Bob and his family could make it. I really wish Cindy could have been here and that Jim and Tom’s could have heard what was said. But that is OK because we felt all their spirits here with us.



And the days dwindle down…

As we drove to the lawyer’s office this morning, I realized that in 73 hours we would be checking in at the MTC to start our mission. As I write this it is now down to 62 hours. I imagine we should be running around getting things ready, but instead Mary is watching ‘Polar Express’ and I am recording some new music from the web.

Earlier we went to the movies with the Alexanders – Deja Vu – and then to the ward Christmas party. Other than that it has been mainly studying Indonesian.

I do have some things that need to be done – including checking to see if the sale of the apartments over on Main street is going along without any problem. I imagine we would have heard from the buyers it things were not OK. Also there are some things that need to be done on the BYU rentals. But all in all I think things are pretty much under control.

 I am going to ask Mike, Bob, and Tom to not tell us any problems unless they are really something they can not work out between them. I do not want to have anything from home interfere with what we are doing in Indonesia.

I would be happy to get on the plane and head for Indonesia tomorrow. I do not seem to be worried at all. However I am sure when the time really comes to head for the airport, the reality of it all will set in.


It is about 8 a.m. and I am looking out my window at the snow covered landscape. Frosted trees, white blanketed deck and yard, Cline Black’s snow shingled roof. Soon this sight will just be a memory to think about in the heat and humidity of Indonesia.

 Last night I went to serve in the temple for the last time before we leave. It was mentioned that it would be my last time and some of the brothers asked me about the mission and wished me well.

 I had the opportunity to officiate in one of the sessions and it went very well, except at the very end I was thinking too much about the fact that it was my last session and got up too early. So I went out saying maaf-maaf in my mind. The rest of the evening went by quickly and it was not long before I was helping my last parton. Then all I had to do was change and carry out my suit bag which will hang in the closet until I get home.

 Earlier in the day we had our lesson with sister Tippets and I realized that I have a pretty good idea about the how Indonesian is constructed and it is my limited vocabulary that is really holding me back. However I continue to believe that there is a reason for us to learn Indonesian well enough to communicate with the Indonesian people. Therefore I will try hard to reach that point and trust that the Lord will help me when it is needed.

 I have not written about the family gathering for Thanksgiving. I guess that is because they were here and therefore know how wonderful it was. I know I will miss each of them but I also know that what we are doing will help our family. They will know that we have strong testimonies of the gospel and that we are going on this mission to share the blessings the Lord has given to us.

I am really not worrying about what will happen to our earthly goods while we are gone. I am sure that our family will take care of things for use. However, other than the family, nothing is being left behind that is not replaceable.

 I just looked up and did a double take because it looked like there was a huge snow covered mountain range at the South end of the valley. It took a couple of seconds to realize it was nothing more than a cloud bank. I tried to take a picture but it could not capture the effect. Even as I write this the clouds have moved and the ‘range’ is quickly disappearing.

 It is very cold today – sangat dingin hari ini. It is not supposed to get above freezing. In Jakarta at 9 at night it is 81.

We just got a call from brother and sister Hash who are going to the Indonesia and are now in the MTC. We are going to try and see them on Thursday night. I think they are going to the area we would have gone to if our mission had not been changed. After talking to them I am a little disappointed that we are staying in Jakarta. But I am sure it was the Lord’s desire that it is working out this way.

Yesterday in the temple I spoke with a brother who with his wife has served missions in the South Pacfic and Egypt. In the Pacific they served on an island that was about 100 yard wide and 30 miles long. It had one road running down the middle. They worked for CES and made a major difference in the five branches on the island. As I listened I realized that the Lord expects us to be inspired to do as much as we can to build up the kingdom. Just as in any calling we need to give the full two mites to receive all the blessings.


Calling a Counselor

When I was bishop of Redondo III, one of my first counselors told me he was moving. As I started to think and pray about a new counselor, I was inspired to call my ward financial clerk, Lewis Cobabe.

Lewis had been the original bishop of RIII and also the Stake President. He was known to be a little sharp at time and also tended to use profanity at work. However Lewis and I got along well, the spirit was telling me he was the correct choice, and so I took the name to the stake presidency for approval.

 When I told them who I felt the Lord wanted, they were all shocked. All of them had worked with Lewis and infact the stake president had been one of his counselors. The second counselor had been in the stake high council when Lewis was president. Each of them gave me some good reasons why they did not think Lewis would make a good counselor. One told me that he did not work well with youth and as second counselor he would be over the YM and YW program. Another suggested he was not very good as a follower. They also brought up the fact that he had served both as bishop and stake president and wondered how this would affect how he served. I told them that I was aware of most of Lewis’ attributes – good and bad – but since I was sure he was the Lord’s choice, I still thought he was to be my counselor so they said they would consider my choice.

After the meeting I started thinking about what they had said and so I went to the Lord and asked for further confirmation, but none came. Over the next few weeks I heard from the stake president that they were still considering the calling and each at times expressed their doubts. Although I had no new spiritual confirmation, I continued to back Lewis as the Lord’s choice, and finally they agreed. With some surprise Lewis accepted the calling and he was to be sustained the next Sunday.

All during this time I was praying and telling the Lord that if I had misunderstood about Lewis, I could still make a change. Nothing came from the prayers. I continued praying about this through the Sunday morning and even into the sacrament meeting. Nothing! Finally it got to the time when the president was getting up to make the change.

At that time as clearly as if He was speaking to me, I was told that yes Lewis was the Lord’s choice. And then the Lord told me that in the future when He had given me an answer to pray through the spirit, that I was not to bother Him again about the same subject.

I learned a great lesson that day and Lewis proved to be one of the best counselors I had while I was bishop. We shared a major experience of building a new chapel and I will tell about that another day.