Monthly Archives: June 2008

15 June 2008

15 June 2008 – Sunday

I actually slept fairly well so it was a shock when the alarm went off at 5:30. We reported to the High Council this morning. Along with another couple who had served at the MTC, a young sister who served in Atlanta, and a young man who served in Honduras. It just shows the power of the stake to have 6 missionaries reporting their missions on the same day. I did not feel comfortable about what I said – how do you report 18 months of amazing experiences in 5 minutes?

I felt good and was sure that the nasty cough was gone. I tried to sleep between our early report and going to the 8th ward to speak but I failed. So instead I decided to write a talk – or perhaps it would be better to say that I decided to write some talking points. I first thought I would try to do “My mission in five minutes,” but that did not work out. So I ended up with “Five Things I Learned on My Mission.”

1. The Lord knows where I needed to serve. I included the thought that we teach young members “I’ll go where you want me to go” but when we get older that many decide that we know better where we should serve than the Lord does.

2.  I really do belong to the Household of God – a Fellow Citizen with the Saints. (Ephesians 2:19) That no matter what branch we went to, we were immediately accepted and felt welcomed.

3.  My Mission was more about learning than about teaching. I learned to have more patience, more faith, and to listen to the Lord. I learned from the leaders and the members on what it means to be faithful in adversity. That you do not need lots of money to be happy.

4.  There are no sacrifices in serving a mission. (Mosiah 2:24)

5.  Missions are like potato chips – one is not enough. Home is a wonderful place to visit between missions.

We arrived at the 8th Ward just in time to hear the Primary choir sing Father’s Day songs. I remembered it was Father’s Day earlier but it had slipped my mind. It seems to have slipped lots of minds.

The two youth talks were very good – brother and sister different in a good way. They had a very good PH choir sing as an interlude. Mary spoke on a number of things and when I looked at the time I could use and still leave the High Councilman adequate time, I cut my talk down to 3 points (1, 4 and 5) but managed to work 2 in by taking 2 minutes more. The talk felt good and hopefully it at least stirred up a couple of those who are still thinking up reasons to stay home.

Just as the last speaker was finishing up, I got a coughing fit and had to rush out. For the next hour or so I fought a losing fight with my cough. I left SS class and then left Sacrament. It was not fun in the least. I ended up listening to Sacrament meeting from the stage and then the foyer. I was afraid of going into the chapel. It was Taylor Barrett’s home coming and he did a great job using stories about members and experiences to get his message across without preaching. He did even better than I did. A mission is such a powerful experience that it is impossible to tell anyone who has not been on one what it is like. I am not sure that you can even explain to someone who went on a mission when they were young what it is like to be a senior couple.



14 June 2008

14 June 2008 – Saturday

What started as a questionable day ended up being a very good one. What made it work was a visit by our neighbor Nathan Tanner who had volunteered to help me take my yard debris to the dump. I explained to him that I had not slept last night and thought it would be best if we put it off for a week. He said that although he had some church work to attend to this morning, he and his boys would be happy to clean up for me.

I took him on a tour of the yard and showed him what needed to be removed. While we walked he told me about himself and how his father had created a business to teach his four sons how to work. He want to teach his children the same. He told me about how he got his job at the MTC. I told him how we had pioneered the video feedback area. He surprised me by saying that they are completely re-doing the hardware – cameras, etc. Everything is going digital so it is goodbye to the VHS machines and now the missionaries can review their teaching opportunities any time they want to.

I thought I would go back to sleep, but instead I felt I should get up and work on the yard as long as I could. I ended up getting a lot done and felt good. After resting I went back a couple of times but by 3:00 I was pretty much through for the day.

I feel that the Lord has really blessed us by having the Tanners move in next door. Once we get to know them and their children I think we will become good, close neighbors.

During the day I read the PH lesson for the week about the organization of the Church in 1830. It also is about the calling of the 12 Apostles. I must confess that I have a hard time getting excited about the lessons this year.



13 June 2008

13 June 2008 – Friday

Worked in yard and it is starting to show. I gave our slide to our neighbors. Hopefully their children will get more use out of it than our grandchildren have. The day went by in a flash.

The Alexanders could not go out so we went to dinner at Macaroni Grill. We went early so the service was great – lots of hot bread. The only blip was that they were not serving fresh tomatoes so my personalized pasta was not what I would usually order.

My cold continues to dog me so I took three hot baths today because it seems to make me feel better. Unfortunately nothing was going to help tonight and the longest I slept was an hour until I finally fell asleep at about 4:30.

I figure I am continuing to learn patience and faith – two attributes I have been working on for the past 16 months. I have done what I could to get over this illness and I have to just let it run it’s course. Hopefully by Monday I will be feeling fine and can get on with visiting all the people I have not seen since we left.



12 June 2008

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This is where I spent most of my day – cleaning up this corner of the yard.

12 June 2008 – Thursday

Sometime after 4:30 I fell asleep for almost 3 hours. After breakfast I started on cleaning up the far Southeast corner of the yard. After 3 hours of pruning, weeding, raking, etc. It looks pretty good. What is interesting about this is that it is an area that only myself and the neighbors will really enjoy – Mary and the rest of the family hardly ever go up there. But I love it because it is quiet and cool even when it is really hot.

After lunch I managed a nap before heading out to work some more in the yard. While I was napping they delivered the new washing machine.

Frustration of the day – I put my gloves somewhere but a number of attempts to find them proved useless. I know they are sitting somewhere in plain sight – the problem is I have no idea where. The loss of the gloves limited what I could do for the rest of the day. I already have three wounds from getting too close to my work. Gardening can be dangerous.

As I work on a section it slowly emerges from chaos to a sense of order. In many cases the plants and weeds have grown together – in some cases it appears unchecked for a couple of years. I can well understand why – the yard is not an easy one to work. Especially the North hill and the SE corner. I spent most of the day on the SE corner and have most of it in pretty good shape. Now all I need to do is to get rid of all the debris – I will probably hire a crew to come in take it all away.

As the day goes on I work for shorter and shorter periods until I am just too tired to carry on. The cold and continual cough wipes out my strength in a couple of minutes. I decide the best thing I can do is eat some dinner, take a long, hot bath and try to go to sleep. The first two are easy but it seems too early for the latter.

Note: I stayed awake for about 30 minutes after writing the above before crashing. My body just gave up!



11 June 2008

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View from one of the windows on the loft – about 3 feet from where I am typing this.

11 June 2008 – Wednesday

All day yesterday and even part of today, I was determined that today should be Thursday. I guess I want to get the 6 months that we need to wait to go on our next mission to pass quickly. I am sure it will without me skipping days.

Still have the cold and decided to take it easy today to try and give my body a chance to work on healing. We read from the A&P but only for a short time. I just could not concentrate. I then took a short nap. We continue to clean up some of the piles we have made while unpacking. Also there are things to be moved back into our bathroom. After lunch I did a small amount of work in the yard – every little bit helps. However I was soon tired and decided to be wise and stop.

I just took the three pictures shown above from a window near this computer. I love looking over the sea of green of the scrub oak and see the varied structure of the mountains, the blue sky and a few fluffy white clouds. What a gorgeous area we live in.

How quickly time has slid by today. It is already after 5 and it seems like I just got up. We went to Costco and who should we run into – actually he almost ran over us – but Wade Peterson. He looks as good as ever and it hard to believe that they have been home for over 9 months. It does not sound like they are eager to put in their papers for another mission. They are deeply involved in working in the temple and a singing group that Carolyn has joined. It is a shame because they are just the kind of people that is so needed. We came to buy large trash bags and Kleenex but bought lots more. Oh well we have been away for 18 months and there are a lot of holes in the pantry.

After a lovely dinner of salmon, salad and garlic toast, we went to see the bishop about getting started on applying for our next mission. As soon as he sets up our applications, we can start the process. Hopefully we will have everything done so that when Shauna sees us early in July we can have the last interviews and send them in. It will be exciting to see where the Lord wants us to go.

I forgot to mention that I received an e-mail from Elder Subandriyo about an idea that he has been working on to set up a training program for members to learn how to work in TV and movies. Indonesia has a law going into effect that says no non-Indonesians can work on either after a certain date. He asked me to see if I could find some equipment and perhaps trainers that could come to Indonesia to help with the program. After some checking I talked to David Monson, the head of LDS Audio/Visual, and he sounded very open to the idea but needs a request from higher up the line of authority before he can do anything.

I sent this information to Elder Subandriyo and suggested he get Elder Packer’s approval for the program. I was greatly surprised when at about 10:45 P.M. I got a call from Elder Subandriyo and President Marchant about the program. We shared some ideas and I told him I would be happy to help any way I could.

To me this is another confirmation that the Lord sent us to Indonesia for a very special purpose and this purpose will continue long even now and for a long time to come. This was not an wonderful interlude or temporary assignment but a call to serve that will continue in some way for the rest of our lives. It is good to be needed and to serve – hopefully we can do it in a way that is pleasing to the Lord and helpful to the Saints in Indonesia.

I am writing this at 4:30 a.m. on the 12th. I woke at about 3:15 and can not stop coughing long enough to go back to sleep. I am pleased to say that while I am not thrilled with being sick, it seems to me to be another opportunity for me to learn patience and also to have faith in the Lord.



10 June 2008

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Here are some pictures from around the yard – actually the front part of our yard. The first one is looking North from the South edge of the yard. Notice the small window of blue sky that can be seen through the trees. the second picture shows the small patio area in the Southeast corner of the yard. I landscaped much of this area the summer before we left on our mission and was surprised at how much it had matured in less than 2 years. The last picture is the lower part of the front of our house. The water feature that I had to clean out is just under the window that can be seen.

10 June 2008 – Tuesday

Another terrible night – I will be glad when the cold is gone and I can sleep again. Mary woke not feeling well – she accused me of giving her my cold. I must plead guilty to the charge.

Jim’s family dropped by for about an hour to say goodbye on their way to Bob’s and then the airport for their flight home. It was of course sad to give them last hugs and send them on their way. We should see them sometime in August when we go to Chicago.

I spent almost all day working on the yard. I started with the water feature by the front door and worked my way out. Cleaning out 2 years of muck from the pond was not a lot of fun but it gave me a chance to redo the rocks and give it a better look. The small one at the back of the house was much easier to clean – at least once I got the tube unplugged. I was careful not to exhaust myself so there were plenty of rest stops throughout the day and even a nap later. I did a lot of trimming, some weeding, and some moving pots around.

When I was in the resting mode, I sat in different parts of the yard and enjoyed the view. As I sat there I realized that after my children and grandchildren, what I most wanted to get back to was my garden. I think it is going to take about 3 weeks to get it under control and I am not going to do much planting – at least not large plants. So almost all of it will be cleaning up and weeding.

I should mention that is was quite cold today. Even when it was warm in the sun, if I got into the shade, it immediately cooled off.

We got e-mail from Hendra, the Gibbons, Elder Subandriyo, and sister Hinckley over the last couple of days. Hendra says that they have improved the internet but I will believe when the Rebers tell me it is true. Elder Subandriyo asked me to follow up on a couple of programs. Sister Hinckley answered an e-mail I sent her and says that she will see us in July. The Gibbons were looking for the May report – Mary later sent it to them.

We watched NCIS and Without a Trace tonight. It did not take us long to get back into the habit of watching our favorite TV series. We occasionally watched WaT on our mission, but not regularly. Mary barely made it through WaT – she kept falling asleep and watched the last 5 minutes with her eyes half open. Unfortunately I am still coughing so much that I doubt if I will sleep well tonight.

My tender mercies for the day included being able to work for many hours. Also calling a sprinkler repair person who could immediately come over because another customer had cancelled. He cleaned the rocks out of the pipe and turned on the water so I could water the whole yard. It really needed it. There are a couple of problems and I am hoping that Bob can help get them worked out if he comes on Saturday. The greatest blessing of the day was to hold our granddaughters and see them smile.



09 June 2008

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Monday night – Pizza time. Charlotte with Jim – she did not get any pizza. Olivia did not eat much of her pizza – liked the cheese sticks. Mary sitting back watching her grandchildren. The weather was perfect on the deck.

09 June 2008 – Monday

Terrible night with little sleep – cough would not go away so I slept in 2 hour or less sections. When I got out of bed I had to put on a coat – I could not find my robe – because it was only 45 degrees. I am ready to go back to Jakarta where it is always warm.

Tom and his family and Jim’s family came over in the morning and we had a good time together until it was time for the Oregon Piers  to leave for the airport. We will go see them in late June. Kristy spent the morning out visiting her friends here.

Tom did me two great favors – he hooked up the swamp cooler and put on the new toilet seat I had bought earlier in the morning. A-top wanted $200 to turn on the cooler – I can not understand how they can charge that for such an easy process.

Later in the afternoon the rest of us went over to Sears where we bought a new washing machine. Thanks to Jim’s 10% off and basically free installation and take away, we came close to the $400 I wanted to spend. Speaking of washing, over the last few days I caught up all the laundry that Brian accumulated. It is nice to be able to walk into the laundry room. We had a quiet evening – we ordered in Pizza and just sat around talking until Jim’s family went back to their hotel.

Both of us were very tired – the cold is sapping all of my strength – so we went to bed early. It was a good day with some of our family. We will miss Olivia, Charlotte, William and Kelli but we will see them a couple of more times before we go out on our next mission.



June 8 2008

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Since I ‘lost’ my camera all day, I decided to put in some more pictures from the family get together yesterday. The only ones that need some explanation is the duck in the pool and flying away. Bob explained that since their pool cover was ruined over the winter, ducks going by find their pool a great place to stop. While I was taking pictures of Bob cooking I noticed this lone duck in the pool and snapped a picture. I tried to get closer but it took off and I was just plain lucky to catch it in mid-flight. One thing I must remember – do not swallow any water while swimming in Bob’s pool.

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I caught Shane reading one of the books he got for his birthday. I am happy to report that almost all of our grandchildren love to read. Many times I will see one of them sitting in the midst of chaos calmly reading their latest book. Now of course they are likely to have an MP3 player plugged into their ears but that is much better than the radio blaring away as we did when we were their age.

08 June 2008 – Sunday

I definitely have a cold – so far it is just a stuffed up nose and a hack but it is a cold.

I kind of killed time until we go to the chapel at 12:45. Part of the time is spent looking for my camera and belt. I look everywhere and can not find it – frustrating but perhaps it is good to show me how much I have improved in patience. Mary and I talk for a few minutes about what we are going to say and we agreed that I could have the story about the Taylors and she would talk some about the programs. I have a rough idea in my head about what I want to say.

It is fun to greet all the members we know and meet some we do not know. A number of men come up and introduce themselves. Of course there is no chance that I will remember their name. I have a hard time remembering some of the people we have known for 15 years. I am asked to bear my testimony in opening exercises and then again in High Priests. I take too much time in High Priests and Dave Blackhurst has little time for his lesson.

As usual I sat in the back and as I looked at the multitude of heads before me, I realized that except for the addition of some new people, there was little change in the view that I had 18 months ago just before we left for our mission. Gary Carlson now needs a walker but the sparkle in his eyes is the same. Bey Hutchings is still trooping on. It turned out that Joe Seathaler had been very sick but he was out today and looked great. Cline Black is the same…and on and on.

Later I realized what had changed was the youth. I do not know hardly any of them. Except for those I had in the teachers and priest quorums, there were few that I knew before we left. I will probably just get acquainted with some of them before we leave again.

For SS we go with the Alexanders to a class that is usually taught by the Griffiths but today Jeff Cottle substituted. The lesson was on Mosiah chapter 29 and the first four chapters of Alma. Basically it was about the changing of government. Jeff pointed out that we have this lesson every year that there is a presidential election. I wonder why Alma was not made the King instead of Chief Judge – I do not remember anything that would suggest that it had to be a direct descendant of Benjamin or Mosiah.

Sacrament meeting was great. Besides all our family except Brian, there was Mel Anderson, John and Fae Dahl, Daniel and Becky and the best surprise, the Rebers. As we walked into the chapel I noticed a couple sitting on the main aisle and said to myself – we know them but why – and then it came to me that it was the Rebers who we saw via Skype.

Krys Gardner and Tess Kelly were the youth speakers – Krys did an exceptionally good job of speaking about youth conference and tying it into some of his thoughts. While the sacrament was being passed, I was looking at the card we have for D&C 4 – in English and Indonesian. I noticed that in verse three where the English says ‘desires’ the Indonesian could be interpreted as ‘stirred up.’ I was inspired to use this as the opening thought of my talk.

Mary gave an excellent talk about some of the programs and people we experienced on our mission. She especially talked about the Intensive English class and Vita. My talk felt good to me from the start. I could feel the spirit reach out as I talked about that I wanted to help ‘stir up’ the members desire to serve God. As I spoke about brother Augus (who I mistakenly called brother Lucas) from Jogya and his faithfulness in bringing his family to church on their bicycle in two groupsl, the Taylors and their multitude of health problems but also their determination to serve missions as long as they are healthy, Lukito’s willingness to rearrange everything to do the Lord’s work, and finally the many faithful saints who save for much of their lives to get enough to take their family to the temple to be sealed, I could see tears in the eyes of some of the people as the spirit and not my words touched them. I felt that I was a tool in the hands of the Lord for those 15 to 20 minutes.

After the meeting we talked to a number of old friends. I was especially happy to see that sister Hoopes had recovered enough to be there and look great. I was very sorry that Sam and Marion Monson could not be there because of Marion’s fracturing her hip. Bishop Petersen came up and thanked us for ‘stirring up’ the members a little. I mentioned that Jerri Berge said that they would go if they were called and he said that he could do that. I think Bishop Petersen is going to be pro-active in extending actual calls and not just suggestions that couples get ready to go.

So this does not go on for pages, let me summerize the balance of the day as a joyful gathering of family and friends to eat lots of tacos – Taylor and I fried some 70 tortillas, Bob cooked 4 ½ pounds of hamburger and a good size portion of chicken, the rest of the group prepared all the fixings – including guacamole. Mel Anderson joined us. As did the Alexanders and later Daniel and Becky. The Rebers came by for a minute but had a birthday party to go to so they could not stay for dinner.

After dinner the adults talked, some folks played card games, and the younger cousins ran all around having a great time. When it was approaching time to leave we took lots of pictures – I didn’t because the elusive camera was still elusive. I knew it was going to turn up someplace obvious but I had no idea where. Mary then handed out more goodies to the group. Mostly to the young women but she gave the boys the plastic toys that when you throw them down hard the spread out like they were destroyed but then regain their shape. They love them and were throwing them everywhere – I had to stop them from throwing them at mirrors and glass cabinet doors. I thought it was amazing that a $1 toy was probably the favorite of the young men.

At 7:30 or so the Salt Lake contingent left and then at about 8:30 Jim and Tom’s families went to their hotels. That left Mary and I to finish cleaning up some and then I came up to write. I finished yesterday’s entry and while I was doing this Mary walked up with the pair of pants I wore yesterday with my belt and camera hanging from it. I had hung them up in the closet – I was being neat and see what it got me. We both walked past them a dozen times today and never they never registered.

I wrote all the above from about 11:45 p.m. to 12:25 a.m. I woke up coughing and could not go back to sleep. I decided that I might as well use the time for something useful and not just toss and turn. I imagine I will be able to go back to sleep at about 1 or 2.

During the evening I talked to Jim about starting a new section of the blog and calling it ‘Between” because hopefully we will be going on another adventure in about 7 months. Which reminds me that we need to make an appointment to see the bishop and get things started.

The whole day was a blessing from the Lord. Even the “lost’ camera gave me a chance to learn to have more patience and trust in the Lord. I felt my talk – at least the most spiritual part – came directly from the Lord. I had prayed that I would say things that were needed to be said and I think that is exactly what I did. Not just in sacrament meeting but also in Priesthood. I am not sure I realized how deeply the mission affected me spiritually. Perhaps I was a better missionary than I thought I was. I know that I loved serving and loved many of the people we served with.



June 7 2008

The first post on the between section of the blog – between missions that is. We are excited about getting our papers in for the next mission so that we can find out where we will be going.

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07 June 2008 – Saturday

I slept well until about 3:00 when I woke up and could not go back to sleep. So I got up and caught up the e-mail and read a little before falling asleep on the couch. I woke at about 7:30 with a slight headache. I think my body is having a small problem adjusting to the clean air and the lack of humidity.

The Comcast serviceman showed up right on time and soon had us connected to the net. About the time he left Jim arrived and we set up the internet on all the computers. Jim then set up my desktop and hooked it into the internet. We decided that we needed to update our Norton utilities and the Works on two of the computers. About then Tom and family arrived and after a brief introduction, Jim, Tom and I went to CostCo and bought the update for Norton and a new version of Works…however they were out of Works so we will have to come back on Monday.

We headed for Bob’s for a family gathering. Unfortunately the weather was not very good so swimming was short lived but the kids still had fun. It was great to see all the cousins playing together. All the adults sat around and talked about old times – shared memories. Families are so important and I hope that after we are gone someone makes sure that they get all together at least once a year. Of course we shared a family dinner from Bob’s BBQ.

Mary had brought many of the gifts we had brought home for the family and gave them out. The girls of all ages had a great time with bracelets, purses, scarves and more. The guys got ties and shirts – I am not sure they were as excited. Another big hit were the photo albums with lots of comments about the motorcycle pictures.

The hours rushed by and it was soon time to head home. I rode with Jim’s family and Olivia was not at her best. She was very tired and excited and could not come down from her high so she was not about to behave well. It got to a point where Jim decided they could not stop off at the house except to drop us off and get some snacks before going to their hotel. Tom drove in with Mary and they also did not stay.

So we were soon alone and then Mary fell asleep on the couch watching TV so I was really alone. I started cleaning up some of the piles of goodies we had unpacked so that it would be at least clean on one floor for tomorrow.

I recorded Concertzender’s 5 hour new music program from last Monday. When I did this in Jakarta, it took about 25 hours to download the whole program. Tonight it took less than an hour. No wonder I found the internet connection in Indonesia frustrating – it was as slow as I thought.

I decided I had to wake Mary up at about 9:00 or she would not sleep at all. We shared the nachos I prepared. Then we cleaned more of the house before heading for bed. Unfortunately I realized I was probably coming down with a cold – the change to a cooler, drier weather did not agree with me. Hopefully it will not be a full blown one and I will get through it in a couple of days. I need to feel good so I can work on the yard and do other things.



End of Mission Blog –

 07 June 2008 – Saturday

As I was writing in my journal today I realized that it was time to end this journal. At least the daily postings of my journal. I will go through the thousands of pictures I have stored and post some with comments. People and events that I think are especially important that I think will add to the story that is told below. I also may start another blog dealing with the time we are home until we hopefully leave on our next mission sometime in January 2009.

I hope that just one couple read these last 20 months of comments and experiences and decided that they would go on a mission. The need is so great that if tomorrow 5,000 couples sent in their papers it would not fill the openings for couple missionaries. The Jakarta Indonesian mission needs 7 couples before the end of the year. As far as we know there is only one coming.