Monthly Archives: May 2012

29-30 May 2012 – Nothing out of the ordinary

I am reluctant to write when there nothing really interesting happens, but then I realize that what has become ordinary for me may not be so ordinary to others.

I called Sister Sommerfeldt Tuesday morning and found out that Elder Sommerfeldt started improving right after we gave him a blessing yesterday. Now that may seem out of the ordinary to some who are reading this blog – if anyone is – but because of the great faith that the Sommerfeldts have in the power of the Priesthood, it is what could be expected.

The mother of one of the elders that was scheduled to go home on December 13th was trying to figure out how they were going to be in two places at once. It seems his brother is scheduled to graduate on the 14th many miles away from their home. They were hoping that the travel plans could be changed so that the elder could end up where they would be. This problem was solved when we found out that starting in October all transfer dates for the mission was moved up one week so he will be home on the 6th, can be released, and then drive up with his family to see his brother graduate. Mary was able to call his mother this morning and tell her that her prayers had been answered, but that is nothing out of the ordinary for missionaries.

One of the ordinary stories shared by a companionship…

“At one of the doors, after the blessing we were teaching about the Spirit, and inviting them to be baptized…and things started to get a little awkward and the Spirit wasn’t as strong. But as I was sitting there figuring things out, I thought how we hadn’t shared a scripture and that we’d committed to use the Book of Mormon in every lesson. I didn’t know what scripture to share or how to tactfully, but I had a desire to be obedient to your commitment and I love the Book of Mormon and know that it’s the best missionary there is, so I awkwardly but obediently and faithfully invited the sister to read 2 Nephi 31:20 ‘Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ…’ She read it to herself and then got this huge grin on her face. She was so happy! And the Spirit returned! Just like that! Had it not been for the Book of Mormon, we would have been out of there.”

It is wonderful to serve in this very ordinary, extra ordinary mission…

28 May 2012 – Memorial Day and a Letter from the President

President Anderson requested that the office be open today so three of the couples divided up the day. We took the 8-11 shift, then the Evans and finally the Beagleys. I was surprised at how much there was to do even with Salt Lake HQ and most non-retail businesses closed.

We were invited to go to the Collins later in the day and at first I was my usual reluctant self – after all I had a good book to read – but then decided that it would be good to go. We thought that all the office couples would be going but when Elder Evans got to our apartment he said that Elder Sommerfeldt was not well and needed a blessing. Since Elder Sommerfeldt will work through just about sickness, I figured he must be really sick. We found out that his blood pressure and heart rate was very elevated all day and that he had dizzy spells. I anointed  and Elder Evans sealed the anointing and gave him a blessing that told him that he would be fine.

So the Evans and ourselves picked up the Beagleys at their trailer park and Elder Evans drove us all out to the Collins. When were just about there it started sprinkling and then it started pouring. We had run into the edge of tropical storm Beryl which was the leftover of the hurricane of the same name.

We had a great dinner – as always I ate too much – and then we played Five Crowns. We have pretty much hooked the rest of the couples on this game. Mary won her table but Elder Beagley made a real push at the end and I ended up second. This was Mary’s third win in a row…they are likely to either ban her from playing or give her a 50 point handicap.

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Mary and Sister Collins – Sister Collins cooks the hamburgers, the Evans relaxing before dinner.

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As I mentioned before, each week all the missionaries get a letter from President Anderson that tells them important up coming events, gives instruction and shares stories that missionaries have included in their weekly letters to him. Here is part of the letter that was sent out today…

“The Book of Mormon and the Spirit is the greatest conversion tool we have. Those that have felt it’s influence will feel it years later and desire it’s influence again:

 “We needed to find at least 3 more homes that day to find, bless, and teach. We thought we were just moments from being hit by a wall of rain, but we decided to run door to door and harvest before it came. It turned out we found and were able to bless wonderful people, including a lady who said she had been brought to God by the missionaries years before, but had lost contact …. She said ‘you have a book, the Book of the Mormons….I want to read that book…how much does it cost?’ We happily exclaimed that it is absolutely free …both she and we are very excited for our return appointment.”

 With all the wonderful things you know and have been taught, you will be the answer to prayer. Many times it’s the last door, it’s the last street, it’s the last person:

 “It was getting pretty late, we knocked one of the last doors on the street. A young man in his 20’s came to the door. We said that Jesus Christ sent us here to leave his peace and blessing with you. He let us in and the first thing he said was, ‘It’s funny I have been praying and asking God to send me a sign to help me out in life. To get back on the right path.’ We then bore testimony that God truly did send us there, to help him change his life. We invited him to follow the example of Christ and be baptized. He willingly accepted. Awesome experience to know there are people out in South Florida waiting, just waiting to  hear that knock. I have learned that Miracles do happen but we as missionaries need to Make the Miracles.”

 Missionaries, with all that we know and all that we learn, we must be willing to “Make the Miracles” happen. God expects nothing less from the “above average great missionary”. Elders and Sisters, let’s pool together all our resources that we have been edified with and bring souls to Christ. We need everyone to contribute to this great purpose.

27 May 2012 – Thanks for Sacrament…

In case anyone would like to look at Elder Pier’s mormon.org profile….http://mormon.org/me/90HB/

The morning seems to speed by as I read and pondered the Sunday School lesson for the day. It was Mosiah 25-28 where the diverse people become one and rejoice together but within the rising generation there is adversity. Then there is the story of Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah. I wonder how many LDS parents reading this wish that the Lord would send an angel to bring their wayward sons or daughters back to the fold. But if you look past that to the fact that it shows that the Lord does answer prayer and that when we repent we are forgiven.

The Clintons, a young couple in the ward, spoke in Sacrament. I was especially touched by sister Clinton who’s talk on the Holy Ghost was not at all polished but came from the heart. I wrote down a number of things she mentioned  but I will share only one…”One of the ways I have found to invite the Holy Ghost into my life is to listen to music. I do not judge music by how it sounds but how it feels.” I thought that was an interesting thought.

Elder Clinton served in Malaysia and I asked him if he knew Elder Ng who served with us in Indonesia. He said he did and that I had asked him that 6 months ago when we first came into Plantation ward…darn I hate those senior moments.

Priesthood was very good as we discussed Bishop Edgly’s talk on re-activation. It got a little off track and got more involved in why people are less active instead of our duty to help them back into activity but it was still a good lesson. I did not volunteer that I was at one time inactive so I had a personal knowledge of how important it is to seek out the lost sheep.

Brother Rampton was called to the High Council and brother Shane was called as 1st counselor in the bishopric. Hopefully this call will last longer than the one he had to the Weston ward bishopric! I think that one last 3 weeks or so before they dissolved the ward.

26 May 2012 – Piano Lessons, Sawgrass Mill Mall, Reading

In the morning we went to Weston where Mary taught a piano lesson to sister Rampton while I talked to brother Rampton about a multitude of things but mainly about history books. It turns out that both of the Ramptons love to read biographies and other history series. I noticed that they had Churchill’s books on WWII and History of the English Speaking People, Shelby’s volumes on the Civil War and a biography of Nelson that I had not read. I borrowed the latter which runs some 600 plus pages and only covers part of his life.

After the Ramptons we decided to explore Sawgrass Mill Mall. It is a huge mall that is not only filled with shops but also has a number of factory outlet stores. I just realized I did not take any pictures…I did not want to look like a tourist…but will in the future when it is not so crowded. I have never seen a mall with so many kiosks. Some companies have more than one spread out through the mall. There are two food courts and lots of restaurants. We went from one end to the other with pauses along the way to rest. The only thing I bought was a shirt from Penny’s Outlet and Mary did her grocery shopping at a big and beautiful Super Target. We had lunch at Popeye’s – the only place it seems that I can get a shrimp Po Boy! While Mary was shopping at Super Target, I walked back to the car – I only got lost three times and that was with a map! I also kind of got lost trying to get out of the parking lot…this is one huge, sprawling mall and we did not see all of it.

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While I was driving around the mall to pick up Mary, I came across this portable police station that they have in the parking lot. I guess they either have a lot of problems at the mall so they need their own station, or the police who are stationed there need a flight tower to handle all the police and hospital helicopters that land to pick up the people who collapse from the exhaustion of walking around the mall. While in Target I found myself walking past this freezer and realized that there was about 36 feet of it filled top to bottom with frozen pizzas…that has to say something about America in general and Southern Florida specifically. I happen to know that some missionaries never get beyond cold cereal, sandwiches and frozen pizza style of food preparation. The elders in one area has a sister in the ward who brings them big boxes of treats – chips and cookies – from Costco…boy do they love that!

Once we got home we pretty much spent the rest of the day napping and reading. A truly relaxing p-day for the Piers.

I did get an e-mail from the Bells who are serving a PEF mission in the Philippines. It sounds like they basically go to the office early in the morning and leave late at night but they are having a great mission, helping many young people get an education, and serving with all their heart, might, mind,  will.

25 May 2012 – I keep a commitment

When the couples had FHE at the mission home, President Anderson committed each senior missionary to put their profile on mormon.org. I started one later that week but quickly gave it up and just forgot about it. (Isn’t it amazing how we can forget something we really do not want to do or not find time to do it if we do remember?)

Yesterday at Zone Conference he again committed all the missionaries to having a profile on mormon.org. So today instead of procrastinating, as I usually do, I looked at some of the different profiles of men my age and  decided I could do this.

I found it fairly easy to write about myself, why I am a member, etc., the hard part was finding a picture I liked and cropping it so it would fit. After a couple of tries I got it done and now my profile is in for review. It can take two weeks for it to show up so I now need to learn patience and just wait.

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Our above average Fort Lauderdale Zone Leaders came into the office this morning and I finally got a chance to take their picture. Elder Fitts who I mentioned earlier was the son of our daughter’s stake president ( I hope that came out OK) is on the left and Elder Rippstein is on the right.

24 May 2012 – Zone Conference

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We went to Zone Conference with the Hialeah and Miami Zones. President and Sister Anderson gave us inspired instruction. A major part of it was how the missionaries need to teach repentance before teaching about baptism. As I was listening I pondered what was being said and made the following notes that were not specifically taught but came to my mind:

Alma26:21 And now behold, my brethren, what natural man is there that knoweth these things? I say unto you, there is none that knoweth these things, save it be the penitent.

22 Yea, he that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works, and prayeth continually without ceasing — unto such it is given to know the mysteries of God; yea, unto such it shall be given to reveal things which never have been revealed; yea, and it shall be given unto such to bring thousands of souls to repentance, even as it has been given unto us to bring these our brethren to repentance.

**** Faith in Jesus Christ and his atonement brings a desire to repent of our sins. Repentance is the key to open the door back to God. Baptism is the door that opens the way back to God. The Gift of the Holy is the guide that can lead us back to God.  If we endure to the end we will return to God.

Paul on the day of Pentecost Repent and be baptized…everyone of you. Notice the order.

Our spirits were organized by God. Our bodies are a gift from God and they are the temple for our spirit. Without out a body of flesh and bone we are not complete. Through the repentance and the gift of the atonement we can be restored to our natural, pure state and enter into God’s rest.

It was a wonderful spiritual feast for the all the missionaries who were there.

After the conference we went to the office so I could write some checks and Mary could get more of her work done. It seems like it just keeps rolling in.

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Most evenings if it is not raining I go out and feed the turtles and the ducks. Today we were joined by a group of egrets. Luckily I brought out a big piece of bread and everyone got some. I noticed the small rainbow behind Mary and took a picture. The picture of our beautiful granddaughter Gentry speaks for itself.

23 May 2012 – It is Wednesday

While the other couples went to Zone Conference or went up to Belle Glade to look at a new apartment or in one case stayed with a very sick missionary so his companion could go to a ZC, we enjoyed a quiet day in the office. Mary kept quite busy with things connected with the transfers of last week, new missionaries that are coming in and other paperwork. I paid some bills and solved problems that came up but I also had time to do some indexing, read scriptures, clean up files, and tried to figure out what to put in the mission history that I need to get finished before the end of the month. Oh – and I finally have the transfer board figured out so that the next time there is a transfer it should not take me 5 attempts to sync iMos with Establishing Zion. That should make transfers a little easier for me and people will have phone cards a lot earlier than they did this time.

What was really quiet was the office itself. Unless the printer/copier was running – as it is right now – about the only sounds that can be heard are the computer keyboards.  Even the phones have been rather quiet for the last couple of hours.

In reading D&C 8 I came across verse 8 “Remember that without faith you can do nothing; therefore ask in faith. Trifle not with these things; do not ask for that which you ought not.” The Lord was talking about Olvier and his desire to translate but I thought that this was good advice to me and others who sometime get caught up in asking about things that I ‘ought not’ instead of pondering and asking for answers to the things that are important to my calling and life.

The Extra Ordinary Missionaries of the Fort Lauderdale Mission

Every week the mission president sends out a letter to all the missionaries that re-enforces lessons that have been taught in meetings. He also includes a few stories taken from letters that he receives…this is just one from this week’s letter that shows how obedience and hard work and the spirit makes extra ordinary missionaries..

“As I looked over the apartment complex I said to myself ‘who on earth in this ghetto complex would ever want to receive Jesus in their lives?’ Well God showed me what was up.  The first door we knocked let us in without even an explanation of who we were, and why we were there… We knocked the next door and the same thing happened, he let us in without even asking who we were.  He explained to us that he had been through many trials, attended many churches and had not found the comfort and strength that he was searching for.  He said he had prayed for some sort of sign and low and behold there we were a few days later at his doorstep.  We left the blessing with him, and he felt that comfort.  He accepted the baptismal invitation and the invitation to come to church.  It’s amazing how often we answer people’s prayers.  He was finally able to feel that happiness he had been searching for.”

Tuesday!

Another busy day but with a break for going to District Meeting at the Fort Lauderdale chapel. This was the first one with Elder Conger as District Leader and Elder Marsh as Elder Plowman’s companion. We greatly enjoy being with the missionaries and they are nice enough to listen to what we have to say. We feel like we are with a group of our grandchildren.

Today the lesson continued to work on the Why, What and How method of teaching. Also there was a good discussion on the idea that no one is ever converted by obtaining just knowledge, it is the spirit that leads someone to the truth and then to a desire to be baptized.

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Elders Conger and Rasmussen make a very good teaching companionship. Elders Marsh and Plowman are excellent finders. I like Elder Marsh a lot because he about my height…everyone else towers over us. Especially Elders Rasmussen and Wilson.

After District Meeting and lunch at Subway it was back to the office. I managed to do some indexing before things got busy again. Elder and Sister Beagley left for a teaching appointment so Mary and had a quiet last couple of hours with only an occasional phone call to deal with.

I called the McCormicks to see how they were doing and if there was anything they needed. They sounded like they are settling in quickly. After teaching with the elders on Saturday they took the investigator down to Key West for a branch fish fry. Sunday they met the Marathon branch president, sister McCormick played for sacrament, and they did not need to talk. They are going to be a great blessing to the saints in the lower Keys.

I read Elder Holland’s talk about the workers and how they dealt with the same pay for the work no matter how long they were at it. I realized that there is no mention of the blessings the all day workers received. Often times we seem to teach only about the blessings that come after we leave this life, when actually, as King Benjamin so masterly taught, we are blessed as soon as we keep a commandment, do a service, or share the gospel. Of course a parable usually only tries to teach one lesson but there is often others there to be found.

It rain almost all the time since about 2 or 3 on Sunday. There is of course breaks but today there was 5 inches of rain at the Miami airport. The weather man mentioned this evening that the storm should blow out to sea tonight but it seems that it might just turn around and head back again. Maybe we should have brought a boat!

Sunday, Monday…

We had a quiet Sunday morning and then enjoyed the block at Pines Ward. After the sacrament they announced the speakers and there was a change in the intermediate hymn. The sister who had played the prelude music as well as the opening hymn and sacrament hymn, got up and came back to ask Mary to play those two songs. The changes were a surprise and the sister did not think she could play them without a chance to practice. Mary of course agreed and even though she had only played the chapel’s organ once she did a great job.

After the meeting the sister who was just called to be the Primary pianist came up and asked Mary to give her lessons so she could improve her ability. Mary also plays for Relief Society – her talent is well known and used by the ward.

Brother Parker is a talented man who among other things bakes. His specialty is Key Lime Pie and so before HP meeting started I asked him if I could buy one from him for Mary’s birthday – I know it is not until July but I was planning ahead. He said that I was in luck because he brought one for a sister who did not come to church. I started to protest that I did not need it so early but he would not hear us not taking it. So after the block as the ward had a Linger Longer get together he gave me this beautiful pie to take home.

The Linger Longer was a very good event and I got to know brother Stringham – a orthopedic surgeon – much better – also I had a very good talk with the HP group leader brother Meijome – an international banker.  What I did not get is any pictures which was really stupid.

Speaking of pictures, as we were getting ready for church I dropped my camera on the bathroom tile floor. When I saw that it actually started to come apart on the top I figured it was toast. But after snapping it back together I think it took better pictures than before. However I am not going to drop it again to see if I can improve it even more.

Sunday evening the couples here at the Waves got together to play a game of 5 Crowns ( I finally won a game)  and then eat the Key Lime Pie that the Sommerfeldts bought on Saturday when we were down in the Keys..

In the morning I was reading from D&C 130 and 131 and came across ” D&C 131:6 – It is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance.” I suddenly realized that this was a missionary statement. It is the reason that we not only seek out the living but also the dead. Unless they are taught the truths of the gospel and learn the teaching that come with temple ordinances no one can return to live with their Heavenly Father.

Monday it was an all office day. Besides the financial tasks that I needed to do, there was a number of things that I needed to help Elder Collins with to get some new missionary apartments leased and others closed. It seemed every time I got a little breathing space something new would pop up. I have much more respect for Elder Steimle and the easy way he got things done without ever looking like he was hurrying.

Mary has been keeping busy getting to know her calling and getting things the way she wants them. President and Sister Anderson came in a couple of times and he was able to approve a number of items that allowed me to finish some more projects. I was so busy that the day just rushed by and we closed the office at 5:30.

One of the things I enjoy doing when we get home in the evening is to feed the turtles and if they show up the ducks. The turtles have come to expect me to feed them so they quickly show up in quantity when I start tossing crumbs on the water. The turtles have competition in a lot of small fish that must have hatched not too long ago. Some of them have become good size and they are fast when it comes to getting to the bread.