Category Archives: Between

2017 – A Year at Home…

Wow! It does not seem possible that almost a whole year has gone by since I posted on this blog. A year away from the mission field but not away from missionaries.


In January I started serving in the Book of Mormon Reading Program at the MTC. It is a program to help missionaries who need some help becoming the best missionary they can by tutoring them in comprehension, vocabulary, study habits and other areas. It is a great opportunity to work with the young missionaries one on one while experiencing the amazing spirit of the Provo MTC. Mary and I served in this program 20 years ago when it was very new but it has completely changed since then as the missionaries do not have as much time for BoM lessons.

Here is a letter I wrote to the BoM Reading program Supervisor. It will give you an idea of the blessings I have been receiving since I started tutoring young missionaries in this program.

“Hi Kris

Just a note to thank you and my savior for allowing me to tutor elder L. He is teachable, eager to serve, willing to listen and determined to be the best missionary he can be. His story is amazing – he was born into the Church and his family has always been active. In school the LDS youth pretty much ignored him so his friends were mostly non-LDS. But they knew his standards which he never broke. He told me that his friends would not invite him to go to their parties because they knew that there would be things there that he would not approve of. 

He also shared with me his feelings about the MTC. He said that when he walked onto a football field and smelled the grass he always got a great spiritual feeling. He says that is how he feels each day he is at the MTC. I noticed that he had marked that he had a hard time focusing on studying and when I asked him about that he said that he never really learned how to study. I think that is why the Lord had me give him the comprehension lesson instead of the planned vocabulary lesson. I am going to give him another lesson on Monday and I will see if it will be the study lesson or vocabulary. I did give him the how to study page from the old BoM manual and told him he should read it and see if that helped over the weekend. 

The real reason I want to thank you is that I really needed the spiritual edification that this lesson gave me. Mary knee has not improved and it looks like it is not going to get any better before Thanksgiving. I have been praying that I would not get discouraged and this lesson helped me remember that my Father in Heaven hears and answers my prayers. As Alma 17:11 says I am going to “be patient in long sufferiing and afflictions,” and have faith that He will comfort me and Mary.

In May Mary and I accepted a call to once a month host the senior couples who are going on Welfare missions. I wrote about how that came about in my journal..

I also want to write about how Mary and I became the hosts for the senior welfare missionaries. I had been serving in the Book of Mormon reading program for a few months and decided I would like to be a part time service missionaries. So after some meeting I dropped in at the Mehews to find out how I could apply. Only sister Mehew was there and we sat and talked for a while. I told her about some of our mission experiences and she was inspired to tell me about hosting the welfare missionaries every 4 weeks and then she asked if we would accept the call to do that. I told her that I had to talk to Mary but in my mind I knew we would accept. If I had not gone into see the Mehews – I later found that there really was no need for me to have – sister Mehew probably would have not been inspired to tell me about the program.

One of the interesting things about this is that it is very close to the way we were called on our first full-time service mission at the MTC in 1996.

As hosts we meet with the couples on Friday of their first week after they have finished the PMG  training. It is a short meeting just to get to know them a little and tell them about the coming week of Welfare and Humanitarian training. We spend the whole day – from 6 am to 6 pm with them as they travel to Salt Lake for a visit and training at Welfare Square and then to the Joseph Smith Memorial building for lunch and more training. Mostly our duty is to make sure they all get to the right place at the right time and none get left behind. Tuesday through Thursday we are at the MTC at the start of each day to oversee the short devotional and then on Thursday afternoon to give them a few words of encouragement and say goodbye.

Over the last 6 months we have meet over 25 dedicated senior couples who are going all over the world to serve 18-23 month missions. Some will be the only missionaries in the country, some will not be able to wear name tags with the name of the Church on them, and many of them will not be able to do any what is known as normal missionary work. But all will bring relief to those in need and change many people’s lives as they serve. image1

This is latest group of seniors we hosted who left for their missions in the last week. Starting on the left – elder and sister Jensen – Nairobi Kenya, elder and sister Stroud – Philippines, elder and sister Hansen – Democratic Republic of the Congo, elder and sister Hansen – Bulgaria.

More and pictures to come…


Overgrown Path #2

This was a major project that took much of an afternoon. I love Vinca but only when it grows where I want it to grow. This is what happens when it runs unchecked for 18 months or so. What I am not showing is the bottom edge of this mass of plants that had expanded into the oak grove. That took another coupe of hours to clean up. But all is good – and there are only 3 or 4 more paths that need my attention before the crop of leaves start falling.IMG_2084 IMG_2086 IMG_2085 IMG_2087

Cleaning Up an Overgrown Path

We have short paths that run up and down the changing elevations in our yard that can become quickly overgrown if they are not kept up. Here are some before and after photos of one of the short ones that runs off our driveway. It was almost completely hidden by the Oregon grape that loves to grow when unchecked but 30-45 minutes of clearing produced a useable – and I think interesting – path and a full 30 gallon trash can.

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This is the view from East side of our loft looking towards the front door. The plant you can see on the left is about 16 feet high and has been with us for about 25 years. The philodendron that is peeking out from behind the ceiling fixture was in the house when we bought it in 1983! It stretches about 10 feet into the room. You can see that we love green plants both inside and outside our house.

Home Sweet Home – Art Inside and Out

It is a good thing that we have a large house and a big yard because we can not seem to stop buying all kinds of art. Some are souvenirs that we have picked up on our missions but most are an accumulation of things that we have seen and just could not pass up buying. It can happen at any time and any where. Some have monetary value but most just have memory value. I decided to post some of the art you will find if you ever come to visit us  and wandered through the house and yard. But this is just a sample – you will have to come see us if you want to see all of it! We give guided tours with commentary!

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The project started with my taking a picture of a display of giraffes that we have collected on our missions. The big one came from my aunt’s home, the smaller one to its left is from Indonesia, The tall bright colored one was bought in Joburg, the smaller one was a gift from sister Mann, and the one nibbling on it’s leg was bought while we were serving in Richard’s Bay. The picture of the family of giraffes was bought in Potch. The bell is one of many you will see here and was a gift to me from Mary.

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It is a good thing we have big walls because these two paintings are quite large. The one on the left is by a fairly famous artist and the one on the right is by a teacher at the University of Utah. Both were bought because we fell in love with them. Two of our many such purchases. Table in front of the Rosamond has our collection of artificial apples. We have picked them up all over the world. The big dark red one on the extreme left is the latest addition and was bought in South Africa on our mission. The ceramic unusually made up lady sculpture has been part of the family  for over 30 years – her name is Rose.

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The picture on the left includes a large painting from Indonesia, a mask from South Africa, a small painting from Florida and a black and white print from Bali. I need to put something up from our last mission. For some reason we are big on bells and chimes. The bell by our fireplace  came from exotic CostCo – and I have a hard time keeping the top supports straight. If you look past the edge of the fireplace you can see two masks from Indonesia.

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Almost everyone talks about having a door bell but most of them have electrical chimes. We have a real doorbell but few people use it. I decorated it for Christmas 2013 and forgot to take it down. It will be right in season in just a couple of months. Many know and have seen gargoyles, some know that their purpose was to scare away evil spirits, but hardly anyone has one on their front door – we do. It was made for us by a student from the Y – he also did Rose.IMG_2051 IMG_2052

Next to our front door we have these four friendly faces from Indonesia- or was it Africa? They are door knockers and you can see the stick to beat them with hanging from the second one from the left. As you look down our drive way  – it is 150 or so feet long – from our front porch you will see one of our kinetic wind sculptures that we bought at a fair in Salt Lake. It takes a good wind to get all the levels moving but when they do it is poetry in motion.IMG_2053 IMG_2054

As you walk in our front door you are met by ‘Charlie’ – what I call him ‘Art’ as Cindy calls him or ‘Gypsy Undertaker at the Watch Tower’ which his official title. What ever you may call him he is about 6 feet tall on his pedestal, made of fired ceramics with different textural feeling. He has a very bad overbite and four feet – two where they should be and two on the inside of his thighs. Outside near the front door is another sculpture by Dennis Deegan. It is a bronze and is called Lukan Post – in honor of his son. When you come to visit we will tell you about Luke’s special feature – besides his winged head that is.

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Wander through the paths in our yard – there are a number of them and you will see sculptures, chimes – about a dozen or so large cast bells, and fish of all sizes. I had not noticed how many fish in different materials we had until I took these pictures…they turn up all over the yard. IMG_2059 IMG_2060 IMG_2061 IMG_2062 IMG_2063 IMG_2064

Bells, Chimes – we love it when the wind blows and secret places with interesting displays can be found through out the yard.

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Just off our lower patio you will find a strange sculpture that I have never figured out what it is supposed to represent and the artist was no help at all. It kind of looks like a weird angel with tattered wings. When you see it you can give me your take. Another CostCo purchase was this wonderful Torren copper bird feeder. When we get settled in a little more I will start feeding the birds again. The small triangle bell in the lower left of the photo was a gift for Mary – it needs a little work.

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Big noisy bells are the best. These two were made from old gas cylinders by a couple of true artists. The North part of our yard is steep and has three terraces. You can see some two more of our kinetic wind sculptures and a lot of plants that need pruning.IMG_2069 IMG_2070

The Summer before we left on our last mission we went to the arts fair in Salt Lake and bought this interesting sculpture o five different size metal disks on rods. I put them in a planter we had and when I left there was a solar light in the middle but seems to have got lost along the way. One final wind chime .

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This is what you see standing at the NorthWest corner of our garage. In summer it is beautiful and green while in the winter it is beautiful and white. This is the head of a sculpture that got destroyed when the folks cleaning up some of our trees dropped a big limb right on top of it. Some day I hope to get the artist to re-connect everything.

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Three CostCo birds are being carefully watched by the cat behind the bush. My son Tom gave me the center metal sculpture and I cleaned it up and painted it black, blue and brown. The fish were a close out we bought somewhere, the really ugly frog comes from Oregon while the snail – can you see him – came from another trip to the SL art fair. We really should stay away from that show.

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These two tree gnomes protect a part of of our yard. One of our grandsons would not come up the driveway if they were around – he has grown out of that so they can now check out each of our visitors as they approach our door. This is the scene looking straight out our front door lots going on and that is how we like it. That is the end of this abbreviated tour – hope you will come to visit and enjoy an full one.
IMG_2078As I work at my computer – as I am dong right now – and look to my right, this is what I see. Some personal art, part of the 2500 classical cds I have collected and a few small art objects.



13 July 2015 – YSA has a great FHE


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We Call it Camping….

Tuesday we went to the mall so I could return something and Mary could do some shopping. While we were there I saw this sign in the window of an outdoor store much like Out N Back. I have always thought that if you had the supplies and equipment to spend a week camping you were certainly prepared for anything that would require a 72 hour supply.IMG_9375 IMG_9378

We went to the school where Mary helped sisters Thulo and Williams to prepare to have their parents sealed in the temple. I took three pictures and in everyone sister Williams closed her eyes. I was along to solve problems which I was happy to do the couple of times it was needed.

IMG_9379 IMG_9380While Mary was busy with genealogy and later piano lessons, I visited a member. While on my way there I saw this young man patting the springbok mural on the school wall. Who can pass up taking a picture of such a cute child. Sister Lebo is Mary’s most devoted student and is doing very well for only 5 weeks of lessons. After the lesson we drove her home and found out that she had volunteered at game reserves in the area and knew the Faan Meintjes Reserve we went to yesterday.

People at Church – 3 Branch Planning Meeting

There were 62 in attendance today – once again well above the average for last year. It seems that there is a special spirit of growth and rededication as a number of members who have been a way for a while have started to come back into the fold.IMG_7898 IMG_7899

Sister Maisie returned from her vacation and found a young man to hold. She does an excellent job as Primary president. Sister Merriam seems short when standing next to elder Taylor. She also serves in Primary where she loves to sing.

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Sister Kujane is our faithful Relief Society president. I had to take this picture of brothers Xhego and williams in their contrasting white and black suits. Sister Merriam carefully placed herself so she would be in the picture.

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These two pictures of the beautiful and funny Kujane girls with there pink sunglasses agains the multi-colored wall just shouted out as needed to be taken.

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In the afternoon we took a group over to the Klerksdorp chapel for a planning meeting. In late March we are going to hold a three branch dinner dance for the YM and YW. President Mogapi of the Jouberton branch has a big as he holds his son. President Kwaikwai and brother Omphile join in with their smiles.

IMG_7907 IMG_7909President Robbins of the Klerksdorp branch is in the middle with elder and sister Dummer. The right hand picture includes the Mogapi family. I love the way the young sister is looking at me with a kind of worried look on her face. I get that a lot from young children – I am not sure if it is the camera or the white guy behind it that makes them kind of leery.


Transfer Pictures…Companionships and Where They Serve

Here are 52 pictures showing the transfers with the new companionships and the areas where they will serve for at least the next 6 weeks…

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YSA and Youth Have a Social

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Flowers, Elders and More Birds….

Yesterday I took these pictures of the flower bed along one part of the complex’s driveway because Mary said I should. All of these plants will grow in Utah. However some that are perennials here are annuals there. I may plant a bed like this when we get home in memory of our stay in Potchefstroom!

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We stopped by the the elder’s flat to drop off some DVDS and found elders Liera and Perez along with elder Reese who is one of the zone leaders. He was there on exchanges and so he could interview two young people to be baptized on Sunday. The branch continues to grow through the great effort of dedicated missionaries.

For quite a while I have been trying to get a picture of the yellow and red weavers together and today I finally was successful. The cape sparrow was a nice added bonus.

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