Sunday, June 26, 2016

From Elder and Sister Elkington
Monday was spent getting ready for the Heritage Park Branch Family Home Evening.  We had the food ready to go when Elder Elkington experienced a loss of equilibrium (vertigo).  He could not walk unassisted without the danger of falling – so we had to cancel our planned participation in the FHE.  He got into the doctor on Wednesday to receive treatment and the problem has subsided.
On Tuesday we had our quarterly interviews with President Cornelius of the mission presidency. President and Sister Cornelius are being released with President and Sister Center this week.  We will miss our association with them; they have been a great support and encouragement.  We are looking forward to getting to know the new mission president, Danial Zachary Smith and his wife.
We picked apricots from the Santa Clara Church apricot orchard.  We then delivered them to branch members who are less active or incapacitated.
We had some really good visits with the members we visited.  The one Sister and her husband have lost two children to death.  We shared a copy of Elder Russell Nelson’s talk in the last General Conference priesthood meeting.  We testified they could prepare themselves to be sealed in the temple as an eternal family.  She agreed we can come back and teach them. They have a great spirit in their home – we are looking forward to teaching them.
On Wednesday evening we took two of the boys to cub scouting and then to McDonalds for hamburgers and French fries (Ethan said he had not had a meal all day)..  The two of them consumed five orders of French fries, 2 cheeseburgers and one order of chicken nuggets.
We have still been working in the Heritage Park Branch garden – watering, harvesting and delivering produce to less active members. We have been working closely with the Heritage Park Branch President in identifying the members he wants contacted.
Friday we met with Sister “M’s” family and showed them the film “The Testaments” about Jesus Christ as recorded in the New Testament and the Book of Mormon. We then testified about Jesus as their Savior.  After the lesson we took three of the children to the Santa Clara Church Orchard to pick apricots for their family.
We look forward to better health this week and getting to know the new mission president.
 Many are concerned about the heat we are experiencing in St George, but Sister Elkington says it is great – it sure beats the cold in northern Utah in the winters.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Week of 6/19/16
Epistle from
Elder and Sister Elkington
It seems like we move from on crises to another.  Just when we help a member struggling with seemingly insurmountable problems get to where they can deal with their life, another member encounters a challenge that needs our support.  We have been supporting a mother who has  four children and is dealing with what appears to be a serious  (possibly life threatening) health problem. Sister Elkington made her some apricot jam – which she greatly appreciated. Elder Elkington also gave her  a blessing, - she has faith and confidence it will resolve the problem.
We took five of the children from the Shivwits Reservation to FHE (including a new girl who is a friend of one of the others). Between preparing food for FHE and taking the children in the evening to FHE, it takes several hours of each Monday.  But the children certainly look forward to it each week!
Sister Elkington spent four hours Tuesday morning making orange rolls for President and Sister Center.  She had promised him last fall that she would bake him some rolls.  Since He is getting released within two weeks, she decided she was running out of time.  We appreciate the mission presidency so much and wanted to show our appreciation.
Wednesday at we took three of the Reservation children to pick apricots at the Santa Clara Church orchard.,  They took about forty pounds of apricots home to their family.  We also baked a birthday cake for Sister “M’s” family in honor of her deceased daughter who died in January.  The children of the deceased woman had said they wanted a strawberry flavored cake.  So, Sister Elkington baked the requested cake and put sliced strawberries on top.  The family was thrilled that we cared enough to do this.  Then Wednesday evening we took two of the boys to cub scouting.
We worked in the Branch garden and watered it twice this week at the request of the Branch President, since he had to be out of town.  We also delivered garden produce and apricots to several less active members and told them we missed them at Church and invited them to come and join with us.
On Friday when we met with Sister "M's" family, the young missionaries did not show up, so we gave a lesson about Jesus Christ from the New Testament.  These children are not familiar with the bible stories we heard and learned as children.  We wanted them to gain a love of the scriptures and to read the New Testament as well as the Book of Mormon.
We are coming to appreciate what our mission call meant when it said we were called to provide “Member and leader support”.   We love our labors and love the leaders and the members.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Elder and Sister Elkington
School is out for the Reservation.  That is good and bad.  The children are available to be taught during the days, but they also are free to go visit relatives.  Some of them have gone to visit relatives in Arizona and in Cedar City.  We pray they will retain what they have been taught and that they will continue to attend Church.  Today we only had Krystin from Sister “M’s’” family to Church.  Others were home, but did not get out of bed until Church was about over. 
We did have three of the children come to the Heritage Park Branch FHE.  They then picked some produce from the garden and took it back to their family.  We changed our incentive program that encourages the children to attend Church.  Instead of taking them to a restaurant, we proposed a pizza party for those who have attended Church at least five times in the past 2 months.  They have been clamoring for the party, so we accommodated them and had the party on Wednesday at our home. Seven of the children attended.  They are like family to us – but it still left us exhausted. We showed them a video about the ministry of Jesus Christ. We scheduled to take 4 of the children to pick apricots in the Church Santa Clara orchard next Wednesday. 
We attended a 6 hour Zone Conference on Thursday that was very inspiring.  But sitting on the chairs for part of the meeting brought home the fact that Sister Elkington is still dealing with bruises or ? from the fall she took a couple of months ago. After about 4 to 5 hours the pain and discomfort made it  difficult to continue.  It reinforced the truthfulness of the phrase, “The mind can absorbe only what the seat can endure.”
On Monday we took “T” to his monthly meeting with his parole officer at Purgatory.  He is doing well - he is working full time and is looking for an apartment with young men who keep LDS standards.  We took him over to the Dixie College Institute Bldg to check their bulletin board and then got him an appointment to visit with the branch president.
We also took some time on Tuesday to celebrate our second anniversary.  We have truly been blessed to be married and to be serving a mission.  The Lord has been good to us!
We received a phone call from a woman who said her ward had a swap activity where women brought clothing and other items to exchange,  She invited us to come with a truck and take what was left over.  We went to the Church building and looked at what was available.  We felt most of the clothes were too worn.  We took a few items to share, but left most of it for them to take to Deseret Industries.  We do not want to take worn out clothes to children who already face teasing .

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Elder and Sister Elkington
This week has been a tale of two worlds – the first part of the week was spent representing Our Father in Heaven and conveying His love to Native American families.  The last of the week we attended a funeral of a Cousin of Sister Elkington where there was no indication of a belief in a Father in Heaven or an association with His Church!  What a difference in the feelings we experienced.
We prepared for the Heritage Park Branch FHE and asked the grandmother of the .reservation children to come to i.t, She agreed to come and brought three of the children!  This is a significant step in getting her involved so the children will have a support system in place when we are no longer serving a mission.  Sister “M”, the grandmother also brought the children to Church today! After the FHE we took Sister “M” to the branch garden and got her some produce for her family.  She was thrilled and said she would come again.
On Tuesday we delivered letters from the branch presidency to Heritage Park Branch less active members.  The letters said that the members had not been coming to Church meetings and the branch presidency was going to send their membership record to the residential ward where the members live unless they call the branch presidency by July first.  We explained to each member/family the importance of attending Church and partaking of the sacrament.  We said we would love having them attend the branch, but if that was too difficult, they should attend their neighborhood ward.  There was a great feeling of love expressed and felt as we visited with these members.  We had prayer with them and Elder Elkington gave a blessing to the one sister who is having health problems. (The branch struggles with home teaching and therefore the branch presidency feel these non-participating members will be better served by a neighborhood ward.)  These are choice children of a loving Heavenly Father.  We pray they will make the right decision and receive the support they need from the Church priesthood holders and leaders.
Then we attended a funeral of a cousin that grew up with Sister Elkington in Logan, Utah.  There was no mention of the Church in the funeral.  There were no opening and closing prayers given.  And there was no mention of the atonement of Jesus Christ and a loving Father in Heaven. People related memories which were humorous – but it left no feeling of hope or faith in eternal life. We were surprised that this family had drifted so far from the Church and its teachings that they had no understanding or hope of a glorious resurrection and the possibility of being together beyond the grave.  This woman had not raised her children in the Church and as a result they do not understand the peace that comes from understanding the purpose of our mortal life and how it ties into eternal life – life beyond the grave.
We know we have a Father in Heaven and he loves each of us – His children!