Sunday, August 28, 2016

AUGUST 28, 2016
Another week has sped by – oh, how time flies when you are busily engaged in the Lord’s work!  Monday started with an 8:00 AM physical therapy appointment for Sister Elkington. She was told it would not be necessary to come for more therapy if she would continue the exercises at home.  Hurray! The rest of Monday was spent preparing food for the Heritage Park Branch Family Home Evening at Anasazi Valley.  We baked a shepherd’s pie to serve 20 -  which was very well received by those at the FHE.  We had four children from the Shivwits Reservation to FHE.  They seemed to really enjoy the evening.
Tuesday we went to the Bishop’s Storehouse to fill an order for one of the families.  This member requests a bare minimum of supplies. The person assisting at the storehouse and Sister Elkington added some items to the order based on the number in the family.  (Sister Elkington could modify the quantities because she was the one who completed the order at President Saling’s request -she was told by him to be sure to get what the family needs). Some families request far more than is needed, while some who really need assistance request less than is needed.  (We determined this family needed 2 gallons of chocolate milk - which the children greatly appreciated).  We are getting a fuller understanding of what our mission call means – we were called as member and leader support missionaries.  There are many members in the Heritage Park Branch who need support and the Branch President certainly can use some support!
Wednesday we had a district meeting in the morning.  Then we baked a loaf of banana bread and delivered it to a family on the Shivwits Reservation who had a death in the family.  In the evening we took 2 of the boys from the reservation to scouting.  While they were in scouting meeting we spent some time with the branch presidency and clerk correcting and updating membership records.
We talked with “J” on the phone about her commitment to be baptized.  She has not yet been able to change her Sunday work schedule so she can attend church, but she is stilled committed to making it happen.  We also tried to visit – but members were not home even though we called in advance.  Maybe we need to return to just stopping by, without calling in advance.
Saturday we took two boys to the Church meetinghouse for a scout activity.  Then we attended a stake high priest party.
Sunday (today) we attended Church with 2 of the children from the reservation and taught the Gospel Principles Sunday School class.  We also met with the stake presidency in the monthly stake missionary coordination meeting.  Then we attended the Heritage Park Branch Council Meeting.  After Church, we split up – Sister Elkington took the children from church back to their home and Elder Elkington attended the coordination meeting with the ward mission leaders.  It reminds us of the book written over sixty years ago about how to conduct meetings in the church.  It was entitled “Millions of Meetings’.  We know meetings are necessary, but we prefer to be visiting and teaching.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

AUGUST 21, 2016
Elder and Sister Elkington
Monday, as usual, was devoted to preparing food for the Heritage Park Branch Family Home Evening.  However, Sister Elkington had a physical therapy appointment and then we received a call from Jennifer (an investigator) asking us to come and teach her a lesson – which we did.  She said she is going to try to get her work schedule changed so she can come to church meetings on Sunday.  We pray she will be able to do this. .Four children from the Shivwits Reservation came with us to FHE.
Our house has been serving as a distribution center for produce from the branch garden and for clothes which were given to us for the Native Americans.  This has been a great blessing for those we have been called to serve.  But it has created havoc in our home.  So we spent two days clearing out the excess and getting the home cleaned.
 Then on Thursday we attended a Mission Zone Conference.  These are always inspiring.  We learned some things that will help us in teaching the Gospel to others. Many things we learn are things we have already realized – but hearing them again reinforces them in our minds.  For example, we have recognized the importance of bearing our testimony as we teach a gospel principle.  Bearing testimony invites the spirit to testify of the truthfulness of what has been taught.  Just presenting principles and discussing them is a transfer of knowledge – but, it is the spirit that converts and moves people to action. This applies to active members as well as to less active and investigators.  If we cease to invite the spirit into our lives, our testimony weakens and in the extreme, disappears.
We had a stake conference in the Santa Clara Stake last Sunday and President Dan Frei related an incident that applies to all of us.  He was standing in line at the grocery store and the woman ahead of him suddenly realized her husband had taken the debit card she used to buy groceries. She found another card, but feared there was little, if any, money in that account. She was half way through the checkout process when she realized this.  She exclaimed to the checker that she did not know if she had enough money in the account.  She was very nervous and agitated.  The checker suggested they complete the checkout process and deal with the issue if the card had insufficient funds.  President Frei said he was ready to offer the woman a loan to relieve her stress.  But when she swiped the card it was accepted as payment.  The woman was so excited she danced a jig.
President Frei then related this to the spiritual account we maintain I n our lives and how we can deplete the account if we do not make regular deposits.  If the account is depleted it will not have a balance necessary to deal with the challenges we encounter in our life.  He explained that we deposit in our spiritual account when we have a sincere morning prayer and listen to inspirational music and read a few minutes in the scriptures.  If we neglect these things our account may be depleted when we need it.
Friday we taught a lesson to the children at Sis “M’s” home.  Then we took Katelyn to TJ Max and Sister Elkington bought her a dress and some shoes to wear to Church.  We have taught them to wear their best clothes to Church.  But when their best clothes are jeans, it can cause them to judge themselves as not as good as others.  She was thrilled to have a beautiful new outfit for church.
Then on Saturday we took a pie to President Saling (the branch president) and wished him a speedy recovery from carpal tunnel surgery.  We also visited with the Salings about branch members and where we can be of the most service.
We were blessed during the week with a visit from some dear friends (Carolyn, Beryl, Phyllis, Lavon and Lavon’s daughter Kendra) who had spent the week at the Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City.  We prepared them a lunch and then showed them the Anasazi Valley (where we hold FHE and have the garden).  We also showed them the Shivwits Reservation.  They have been regular readers of our blog and said they have a whole new understanding of what has been written in the blog.
President Saling said he killed two rattlesnakes in the garden on Saturday.  We feel very blessed that we, and others who have worked in the garden, have not been bitten during the gardening season.  One more reason we are thankful the garden season has ended. (Where were the snakes when the squirrels were eating the garden?)
We had 10 people to church today.  Taught the Gospel Principles Sunday School class and went to the hospital to give a les-active member a blessing.  She has a kidney infection and is very ill.
In sacrament meeting we heard from a high councilor and a recently returned missionary.  The missionary was Elder Dresden Empey, who was one of the missionaries injured in the bomb blast in France or Belgium at the airport.   He bore a strong testimony of the gospel.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

August 14
Elder and Sister Elkington
We continue with physical therapy for balance.  It takes one hour a day for two days.  But by the time we add in travel time, it really costs us over four hours a week.  Elder Elkington completed his therapy this week – but it will continue to take the same time until Sister Elkington has completed her needed therapy.
We spent much of Monday preparing food for the Heritage Park Branch family home evening.  We had 7 members of Sis “M’s” family to Family Home Evening.  But we also had a new family come.  Jennifer brought her four children and they really enjoyed the evening. We met with her twice this week and she has committed to baptism.  I believe the Family home evening has removed anxiety she may have felt – her children really enjoyed playing with the other children and several members visited with her.
Tuesday we brought 10 year old  Katelynn, ,Devon (16) and Krystin (8) from the Shivwits Reservation  to our home for cooking lessons – they learned to make chicken soup (Elder Elkington’s recipe) served with toasted rolls topped with garlic and parmesan cheese. (The girls specified what they wanted to cook – we had served it to them before). These lessons are helping in preparing for the future and helping their family now. Katelynn’s grandmother says she is cooking some at home and doing a great job. Besides teaching them how to cook, we have time to talk about gospel principles.  We want them prepared to be mothers in Zion when they mature.
Wednesday we finished distributing donated clothing to Native Americans. The clothes were gratefully received and we have seen some of them being worn to Church in the past few weeks. We were grateful to get the last of the clothes placed – they have been spread over much of our house while we organized them for distribution. We know it has been a meaningful project, but we are glad to have our house back!
The garden is winding down – it has provided a lot of food to Native Americans and has given us a lot of valuable interaction with these people.  But we are ready to be free of the watering,, weeding, harvesting and produce distribution. However, the garden has provided a means to teach many valuable lessons.
The grandfather and major caretaker of the children we teach on the reservation was taken to the hospital last night, so we went to the hospital today to give him a blessing.  We talked with him about how important he is to his family and how important his example is to his grandchildren – he and their grandmother  can send them to Church while they are young, but if they want them to continue to attend as they get older, they need to attend with them now. He and the children’s grandmother agreed. We love this family and know we will not be here to take them to Church for much longer.
This weekend has been Santa Clara Stake Conference. We have been spiritually fed by those who spoke.  This afternoon we had a teaching lesson with Jennifer.  We challenged her to commit to a baptism date within the next month and to talk to her supervisor about changing her schedule so she can attend church meetings.  She agreed to both of these challenges.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

7 AUGUST 2016
We have been very busy this week.  In addition to our regular missionary activities, we have started going to physical therapists to improve our balance.  We both have had bad falls this past few months and the doctor has recommended physical therapy to improve our balance. We are willingly following his recommendation.  But, it takes two days a week for an hour each day for each of us. We are able to go at the same time for most appointments, but by the time we drive to and from our appointments, we have used several hours a week.
The Branch President asked us to deliver letters to members living outside the Santa Clara Stake boundaries who are not actively participating in Heritage Park Branch meetings or activities.  The letters inform these members that unless they are active in the Branch, their records will be moved to the residential ward where they live.  The object is to get the membership record into a ward where the members will have home teachers and they can attend church in a chapel near where they live (Many of these members live over 15-20 miles from where the Heritage Park Branch meets).  It is easy for a member to get lost to the Church when they are in a ward or branch that is not defined by geographical boundaries.
We have had some very good visits with some of these members when we deliver the letters – others do not even answer the door when we knock.
Much of the week has been spent in preparation for Krystin’s baptism  Krystin turned eight years of age on August 1, and was baptized on August 6, 2016.  She has been part of the group of children in Sister “M’s” family that have been taught for almost a year by the elders and us.  Ethan was baptized in November 2015 and Victor was baptized in May 2016.  Krysrin has participated in the lessons all of this time.  She will not count as a convert in Church statistics, but in a very real way her baptism is a result of missionary efforts. We provided refreshments (cake and ice cream from COSTCO) in a reception after the baptism.  The cake had a rainbow across the top with the inscription, “Welcome into the Kingdom of God, Krystin”.
Krystin remembers fondly the elders who have participated in teaching her.  She would have loved to have them all in attendance. She has been faithfully attending Church for several months.
If we saw no other results from our mission, Krystin’s baptism and confirmation would have made our mission worthwhile.

Monday, August 1, 2016

We started the week as we do each week  - preparing food for the Heritage Park Branch Family Home Evening at Anasazi Valley.  The day was culminated by the FHE.  Four of the children from the Shivwits Reservation attended with us.  They get very excited each time the see the garden which they helped plant.  They enjoyed walking through the corn.  Katelyn said she had always wanted to walk through a corn patch – she had seen it only in movies.
Tuesday we watered the Branch Garden at President Salings request – he was out of town.  We also harvested produce – melons, tomatoes and squash- and delivered it to members and investigators. A lion’s share of the produce is being eaten by the squirrels.  We tell others we are raising a great crop of corn and melon fed squirrels! The produce does soften hearts as well as provide nutrition.  The one les active family we visited came to Church for the first time in several months.
Wednesday we attended a LAH (Live at Home) Missionary Conference in Cedar City.  We always enjoy these conferences for the knowledge we gain, the Spirit we feel and getting to visit with other LAH missionaries.  We visited with Elder and Sister Jolley at lunch and told them of our work with the Native Americans and the Heritage Park Branch.  They requested information about the branch meeting times.  Then Sunday a Native American they have been teaching came to the Heritage Park Branch with her two children.  She said she was there to expose her children to the other Native Americans, but after Sacrament Meeting, she told the Branch President that she felt the Spirit more than she had in any other meeting.
We delivered garden produce and visited with less active families the rest of the week.  We also delivered letters from the Branch Presidency to less active families.  The letters state the members records will be sent to their neighborhood wards if they do not notify the Branch Presidency they want to remain members of the branch.  Records get sent to the branch and never are moved out because the branch is defined by culture – not by geographical boundaries.  Because of this it can become a repository for records of members who never attend and they can get lost to the Church.  There is not a functioning home teaching program  so people who do not attend can easily be lost to the Church.  It is hoped that they will be better fellowshipped by getting their records in their local ward.
We had two visits this week with Bro and Sis “T” on the Reservation.  They both say they were baptized as children, but the Church has no record of Brother “T” being baptized.  We explained he can obtain letters from 2 people who were witness to his baptism or he can be baptized again.  He is checking with his family about getting letters attesting to his baptism.  They are a great couple and they have a great spirit in their home.
We capped Sunday by visiting with the Heritage Park Branch President and his wife (Salings) about the members of the branch and where he would like us to focus our efforts.   Pr Saling asked us to assist one family in obtained needed commodities from Deseret Industries and the Bishops Storehouse. 'They, like we,  love the members of the branch. .  We didn,t get home from our meeting with the Salings until after 10:00 PM and we have two birthday cakes to bake for Monday.
On top of this, we are try to sort through a huge assortment of clothing received from a family member.  We want to get them to Native Americans who need clothing for school, which is about ready to start for the Fall.
We feel we have had a very productive week and  we have several appointments scheduled for the next week.