Sunday, September 25, 2016

Elder and Sister Elkington Missionary Epistle
Week Ending 9/25/16
Last weekend the children from the reservation that we have been teaching went camping at Mount Trumbo.  The camp was sponsored by a Native American organization.  They were taught about their native Paiute traditions and language. On Monday, the 10 year old girl we have been taking to church and family home evening talked in FHE about the experience and recited the Paiute alphabet and talked about the language.  It was good to see the pride she felt to be a Paiute.  It is good for children/people to feel pride in who they are.  So many times they are ridiculed because they are not part of the majority (whatever it is.)
Wednesday evening we took eight children from the Shivwits Reservation to The Heritage Park Branch president’s home to be fitted for Native American regalia to wear in the Santa Clara parade on Saturday. It was fun to see the excitement the children felt as they found Native American attire to wear.  After the fitting, Sister Elkington drove the car with five of the children and Elder Elkington drove the truck with 3 boys (there were too many to fit in one vehicle).  He drove the boys to a Cub Scout pack meeting that was held at Anasazi Valley.  They had a campfire and made “smores”.  After the event ended, Elder Elkington drove the boys home to the reservation.  On the way one of the boys opened up to Elder Elkington and asked a number of questions.  He asked how long a mission is.  I responded it was for two years for a young man and 18 months for Sisters.  I also told him about my first mission to the Eastern States Mission from 1957 to 1959.  I told him he could be called to serve anyplace in the world – in another country or in another state.  It was obvious he has been thinking about Sister Elkington’s challenge to prepare to serve a mission. 
He also asked if I dated girls and if I had a girlfriend when I was young.  He also asked how I met Sister Elkington and if I asked her to go on a date.  He wanted to know where we would go on dates.  I answered honestly and then talked about the value of pursuing education after high school.  I also told two of them they are talented athletes, but that they will not be able to be on high school sports teams unless they keep good grades.  He asked if that meant he had to get straight “A” s.  I told him he probably would need to have over a “C” average.  I told them they could take classes at Dixie Applied Technology College while they were still going to high school.  I explained that they could make a lot more money if they went to advanced schooling to learn a skill or a trade.
When we arrived at their home, they said, “See you on Sunday”. (One of them has resisted going to church sometimes).  I really felt we made a breakthrough in our relationship. They do not have fathers in their lives and I think they miss that relationship.
This week we continued with the elders to teach Melvin.  He obviously understood much of the basic Gospel and was excited to be ready for baptism.  We spent a lot of time with him – giving him rides to the doctor, having him come to our home to work outside with Elder Elkington.  While they were working, Elder Elkington was able to teach him some of the requirements of Church membership and baptism.  He asked if he could ride with us as we ran errands because “he felt better while with us than while sitting alone at home.” 
While we were at the Shivwits Reservation we met a young man who has just been released from the Purgatory Correctional Facility (jail).  He was open in talking to us and it was apparent he has no place to stay.  When we got home, Sister Elkington said, “We can’t just leave him out there with nothing to eat.”  So, we put together a lunch and took it back to him.  It was obvious he really appreciated the food plus a bottle of water.
Saturday we took the children from the reservation to be in the Swiss Days parade.  The Heritage Park Branch had put together a really nice float that the children rode on.  Everyone on the float was dressed in Native American regalia.  As the float passed, one little boy turned to his mother and said, “Mom, I really like Indians.”
Then Saturday afternoon, Melvin was baptized by Elder Elkington – normally the baptisms are performed by the young elders, but Melvin requested Elder Elkington perform the ordinance.  He willingly did so.  We have great hopes for Melvin receiving the priesthood and being a blessing to his family.  It would mean a lot if he is able to baptize them and give them blessings. He is an exceptional Native American man.  He attended college at SUU and is well spoken.
A nice surprise at Church was the attendance of a young girl we had helped teach a year ago.  She had wanted to be baptized then, but her mother said she had to wait.  Her mother brought her to Church – the mother left after sacrament meeting, but the girl stayed for all three meetings, and she still wants to be baptized! She also wants to come to our home for a cooking lesson by Sister Elkington – making pumpkin pies.
Between preparing food for the homeless, feeding the missionaries twice, feeding the homeless and providing refreshments for the baptismal service, Sister (and Elder) Elkington was exhausted by the time Saturday evening arrived.  Melvin was confirmed today and now, as the cake at his baptism said, “Welcome into the Kingdom of God, Melvin”.  Now our calling is to make sure he is supported in his efforts to integrate himself into the Church.
It’s hard to recover your energy when you start Sunday with a meeting with the Stake Presidency at 7:00AM and then have an 11:00 AM meeting with the Heritage Park Council, followed by giving rides to Church for children on the reservation and capped with a sacrament meeting where Melvin was confirmed a member of the Church.  (Also, treats had to be prepared for the children attending Church).  What is this about Sunday being a day of rest?

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Monday started with a flurry – we got up at 6:00 AM and cooked 4 pounds of bacon, which we then delivered to a park in Winchester Hills, where we teamed with Sister Hansen in providing a breakfast for the Zone.  The Zone missionaries had breakfast and then a morning of Frisbee and other activities.  After the breakfast we returned home to prepare food for the Heritage Park Branch family home evening at Anasazi Valley.  When we picked the children up from the Shivwits Reservation, their grandfather was visiting from Arizona.  He followed Elder Elkington outside and said, “What do I need to do to be baptized?”  Elder Elkington had met him in January and he had said he was studying with the missionaries in another area and was within 3 days of being baptized.  So Elder Elkington said, “I thought you were baptized.”  He said he had a family emergency that took him away before he could be baptized.  So Elder Elkington called the elders and set an appointment for him to be taught the next day.  We have been picking him up and bringing him to our home to be taught with the elders.  We have assisted in teaching him on 4 days this week.  In addition he came to Church today and attended the Sunday school class taught by Elder Elkington.  The lesson was on baptism.  During the lesson he asked Elder Elkington if he would baptize him next Saturday.
Backing up a few days – the man indicated he did not have any Sunday clothes to wear to Church.  He had left his Sunday clothes (If he has any) in Arizona when he came to Utah.  Elder Elkington went through his closet and found a pair of pants and a shirt that were like new, but no longer fit Elder Elkington. (It’s amazing how much clothes shrink in size over a couple of years!)  These were given to the man along with a pair of dress shoes and a tie and a pair of socks.  He was one of the sharpest dressed men in Church!  We have agreed to give him a ride to a doctors appointment tomorrow and, since his birthday is today, we told him we will bring a birthday cake to the branch family home evening tomorrow if he will come.  He said he will – so Costco bakery, here we come. (It will need to serve all who come to family home evening so we won’t attempt to bake this one.)
We (Sister Elkington) baked and decorated a birthday cake for a 7 year old girl on the reservation on Tuesday – confetti cake with pink icing sprinkled with confetti.
We had to split up to take people to Church.  Elder Elkington picked up the grandfather at 12:15 PM to take him to the Church building for a lesson with the elders before Sacrament meeting.  Sister Elkington picked up 3 children at 12:35 PM and took them to Sacrament Meeting.  Then, after church meetings Sister Elkington took the children home while Elder Elkington went to the Santa Clara Stake Missionary Coordination Meeting.  Did someone say there are meetings involved with missionary service and Church membership?
We give the Native American children tablets to write in during sacrament meeting so they can make notes of things they hear or think.  One 11 yr. old boy wrote “Prayer is important, because it might be true.” We hope to help him build on that tentative statement to where he can say, “I know it is true.”
In addition we called on a family at the request of the branch president and Sister Elkington assessed their needs and filled out a Bishop’s Order for them.
We are very busy – and we love it!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Elder Larry and Sister Bev Elkington
Monday evening was Heritage Park Branch Family Home Evening at Anasazi Valley. Much of Monday was spent preparing food to take to FHE.  We ended up trying a new recipe for burritos.  Those who tried them really liked them.  The children from the Reservation wanted to take the leftovers home. 
Tuesday we acted on President Saling’s request to oversee the needs of one of the families.  We went to the Bishop’s Storehouse and got a load of food for the family. (It literally was a load – there was no more room in our Toyota Highlander). We visited 2 families and then spent the rest of the day preparing for our “Talks” at the Live-at Home Missionary Zone Conference to be held on Wednesday. We had been asked to tell about our mission – our experiences are quite different from the other couples.  Instead of working with all the wards in the stake, we devote our time to working with the Native Americans. We explained the background of the Heritage Park Branch and that it serves Native Americans throughout Washington County. 
There was a lot of interest in our presentation and one of the couples phoned later in the week to ask about the meeting times for the branch.  They said they were teaching a Navajo couple who want to attend the Heritage Park Branch. We hope they follow through with their interest and attend.
Wednesday evening we took 2 of the boys from the Shivwits Reservation to scouting at the Heritage Park Branch.  Participating in these activities is helping them become more comfortable in the Branch.  Hopefully, it will lead to a prolonged commitment to activity in the Church.
We visited Sister “M’s” family several times during the week.  On Friday we had a pizza party at our home for Sister “M’s” grandchildren that have been attending Church.  They are very receptive to our teachings and attend church regularly now.  We had all seven of them to the pizza party – which included pizza, fruit and ice cream. We also showed a Church video and discussed it.
Sunday Elder Elkington spoke in sacrament meeting on keeping the Sabbath Day holy and on the sacrament.  We also had 14 people (that we have been working with) at Church.
We have been trying to be more aware of our physical limitations – we’ve needed a little more sleep the last couple of days.  It doesn’t look like next week will be any easier – it starts with us helping prepare food Monday morning for a Missionary Zone breakfast.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Missionary Epistle 70416
Elder and Sister Elkington           
This week has provided a variety of experiences and events.  Monday we went to the Scout office to obtain registration forms for the boys on the Shivwits Reservation (in Sister “M’s” family) to register as scouts.  We also stopped at Deseret Industries to check for scout uniforms – we obtained 2 shirts. We then hurried home to prepare beef stew for the Branch Family Home Evening at Anasazi Valley – the stew was a great hit! (We took 4 children from the Reservation to FHE).
We have told the children in Sister “M’s” family that we would take them out to eat if they attend Church 5 weeks consecutively.  The eight year old girl has attended regularly for months, so we told her we would take her out to eat.  She then asked “Would it be alright if we bought me some new shoes instead of going out to eat?”  So we took her to a shoe store and bought two pairs of shoes – one for church and one for school.  She was really excited – especially when we then took her out to her favorite restaurant to eat (In and Out Burgers).  She was very hungry because she said older kids at school had prevented her from eating school lunch. (It is a good thing for those girls that we were not there observing their bullying behavior). 
Normally we have been baking a cake for the birthday of each member of Sister “M’s” family.  This week was Sister “M’s” birthday so we bought her a large lattice apple pie – she (and her grandchildren) were thrilled!  The little things we do for this family may not be that great, but they convey to them our love.
Sister Elkington also spent a few hours modifying a dress for one of the reservation children.  The dress needed shortened to look stylish.
Then on Sunday we received a phone call asking us to not come to the Reservation to pick up children for Church – their mother/aunt would bring them.  We were thrilled for this because we know the children will need family support to stay active in the Church when we are released from our mission. One of the factors motivating the mother/aunt to attend Church was that Elder Elkington had gone to the hospital to give her a blessing last week when she was seriously ill and in the hospital.  The grandmother and grandfather also received blessings for health issues within the past few weeks.
One way this family receives blessings from their Father in Heaven is through our hands.  We pray we will always be found worthy and able to be instruments through which He blesses others.
We  ended the week on Sunday evening by filling out a food order , at the Branch President’s request, for a family on the Reservation.  We will go to the Bishop’s Storehouse on Tuesday to obtain the needed items.