Sunday, October 30, 2016

WEEK ENDING 10/30/16
Heritage Park Branch Family Home Evening was cancelled on Monday because of the weather.  When it rains the road into Anasazi Valley can become impassable.  We were almost relieved when we received word that it was cancelled. But we had already been to Costco to buy food for FHE.  At least we got the word before we prepared the food and cooked it.  As much as we love the FHE we will be relieved when it is over for the season.  It will be good to have a p-day without preparing food for FHE!
We spent a few hours reviewing the list of residents on the Shivwits Reservation with Elders Perkins and Clark.  They are exceptional young missionaries – we enjoy working with them.  Elder Elkington took them to the Reservation to show them where people live.
We delivered banana bread and visited less active members, and then we took boys from the Reservation to scouting. Then on Friday Ethan got to go to a Cub Scout half day activity at Ivins Park.  He really enjoyed it.
Thursday was a multi zone Annual Mission Conference where we heard from Elder Michael Ringwood and his wife.  He related several incidents where he felt prompted to make decisions that turned out to impact people’s lives in a very positive way.  He said there is no doubt the Lord is directing this work.  Some explain such things by saying, “It’s just a coincidence.”  But, the complicated interaction of events that transpire cannot be explained by saying, “It’s just a coincidence”.
We have experienced in our lives events that cannot be explained any way except that the Lord was directing things.
We taught a lesson on Friday to Sister “M’s” grandchildren.  Then on Saturday we took chili and rolls to the Heritage Park Branch Halloween Party and Chili Cook Off.  Two girls we had taught a year ago came to the party. I don’t know who won the cook off, but I do know we were beat by the time Saturday evening came around!
We had to take two vehicles to Church today so Sis Elkington could pick up children for church and then take them home afterwards while Elder Elkington attended the Santa Clara Stake Missionary Coordination meeting.
We love our mission to the Native Americans and we love the people, but we do get tired.  We wish we could have done this a number of years earlier.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

We have been blessed this week to have a daughter, Karol, with us.  Then a son Steve and his wife Melonie came for the weekend.  In addition, a grandson, Chase, came on Friday evening with three of his friends.  It was great to see all these people and visit with them.  But they had to entertain themselves a lot – we had missionary work to do!
Monday we prepared food to take to the Heritage Park Branch FHE at Anasazi Valley.  We had eight children to FHE.  Sister Elkington took the car and picked up six children from the Reservation and took them to FHE.  Monday afternoon we received a text from Kiza asking if she and her sister, Mia, could come to FHE.  They also said they needed a ride.  So Elder Elkington took his daughter, Karol,and went to Ivins  in the truck and picked up Kiza and Mia for FHE. Kiza and Mia were taught by the elders and the Elkingtons about a year ago.  They then moved to a new home and we could not find them.  We are thrilled to have them contact us.
We took a bag full of stuffed animals to the FHE and had a quiz where the children could answer a gospel question and choose a toy if they answered correctly.  FHE was a great success.
We also received a text from a recent convert who has returned to the Navajo Reservation in Arizona.  He said he needed to borrow a little money for food and gas until his next payday.  We had to get educated on how to send a Moneygram.  We received the following text from him: : “Good morning to my best friends, I’m letting you know how happy I am knowing Our Heavenly Father is with me every step of my life.  Good news –I have one more therapy.  Doctor says, “Got it in the nick of time.” Anyway I’m doing better knowing that, and also if it wasn’t for the both of you I would have given up.  I love you both” and thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I’ll let you know more after my visit with the doctor today.”
We have received other texts telling us he is reading the Book of Mormon and praying.  He said he believes God is real and answers his prayers.

We visited some members during the week and left a note with one family that has been very difficult to teach/fellowship because they are seldom home together.  The note was left with a loaf of banana bread.  The note said,
“We love and appreciate your family.  We pray for you regularly. You have told us you would like to be sealed in the temple as an eternal family (including your deceased children and Nick).  This blessing can happen, but it will take effort and commitment on your part.  We want to help.  But your schedules make it difficult for us to get together so we can help/teach you.  We have stopped by on several occasions, but no one was home.
If you call us when you want us to come over, we will do so. (Our cell phone number is 801-425-3155 (If we call you, the caller ID will show as Deseret Medical)).  We will do all we can to help you achieve the blessings available through the temple.
The first step in being together as an eternal family will be baptism.  Nelson can have his baptism performed by proxy in the temple.  Your deceased daughter does not need to be baptized because The Lord has revealed that children under the age of eight are pure and need no baptism.  Don, you have been baptized, but the Church has no record of it. This can be resolved by producing a copy of a baptism certificate which will provide information about your baptism, or you can obtain letters from two people who witnessed the baptism, or you can be baptized again.  Nick would need to be taught by the missionaries and then baptized.
If you prefer being taught by the young missionaries, we will assist by introducing you to them.  Our deepest desire is for your family to obtain the blessings of the Gospel available through the steps described above.  Please let us know how we can help.
Elder and Sister Elkington”
We also left a video on the blessings of the temple.  We will check back to see if they can arrange their schedules so we can meet with them.
We met with the children on the Reservation for a lesson on Friday.  The children had expressed a desire to read from the Book of Mormon. So the lesson and reading pertained to Helaman’s stripling warriors. They appeared very interested.
President Saling brought us a book written for Native American LDS youth.  It appears to tell them what we have been trying to teach them about their heritage and the gospel.  We are excited to read the book.  We believe it can help them set and achieve goals that will change their lives for the better.
We find great joy in serving Our Father in Heaven and in conveying His love to the Native American people.
Elder Larry and Sister Bev Elkington

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Monday was spent preparing for the Heritage Park Branch FHE at Anasazi Valley.  We took six children from the Shivwits Reservation to the FHE. A lesson was given as part of the FHE and the children really enjoyed playing with the other children that were there.  One of the purposes of the joint FHE is to build friendships within the branch.  That certainly was accomplished this week
We received a phone call on Tuesday from Melvin, a recent convert who was baptized last month.   He has been working on a ranch in Shonto, Arizona and had come to St George to receive medical treatments.  He was very ill and needed a place to spend the night. We took him to our home and fed him and gave him a bed for the night. We also called our stake patriarch to come and assist in giving him a blessing.  We then gave him breakfast on Wednesday morning and took him to St George to catch a ride back to Shonto, Arizona (On the Navajo Reservation).  While he was in our home he read from the Book of Mormon and asked several questions about the principles of the Gospel.  He is going to continue his medical treatments in Flagstaff, Arizona.  So we don’t know when he will be back to St George.  He said he wants to come back to this area, but does not know when.
We also took two of the boys to scouting Tuesday and Wednesday evenings.  Shaden has completed the requirements for two merit badges.  We are trying to get these boys integrated into scouting so they will be more apt to continue in Church activity when we are no longer here.
On Thursday we had two girls from the Shivwits Reservation to our home for cooking lessons – they cooked Halloween cookies and dinner Parmesan rolls.  While the girls were cooking,, their cousin helped Elder Elkington remove dead brush from the yard. We had the opportunity to discuss Gospel principles as we worked with them.
We also had district meeting on Friday morning.  It has been frustrating because we do not get notified when the district meetings are to be held.  This week we were notified what time the district meeting would be about one half hour before it started.  And that was after we phoned and sent text messages to find when the meeting would be.  It seems communication with the district leaders is not good right now.  Once we got to the meeting, we were spiritually fed – it was a very good meeting!
Our daughter, Karol, came to visit on Saturday and attended Church with us today.  We were disappointed that many of the branch families were not in Church today because their children had their Fall break this week and they went back to see relatives on the reservations in Arizona.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Elder and Sister Elkington
Another week has flown by!  Monday, as usual, we prepared food for the Heritage Park Branch Family Home Evening at Anasazi Valley.  We then took children from the Shivwits Reservation to the FHE.  It is getting dark earlier and it is cooler in the evenings, so FHE will probably only continue for another few weeks.  The lessons given at FHE by Sister Tera Lyn Sanchez are brief, but they provide an opportunity for the children to participate and to learn Gospel  principles.  We will be pleased to be free of the time spent preparing food each week for FHE.  But we will miss the opportunity to take the children.
Monday we also had a follow-up appointment with the eye doctor who is treating Sister Elkington for an eye infection.  (She is making good progress, but the eye infection slowed down what we were able to do this week.)
Tuesday was spent primarily attending the funeral of Elder Elkington’s cousin, Becky Grauman, in Logandale, Nevada..  She was an outstanding person who has given much in being an elementary school teacher and in serving her neighbors and friends.  Her husband, Dave, is not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but he has supported Becky in her Church callings and in her quest to be closer to her mother’s (Aunt Floral Robison) Judy family. We visited with Dave and Becky just before our mission and really enjoyed our visit. Becky did a lot of baking, so she and Bev shared a lot of experiences.  Becky introduced Bev to a new flour that makes a huge difference in baking bread (Montana Wheat brand) and gave her a start of sour dough that had originated with her mother. Both of us had memories involving Becky. Dave told us of how hurt he was when some relatives who were in the area did not come to the house after Becky’s death. It reminded me of something I learned as a bishop- If you don’t know what to say to someone who has experienced a great loss, go see them anyway.  Do not stay away because you are uncomfortable – you can always say, “I love you”, or “I care”. Dave asked Elder Elkington to offer a family prayer before the family left for the funeral.
Wednesday, we took a baby gift to  a couple in the branch, Andresen’s, who just received a new baby girl they are adopting.  The love and joy in the home was palpable. This little baby girl is being blessed by being raised in a loving home where she will be taught the Gospel. We also visited members and then took three of the boys from the Reservation to Scouting and cub scouting that evening.
We visited members during the week and then took some time working on the house – refinishing the front door in preparation for winter.
Today we had nine people we have been visiting attend Church in the branch.  We took 2 vehicles to Church so Sister Elkington could deliver the children home to the Reservation after Church and Elder Elkington could attend the Santa Clara Stake Missionary Coordination meeting.
We see blessings that branch members are experiencing that originate because of the service we are giving as member and leader support missionaries.  It makes this mission very rewarding!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Elder Larry and Sister Bev Elkington
Monday we spent preparing food for the branch FHE at Anasazi Valley.  We took 5 children to FHE.  We were surprised when they told us their grandfather, who we just baptized, had returned to the Navajo Reservation in Arizona. We called him on his phone and he said he had to return to Arizona to complete an unfinished project for his employer.  He said he expects to be back to the St George area within a month. We purchased a copy of the Gospel Principles manual and mailed it to him so he can continue to learn the basic doctrines of the Church.
The branch president brought us 10 bags of potatoes to deliver to branch members who need them.  On Tuesday we visited 5 families to leave them a 10 pound bag of potatoes.  This gave us a chance to talk to them about attending Church.  We had some great visits and met one very receptive sister.  She said she would start attending Church.
Wednesday we delivered more potatoes and had a good visit with a branch member who has not been attending Church.  We emphasized the importance of bring his family to Church each Sunday.  We then left a prayer in his home and expressed our love for him and his family.  That evening we took one of the boys to Boy Scout meeting and then took him to Harmon’s for a gelato.
We got a call from and investigator who hasn’t met with us for a month.  She says she wants to be baptized, but she hasn’t attended Church.  Elder Elkington reviewed the requirements for baptism and emphasized the importance of taking her children to Church while they are young.  She indicated she would like to study with the young Sister Missionaries.  We got permission from the Mission President to have the sisters teach her. Maybe they will be able to help her attend Church.
Friday was Zone Meeting.  We attended the first part of and then had to leave for a doctor appointment.  Sister Elkington had a very red eye that hurt.  The doctor said he thought it was iritis.  Since he wasn’t sure, he prescribed eye drops that contain a steroid and an antibiotic.  The eye seems to be improving slowly.
We watched General Conference on Saturday and felt spiritually nourished.  We looked forward to another day of relaxation and Conference on Sunday .  Then at 8:00 AM this morning we received a phone call from a Native American woman saying she needed a ride to the hospital.  She said the family car had been taken by another family member and she had no way to get to the hospital.  She was experiencing severe abdominal pain.  We dropped everything and took her to the hospital.  We then watched the morning session of conference followed by a trip back to the hospital to check on her. We missed most of the afternoon session of conference because of assistance we provided to/for the member.
Our mission call says we are Member and Leader Support missionaries – that’s what we do.  And we love it!