Saturday, March 23, 2013

March 23, 2013

My "Almost" Mom, Charlene Kent passed away on March 14 last week. She had heart and kidney problems and told me when I talked to her the week before that she was still trying to hang on and be there when I get home, but her heart wouldn’t let her. She passed away happy with her two surviving sons with her and her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren at her bedside. All the Super Knitters and Sister Morris dressed her in her temple clothes and said they felt my spirit and prayers with them. I’m okay now cause I know she is with her husband, son, daughter, and parents. Isn’t the fullness of the Gospel divine??? Holly and her family placed flowers in our behalf. Thank you so much for that.

That's Mom Kent with Yontz and Kaydence

The new President has asked President Wilkey to ask us to extend. We are going to call President Stoker today and tell him that our release date is July 23 but we are willing to extend to August 3. Pres and Sis Wilkey asked me to put together a manual for Pres Stoker and to copy the entire book for Pres Wilkey also. It has everything our mission does from reports to meetings to medical to transfers to……. When Pres Stoker reads it and finds something he wants to talk to Pres Wilkey about, he can just tell him what section and what page he is on and they will be seeing the same thing. Pres Wilkey loves it so much that he is taking his home as a keepsake. Anyway, I think when Pres Stoker looked at that book he about had a coronary!!!! It’s all in a 3” binder. Now Sister Wilkey wants me to make up a medical book for Sister Stoker. Sister Stoker is thinking about having the second senior sister in the office to be a nurse so she can do a lot of the medical stuff. Sister Wilkey has worked her heart out on that stuff and spends untold hours every week working with missionary medical issues. President Wilkey told us the other day that he wished we could have been with him throughout his whole 3 years! That was a nice compliment. But, we have kids and grandkids who are wanting us to be home. The renters in our house are moving out on April 27 and headed to BYU Provo so our house will be empty for 3 months. I’m not too excited about that. A couple from our home ward went over to look at it and to decide if they want to buy it, but the problem is that they want us to carry a contract for 2 years for them. We are just not going to get into that. We want to sell it outright.

We have 26 new missionaries coming in on Monday. We have to take 3 or 4 cars to the airport just to pick them all up. And housing them is interesting in about 4 places also. Tuesday’s transfer meeting will be the largest in the history of our mission with about 130 coming in. Pray for us!!! Transfers is my favorite meeting. I love the training from Pres and Sis Wilkey, the testimonies of the missionaries who are going home, the new assignments, the Temple, the dinner. It is so great! You should see our office. We have bedding for 26 missionaries stacked up all around the walls and piles of new area kits in the corners. We will be opening 9 new apartments that Mike has been working day and night to lease and to furnish. What a job that is. And we have created 2 new zones with more on the way in the next 3 months. We have 155 missionaries and will be at about 215 when we are done this year. Wow, I’m getting tireder and tireder just typing this all up!

On P Day, March 16, we went to Boston to listen to Elder Ballard. We all got to shake his hand. That was cool. He said that when the Church opens the 58 new missions, there will be 401 missions world-wide. Can you believe it? In the introduction to the King James Version of the Bible there is a phrase that says, "...that the work might be hastened." Well it surely is.

We will miss being here and miss our new friends. Mike got to baptize one sister and she and I will probably be life-long buds. She’s from Nepal and doesn’t speak English very well but she is just the sweetest person. I just love her. And of course we are still in touch with missionaries who have gone home. We love that also. We will be leaving here on Aug 4th. Then driving home and we will probably take about 10 days to drive from here to IDF to visit with Diana, Ian, and Payton, to Utah to visit with Tony and family, Kurt, Paul and family, the Larsens and the Hymases, and to Calif to visit with my brother, Tim and family. Then home to Washington to see Andrea and Holly. Paul and Kortni are driving to Washington about Aug 15th and we want to be there for their 2 week visit with everyone. Leona and Henry are anxious to see us, and Cèlin is going to spend a week with us, Lilly and Eli want to jump on Grandpa, and of course I have to take Ryker around to see if our cows and horses and rivers are still there!!!! He still talks about all of that every time I talk or FaceTime with him. He jumped inside an empty disposable diaper box, shut the lids down around his neck, and said, “Mom, I be package for Grammie.” So precious. Thank goodness for writing, phone calls, Skype, and FaceTime! We are able to keep in touch with all our kids and grandkids. Don't you just love technology?! We surely do! Actually, with everything involved, we couldn't survive without technology!!!!

Bye for now. I hope to write again soon, but we are so busy I just take time when I get it. We love you all and look forward to a very happy reunion in August!!!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

February 16, 2013 Gettin' ready for the onslaught!

What can I say more--we are busy. Elder Benjamin has been working all week and P days as well. He is in the office now and has been since early this morning. He's putting the finishing touches on the last apartment lease needed for the new missionaries coming in on Monday--22 in all. So far that is the biggest group since we had 12 coming in a few weeks ago. In March we are getting 26! Six in May so far, and 15 in June that we know of at this time.

We love staying busy, and we have been told that it will be like this until we leave the first of August. We haven't heard who our replacements are going to be, but the news is coming soon. President and Sister Wilkey are holding up very well. They never get a day "off", ever! I can't believe the number of missionaries who get home sick, or just plain sick-physically and emotionally--that they have to take care of. We pray for them and the missionaries constantly.

The missionaries who are going home on Wednesday are very dear to us. We have served with them for over a year now, and we get very close to them. Tuesday is transfer day, and after transfer meeting we will be attending the Boston Temple with the nine missionaries who are going home. That is always a special treat for us senior couples.

Found this picture of us with the Wilkeys one month after we arrived here in the mission. Picture was taken March 21, 2012.

Two of our Elders modeling Elder Benjamin's hat. Those missionaries can have fun with any kind of prop!

First big snow in Goffstown NH on January 27, 2013.

Our friends and roommates at Education Week, Dave and Marge Larsen, are going home today from their mission in the Florida Tallahassee Mission. They started on May 15, 2011 and are going home now. We are going to visit them on our way home in August.

This is my favorite tree in Manchester NH. It is on Main Street and we pass it every day going to the office. This is in the fall.

Snow day February 9, 2013 in our apartment complex parking lot. Not our van under there!

Another shot of what Storm Nemo did to us here in Goffstown NH.


You'd think that these trees are in New England. Not so! They are on Schurman Way in Woodland WA.

We are busy, but we are happy! Serving an office mission here has been one of the best times of our lives. We are lovin' it. Seeing the church grow here in New England has been so rewarding to us. And with 80 more missionaries the work will roll forth at a much faster pace. There were 225 convert baptisms here in 2012, and there will be more than that in 2013. My prediction!!!!

We do miss our children, grandchildren, parents (Mike), siblings, and friends. We do love you all. We feel so fortunate to be able to serve Heavenly Father and our Savior at this time in our lives. Having been "set apart" to serve here has been a real joy to us.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Finally! December 30, 2012

Well, what can I say? I'm a flake for sure! We have been busier than a 16-year old with a new car!!!! I'm just going to start posting pictures and talk about them.

You'd think that this sign would some how be associated with our mission, right? But, no. It is posted at the end of the driveway of a church in Bedford NH. But it is such a cool sign, I'm going to pretend that it belongs to us!!

The Bedford Town Hall is just down the street from the Mission Field sign. Bedford was established in 1750 and this building sits on top of the hill with many other buildings of the town.

Thanksgiving Day we worked in the office. Got a lot done since we were there alone most of the day. We came home and had soup! We got to talk with our kids so that made it a really special and different Thanksgiving for us.

On Sunday, December 23 (Joseph Smith's and Diann Hokanson's birthdays) we were invited to a Nepali wedding by Suk. She is from Nepal and being taught by 2 of our Elders. She is about 44 years old and just the nicest lady you would want to meet. Her husband is still in Nepal and should be arriving in the US in about 6 more months. She has had us over for dinner twice--first time was goat meat and second time was mostly vegetable dishes. Anyway, we arrived at her apartment, and it was crammed with relatives--wall to wall. When we got there (Elder B, 2 Sisters, 2 Elders, and myself) it was standing room only. The bride (Suk's daughter) and groom were seated on the sofa and everyone else found room around them.

You can see the red dish on the table? That is sticky rice and food coloring. The relatives say things to the couple, paste the rice on their foreheads, and give them gifts or put cash in the grooms hand. All the while there is loud Nepali music going on all over the apartment. I took a video of many of the guests dancing with Suk including the Sister missionaries who really looked like they knew what they were doing. I got up and participated, but I sure didn't take a picture of myself doing that!

The little 5-year old on the left is Suk's niece, Shearyea, pronounced like sheedia. She loves to come to church with Suk, and she just loves Primary. She is one of the happiest little girls I have seen in a long time. She's happy about everything and so good natured. And she loves dark chocolate! Needless to say we have bonded.

This is Suk and Shearyea at Stake Conference. Shearyea sat very quiet the whole 2 hours, so when there was about 45 minutes to go, I gave her a Dove chocolate and and wipe! She loved it.

After attending the Nepali wedding, we and the four missionaries drove to Bishop and Sister Dickson's home for a prime rib dinner that was delicious. I have to admit though that I think Elder Hatch has a hollow leg. I couldn't believe how many kielbasas he put away. And that was part of the appetizer! Then he ate dinner. And all of that was only 2 hours after the Nepali wedding lunch!!!!

Christmas morning we picked up our 4 missionaries and drove to Deerfield NH for Christmas breakfeast (sic) with the Lahr family in our ward. They do this every year. We were so fortunate to be there. They had sausage, bacon, french toast, cinnamon rolls, yogurt, and juice. They gave each missionary a stocking with goodies in it. So sweet of them. They have 3 children, Elizabeth 17, Eric 14, who looks like Hoss from Bonanza, and Jake who is 8. They live the farthest out in the ward. Brother Lahr has a transmission repair business and said that he is keeping very busy because he pays his tithing. Great family.

Christmas Day after Skyping and FaceTiming with most of our children and grandchildren, we went to President and Sister Wilkey's home for an 8-course French dinner. There were 12 of us--Wilkey's, Stake President Anderson, his wife, and two children, Elder and Sister DeLoach (senior couple doing records preservation in Concord NH) and 2 sister missionaries, and ourselves. It was great and delicious fun. President Anderson's 17-year old daughter, Mary Alice, played a beautiful arrangement of Silent Night on her violin. We chatted and talked about the Savior and his love and left all warm and fuzzy. It was a wonderful day!

December 27 was the first big snowfall and the next day there was even more snow. We are not supposed to get anymore snow for about a week. We are amazed how the plow trucks just stay busy and keep all the streets clear. Almost every house has a snow blower. On the way to church this morning, many people where out clearing their sidewalks and driveways. Normal course of events here in New England in the winter.

It is hard to believe that we have been out on our mission for 11 months already. Time is flying by. Salt Lake is sending us a bunch of new missionaries. Many of the Elders are 18 and some of the Sisters are 19. We are excited to have them come here. We have been very busy making preparations for them. Elder Benjamin is scouting out new apartments in all three states, and I have been doing all the paper work for 32 new arriving missionaries over the next 3 months. Wow, it is fun though. We love staying busy serving the Lord here.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

November 3, 2012

After President Monson's announcement about the age option of missionaries at General Conference last month, a lot has been happening here in New England. President Wilkey told us that we will be getting ready for about 80 to 90 new missionaries after the first of the year. Now I know why I have been organizing and streamlining all the paperwork for incoming missionaries. There will not be one dull moment in our office! Elder Benjamin will be finding new apartments and furnishing them. Elder Davis will be dealing with new cars and cell phones. And Sister Davis will be stocking more supplies and filling more orders. She also takes care of new referrals and baptism records. I really like my job cause I get in with the new and out with the old!!!! I'm also happy to tell all of you that my 66-year old brain works just great!

Zone Conferences are Nov 12 and 14. Elder Nash of the Seventy will be visiting. You may remember that he spoke in the October General Conference. There are lots of grooming protocols for the missionaries when a General Authority visits. Everyone will be all polished and shined. We decided on sack lunches for the zone conferences and we have to stick to 30 minutes from start to cleanup. Zone Conference is very nice for all the missionaries including the seniors. The two wards take care of everything so we don't have to prep and serve and cleanup. We get to eat and partake of the spirit and not worry about how everything is coming along in the kitchen.

Six really good missionaries went home last month. We loved them all and will miss them here, but we already know that they are moving on in their lives. We sure wish them the best!

We weathered Hurricane Sandy without any problems. The electricity stayed on here in our apartment and in the office. We put in some extra food in case we lost power, but thank goodness we didn't lose the power. Thursday we visited a sister with the Elders. She is inactive and has to work on Sundays so she can't come to church. She was baptized in 2006 in the other ward here and the church just lost her. We see that a lot here. The RS pres made out the visiting teaching routes a couple of weeks ago. This is how it went: An active sister gets a route with 2 active sisters on it and about 6 to 8 inactive sisters. The VTer visits the 2 active ones every month and then has to play detective to find out what has happened to the inactive sisters. The ward is so spread out-probably about like Woodland Ward. Last Sunday Sacrament Meeting started with about 10 people in the chapel and that included the bishopric, pianist, and chorister! The meetings here always start about 5 to 10 minutes late. The mission is stressing "real growth." Baptizing people who will stay active. It's a challenge here, but we're working on it.

We are so happy for Lexie! She got her mission call to Australia Sydney! She is so excited. She checks into the MTC on Wed., March 13. That will be a switch for her. She works in the MTC cafeteria and has been serving the missionaries for about a year. So now they get to serve her!!!!! There were about 30 of us on FaceTime and Skype and the telephone watching her open her call letter. Here is a picture of her call letter.

We love you all and miss you. We are half way done with our mission and from what we understand and knowing that we will be busier than ever, the next half will fly by and we will be home before you know it. Be happy and safe and stay true!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

October 13, 2012

We have been busy getting ready for transfers next week. There are 12 new missionaries coming in and 6 going home. We work for 4 straight weeks getting all the paper work and processing done. Then the new ones get here and we take a week to process them in. We have another week to recoup and then we start all over again. It is great work and we enjoy it thoroughly. We feel like it is our contribution to moving the Gospel along in New England. The people here are great. Very standoffish until you get to know them and then you have friends for life. On the sad side--two more missionaries have gone home. One because he said he was "done" after three months here and one for a repentance issue. It is very hard on us when a missionary has to go home. We are excited about the new option from President Monson for 18-year old Elders and 19-yr old Sisters. They don't have to go at that early age, but they do have the option to if they want. We are so proud of Alexis for starting the process the day after the announcement!!! Way to go Lexie! Wouldn't it be great if they sent her here? We would love it and she said she would love it too!!

General Conference was wonderful. I may be partial, but my 8th cousin, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, was absolutely dynamite! He makes me want to get up and get going. I love his talks. I came across this the other day and thought that each one of these could add meaning to a person's life. Or they could make a fantastic Sacrament Meeting talk.

Faith is the power.
Love is the motive.
Obedience is the price.
The spirit is the key.
The restoration is the message.
The members are the means.
Christ is the reason.
Baptism is the way.
Joy is the reward.

Last Saturday we drove up the Kancamagus highway to see the leaves in color. I guess the peak was the week before. So we headed south and found lots of color still there. So beautiful when the sun is shining on the trees. Takes your breath away. Heavenly Father sure has created a gorgeous world for us to live in, especially in America.

We are well and happy and consider ourselves lucky to be able to serve a mission now. Thank you to all our family and friends for supporting us in this time of our lives. We are so very grateful. We love you all.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

September 23, 2012

I has been an interesting couple of weeks. Seven new elders arrived on September 3rd and on the 18th they and their trainers attended the new missionary training. The 4 elders from July 23 and their trainers also attended. The senior couples go over to the Manchester Chapel and set up lunch, eat, and then clean up and go back to the office. I get to have fun at lunch because I bring the mail in. After I eat I walk among the tables and call out the missionary's name and let them all know who got the most letters or the biggest box. They all seem to love it, even the ones who don't get any mail that day.

On the 12th I went to the doc for teeth cleaning to find that one of my fillings next to a crown had fallen out and of course, the only way to fix it is to remove the crown and get a new one. Well, it's a lot more expensive here in New England. At home about $1100 and here $1600. Ouch!!! My haircuts cost more here also. Eleni, I sure do miss your wonderful haircuts at home. And getting a pedicure here is a feat in itself. If you want a full spa pedi it's $60. I can get the same thing and a much better job at home for $25. I miss my shop at home, Nails 4 U. Oh well, on October 23rd we will be at the half-way mark of our mission. I can hold out till we get home.

I ordered a new iPhone 5 and it should be here this week. I'm excited for all the cool stuff it can do that my iPhone 4 can't. Especially Siri. I downloaded the new iOS6 on my iPad3 and now I have Siri on that. It is so fun to tell her what I want her to do! I love bossing her around!

Today is Kaydence's 2nd birthday. Diana and Ian and Payton drove down from Idaho Falls to Pleasant Grove for the weekend. We FaceTimed yesterday and Kaydence was having a great time opening presents. She's really into princess books, so we gave here "Princess of the Potty."

My 66th birthday was so nice. I loved hearing from all my kids and friends. When I got into the office on Monday, the Assistants (Elders Esplin and Baker) had decorated with a princess motif. The poster on the door said, "Happy Birthday Princess." I had a really good laugh over that. Sister Davis made a delicious carrot cake for me with candles (only 8 cause we didn't want to have to call in the fire marshall) and everything. Great day.

Tomorrow is Mom Kent's 85th birthday. And her sister, Barbara's 84th birthday is on Wednesday. Both of them are in poor health now. They are such wonderful people and I love them both.

Yesterday, I finally got around to start knitting Leona's Mitered Jacket. It will be a long project since I don't get much time to knit-mostly on Preparation Day on Saturdays. Here are a couple of shots of the start of the jacket.

Today at church we had a talk from Brother Nimmo who is on the High Council. His talk was about prophets. One thing that really snapped me to attention was what he said about President Hinckley--The story goes like this: Someone met President Hinckley and said, "Oh, President Hinckley, you will be remembered for building so many temples." And Pres. Hinckley said, "No, I will be remembered for the prophet that no one listened to." Wow, that really hit me and made me want to go back and read all that he has counseled us to do. It would be a great exercise for all of us.

We had another missionary leave the mission. Really, I don't know the details, but some of the ones who have gone home have said that they just can't cut it any longer. I remember when Elder Ballard announced that the bar had been raised and that only worthy young men should apply for a mission. After 2 years here, President Wilkey has seen 36 missionaries go home for health and worthiness and laziness reasons. So I guess my counsel to young men is that they should not bother applying for a mission if they have any doubts about being able to cut it and keep the schedule and forget about all the distractions at home. Sometimes I think that some youth are pushed out on a mission by their parents when the youth isn't ready or mature enough to go. He or she needs to gain a strong testimony of the restored gospel and the Savior before they even apply. I really do feel very sorry for those who go through all the interviews, apply, go to the MTC, arrive in the mission, get trained for 12 weeks, and then say, "I don't want to do this anymore. I'm done." I just don't understand it.

We are getting ready for fall here. The temp is dropping down to a high of 60 and some of the leaves are changing already. We have a couple more weeks to go before we really see all that beautiful color. I can hardly wait.

All our love to our children, grandchildren, siblings, Dad and Mom Benjamin, nephews, nieces, and all family and friends.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

September 6, 2012 After Transfers and some before

We just finished transfers! We received 7 new Elders on Monday, and three Elders and three Sisters went home on Wednesday. Elder Benjamin and I really enjoy transfer meeting. All of the missionaries who are going home bear their testimonies. President Wilkey has them talk about one thing at the podium--On my mission I learned this one golden truth that will change who I am forever. We always cry when we hear these testimonies. The spirit is so strong. Dad/Grandpa starts the tears coming before the first missionary starts talking! Three sister missionaries that I have gotten close to went home. We took a lot of pictures and promised to keep in touch.

We went to the Boston Temple with the returning missionaries.

I'll just post some pictures that we took there with my iPad!!!!

Angel's Trumpets at the Boston Temple.

Sisters Wilkey, Horton, Benjamin, and Huntsman at the Boston Temple

Sisters Wilkey, Horton, Benjamin, and Huntsman

Elder Benjamin and Elder Ward

What are they doing?

President and Sister Wilkey with Elder Tirrell Ward

President and Sister Wilkey with Elder Stephen Adams

Davises, Benjamins, President Wilkey, and his assistants, Elders Sommerfeldt & Esplin

Elder John Sommerfeldt and Elder Kaleb Esplin (Assistants) eating Diana's Creamy Mushroom Chicken and Rice, and Watermelon.

President's Assistants like candy!!!! Elders Esplin and Baker