Saturday, June 30, 2012

June 29, 2012

This has been a sad week in that two missionaries had to go home. One because he didn't want to follow the mission rules, and the other because she contracted some sort of virus that made her so weak that she couldn't walk. Her mom had to fly here to take her home. Thank goodness her mom is a nurse so that made it easier. I was told by Sister Davis that annually about 7% of missionaries in the field go home early for one reason or another. Well, we have had 6 so far this year. That is 6% for us right now. Those are the bummer stats, but the good news is that we have 93% of our missionaries who are wonderfully dedicated missionaries. I love being in contact with them every day. We have become close to them and love them for their desire to serve.

The assistants to the President come into the office regularly. At the last transfer Elder Adams was made a traveling assistant, so we got another assistant to take his place. Whenever there is a new assistant assigned, we have a candy shower for him. This is basically--he walks through the office door, and we throw a bowl of candy on his head. One of the office staff takes pictures of this,and the pictures are included in the Messenger (the quarterly mission newsletter). Great fun and the new assistant loves it. I'm amazed at how missionaries love sweets!!!!

With two of the Elders, Elder Benjamin has been teaching a woman who has an 8-yr old son. Tanya and Josiah. She was in an abusive relationship and got out after losing most of her teeth because of beatings. She almost lost her life when her ex tried to set her on fire. She has totally turned her life around and is one of the sweetest and most open people you could meet. The Elders were out walking one day and passed her on the sidewalk and started talking with her. She agreed to their visits and was "golden" from the beginning. When she attends church, I stick to her like glue. I introduced her to as many of the sisters in the ward as I knew. I'm amazed at how the Relief Society sisters rallied around her. One of them rode her scooter to Tanya's house and sat in on a lesson from the Elders (Elder B also). Tanya was invited to attend the ward Relief Society Bible study on Tuesdays. She is going. Yesterday, the Elders taught her the lesson on the Word of Wisdom. Elder B noticed that she had 2 coffee makers in her apartment and she told them that she still smokes once in a while. Josiah hates it that she smokes. He has begged her many time to totally quit but she hasn't been able to do it. The Elders told her about the Church's Stop Smoking Program and she has agreed to do it. She told them that the next time they come over, the coffee pots will be gone. Elder B and I pick her up every Sunday for church and ward members have volunteered to give her rides to church also. Her baptism is scheduled for July 8. We are so excited for her and Josiah. Josiah loves Primary. Elder B and I gave him the picture Book of Mormon stories and he loves to read it. It is so wonderful to see people grab onto the gospel and change their lives to follow the Savior.

Elder B had a great Father's Day. He got calls from all 6 of our children. That made him very happy!!!!

President Wilkey asked Elder B and me to develop a mission blog. One that only the missionaries could access. He will post a weekly mission update on it with a link to the church site so that they can write their weekly letter to the president. We had a great time developing the blog and we sure learned a lot about domain names and blog set-up. Great fun. It is almost ready to go. First, we have to train the President on how to make a weekly post. He's not the quickest learner when it comes to technology, but his heart is in the right place so he will be okay. I'll laminate a wallet-sized cheat sheet for him and he'll be all set!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day June 17, 2012

We spoke in Sacrament meeting this morning. MIke's topic was The Importance of Good Fathers, and my topic was The Blessings of the Priesthood. There were many who said they enjoyed our talks, and Bishop Dickson thanked us for sticking to the topics he gave us.
We have just been through another week of transfers, and it is getting easier. We are almost on auto pilot now. But we have about 14 more transfers to go through before we return home so we should be very good at it by then! We were able to attend the Boston Temple last Tuesday with the 6 missionaries who were going home. I've got to say that they are an inspiration to us--such dedication and diligence in serving. The weather was gorgeous with some wind on the top of the hill where the temple is situated, so if my hair makes it look like I'm ready for take-off, oh well!!!

After the temple we all went back to the mission home for ice cream sundaes. That is always a fun time to just talk and visit with the missionaries who are going home. We talk about their plans for education, work, and marriage. One of the elders, Elder Tannin Cash, said that he didn't have any plans at all when he got home. So he proposed to me!!!! He got down on one knee, too. We all had a great laugh over that. He is always kidding around. What a great personality he has and will succeed at anything he wants. He loves to play golf, so he and Dad had a lot to talk about. We don't know if we will ever see Elder Cash again or even talk with him, but it was so fun to get to know him better.

Sister Shaunelle Holyoak went home. She was one of the sisters serving in Manchester and was assigned to attend the same ward we go to. She was such a good teacher and dedicated missionary. We just end up getting close to some of these missionaries. Can't help it.

This picture shows me with the Bedford sisters--Sister Rykowski on the left and Sister Johnson on the right. Sister Johnson got transferred on Tuesday, but Sister Rykowski stayed.

Sister Rykowski makes chocolate chip cookies for me once in a while, so tomorrow she and Sister Huntsman and Sister Chantry are coming in the office for banana cream pie that I am making. One of the President's Assistants, Elder Stephen Adams, is going to be a traveling assistant. Tony did that as part of his mission in San Jose, California. Elder Adams will travel around and stay 3 or 4 days with a set of elders to teach and help. He's pretty excited about it. So we are having a bon voyage lunch for him tomorrow. He wants Sloppy Joes and Banana Cream Pie. He is from Yakutat, Alaska and just a fine person.

I've been so busy in the office that I have not had any time to knit. I'm sorry Leona, I might not get your jacket done until after I get home. We'll see. Sister Davis finds time to quilt; Elder Davis finds time to fish; Mike finds time to golf (very little); but, I have the flossing and brushing and rubber tipping thing that I have to do every morning and night. So, it's a choice between knitting or dentures! You guess what I have chosen!

President Villinga, who will be the Cleveland Ohio Mission President on June 23 called the office to talk with President Wilkey last week. When I told him that President Wilkey was out of the office, Pres. Villinga asked if he could pick my brain about a few office things like letters and procedures. I told him that I had rewritten the procedure manual since I got here in February, and then he asked me when I would be done with our mission here and then asked if I would come to Cleveland for another mission right after!!! I laughed. The cool thing about the Cleveland Mission though is that Kirtland is part of it. We stopped there on our way here and saw what used to be the Kirtland Temple and it is so sad cause it is not a temple and looks kind of sad sitting there in the town. The Community of Christ church owns it and they use it for a meeting hall.

Thank you Sister Ives for writing to me every month. I love getting your cards. And I love you. Being on a mission we do not have home or visiting teachers so it is nice to be visited by card or email. Thank you Sister Harder also for keeping in touch.

We miss our children and grandchildren terribly, but we know that Heavenly Father is watching over them, and we all know that he does a better job of that than we could.

Take care family and friends until next time. We love you all.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

June 3, 2012

I realize I haven't written for a couple of weeks and got an email from Pat Beazer asking why not? I guess I don't really have much of an excuse except that missionaries are very busy people! My goal was to write every Sunday. Let's see, where do I begin? Last Sunday I taught the Teaching for Our Times lesson in Relief Society. It was taken from President Uchtdorf's April Gen. Conf. talk "The Merciful Obtain Mercy" sometimes known as the "stop it" talk. I was so nervous-mostly cause I hardly know anyone in the Manchester Ward yet. But it went okay and the sisters were very nice and complementary in spite of my deficiencies. And then today at church, the bishop asked us to speak on Father's Day. Actually I'm not as nervous about that as I was teaching Relief Society. Mike is right now out with the Manchester Elders Rodriguez and Morgan teaching a lesson to an investigator from Nepal. This whole New England area is quite the melting pot. There are many different nationalities here. One amusing thing about our ward--Sacrament meeting is supposed to start at 9 a.m., but almost never starts before 9:10 and then even at that, about half of the ward comes in after the Sacrament is served. Every week. Interesting.

Last week, May 29-30, was Missionary Leadership Training for all the District Leaders. They come from all over the mission (Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire). They have to stay with other Elders that are close by and also in the mission home. The office couples set up dinner for them on Tuesday and then on Wednesday the Manchester ward did a pizza lunch for them. This week is transfer planning, which means that we are getting ready for all the new missionaries coming in from the MTC and those returning home. I do enjoy the whole process although this time one of the sister missionaries that I have gotten close to is going home. I will certainly miss her. She is Sister Holyoak from Lyndon, Utah. What an awesome missionary she is.

Next week we will be able to go to the Boston Temple (as we do every six weeks) with the returning missionaries. We do an endowment session, have dinner in the cafeteria, and return to the mission home for dessert. The days are long and busy but very nice.

All the missionaries were asked to set up a profile on You can see mine at if you want. I listed as Karen Snipes Benjamin. Mike hasn't done one yet. Don't know why he's dragging his feet about it. Anyone can post a profile there and I encourage everyone to do it. Those investigating the church can see what members have to say and to read their testimonies.

A couple of weeks ago we had Zone Conferences. May 15 was in Sharon, Vermont and May 17 was in Augusta, Maine. I took a couple of pictures of the missionaries.

The missionary on the left is Elder Niebergall. We have taken a real liking to him. He is such a humble person and was just made a Zone Leader in Bangor, Maine. After the Augusta zone conference, Elder Benjamin and I drove home in the "Moose" 4 elders to Lawrence, MA. The 4 of them live in a large apartment there. But the tradition is that when we drive them home, we take them all out to dinner. The Davises were with us also and the Elders wanted to go to Margaritas for mexican food. Elder Evans loves habanero peppers and ordered something that was so hot it made him perspire. But he loved it anyway. We certainly do enjoy being with them. We have driven many elders and sisters all over the mission and have enjoyed each one of them. I am impressed at their devotion to Heavenly Father and our Savior. They have incredible testimonies and they never give up.

I took a picture of President Wilkey in the office one day. He was a good sport about it, huh?

I took this picture with my iPad. I have all of the scriptures and hymns on it. It is much lighter than my quad so it's easier to carry around everywhere.

I am sure missing my children and grandchildren. Thank goodness for Kortni and Diana and Holly making sure we get pictures and art work. They are posted all over our apartment!

We are enjoying our mission very much. The Lord has been blessing us.