Friday, September 14, 2012

First Week in the MTC

Our District at the MTC
 On Sunday, Sept 9th, I was set apart as a Missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  President Astle, my stake president set me apart and two of my sons Matt and Jason were able to stand in as I was set apart.  I slept at Matt and Jolynn's house that night and said my good-byes to all the family before we went to bed.  Then at 5am on Monday, Sept 10th my son Matt took me to the St George Airport  and I landed in SLC an hour later.  My son Morgan picked me up in SLC and after enjoying a short breakfast together, he dropped me off at the MTC.  Unlike last time, he was not able to come inside and walk me to my room .  There were young Elders waiting to help, however, and they took my bags and carried them to my room for me and then showed me the way to the Senior Missionary check in.   There were about 40 or 50 senior missionary couples and three of us single sisters who went through the training this week.

Our classes were from Preach My Gospel and we learned how to be a missionary and practiced giving lessons on volunteers who pretended to be investigators.  The three of us single sisters were a threesome and we had two opportunities to teach.  We also pretended to be a less active person/family and we took turns giving encouragement and lessons geared to each person and their specific situation.  It was really fun and enjoyable.  The spirit is so strong here.  It is amazing to see hundreds and hundreds of young men and women all dressed in missionary attire and focused on learning languages and teaching lessons.  We had a devotional on Tuesday evening in which Elder Bruce Carlson, of the Seventy spoke along with his wife.  It was so good.  He is a former general and was in the Pentagon on Sept 11th, 2001.  They spoke of this event and since it was Sept 11th that day, it was very powerful.  You should hear everyone singing Called to Serve.  It is just Amazing!!!!

 Brother Seymour and SisterThomas
Our teachers are young returned missionaries.  They were so skilled and taught with power and the spirit.  We had two sets of teachers.  One for the morning and one for the afternoon.  I have also been taking Marshallese via Skype for the past six weeks or so.  My training has been arranged and supervised by a great young man named Brother Martin.  He works at the MTC and even though he doesn't speak Marshallese, he is there at every lesson along with a volunteer who speaks Marshallese.  I have had several teachers since Haouli left to go back to Hawaii

Sister Thurston and Brother Pike
   The meals at the MTC are amazing.  They have four different types of main food lines, plus all kinds of extra food such as different types of soups and salads, fresh fruit, all kinds of juices, milks, soft drinks, ice cream, desserts, and you name's there.  I always try to eat hot cereal and fruit for breakfast and the main dish salads and maybe a soup for lunch and dinner.  Thats so I don't get so fat they have to roll me out of here.  Wednesday was Ice cream sundae day and I had to eat ice cream since it is my favorite and it is from the BYU Creamery.

There were two other single sisters who I became wonderful friends with.  We are all going different places and doing different things .  Sister Osborne from St George going to Texas to work in the employment center and with humanitarian services.  Sister Bass from Tennessee is going to Germany to work in the mission office.  We have been able to be a threesome and its been very enjoyable.                         

I am going to the Marshall Islands

 Tonight was very special.  The senior missionaries who have been taking language training, had a testimony meeting.  I bore my testimony in Marshallese.  Others who were there bore testimony in Danish, Finnish, German, Spanish, and Russian.  It was so wonderful.  The spirit was so strong.

These are some of my cute grandchildren  that I recently said goodbye to.

Bridger and Ridge
Sahara and Brea
I will put some of the rest of them in other blog entries  They are my joy and I love all 22 of them.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Its almost here!!

Some of the family on the day of my Farewell
Grandma and some of the Grandkids
Jana, Traci, and kids and me at Church Office Building
Summer has really passed fast.  I am already to go on my mission...well pretty much.  I have a week to go and then I enter the MTC.  We had a fun family reunion in July at Bryce Canyon for the Bryce Canyon half marathon.  We all camped at the Ruby's Inn Camp Ground.  Jana, Shane, Brooks, Matt, and Jolynn all  ran in the half.  It rained and rained on the day of the race, so instead of staying another night, we packed up and went to St George where we had a lot of fun.  It rained in St George and flooded my back yard. In  August the Esplin's were in charge of the Moody Family Reunion at Heber Valley LDS Camp.  It turned out really good.  I spent time with family and got my house ready to rent.  My sisters came down to help me get packed up and we had our annual sister's retreat.

My sisters came down to help me pack up my house.  They are the best.
Hauoli and me
I have been taking Marshallese through the MTC.  During the end of July and August, they call me and I skype with a trainer and a volunteer who speaks Marshallese.  I have had a wonderful volunteer name Hauoli, who just returned from her mission in the Marshall Islands.  She knows the Mills, Perkins, Sister Tiechert, and of course Pres and Sister Shaw.  She has been so wonderful.  I found out that she lives in Ivins and so I invited her to come and hear me speak in Sacrament Meeting on August 26th.  Here is a picture of us together.
 There were so many wonderful family and friends who came to hear me speak on Sunday, August 26th. My wonderful family: Shane and Chelsea and family from Valencia, Ca, Linda Nygren from Rexburg, Idaho, Kent and Karen and Jared Bulkley and Jan Gilyeat from Mesa, Az, Jill and Kent and Josh Sorensen from South Jordan,  Robin Call, from Murray,  Kenton and Jenny call and family from Cedar, Claudia and Meghan and Thomas White from Mapleton,  Luke and Traci and family from Pleasant Grove, Jana and Joe and family from Las Vegas, Nicole and family from Kanab (Jason had a BLM assignment that he couldn't get out of), Matt and Jolynn and family from St George , and Jil and family tried to come (Morgan was on call at the hospital) but they had car trouble in Fillmore and couldn't make it.  My wonderful friends from Pleasant Grove came:  Virgil and Jackie Jacobsen  and Eugene and Pauline Day and Kaden.  There were many friends from the old Sunset first ward that also came and I appreciated that and also the support from my own ward the Sunset 8th ward.   Thanks to my sisters and family we had a wonderful lunch after the meeting and my wonderful visiting teachers:  Sister Jean Rassmusen, and Sister Janice Bishop, who organized cookies from some of my special ward friends.
Karen Bulkley and me
My great sons and son-in-law helped me move all of my furniture and stuff to a storage unit and so now my home is ready to rent.  I am currently up in Payson staying with Morgan and Jil and family and waiting until Thursday when my cute little grandson Maddox will be having open heart surgery at Primary Children's Medical Center.  He is a vibrant 3 year old with lots of energy and a cute smile and  friendly personality.  He looks a lot like his Dad Luke.  Originally it was scheduled for June and then was rescheduled for Sept 13th, when I will already be in the MTC.   When the surgery got changed to Sept 6th, I was grateful because now I will be able to be there.  Maddox has hypoplastic left heart syndrome, or in other words, the left side of his heart was too underdeveloped to work properly.  He has had to go through 3 previous open heart surgeries to try to make the working part of his heart function.  When he gets a little older, he will likely need a heart transplant
Maddox in his BYU shirt.  He loves Cosmo
My medal
Brock and I ran the 5 K.  Then he was in the parade
Today was onion days in Payson, Utah, and I ran in the Payson Days 5 K.  My grandson Brock, 13 also ran with me.  He beat me of course, but I took 1st in the 60-64 women's division.  My time was 37 min.14  sec                                                              
Hiking  with Dora  
My plans are to stay up North until Saturday to be with Maddox and Luke and Traci  during and after the surgery for a few days and then I will drive back to St George and stay with Matt and Jolynn.  Sunday, Sept 9th I will be set apart by my Stake President in St George, and Monday morning Sept 10th I will fly to SLC and hopefully Luke will be able to pick me up and take me to the MTC where I will be until Sept 25th when I will fly to the Marshall Islands.  I am so exited.

My Good Friend Dora Weems who took me hiking to her special Indian ruins  
Jason catching kids as they jump from water fall in Zions   
Thanks to all my wonderful family and friends for being so supportive and for your love and friendship.  I hope to blog now on a weekly basis so I can share my missionary experiences with you

Summer fun 2012

I had over four months to wait after my mission call.  There was a lot to do though to get ready.  Immunizations, police, bank, and Dr. . Reports stating I was in good health, good citizen without any crimes, and in good standing in my bank.  I had to gather a lot of things together and get them sent in. for my visa.  I started looking all over for the right kind of clothes: light weight shirts and skirts and sandles not flip flops.  I have had the opportunity to talk to several people who have been in the Marshall Islands.  Frank and Annette Mills came by shortly after I received my call and told me all about the Marshall Islands.  They lived in Ebye, an island a few hundred miles from Majuro, where I will be.  It was so interesting.  They also made it possible for me to meet the sister who had been the mission nurse before the one serving now.  Sister Diane Tiechert, from Alpine spent several hours with me telling e what to plan for and expect in terms of the medical assignment I will have.  I also received an E-mail from a friend of the Frames who had served there, which was so interesting.  The Phippens, who served before us in Connecticut as CES missionaries, also served in the Marshall Island Mission in the Karibati area.  They E-mailed me and gave President Shaw my E-mail and he and his wife also E-mailed me with some information.  The current nurse serving there, Sister Perkins who is  from Alamo Nevada, and knows Traci, has E-mailed me several times to give me information that has been most helpful.  Then, I also got a call from an old friend, Robin Steed.  We used to know each other from Valley View PTA.  She and her husband who is an RN, served as the mission nurse specialist in Karibati for 14 months, but were in Majuro MI for 4 months.  They gave me a lot of really good ideas and the told me I could sign up to learn the Marshallese language through skype lessons at the MTC.  I have since signed up and am now receiving those language lessons.  What an exciting time for me. I am so  grateful for all of these people for their help in getting ready.  I also love and appreciate the love and support from my dear family.  My children and their families have been wonderful and have done a lot to encourage me.  I have spent lots of time with all of them and we had a wonderful family reunion.  I also went to California for Shane's graduation with his Master's of Social Work.