Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of Heaven

During the time we have been away from home we have missed out on a few things:
Meeting our newest grandson, William Blake Bell...
Dillon's Preschool graduation....
Ethan's football games....
Clayton's birthday. (And I know he is wondering why I picked this picture!)

Sure, it would be great to be able to have attended these events. And there will be plenty more that we will miss out on. But, we know that this is the place we need to be right now. Already we have seen the rewards that come from serving a mission and have had experiences that we will never forget.

In the last General Conference of the Church, Elder O. Vincent Haleck said:
"In our own day many young men, women, and senior couples have answered the call of a prophet of God to serve missions. With faith and courage they leave their homes and everything that is familiar to them because of their faith in the great good they can do as missionaries. As they act on their vision to serve, they bless the lives of many and, in the process, change their own lives."

This is why we are here. The song "Praise to the Man" written by W.W. Phelps has a line which says, "Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven." We truly know that the sacrifices that we are making and that our family is making in our behalf results in blessing our lives for years to come.

Most of all, this is who we serve and who we represent. And it is so worth it.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Here Fishie Fishie!

Most of you probably know of Elder Terry's love of fishing. He was pretty excited when we got our call to serve in Oregon because he had heard there was good fishing here. So, what was the first thing he packed to bring with us? That's right! His fishing gear! Most days we are pretty busy doing our missionary work. But every once in awhile we take a little time off to sight see in the area. Not long after we arrived in Burns, we discovered the local fly fishing shop and sporting good stores. Both owners knew alot about fishing in the area and shared their knowledge with Elder Terry. Before too long, the opportunity came up for him to test the waters of  Immigrant Creek.
Yes, that is his missionary badge you can see on his fishing vest!

Unfortunately for Elder Terry, he didn't marry a fisher woman. His loving companion stuck it out long enough to follow him downstream in order to take a picture of him holding his first catch of the day.

After taking a couple of "A River Runs Through It" type shots, Sister Terry retired to the car to do what she likes to do best... read a book!
Elder Terry may love fishing, but right now loves being a fisher of "men."

"And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets and followed him."
Matthew 4: 18-20

Monday, June 18, 2012

Senior Conference

A few days after the zone conference we headed to Eugene to attend a senior conference. There are about seventeen senior couples serving in our mission. It was great to be able to spend some time together to meet face to face and share ideas and experiences.
We had dinner the first night and then in our meeting, President Young asked us to ask questions or comment on anything we wanted to. As we shared ideas and had concerns resolved we all seemed to feel more confident in serving as senior missionaries.

In the morning we gathered again for breakfast and then were taught by President Young and the Assistants to the President (APs). We do appreciate the valuable training we recieve and the meetings are so worthwhile. A lot of role playing is done in our trainings which really helps us in knowing what to say in different situations. Here we are pretending to be investigators.

It was a great weekend. We understand that there will be more senior conferences in the future and we look forward to being able to attend. Between all of us there are 77 children and 167 grandchildren!
On the way home we stopped to see the beautiful Sahale Falls.
There was still snow in some parts of Oregon in the middle of May. Elder Terry managed to find some.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Our first Zone Conference

A few weeks ago we travelled to Bend to attend our first Zone Conference. It was great to meet more of the missionaries and to become acquainted with the other senior couples. The main focus of the conference was IMAGE.
President Young talked to us about how we should appear to others and that we should always strive to have Christ's image in our countenance. President Lowary talked to us about always following the counsel of the mission president. A nice lunch was served and some of the missionaries performed songs and other fun things. We senior missionaries have something planned for next time which should entertain the younger missionaries. And birthday's for the upcoming quarter were acknowledged.

After lunch we painted rocks! The activity was based on the scripture in Helaman 5:12
And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."
We each picked a goal to focus on and painted it on a rock reminding us that our foundation is built upon the rock of Christ. Both Elder Terry and I picked the same goal without even seeing each other's ahead of time: Bring one soul to Christ each month. We keep our rocks on a table in our living room to help remind us of our purpose here.
This is our zone. A great group of people!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Oregon...A beautiful state

What we have seen of Oregon so far is beautiful. From woods with green trees to desert (where we live) to beautiful rivers and lakes and majestic mountains. Not to mention the wildlife. Deer, all kinds of birds, antelope to name a few. Thank goodness we haven't seen any rattle snakes yet, but we hear they are around. And there are hundreds of ground squirrels. The farmers hate them and will sit out in their fields and shoot them. We have run over a few here and there so the farmers should thank us for helping them out. So, for this post sit back, relax and enjoy the same beauties that we are!

Our own backyard!
Deer wander all over the place. They are practically tame!

Sahalie Falls near Eugene.
Mann Lake. We went to visit a family who live nearby.
The Steens Mountains on the way to Mann Lake.
Three Sisters Mountains
Mount Hood off in the distance.

This baby horse practically posed for the picture.
Our friend Stacey Iverson paints the water tank in front of her house. The people here have the same idea, only they paint rocks!

Only one of the many beautiful birds that are around here. We've seen jays, robins, orioles, cranes just to mention a few. This is a yellowheaded blackbird. I may have to take up birdwatching!
This may seem like a few flowers....
Until you see them all together.
Round barn practically out in the middle of nowhere. They used to keep the horses inside them in the winter and train them for the work they would be doing in the summer.
The strangest thing we have seen so far. Yes, it's a dead badger, and no, we didn't have it for dinner.
And for those of you who are strange and will appreciate this....
Two months later in exactly the same spot!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Off to work and our first baptism!

After returning from Eugene it was time to go to work. It didn't take us long to get settled in our apartment. The mission furnished all of the furnishings and standard dishes and cookware. We had to make a few trips to the store to get things they didn't supply and it will be interesting to see how we manage to get it all home. Our car was stuffed to the max when we left home. So we shall see!
Here is Elder Terry in front of our apartment building. We live upstairs on the left. It's in a quiet area and everything is kept up nice. We have met some of our neighbors and enjoy talking with them when we see them.

Right after we arrived we contacted the bishop and were able to meet him and the ward mission leader. The bishop told us about a young woman who was married to a member. He told us that she had mentioned wanting to be baptized. Later that evening the bishop took us on a tour of the chapel. We met this young woman's mother in law who told us the same thing. I got the phone number and made a phone call. Within days, we had met Beth and her family and started teaching her the missionary lessons. Less than a month later she was baptized!
Here we are with Beth and her husband Colton and their daughter Emma. It was such a special day for them as well as us. And even more special to be able to witness Colton baptize his wife.
Four generations of a special family. Tammy is Colton's mother and Cheryl is his grandmother. They all live in the ward here. Beth will be having a baby boy before too long and their next goal is the temple in a year from now. We are so grateful for our association with this wonderful family.

Friday, June 1, 2012

A quick trip to Eugene

Bright and early the day after we arrived in Burns we headed north to Eugene to meet President and Sister Young. It's about a five hour trip and was new territory for both of us as neither of us had spent any time in Oregon previously. It is a beautiful state, with its green trees and blue skies and rivers and lakes. While driving along the Mc Kenzie River we saw this:
It's called the Good Pasture Covered Bridge. So pretty to see.

We arrived in Eugene and thanks to our GPS were able to find our way to the mission home with no problem. It's a beautiful two story house in a regular neighborhood. I felt a little apprehensive as we approached the front door as I didn't know what to expect. But that all went away as we were greeted so kindly by the Youngs, President Lowary who is the first counselor, and several full time missionaries who were there receiving training. We spent a little time visiting with the Youngs in his office and then were invited to sit in on the training that the other missionaries were receiving. And in that short period of time we learned even more than we had at the MTC.

Before too long, President and Sister Young were off to meet the newest missionaries at the airport. During this time other senior missionaries who work in the mission office arrived and it was nice to get to meet them. When the new missionaries arrived, we all went outside to greet them. I loved watching how each one of them were greeted by everyone there and made to feel special and welcomed. We were served a nice lunch and a short orientation was held. Then pictures were taken outside and yes, their back yard is beautiful!
We spent the night at a hotel in Euguene and then met briefly the next moring with President Lowary at the mission office. Then it was back to Burns to go to work. It was a quick trip but so worth it. We loved the Youngs as soon as we met them and are grateful to be serving under their guidance in the Oregon Eugene Mission.