Monday morning I had an appointment with the dermatologist. He "froze" 4 or 5 spots on my face and ear, but no cutting this time. He said to come back in 3 months, then another 3 months and then every 6 months for four years. I guess it is just a matter of seeing if the remaining spots change over time. Anyway I thought that was good news moving forward. We got back to the office after lunch time. I ran some errands and worked on the some paper work and photos that Sister Hansen requested.
It was a typical P-day Monday, with lots of missionaries and noise. They like to hang out together and usually play basketball or soccer after lunch - we love them all.
It is Camille's birthday today, seven years old already! They called this evening and we were able to sing Happy Birthday and watch Camille blow out her candles! Modern technology is great, it is such a blessing for us to be able to see and visit with our grandchildren and children.
Tuesday I drove up to Huntsville, about 1 hour north on I-45, to get the elders moved into their new apartment. The apartment complex folks were suppose to be ready at noon but they still had not installed the new carpet. We did get the paper work completed, then I took the 4 elders to lunch while we waited. A member from the Huntsville ward who has a big trailer met us to help move the missionaries. We went to their old place and loaded up the trailer and drove back to the new apartment. They had installed the carpet but were cleaning and changing the door on the new refrigerator and installing the new stove. The apartment manager came by and was very apologetic for the delay. I had my "you have to take care of this new apartment" talk with the elders and then left to come back to the office. They did get all moved in and settled this afternoon. I helped Elder Stringfellow load up the truck for Zone Conference tomorrow.
When Steven got back from Huntsville the APs were working on folders with nice covers for zone conference schedules and outlines. Steven was teasing them and saying "this is President Hansen's and Elder Kikuchi's name is on this one - I wonder where Elder Walker's is?" A little while later the AP's, Elder Hiatt and Elder Thomson, went to Steven with smiles on their faces and handed him a folder they had put together with his name on it! They are great. I hope and pray our granddaughters marry someone just like those two elders. Another busy but wonderful day to be a missionary.
Wednesday we had a very wonderful morning with Elder Kikuchi of the Seventy. The meeting was scheduled to start at 10, we started at 9:25. He talked about the simplified curriculum, the doctrine of Christ, the role of the Holy Ghost in conversion, the process of revelation through: prayer, the Book of Mormon, and church attendance. He taught us how these things must be followed by not only full time missionaries but also when we go home, by the families of the church, and by individuals, if we are to live with Heavenly Father.
He talked about a "sacred grove" of our own. Not going out to the trees or expecting to see a vision, but that every morning we should pray, even pour out our hearts to our Father. Read and ponder the Book of Mormon. He promised the missionaries, as one of Christ's witnesses, if we would follow the counsel he gave, our lives would be changed. It is not just about a testimony, but more about the change that must come over us. We must have His countenance upon us and become new creatures in Him. He taught so many wonderful things, and with such a strong spirit. When he bore his testimony or spoke of very scared things it was so very reverent in the room, what a wonderful experience. This evening all the senior missionaries had dinner at the mission home with the Hansen's and the Kikuchi's. Just a really wonderful day.
Thursday we drove up to College Station for that Zone Conference. Elder Kikuchi taught many of the same things, with no notes and with the Spirit guiding him there was much new to hear. He taught us how to teach the First Vision in a very powerful way. He asked Leona and I to come up front and sit and then had a sister 3'some come up and teach the First Vision as he had taught it. The Spirit was so strong even though we all had heard this scared story many times before. It is a rare thing to have that many people so reverent and so in tune and the Spirit so strong. What an experience. He talked about tithing for the young missionaries. They of course are not earning money right now but their tithing is 100% obedience.
Sister Kikuchi spoke yesterday and again today for just about five minutes. She told five things that we should do: love the people, be humble (when we are humble we are in the hands of God), work hard, read the scriptures (especially the Book of Mormon), and pray. She is a very sweet lady and her English is good. We noticed that when she and Elder Kikuchi spoke to each other at lunch, etc they spoke in their native tongue - Japanese.
Elder Kikuchi also taught an interesting concept. He said think of the morning time as like the resurrection (renewal, beginning, etc). He said that our real resurrection and kingdom of glory will very much depend on what we do during the mornings of our lives. What do we spend our time doing? Do we spend time reading and preparing ourselves for the day? I asked him after the meeting if this concept was for all members or just mostly the full time missionaries. He said very emphatically that it was for all members, even though most members do not have "hours" in the morning to study, we all must make some time for study. Again we were so blessed to be missionaries this day.
Elena's birthday today and it is hard to believe that she is five years old! Again, we were able to sing Happy Birthday and watch her blow out her birthday candles. What a girl! We are thankful for her.
Friday we enjoyed another wonder day of learning. Elder and Sister Kikuchi had a 3:45 pm flight to catch to a Stake Conference in east Texas/west Louisiana. His time in this Zone Conference was limited but still taught with such power. He did teach this Zone how to tell the First Vision story. The elders he picked to do that did a most marvelous job, with the very minimum of instruction. In fact Elder Kikuchi said a couple of times they did as good as he has ever seen it done in all the missions he has visited. He paid them a very high compliment. They really did do a tremendous job and again we all just really felt the Spirit so strong, even though some of us knew what was coming. As the time went by (way to quickly) President Hansen stepped out of the meeting with me and said Elder Kikuchi wants you and Sister Walker to drive them to the airport so the Hansen's could stay for a while longer to practice and teach with the missionaries. He asked if I knew the way to the airport which I did and that I should take his van. The Kikuchi's itinerary did not have the departing terminal listed so I hurried over to the office to look up the information. When I put in their flight number the computer said "no such flight" for Continental. I tried to call the airlines but could not get through to a person. By now I was getting a bit nervous, so I called SLC and asked to speak to the travel department and then to someone who would know the Kikuchi's travel arrangements. A very nice sister come on the phone and we got the problem solved. She provided all the personal information I needed to print boarding passes. I went back to the church just about the same time Elder Kikuchi was finishing up. Again he blessed the missionaries and made marvelous promises on behalf of the Lord if we were all obedient. We enjoyed visiting with the Kikuchi's on our way to the airport. It turns out he knows Sid and Joyce Henderson very well as he stayed with them several times when Sid was mission president. They also knew the Polcocks for the same reason. Another wonderful day to be a full time missionary.
Saturday we got our P-day stuff done and then visited the National Museum of Funeral History! It is close by and was rather interesting with lots of memorabilia from famous people's funerals including some US Presidents. In the evening we went to dinner with the other senior missionaries at Rudy's BBQ not far from here. A fun evening talking and just enjoying each others company.
Sunday the talks in sacrament meeting were about the family, home, and the Proclamation. The talks were all very good, really made me want to improve my life. We love each of you and thankful that we are an eternal family. We are thankful for your goodness and the good parents that you are and how you are loving and teaching our grandchildren by your example! We enjoy going to church in our ward here in Texas.
We hope ya'll have a good week. Be safe, be good, and be happy. We love you.
Living our dream,
Mom and Dad