A WEEK OF BLESSINGS
It is! And we are trying to savor every moment of it.
We had a very busy week scheduled and were not planning on taking a Pday on Monday but when our friends and fellow senior missionaries, Elder and Sister Walsh, invited us to join them on a fall outing we couldn't refuse! One of the smartest decisions we have made :) .
They planned a delightful day full of fall pleasures.
First stop however had nothing to do with fall and everything to do with New England...
lobsters and more lobsters!
We've got to get our fill of those as well, right?
They took us to the most unlikely place to find good fresh lobster-
Fitchburg, a landlocked, inland town in Massachusetts.
Some locals told them about this place and they shared this wonderful knowledge with us.
Dale had the twin lobsters for $17.99 and the rest of us had the Hot Lazy lobster roll.
On the way there we drove through roads lined with trees ablaze in their fall colors and this spectacular wonderful world of color surrounded us the entire day.
We were in heaven and oohing and ah-ing and pointing out the window and pulling over and jumping out of the car to take photos.
More acorns everywhere...oh oh!
Bad winter ahead.
All the missionaries, young and old, and several locals all rave about the ice cream at Kimball's.
The Walshs had already been there but they were good sports and did not object one little bit to going again!
This line never diminished the entire time we were there.
Was it worth the wait? Oh, yeah!
Not only is it super creamy but the real big deal about their ice cream is how generous they are with it! Below is the Kimball special. No, we didn't finish it. But we sure enjoyed trying!
The area round about Fitchburg is known as Johnny Appleseed Country. Dozens of apple orchards and farmsteads are everywhere you look. Many of the orchards are pick-your -own. There are fairs and festivals aplenty.
The Walshs got a tip that the one to head for was Honey Pot Hill Orchards.
(love that name!)
It was quite the destination! It had it all: petting farm, pumpkins, pick your own apples, entertainment, farmstand store, homemade cider and apple cider donuts. The delicious aroma or the donuts wafted through the air. Unfortunately, we forgot it was Columbus Day. Everybody and their grandma was at this orchard and in line for the donuts.
One of the two never-ending lines. Needless to say, we passed on the donuts this time.
On our drive back home we passed through one classic New England town after the other and more trees dressed in their fall ball gowns. I was in heaven!
Elder Walsh was just the best to stop for our photo ops!
keep in mind as I've said over and over throughout these posts that for every photo we took , there are 100 more we missed due to no place to stop or pull over.
I loved seeing how the sunlight changed the tree as it shifted in just the short time we were there.
Thank you, dear Elder and Sister Walsh, for showing us how to spend a perfect fall day!
Tuesday was a very special day for us.
And for the lovely lady in red below, Dusya Lyubovskaya.
She was baptized about a year and a half ago.
We had the privilege of teaching her the temple preparation classes and the great honor of attending with her today. I had the blessing of being her escort.
I have rarely seen anyone so happy. She simply glowed the entire day. She said she was "without words" and was overwhelmed in the best way. Our wonderful archive sister missionaries drove an hour and a half to be here with her as well.
Dale took these photos with the camera on a "square" setting by accident and it elongated us! Not complaining! Tall and thin? I'll take it!
Oh, how I testify they are!
This was certainly a highlight of our mission.
We tasted a bit of heavenly joy today.
So very happy for our Dusya.
Wednesday we jumped on a plane and landed in Cleveland, Ohio.
The skyline from a bus.
For you Cleveland Indian baseball fans.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is here and these decorated guitars were all over the airport but that is not the reason we came.
Once a year we are invited to the Annual Mission Presidents' Seminar.
We pinch ourselves. It is a dream to be among these stellar individuals and learn from the 3 General Authorities who came to teach and inspire all of us.
Last year this event was held in Palmyra. This year we were blessed to be in Kirkland for one of the days, to visit Sacred sites, and to be taught from a man passionate about its rich history.
This is the sweet humble man, Karl Anderson. He has the best sense of humor and a great laugh.
I can't imagine anyone not loving him.
He was actively involved in the restoration of Historic Kirkland. He taught and coordinated the institute and seminary programs for more than 25 years in this area. He is now serving as a patriarch.
After Neal A. Maxwell spent the day with him touring Kirkland, he asked Karl to write a book about the "motherlode of Christology in Kirkland that had never been mined. "
It took him years to do so but the book below was published in 2012.
Each of the couples in attendance received a copy.
Excited to read it!
Brother Anderson also put together this booklet for our tour.
So many sacred events happened here . It was a remarkable and inspiring review.
The translating room in the Whitney Store.
What a thrill it was to read and hear some of the revelations that occurred right in this very room.
The room of the School of Prophets.
Getting settled. I didn't want to spoil the spirit by taking pictures during the talk.
Again, a thrill to the spirit to hear the words taught here in this spot.
We had a sweet reunion with the Claytons, Lisa and Weatherford.
The new "class of 2015" - the newly called presidents and wives.
This pic is included for our Southern California friends...
This is Elder Wynder, former president of the Cypress Stake. He is now serving as director of the Kirkland sites.
I love this cute photo! It started to drizzle but it was very short lived and we spent the remainder of the day rain free.
Here we are at the Kirkland Temple.
We toured the temple and had a group photo taken on the grounds which will be sent to all of us later.
A catered dinner was served to us in the visitors center with floor to ceiling windows looking out onto the temple at night.
After dinner, we all went back to the temple for a most memorable devotional. It was an experience I will never forget. We sat looking up where the Savior had actually stood and appeared. I have a personal witness that what Joseph declared happened did indeed happen here.
Read Doctrine and Covenants Section 110 for the account.
Read Doctrine and Covenants Section 110 for the account.
Last year we sang "Oh How Lovely Was the Morning" in the Sacred Grove with Elder Holland
and here we sang "The Spirit of God" in the Kirkland temple!
Now I am the one 'without words' to describe the feelings experienced in this holy, sacred place.
Doing the other days we met in the hotel ballroom where Elders Hallstrom, Perkins, and Bennett taught us on such subjects as "Living Epistles", Sabbath Day Observance", "Teaching Plainly", "Disciples in the Digital Age" and "Gathered into the Garners".
It was a feast of knowledge but I will just share some of the wealth from the instruction on The Sabbath Day which Elder Hallstrom taught.
The fundamental purpose of the Sabbath and primarily the Sacrament is to keep changing us. It gives us spiritual power. It helps keep us safe.
Many members and non-members alike aren't motivated to go to church- it's just a meeting- but if you look at it as a chance to commune with your Savior personally each week, it's something you don't want to miss!
It is a chance to change our lives each week. to progress.
If you feel His Spirit, you will want to come.
He said to think of the Nephites when Christ had been in their midst and was going to leave and how they longed with all their hearts for Him to stay.
We can have Him with us.
It is a very personal ordinance. It is the only one we repeatedly do for ourselves.
The Sabbath Day is a sign between God and His children throughout generations since Adam.
In a very tender moment, he shared what happened at the end of the meeting held with the apostles, and the 70's to discuss this new challenge to the church on keeping the Sabbath Holy and making it a delight. He said that President Nelson perceived President Eyring had been moved upon by the spirit and asked him to share it. He stated that Father and Christ and the HolyGhost were happy and smiling and endorse this. It is the right thing to do. They will help us. They want to help us.
Elder Hallstrom closed by saying that we need to give the Sabbath back to the Savior!
This is a doctrine of significance!
It will elevate us!
It will give us power to overcome the temptations of the world!
With Elder and Sister Hallstrom.
One of the other highlights of the seminar for me was the wives' session given by Sisters Hallstrom and Bennett. (Sister Perkins was home with an injured hip).
The second half focused on President Nelson's October conference talk, "A Plea to My Sisters."
We were each given a journal and asked to read, re-read, study , ponder and pray about that talk and journal about the impressions we get as we do. Ask what we each can do better. Which of the needs applies to us. What talents and gifts do we have, do we need to seek , do we need to strengthen?
She called this a 'clarion call' and challenged us to answer the call!
This seminar and its visit to the sacred sites was a most enriching, educating and spiritual high point of our mission.
I lived in Franklin, Massachusetts for the 4 years I was in high school. My family moved to Colorado while I was at B.Y.U. We attended church in Foxboro where my father was the branch president.
Visiting this building was a very sentimental journey for me. I got teary-eyed several times.
Just driving into the parking lot brought a flood of memories.
Sadly, only one remaining member is still here from my days- Sister Andrews- and she was only 5 so she doesn't remember me and I don't remember her. The others have moved or passed away.
This was the door to my dad's office.
Many wonderful things happened here:
I met life-long friends, Bev Decapot Hatch and Kathy Horn Kinney.
My mother was my most wonderful seminary teacher.
L. Tom Perry was my stake President.
Boyd K. Packard was the Mission President.
We raised funds for and helped build the chapel part of the building.
Many, many more.
It is joyful to see this branch now a thriving ward
We smile (as this leaf!)
and continue our way truly rejoicing! What magnificent blessings have been ours along this adventure we call our mission! How grateful we are!