Sunday, May 21, 2017

Opposition and the Tree May 2017

I love the Stories President Checketts sends out once a week in his weekly letter to the Missionaries.  I hope you enjoy them as well.  This is a good reminder about the purpose of Opposition.

Opposition - The Tree
The tree that never has to fight for sun or sky or air or light
That stood out in the open plain and always got its share of rain
Never became a forest king but lived and died a scrubby thing.
The man who never had to toil to work    or plow his share of soil
Who always got what ere he asked and never worked a full day’s toil?
Never became a manly   man but lived and died as he began.
Good timber does not grow with ease.
The stronger wind the stronger trees.
The greater storm the greater strength
The higher sky the greater length.
Where   thickest lies the forest growth
We find the patriarchs of both.
Who hold their councils with the stars?
Whose battered branches show the scars?
Of much of storm and much of strife
This is the common law of life.

I’m grateful for the common bond that is built for those who believe in the Living Christ. It creates a friendship that encircles the world and crosses all bounds.
I know that part of this life is intended to help us grow in strength to prepare for the opportunities of eternity. To do so we need the strength that comes from challenges and the scars of growth.
May God bless us one and all to embrace the growth with all it scratches and sores and recognize his hand in forming us into the sons and daughters that he sees us to be. In so doing it is with love that he works for our return to him.
President Checketts

3 Small Miracles May 21 2017

A few things worth mention happened this week.

After a long, busy week, Monty and I decided to go out to a nice Italian dinner recommended to us by Elder and Sister Grant.  I made early reservations so we could be home at a reasonable time and get to bed early as we were both fighting colds and very tired.  We were the first ones in the restaurant.  It was very nice.  Food was only served Ala Cart and it was a bit pricey.  I was looking forward to my Lasagna.  We were waiting for Monty's Rocket Salad to come to the table when his phone rang.  Not a good sign for a quiet dinner.  He answered and went outside to take the call.  His salad came and I began to have a few bites.  After about 15 minutes he came back in and I turned his salad over to him with 3/4 of the salad still waiting for him.

The call was from two Elders from Central Coast Zone explaining they had been driving to a dinner appointment with a member family.  Traffic stopped suddenly, they managed to stop in time, but the car behind them rear ended their car and pushed their car into the car in front.  There by making their car an "accordion".   Fortunately neither Elder was hurt, nor the driver in front or behind was injured.  The Elders believe the car will be totalled.  Miracle #1

President and Sister Checketts left Wednesday for and Area meeting held in New Zealand.  Since their VISA was only good for 2 years, they had started the filing process 6 months earlier for an extended VISA.  Their fingerprints had been lost twice and other delays had occurred during the refiling process.  Before they left for New Zealand everything was in order with their VISA's.....or so we thought.  Monty and I were to pick them up at the airport when we received a call saying they had been detained and not allowed back into Australia due to problems with their VISA's.  Well you should have seen the office hustling , the Service Center  Travel Department got hopping, and the Consulate was contacted.  After an extra night in New Zealand and early morning departure they arrived home at noon on Saturday.  Miracle #2

Sunday, before starting our 1 hour drive to our Toukley Ward, we stopped in the office to grab mail for the missionaries that meet in our building.  A quick pop in and out and be on our way.  When we came around to the front of the Mission Office/Service Center there were about 12-15 cars parked out front.  I asked Monty what was going on.  He reminded me that they were having an Area Stake President's Meeting that Sunday.  We quietly crept up the back stairs and up to our offices.  As we were gathering the mail,  President Checketts popped his head into the mail room and said "Oh Good the Ellison's are here.  I have been looking in the supply room for a particular pamphlet for our meeting downstairs.  Can you help me find it"?  The Supply room is my territory and I knew right where to look.  I got the pamphlet for the President and we were all off to our meetings within minutes.  Miracle #3

Now you might think those were all cute little coincidences.  I beg to differ.  Help was given in each  incidence.  Missionaries were protected.  Paper work was approved  when it should have been held up due to Bureaucracy.  Elder Ellison and I just happened to be in the Mission Office on a Sunday when we normally are not there so we could assist the President with something he needed for an important meeting.  AMAZING how this all works out isn't it?

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Learning to be a Missionary May 2017

  We are between crunch times and enjoying the lull before the storm.   The Assistants are able to go out into the general public and preach like the rest of the missionaries.  The Assistants were in the office getting more supplies, and I was helping them find what they needed.  I asked how they find people to teach.  They said they spend  all day at the train station or the bus stops.  I couldn't believe what I heard, "how long?" I asked.  6-8 hours a day they said.  I asked how they approached someone, Elder Bush demonstrated using the Restoration pamphlet.  I was suppose to be the stranger at the train station.  He stopped me and asked a very simple question and then launched into a very heart felt approach to the Restoration.  I couldn't believe how sincere, kind and informative his approach was.  I played a non believer and answered negatively to his questions about praying, and my knowledge of Jesus Christ.  He was so sincere that I really felt if I WAS the nonbeliever I would definitely want to know more.

I felt encouraged to give it a try the next time I was out in public.  Unfortunately my 2 attempts did not glean any interest from the 2 different people I was talking to but I felt a little more secure in my attempts.  These young missionaries are just so impressive.  They don't have to be super smart, or cool, they are just sincere and bringing knowledge to those looking for answers.  The first 3 pamphlets, The Restoration, The Plan of Salvation, and The Gospel of Jesus Christ are so informative and answer questions so simply that it makes teaching the lessons a little bit easier for the missionaries and the novice missionary.

I enjoy getting to know these missionaries and hearing their stories.  Maybe I'll have a new story the next time I make an entry.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Fence or Ambulance 10 May 2017

G'day Family and Friends,

President and Sister Checketts do a wonderful job leading and guiding our mission and Missionaries.  Sister Checketts does a monthly newsletter and President Checketts sends out a weekly letter to all the missionaries.  I really liked the following story and wanted to share it with those that may be interested.  And Remember KEEP CALM and Read the BOOK OF MORMON.

by Joseph Malius
Twas a dangerous cliff, as they freely confessed
Though to walk near its crest was so pleasant.
But over its terrible edge there had slipped,
A duke and full many a peasant.
So the people said something would have to be done
But their projects did not all tally.
Some said, "Put a fence round the edge of the cliff,"
Some, "An ambulance down in the valley."
But the cry for the ambulance carried the day,
For it spread through the neighboring city.
A fence may be useful or not, it is true
But each heart became brimful of pity,
For those who slipped over that dangerous cliff
And the dwellers in highway and alley
Gave pounds or gave pence, not to put up a fence
But an ambulance down in the valley.
"For the cliff is all right if you're careful," they said,
And if folks even slip or are dropping,
It isn't the slipping that hurts them so much,
As the shock down below when they're stopping.
So day after day, as these mishaps occurred,
Quick forth would their rescuers sally,
To pick up the victims who fell off the cliff
With their ambulance down in the valley.
Then an old sage remarked, "It's a marvel to me
That people give far more attention
To repairing results than to stopping the cause
When they'd much better aim at prevention.
"Let us stop at its source all the mischief," he cried
"Come neighbors and friends let us rally.
If the cliff we will fence, we might almost dispense
With the ambulance down in the valley."
"Oh, he's a fanatic," the others rejoined,
"Dispense with the ambulance? Never.
He'd dispense with all charities too, if he could,
No, no we'll support them forever."
"Aren't we picking up folks just as fast as they fall
And shall this man dictate to us? Shall he?
Why should people of sense stop to put up a fence
While the ambulance works down in the valley?"
But a sensible few who are practical too,
Will not bear with such nonsense much longer.
They believe that prevention is better than cure,
And their party will still be the stronger.
Encourage them then with your purse, voice and pen,
And while other philanthropists daily
They will scorn all pretense and put up a fence
On the cliff that hangs over the valley.
Better guide well the young than reclaim them when old,
For the voice of true wisdom is calling.
To rescue the fallen is good but 'tis best
To prevent other people from falling.
Better close up the source of temptation and crime,
Than deliver from dungeon and galley.
Better put a strong fence round the top of the cliff
Than an ambulance down in the valley.
Enjoy this transfer, build your fences and find the joy from being the Saviors helper as you save souls.

Monday, May 15, 2017


Someone is trying to tell me something.

Every 2 weeks we have a Seniors FHE.  Last night Elder & Sister Jenkins (we were in the same district at the MTC, they feel like family) gave the lesson.  The Jenkins have 10 children.  One family home evening they were counting the many miracles they had experienced in their marriage and family life.  Child number 9 & 10 did not know hardly any of these stories.  One of the daughters started writing each miracle on a sticky note. All the sticky notes covered the fridge.  After a year the sticky notes started falling off the fridge and Sister Jenkins thought that they need to write these miracles down in hard copy format.  Thus begun the journey of compiling a "Book of Miracles" that they now give to the grandchildren as they turn a certain age that can appreciate this family book of Miracles.  What a GREAT Idea.  They gave us 5 minutes last night to write a few thoughts of miracles that have happened to each of us while out in the mission field.  #1

My son asked how my Blog was coming.  (He thought he was being sly, but I knew what he was hinting at).  I told him I was lucky if I got 1 entry a month down.  He told me that was a weak excuse and I needed to do better.  #2

Elder Ellison and I are speaking in the Toukely Ward next Sunday.  My topic is from General Conference Oct 2016 Lest Thou Forget by Elder Rasband.  This is a great topic and I have enjoyed preparing for it. Toward the end of Elder Rasband's talk he states "Never forget, question, or ignore personal, sacred spiritual experiences.  The adversary's design is to distract us from spiritual witnesses, while the Lord's desire is to enlighten and engage us in His work.  #3

So now to my story.  Sister Barr is the Sydney Australia North and South Nurse.  Her husband passed away about 9 years ago.  Years before she attended Stake Conference and the Stake President talked about the importance of Seniors serving a mission when the time was right.  So this thought kept creeping back into her thoughts until finally she decided to go serve a mission.  I admire her for being strong enough to serve a mission by herself.  She is a strong woman.

Sister Barr works out of the Sydney North Mission office.  She arrived about 3 1/2 months before we arrived.  About 6 weeks ago she was out walking with another Senior couple when she took a spill.  She doesn't remember what or how it happened.  When she came too she knew something was seriously wrong with her shoulder.  After a few days of excruciating pain and no comfort in any position she went to the Doctors. X-rays, CT and MRI were all taken.  It was finally determined she had dislocated the shoulder, chipped pieces of bone off the socket, already had arthritis in the area and a few other details that I can't recall.  They determined not to do surgery and see if it would heal on its own.  She was in a sling for about 6 weeks.  The doctor says she needs to be careful as she will now have a tendency to dislocate the shoulder.  She is still on the mend.  You don't heal as quickly when you are in your 60's as you do in your teens and 20's . I have wondered if she is questioning why she came out on a mission.  The other day she had no intention of quitting, but finishing her mission.

Well, the other morning I was getting ready for my 5:45 a.m. walk.  I opened the front door and thought for a moment, "it is awfully dark.  There are 4 steps to go down, turn on the light."  NOPE didn't listen to the small voice in my head. Took a step, closed the door, took a step and fell down all 4 steps, grabbing at the plant to my right, cutting the palm of my hand, landing on my knees, then rolling to the side. OUCH! It took a few seconds to regain my calm, I wanted to scream, but would have woken neighbors.  Went back inside with leaves and debris in my hair, clothes and skin.  Darn. When will I learn to listen?  Fortunately, I didn't repeat Sister Barr's accident. I was bruised physically and mentally but well enough to go for the walk.  Later that day when the Assistants were in I told them what happened and Elder Lamb said "Never ignore the still small voice.  Not a good idea".  True true.

This was miracle number 4.  I need to go back and write about the others at a later time.  But I got my entry in for the day.  YEA Sister Ellison!