Thursday, December 6, 2012

Dec. 6, again
Just thought of a couple more things.  Remember the 'rabbit wreck?'   The Sister's driving that car hit 2 rabbits in a couple of days - driving 70 mph out between where they live and where they had been teaching. It was night both times.  The bunnies were not big jack rabbits but both were tiny little white rabbits.

Well, next they hit a coyote.  The car side-swiped it so it wasn't damaged so much as the rabbit times.

There are large areas of uninhabited land in Nevada with wild horses, wild burros, and about every other kind of animal.  We are so glad our missionaries so far have just hit  little bunnies.

Talking about people coming in asking for money, one man has been in regularly - always with a different story about why he needs  'just $20.00'.  Unfortunately, Elder Lynn can't turn people away - so he keeps coming back.  Yesterday it was to apologize about all the stories and lies and 'could I talk to you privately for just a minute?' which ended in another sob story and another $20.00.  I hope there are blessings given to people like my husband who are kind and often taken advantage of.

Dec. 6, 2012
Wow!  It has been so long since I wrote.  We have been really busy.  Since I wrote last a lot has happened.

We have had Elders leave and more arrive.  Every incoming set of Elders is sooooo exciting!  We get to meet them fresh from the MTC.  They are soooo tired.  They have probably not slept a lot the night before they leave.  They have had to pack and usually have tried to wash or go to the MTC bookstore.  Then the hardest part has been saying good-bye to all the Missionaries they have worked with and especially those going to other missions.  Once they've gotten to bed most have not been able to sleep because they have been worried/anxious/excited  etc.

So when they arrive most are a bit bleary eyed.  Once they get here to the airport they have to listen to lots and lots of instructions.  The first is to get their luggage and put it in the van/trailer at a particular spot.  President Hermansen and the 2 Assistants to the President are usually the ones who pick up the new Elders and Sister Hermansen drives the sisters.  They come to the mission office where we have a 'brunch' ready for them to eat.  (They have most likely not eaten at the MTC.)   We have fresh fruit, cold cereal and milk, muffins, bagels and cream cheese, juice and hot chocolate.  While they are eating they listen to instructions.  "Put all the papers you were told to bring in the envelope in this box."  Questions are answered.  "Line up over here for photos with President and Sister Hermansen."  Names are called.  Poses made. Camera's snap.  Then they gather outside for a group photo in front of the Mission Office.  Meanwhile Sister Hermansen has been taking candid shots while everything happens.

Then off to one of the first LDS church buildings in the Sparks/Reno area.  It is across the parking lot and we have some of our mission meetings there.  President and Sister Hermansen and the Assistants talk.  President leaves the room to begin individual interviews.  More instruction is given.  Sister Hermansen talks about health  - how to stay healthy, exercise, what to do if you are sick, how to eat,  how and what to clean and when.   Elder Smigelski talks about cars, car safety, and what you need to do to be able to drive.  Videos are shown about this.  Sister Smigelski talks about referrals and how to fill out baptism papers and what to do with them. (Send them to the office IMMEDIATELY!)

Elder Lynn instructs on apartments.  Keep them clean.  Do not make holes in the walls, etc.  He talks about mission funding cards which have the money for each missionary on them and are used like a credit cards, how to use them and to NOT lose them or attach the pin number to the card. (Duh?)

Elder Blankenship talks about bikes and bike safety.  Sister Lynn talks about mail, name tag purchasing and gives a grandmotherly bit of advice.  (Wash your hands as often as you can during the day.  Consider the member homes some of you are living at as their temples.  Write your parents.  Write your first letter now.
You will get homesick.  You will have stomach aches and colds.  You do not need to go to the hospital for these things, but if you really get sick, call Sister Hermansen.  This is a once in a lifetime chance.  Do your best.  Etc)

Somewhere in the middle of this we break for lunch which is always the same.   Pizza, salad, cold water, dessert.

Then it is back to the finish of the above instruction.  There are also papers to fill out during all of the above and to be collected.  Drivers liscenses which have been collected and photo-copied are returned.  Visas from the out of the country missionaries collected, copied and kept by the mission office and the copies given to the missionary until they leave the mission.

When President finishes his interviews he returns to the office and determines which new missionary will go with which previously selected trainer.  Meanwhile the trainers have arrived and are waiting in the gym.  (Or just 'happening by' the kitchen to see if there is any extra pizza.

President returns to the Church and then the FUN begins, as he calls out the name of the trainer and the new missionary (who is waiting in the hall.)  Hugs are given, cheers are cheered and everyone is smiling.  After all the new missionaries are assigned, everyone troops into the chapel.  A song and prayer, business by the President as necessary and then a testimony meeting by the departing Elders.  Then everyone leaves.  The new missionaries pick up their luggage which is now in the gym along the wall.  A trip is made to the mission office to pick up mail and packages and then they are off to their new residence with their new companion.

This is a hectic, busy and happy occasion for all of us.

Once every has left, the missionaries who have finished their missions say good-byes to old
companions.  Photos are taken.  President and Sister Hermansen have dinner with those departing.  Usually a temple session has been attended earlier in the week or after dinner.  The departing Missionaries go with
President and Sister Hermansen to the mission home where there is a special meeting.  (I don't know what happens from the time they leave the Church.

This is a sad time for me because I gotten to know and love these Elders and Sisters and know that I probably won't see them again during this earth life.  But it is an example of the cycle of life going on.

In addition to all the arrivals, departures and transfers Elder Lynn and I moved from a 2nd story apt. to a ground level one.  Some of the Elders moved us.  Thank you, Thank you, Elders.  You are great life savers.

Our first Senior Couple arrived!!!!   We are just so happy and appreciative of them being willing to serve a mission.  The missionaries helped them move the things from their car into the apt.  They will be working with  missionaries in Sparks where we have a less-active ward.   They are very excited and we are so grateful!

Two more couples will be coming, one the first of January and one the end of January.  We can't wait to get them here.

In the middle of this, on the day we moved, Elder Lynn went in and had kind of emergency surgery.  He had his cartodid artery cleaned out.  It was completely blocked and bent.  The surgeon did a great job and Elder Lynn is back running full speed here.  This was a result of a regular 6 month exam he has for his heart.  He had a stroke in July 2011 and recovered so well that we were able to come on this mission.  While he was having all of his tests they uncovered the need for this surgery, called on Tues. evening and the surgery was the next day.   He will go in soon for a check of his other artery and we will see if he needs that one done, too.  Meanwhile, since I have been here I have developed problems with my right hip and am going to have a hip replacement here in Reno the end of Dec.  One of the things that we have learned from our missions is that life goes on for you while you are on your mission.  Things happen.  You just adjust and go forward.  However, you are greatly blessed in these trials.  We are very aware of our Heavenly Father caring for us, especially on our mission.  We are so thankful he is there and knows us and takes care of us.  We just do our best and keep going.

We are greatly blessed to have President and Sister Hermansen to work with.  He is so supportive of all of the missionaries, including us.  Our missionaries are soooo blessed to have him for a Mission President.

One of the things that had me laughing (tongue in cheek) was that an Elder called to report a 'few dents' in the roof of his car.  When ask how they got there he said an unnamed Elder had been dancing on the roof of the car.  Later when someone told us who the unnamed Elder was, all of our mouths dropped open.  We aren't sure if we were given the right name, but if it was, then none of us would have EVER guessed he would be on top of a car doing anything.  He is one of our model Elders.

So life goes on in the mission.  I've got to write more often.  I keep forgetting great things I could tell about...Until later, then.
Sister Lynn

Saturday, October 6, 2012

We are so excited!!!

We are so excited!  Conference today has been so wonderful!  And now 18 year old young men and 19 year old young women can go in missions if they want!  Yeah! 

Tuesday Oct 9 twenty-five new missionaries arrive from the MTC and 11 - our first to leave - go home.  We will miss those who leave so much.  I have learned to love them.  They will do so well at home. 

I want to tell you about one young man leaving - he will return to California with no one waiting for him, no home to go to, no job, no car.  Nothing.  His parents abandoned him a long time ago and he has survived on his own.  He said to me, "I am scared."  He is taking his bike because it will be the only way he has to get around.  His branch president is 'his dad'.  Some young people leave all to go on a mission and when they get here they work so hard.

One missionary arriving on Wed. has 2 bachelor's degrees - no father - his mother doesn't want him to go on a mission - he is a convert but he has prayed and knows this is what he is supposed to do.  He is 24. 

There are other stories like these.  I'll share more later.

Love, love, love conference..

Our son-in-law - Larry Chipman, husband of our daughter who died, is spending the night with us on his way to Oregon.  He is by himself - all kids are on their own and is on this first long trip alone - to take photos of all the waterfalls he can find - and anything else that is beautiful.  He does beautiful photography.  He is a wonderful man.  I wish we could find him some 50 yr or so old woman with no children at home (which is what he is looking for) to marry.  He has so much potential and is SUCH a WONDERFUL man.  He is one of the kindest most angelic men I've ever met - cared for our daughter for 15 years as she was sicker and sicker until she passed away 2 years ago.  And worked full time, took care of the family, house, food and everything else by himself for the last several years plus was busy with church callings the entire time.  I have so much respect for him.  If anyone has any ideas about a good woman - please let me know.  We love him so and our daughter wanted him to remarry and so do we.  If the woman is good to him, our entire family will welcome her with open and loving arms.

More later...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sunday Sept.23, 2012

We can't believe it has been so long since we wrote.  Since our last post, Sister Lynn developed major pain in her right hip (the one that wasn't replaced previously.)  I thought it would need a replacement.  No.  It is 'mild arthritis.'  I hate to even think what serious arthritis will feel lake.  I saw a doctor.  The only thing to do is exercise (in a pool for now) and lose weight. (Or take major pain meds, which I won't do.)   I haven't been to the pool - no time - no energy.  I haven't been sleeping well because of pain and then kind of drag through the day at the office and come home and fall in bed. 

A couple of weeks in to this I started have a toothache in a top molar.   Found a dentist and the roots were cracked so it had to be pulled.  Between that and my hip the last two weeks have a tough ones.

However, in thinking about this during the past month I have become so very thankful I am here on a mission.  If I were still at home the same things would have happened and I would have been at home all day and feeling sorry for myself.  The pain would have seemed much worse because that is all I would have been thinking about.

I've only missed part of a day at the office though all of this (to have the tooth pulled).  I have enjoyed every day despite pain.  I can't tell you how blessed I've been.  I LOVE being here.  There is so much joy in serving.  Every time the door to the office opens I get so excited because almost everyone who comes is a missionary and they are such good, pleasant, hardworking young people.

We have wonderful missionaries.  In 2 weeks we will have 22 new missionaries arrive and our first departure, 11 missionaries, will return home.  We get to know these young missionaries and it is hard to see them leave.  

Elder Lynn and I learned from our last mission to keep as many as we could on Facebook.  We love reading about their marriages and children and education and jobs.   We remember them at 21 or 22 of course, so it all seems impossible to us.

The people here are very very excited to have 'their own' mission.  They do everything they can to assist.  One of the outlying areas from the mission is Susanville,CA.   One of the main things the wards would like is a set of missionaries of their own.  In Susanville they'd like one set per stake.

President has asked for more senior couples.  We need them desperately in stakes and ward.  And there are many areas of Indians living in Nevada.  There are a lot of inactive LDS members in them.  In fact there are many inactive people all over Nevada.  We need couples here to work with and reactive them, among other things. 

Guess this all for this post.  It's off to bed.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

One thing I've forgotten to mention that those from the Cornerstone area will smile at is that the ward we attend here in Reno uses one of those tiny little microphones that hook onto your shirt like we used to.  However, theirs isn't broken and it still has it's clip.  They must be the only ones who use it.  It works just great!  :-)

Memo to prospective and current young missionaries:  Just why do you want to go on a mission?  Or why are you on a mission?  Do you plan to listen to leaders and obey rules or is your mission just going to be a 'party'?   I really wonder about this and would love to ask certain missionaries exactly what they are thinking.

Memo to everyone:  Mission time can be one of the greatest growth periods of a person's life.  It has the potential to really refine and develop qualities that will make a huge difference in a young man's life in every area.  The things he learns about self-discipline and responsibility can make a difference in the kind of a job he will choose and be qualified for, the kind of an employee he will be, the kind of husband and father he will be, the kind of leader or follower he will be in the community, church and many other areas.  Young men just don't have any idea how much rests on their doing their best and following the rules on their mission.   I have come to realize that teaching and baptizing are wonderful part of the mission experience, but not all of it.

Things happening lately in  our mission:

Tuesday we get 24 more missionaries.  There are more in the MTC who will come to us in 6 weeks; they aren't coming Tuesday because they are learning Spanish for 6 more weeks.   This time we are blessed enough to have several families who qualified and offered to have missionaries live with them.  I hope, hope, hope that the missionaries treat these families and their homes well. 

Our President is trying to decide if he and his wife should make 'surprise' apartment inspections.  I think they should.  If your apartment is basically aways clean what is to fear?   He has given notice so far and in some apartments it doesn't seem to have mattered.  Most are good but some are just plain filthy and messy. 

We had a couple of missionaries who called to say they were driving 15 miles an hour and hit a speed bump they 'didn't know was there'.  They didn't know it, but this caused them to lose the bracket holding up the radiator.  They drove on home.  Meanwhile, the radiator drained out all the water from the hole the loss of the bracket left.  They also 'didn't know' they had a flat tire.  So the next morning when they went out to go in the car it wouldn't start.  I wonder why with a frozen  engine and the tire and rim ruined.   They want a 'new car' and not the 'junker' they were driving.  It had not even 50,000 miles on it and was 2 years old. 

Next they called to tell us they needed a new vacum.  The "piece of junk" they had didn't work any more.   It is pretty new, too, but the canister in it was most likely not emptied, so the air couldn't get through and burned up the motor.  Since Monday is P day and when they should have wanted to use the vacum, we wondered why they just realized it wouldn't work and it was Thursday.  Hmmmm...

I wonder what call we'll get from them this week?

Another missionary and his companion were out doing service at their local library and had his wallet stolen.  It was in his pocket and either fell out or was 'lifted'.  He and his companion looked everywhere, through all of the garbage, all over the ground.  He was so respectful and polite when he called to ask Elder Lynn to call and cancel his church card.  Poor kid - it is the end of the month so his companion didn't have much money left on his card and now between them no money to speak of.
They said they had 'maybe 2 weeks of snacks' so they'd do OK.  (This in a town quite a ways from where any of us could get to - and it was Thurs. night.)

We have a set of missionaries who have been responsibile for our ward and one other ward.  Today the two wards found out they each get a set of missionaries.  Everyone is excited.  No one knows who the 2nd set of missionaries are and they both want to keep the set they are familiar with.  In our ward they sent around a list to feed the missionaries and one person signed up said, "If we don't get to keep the missionaries we already have, take my name off the two times we signed up."  The Bishop from the other ward is coming in to see the President tomorrow to make sure they stay in his ward. 
Oh, dear......

The President has a magnetic 'transfer board' in his office.  It has a 3X4 card with a photo of each missionary, his name and where and with whom he served on it with magnets on the back.  Everyone likes the board to look as good as possible. Missionaries LOVE this board and will do about anything they can to get to look at it.  Because we change the 'where and with whom he served' every transfer, I laminated the cards, put the magnets on the back and put them on the board.  It all looked sooo good - until the cards started coming loose from the magnets and falling down.  Back to the drawing board...... 

Every once in a while we get someone coming in to ask for money and food because we have the words Nevada Reno 'Mission' on the outside of the building.  Tough to tell them we don't have food or housing for them.  We have developed a list to hand them telling them where they can find help.  We hope that helps.

We are so grateful and happy to be serving here.   We have been very very busy and love being here. We know our Father in Heaven lives.  We know Christ atoned for us and loves and cares for us.   Have a great week!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

August 19, 2012
Today I have been thinking about how blessed we are with luxuries like warm showers.  Out of all my ancestors I think I am the first who could just get into a warm shower when I want.  Perhaps my parents, later in their lives, had this luxury, but for most of their lives they just had a bathtub - and that later in their lives.  No one before them, out of the thousands of ancestors of mine who have been on earth, had such a wonderful and easy blessing as a warm shower!

We love our ward here.  One of the women said to me today as she sat down, "We have assigned seats."  And laughed.   Most of us in the Church have 'assigned seats.'  And single sisters.  They have their own rows and sit together in every ward I've been to.  Here, too.  I love these enduring and faithful sister's.

We love the office.  We are so grateful for the other senior couple.  They have really taken over their
jobs.  Sister Smigelski is making a big difference in the mission.  Among other things she is over sending baptisms to Salt Lake so there is an offical record made of them.  She also calls the missionaries about how referrals are going.  This motivates some missionaries to follow thru on the referrals they get.  Referrals are some of the best kind of people missionaries can find and teach.  So this is good.  Elder Smigelski takes care of cars.  What a huge job.  Thousands of dollars invested with cars and young missionaries driving them.  Teaching them how to care for these investments.  More luxury for our time.  Recently we had two 'rabbit wrecks.'  Missionaries driving home in the
dark from the long distances they go to teach here - and hitting rabbits.  It is amazing to me how much damage a rabbit can do to a car.

We have just finished zone conferences all over Nevada - that takes a lot of travel for Pres. and Sister Hermansen and the Smigelski's.   We hold down the office while they are all gone.  In about 10 days we have 24 new missionaries arriving so we are busy.  No departures yet.

I wish older couples understood how wonderful it is to serve missions.  They are so needed and seniors can do what they are asked to do.  There are so many ways to serve and so many are needed.  I stop to think about how hard it would be to stand in front of  Heavenly Father and say I was scared or didn't think I could do what was needed.  If any of you knew how many times we call Salt Lake in a day and say, "Ok, what do we do now?"  Salt Lake is wonderful to help anytime.  Plus I think of our 47 grandchildren - about half of whom are boys.  How can I ever ask them to serve a mission when their incovenience will be so much greater than mine?  If only we understood how much joy and happiness comes from serving God - it would be so much easier to serve.

We love you all and you are in our prayers - family and friends and other missionaries.  He can take so much better care of you than we could if we were with you.

Dad and Mom,  Dee and Lois Ann

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What a WONDERFUL day in the Reno Mission!   We just finished our first transfers and incoming 16 missionaries!  I LOVE working in the office.  The feeling there is soooo good.  There were a lot of missionaries from all around the mission today who came in to be transfered or to become trainers to the new missionaries.  We had 5 new Sister missionaries come in.   We love watching the missionaries meet their trainers.  They all are so excited.  And when the missionaries come in to the office and see other missionaries they know they go up to each other and give each other hugs and act so glad to see each other.  They talk and talk.  The Sister missionaries scream and run up to each other like long lost friends.  It is a joy to be around them all. 

Pres. and Sister Hermansen are so welcoming and friendly to everyone and yet really hold the line.  I can see the missionaries getting to know and love them.  What a pleasure to be around them and watch this happen.

It has been so interesting to see the people respond to us having a new mission here.  Everyone seems to be so excited to have their own mission here.   We needed 8 new places for missionaries to live with this incoming group.  Pres. Hermansen sent out a call to the Stake Presidents asking for help in locating places to stay and all the furniture and things needed to supply the apts.  We had just great response.   In one ward I was told the women passed around a sign up list in Relief Society asking for specific things to be donated.   Before the list was more then half way around the room the list was full.  Most things were bought by people.   A man called and said his parents had immediately gone and bought 2 twin beds and framed and a box of cleaning supplies for one apt. and wanted to know where to deliver them.  We've had all kinds of things donated. 

One older woman had a set of old old dishes she had been given years ago and she came and donated the entire set of dishes.  Plus she went to $ stores and bought mugs and heavy big plastic glasses for 60 missionaries and brought them in to donate.  It all goes on and on. 

I am just so happy to be here on this mission.   I am more happy to be on earth at this time where I know why we are here, what we need to be doing and where we are going when we die.  I just find so much joy every day that I want to shout it out to everyone everywhere.  Knowing about the atonement and life of Christ just gives me so much peace, and more happiness.  I am so blessed.
Lois Ann

Sunday, July 8, 2012

June 8 - The Nevada Reno Mission has begun!

July 8, 2013  Nevada Reno Mission
We are now in Sparks.  The office has been open for a week.  We've been here 12 days. 
It is much cooler here - 92 as a high today.   We like it here.  The people seem nice and friendly. 

Our office is a rebuilt Seminary building and has been beautifully redone.  The only problem we are having with the building now is the address.  We went to the Post Office to get signed up for mail delivery and were assured all was arranged.  Then  - no mail.   Elder Lynn went back over and was told we have no address.  We had to establish one with the City of Sparks.  He went to Sparks.  They told him to go back to the Post Office and take care of it.  He talked with a number of people.  We were finally told we had the wrong address.  But the original address had been changed and the one we have is the wrong number numerically, with the buildings on both sides of us.  That is an issue for tomorrow so we can finally get mail delivery.  They've been holding our mail and Elder Lynn has been picking it up.   We've been told by some that the mail has been returned, however.   So we hope this gets cleared up soon.

Our mission officially opened on July 1, a Sunday.  So on the 2nd we went in and tried to get onto the mission web site and other sites on the computer so we could begin work, order supplies, enter baptisms, send referrals out to our missionaries, get e-mail, etc.  We finally got on to the last one of these on Fri. but like every other place we had to get onto, the pass-word hasn't gone through the system yet.  It has been a long very frustrating week just trying to get started.   One of the problems  has been that because of July 4 being on Wed. a lot of people we need to talk to at the Church Headquarters are on vacation.  This week will be much better; we just know it.

We really like our new mission  President and his wife.  They have a huge job to do but are really starting out running.  Last Sunday they met with the Nevada Las Vegas and Nevada Las Vegas West Mission Presidents for a 2 hour meeting (and lunch we served) before the two Las Vegas Mission Presidents flew back home.  Then President and Sister Hermansen and the Assistants (Elder Marks and Elder Sparks)  toured the mission (all of Nevada except Las Vegas south.)  On the 18th we have 16 new missionaries coming in so this week will be REALLY busy for them, with transfers and
trainer assignments and everything. 

Our apartment is very nice and we  have it mostly furnished.  Dee, Penny, Kenzee and Parker came up last weekend and brought the items we had packed to bring.  We appreciate them driving all that way so much!  They drove up, unloaded and stayed Sat. night, leaving at about 5 Sunday morning to drive back and be home in time for work.

Sacrament meeting last week and this was a surprise.  We'd forgotten what 'regular' wards are like.
When the meetings started the chapel was almost empty.  Even after the Sacrament people were
still coming in!   Even with the children the rows weren't full.    This Sat. our ward is having a clothing  exchange for a Relief Society Social.  People bring clothes they can't use any more and then they can take clothes they can use.   Then in August our ward annually hosts the same thing for a Stake wide Relief Society event.  They are also selling boxes of pears in two weeks. 

We love having so many new things to learn and people to meet!  So many have helped us in so many ways.  We love Heavenly Father and Christ.  We are so thankful for Christ's atonement for us!
We love the truth in the Book of Mormon.   We are thankful for Joseph Smith and Pres. Monson and their lives as prophets.  Aren't we all blessed?

Love,   Elder and Sister Lynn