Thursday, May 28, 2015

Its All About Flying....

28 May 2015

The last three days have been a whirlwind of learning. My personal learning curve has exploded!  From the moment our plane hit Salt Lake City our feet hit the pavement running.  That hasn't changed since we arrived here at the MTC.  We have experienced total missionary immersion!  Yesterday we got our "official" name tags to prove it. 
We have been focusing on learning all 223 pages of Preach My Gospel in one week!   And how to effectively use the pamphlets too.  

It's all about "flying"..... in the morning we flying down to the cafeteria for breakfast, then to our first class, then to our District classrooms for more instruction on teaching.    At noon we scoot right back over to the cafeteria (in hopes that the food has gotten better... never been a fan of cafeteria food).  Another group class then fly across the way for more District classroom teaching.  

The next day in amongst the "flying around", we did get our flight itinerary.   We will leave the MTC on 4 June after all the classes end at 3:15pm to race to the airport in Salt Lake City to catch our 6:45pm flight to Los Angeles. 
    We get to wait 4 hours at LA to catch the midnight flight to 
Hong Kong, China..... that will take 14 1/2 hours to get there! We will have a 3 hour layover in Hong Kong then to our final destination of Phnom Penh, Cambodia.   All in all, 19 hours of flight time.  We will arrive at 10:30am on 6 June (which will be 9:30pm Alberta time on 5 June). 
Tuesday night we were on Cloud 9!   Our feet finally hit the floor with a calming peace yet our spirits soared to great heights when Elder Jeffrey R. Holland came to speak to all the missionaries at the MTC. 

What a treat that was.   Elder Holland was magnificent.   He asked that every missionary come away from your missions with at least one convert..... yourself. He did not mince words.  Elder Holland then told this story....
               A teacher and his student stood on top of a mountain that they had carefully climbed together.  The teacher then asked the student, 
                                     "Go stand on the edge"
           The students response was, "No, I'll fall!"
           The teacher again said a little more forcefully, "GO stand on the edge!" 
           The student's response was the same, "NO, I'll fall!" 
           The teacher was even more persistent, "GO STAND ON THE EDGE!"
           The student stood on the edge and the teacher pushed the student and            he began to fly!  
Elder Holland then explained that the Savior sometimes has to give us a "push" so that we will "fly".   That is what the MTC has done for me.   It has pushed me so that I can fly!.  It's all about FLYING!


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Time Has Finally Come....

25 May 2015

25 May 1982 We were all saying, "the time has finally come" meaning the birth of the twins, Vaughn and Brant .....
Brant and Vaughn
and here we are 33 years later on the same day saying the same thing only this time meaning that Brian and I are finally entering the MTC.
First thing we received were our name tags and ministerial certificates.  It is all written in Khmer. We cant read a thing it says!   

We were pleasantly surprized to find that even though it was Memorial Day we had plenty to do and the MTC functioned as normal.   It was total missionary immersion!  Still no visas and still no travel itinerary!   We just dropped off our passports to the Church Travel Dept. in Salt Lake.

It is beautiful here.   No wonder the spirit is so strong here.... EVERY hallway, EVERY corridor, EVERY classroom is flooded with pictures of the Savior.   

I think they should rename this to the Missionary Training CITY.   It seems like it is a city unto itself.   You forget where you are as if there is nothing outside of its walls.   This is where we study and learn to "Preach My Gospel by the spirit" (Doc & Cov 50:14). 

After being lead around by the nose for an hour or so picking up papers, paying for our stay in the MTC, getting a small tour, finding the mail room, going to the Travel Dept. (only to find they still didn't have visas or travel itinerary) then we got to our room  
 We found our room quite nice and cozy. 

This is our study area.   I'm talking to Tasha, Elina, Meagan wishing Vaughn a happy birthday.  Brant and his family dropped us off at the MTC.   That was pretty special. 
Family please note that I only brought 4 pairs of shoes for this first week! Dad has his 2 pair neatly in the corner.  In all reality we got the BEST room
which is conveniently located to the 

Candy, pop, and ice machine right outside our door to the left and to the right....
the emergency heart defibrillator (they gave all the Sr.s a map of all the locations!).  So I think we are set for our first day!

The Journey Begins...

17 May 2015
     It seems that once we received our second missionary assignment that time just flew.    Before we knew it Adrianne, Dan, and the girls were in Cardston for our last night (15 May 2015) at home and for our setting apart as full-time missionaries.    

Of course not before a lot of fun was had.
The next day a lot of final cleaning (Thanks Adrianne and girls)(well, most of the girls!!!) then off to Calgary.    A few "musts" took place before we left, such as....
 Hotdogs at Costco with Austin and Sloan....

Just hanging out at Sloan's house with all the family....

 of which we realized that Edmond has too many girl cousins!

Even though it did snow a bit Eve and others had to go outside and play.  
The next day we all went to Church at 2nd Ward.  While Austin was still in his church clothes, he and Grandpa and Sloan had to do a "selfie".  

Those big long "monkey" arms of Sloan's do come in handy!!!  Then off to Vaughn and Tasha's house for some more family gathering.   
There was lot of horsing around (poor Austin and Van).  

And angel granchildren.....

And some pretty great children too...
It was a great last day with the family and a great first day of our journey....

Friday, May 1, 2015

For Better Or For Worse?

For better or for worse, either way, Brian and I have already said "I do" to the idea of us committing to this eighteen month mission.  The hymn "I'll Go Where You Want Me To Go, Dear Lord" keeps ringing in my ears.  It rang true the first time I heard that hymn and it still rings true today.

The FedEx truck finally pulled up to our driveway!   The speculation game was over.  Although, I must say that the "Speculation Game" seems to be every Latter Day Saints' favorite game!   We try to guess about everything.... new Bishops, new Stake Presidents, ward boundaries, new callings, deaths, births, basically who's doing what,when, and where!  It seems to be connected to our religiously inherent need to know truth.... FIRST!   I don't know.  I can't explain it!

But we played the game.... where would be re-assigned?   What countries were giving visas readily and quickly?   We knew the missionary department was working on some sort of visa, therefore, we were not being sent to somewhere in Canada.   In the past it has proven to take many months for Canadians to get visas into the United States.  I wasn't sure that my US citizenship would trump that process for Brian who would need a visa into any state.  Australia and New Zealand is equally as hard to get a visa, as well as, a 30-day waiting period for any visa to Brazil, so we had been told.   English speaking?  Non-English speaking?  Would we still be assigned as "office specialists" again? And so the game went on and on....  Until the envelope arrived!

 CAMBODIA!  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  Is this better or worse?   So THIS is the where the visas are readily available?   I am stunned, yet excited and ready to go.   I just need to breathe!

The mission boundaries even further shocked me.
CAMBODIA AND ALL OF VIETNAM!  My mind immediately took me back to 2 Feb. 1972 when several of my friends and I gathered around the television watching the US Draft lottery take place.   This was not the lottery that anyone wanted to win.   Getting a free ticket to Vietnam was not golden!  But here I am 43 years later and can hardly believe that this is my assignment.   I think I have found one of Willy Wonka's golden tickets!

I think this is certainly "for the better".  And this is why we just throw our hat into the ring.   India was WAY at the bottom of my list of countries to serve in but soon felt that I could, would, and was looking forward to serving there.  Cambodia never made the list!  I didn't even know that Cambodia could even BE ON the list!   It never crossed my mind and that is why you put it in the hands of the Lord.   Look what I would have missed out on if I had tried to control this call with the arm of flesh.

I have come to believe in a very short time about mission calls.... there is no "worse".