Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Missions - Who Goes Where

1996 - Missionary Training Center
Some of you might wonder how it’s decided where each missionary in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will serve. Completing the papers to serve a mission for the Lord doesn’t include saying where you want to go. The Lord determines that.

Experience and the Holy Ghost have taught us that the Lord has a hand in designating where missionaries serve. Sometimes it's apparent right away, other times the reason takes longer to discover. 

How about the missionaries who knocked on our door back in 1981? Some of them might have been hoping for someplace a bit more exotic than Columbus, Ohio (like The Bahamas!). We know that at least two of “our” missionaries were heaven-sent just for us. Their personalities and testimonies resonated with us in a way that someone else’s might not have. Why were we sent to The Bahamas? We know why. Why was our grandson assigned to Utah, of all places to be a missionary? Why was he called to serve the Spanish-speaking people? His mission, his service, will affect him for the rest of his life. At this point in his mission, he probably has a good idea why he serves where he does, people who have changed him and people whose lives he’s been able to influence. He will gain more insight as he returns from his mission and reflects on the past two years.

Here’s information about the assignment process. Ronald Rasband described his experience as a new apostle being trained by a more seasoned apostle in the missionary assignment process. 

“Each Apostle holds the keys of the kingdom and exercises them at the direction and assignment of the President of the Church. Elder Eyring was assigning missionaries to their fields of labor, and as part of my training, I was invited to observe.

I joined Elder Eyring early one morning in a room where several large computer screens had been prepared for the session. There was also a staff member from the Missionary Department who had been assigned to assist us that day.

First, we knelt together in prayer. I remember Elder Eyring using very sincere words, asking the Lord to bless him to know “perfectly” where the missionaries should be assigned. The word “perfectly” said much about the faith that Elder Eyring exhibited that day.

As the process began, a picture of the missionary to be assigned would come up on one of the computer screens. As each picture appeared, to me it was as if the missionary were in the room with us. Elder Eyring would then greet the missionary with his kind and endearing voice: “Good morning, Elder Reier or Sister Yang. How are you today?” … Elder Eyring would then study the comments from the bishops and stake presidents, medical notes, and other issues relating to each missionary.

He then referred to another screen which displayed areas and missions across the world. Finally, as he was prompted by the Spirit, he would assign the missionary to his or her field of labor.

 …. He said that it is by the great love of the Savior that His servants know where these wonderful young men and women, senior missionaries, and senior couple missionaries are to serve. I had a further witness that morning that every missionary called in this Church, and assigned or reassigned to a particular mission, is called by revelation from the Lord God Almighty through one of these, His servants. (read entire talk here)


More about the assignment process here

Saturday, July 15, 2017


“As you so serve, a new dimension will be added to your life. You will find new and stimulating associations. You will find friendship and sociality. You will grow in knowledge and understanding and wisdom, and in your capacity to do.” (GordonHinckley)

God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs. Therefore, it is vital that we serve each other in the kingdom.   (Spencer Kimball

Some of our most treasured memories and friendships began with service. 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

One of Those Days - or Weeks

Have you ever had one of those days, or weeks, 
when you felt the challenges just wouldn't quit?

Watch this without audio for that kind of message 
(at least that's what I got out of it). 

Then, watch it with sound for a message 
about how to deal with spiritual whirlwinds. 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

4th of July

 Red, white & blue adorned downtown Kirkland
hundreds if not thousands of people lined the streets 
for Kirkland's parade
Joe remembers riding in the rumble seat of a grandparent's car

This cow brought to mind the butter cow at the Ohio State Fair
Lots of DeLoreans - more than half the 
existing 175 DeLoreans are in the Northwest (source)
Politicians walked, rode in cars & this independent candidate rode his bike
This float of mermaids advertised "Liberty, Justice & Hair for All"
(hair extension business)

This is Seahawk country - many vehicles showed off their Seahawk paint jobs
Can you see the little boy behind the man? 
Hands over his ears, he must have had enough of this very noisy Seahawk motorcycle

Kenworth trucks are made in nearby Renton 

This little car came through several times 
to encourage people to vote for their favorite float #floatvote

Marina Park was full of people enjoying the beautiful day
Music was playing
Food trucks were busy
People staked out their places for the fireworks

We had a spectacular display
The moon was beautiful too
We could see Seattle's fireworks in the distance

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Books In Every Room

A room without books is like a body without a soul. 
G.K. Chesterson
I'm thankful we grew up in a house that had books in every room.
Thanks Mom & Dad!
One of the many difficult aspects of moving was giving up most of our books. We're happy many friends were able to start or add to their personal libraries.

We still have books in every room - just not as many rooms nor as many books as before. 

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Generate Happiness

"... too many of us try to consume happiness rather than generate it. (James Faust)


Thursday, June 29, 2017

Geraldine Brooks

So many things to love about our community. Recently I was able to go to the nearby performance center to enjoy listening to a great author - and it was free!

Geraldine Brooks is the author of five novels, the Pulitzer Prize–winning MarchCaleb’s CrossingPeople of the BookYear of Wonders, and The Secret Chord. I've read all but this last one. 

People of the Book is one of those books I read every few years. See my post about People of the Book here and Caleb's Crossing here.

Born and raised in Australia, Brooks came to Columbia University on a scholarship to the journalism master’s program. She mentioned to a fellow student that when she was younger she had a penpal from Menemsha on Martha’s Vineyard and that she’d always wanted to go there. The man mentioned he lived on Martha’s Vineyard and invited her to come with him that weekend and he’d take her to the town. She accepted. She went to Martha’s Vineyard and later married that man, Tony Horwitz.

She and her husband traveled the world for 12 years as foreign correspondents for the Wall Street Journal. Eventually they settled down on Martha’s Vineyard to raise their family. While living there, she became acquainted with the story of Caleb (Cheeshahteaumauck), a Wampanoag, who was the first Native American to graduate from Harvard, in 1665. 

What are the chances of a girl from Australia to get a pen pal from Martha’s Vineyard? Then to move to the States and have a classmate who lives on Martha’s Vineyard. Marry that man and live on Martha’s Vineyard where she learns about Caleb. She must have been destined to tell his story.

Some notes I made from her presentation in Kirkland - 

Talking about subjects for her books - find implausible truths. Write about "shards of history." She said she tries to hear "the unheard voices." 

Brooks said the key to art is to keep doing it. She doesn't believe in "writer's block." As a journalist she had to produce stories according to deadlines. There could be no writer's block. Brooks said writing is much like a description a friend gave of producing art - "Mess, mess, mess, art!" You have to get started and make the "messes" before you can have "art."

Geraldine Brooks' website
NPR interview with Brooks 
More about Cheeshahteaumauck herehere, and here  

A totally unrelated tidbit discovered while finding links for this post - At one point one in four children was born on Martha's Vineyard! More here