Saturday, May 30, 2015

May 30, 2015

May 25, 2015  We had a fun day preparing for the branch picnic at Kiwanis’s Park.  It is a very nice park with things for kids to play on and a nice wooded area to walk around in.  (everything here is wooded)   It is usually difficult for the branch to get a crowd to come to anything, but this was an event that was very well supported.  There were families, singles, couples, etc.  Everyone seemed to have a great time.  The branch supplied the hamburgers and hotdogs and everyone brought a dish to pass.  I made a huge pasta salad and we cut a watermelon into bite size pieces.  The young missionaries were there and Elder Glenn from California had a thing that looked like a tow strap only wider.  He said that it is the rage in California and all the kids practice it until they are good at it and some can do flips on it.  They wrapped it up between 2 trees and all the kids were anxious to see if they could do it.  Elder Glenn was pretty good at it and could make it all the way across.  He had to wave his hands around to keep his balance and he looked a little like gumby. 

May 26, 2015  We went into the office and worked for the day.  When we were finished we took some missionary supplies to Brockport and stopped by to see the Workman’s.  We went to dinner with them at a place on the Erie Canal and ate outside.  It was such a nice evening and we enjoyed visiting with our friends.  (the food was good too)
May 27, 2015  We got up early and went into the office.  We took a load of ‘stuff’ in our car to drop off at our new home.  We worked until noon and then went out to the farmhouse.  The Clements moved out this morning and so were able to begin the move.  Our President had arranged for the senior couples to have a ‘retreat’ at the Seneca Lake Camp that the church owns.  It is so nice and we had a great time.  We were able to stay in the big house and have deluxe accommodations. 

President Francis talked and then we all introduced ourselves.  Some of the couples had fun stories about their lives.  One sister said that she was a widow and wasn’t interested in the least to get married again.  Someone she knew talked her into going out with a guy (her husband now) and she wasn’t that impressed and they went out several times and he wasn’t pushy or anything.  He walked her to her car and she was trying to get her keys out and he leaned over and kissed her and then said, ‘see you later’.  She was upset and wondered, ‘what the heck was that?’  She talked to her friend and told her about it and she asked her what was wrong and she said, ‘I think that I love him.’  They talked and he said, ‘let’s get married’.  She said—I don’t even know your name.  He said, that’s ok, I don’t know yours either.  They were a funny couple.  They are great missionaries. 
Sister Miller had a catering business in her previous life and took care of the food for the retreat.  (She also began the Quilted Bear) The kitchen in the lodge is amazing!  It has a commercial dishwasher in it!  It would be really nice to have a family reunion here if anyone is game!  It was funny how after the evening program everyone took off for their cabins.  We stayed at the lodge and helped the Miller’s take care of the dirty dishes.  Chris will appreciate this—they have a grease trap at the lodge that is FAR worse than his ever was!!  It took about 1.5 hours to clean things up for the following morning.  Sister Miller must have been worn out because she left soon after we started.  Her husband was a trooper and stayed until it was all cleaned up. 

May 28, 2015 we had a great day at the retreat and learned many things.  The food was great and everyone had a good time.  There are golf carts there and we went for a ride on the trails through the woods around the camp.  The camp has 200 acres and is on the lake front.  (so beautiful!)  After it was over we went back to our new home and began putting away the things we had dropped off.  We stayed overnight and enjoyed it.  We went into town to get a few things and passed a nice carnival.  
Frog outside of the back door of the house
The garage and barn on the farm
The larger home (part of the original John Young home) across the street from ours
Our new home

May 29, 2015 we worked in the office for the day and tried to get caught up on so many things that we missed out on with the short week.  Dennis had to go pick up a new car and I drove him over to the dealer.  The mission is getting 8 new cars in the next few days.  He will be really busy.  The cars will be given to the missionaries that have the cars with the highest mileage.  The church doesn’t let them get too many miles over 50,000 and then they sell them.  They have nice cars for the missionaries. 
We came back to Batavia after work and had supper with the Haggerty’s.  She had made a hamburger pot pie.  It was really good.  She still doesn’t feel well since her gall bladder surgery.  We are concerned for her.  He doctors don’t seem to get that excited about helping her.  They are going to Phoenix  to see their son in a couple of weeks.  They will stay 3 weeks.  I hope that if she isn’t feeling better that her son can help her get some help.  We packed up a lot of stuff and Dennis packed the car (he has such a talent for sliding things into the smallest of cracks and getting them compacted)

May 30, 2015 Moving day!  We loaded more and then went for the 60 minute drive to the house.  We didn’t get much put away before the missionaries needed us to help them with a project in Pittsford.  We went to their aid and then went to Brockport where I got a shorter haircut for the summer.  It feels really good.  Dennis thinks I look younger.  (Who knows?)  We came back to Batavia and finished boxing up our stuff.  (We came with 1 car load and now—it will take 3)  Well, there is a reason for that---we have bought groceries here and are moving them –we didn’t bring any groceries.  AND, they are moving young missionaries into our apartment in Batavia and the President doesn’t want them to have it all decorated up like a senior apartment.  (They are MEN—they don’t need phoofy!)  So, we are moving all of the décor from the last 3 or 4 couples.  Phew!  I think we are bushed!

Well, we are missing everyone, especially when there are big events.  Conner turned 12 today, Lexie turns 13 tomorrow, and Tessa had her dance recital tonight.  It’s hard to not be to these things, but I hope they will forgive us and we will make it up when we get home!  

The mission is the place for us right now.  We are have a great time and enjoying the work.  It is so fun to meet new people and spend more time with my husband!  (he is the best and I am so blessed by having him as my husband)*
*having a husband that treats me so good and honors his Priesthood and the callings he has been given in his life.  He loves serving!

Update on Brent:  We were told on Tuesday that Brent would need open heart surgery right away to correct the stenosis he has with his mitral valve.  He was having trouble with his lungs and too much water.  The doctor felt that was the only thing that could be done.  Everyone began praying (we had never quit—but more!)  He lost 24 lbs. of water in 2 days.  The Dr. feels that he can now wait for the surgery until he is stronger and he has been moved from ICU to the rehab floor.  We have seen so many miracles!  What blessings he has received.  Heavenly Father knows and loves that guy!
Day 46 of this ordeal!  Happy!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

May 24, 2015

May 18, 2015  We had our weekly office meeting and then we had a nice birthday luncheon for Elder Merrill.  Sister Kennedy made a roast beef sandwich that had a good flavor.  She had gone to a popular place to eat once and they had people lined up to eat their roast beef sandwiches.  She could tell that they had lemon juice and cinnamon in the gravy and tried it.  It is a really good flavor.  (I better find out how much of each you use)  Sister Ballard made a large German Chocolate cake and it was really good.  I made a lettuce salad.  
President and Sister Francis with Sister Ballard
President and Sister Francis, Sister Ballard, Sister Kennedy, and Elder & Sister Clement
We had a good day of training and then went to the Rochester airport to pick up the Workman’s.  (they went to Georgia to be at the sealing for their daughter and family) 
We saw a terrible wreck on the way home.  The east bound lanes were blocked off  and traffic stopped for miles.  When we got close to the wreck we were sickened to see how badly the truck was wrecked  There wasn’t anything left of the cab.  We aren’t sure how it happened, but there were 2 semi trucks involved.  The other truck was rolled into the gutter.  There were dozens of police cars, tents for Hazmat, wreckers, ambulances, etc.  It made us so sad.  We looked at the news online when we got home, and it said that both drivers were transported to the hospital.  We don’t know the outcome, but from what we saw--it wasn’t good!
We took the rest of the cake from lunch over to the Elders.  As we were leaving, Elder Longhurst yelled out, “We love you Elder Merrill”.  (he didn’t know that we hadn’t made the cake—just sharing it with them.)  Nice, anyway!
May 19, 2015  We had a full day of training and working at the office.  We invited the office people out to dinner at Moe’s for 3 of them leaving.  We had a nice time there and a good visit.  We talked about what they had enjoyed about their mission.  They all mentioned that working with the young Elders and Sisters was a great blessing to them and how wonderful it is to be involved with them. We arrived home late.
May 20, 2015 –we worked at the office, but I can’t remember anything significant about the day.  (I guess I better write daily because I forget what we do when I don’t.)  It must be the same principle as tithing—pay it first or you won’t be able to afford it—write it first or you won’t be able to remember it.  We went to Pauly’s for a calzone for supper and it was very good!
May 21, 2015  We took Sister Kennedy (she couldn’t go to Moe’s) out for lunch.  We ate a burger at Tom Wahl’s and Dennis celebrated his birthday with several calls and cards, along with Facetime birthday wishes.  Sister Ballard’s son flew out here and will drive home with her.  They left this afternoon.  She is anxious to be back with her family.  
We stopped by the Haggerty’s.  Sister Haggerty isn’t feeling any better and she requested a blessing.  I don’t know what is wrong with her, but feel that she needs a different doctor.  The people from the office use a man called Dr. Pulley and he is LDS.  They really like him.  We hope she can get into see him.
May 22, 2015  We worked at the office and said our good-byes to the Clements.  We are now on our own!  HELP!  They were great help and we shall miss them.  I had my first meeting with the President to discuss the finances.  (I was really nervous!)  
We drove over to Palmyra and met the Brown's at the Palmyra Inn.  They are from Rigby and he owned the discount store that Dennis loved so much.  We went to dinner with them at a little diner in Palmyra call Athena's.  It was good to visit with them and hear about their mission in Utica.  They are serving on the military base with the soldiers and families that are LDS.  They are really liking their mission.  She is helping the women learn homemaking skills.  She says that she is surprised by how much they don't know!
May 23, 2015  We were able to stay home and not make the hour drive.  Yahoo!  We went to a couple of garage sales and had a good time.  They have quite a few here and we got a few good things for our new home.  (the décor is pretty old at the farm house—just a few things for the walls and kitchen)  

The lilacs here are so beautiful!
We got a few groceries for feeding the missionaries and for the Memorial Day branch picnic.  We packed up a few things to begin taking things over to Honeyoye next week.  
This gynormous pillow should fit back into this small case--??

Success!! (he was huffing & puffing afterward)
The Elders (6 because of splits) came for supper.  They ate everything and then we left with them to go visit Carla.  Her son is investigating the church and we had one of the lessons with him.  He is 15 and doesn’t know what to believe in.  He lives with his father and hasn’t had much, if any, religious training.  Afterward we went to a couple near Carla and visited with them.  They were very friendly and invited us to come to their picnic on Monday.  I think that the Elders will do that, but we will stick to the branch one.
Dana has a machine that is much like a paddle boat.  It's hard to use too!
May 24, 2015  We went to church and were the speakers.  I spoke on service and Dennis spoke on faith.  We filled the time and several said that our talks were good.  I hope that we were able to teach something!  Here is a portion of Dennis’s talk:
Elder Robert Gay of the seventy tells this story about his youth.
“What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”1
This is a question that my father taught me to carefully consider years ago. As I was growing up, my parents assigned me chores around the house and paid me an allowance for that work. I often used that money, a little over 50 cents a week, to go to the movies. Back then a movie ticket cost 25 cents for an 11-year-old. This left me with 25 cents to spend on candy bars, which cost 5 cents apiece. A movie with five candy bars! It couldn’t get much better than that.
All was well until I turned 12. Standing in line one afternoon, I realized that the ticket price for a 12-year-old was 35 cents, and that meant two less candy bars. Not quite prepared to make that sacrifice, I reasoned to myself, “You look the same as you did a week ago.” I then stepped up and asked for the 25-cent ticket. The cashier did not blink, and I bought my regular five candy bars instead of three.
Elated by my accomplishment, I later rushed home to tell my dad about my big coup. As I poured out the details, he said nothing. When I finished, he simply looked at me and said, “Son, would you sell your soul for a nickel?” His words pierced my 12-year-old heart. It is a lesson I have never forgotten.

I loved that story!  We had our other meetings and are planning to attend a fireside at the Westfall building.  We are taking 3 ladies with us tonight.  The speaker is Daniel Rona, a Jewish convert that does tours to Jerusalem.  I think we will really enjoy the fireside.   I spoke with a lady after church and found out that she is visiting her parents here for the day.  Her husband is a military man and they are a few hours north of us.  (near the Canadian border)  I asked her if she was in the Utica mission and she wasn't sure.  I told her of the Browns that are serving there and she immediately said she knew them.  Isn't it a small world?  

Blessings:  Having people that love us (and we love them).  It was so great to see how many people wished Dennis a happy birthday.  Our special blessing  is having people in our lives that care and love us. (thank you, thank you!)  That is wonderful!

Update on Brent:  He has had a rough week.  He aspirated something into his lungs and it has caused pneumonia and trouble breathing.  They have taken him back to ICU and are aggressively treating the problem.  We were told that this could be a roller-coaster ride for his recovery, but it is hard to see him progress so much and then have set backs.  His attitude is good and he is working hard.  

Sunday, May 17, 2015

May 17, 2015

May 10, 2015
We had our Monday meeting at the office, which was great as usual.  We had a special luncheon for the 3 people who will be leaving for home in the next 8-10 days.  We had pulled pork sandwiches and jello salad.  It was nice.  We got right into work after the luncheon.  We have studied hard each day so that we will be prepared when the Clements leave.  It rained so hard today, we couldn't believe how fast it came down and made small rivers in the parking lot.

The water is up to the top of the sidewalks and was pouring off the roof
We hurried back to Batavia to go with the Elders to visit Carla and another investigator.  The investigator had to cancel, but Carla was available and we had a good visit.  She is a nurse and has been out of work because of health reasons.  She is now well enough to go back to work.  She is a very nice lady.
May 11, 2015
We spent the day training and accomplished many things.  We were back in Batavia in time for me to attend the Relief Society Enrichment.  It was centered around visiting teaching and the RS President had done a lot of nice things for the ladies.  It is sad that only about 9 people showed up; but it was nice for the 9.
May 13, 2015
We had zone conference in Batavia today and stayed here to help with that.  We fed the zone baked potatoes with toppings.  I made beef stroganoff and broccoli cheese topping.  There was also chili and sour cream with cheese.  The Elders (our zone doesn't have any sisters in it at this time) made ‘garbage plates’ out of the meal.  They mashed their potato down and then added all of the toppings to it.  I think they weighed (the plates) about 6-7 pounds when they were filled.  It was a lot of food and they loved it.  The Elders all say that they have gained weight on their mission, but they work so hard I doubt it.  They are always doing service here.  The people expect them to help do yard work, move furniture, paint fences, etc.  I can’t believe how quickly the town has cleaned up their yards. 
Our Zone
 One day things were covered in snow and grime and the next week they were well kept and green.  It is so beautiful here!
May 14, 2015
We spent the entire day at the office again.  It is getting a little more understandable.  I haven’t ever taken any courses in accounting, and now I wish that I had a little bit of it.  However, there are online helps with the computer program.  (and I will have Sister Clements phone number)  Elder and Sister Clements are going back to Phoenix to their 9 children.  (I think a couple of them aren’t in Phoenix)  She says that they are going to put their home up for sale when they get home.  When they bought it they were in a good area, but as the town has expanded and the years have passed, it isn’t in a very good neighborhood.  She also says that it is too big for them now.  After living in the Young home, she has probably gotten used to a more condensed, smaller life style. 
We stopped by the hospital to see Sister Karol.  She has stage 4 small cell carcinoma in the abdomen.  She has had several chemotherapy sessions this week and had been given Ativan for the nausea.  She didn’t even wake up with them came in and took a blood test from her finger.  She was really sleeping soundly.  Her husband is very vigilant.  He doesn’t leave very often and he has a great attitude. 
There is a large park in Rochester (a few blocks from Strong Memorial Hospital) called Highland Park.  They are having their ‘lilac festival’ now.  I wanted to stop and look at it as we went by to go the hospital, but there was such a huge crowd and no parking we changed our minds.  People have told us that there are so many colors and varieties of lilacs there.  The festival looks a little like the Idaho State Fair.  There were booths and vendors and people everywhere.  Maybe we will go to the park and see the lilacs after the festival is over. 
Today is Jill’s birthday.  She is 34, I believe.  It doesn't seem possible that many years have passed.  I sure haven’t aged!!  Have I??  (you better believe it!!)  It has been such a blessing to have such a wonderful, caring and fun daughter!  Thank you!
May 15, 2015
We were able to take the Elders to the Temple today.  It was great!  We were in the session with Elder Brent H. Nielson from the 70.  He and his brother were visiting the Temple.  On the way home we listened to his conference talk from April conference about ‘waiting for the prodigal’.  He told the story of waiting for his sister to return to the church.  What a great talk!  Our temple session had 4 sisters and 8 brothers.  While we were at the MTC in Provo we were told that the Provo temple is the busiest temple in the world.  We went one night after class and there were people waiting everywhere to do anything for which there was a need.  It’s too bad that the Palmyra temple doesn't have that kind of patronage.  It is a very beautiful, small temple.  
What a handsome guy!

On the Temple grounds
The summer months here are much busier because of tourism and the Hill Cumorah pageant.  I am excited to see the pageant.  Elder Clement told us that the 2 nights prior to the opening of the pageant that people can go with a much smaller crowd to the dress rehearsals.  He said that the hecklers aren't there for the rehearsals and it is nice.  I guess that there are paid hecklers that come and make a fuss at the pageant each year.  They aren't sure why they are doing it, just that they were paid to come and do it.  Sister Kennedy said that she brought a non-member to it last year and the non-member was very disgusted at the way the hecklers were acting and thought they were very disrespectful of anyone’s religions or beliefs.  So, in some instances the heckling brings non-members closer to the truth. LOL
We visited the Sacred Grove after the Temple and enjoyed our time there.  We are documenting the seasons by standing by the sign (notice-winter, spring, and now it looks like summer)
Elder Lavin, Elder Glenn, Elder Longhurst, Elder Boatman

Looking out at the Smith farm
I've had trouble sleeping this week and it seems crazy.  I’m plenty tired when I go to bed, and then I just lay there—wishing for sleep.  Becky gave me some sleeping pills while we were in Salt Lake that really do work (except for this week) called 5-HTP.  They have helped previously, but this week I have the STUBBORN—no sleeping problem.  I guess it’s hard to just get too relaxed—we must worry! (all women, it’s our job)
May 16, 2015
We decided to go visit a place we wondered about taking our kids to when they visit.  (Yahoo, Chris, Cindy, and Tessa are coming in June and Annette, Rob and the kids are coming in July—Brad and Sara are trying to decide when they can come and I think Jill and Ryan will come in the fall and Greg and Jackie may come next year)  Everyone is welcome!  Well, we went to a dairy that milks cows 24/7.  They have 2,000 cows and they milk them 4 times a day.  It was a pretty great set up.  The cows get on and off a carousel by themselves.  I know, a cow merry go-round.  We were pretty amazed at how fast they loaded and unloaded without any prodding.  We now think that the kids will like this place. 

They can only go in head first and lay in the sand--thus keeping it clean  Wow!
Sad to say, but I’m sure that the bus tour won’t be stopping there for our friends that are coming the end of May.  I will post some pictures for you so you won’t feel left out of this great tourist spot.
Oh, I know this will shock you, but we stopped at a garage sale on the way to the dairy.  Dennis bought 5 fishing poles for $10.  They all have reels, etc.  He thought he better be prepared for Rob and Karsten to visit.  They both LOVE to fish.  There is so much water here—there must be fish!  We don’t know how much a license is to fish, but there are 2 days in June that are free for anyone to fish.  Maybe Dennis will dangle a line during those days.
We did a little shopping and fed the missionaries (6 of them) supper.  We enjoy being around the Elders, they are fun to talk with and they make us feel part of the group.  It’s so amazing how grown up they are when it comes to gospel topics and teaching, but how they are just kids in most other ways.  They have fun talking about their families, friends, and home.  (just like us)
May 17, 2015
We had church today and I gave the lesson in Relief Society on the Power of the Word.  We talked about how important the scriptures are and how we need to study them daily.  We talked about how it is important to do this with our families and how it is difficult to do it with children.  One of the sisters mentioned how she had taken papers and drawing pencils and given to her children during their study of the tree of life.  She had asked them to draw what they saw while she read about it.  (her husband isn’t a member) and she was surprised at how differently each saw it.  It thought that was a great idea.
We are going over to the Stake center tonight for a fireside.  The ‘Nashville Tribute Band’ will be presenting to us.  Everyone is excited to see them.  They are supposed to be very good.  Our Stake President is culturally minded.  Update:  They were wonderful!  They played for 2 hours straight.  They bore testimony, laughed, cried and were wonderfully gifted musicians.  It was a great concert!
I think they may be coming to Idaho Falls and Sandy Downs in Aug.  (at least that is what their website says)  It would be worth going and taking your families.

Next week he has arranged for Daniel Rona to come to do a fireside.  He is a Jewish Convert that takes tours into Jerusalem.

1.      Studying more on this mission than ever in our marriage.  During our study this week we read about charity by Elder Holland.  I don’t think I had thought  about it this way before and it touched me.  I remember always hearing about ‘Charity never faileth’, etc.  (the theme for the Relief Society) and wondering about it.  We just finished reading ‘Christ and the New Covenant’ by Jeffrey R. Holland.  He explains that scripture differently than I have ever thought of it.  He says there are 2 ways to interpret the scripture.  I had such an overwhelming love and joy as I tried to comprehend what this means.
·        We need to be merciful, forgiving and have love for others as Christ’s disciples.  We should all try to love as the Savior loved, showing pure, redeeming compassion for all.  Unfortunately, few, if any, mortals have been entirely successful in this endeavor, but it is an invitation that all should try to meet.
·        The greater definition of the ‘pure love of Christ’ is what Christ totally succeeded in demonstrating toward us.  True charity has been known only once.  It is shown perfectly and purely in Christ’s unfailing. ultimate, and atoning love for us.  It is Christ’s love for us  that suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not.  It is his love for us that is not ‘puffed up’ . . not easily provoked, thinketh no evil.  It is His love for us that beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.  It is as demonstrated in Christ that ‘charity never faileth’.  It is that charity—his pure love for us—without which we would be nothing, hopeless, of all men and women most miserable.  Truly, those found possessed of the blessing of his love at the last day—the Atonement , the Resurrection, eternal life, eternal promise—surely it shall be well with them.

Update on Brent:  He seems to be improving daily (at least it seems that way from here)  They are making him exercise and he appears to be gaining strength a little at a time.  His progress is such a blessing.  Jana, his daughter, graduated from college yesterday and they were able to see it on the internet.  (what a wonderful world we live in, right?)
Update:  I was able to visit with him on the phone Sunday evening.  He sounded so good and had his usual wit about him.  He is getting a little pneumonia, but the Dr. are treating it now.  He said a few interesting things to me on the phone.  He didn't remember that I had come to see him in April.  He did remember that Dennis was there and gave him a blessing along with a male nurse.  (which did happen)  He says that during the blessing he could see things from the ceiling and that he wondered what was hidden in the lights or what all the keg looking things were.  He wondered if he had been transported to a brewery.  He said that he wasn't clear on other things as well.  He felt that he had the surgery in Billings, was transported from Rexburg and saw some other things on the way to the airport.  He thanked me for coming to see him and said that it meant alot to him.  He also said, "I do want to come see you in New York."  I asked him, "do you remember shaking your head yes when I asked you to recover and come and visit me in New York?"  He remembered doing that and again verified that he had meant that.  I was so thrilled to talk to him again!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

May 10, 2015

Monday, May 4, 2015
We went into the office for the weekly meeting.  We had lunch at Tom Wahl’s (hamburgers) and then went back to office for more training.  Doing this training makes me appreciate the lady that has the position more.  Dennis is getting plenty of information too.  His head was spinning by the time we headed home. 
We had Amanda and Skyler over to try to help her with family search.  We are going to the Temple on Saturday with her to do baptisms for the dead.  We would like to take a name from her family also.  The ward Family Search instructor came over too.  She didn't know too much about the program and we didn't get much accomplished.  We had a good time and Dennis and Skyler played a few hands of Phase 10.  Skyler is pretty competitive and he gloats when he wins!
Tuesday, May 5, 2015
We took Sister Haggerty home from the hospital after having her gall bladder taken out.  We then went back to the office for another day of training.  We were able to go to the John Young home after training and we felt a little disappointed that we would be living there.  It is a special place, but it is quite old and the floor isn't level in any part of the home.  It does have a washer and dryer, which is really nice; but closet space is very limited.  There is lots of room for company though.  Upstairs there is a nice queen size bed and 2 twin beds, plus lots of floor space for blow up beds, etc.  We will be just fine!  We have enjoyed the little smoke filled apartment building that we have had since January, it is more convenient.  We got home and went to visit the Haggerty’s.  She was feeling alright, but they needed groceries and we told them we would go right after district meeting on Wednesday.
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
We picked up the Elders and drove to Geneseo for our District meeting.  The Elders discussed the fact that some branches and wards aren't too excited when new members come into the church only to receive church welfare and help.  That does make it difficult to believe that they are sincere in wanting to grow and serve. 
We made pulled pork sandwiches, chips and brownie sundaes.  It turned out really good and we got home about 1:30.  We got groceries for the Haggerty’s, went home teaching to Sandra and Susan, and then went with the missionaries to visit an investigator.  People act like the want the missionaries to come visit, but it is just an act (most of the time).  The lady had to go help someone who was in trouble; but said we could come back on Thursday.  We will see!
Thursday, May 7, 2015
Today is Brittons 7th birthday.  We are so proud of him.  We can see the pictures of each family member on the calendar Jill made us.  We love having the pictures and everyone loves seeing the family.  The missionaries look at it every time they come over.  Thank you for the calendar Jill!
We went into the office until noon and trained with the Clements.  We went to the hospital to see Karol from the branch.  She has been sick for about 6 weeks now and they just took a biopsy today to see if the mass in her abdomen is cancer.  She has had cancer previously in the bladder, but it has sure taken a long time for them to take a biopsy.  It seems that the medical profession isn't in a huge hurry to help anyone here. 
We went to the ladies home from the evening before.  She and her son wanted to hear what the missionaries had to say, but they didn't have any place to sit in their apartment.  So we suggested sitting outside.  We found a picnic table out in the backyard and had a nice lesson.  She seemed to be a little interested, and both her and her son (about 14) said they would read from the Book of Mormon.  We will go back next week to see how they are doing.  She lives a very frugal (poverty) lifestyle.
Amanda came over again to work on Family search and we did some searching for her relatives in  We found a few of her family members and she was excited. 
Jill’s little boy, Max, just over a year old was attacked by their rooster in their yard.  It flew up and grabbed onto his head with its talons.  Jill was afraid to pull it off in case it would cause more problems for him.  She finally got it off and he had a cut above his ear and one on the top of his head.  He was pretty upset.  Lexie was mad at the rooster and caught it in a piece of netting and banged it into one of the trees until it was dead. (Ryan was at a meeting)  Now her family calls her Rooster.

Friday, May 8, 2015
We ran errands and went home teaching to the Longs.  It takes several hours to do home teaching when you have to drive about 40 minutes each way.  We had a nice visit while sitting outdoors on their porch.  The weather is about 80-90 degrees and it is humid.  Air conditioning is GREAT!  Amanda came over again and we had Sister Ballard come to help us with her search.  Our goal was to find some family member that she could go to the Temple and do baptism(s) for.  Sister Ballard is the front desk secretary at the Mission Office and she is AWESOME!  She has done genealogy for 30+ years and knew so much that we had the best time.  Amanda was so excited and understood everything Sister Ballard taught her.  She was able to get 3 men and 3 women to do baptisms for.  They were all grandparents; except for 1 man—he was her dad.  He passed away from cancer a few years ago. 
The Haggerty’s called and asked us to come over after Amanda left.  We went over and they asked about some help with errands on Saturday morning.  We said we could help.  They asked us how long our mission would be, and we told them about our transfer.  She cried and he was so sad.  I felt terrible!  We will still be coming to Batavia for church, but like she said, “It won’t be the same.”  He wants to move to Rigby when we go home. 
Saturday, May 9, 2015
Elder Merrill ran errands with Bill and I was pampered with a manicure/pedicure for Mother’s day by my hubby.  It was so nice!  Amanda called about the time we were finished and she was ready to go to the Temple.  We drove over to Palmyra and she was able to be baptized for 5 sisters.  She asked Elder Merrill to be baptized for her male relatives (2 grandfathers and her dad)  and it was a very special experience.  She cried while they were being baptized.  

After we left the Temple we went over to the Sacred Grove and spent some time visiting with Elder and Sister Sanders.  (Amanda and Skyler had other plans and so she had driven to Palmyra too)  They are serving as Temple missionaries and are from Midway, Utah.  It was a very calm, beautiful day!  

We are at the Smith Farm and you can see the Temple in the distance 

(it is also very hot, and most people here say that it is not the normal for May—more like July)  I think that I packed in December for this mission and didn’t bring enough light weight clothes.  Oh, well—air conditioning, right? 
Dennis standing by a Magnolia Tree--Beautiful!
A tulip with pointed tops--pretty neat, huh?
We were invited to have supper with the Workman’s.  We ate at a family restaurant in Brockport.  They are nice people from North Carolina.  It is so amazing how the church brings us together.  It is a wonderful experience to meet new people and visit with others.  I feel that we have begun to reach out to others and visit with people we come in contact with.  The people here are really quite friendly.  So many of the people haven’t heard about our church, but they are mostly Christians.  That’s a BIG start!
Sunday, May 10, 2015
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!  We are so appreciative of the mothers we have in our lives.  Our own mothers that sacrificed for us and that we love and cherish so much and then our daughters, daughter-in-laws, aunts, sisters, cousins, nieces, etc.  What wonderful women we are surrounded by!  Thank you for everything you have taught us and what you may teach us in the future.  We are so grateful for your willingness to sacrifice for your children and be the examples you are!  I was so sad to read that there are more abortions done than those that have died in the holocaust or by other evil leaders.  That is so sad!  Thank you again!

One of our little sweethearts--Halle Ann, enjoying a day with her hat!  Cinco de Mayo
Sweet Ava after Kindergarten Graduation!
Us after church blowing kisses to the mothers in our family
We are going to the Sister’s home for dinner today at the John Young home #2.  I understand that the church separated the home and made 2 homes out of 1.  We will be in the separated portion and the sisters live in the original location.  Sister Ballard said that in Nov. when the other 2 sisters leave for home that we should hurry and move over to the larger home and that we would love it.  I think that we will try to do that.
The Branch President announced that Sister Karol has an aggressive cancer that is inoperable and untreatable.  We are sad for her but she will begin chemotherapy this week.  She is 9 years older than her husband.  He is so devoted to her and loves her so much.  

Funnies:  We were getting out of the car for district meeting and one of the missionaries said, “wow, Elder Merrill; you are really a wonderful husband!”  (because he tries to open the car door for me--when I don’t just jump out) and then he said—”and you two always match”.  I hadn't really even noticed, because I usually get dressed first and he tries to put on a coordinating suit and then a tie that matches with what I have on.  It took that Elder saying that for me to even figure it out.  Dennis confessed that he is trying to coordinate.  Isn't that cute?  (I guess the funny part is that I didn't even realize it)

1.      Belonging to the church that has the restored ordinances of baptism for the dead and the other saving ordinances we have.  It is so great to know that the Lord loves those that have lived, live now, and will live.  He is fair and equitable!  We can all have these blessings of the Temple!

2.      Being blessed to have mothers that knew about the restored gospel and lived it and taught us to love it also.  We were taught by good examples!  Thanks also to Dennis’s mother for the wonderful way you raised him to respect women and treat others with kindness and love.  I am so blessed to have such a wonderful husband.  I have enjoyed spending this time together and get to know him better.  (It just keeps getting better!)

An update on Brent: He has been moved to rehab at St. Mark's Hospital in Salt Lake City.  He is doing so much better.  We are so thankful!
Being transferred to St. Marks