Sunday, March 27, 2016

March 27, 2016

Happy Easter!  The weather today is beautiful and reminds me that things are going to be renewed.  We can see buds on the trees and a green hue beginning throughout the brush, shrubs, and trees.  This is a ‘type’ for the resurrection.  Things are dormant, sleeping and then—awake, come back to life and be beautiful again.  I can hardly wait for the resurrection!

This week was busy and at the same time slow.  We went over to Henrietta on Monday night after work and met the Dieu’s.  We had dinner with them and got to visit.  They will be leaving the mission near the first part of July and they will really be missed.  They have family issues at home that they need to help with. 
The ‘Chill and Grill’ in Palmyra opened up last Sunday (we didn’t go on Sunday) and we wanted to show the Spencer’s how good it was so we drove over there on Wednesday night and had a burger and ice cream.  They have the best ice cream and the burger was good too. 
We went to the Temple on Thursday night and this week the Spencer’s were asked to be the witness couple.  Last week we were asked and it was really nice to have that opportunity.  I have slippers that don’t stay on my feet very well and I had to keep tugging at them so they didn’t come off at the altar.  (Just something to keep me awake and alert)
I made sausage waffles and the Spencer’s came over and we watched the presentation of the Messiah on Friday night.  It didn’t start here until 9:30 p.m. so when it was 2/3 done at 11:30 we gave up and called it a night.  It really was beautiful.  We can watch the last 1/3 on until April 6th.  (I believe that is the last day)  Handel was certainly inspired to write so many beautiful songs that depicted the Savior’s life.  He stated that whether he was in the body or out when he wrote the music, he wasn’t sure, but he was definitely inspired to write that much music in 22 (or 24 days).  That’s a miracle!
Elder Merrill is getting 9 new cars and he received 2 of them last week.  He has learned how to change out the TIWI’s and so he can get them out where needed quicker.  On Saturday morning we got up and took a new car over to the Sister’s in Buffalo.  We took packages to several different stops and had a nice lunch.  
Easter Packages for Elder Stokes and Elder Peters with Elder Spencer
Delivering Books of Mormon to Elder Hunt and LaBar
We drove over by Darien Lake Amusement Park on the way home.  It is between Buffalo and Batavia (probably closer to Batavia).  We stopped there to see what they had and look for the pavilion that will hold Josh Groban on July 27th.  We didn’t see the pavilion, but it looks like there are wild rides plus a water park.   We felt like the Griswold’s and had pulled up to Wally World when it was closed.

We were very tired of riding when we returned home and we made some popcorn and got ready for the Women’s Conference.  It is so nice to be to view these special things via the internet.  I was too tired to pull on dress clothes. 
We had fast and testimony meeting this morning in Batavia.  I had taken the book and CD of Gethsemane in Primary last week and the children had loved it.  They were so reverent and the spirit was so strong.  The Relief Society asked me to do that for them today and I told them I was needed to play the music for the Primary.  Elder Merrill volunteered to do that for me.  He didn’t realize how hard the song and talking about sweet Halle would be.  He and all the women in the room were crying their eyes out.  Thank Heavens we know about the Savior, His atonement, and the resurrection.  The GPS for this life really works! (the Great Plan of Salvation)  He can take upon Himself our sorrows and grief.
We went to Warsaw after church and had Easter dinner at the Dieu’s.  We had a great time there and they invited a couple of men from the Warsaw Branch.  We had a nice visit with all there. 
We have lots of things planned for next week and the week after.  We have 4 days of meals for next week.  We are sending home 5 missionaries and receiving 5.  It’s the way of life in the mission; they come and then, before you know it, their time to leave arrives.

Funny:  Yesterday after we had lunch in Buffalo Elder Merrill stopped to get gas.  He has the habit of getting out of the car and leaving the door open.  The Spencer’s were with us and it was getting a little cold.  I started to open my door to get out and shut the door, but it didn’t want to open.  Elder Spencer was really quick and said, “I’ll get it”.  He jumped out of the car and ran over to shut Elder Merrill’s door.  He stayed and talked to Elder Merrill a few minutes.  We began laughing because he had left his door wide open also.  OK, is this a man thing?? 
Elder Nielsen is leaving Tuesday. His grandpa is Harold Nielsen who served with Chris in Jamaica
Elder Peters, Elder Gibby, Elder Nielsen, Elder Stokes--the Batavia Elders

Sunday, March 20, 2016

March 20, 2016

We were called last Sunday with the bad news that Brook and Heidi Summers and Dave and Jessica Anderson had been killed in a small plane accident.  We are so sad for their children and others close to them; including our great friends Chuck and Janet Summers.  Our kids had grown up with Brook-- and Brad had continued his friendship with Dave and Brook.  Brook has been our dentist.  We are all shocked.  Our lives do not have a guarantee and there isn’t an expiration date on us.  This life is the time to prepare to meet God.  I can really see that putting off until tomorrow the things we should do today is NOT a good life slogan.
We have been trying to keep busy at work and home to help take our minds off things at home and lessen the sadness.
Crazy sign in window.  LOL!  This helps!
We caught up on our work that we missed while home.  Last Sunday evening I got to help with the mission audit.  We were about through with it when my computer locked up and wouldn’t go any further.  We worked on it and tried several things, but it wouldn’t budge.  We did the ctrl/alt/delete and held our breath.  When we logged back onto the program it had saved it!  Yeah!  (we had worked on it for 3 hours and the auditor didn’t know when he could come back)  I got it turned in Monday morning and was relieved to have that completed.  (I passed with a couple of unsigned bills and a credit card bill that didn’t match the statement.  The statement said $24.90 and the bill said $25.00.  One dime was the thing that we got called on; not too bad)
We had a baptism this week of a man named John Ward.  He is a very nice man that is Irish and was Catholic.  He was very sweet and wanted to talk after the service.  He thanked everyone that had helped him and was so grateful for their attendance. 

We went to the Temple Friday night and then to work at the Bishop’s storehouse on Saturday morning.  That was a good experience.  We were there a few weeks ago, and now they are so much more organized.  It will be dedicated in April and then it will be really be a place that can change lives.   It seems that there are so many people here that need assistance and I am glad that our church is willing and able to help them.
We followed a sign that said, 'Maple Open House' and found them cooking the sap into syrup.  They told us that it isn't a good year for maple because of the mild winter.  It takes almost 50 gallons of sap to make one of syrup.  Their process was a good one and they filtered the end product very well.  We like the flavor or their syrup and bought a small bottle.

  We drove over to Geneva yesterday to take keys to the elders that left their bag with their keys at the Dr. office in Rochester.  They were glad to have access to their car again.  They arrived after us and they were with a nice, older gentleman.  He was taking them around to appointments.  He introduced himself as a 50 year eternagator (eternal investigator).  He really likes the church, but can’t seem to take the plunge.  I wanted to say, “What are you waiting for, life is short??” but I didn’t.
We talked with Debby Horsley yesterday and she told us of her trial of having to have open heart surgery while on her mission.  It sounds like it was pretty scary.  She had an aneurism that was very dangerous.  We are grateful that she has been through the surgery and is recovering now.  So, it appears that missions do not protect us from health problems, or sadness, or death.  I’ve had to rethink that hypothesis.  I almost thought that if our family could be protected and miracles could occur, a mission is the place for us for many years; but the Lord doesn’t work that way, does he?  He lets our trials come when they come and then helps us through them.  We have prayed for extra servings of the Holy Ghost to be with us and others to help ease the pain.  I believe that we have been given a portion of that blessing.
We have a fireside tonight and it is about time to get ready. 

Happy Birthday last week little Adie!
Happy Easter!  We love you all!

Cute lawn decorations for Easter!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

March 13, 2016

How does anyone put into words the events of the last 2 weeks?  The week of Feb. 21 was a week of driving to zone conferences and making presentations.  Elder Merrill did car checks and made sure the cars were being cared for and I was assigned to give a presentation to all of the young missionaries on budgeting.  Each day we returned to Mendon tired, but happy.  The conferences were good and our President and his wife did a great job with the talks they gave.  They really focused on obedience and following the commandments and mission rules (as we have had a few that are trying to push the envelope).  He said that he wouldn’t turn the mission over to a new president in July without obedient missionaries.  He asked everyone to prepare for their personal interview and plan to talk about their weapons of rebellion.  We all have them (weapons of rebellion); it takes real strength and courage to bring them to the surface and admit that they are real and holding us back.
We were completely worn out when we arrived home from work on Friday evening and were going to play a game with the Spencer’s.  We got a call from Annette.  We could hardly understand what she was saying, but understood that it was urgent that we should immediately pray for help.  We said good night to the Spencer’s (after a prayer) and then began to pray.  We learned that Tessa, Ava, and Halle were under several feet of snow and ice that had slid off the roof of a cabin in Island Park.  Chris had been grilling steaks outside when he heard the snow come off the roof and he knew something was wrong.  He ran to the far side of the cabin and Joslynn told him that the kids were under the snow.  She and Tate had been with them, but had escaped the slide.  He began digging and then asked Joslynn where the kids were buried and she told him they were on the other end from where he was digging.  Annette and Cindy began helping; and called for help.  Chris was able to find a boot and then dig Ava out.  He and others were able to get Tessa out next and they had to perform CPR on her.  Our dear, precious little Halle Ann was buried longer and was injured with the crush of the ice and snow.  They were able to finally get a weak heartbeat from her and she was life-flighted to Idaho Falls.  The other girls were sent in another helicopter.  We prayed for a miracle—and we were blessed with the lives of Tessa, Ava, Joslynn, and Tate.  We lost our little Halle in the accident.   Our friends, the Spencer’s, came over after midnight (because they saw our lights still on).  They cried with us and comforted us for over an hour. They had lost a 2 year old son over 20+ years ago and talked about their sweet little Kevin.  We have been so blessed to have such good friends here in the mission; many of the missionaries, young and old, sent cards, called or texts.

Prior to our flight our President Francis gave us both a blessing.  They were so wonderful and strong.  I know that really helped us.  He mentioned that he was there to do it in the place of the Savior—what a great thing to know that we have the Priesthood of our Father in Heaven on the earth to help us.  We flew into Salt Lake City the next day.  Many people in the airports asked us where we were going and why.  So many people cried with us that were total strangers.  Everyone had such tender hearts for Halle’s family.   Blake Ellsworth picked us up at the airport after midnight.  We drove to Grant and stayed with Annette.  We went to the hospital to see the girls as soon as we were ready in the morning.  Tessa and Ava were both doing much better and were released after noon.  We had family time in the children’s play center of the hospital.  Blessings were given to Grandma and Grandpa Mueller and many talked of gratitude for what had been done for the girls and for the great plan of salvation.  It was a sad, but spiritual experience.

We stayed with Chris and Cindy and were amazed at the love and caring shown to them by family, ward members and friends.  There was never a lack of food, flowers, or someone to visit with.  We spent the next days getting prepared for the services and contemplating Halle’s short life.  She was always such a happy, fun child.    We took over 25 pictures of Halle’s life and had them made into large wall hangings.  They turned out so nice and we put them all over the gym of the Lewisville Church for the viewing and funeral.  They reminded us to be happy too.  Her services were held on March 4th in Lewisville and Elder Merrill was one of the speakers.  He did a good job and was able to control his emotions for the service.  Annette gave the life sketch and did a great job of it too.  Cindy’s dad also gave a talk and did a good job.  The service was beautiful and perfect for Halle.  After the dedicatory prayer 6 planes came over the hill and did a fly by.  It was so moving.  We had 80 white helium balloons and 1 pink balloon that we had people hold on to and let go at the same time.  It was beautiful!  The day was nice and they floated in the air like they were dancing a special dance for us.  We all watched until they were out of sight.

Tender Mercies:
  • Joslyn and Tate were not buried—she told her mother that someone had pushed her out of the way.  She was able to tell Chris where to dig
  • QRU was able to come to help
  • Family members are there to help us—they reached out in love and compassion
  • Chris has been on the Lewisville Cemetery Board for several years and has helped beautify it.
  • The day of the funeral was beautiful, peaceful, and calm
  • People from everywhere sent condolences and love—everyone tried to take a small amount of grief home with them.  Many people knew the heartache death causes and knew what to say and do.  Everyone suffers grief at some point of their lives and compassion is a wonderful thing for healing.
  • People opened up their hearts and helped supply things that were needed; food, flowers,  money or other blessings
  • The plan of salvation helps us because we know where Halle is and what we need to do to be with her again
  • Christ suffered the atonement for us and knows of our grief and pain and is here to help us.
  • The scriptures teach us of a loving Heavenly Father that wants us to return to Him.  They teach us about what happens after our death and where we go and what we do.

On March 9th my mom and dad took us to Salt Lake City.  We were able to meet up with the Longhurst family at the State Capital.  She is a 2nd or 3rd cousin to Cindy and their 11 year old boy, Eric, had been hit in an intersection in Orem, Utah and had passed away a few days after Halle’s accident.  Their son, Elder Brian Longhurst, is serving in the New York Rochester mission.  We were able to take a candy basket from the Caramel Tree to them and pick up some things they wanted Elder Longhurst to have.  They were at the Capital to hear a concert put on by their son’s school and dedicated to him.  We shared many hugs and sent our love; they are amazing people.
The Longhursts and Merrills
Tender Mercy:
  • We accidentally got tickets to fly into Salt Lake City and not Idaho Falls.  We feel it was this way so we could visit with the Longhurst’s for a few minutes.
  • We parked at the back of the capital and Elder Merrill called the Longhurst’s and they said that they were just coming around to the back of the capital also.  We met them in about 20 seconds.  Amazing that we both parked behind the capital. 

We are now back in Rochester trying to do mission work again.  It seems all different to me.  I want to continue our mission, but right now I feel a little less-enthused.  It’s hard being away from our loved ones and I miss my kids and grandkids.  I guess time will help with the feelings I’m having.  We are praying continually for Chris, Cindy, and Tessa.  We love them so much!  They are amazing parents and have such great love.

When we arrived at our home in Mendon there was a little potted plant on our table.  It is a hydrangea; the very flower we wanted for Halle.  The Spencer’s didn’t know that (and I haven’t told them yet), but there are so many things are not coincidence.
Where can we turn?  To Christ and Heavenly Father