Tuesday, June 30, 2009

June Transfers Home

On June 30th, we sent home 7 Elders and 2 Sisters who have served Valiently. Elder Widtfelt, Elder Scheidler, Elder McWhoter, Elder Rogerson, Elder Jensen, Elder Kafusi, Elder Nielsen, and Sisters Willison, & Dobson.
After testimony meeting we give our departing missionaries a gift. It is a book which contains all the missionaries they have served with, their companions and their baptisms. It is fun to watch their faces as they reminese with previous companionships. They are showing their board cards which we have on the transfer board during their service.

The legendary Elder Kafusi is leaving the mission. Everybody knows Elder Kafusi. He is from Tonga and came on the mission not knowing the english language. The reason I want to mention him is the story of his departure. Let me pre empt this with Elder Kafusi lost his passport during his mission and Elder Matsen went to great lengths to be able to get another one for him. At one point of time we thought we were going to have to fly him to San Francisco to reissue another one for him. So, as you can see, our eyes have been watchful on this missionary as he returned home last Tuesday. His sweet Aunti wanted to bring a dish for the departing dinner. I tried to discourage her because she was also leaving for Tonga the next day and I was sure she had better things to do, but President encouraged me to call her back and tell her to bring her dish. Instead on a dish, she brought an entire meal to the mission home for dinner that night. They were to meet Elder Kafusi in L.A. the next day before they departed to Tonga so they could fly together. That's where the story begins. Our trusty office elders took Elder Kafusi to the airport at 6:00 pm to catch his flight only to find out that it had been canceled. Elder Torgan went with Elder Kafusi to get him checked in and left his companion out in the truck waiting, thinking it would be just a moment. What he didn't know was that Elder Kafusi's flight was cancelled and Elder Torgan was working hard and fast to make things happen. Only Elder Torgan had the phone and Elder Payne was circling outside wondering where his companion really was. Elder Torgan got him on the next plane to the Long Beach where he had to get his bags and find ground transportation to LA before his flight left at 11:00. Elder Torgan was able to do the impossible and take him through security and board the plane to make sure he was on (which by the way is NOT done usually, another tender mercy from the Lord) He found another family on the same flight that needed to do the same thing and they said they would care for him. The problem was that Elder Kafusi had no money and no phone so it was by divine intervention that we would be able to accomplish the impossible. 45 minutes before the flight left we got a call from his Antie who was ready to board the flight and a little panicky because he was not there. If he did not make this flight then it would be a week before the next flight to Tonga went out. We told her what happened and she proceeded to do her part on convincing the desk to enter in his boarding card into the system without him being there. Meanwhile, Elder & Sister Matsen spent the entire night trying to figure out how they could make this work for Elder Kafusi. The problem was we had no communication with Elder Kafusi to know his boarding information. With miracle after miracle occurring, knowing the odds were against him, we received a call from Elder Kafusi at 10:45 from his auntie's phone saying, “President I made it, I will email you when I get home”. The Lord has his hand in watching over his servants. He was on his way home to Tonga.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Gospel Scholarship with Elder Matsen & President Beck

In the mission we have a "Preach My Gospel Study Guide Program" There are 5 levels of gospel scholarship awards. The cover page includes receiving the APM pin, lessons 2 & 4 and they receive certificates. The 3rd level they receive a flashlight with the mission logo and scripture on it signifying lighting the way to gospel scholarship. "And in the barren deserts there shall come forth pools of living water, and the parched ground shall no longer be a thirsty land." The 5th and highest level is where they have memorized all scriptures and know "Preach My Gospel" and how to teachthe gospel. They receive a morning of companionship study with the President and Elder Matsen in his magnificent library, as he is a gospel scholar also.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Five Dollar Haircut - OOPS

Elder Dahl came to interviews this week looking a little different. He pulled me aside before he was suppose to go into an interiew with the President a little concerned. Someone had given him a wig to cover up a close hair cut he received at the barber. Thinking he was getting a #2 haircut, it came out a little closer to the scalp and he was a totally embarrassed. I assured him he would not be sent home after showing the President what happened. This is the $5.00 haircut and the wig version of Elder Dahl.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Investigator Family Home Evening

Our missionaries in the La Joya Ward put on a Family Home Evening for the ward and neighbors in the area. They passed out 2,o00 fliers for the evening of fun which included a devotional, music and also an evening of Spanish dancing performed by members. It was a night that brought many to the ward to see what our buildings and religion was like. We had videos and different posts where the gospel was taught. It was a great success which brought about many new investigators.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

June Update

I will begin my update with a comment I made to our last group of incoming missionaries. As they were standing at the baggage claim, I approached them and said “WELCOME TO HELL”. I wish you could have seen President’s face when those words came out of my mouth. I immediately said, “I’m just repeating what President Gill ( the former Mission President) use to say to his incoming summer missionaries. Of course, meaning that the temperatures were already in the 100’s and rising. Yes, the days are getting hotter, which is a little difficult for our missionaries as they go out to find those who “want the truth and know not where to find it.” The other night as we returned home at 9:00 p.m., the temperature was still a high 95 degrees. I must say it has not bothered us too much, since we are used to the high temperatures and the high humidity combined which is extremely miserable.

We had a great month in May, which included 80 baptisms of which were 25 families. Our missionaries are getting better at being a “Preach My Gospel Missionary”. which comes from gospel study. The work is going forth.

Last month we took a hike up Sunrise Mountain with all our Zone Leaders. It was a great object lesson for these leaders. As we hiked up the mountain to the top, there were many challenges we encountered. Some became tired and had to stop, others were anxious to race to the top. One person slipped and got hurt and others stayed back to help her move on. One of our front leaders took the group down the wrong path and had to retrace their steps to get back to the right trail which was extra work. We found the importance of communicating our destination before we started so we were all could reach our destination together. Many found that it took one step at a time to endure the journey. All these were applicable lessons to missionary work and also life. When we all reached the top we had feelings of accomplishment and we were able to see the entire valley around us. At that time we had a devotional and the President presented message was that “The sky is the limit to creating a mission vision”. He had them look over the valley and consider our mission boundaries of 1.6 million and told them our small mission army of 170 missionaries had unlimited opportunities of seeking out those in the our mission,those who had not received the message of the restored gospel. There was much work to be done and as leaders they needed to catch the vision of where we were and where we need to be. There goal was to save two souls per area each month, through the waters of baptism. What a great day it was to share this experience with our missionary leaders.

In closing I just wanted to say that our one year anniversary will be June 28th. I paused the other day to reflect on what lessons I had learned in the last year and I would like to share them with you.

Top Twenty Things I Learned in the First Year of Service

1. You need to have a medical degree to be a mission presidents wife. (Dealing with green stools to a burst appendix, which i diagnosed as the stomach flu)
2. That if a missionary leaves his mission only with his own true conversion then it was a successful mission,
3. A mission President’s day is determined by the next phone call.
4. The importance of daily scripture study to receive instruction on inspired questions for the day is invaluable.
5. The importance to know each missionary individually by name, so he feels important and loved.
6, God directs his Work and the leaders of the church are inspired men of God
7. That the members are critical to the growth of the church
8. That our Heavenly Father is mindful of each one of our needs and has help me to recognize through the spirit who we need to help.
9. There is no such thing as a P-Day. It just never happens!
10. There is no rest after 3 straight days of preparing 5 straight meals for incoming and outgoing missionaries. It is only on to the next event.
11. The Lord has prepared his elect, they are just waiting for us to open our mouths.
12 The Lamanites are beautiful people whose traditions are rich with gospel truths.
13. An Eternal Companion by your side will get you through any situation or trial.
14. Arizona is hot,” and that “in the barren deserts there shall come forth pools of living water and the parched ground shall no longer be a thirsty land.”
15. Heavenly Father has a sense of humor. My desire to have 12 children early in our marriage did not come to pass so in turn into having 170 young men and women to watch and care for,
16.I have found that I can hit the bed exhausted and still wake up at 6:30 the next morning with with energy and determination to go and do the next day.
17, The gospel of Jesus Christ changes men and woman & families.
18. Our Work is never done until it has penetrated every continent, swept every nation, and sounded every ear and the great Jehovah shall come and say the work is done.
19. “The Lord qualifies whom he calls.” I have seen the Lord turn my weaknesses into strengths so I can do His work effectively. I have been able to give talks at many Stake Conferences to thousands of people with the confidence and ability to speak from my heart, (I just gave my first talk in Spanish at the last conference, hurray!)
20. I love being a missionary!

These are just a few of the many things the Lord has taught me and blessed me with this past year . He has watched over my family and blessed them in many ways also. They have all stepped up and carried on with family traditions and have been good stewards over their areas. Our crowning event was the birth of Katelyn Marie Gattuso on May 8th, a beautiful mothers Day gift for both Tiffany and me. We are so grateful for the Joy and Rejoicing we have received in our Family. The Lord has blessed us.

May you all know of our love for each of you and in your own journeys may you turn to the Lord for his guidance in all you do. He loves us all so very much and wants us to each return home to his presence some day!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Our Tomato Crop

President worked hard and was very diligent in pouring the water on his tomato plants daily. After battling the birds, then the bunnies, and now the hot sun (107 degrees), the vines are beginning to wither and the tomatoes dwindling, but the fact that we had a great crop of delicious tomotoes, made it well worth it. Many were recipients of his hard work.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Zone Conference Training

Sister Matsen and Elder Wright (our Assistant) demonstrating how to make a fruity orange julius!

In this week's Zone Conference Training we showed the missionaries quick nutritional meals they could fix with their limited budget, and Capton Crunch and Fruit Loops didn't make the list. Our missionaries have a certain amount that is deposited into their accounts each month for food and supplies. They have had to learn that you need to be wise in how you spend those funds. Many come to week three and four and are out of money, which makes for a hungry missionary. In a previous training I taught them how to budget, but I think there were many that didn't catch the vision. Our members are wonderful to invite them to dinner every night, but that only covers one meal.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

More Awards

Sister Empie and Sister Hudsen display the traveling "Cleanest Car Award" for this transfer. We have to give them some motivation for their car inspection every transfer.

Elder Sanders & President Beck
We have presented 12 Level Five Certificates of Excellence since we have been in the mission. Elder Willcocks was our first recipient followed by Elder Buhr, Elder Wheelwright, Elder Masik, Elder Burzlaff, Elder Winston, Elder Hunt, Elder Jensen, Elder Sanders, Elder Durrant, Elder Smith and Elder Hanna.
There is a detailed amount of learning, reading, scripture memorization and teaching that is accomplished one level at a time. When they receive a Certificate of Excellence, they are able to schedule a one on one Companionship study with Elder Matson & President Beck along with a breakfast at his home.
Congratulation Elders!