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!