Saturday, January 18, 2014

Bare naked Indians, tornados and other stuff

By Greg:

When I was a boy my Haws grandparents lived in Salt Lake City near the Liberty Park.  When we went to visit them we would turn off Beck Street and go up Victory Road, pass in front of the State Capitol and then go down State Street.  My brother, Kenny, and I would enjoy seeing the big statue of an amazing Indian that stood in front of the building. As he was scantily clothed, we called him the Bare Naked Indian.

This is the original "Naked Indian" in front of the Capitol Building

I later learned that this statue was made by an artist named Cyrus E. Dallin.  He was a famous Utah born artist that did many sculptors.  Among his most famous works (he did over 260 works) and their locations are General Winfield Scott, Gettysburg Battlefield; Sir Isaac Newton, Library of Congress; Equestrian Statue of Paul Revere, Old North Church, Boston; Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, Syracuse, New York;  Massasoit, Plymouth Massachusetts; and the Angel Moroni, Salt Lake City Temple.

This week we were in Kansas City looking for an apartment near what is called The Plaza.  I looked across the street and on the corner I saw this statue of a lone Indian.  I told Sister Haws, “That looks like the bare naked Indian!” I did a legal U-turn and we went back to the statue.  Sure enough, it is a copy of the original that stands opposite Plymouth Rock in Plymouth, Massachusetts.  This is the Indian chief that helped the pilgrims.  He is the reason we have Thanksgiving. I think Massachusetts is named after him.

This is the statue in Kansas City, Missouri

We Googled this and found that there are five other casts from the original.  One is at the Utah State Capitol, one on the Campus of Brigham Young University, one in the Springville Utah art museum, one in Dayton Ohio and the final one here in Kansas City Missouri!  All BYU fans and alumni will no doubt recognize this statue. This Indian chief was quite the human specimen!

This is the one on the BYU campus--hey you walked by it every day--surely you knew what it was?

Sister Haws and I then checked on another statue that we had seen earlier.  This one is called The Scout and sits on a point in a park near the World War 1 monument in Kansas City.  We were delighted to find that it was also made by Cyrus E. Dallin.  He entered it in a competition at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition that was held in San Francisco in 1915.  It won a gold metal.  After the fair it was moved around on display.  A campaign in Kansas City raised $15,000 in nickels and dimes from the school children to purchase the statue and permanently place it in Kansas City. 

What a small world we live in.  We think it is cool that the Angel Moroni’s sculptor cousins are here in Kansas City.  But today, hardly any local people even know what they are looking at, other than statues of Indians, even naked Indians.  Even the plaques telling about the sculptures have been stolen.

We traveled far to the Southeast regions of our Mission to attend a discussion and to participate with missionaries in companionship studies.  Elder Rea is originally from Australia and Elder Vaniman is from northern Idaho, Sandpoint. They are in the little town of Tipton, Missouri.  There was not a suitable motel in the area so we stayed with some members.  Brother and Sister Anderson live in another little town called Smithton.  They have a small farm (60+ acres) and he also has a plumbing business.  They live out in the country.

Elders Rea and Vaniman in Tipton, Missouri

Well the weather was looking pretty bad.  In the west we could see the clouds forming and they seemed to be like funnel clouds touching the ground.  We asked the Andersons if they ever have tornados in the winter.  “Oh, yes,” they said.  In fact, before they built their nice new home, they lived in the old farm house just down the road.  One day a tornado came and touched down right where we were and completely destroyed their barn. They said parts of their barn were found ten miles away.  Well, not to worry, they have a storm shelter in their new basement.  All night we asked each other as the storm raged around us if tornados were like lightening.  Can they strike the same place twice?

This tornado was in Joplin Missouri, which is not far from here

We survived, but we will keep a close eye out for storms.  We both have a severe weather app on our phone, so as we fly off to greet Dorothy, we will know if it is a tornado.

By Debi:

Greg and I have been going into the office as much as we can to receive training on our new responsibilities.  Of course, Greg understands the financial part of his new job and he is learning all of the computer programs with ease.

On the other hand, I am struggling to learn everything that I have to do.  Luckily, I have a very patient teacher in Sister Drake.  She is helping me understand the different computer programs I have to use and how to enter all of the information correctly.  I will also be responsible for getting all of the mail to the missionaries and believe me, that is a very important task.  All of the Sisters and Elders are so anxious to get their mail from family and friends.  That is a daily job that can’t be delayed.

One of my new responsibilities is to take care of all of the referrals that come into our mission office.  Referrals come from the Church headquarters, other missions, other missionaries in our mission and from members who just call us direct because they know their friend or family member live in our mission.  After I get a referral I have to find the area they live in and get the information to the missionaries that are in that area.

Last week I received a referral from the Hawaiian Temple Visitor Center.  A woman on vacation visited the Visitor Center and loved everything she learned about the Church.  In fact, she even bought herself a Quad (the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price combined into one volume).  She asked to have the missionaries contact her when she arrived home.  Her home is here in Missouri.  I found the Sister missionaries and gave them the contact information and told them that they had a great referral.

We are slowly falling in love with all of these missionaries-especially the sisters

Two days ago we visited the Sisters in Overland Park.  We observed their companionship study. They did a great job and we were very impressed.  During companionship study the two missionaries are to take turns role playing and teach a principle that they are going to teach one of their investigators that day.  As these two sisters started talking I realized that they were talking about someone who had just been to Hawaii.  I interrupted them and asked if it was the same woman I had referred to them just the week before.  It was the very same. She has had 3 lessons and is planning on getting baptized. 

This picture has nothing to do with the referral, but Marshall and I are in Hawaii?  At a Luau!

I am so excited to see how truly important these referrals are that our office receives almost every day.  I will take this part of my new job very seriously and make sure that all of these important referrals are delivered to the right missionaries and given top priority.

Missionary work comes in so many different forms and sometimes unexpected ways. 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

By Greg:

We continue to immerse ourselves in the missionary and office work of the Missouri Independence Mission.  This week we began our official training period for our office assignments.

I will be handling the finances of the mission.  This is a big job as it requires constant attention.  Each missionary gets a debit card when he or she arrives in the mission field.  They have an assigned PIN that a few of the new ones forget, so I may have to access that for them.  We put $150.00 a month on this card.  This is for their support, food, personal items etc.  The mission pays all of the costs for housing, rent, utilities, repairs, etc. and we also pay the gas if they have a car.  Each car has a credit card in the car.  It is set up like a fleet.  They have to enter the car number, the mileage when they input the card.  They then send the receipts to the office monthly.

We have all these apartments, more than half of which are rentals.  The others are member-housing.  The Church in Salt Lake actually pays the rent and utilities, but I have to initiate the payment.  It is a pretty slick system, but you have to pay attention. 

New apartments, after they are found and rented must be set up and their utilities all arranged.  Going forward, I don't think I will be finding and furnishing apartments as much as I have been.  But this week we have still been doing that assignment as well.

Debi will tell about her office assignments.

With my new calling as the Executive Secretary to the Mission President, as part of the Mission Presidency, we are doing hands-on missionary activities.  This week we visited 5 different sets of missionaries in the morning and observed their companionship study.  Sister Haws made a pan of cinnamon rolls (our famous Rhodes bake and serve) and we were there at 9:00 am.  The missionaries are so good!  We give them some counsel and advise, and we also provide some training, but we try to be out of there by 10:30 at the latest.  This is actually very fun.

This is Elder Hart and Grzan, they are Spanish Speakers-Elder Hart is from Liberty, Utah

Elder Cortez and Christiansen live in a member's home in Raymore, Mo.

I prepared a handout and maybe some of you would be interested in what a morning companionship study involves.  If you want to be an effective missionary, unlike the car scenes on TV, you can try this at home.

Missouri Independence Mission

The purpose of companionship study is:       *To build unity in your companionship in order teach by the spirit.                 
*To focus on the progress of those you teach.
(See Preach My Gospel page ix)

Get up, get ready, get going!                         6:30 am-Arise, pray, exercise, and prepare for day
                                                                        7:30 am-Breakfast
                                                                        8:00 am-Personal study
                                                                        9:00 am-Companionship study
                                                                        10:00-Begin proselyting

The following is a suggested agenda for Companionship Study-adapt as needed for your circumstance—refer to Preach My Gospel and the 12 Week Program. Follow the Spirit.

Prayer:                                Begin with a kneeling prayer, then sit in chairs facing each other

Repeat together:                My Purpose as a Missionary
                                             D & C Section 4
Memorization:                   Baptismal Commitment
                                             Request for referrals
                                             Joseph Smith Testimony of First Vision
                                             The 42 Doctrinal Points
                                             Preach my Gospel Chapter Headings
Other memorization as determined by companionship

Reading:                             3 Pages from the White Missionary Handbook
                                             How do the Handbook pages apply to us as a companionship?

Sharing:                              Each missionary should share what he or she has been studying, pondering, and learning in his or her personal study.  Also, inspiration that has come from this study and pondering, especially as it applies to him or her, the companionship, and current investigators—each missionary should participate and share his or her thoughts

Planning:                            Ponder and plan what to teach each investigator—seek guidance from Preach My Gospel—make a plan and write it down.

Discuss how to help each investigator progress by keeping commitments, having the Right Member Present, giving the investigator opportunities to feel the Spirit, etc.

Role Play:                           Each missionary should take turns being the investigator as they role play their teaching plan and commitment challenges. There is always a temptation to shorten or skip this part of the Companionship Study.  Be careful not to miss this opportunity to prepare to teach by the Spirit!

Prayer:                                End with kneeling prayer

We also are going out a few times in the evening with missionaries teaching discussions.  We did a Plan of Salvation lesson this week in St. Joseph, Missouri.  It was a real eye-opener as to what these missionaries are facing as they teach investigators.  We are also there to observe and to teach, not the investigator, but the missionaries.

We visited a very sick sister missionary this week in our travels.  Sister Haws used her best doctoring skills to diagnose her problem.  We took her to a doctor.  We are very concerned as she is in terrible pain, and at this point, we do not know what is the cause.

This is our dear friend, President Jeremiah Morgan, President of the Liberty Mo. Stake
Last Sunday we met with the Stake President of the Liberty Stake at 6:30 am and we were with him until about 7:00 pm at night.  He held PPIs with each of his 13 bishops.  The purpose was to discuss Young Single Adults.  We reviewed our work with each bishop, and we went down the list name by name.  This is the conclusion of our part in this rescue effort.  The ball is now in their court, as they say, and we are certain that they do not intend to fumble it.  This has been a wonderful assignment, but we are moving on.  President Keyes told us this has been his plan all along for us.

We are so busy, but the days just fly by.  Section 88 says that the Lord will hasten his work before the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.  All we can say is that with nearly 300 missionaries in this mission, each ready and able to find and teach, there is a great momentum being created.  We are humbled to have a small part to play in this great drama!

By Debi:

Another week has gone by and we are amazed how the time flies. Each day we are on the move constantly. We get up and exercise, read our scriptures, get ready for the day and then we are off for an adventure.
I am taking over the responsibilities of Sister Drake.  She is in charge of the mail, the referrals, the Harvester (the monthly mission news letter) the recording of baptisms, the bulletin boards in the office with the pictures of the missionaries and the baptisms.

I didn't think my job sounded too consuming but I was wrong!  There is a lot to do and there is a lot to learn.  All throughout the day referrals are coming in from the Church and from the missionaries.  Even individuals from around the world can call with a referral.  Then I have to find the write set of missionaries to call and give the referral to.  Then I am suppose to follow up on all referrals and watch the progress of each person until they are baptized or don't want any more contact.

Recording baptisms is serious stuff.  Technically, until the baptism is recorded it didn't happen.  It is so important that they are recorded promptly and correctly. It is hard to read peoples writing and getting the right spelling of the names and dates and addresses.  This is a great responsibility.  I will take this one very seriously.

Sister Drake is so kind and really patient in helping me learn my duties.  Hopefully, before she goes home I will know what I am doing.  Right now I am writing every word that comes out of her mouth so I can refer back to her instructions when she has left for home.

On a very fun note, our friends the Flints from Hooper just arrived in our mission on Wednesday.  They are here as FM missionaries.  They are living in Liberty and will be working around that area.  We took them out to dinner Wednesday night and we had a good time catching up on the news of home and family.  They will be a great asset to the mission.

Also, two other great couples from Hooper are just arriving in Ghana, Africa to serve missions.  The Julanders and the Schiffmans are both serving in the same mission, The Cape Coast Mission.  They will be serving with President and Sister Shulz.  Three couples in Africa in the same mission.  That is amazing.

We truly feel that the work is indeed hastening throughout the world!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

A great week and weekend

By Greg:

This picture was taken at the Christmas Conference-Missouri Independence Mission 12/11/13

Today our sweet granddaughter, Eliese Eardley, is getting baptized.  She is just one of many of our beloved grandchildren who have been or will be baptized while we are on our mission.  Several years ago I wrote a list of things I wanted to do before I died (not all bucket items however).  One of them was attend all of my grandchildren's baptisms.

Here is Eliese at a family reunion held before we left.  She is holding onto a string that represents the "Iron Rod" of Lehi's dream.  We hope she will always hold to the rod.

This morning I told Eliese to always remember that I was on a mission, or I would have been there for her!

Today we also attended a baptismal service.  The man being baptized is named Jinbo Ma.  He is from China.  He was taught by Sisters Erickson and Kang.

There is a story here. 

The first apartment that I was assigned to find was for sisters in the Plattewood Ward.  This is north and west of Kansas City.  We had a hard time finding a suitable apartment, but finally we located one.  The landlord (it was a big complex) was not very flexible.  They did not want to rent to a "corporate" tenant.  They are apparently afraid of terrorists or "safe-houses" so they want only to rent to the actual occupants.  This is a problem for us as we move the missionaries from time to time.  So the Church becomes the lessee and pays the rent and utilities.

They finally agreed to give us a try, but required that they be allowed to do background checks on our missionaries.  This was my next problem as I did not know which sisters the President would send there.  In fact, he would not make that decision until the new ones arrive and he interviews them.

We were able to determine that Sister Erickson was going to be one of the sisters, so we got her information and submitted it.  Then we crossed our fingers.

When the new sisters arrived, President Keyes was inspired to assign Sister Kang to be her companion.  Sister Kang, I learned, is from South Korea.  I just about swallowed my tongue.  I asked Elder Lillywhite to call the President and ask him if an American could be assigned to Sister Erickson so we could get off on the right foot with the landlord.  Bad idea.  The President told Elder Lillywhite the Lord wanted these sisters together in Plattewood and we needed to make the apartment work for them, not the other way around.  I felt bad for Elder Lillywhite, as it was me that was balking. 

Well, the new group arrived and Sister Haws and I were asked to take Sisters Erickson and Kang to their area and get them settled in.  To my great relief, I found Sister Kang had dual citizenship and a US drivers license.  We help them move in, took them to Walmart shopping, then took them to lunch.  As we drove away, we both had a lump in our throats, just like we were dropping a daughter off at college.  But these sisters were both strong, and they had both been to college themselves.  Sister Kang majored in international  studies.

Well, the absolute amazing thing is that immediately after arriving in the area, right after we left them,  the sisters met Jinbo Ma.  He is a student from China living just a floor and a couple of doors from their new apartment.  He speaks little English and has a limited religious background. They began teaching him.  He was fellowshipped by the ward.  The other amazing thing is that Sister Kang speaks Chinese!

The Lillywhite's and us attended his baptism together.

Today we went to his baptism.  What a special day it has been.  We are humbled to have played a small part in this, but also very humbled that we doubted.  The Lord is in charge, this is his work.  While in Africa we met a group of Chinese, also from Mainland China, who were baptized.  This is how the work enters a country.  Who knows what will happen in the future as Jinbo Ma and many like him, return to China?

This is me and two sisters with President and Sister Keyes on Christmas Morning.  I thought a sweater was appropriate, but I was the only Elder not in a suit coat.  We love President and Sister Keyes and will do what ever we can to lighten their load and move the work forward.

Oh, one other thing, this week I received another calling.  I am now a member of the Mission Presidency.  I am the Executive Secretary to the Mission President.  Sister Haws and I, in this role, have been assigned, among other duties, to go into the homes and apartments of each set of missionaries and have companion study classes with them.  We will inspect their apartments and offer assistances while there, but the main purpose is to help them be more effective by having companionship training.  We hope to visit each missionary set while we are in this calling.

By Debi:

We took our Christmas tree and decorations down the other day.  As I was thinking of our Christmas here in Missouri I decided that if you can't be home for Christmas being on a mission is probably the next best thing.  The spirit of Christmas was strong here in the Missouri Independence Mission and the love and service were every where.

We had the wonderful opportunity to play Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.  Most missionaries received their Christmas packages from their families in time for the Mission Christmas Conference.  But as the days got closer to Christmas packages kept coming to the Mission office.  President Keyes asked all of the office staff to work Christmas Eve and help deliver packages to the missionaries so all would have a wonderful Christmas.

We offered to take the Liberty Stake area as we are very familiar with this part of the mission because of our work with the Young Single Adults.  We started from the mission office at 12:00 after the mailman had made his last delivery.  We had a word of prayer asking for protection and we were off in our Ford Truck sleigh packed with gifts for all of the girl and boy missionaries.

The day was sooo cold.  It was down in the teens all day.  We delivered packages from Kansas City all the way to Chillicothe, Trenton, and Gallatin.  We made our last stop at 8:00 pm and arrived back at our apartment tired but happy around 8:30. 

Here is a picture of Elder Hart.  He is a cousin to our niece, McKenzie Hart Haws who lives next door to us in Hooper.  He is a wonderful missionary and he has a great attitude.  Every time we see him he is happy and full of enthusiasm.

We made it to Chillicothe at the end of the day.

These Elders are in the Kearney area and they baptized this sister this month.  They are doing a great job. We see them a lot as they serve in a ward that meets in the same building as our YSA branch.

The great thing that we found out during the day was that all of the missionaries were out doing missionary work on Christmas Eve.  We would call them when we were almost to their apartment and they would be somewhere else teaching or finding.  We were very proud of them all.

On Christmas morning we had a breakfast for all of the Senior Couples and the young Sister Missionaries that serve at the Visitor Center.  We had great fun together and the Sisters put on the Nativity Scene and story for all of us.  They also sang and performed several musical numbers.

They had to make due with what they had for a stable.  Without Elders, we were short on donkeys.

They all sang like angels.

Shepherd girls and wise girls.

Elders are prohibited from dressing up as a women, under any circumstances.  But like the hugging rule (Elders can not hug, but sisters can--however sisters can not hug elders) sisters can, when needed, dress like men.  Note the Joseph sister has made a beard out of her hair--it was pretty cool.

These sisters work the visitor's centers for half of their day, and work their area the other half.  The two visitor's centers are open everyday (they were open on Christmas) so it takes a bunch of them to operate.  In addition to the young sisters, there are six senior couples assigned to the visitor's centers.

We were thinking back on last year.  It has been one year since we met and baptize our friend Paul.  We have had some contact with him, but we are not sure where he is or what he is doing.  We understand that he is going to church.  Our other African friends struggle with their lives, but are still committed to the Church.  We pray for them all on a regular basis.

We then spent 7 hours Skyping with all of our Children and their families.  It was fun to see their faces and to visit with them.  We were blessed to see everyone of them.

Life seems to be getting busier and busier. With Greg's new calling added onto our other callings our heads are spinning a little.  We decided that we will just take one day at a time and just do our best.  We know that the Lord will bless us with the strength we need to fulfill our callings.

We wish you all a Happy New Year.