Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Computers, Visits and other stuff

By Greg:

This past couple of weeks have been both wonderful and very stressful.

Debi will tell the wonderful part that included a visit by two of our daughters from St. George, Utah, Sunee and Rindi.

I will now address the stressful.

A couple of months ago, I received an email from Salt Lake telling me that we were going to upgrade and replace all of the computers in the office.  They would send us new computers, monitors, keyboards, mouses and a bunch of wires so that we could totally replace all of our "old" computers, which, by the way, were working just fine.

Then I was to "burn" the hard drives on the old ones and return them in the boxes to Salt Lake for final burial and disposal.  I have destroyed a few computers in my career by accident, but I have never intentionally "burned" one.  I have no idea how to do that.

Well, they arrived as promised and I began to study the process.

I have used computers from the very beginning of personal computers, but still they are fickle.  I am not a digital native, but am considered a first generation immigrant.  I have always had "people" who took care of this side of our computers.

Go forward with faith, one step at a time, baby steps--theses were the words I kept telling myself.  I did get some help from a man from the Independence Stake, but all he did was arrive, hit the keyboards very fast and say, "OK, you should be fine from here."

There are five computers in the office.  I decided to replace mine first.  I figured I would not get too mad at myself--well, I did feel mad at myself several times.  For half a day I tried to get the printer to connect to the new machine, then I found out the power plug the printer was plugged into was not providing power!

I did an extensive search of the office looking for the installation disks for the many printers we have.  I kept asking myself where the most logical place should be for these disks (Yes, I have now learned that you can get all this on-line).  Then I changed and said, where would former senior missionaries, who like us, had little idea of how important these disks would be several years from then, put them.  I finally found them. I won't even say where they were.

I got mine operational, finally, and got all the important files transferred.  I then began to tackle Sister Haws'. This did not go so well. But she was most kind.  We all use internet programs, the main one is called IMOS (International Mission Office Software--I think). But each have our own as well.  She has a referral program, as well as a MLS program to record baptisms--pretty important wouldn't you say!  Well, good thing, there are very nice young people in Salt Lake who man the Global Help Desk.  I hope they all go straight to Heaven.  (Our son-in-law Mike used to be one of these when he was in college and I told him if it is up to me he will go straight to Heaven!) So after a couple of days we got her operational.

The Vehicle coordinator's computer went smoothly until it didn't.  I took this picture of his "before" screen so that I could be sure all of his quick links were operational.  After two days he crashed.  Even the people at the Global Help Desk were stumped.

Yesterday he came back alive (actually his computer-he was also very kind) and we all sang Hallelujah!  I have left the Mission Secretary and the Mission President until last. So this story is not over.

I kept thinking "I did not sign up for this!"

As it turned out his problem was with the new browser, which sort-of had nothing to do with what I did, but I could not tell my stomach that.

I had a thought, "Does the Holy Ghost know computers?" Well, of course He does, so then He can help me, right?  The sad thing is that I am the most computer savvy person in the office--that will tell you that we are in real trouble!

To add insult to injury, our internet has been failing as well.  I called Comcast and the friendly tech checked us out over the phone and happily told me the problem was not them, but us.  So I went outside and followed the wires into the building and saw them split three ways, then two ways, and after some time I found "the box" and the biggest menagerie of wires you can imagine. One of the Sisters said that when the internet fails some time they turn the light switch off and on and it helps.  It also sometimes helps reset the printer.  I need a more definite solution than that. Actually the box is in the employment office next door and we think the good senior missionaries have been turning it off when they go home at 4:00.  I asked our office what time does it usually go off? The answer was late in the afternoon and on weekends.

 Oh my Heck! Just because there are lights blinking does not mean you have to turn it off at night!

I am sorry to share my depression.  Have I been under a little stress?  I think maybe a little.  But this too shall pass and shall be but a small moment and one day I will look back on all of this and...well, I don't know what I will do.

Besides, I really do have too much hair, so ripping some of it out will improve my looks. LOL.

By Debi:

Even though this has been a very stress filled couple of weeks it has also been a glorious time spent with two of our daughters. I have to say that Greg has been amazing in his efforts to replace the office computers.  He kept saying even in his sleep, "I didn't sign up for this!" The next morning he would be back at the office working so hard to set up the computers.  I am very proud of him and his willingness to do whatever is asked of him. There were many prayers offered in his behalf and for all of us at the office as we made this transition.

Sunee and Rindi (our two daughters who live in St. George with their families) came last week to spend 4 wonderful days with us.  Sunee and Rindi both have five children.  So two husbands and 10 children were left in St. George to fend for themselves.  I think they all deserve a gold star for their sacrifice and willingness to let the girls come visit us.

Rindi is 15 weeks pregnant and still very much in the throws of morning sickness (which lasts all day).  She was a real trooper and tried to do everything with us in-spite of her nausea. Sunee is so sweet and we all tried not to wear Rindi out.

We took them to Jack Stack in Kansas City for some great BBQ.  We also shared a piece of carrot cake for my birthday. I thought the BBQ was great but the carrot cake is to die for. We bought our meals but Rindi only "rented" her food.

We went to all of the Church History sites. We went to Liberty Jail where Joseph Smith and 4 others were held for 5 months through one of the worst winters in the history of Missouri.

We visited Far West and the Far West temple site.  The evening was beautiful.  The girls couldn't get over the quiet and peace we felt here. We also ate at the Amish restaurant that has the best buffet around.

We took them to Adam-Ondi-Ahman.  We walked the trails and visited the beautiful grove of trees that we also took J.B. to see in March. Both Sunee and Rindi couldn't get over that everything was so green and so peaceful.  They both said that they wanted to live here.  If my family was here, I would love to live in Missouri which is so funny because 30 years ago I said that I would never come back. Now I have seen the beauty and met the wonderful people and I truly love it.

We went to visit the Kansas City Temple.  I love this temple.  It is so magnificent.  It stands on a hill over looking the city.  At night it is absolutely stunning.

This is me trying to be a photographer and get a cool picture of Sunee and Rindi and the temple and the tulips.  I think I did a pretty good job.

Besides the site-seeing we also spent time just relaxing in the apartment and visiting, talking and laughing.  My favorite thing to do.

And as all good things do, the weekend came to an end.  It was so hard to let them leave on their airplane back to their families.  But after a long hug and a bunch of kisses we said good-by.

I love my children and I miss them but I also am committed to finish my mission.  I love the Lord and I want to show my gratitude for all of my blessings by serving him where ever I am asked.  So until August I am a missionary giving all I have to the work of the Lord.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Palm Sunday

By Greg:

For one week only, the Church has a short clip entitled "Because of Him" on  You can access it on We have been asked to add this to our social media and share it with our friends.  Please look at this and ponder the message. In a way, this is a test of the power of social media for good.  We encourage everyone to participate.  As many missionaries do not have access to social media (some do, but our missionaries do not, yet) the power of this effort rests with members, all of us.  Come join the ranks!

It is a cool, stormy Sunday here in Missouri.  Today is Palm Sunday.  This is the date Christians remember Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem where the children sang praises to him.  Sadly, by Friday, many of the adults were also crying, "Crucify Him!" This is our second Easter as missionaries.

We know that with the help of Jesus Christ, we really can weather any storm.

We loved conference.  We could have done without the several references to tornados, however.  There have been reports of several around here already.  One was in Trenton, Missouri, a little town we have been to several times.  Our dear Elder Allred, also from Hooper, was just recently transferred out of Trenton. All missionaries are safe.

We have our 72 hour kits ready, and all of the missionaries know what to do in case the sirens go off.

This week we sent 3 of our "Visa Waiters" off to their fields of labor in Brazil and India.  We took them to the airport. 

It is fun to see somewhat experienced Elders and Sisters looking forward to additional challenges.  Two of the Elders were going to Brazil. They were Elders Zeitner and Hanley, both from the same town in Wyoming. They are friends, were called to the same mission, went to the MTC together, and came here as Visa Waiters.  We met Elder Zeitner midway so he is not in the picture.  The other three Elders are the Assistants to the President.  Right now, he has 3 assistants.  The mission is so huge, he needs additional help.

We are so happy to see the world around us come back to life.  In just a week things have really changed. 

 They are turning on many of the fountains and the trees have flowers.  This is amazing.  It is a perfect illustration of the rebirth that comes as a result of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, which we are so grateful for, and for which we are his witnesses.

Here are a few pictures of the trees:

By Debi

This is the Historic Stone Church, which has been the "pulpit" of the President of the RLDS
Greg and I had the wonderful opportunity to attend a concert in this beautiful RLDS Stone Church.  This is the first building the RLDS built when they came back to Independence, Missouri.  It is right across the street from their Temple.  

This picture is off the internet so it is not really clear, but it will give you some perspective
A combined choir and musicians presented Handel's Messiah this last weekend for two nights.  We had to have tickets but it was free.  We were so excited to go because of the significance of Easter and also because we wanted to see the interior of this magnificent building.  We were not disappointed

The building has amazing stain glassed windows. We arrived just before sunset and the light was shinning direct through the windows.

The ceiling is beautifully carved wood beams that have really been preserved through the years.

The organ is very impressive with all of its pipes.  Of course, it isn't as large as our Tabernacle organ but it still is powerful.

The building itself was very similar to a mini tabernacle.  The balcony wraps around the room with columns below holding it up.  

We loved the building and its very interesting history.

I wasn't sure what to expect of this performance of Handel's Messiah with local artists but it was a magnificent production.  The musicians were professional and all of the soloists are graduates in vocal performance and have performed around the country and some even in Europe.  We were very impressed.

As we contemplated the beautiful scriptures that are the text for this production we felt the spirit and knew that these scriptures are truly prophetic and have been fulfilled.  It also reminded us of our decision to follow the Messiah and to believe in Him and in His atonement and resurrection.

As Handel was finishing the composition he said in complete exhaustion "I did think I did see all Heaven before me and the great God Himself".  Music can come as inspiration and I am sure Handel was truly inspired. Many think of the "Messiah" as a Christmas production but actually Handel produced it many times at the Easter season.  In fact, the last performance that Handel directed was on April 6 and he died 10 days later.  He wanted to die on Palm Sunday which is today.  He came very close to his wish.

Greg and I were both touched by the spirit and I am sure many others through the years have also felt the spirit.

PS by Greg:

The fountain had some really cool statues that I thought my grrandkids might like:

Here an Indian is fighting a male mermaid

Now he is fighting an alligator

While the battle is raging, the children are playing with the fish!

Then he even has to fight a bear

I hope you liked these.