Sunday, September 28, 2014

A Week of Service and Being Served

This is a very basic map of our Mission.
I'm sharing this because we've been spending lots of time on the road.

                                                                                                                  Danville, Virginia
                                                     Lancaster, South Carolina

We are still trying to play "Catch Up" from our last transfer. 
With Mission Tour Conference, MLC,  3 Zone Conferences last week, 
New Missionary Training and 2 Zone Conferences this coming week 
and most importantly, my brother Gary coming to visit :) WHEW,
we needed to clean out an apartment including moving 
all the furniture and stuff that had been collected.  

We enlisted the help of our wonderful Sharon Zone leaders, Elder Youngstrom 
and Elder Gerrard and the Pineville missionaries, Elder Bagley and Elder Benham.
They worked really hard, carrying furniture and making garbage runs in the
HEAT of the day....up and down the many stairs!
we treated them to a late lunch at Red Robin. 
They all raved about the strawberry lemonades so of course, we had to try them.
They were very good and they were endless, 
meaning you could refill them as much as you wanted.
I loved the fun glasses so we were able to buy four.

Three of the elders had 7 refills! 
Big burgers, endless fries and lemonade...what more could a missionary want?! 
Our moving Heroes

We spent our P day traveling

 Lancaster, South Carolina

Lancaster Elders

Rock Hill Elders

Weddington and Providence Elders and the broken box springs

We took the Weddington Elders to lunch at Fuddruckers in Matthews
and when we got finished, the Firemen had joined us!

Unfortunately this is a week later and I've decided to post this as is.
Some weeks are like this!

We send our love to y'all!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Joyful Reunion

NC Charlotte Mission Tour Conference was held Wednesday and Thursday this week. 
Our visiting General Authority was Elder Larry Wilson of the Seventy, and his wife, Lynda.

Tony Parker, the Area Seventy for Southeastern United States
a favorite speaker of ours  joined us for Thursday's Conference 
and Friday training at the Mission Office for MLC (Missionary Leadership Conference)

I've been so excited for the past several weeks knowing that the Wilsons would be here!
Larry and Lynda are longtime friends from our days in the Alamo I Ward in California.
Larry was our Bishop and Stake President, Area Authority and then General Authority. 
He and his family have had a lasting influence for good 
on the Cuellar family and now the Urban family!

The conference was wonderful, full of great counsel and direction. 
Elder Wilson said, "The Book of Mormon, combined with the Spirit 
is the most powerful tool of conversion to the Gospel of Jesus Christ."
He taught us to read the Book of Mormon with those we teach 
so that we can address their concerns and questions, 
share our personal experiences with them, 
teach them how to apply the scriptures to their lives 
 and help them recognize the feelings of the Spirit.

President and Sister Wilson with us in the Mission Office.

Tom and I and Elder and Sister Hunt were invited to dinner Thursday night 
at the Mission Home with Elder Parker and
President and Sister Craven and Sister and Elder Wilson

Elder Parker with his family(photo from 
I was sad that I didn't get a photo of him at the Conference.

Elder Parker asked the question, "Are we teachable?" 
I've pondered that question. "Am I teachable?"....
He was really asking, 
"Do we recognize revelation and are we then willing to apply it to our lives?
It's a great question to ask ourselves, isn't it?!

One of the fun experiences at the conference was when Elder Wilson 
asked each of the districts of missionaries to prepare a "Trailer" 
(like a movie trailer that entices people to want to see it). 
The topic was 1 Nephi 3 when Nephi and his brothers were instructed
 to return to Jerusalem to obtain the brass plates. 
The missionaries were given free reign to use their imaginations. 
The only rule was that all must participate.
  They were given 15 minutes to prepare.
Results were amazing! Oh, it was so much fun!
Wouldn't that be a great FHE or youth activity?! 
Or better yet, High Priests or Relief Society!

I loved the time we had to spend with the Wilsons! 
It had been over 10 years since I had seen them last 
but the memories and the love have not faded. 
They just became sweeter.

Saturday,, we finally took a bed and desk to Gastonia.

We were greeted with glasses of juice in the parking lot
and warm Krispy Kreme donuts in their apartment.

We love the missionaries!

Today we had our first walk in many weeks 
even with the overcast skies and threat of rain.
It was a little cooler and less humid than usual, 
a perfect day for a walk.

Elder Urban even suggested it! 
I wasn't at all surprised when he wanted to stop and see, 
up close and personal, 
what changes were happening in the neighborhood. 

Look at that big grin! He's like a little boy in a toy shop!

 Some fall decorations on our favorite street, Middle Acres.

The beef steer are still hanging out. Why do we want our pictures with the steer? Hmmm...

There's a new calf.

We made it to the end of the road and started back, just enjoying being outside.
Pointing the camera up to look at the cloudy sky, I felt the first raindrop.

 Looking down the road for the nearest protection, 
we had to walk in the rain for a couple of blocks to reach a barn.

Yes, we got wet but the rain didn't dampen our spirits and we actually had fun!

You can see the water running off the barn

What a perfect end to a perfect week!

I received these photos from my brother, Gary today in an email. 
Has it been a year since we attended the wedding
 of our nephew Josh and his beautiful bride, Y? 
Last September Tom and I took my sweet mom to Washington 
to be with Gary's family for this very special occasion and meet Y's family.
It was a joyous time! 
Our mission call was waiting for us when we got home.

I miss my mom.

In Sacrament Meeting this morning, Brother King, a high counselor from our Stake,
 spoke about the "Load we each carry". He told a story from a talk
 given by Elder Bednar in April's General Conference this year.
It's worth reading again or listening to if you'd like.
Here's the link to the talk.

How grateful I am that three weeks from today we will be able to watch, listen to, 
and/or read the words of our Prophet, Apostles and leaders at General Conference!
And as a bonus, the Music from MoTab is always incredible!

Sending our love to Y'all!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Baptism (Bautismo) Week

This has been a crazy busy week with transfers and opening and closing houses, 
moving furniture  and adding a 3rd companionship in our Harrisburg Ward. 
We have been running all week and are weary.
we were invited to 2 wonderful baptisms within 24 hours of each other! 
Both were in the Charlotte Spanish Branch that meets in the same chapel as us.

Melanie Kay Munguia is the 12 year old convert (3rd from the left in glasses) 
standing between her sister and mother.
 Elder Butler and Elder Hettinger invited Elder Urban to join them
 in teaching her shortly before she was baptized.
Melanie was baptized Saturday, September 6th. 
This was the second or third baptism we have attended in the Spanish Branch. 
Even though the music, speaking, baptismal ordinance and everything was in Spanish, 
and entendemos poco (we understand little), 
the Spirit witnessed to us when truth was being taught. 
We don't have the gift of tongues, but we do have the gift of the Spirit!
We truly enjoyed trying to sing the hymns in Spanish.

I've included lines from 3 of the hymns that we sang the past 2 days. 
See if you can figure them out!
For some of you these words are very familiar: 
(Elder Welker Senior, Elder Welker the younger, Elders Cuellar, Elder Anderson) 
and those of you with one or more years of  High School Spanish, 
even if 20-40 years ago, give it a try. I love the words in Spanish!

1. Soy Un Hijo de Dios...... para que algun dia yo con El pueda vivir
2. El Espiritu de Dios....Cantemos, gritemos, conhyestes del cielo: 
Hosanna, hosanna a Dios y Jesus:
3.Hijos del Senor Venid....en acuerdo a cantar. 
Alabanzas ya rendid al Senor, que reinara

Unfortunately there are no amazing prizes to be given out,
just the joy of the challenge.

Today's baptism was for
Ahmed Shawkit Kifah Yuman Shamaon Nench Kildan Alkosh.
Yes, you read it correctly!
Ahmed is from Turkey and was Muslim. 

He had to have a special interview from President Craven to be baptized.
He speaks some English and so you may wonder why he was baptized in the Spanish Branch.
He is married to a woman from Honduras who speaks only Spanish. He speaks little Spanish but  chose attend and be baptized in the Spanish Branch. We sang in Spanish, the talks and prayers were in English and Spanish and the Branch President (who speaks little English) did the ordinance in English so that Ahmed would totally understand. It was quite beautiful!
At the end of the baptism, the Bishop asked Elder Urban to share his thoughts. 
He stood close to Ahmed looked directly at him and bore witness 
of how the Doctrine of Christ can change our hearts for good and bring peace to our lives.
I  felt the Spirit speak to my heart today.
I know that the Lord knows each one of us, no matter what our circumstance, by name....
His love completes us, teaches us, empowers us, and brings joy beyond our greatest hope.
I know Ahmed will find that as he continues to grow in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We are so excited and getting ready for 2 Mission Tour Conferences this week.
Our visiting General Authority will be Elder Larry Y Wilson
 of the Seventy and his wife, Linda!
This is a bonus blessing because I've known them for 26 years, 
when our family first moved to Danville, California. 
He was our bishop in Alamo 1st Ward at the time and we love their family. 
It will be wonderful to see them again!

We send our love to y'all!