Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Happy FIRST year!!!

It's official~!! We have been here in the mission field for ONE FULL YEAR! and what a year it has been! In some missions its customary for missionaries to burn a tie at six months and then a shirt at the year mark.  For Sister missionaries, it's a blouse at six months, then a skirt or dress at a year.  I remember receiving my oldest son's burnt offerings in a Ziploc baggie that he sent home after 6 months.
Actually have no idea who this Elder is....discovered this picture on google images when researching the traditions of missionaries burning  suits etc.  sure hope he doesn't mind.  I just couldn't resist with the cowboy hat!
I'm not sure where these traditions started or what they represent.... I thought I had read once that it was to represent the burning desire one would have (in this case the missionary) to serve in the mission they were called to and that it meant that he or she was ALL in.   Well if that were the case, then we would be in real trouble!  Because our burning desire to serve with these great missionaries in the Texas Fort Worth Mission is almost more than we can bear and our burnt offering would most likely end up like this~ 

So rather than burning articles of clothing, or anything else for that matter, we'll just stick to grilling and serving with all our heart, might, mind and strength with these young (and senior) missionaries.
Elder Fitzgerald was known for his award winning grilled steaks, so of course we signed them up for dinner (they are in our ward here that we attend)  When we asked him what was required to grill award winning steaks, his reply, "a good marble steak, salt-n-pepper, olive oil, and a full fledged Idahoan". He took care of the Idahoan.

In an attempt to try and describe what this past year has been like for us, I turned to my journal to recount some of the experiences, emotions, and adventures.  Only to discover that I actually had five journals from this past year....five!  In opening one of them up it reads, "I feel that we have been turned inside out physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally and even socially"  I then go on to describe in detail about the why, when, where and how. 
I have to admit, its a pretty good read if your interested about a family who answers a call, packs up, leaves their home, families, job, and city that they have resided and loved for years, and travels to (no not the wilderness) but to Texas.     
  It wasn't for the BBQ, Tex-Mex, the stars at night being big and bright, pecan pralines, bluebonnets and wildflowers, the honey butter chicken biscuits from Whataburger, the caverns, beaches, cities, deserts, Blue Bell ice-cream, and Kolaches, and it wasn't for the southern hospitality, shopping, diversity, museums, cowboy boots, beautiful horses, Longhorns, or warm winters. 


  And although those are all great reasons and some of the things we love about Texas.  The reason we came to Texas was not only because we were asked to serve as a Mission President and spouse, and not only because we were asked to serve all the missionaries, senior couples, church members and the people of Texas.  But most importantly and ultimately, we were asked to serve our God.

Men and Women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up friends, and pour out peace. 
Ezra Taft Benson
As I read through my journals of the past year, we truly have had more joy individually and as a married couple than we ever have.  Our vision in every aspect and area of our lives have truly been expanded, our minds have indeed been quickened and sharpened, we have been strengthened where we should have been weak or even broken, our blessings have truly multiplied as have all of our children, our opportunities have been nothing short of miraculous, our souls comforted and lifted, friends and family lifted and more peace in our lives than we have ever experienced.

And not only will more know about the nature of God and our relationship to Him, the answers to life's greatest questions (where did I come from, why am I here, where am I going) the doctrine of eternal families, the standards of mortality that anchor us in an ever drifting world. Not only will more know about who Joseph Smith really is, why he sacrificed his very life, and as they learn why he did so, and who he really is, loving and appreciating him.  But they will know that we have a Savior, even Jesus Christ, who atoned for us and they will know that there is no physical, emotional, mental, spiritual trial that we will confront in mortality that the Savior did not experience first. And that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints declares that a complete restoration of Christ's ancient Church has occurred, with the necessary authority, doctrines, ordinances, and organization that had been lost from the world for centuries!!  Because we have served and will continue to serve, we will know a whole lot more about us.  It is and will continue to be life-altering, and it will forever change how we look at things.