Saturday, March 31, 2012


March 4, 2012
Plans for the Open House are going well, another Conference call from Elder Deshler tonight.  Jerry has been working on the schedule for the sister missionaries.  I think it is all coming together.  
 Sister Sawyer, Sister Jones and Sister Wright
(Practicing a musical number for the devotional)
Every month we go to two devotionals, the first week of the month it is at the Visitors Center, the third week, at Liberty Jail.  We hear the testimonies of recent converts.  Sometimes we will hear from eight new members, sometimes just a couple.  Tonight we heard from a former member of the RLDS church and a former Baptist.  Sister Keyes and President Keyes always give a little talk too.  We really look forward to these devotionals, the sister missionaries are so talented, they always have a beautiful musical number for us.  The testimonies are pretty interesting (we've heard from former drug addicts, convicts, etc. . . . !)  Plus, President and Sister Keyes always have a great message! 

Meeting Adam

February 27, 2012
Tonight we had our Senior Social & Devotional.  All of the Senior missionaries serving in the mission meet at the mission home for dinner and then a devotional.  Some couples drive for 4-5 hours, so they spend the night there at the mission home.  It is a fun time, a chance to get to know some of the missionaries that we don’t normally get to see.
For the devotional, a brother from the KC Stake, a former Stake President, and now serving as a Patriarch, spoke to us.  He was also “Adam” in the temple film. We are still trying to figure out which film he was in!  He talked about Adam-ondi-Ahman.  
He told us the story of Gram Doxey, a former Mission President in the Central States Mission.  In the 70’s, President Kimball asked him to return to Missouri and pray about what needed to be done there.  So they returned to Missouri, spent a month and visited every site, fasting and praying.  Their recommendation to President Kimball was that Adam-ondi-Ahman needed to be beautified.  He was later called to be Mission President over Adam-ondi-Ahman.
So the work began.  First the Thorny Locust trees were cleared out.  Trees were brought in from a nursery and planted.  One may notice groups of trees being of a similar height.   A large garage was built to store equipment and tools for “upkeep”.  They asked the state of MO to help with the project, they were happy to do so.  Especially when they found out the church wasn’t asking for money, just advise on how to return it to a more natural, indigenous state.  It is now an excellent example of the “natural” Missouri.
Most of North West Missouri is actually Adam-ondi-Ahman.  
Many “firsts” happened here . . . First parents, first birth, Cain slew Abel (first murder), Noahs Ark, Nephite history, and the future site of the Second Coming! 
A Brother Pixton sang Adam-ondi-Ahman, he played a guitar - it was beautiful!  This may not be the song he sang - but I think the words are so meaningful!
This earth was once a garden place,
with all her glories common,
And men did live a holy race, 
And worship Jesus face to face, 
In Adam-ondi-Ahman.
We read that Enoch walked with God,
Above the pow’r of mammon,
While Zion spread herself abroad,
And Saints and angels sang aloud,
In Adam-ondi-Ahman.
Her land was good and greatly blest,
Beyond all Israel’s Canaan;
Her fame was known from east to west,
Her peace was great, and pure the rest
Of Adam-ondi-Ahman.
Hosanna to such days to come, 
The Savior’s second coming,
When all the earth in glorious bloom
Affords the Saints a holy home,
Like Adam-tondi-Ahman.
                    William W. Phelps

President Keyes spoke and asked the Senior couples to be a good example to the young missionaries.  He asked especially that we be kind to one another.
Elder Thacker, a senior missionary returning home, bore his testimony and told us what his stake president said he and his wife should expect while serving their mission

You will make eternal friends.
You will find the most humble people while serving the Lord.
And . . . Have Fun!

He said it happened!  Sounds like a good promise.

Margaret's Baptism

February 25, 2012
We drove to Chillicothe today to see Margaret’s baptism.  It was a pretty great event.  She has waited patiently for at least two years to be baptized.  Now that she is 18, she was able to become a member.  Her family has a polygamy background, so that took extra time for approval. 
The parking lot at the Chillicothe building had several beautiful roosters marching around,
I thought we would  hear them during the service, but we didn't! 
 Sister Larsen, Margaret and Sister Barnum 

The End of the Training

February 21, 2012
We just finished our last missionary training session. We ended up in Wichita on Tuesday, then drove to Salina (spent the night) for a morning session on Wednesday, then Warrensburg for the afternoon.  We usually did one presentation in the morning, then another after lunch.  Each presentation lasted about 2 hours.  While Jerry talked, President and Sister Keyes interviewed the missionaries, that means two were out at all times.  It was a little more of a challenge when we only had 8 missionaries to start out with. We liked having the bigger groups.   But Jerry did well and hopefully we will see the fruits of our labors as time goes by.  It is all up to the missionaries now!     

Elder Fullmer, Sister Wright, and Elder Jensen at our Independence Training

Sister Wright and Sister Vickers

This is our Topeka group, they all wore green ties in honor of Sister Keyes.
 Green is her favorite color!  How sweet is that?

 Elder Jensen and Elder Cowdin
(Our favorite Plain City missionary!)

We have now been to 11 cities, we've done 22 presentations and met every missionary serving in the Missouri Independence Mission.  What a wonderful group of missionaries!  We loved them all and hope they love this mission as much as we do! 

St. Joseph

February 18, 2012

We drove to Platte City early in the morning for our Member Missionary Sub-Committee Meeting.  When it was over, Jerry surprised me with a trip to St. Joseph.  It was about an hour's drive from Platte city.  It was a great city to visit!  It's known as the "Home of the Pony Express" and Jesse James died here.  It has a psychiatric museum, recognized as "one of the 50 most unusual museums in the country".  At one time it was called the "State Lunatic Asylum No. 2".  It is also known for it's beautiful mansions.  At one time St. Joseph was a bustling city, the last stop before the wild west.

We drove around the city and visited the Pony Express Museum.  The old homes were beautiful, but not well kept.  I was amazed at the number and variety of old churches.  To name a few: Zion United Church of Christ, First Christen Church, Francis' First United Methodist, First Baptist Church, First Church of Christ Scientist, Calvary Chapel, Pentecostal, Masonic, Church of Jesus Christ St. Joseph Restoration Branch, Catholic, First Lutheran, New Life Church, and Christ Episcopal.   I am sure there are more!  These were in the heart of town, I think there was one on every corner!  

Monument to the Pony Express

Pony Express Museum

We decided to have lunch before we left St. Joseph, there was no place in town to eat.   But o n the way out we found a place called "Crumbly Burger".  There were several cars there, so we thought we would give it a try (go where the natives go, right?)  They made their hamburgers with fried hamburger meat, like a Sloppy Joe, without any sauce.   Hence the name "crumbly".  Probably won't go there again!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Just a Few Pictures

Ye shall eat of the bread of life . . . .
after the bread!

Good finds at the thrift store!

This is how you put Elders to bed at the Mission Home!

Fort Scott

February 15, 2015
We drove to Fort Scott today to visit a missionary couple and give them the information about training the missionaries.  Fort Scott is actually out of our mission, it is just outside of Joplin.  Last summer Joplin was hit by a devastating tornado .  We were hoping to go all the way to Joplin so we could see what had happened, but it was not to be.

A fun fact about Fort Scott!  Remember the movie "Dancing With Wolves"?  Kevin Costner was assigned to Fort Scott after his bold brush with death.  You remember . . . . riding back and forth in front of the Confederate army . . . . but really an attempted suicide.  He left Fort Scott to go to the little "outpost" to live by himself and keep track of the Indians.  

We met this couple at Pizza Hut, we had lunch and visited, then went to their church and went over our information.  The church was pretty new.  It was small, a "stage" building, it can be added onto when needed.  It's one of those buildings that have one room that doubles as the chapel and the cultural hall.  They sit on padded folding chairs for Sacrament meeting, then just take them down when they need to use it as a cultural hall.  They said they had about 30 active members, they return home this summer and are worried the ward will not survive  when they leave.  She is serving as RS president.  He is the Elders Quorum  president , serves in the YM presidency and teaches early morning seminary.

 They were a very nice couple.  They had both lost their “eternal” companions.  But, they had all known each other and had been friends for years before their spouses died.  They said their children actually encouraged them to get married.  Together they have 15 children and 60 grandchildren to take care of.  No wonder they are serving a mission!  

Meeting More "Family"

February 10, 2012
We were able to take two more “Joseph and Emma” packets out today.  We drove to Blue Springs and Independence.  One of the men we saw had a room with a very old picture of Emma and Joseph, he said his grandmother had given him the pictures. He also had a "Family " necklace on the table.   I wonder how many treasures are still lying in peoples attics! 
I hope we get to do a few more of these Joseph and Emma Packets.  It has been a wonderful experience meeting these people.  It is very clear to me, that they see Joseph as a great historical figure.  But they just don't understand how great he really was!   As members of The Christ of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,  we have such a love, gratitude, respect, and reverence for him, I am sure they cannot understand.

Zone Leader Conference

February 1, 2012
Zone leader Conference.
President Keyes asked if Jerry would come to Zone Leader Conference and give the presentation to them, an abbreviated one.  They will all get to hear it again with there missionaries.

While the Elders were in the Zone Conference Elder Tubbs (the mission's "car czar") thought it would be funny to rearrange all of the Elders shoes.   Later he felt guilty!  So he spent the next 45 minutes trying to match the shoes back up!  You would be surprised at how the shoes all look alike!  That is why the shoes actually look lined up and in order here!

Later that day, we were able to meet with a descendant of Joseph Smith for an early dinner.   When we first dropped off her packet to her, she wasn’t interested in talking about it.  She is the one we found at her cousins house.  We waited several weeks, then I called to see if she would see us again.  She was very reluctant, said she is working two jobs and has no time to spare.  We visited on the phone for quiet a awhile, then she finally had a change of heart and said, “I guess I could see you tomorrow afternoon”.  We were so excited!  We had a really nice visit.  We learned more about her family and her "growing up" years.  She remembers attending the RLDS church as a child, she said her mom would drop her off for Sunday School, then sit in the car and read and wait for the meeting to get over.  She is on her own, she never knew her father, her mother has passed away, maybe her father too.  She had no brothers or sisters.  Her closest family was her aunt and uncle. 

When we talked on the phone she said she didn't even know what happened to her packet.  When we gave it to her she was in the process of moving, she was afraid she would't be able to find it.  But when we met she had it with her.  She had found it in the trunk of her car!  So we were able to explain the restoration to her.  We went through her “packet” with her and talked about everything that was in it,  we talked about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and bore our testimony to her.  Hopefully she will come to the temple open house and we will get to see her again.  She is really a sweet girl, we hope she is reading a little of the information we gave her.  

Friday, March 23, 2012

Open House Presentation

January 24, 2012
Our first temple open house presentation to the missionaries. He has already given the presentation to President Keyes twice, and the mission presidency once.  Just trying to get it perfect!  Jerry is doing the instruction, I am the back up man.
Here is a list of the cities we will visit:
Kansas City, Independence, Platte City, Wichita, Derby, Topeka, Liberty, Olatha, Warrensburg, Wichita (again),Cameron, Manhattan, and Salina.   We will have to spend the night when we visit the cities that are 3 - 4 hours away from the mission home.

Elder Jensen giving his presentation

"Visa Waiter"

January 21, 2012
We picked up Elder Leonardo last night from the mission home.  He has been a “Visa waiter”.  He is going to San Salvador, but had to spend time here while waiting to get his Visa.  A really nice, polite Elder.  He will be a great missionary.  We had to have him at the airport early.  We were up by 4:00 am.
Elder Jensen helping Elder Leonardo check in at the airport   
When we came home from the airport, we climbed back in bed!  That didn’t last to long . . . We volunteered to help clean up the area around the temple, there were probably 30 kids there helping.  It was freezing cold!  I had to layer my sweatshirts, I didn’t bring a warm “outdoor work” coat.  I only had some cotton gloves, I was afraid I would lose some fingers to frostbite!

Christmas Devotional at the Visitors Center

December 24, 2011
Up early again and to the Visitors Center for an early morning breakfast and devotional.  The Elders and Sisters entertained us with musical numbers.  Then President Keyes read a children’s book he had written for his grandchildren.  The book is “The Kings Blanket”.  I loved the story.  IF anyone has that book, keep it!  He had 300 copies made, it is no longer in print.

We spent the rest of Christmas Eve delivering presents to Elders who's family had sent their presents to the mission home and lived to far away to get them.  It was a nice way to spend the day.

Christmas Day 2012

December 25, 2011

 Sister & President Keyes, Elder Stapley,
 Elder Poulsen, & Elder Seely
Our ward met with another ward for a Christmas Sacrament meeting at 9:00.  After, I spent the morning making pies, rolls and scalloped potatoes to take to the mission home for a Christmas dinner with the Keyes and the Mission President's Assistants.  We had a lovely steak dinner prepared.  The poor Elders had been eating all day, they were really to full to enjoy the dinner.  They ate what they could, then took some pie home - to full to eat dessert (hard to imagine!)
The evening ended with the Elders reading the Christmas story from Luke.  Then singing “Oh Come All Ye Faithful”.  It was a night to remember.  
Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree . . . 
We were so glad we were able to Skype and Face Time with the kids.  We miss them.  They all seemed to have a happy day.  Our hearts were with them.    

New Arrivals

January 18, 2012
We love it when we get to help with new arrivals.  We meet at the airport around 1:00.  They always come in at the same time. The church must have an “in” with the airline!  We pick up a car load of missionaries, then follow President & Sister Keyes with their car full of missionaries and the Assistants with the luggage and more missionaries.  Then they tour the church sites that are close to the mission home. . . . The new Kansas City Missouri Temple, the Eight Witnesses Monument, the Liberty Jail, and the Visitors Center.  It takes the rest of the day.  We then drop them off at the mission home for dinner and their interview with President Keyes.
We picked up Sunshine Wright’s little sister.  It will be fun having her here, we have been waiting!  She was actually in the Mission Training Center when we were there, but she is Spanish speaking, so she was there a lot longer than us! 
Sister Ho Ching, Sister Wright
Sister Richardson and Sister Lewis 
Sister Wright
Missionaries at the Eight Witnesses Monument 

Sister Jensen, Sister Wright and Elder Jensen
The missionaries get up really early to catch their flight,
I am sure they stay up really late the night before getting everything packed!

Temple Open House

January 14, 2012
Finally, the long awaited "Temple Open House" meeting.  Elder Donald Deshler is in charge, he is the Area Seventy.  What an amazing man!  (And his wife too!)  What an incredible responsibility he has!  It was a long meeting . . . . Pretty much all day!.  I have to say, putting together an open house takes an army!  It was  such a great meeting!  There are 14 committee members.  They will go out and put together sub committees.  The church has done this many times, thank goodness!  To help and assist - and make sure it is done right, they had three representatives there to help us and tell us what needs to be done.  Jerry and I have by far the easiest responsibility. (Especially since it is kind of a "added to" committee job!)  I don't think they have ever had a missionary couple serve on the committee before. The committee got a late start, holidays and all, everything will have to be done quickly.  The Open House will be April 7 - 21.  VIP tours starting on April 4th.  The cultural event  May 5th.  The Temple dedication May 6th.            


January 11, 2012
We drove to Lexington (Missouri, not Kentucky) .  Saw a Civil War site.  More murals and the site of the Sauldo Disaster, the boat that blew up on the Missouri River, killing about 26 pioneer Saints, who were migrating to Utah.
I just thought this was such a pretty house, I had to take a picture of it.
 It's at the Civil War battle site, it is know as the Anderson Home. It was captured and turned into a hospital.  There are bullet holes in some of the bricks.
This mural is on the side of a building in downtown Lexington.  It really is amazing, much larger than it looks!

Lafayettte County Courthouse
 Look at the pillar on the upper far left side,
 there is a cannonball from the Battle of Lexington imbedded in the post.

Veterans  Memorial

This bench was donated and placed at the Saluda site by a group of YW from Olathe, Kansas

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Lincoln, Nebraska

January 7, 2012
We went to one more temple session in the morning, then visited the Mormon Trail Museum and the grave sites of the early pioneers, the cemetery is right next to the temple.  We took pictures of the Angell family names on the memorial.  The statue of the mother and father looking into the grave of their infant breaks my heart.  I remember seeing it in 1979.  At that time all that was there was the cemetery and the statue.  Jerry said when he was here on his mission people of other faiths called the statue the “dark angel”.  Now there is a beautiful temple sitting right next to it!  It is a beautiful sacred area.  I thought it was interesting as we drove around, we found a large stone building, The Notre Dame Catholic Nunnery, just around the corner.    

Winter Quarters Temple

Pioneer Museum next to the Winter Quarters Temple

After our stay in Omaha, we drove about an hour to Lincoln, Nebraska.  We went to Dean and Corinne Parkers for a quick visit then out for pizza.  Jocelyn and Joe met us there.  We had a great time.  Cute families!  Good Pizza!
Corinne and Dean, Jensen, Jack, and Briggs

Joe, Jocelyn and Henry