Wednesday, July 30, 2014


Okay, it's not Sunday, but we called the missionary transportation department this afternoon and got our flight schedule. Here's what happening during the next few weeks:

July 30 - Study! Study! Study! Including the Malay language, scriptures, and Preach My Gospel
August 24: Speak in Sacrament Meeting, 1:00 PM, 625 E Center Street,  Ivins, UT
August 30: Arrive at Provo MTC
September 1: Begin training at Provo MTC
September 11: Depart MTC
September 11: Depart SLC, 6:50 PM,  American Airlines, AA2592
September 11: Arrive LAX, 7:45 PM
September 12: Depart LAX, 1:00 AM, Cathay Pacific, CX881
September 13: Arrive Hong Kong, 6:45 AM
September 13: Depart Hong Kong, 8:05 AM
September 13: Arrive Singapore, 11:45 AM

If there is more to report between now and Sunday, I'll wait until Sunday.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Time is Flying

Five weeks from tomorrow we enter the MTC! There is still so much to do! 

We didn't get a lot done mission prep wise this week. We've been involved with family going hither, thither, and yon. But it was good to be with family. It's also good today is Sunday. We can rest from the worldly cares and focus again on what's really important.

Clint Gates is speaking in Sacrament meeting today, prior to his entering the mission field. The Priesthood will be singing, We'll Bring the World His Truth. This will be the last time I direct the Priesthood singing this number for awhile in our ward. I will, however, direct it one more time when the ward choir sings it when Sherrie and I speak on the 24th of August. The ward choir will be joined by our children and grandchildren. It should make for a fine choir! I'll let you know in four weeks!

The language study has been a little lax this week, but I'm back in the swing of things now. We picked up some helpful hints from our language volunteer last week. We meet tomorrow with our tutor and on Tuesday with our coach and volunteer. All this is done on Skype.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Language Cometh and Other Blessings

As reported last week, we started with our short course in Malay. Fortunately, the Malay language uses the same alphabet as we do, and most of the sounds are the same. However, the Malay vocabulary words we've been introduced to have no similarities to their counterparts in English. Even in Russian there were words that are pronounce similarly to English even though they're spelled with the Cyrillic alphabet.

Our language tutor gave us a couple of assignments. She gave us a list of vocabulary of 22 words to learn. We've almost got those mastered. She also assigned to read the Book of Mormon to each other for 30 minutes. Of course, we read it in Malay. We're now on 1Nefi, Bab 4. I should mention that our language tutor spent nine of her 18 months in the mission field in Kuching Malaysia. We meet with her again tomorrow for an hour. 

We'll meet with our language coach again on Tuesday. He will have a language volunteer with him, too. This is a great learning experience for us. It helps to get the old brain cells functioning on a higher level.

Our friend, Kevin Blatter, who serves on the High Council in our stake, asked us to be his speaking companions today. We spoke in the 8th ward. Same building as ours, just a different time. Sherrie spoke on wisdom; I spoke about faith, and Kevin spoke on patience. It was a good meeting. A brother came up to us after the meeting and thanked us for the timely messages. He said there was a need for the topics, but he couldn't elaborate about who or why, but they messages were welcomed. Another tender blessing of being prepared and listening to the Spirit.

I had another spiritual experience on Friday. I had the opportunity to participate in giving a six-month old baby a blessing, along with his parents. The brother that I was with and I were able to visit with the parents. We talked about faith and shared our testimonies with them. The thoughts I shared came from my talk preparation. We then gave them each a blessing of comfort. There was a great Spirit as we visited and gave the blessings. I am grateful for that experience. Our bishop texted me the next day to let me know that the baby had passed away. I felt so badly for this young couple, but I can see the Lord's hand in the service we were able to perform.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Another Busy and Eventful Day!

Today started as most Mondays do . . . nothing exciting except for gearing up for our first session of language training. But, more about that later.

We received a call from Church Mission Headquarters this morning asking if we could possibly begin our service sooner than anticipate. You could have knocked us over with a feather. We have been a little addled most of the day. Instead of going to the MTC on January 19, 2015, we go September 1, 2014. That's only about six weeks from now! I tell you the blood was pumping fast and furious this morning. We have calmed down a lot since then. But there is so much to do still. Our "Farewell" will be August 24 at 1:00 PM. If you're in the neighborhood, you're invited and welcomed to attend.

Adding to today's excitement was our first session with our study coach. He'll be teaching us how to learn a foreign language. Wednesday we meet with our Malay tutor. Next Monday we meet with our coach again and a Malay speaking volunteer. This will only last about six weeks before we enter the MTC instead of the six months we had planned.

It all comes together in the Lord's time. We have faith that all will work out the way it should.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Visa Requirements and Language Training

I wasn't going to add anything until Sunday, but it's been a busy morning. 

It's been two weeks since we've received our call. (Has it only been two weeks?) We were told that if we hadn't received information pertaining to our visas that we should call the Church Travel Office and let them know. I did that yesterday. They were kind enough to send the information immediately via email. This is the check list of items needed to initiate the visa process.

o Color Photocopy of Passport ID Page
o Singapore Personal Information Worksheet
o Photocopy of Mission Call Letter
o Photocopy of High School Diploma
o 3 Church Certificates (birth, baptism, Priesthood ordination, etc.)

So Sherrie and I were scrambling to find everything on the list. We're missing a few items so I called again this morning to ask if a particular document was acceptable. Come to find out, this list is for single Elders and Sisters. Senior couples need only send a color photocopy of their passport. That is now checked off. (That's a relief! I hope what I was told today is accurate!)

I had just hung up from talking with the Church Travel Office when I received a call from Language Department from the Provo MTC. We've been offered online Malay language training! We've received information from the MTC language department in our email this morning on setting that up. We'll be provided with an online tutor. The language department sets this up for senior couples going to foreign missions. I thought it was pretty cool. I will try to keep you up to date on how we're doing with this great opportunity.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Job Description

We received the following job description for our assignment in the mission field. Now we have some idea of what we will be doing. At this point I'd say a little bit of everything!

"This couple would be involved with teaching and training. They would also be involved in Seminaries and Institutes of Religion office administration duties, reporting, recruiting, and assisting the coordinator with in-service training in cities around the area."

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Where in the World?

There was a map of the Singapore Mission included in our mission packet we received with our call. It was black and white, but not terribly impressive. We received the same map this week from the CES Senior Couples Coordinators at the Provo MTC. It's the same map, but in color and easy to include here.

So, where are we going? Have a look here:

This is just about half-way around the world. We are looking forward to learning about this new culture. We are still waiting to hear from the Mission President or his representative to see what we will be doing exactly. When we find out, we'll let you know.