Friday, February 26, 2010

February 17, 2010
Rochester Zone Conference
Above picture of the sisters in Rochester. From left to right:
Sister Hope, Sister Whiteley, Sister Harris, Sister Williams, Sister Harper, Elder Hadlock, Elder Berns --- did a great job memorizing scriptures!

Top picture:
Elder Wiberg, taking pictures. He and his wife are amazing senior missionaries!

February 17, 2010 Rochester Zone Conference
Above a picture of Elder Howell introducing the sisters that made lunch for us!
From left to right:
Elder Howell, Sister Hope, Sister Williams, Sister Harper, Elder Monson, Elder Finlayson, Elder Mortimer, Elder Hanks, Elder Reece
Middle picture:
from left to right
Elder Monson, Elder Finlayson, Elder Mortimer, Elder Hanks, Elder Reece, Elder Doyle, Elder Dearden, Elder Flores, Elder Richards, Elder Lindholm, elder Spencer, Elder Hadlock, Elder Madsen, Elder Berns, Elder Young
Top picture
from left to right
Elder Howell, Elder Hunter, Elder Lambert, Elder Young, Elder Hubbard, Elder Wasden (behind Elder Hubbard), Elder Hanks, Elder Dailey, Elder Lindholm, Elder Monson, etc.

February 15, 2010 Oakdale Conference
I'm adding more pictures, realizing the best thing is a group picture, so expect to see more of them. "The Lord wants YOU in his church" picture --- Elder Lewis, Elder Anderson in the back, Elder Waltman, Elder Forsyth, Elder Vaughn, Elder Jensen in the front

The next picture is of Elder Ferguson, Elder Sorensen, Elder Willis and Elder Davis. Also a picture of Pres. Howell checking scripture memorization (only this conference), with Elder Sorenson, Elder Poole and Elder Butler

THEY had brilliantly memorized; President Howell inviting a missionary to sit down with even the slightest mistake. So many had memorized so perfectly . . .

February 15, 2010 Oakdale Conference
Scripture Memorization, after lunch
from back to front, left to right missionaries:
Elder Wardle, Elder Kinikini, Elder Holden, Sister Buhler, Elder Doyle, Elder Robinson, Elder Reber, Elder Ferguson
SITTING (back row):
Elder Emrich, Elder Lemonds, Elder Bair, Elder Hardy
Elder Sorenson, Elder Gillespie

A picture of the wonderful sisters who prepared lunch for us in Oakdale. They tell us briefly about how they came into the church, most of them are converts. They represent you mothers at home very well, crying over your amazing, valiant sons, who they love and adore. Many have their own sons serving on missions and hope as they serve your son that perhaps someone is doing the very same thing for their son.

Missionaries are certainly on the battle front in the war for the souls of men and are the most prayed-for group in the church, right along with prophets of God. Never is that more evident than when these dear sisters prepare and serve lunch to the Lord's emissaries on earth!

The next picture is a lining up to sing for their supper. We sing ARMIES OF HELMAN. The missionaries in this picture are (from left to right)
Elder Ferguson, Elder Holden, Elder Hill, Elder Vang, Elder Willis (back row)
Elder Ralph, Elder Price, Elder Reece, Elder Madsen, Elder Dahle, Elder Bair (front row)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

ZC DULUTH February 12, 2010
From left to right
back row:
Elder Wait, Elder Long Elder Weigle, Elder Self, Elder Crawford, Elder Wilding, Elder Fonua, Elder Brookes, Elder Spencer, Elder Madsen, Elder Brown
center row:
Elder Christensen, Elder Morgan, Elder Simpson, Elder Jones, Elder Seaman, Elder Johansen, Elder Kingston, Elder Rutter, Sister Barlow, Elder Barlow, Elder Sippel, Sister Sippel
front row:
Elder Hansen, Elder Marsh, Elder Keller, President Howell, Sister Howell, Elder Ahlander, Elder Denney

Elder Self and Elder Hansen gave talks on teaching Christians / teaching clearly our unique differences. They were outstanding.

February 10, 2010
Elder Ortiz had a birthday in February; he's holding up his birthday card from Lorri Beth, our daughter and Pres. Howell and I.

February 10, 2010 Anoka Zone Conference
Singing for our supper --- we sing to the wonderful members who provide lunch for us! The missionaries in a several rows are from left to right: Elder Madsen, Elder Smith, Elder Lo, Elder Richmond, Sister Parks (back row) and Sister Ostler, Sister Chamberlain, Sister Stokes and Sister Corcoran

The next picture is of Sister Ostler introducing Sister Stokes, her companion, a new missionary, to the group. On the left, Elder Madsen is sitting on the stage and Sister Parks is sitting on the right, waiting to be introduced!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

February 9, 2010
Minneapolis Zone Conference
Front row:
Elder Fisher, Elder Hawkins, Elder Bowen, Elder Norton
2nd row:
Elder Jarman, Elder Wadsworth, Elder Brett Jones, Elder Nebeker
3rd row:
Elder Baker, Elder Wiscomb
4th row:
Elder Howard, Elder Chamema
5th row:
Sister Hedengren, Sister Brodegard, Sister Brammer
last row:
Sister King, Sister Woffinden

Across the aisle:
Elder Noffsinger, Elder Adam Smith

It was a great conference; we've done our own DISTRICT DVD (a training dvd put out by MTC). We've recorded teaching sessions with real investigators and show segments (with permission of the missionary). The missionaries look for teaching skills, i. e., identifying the spirit and concerns, testifying, asking questions and creating dialogue or discussion. Then we give them the opportunity to role play, as we video them, four missionaries at a time. They have two different scenarios, in which they had to find the investigator's concerns. For instance, the investigator had a slip telling them to only respond when they were asked about their concerns several times and to accept a commitment after testifying. We play back the role play, they critique themselves, see if they solved the concerns written on investigator's sheet, and we switch so the other companionship can teach.

What a privilege to sit in on these sessions! To hear powerful testimony born and watch skills develop, as each missionary sees something that could be improved. They are marvelous! The Lord is working through them on behalf of his children. They are clever in the things of light, as the world is clever in the things of darkness!

This picture is after a wonderful lunch, prepared by the members. We're singing to those who had birthdays and this Zone Conference EVERYONE was invited to have a page of scriptures memorized. Usually, only those who wish to compete in a scripture mastery competition do.

The sisters and elders in the picture are:
Sister Hedengren, Sister Brodegard, Sister Ross, Sister Brammer
Elder Nebeker, Elder Jones, Elder Wiscomb

In the last picture, the missionaries in the zone are raising their hands if they taught 20 lessons last week! Elder L. Tom Perry comes on Tuesday, February 23rd. Everyone reports to us they will have taught 20 lessons by then. The wards and stake presidents are keeping track of this, as well as missionaries. It is our mission goal to honor the Lord and his servants by standing in obedience to Elder L. Tom Perry's counsel to teach 20 lessons a week!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Back row left to right:
Elder Keller, Elder Simpson, Elder Farnsworth, Elder Vaughn, Elder Birkel, Elder Henderson, Elder Bott, Elder Doyle
Middle row left to right:
Elder Livingston, Elder Richmond, Elder smith, Elder Howell, Elder Kinikini, Elder Wardle, Elder Madsen, Elder Lemonds, Elder Emrich
Front row left to right:
Elder Richards, Elder Fisher, Elder Hawkins, Sister Hedengren, Sister Brodegard, Sister Howell, President Howell, Elder Reece, Elder Spencer
February 5, 2010 Zone Leadership Conference
Each missionary in this mission is a leader by the very nature of their calling and also because we receive the finest missionaries in the world!

The meeting with zone leaders yesterday was exceptional. Revelation flowed, each one edifying and empowering all those present. Characteristics of Jesus Christ and how to implement such leadership skills were discussed, as well as reaching our goal of 20 lessons per missionary, per week, by the time of Elder Tom L. Perry’s visit February 23rd. Among other things, improving the quality of our baptismal meetings was discussed. Accountability was given; gratitude was expressed for the Lord’s blessings pouring down upon this mission, as each missionary is striving to qualify for them, by prayers of faith and incessant labor. Each and every zone is baptizing 3 to 7 people and every indicator has gone up. Each zone was congratulated, particularly when they were leading the mission in an indicator!

We also role-played teaching principles, 2 sets of missionaries in different rooms, recording them on DVD! The assistants typed up individual scenarios for both investigators and missionaries --- the missionaries had to do what the investigator’s slip said to get a response! It became a game or puzzle focused on the development of teaching skills. Then they would switch, with new situations. As watching the video clips, they evaluated themselves! We’ve done this for two ZLC’s and one Zone Conference! We email out what they should practice prior to the meetings and our retention of date sets has improved to 90% in the month of January, meaning their teaching skills are improving and baptisms are increasing. Role-play is becoming a daily first thing during companionship study!

At the end, when asked what would they take with them from the meeting, responses were:
Improve their exchanges, baptisms, change their attitude in some respects, take things up a notch, that unity was critically important, following through with members, missionaries and fixing themselves, before trying to lift someone else.

Specific comments were:
Elder Smith: If we go find with the missionaries in our zones, we’ll recognize what they are doing well. With a calling comes a power, a gift, help them find their gift. Don’t try to fix a missionary. There is something you can learn from them. We’ll all grow together.

Elder Birkel: We’re not out here for recognition; we’re here to serve the Lord. In our PPI, we should be prepared with scriptures and revelation from the Lord for that missionary, so that they know they can do what is required of them.

Elder Bott: Always have fun. When you set an example of enjoying the work, those around you enjoy it!

Elder Hawkins: We need to let our teams know that our goal is for EVERY set of missionary to teach 20 lessons!

Elder Wardle: We need to let them know we’re getting 20 lessons a week to double baptisms for the Lord!

Elder Birkel & Elder Henderson led a wonderful discussion on how to bless and motivate an elder or sister with challenges.

Sister Brodegard and Sister Hedengren led a discussion on the importance of companionship unity; areas blossom as rose with unity and their area is!

President Howell emphasized that the Lord can’t pour out blessings unless we are unified in our companionships!

Sister Brodegard made this interesting observation:
The 1st 6 weeks we taught active members and after that we taught all their friends!

This is just one of the many blessings of following the counsel of an apostle and teaching 20 lessons!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Picture in the snow:
back row from left to right:
Elder Doyle, Elder Madsen, Elder Spencer, Elder Robinson, Elder Jones, Elder Hess, Sister Woffinden, President Howell
front row from left to right:
Elder Reece, Elder Waltman, Elder Christensen, Sister Brammer, Sister Parks, Sister Stokes, Sister Howell

Pictures of new missionaries with their trainers:
back row from left to right:
Sister King, Elder Hess, Elder Evanson, Elder Nebeker, Elder Hardy, Elder Doyle, Elder Spencer
middle row from left to right:
Sister Ostler, Sister Ross, Elder Robinson, Elder Christensen, Elder Jones, Elder Waltman, Elder Nielson, Elder Madsen, Elder Reece
front row from left to right:
Sister Chamberlain, Sister Brammer, Sister Parks, Sister Howell, Pres. Howell Sister Woffinden, Sister Stokes

These wonderful missionaries arrived Wednesday morning! It was a snowy, cold day, but our hearts were warm as we came home, had some hot soup and sandwiches (thank you to all who helped). We were able get to know them better during lunch, a brief training and introductions to their trainers. What a powerful, exuberant spirit and testimony each of these missionaries have, how prepared and ready for the work before them! How we enjoyed hearing their testimonies in the afternoon and watching them meet their new trainers. Tears were shed, as the spirit confirmed their previous and lasting associations. It was a time of divine rendezvous!

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to the families who sacrifice their association with these dear sons and daughters for 18 months to 2 years so that they can serve the Lord. The Nelson family shared this quote with us, displayed in our kitchen: "Missionary: someone who leaves their family for a short time so that others may be with their families for ETERNITY."

How true this is --- with these comings and goings of missionaries, how sad it would be if our associations were not forever. Such transitions are a constant reminder of the short duration of this probationary state --- how precious this time is, every moment we have to serve our Heavenly Father and his Son. We are eternally grateful to watch the Lord's hands in their lives, to watch such profound transitions --- to see how each of us change out in the mission field, as the Lord turns our water into wine --- HURRAH for ISRAEL! Sister Howell

February 2, 2010
Elder Hernandez, Elder Flanders, Sister Shakespear, Sister Howell, President Howell (bottom row)
Elder Chirino, Elder Edwards, Elder Halbert, Elder Green (top row)

This wonderful group of missionaries went home on February 3, 2010. It was of course a bittersweet experience. Sweet because "unto such a one as this (these) shall it be given to bring thousands into the kingdom of God." The end of their work is not yet in sight, but how wonderful to hear again of their many experiences, miracles and places served as we drove home from the St. Paul temple after an endowment session and before their departure. How powerful was the spirit --- the confirmation of a job well done for these marvelous servants of the Lord. Just as our Savior turned water into wine, he has worked his work, his miracles through this wonderful group of missionaries, as with those who have gone home in the past!

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to these missionaries, our beloved friends in the gospel, to their families and especially to our Heavenly Father for such experiences! HURRAH for ISRAEL!