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Talk on Charity

Talk on Charity – God like Service

May I talk on Service and more specifically (Charity) for just a moment? Charity as we know – is the pure love of Christ. (Moroni 7:45-47). And, if we love Him we will keep His Commandments. So Charity is an action word, it defines how we should grow a relationship. Relationships are one of the things we take with us into the next life, especially our relation with God and Jesus Christ. Much like the statement ‘by their fruits ye shall know them’ our visible relationship fruits will prove if we exhibit charity or not.

I would like to mention three ways that service only (without charity) does not bear eternal relationship fruit. True God like service is different from just going through the actions of:

1. Giving something to someone,

2. Helping someone, OR

3. Fixing a problem for someone.

For example:

Let’s start with the act (or relationship) of just giving something to someone.

#1. When we only GIVE:

·       The act of giving has an element of short satisfaction for the giver, however, if we only give not even expecting gratitude for the gift from the recipient – a serious unjust relationship takes place, for the giver and the recipient. Gratitude for any gift is necessary by the receiver. D&C 78:19 He who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious.

·       Just giving has an indebtedness associated with it.

·       Giving with resentment can lead to bitterness, misjudgment on the part of the giver and cankering of the soul.

#2. When we only HELP:

  • Helping has the relationship stigma of seeing the one helped as weaker than ourselves.
  • The helper is of superior strength.
  • We see life in terms of strong vs weak, young vs old, smart vs dumb, literate vs uneducated, successful vs failure, winning vs loosing.
  • When we only help we become aware of our superiority and become puffed up.
  • When we perform only helping functions our experience is one sided and there is no real growth especially spiritual growth.
  • Helping only does not accommodate the healing process.
  • We learn nothing from the one being helped – We may get a sense of satisfaction but no lasting experience of gratitude is felt or shared on either side.
  • And, a helping relationship may incur a sense of debt.

#3. When we only FIX a person or a problem:

  • In a fixer relationship, we see people and their problems as broken.
  • We see brokenness everywhere. We see the world as broken.
  • As we fix, we sit in judgment of others and their actions.
  • As we fix others and their problems, we trust in our own abilities and our own expertise.
  • If the only tool we have in our relationship bag is a fixit hammer – then every opportunity to serve looks like a nail to be hit.

When we SERVE using God’s law of Charity – Our relationships become eternal:

  • Service becomes a relationship between equals.       We grow to love those we serve.
  • God’s Charitable Service is free from debt.
  • As we serve we recognize our weaknesses, then, with help, they can become our strengths.
  • As we extend Christ’s Love through us, our limitations give us compassion and humility.
  • As we serve our faith grows and our relationship with God improves. We love our Savior more and we can keep His commandments better than before.
  • In true service we gain a trust in a power greater than ourselves.

Definition of SERVICE: True service is not a relationship between an expert and a problem: it is far more genuine. It’s a relationship between people who bring the full resources of their humanity and love of God to the table and share them generously. Service goes beyond expertise. Service is another way of life.

C. S. Lewis talks about Charity. I’ll take a few statements from “Mere Christianity”:

We are not excused from the duty of learning charity. The rule for all of us is perfectly simple. Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of life’s great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him or at the very least, dislike him less. This must be done, however, by obeying God’s law of Charity. A Christian man using the spiritual law of charity, tries to treat everyone kindly and therefore finds himself liking more and more people as he goes on – including people he could not even have imagined himself liking at the beginning. That is why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance. The smallest good act today is the capture of a strategic point from which, a few months later, you may be able to go on to victories you never dreamed of.

So is it the Natural man or the Charitable man that we seek in this life and take with us into the next?

No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon. (3Ne. 13:24)

Song to ponder: Because I have been give much, Hymn #219:

The 3rd Verse states: Because I have been blessed by thy great love, dear Lord, I’ll share thy love again, according to thy word. I shall give love to those in need; I’ll show that love by word and deed: Thus shall my thanks be thanks indeed.

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Mother’s Day Talk

60th Ward Talk Mother’s Day 5-11-2014

Set stage – Grateful for opportunity to speak on Mother’s Day.

  • Great Ward, Good Bishop, Good Teachers and Leaders – Thank You
  • I thought this ward was perfect until, we got a call for brother Hale – who asked us to talk today. Now we will have to re-evaluate that position.

I would like to cover three areas while talking on the subject of Mothers and paint a picture as I do.

To start our picture we’ll need to set the canvas or back drop (it is the canvas of the times we live in). I will read 2 Timothy 3

1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

Question? So how do we live in the black, but not be a part of the black?

Answer: We paint with colors!

The first light or color on this black canvas for me was President Hinckley…

  • His up-beat manor, his enthusiasm for life, his love of the youth of the church, his energy, and his optimism – he would say everything will work out, have faith and it will all work out. We have one of his saying over our door in Logan “Try a little harder to do a little better”

# l. So let’s add the purity Color WHITE to our painting, representing all good leaders (Bishops, Stake Presidents, good Teachers, and especially all good MOTHERS) for they add the white of purity, virtue and love.

Read àI remember when President Hinckley became president of the Church and shortly after, a news conference was held. Standing in front of the heroic-sized casting of the Prophet Joseph Smith, in the lobby of the beautifully refurbished Joseph Smith Memorial Building, Gordon Bitner Hinckley was formally introduced to the public and the press on March 13th 1995 as the fifteenth President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The press asked the new President “Your church teaches that a woman’s place is in the home. How do you justify that view in light of the increasing demand for a two income family just to make ends meet?

A very loaded question, and I am sure they thought they had him and all the leaders of the Church who advocated that a family, community, and nation would be better off if more mothers stayed at home.

I don’t remember his exact words but it went something like this – We recognize that times are tough, but to those faithful mothers we say “do the best you can”.

  • Raising a child and being a Mom doesn’t come with an instruction manual. You have to do the best you can.
  • At the end of the press conference, President Hinckley was ask to share his focus, the theme of his admiration – his legacy for the church. Without missing a beat he said: “Carry On” – how typical for him to choose a youthful upbeat theme. It’s hymn # 255 and starts with “Firm as the mountains around us”.

Good Mothers know: Immorality is a sin, infidelity is a sin, Lying is a sin, Cheating is a sin, and all forms of abuse in and out of the home is a sin, and no amount of political rhetoric will make it otherwise. These are the white virtues and principles that good mothers teach – when they are in the home.

Read àThis is the purest white that can be found – and they paint with the artist hands of a mother.

Testimony àI pray that we all do the best we can to keep good mothers in our homes.

  • In the words of President Marion G. Romney: Virtue is crucial. There is little or no spiritual progress when individuals, “try to serve the Lord without offending the devil”
  • President David O. McKay said: “Motherhood is the greatest potential influence either for good or ill in human life.” (Gospel Ideals, Salt Lake City: Improvement Era, 1953, p. 452.)
  • Sheri Dew said: Every woman of God is a mother in Israel and our calling is to help love and help lead the rising generation through the dangerous streets of mortality. (or the dangerous black of the world)

Testimony àI thank my Mother for the teachings I received at her knee. And, I thank all my teachers in primary, in Sunday school in Scouting, in Mutual, for reinforcing what was taught in the home.

# 2. Now let me add the loyalty color BLUE àThe Family Proclamation states that Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. (See if this sounds like loyalty to you!)

  • Read à Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; … yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them. And they rehearsed unto me (Helaman) the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it. (Alma56:45-48)
  • The 2,000 stripling warriors knew that God would deliver them, because their Mothers knew it.
  • And, because their mother’s knew it, they stayed loyal to the testimony of their youth gained from their mothers.
  • Q. Why are Mothers responsible for the nurturing of their children? Because they are better at it – because it comes built in.
  • Give any 5 year old girl up to almost no limit of age – A doll for Christmas, then Sit back and watch the magic… What are they doing? (Practicing for Motherhood).
  • Read àPresident Ezra Taft Benson spoke at an annual fireside that was telecast over the Church satellite network to more than one thousand meetinghouses throughout the United States and Canada in February of 1887. He said:
  • Home and family are “at the very heart of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
  • “Do not curtail the number of your children for personal, professional or selfish reasons,” he said. “Material possessions, social convenience, and so-called professional advantages are nothing compared to a righteous posterity.”
  • Speaking of women who are unable to bear children, President Benson said: “To these lovely sisters, every prophet of God in every dispensation has promised that they will be blessed with children in the eternities and that posterity will not be denied them.”
  • President Benson went on to give 10 suggestions to help mothers be effective and help their children be loyal to gospel principles – I will state only one, the 1st one he gave.

o   He said – “Mothers, take time to always be at the crossroads when your children are coming or going—when they leave and return from school—when they leave and return from dates—when they bring friends home. Be there at the crossroads of your children’s lives whether your child is six or sixteen.”

 

My mother was always at my crossroads, I know, vividly, two of her favorite sayings.

  • Whenever we left the home she would always say, without fail “Honor Bight”
  • This was a tradition handed down from her mother – I didn’t think much of it at the time and even wished she wouldn’t say it in front of my friends. However, now at this time in my life I lament my foolishness, I should have given it more weight for it carried great meaning, (akin to return with honor). And, how I would love to hear her say it again, just one more time.
  • à Another favorite saying was “This too will Pass”
  • This saying, was mostly meant for hard times but she would remind me that good times also pass (like time on wings of lightning)
  • This information has proven invaluable as hard times have surly come but I have always known there would be an end – because MY MOTHER told me so.

# 3. Now for the color courage or RED àI would like to talk to the primary children and thank them for singing today – it was beautiful. It took courage to come up and sing. It will take courage to do what your parents ask you to do if you are to be protected from the storm. I would like to read a poem to you. It is entitled “Which Loved Best?” by Joy Allison:

I love you, Mother,’ said little John;

Then, forgetting his work, his cap went on,

And he was off to the garden swing,

Leaving his mother the wood to bring.

“‘I love you, Mother,’ said rosy Nell;

‘I love you better than tongue can tell’;

Then she teased and pouted full half the day,

Till her mother rejoiced when she went to play.

“‘I love you, Mother,’ said little Fan;

‘Today I’ll help you all I can;

How glad I am that school doesn’t keep!’

So she rocked the baby till he fell asleep.

“Then, stepping softly, she took the broom,

And swept the floor, and dusted the room;

Busy and happy all day was she,

Helpful and cheerful as child could be.

“‘I love you, Mother,’” again they all said—

Three little children going to bed,’

How do you think that Mother guessed

Which of them really loved her best?

 

Every mother paints with more colors than RED, WHITE, and BLUE, however, in her artistic hands she mixes, with her God given talents, the unique colors that produce beauty, security and value to a righteous family and thus builds a safe haven for HER family unit, in the home, the neighborhood, the community and the world.

 

We need no more be exposed to just the ugly black background of the world, for righteous MOTHERS will paint with the full spectrum of gospel principles. They will cultivate, encourage, foster, cherish, develop, support, and nurture By Devine Design.

 

My Testimony: It’s a spur of the moment thing…

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We have passed the half-way mark!

May 19th was our half-way mark.  We didn’t burn anything.  We celebrated by going to a musical of Les Miserables at the Phoenix theater.  It was quite excellent.  The singers were wonderful.

Serving at the ROC (records operation center) is going well.  We have some really nice, fun couples in our room and are getting to be quite good friends.  Elder and Sister Austin have brought us extra pans.  One nice soup pan and some loaf pans and a crock pot.  They gave Elder Larsen a computer desk.  He re-stained it and it looks quite nice and takes up a lot less room than the white plastic table.  They gave us a chair that he is now using for his computer chair. People are so nice and giving.

We will take some pictures this week with some of these couples we serve with.

We have had a single sister move in behind us.  She came here with hardly nothing from Iowa.  She is a member but her family is not.  She wanted to be around more Latter-Day Saints so she chose to come to Arizona. Her two boys will join her for the school year.  She has a lot of enthusiasm and she has been over a few times for dinner and games.

We are starting to see some of the things we have worked on come into Family Search Wiki.  It is exciting to know that we had a part in going over the records before the church released them on Family Search.

Sometimes we wonder why we had to come to Arizona to serve at this center when we could have gone to Sandy or Orem.  However, I don’t wonder anymore when I see that not everyone knows the computer like Elder Larsen.  He is very valuable in keeping peoples projects up and running on their computers and answering their questions and teaching them little shortcuts.  He adds humor to the center and is very kind and understanding.  I have learned a lot by sitting by him 7 hours a day. He just keeps learning himself.  When we get home he is right back at the computer trying to learn and come up with ways to make things more efficient for others and writing up simple instructions that they can understand.  He is always thinking.  He wears me out.

We have a Family Home evening on the 3rd Monday of the month with other full time senior missionaries.  We all bring something to add to the meal.  We hear about their experiences serving on the Indian reservations.  They are very interesting.  That is the only time we get to mingle with the Mission President and his wife.  President and Sister Jenkins.  They are wonderful people.

We are quite liking our little apartment.  We are quite cozy.  A bigger house might wear me out.  I won’t know what to do without turning around and bumping into Elder Larsen.  He cleans up the dishes.  Makes the bed.  Vacuums the floor.  I hope he keeps it up when our mission is over.

I think we are having missionary experiences by trying to be examples to those around us.  Our neighbors are very interesting but nice.  We are tending a fish for one neighbor who had to drive to New York with her husband because he has cancer and had to be treated there.

We did have to speak on Mother’s Day.  Elder Larsen’s talk was so good.  I hope he posts it on our blog along with his devotional talk.  I will make him post both.

We did get to drive to St. George for some doctor’s appointments at the end of May.  Janel and Justin’s family came down and it was a nice weekend.

We are learning a lot and becoming very interested in looking up our ancestors and reading their stories.  We don’t have a lot of time to work on our own genealogy but we do a little here and there.

We will try to post a few pictures.  Mostly of those people we serve with.  We will do better at keeping up with this blog.

Love our family and friends.  Appreciate the support from everyone.

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Rebecca Nurse – The Winning Story

Rebecca Nurse – Family or Not?

Our family has often talked about the possibilities of being related to the famous Salem witch Rebecca Nurse.  She is mentioned in The Crucible which is a 1953 play by the American playwright Arthur Miller.  It was initially called “The Chronicles of Sarah Good”.  It is a dramatized and partially fictionalized story of the Salem Witch trials that took place in the Province of Massachusetts Bay during 1692 and 1693. Miller wrote the play as an allegory of McCarthyism, when the U.S. government blacklisted accused communists.  It was first performed at the Martin Beck Theater on Broadway on January 22, 1953. Miller felt that this production was too stylized and cold and the reviews for it were largely hostile (although The New York Times noted “a powerful play [in a] driving performance”).  Nonetheless, the production won the 1953 “Best Play” Tony Award.  A year later a new production succeeded and the play became a classic.  It is a central work in the canon of American drama.witches-of-salem

When our grandchildren studied this work in school they became very excited about the possibilities of being related to Rebecca Nurse.  I tried several lines and I stumbled on to her by accident or maybe not so much of an accident when you consider the pace of technology and the spirit of Elijah.  I was actually looking in my Grandfather Howard’s line to see if I was related to my best friend (seems like we are all related somehow).  The name Luther Warner came up.   From this point on you can follow it on the chart I reference at the bottom.* With fan charts and Tree charts, I found Elizabeth Nurse and her mother was Rebecca (Town) Nurse.  December 1, 2013, I finally connected Rebecca Nurse to me and my sisters.  We celebrated all day to know that she truly was in our line.   She is our 9th great Grandmother on the Howard side.  This leaves no doubt why all the Howard daughters hold such spells over their husbands and are extra scary on Halloween.  What follows is the biography of Rebecca Towne Nurse 1618-1692 as researched by her 9th Great Granddaughter and information found on the internet.

Rebecca Towne Nurse was born February 16, 1621 in Great Yarmouth Norfolk England to William Towne and Joanna Blessing. The exact date they left England and the name of the ship used is not known for sure. He was a puritan and apparently left England because of religious persecution like most of the people who left England for Massachusetts at that time. Around 1645, she married Francis Nurse, who had also been born in England, sometime between 1618 and 1620.  In 1672, Francis served as Salem’s Constable. Together the couple had eight children, four daughters and four sons. The Nurse family frequently attended church and she was well respected in Salem Village. It was later written that she had “acquired a reputation for exemplary piety (well respected) that was virtually unchallenged in the community,” making her one of the first “unlikely” witches to be accused in the famous “Salem Witch Trials”.

Rebecca and her family lived on a vast homestead which was part of a 300-acre grant given to Townsend Bishop in 1636. The family had been involved in a number of acrimonious land disputes with the Putnam family. On March 23 a warrant was issued for her arrest based upon accusations made by Edward and John Putnam. Upon hearing of the accusations the frail 70-year-old, who is often described as an invalid, said, “I am as the child unborn, but surely, what sin hath God found out in me un-repented of, that He should lay such an affliction on me in my old age.”

In March 1692, Rebecca and two of her sisters were arrested and jailed based on accusations by the Putnam girls that claimed Rebecca’s specter had attacked them. At age 71, she was one of the oldest accused. Her ordeal is often credited as the impetus for a shift in public opinion about the validity of the witch trials. On March 19th, Abigail Williams started the first claim against Rebecca and shortly afterwards, the other afflicted girls joined in. On March 24th she was arrested and brought to the village meetinghouse for questioning.

There was a public outcry over the accusations made against her, as she was considered to be of very pious character. Thirty-nine of the most prominent members of the community signed a petition on Nurse’s behalf. Her trial began on June 29, 1692. A widow accused her of killing her husband three years earlier by casting a spell on him. Another woman testified that Nurse’s specter was sticking her with pins right in court. She had a bloody knee to prove it. However, the woman had been seen jabbing herself with pins.

At one point in the proceedings, Rebecca’s sister, Sarah Cloyse, stormed out of church one day in protest. She too was accused and arrested for witchcraft.

By dint of her respectability, some testified on her behalf including her family members. However, the young Ann Putnam and her siblings would break into fits and claim Nurse was tormenting them. In response to their outbursts Nurse stated, “I have got nobody to look to but God.” Many of the other afflicted were hesitant to accuse Nurse.

Trial verdict

In the end, the jury ruled Nurse not guilty, probably because of the petition and her strong Christian reputation. There was a great public outcry and renewed fits and spasms by the afflicted girls when the not guilty verdict was announced. This uproar surprised and startled the magistrates who asked that the verdict be reconsidered. At issue was the statement of another prisoner “she was one of us” to which Nurse did not reply, probably because of her loss of hearing.  The jury took this as a sign of guilt and changed their verdict.

Governor Phipps granted her a reprieve, but public outcry scared him into recalling it. Rebecca Nurse, Sarah Good, Sarah Wilds, Elizabeth Howe and Susannah Martin were sent to the gallows in Salem town on July 19, 1692. There a minister urged Nurse to admit her guilt. “You are a liar!” Nurse shot back. “I am no more a witch than you are a wizard!” Minutes later she and the others were dead from hanging. Many people labeled Nurse as “of Christian behavior”, due to her dignified behavior on the gallows.

As was the custom after hanging, Nurse’s body was buried in a shallow grave near the gallows, along with other convicted witches, who were considered unfit for a Christian burial. Nurse’s family secretly returned after dark and dug up her body which they interred properly on their family homestead. In July 1885, her descendants erected a tall granite memorial over her grave in what is now called the Rebecca Nurse Homestead cemetery in Danvers (formerly Salem Village), Massachusetts. In 1892 a second additional monument was erected nearby recognizing the 40 neighbors who took the risk of publicly supporting Nurse by signing a petition to the court in 1692.

One of Rebecca’s sisters, Mary (Towne) Estey, was also hung on charges of being a witch. The last of the hangings in Salem took place in September 1692. In all, 20 people were put to death (including five men and eight others died in jail). The trials ended perhaps because too many people of good reputation had been accused. By 1703 the General Court made payments to the heirs of the victims and 25 pounds was paid to the heirs of Rebecca Nurse. In 1706, Ann Putnam, one of the original four hysterical young women, made a written statement of remorse. She said that the devil had deceived her into accusing people and mentioned “Goodwife Nurse” in particular. In 1712 the pastor who had cast Rebecca out of the church formally cancelled the excommunication.

At this point Rebecca Nurse has not been sealed to her parents as far as I know.  We hope to reserve these names for our family to do.  We will do it in the Logan temple when we get home from our mission in Mesa, Arizona.  This is only one more year and after waiting 322 years, we hope this will not make them mad.  I am sure they have more power now than they did in Salem.  The wicked witches of Salem have brought a family closer together.  I am sure many people can trace their line through the Nurse family but none have been so excited to discover the story and the relationship they share with the Witches of Salem than the Larsen and Howard families. The great injustices of the trial and now the possibilities of an eternal family from relatives who have grown close to them through their hardships will tie us together forever.  Elder Larsen and I will spend the next Halloween in 2014 making a special spell for the ROC in Mesa Arizona.  However, this will be a good spell to make the work at the center flow easier and faster for all the witches in the world.

*My Dad in Lucine Howard and his dad is Stanton Howard

ROC_SLC-29

1st Prize for Best Story

Stanton Howard’s Dad was Ira Stanton Howard (1864-1932)
Ira Stanton Howard’s Mom was Tirza Paermelia Warner (1835-1900)
Tirza Paermelia Warner’s dad was Luther Warner (1798-1850)
Luther Warner’s mother was Mary Russell (1743-1846)
Mary Russell’s dad was Archelaus Russell(1730-1902)
Archelous Russell’s Dad was Ebenezr Russell (1688-1761)
Ebenezr Russell’s Mom was Elizabeth Nurse (1665-1733)

Elizabeth Nurse’s Mom was Rebecca Nurse

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Christmas Message From Jim/Judy

Merry Christmas

From

Elder and Sister Larsen

Four months already, fast when you’re having fun.  Christmas in Mesa, Arizona is different.  We are loving the weather, the flowers, palm trees and cactus.  Our little apartment is comfortable and we are enjoying it.  We love what we have learned so far.  We know our work is important and will help others find links to their loved ones so temple work can be done.

We are learning about our ancestors on our own time. We have learned that Photographs and Stories create strong bonds that tie generations together.  We have learned to love them as we have come to know them.  James E. Faust said “Genealogical ancestry or blood lines are of importance because our lineage is a chain or linkage through which many of our blessings flow.” We have great ancestors who worked hard and sacrificed much to make it possible for us to be born with a great heritage and be raised in the gospel.

We love our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for the sacrifice He made for us.  We know He suffer for our sins.  He put into effect the great plan of happiness.  We are striving to help Him to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.  He is our Redeemer.  We will see Him again and live with Him along with our loved ones if our hearts and minds will follow his example.

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  We are thankful for your support, your friendship and especially your prayers.  We pray that you and all your families are well, especially this time of year.  We Love You ~ Jim & Judy

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Mission Up Date 12/1/2013

Dear Family,

We hear you all had a great Thanksgiving holiday together!  We are still waiting for Janell or someone to call for the details.  It does our hearts good to know that you were all together.  We can just imagine the fun and food and craziness.  All of you are great!

We had a nice Thanksgiving meal at the Zone Leaders home.  We played cards afterwards and had a good time. Our favorite couple, Elder and Sister Johnson from Salt Lake, will be going home in three weeks.  We will miss them. However, we get one of their couches so we are excited about that.  We have a new missionary couple coming in from the Midwest so it will be fun to get to know them and see what we can learn about them.  We also went to the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra and Choir.  Wow!  they did Holiday Pops so it started off the Christmas season well.  The lights have been turned on at the Mesa Temple.  We will help at the visitor’s center each Wednesday to count the people who come through the doors.  That will be nice.  There is a different choir that sings each night.

Susette and Robyn will be here Fri., Sat. and Sun. of this week.  We will spend some time with them and go to Natalie’s Christmas concert Sat. night.  We are going to go to a Craft fair in Tempe on Fri. and do something on Sat before the concert. We live about a mile and a half from the Mesa Temple and about three miles from the Mesa Arts Center where the concert will be.  So maybe they can stop and see where we live and serve.

Each day is interesting and we are meeting some interesting people.  Elder Stephen who sits by us at his computer is a convert to the church.  His family are of the Mofia type from back east and he has some very interesting stories.  He is always asking us what we did for fun if we didn’t smoke or drink or do drugs.  He has a fun sense of humor but often crosses the line with a few swear words.  He isn’t totally converted and sometimes thinks we are a cult. So we pray for him and hope we are a good influence on him. He really likes Dad and asks me if he can corrupt him.  He doesn’t have much family.  Hates his brother.  Never talks to his Mother back east. Just a different bringing up.

We thank the Lord each night for all of you and for your love and support.  We just can’t say that enough  Thank you.  We were at a swap meet and Dad bought a license cover that said “I bought this car for my wife.  Pretty good trade huh!”  Where have you heard that before? Funny Funny Dad.  Have a great week!  Keep counting your blessings. Tis the season.

Love you Dad and Mom

P.S.  We try everyday to get our moneys worth!!!

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Mission Up Date 11/17/2013

Hi family,

I think I will write a few times a month because there isn’t much variation in my letters.  We go to the ROC center every day and do various things.  We do have a few different things during the month of December so that will add variety.  We have a Zone Meeting where we will bring potluck and have the Stake President over our center come and speak to us and have a few musical numbers planned.  Then the Mission President has planned a temple day with activities after and a New Years party with lunch and dinner that should be enjoyable for the whole mission which includes the young elders and sisters.

We have been going to a class on Ancestral Qwest at the Family History library each Wednesday.  We think we want to purchase Ancestral Qwest for our own personal way to keep our genealogy.  It talks well with Family Tree so Dad down loaded it today ( the free trial package) and we are going to start putting information about our family which includes you.  I wish I had my thumb drive from Pickleville with all our families vital information on it so I could put it on Ancestral Qwest.  I might be bugging you again for some dates.  Then if we all use the same program then we can talk back and forth to each other in exchanging information.  We will learn it well then be able to teach you.  In the meantime, whevever you get time, play around with Family Tree on the internet and learn you way around that.  There are some stories about some of your ancestors on there and I am putting on a few more here in a few weeks.

We are happy you are all spending Thanksgiving together.  Have fun!  We are going to the Kruckenburg’s for Thanksgiving dinner then the next night going to the symphony.  We went to Natalie’s last Sunday night and played Farkel and had homemade pumpkin pie.  That was fun.  Nat seems really happy.  Sue and Robyn are coming down to her concert on Dec. 7th so that is fun to look forward to and to spent the weekend with them.

We had the missionaries over last week for dinner.  I can’t believe the Church gives them each mini I-pads.  It is awesome!  They pulled up a little video clip and then we discussed the topic.  They want us to come to a gentleman’s apt with them one of these nights and listen to them have a discussion with him.  Love you all,  Elder and Sister Larsen

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Mission Up Date 11/22/2013

Hi family,

I think I will write a few times a month because there isn’t much variation in my letters.  We go to the ROC center every day and do various things.  We do have a few different things during the month of December so that will add variety.  We have a Zone Meeting where we will bring potluck and have the Stake President over our center come and speak to us and have a few musical numbers planned.  Then the Mission President has planned a temple day with activities after and a New Years party with lunch and dinner that should be enjoyable for the whole mission which includes the young elders and sisters.

We have been going to a class on Ancestral Qwest at the Family History library each Wednesday.  We think we want to purchase Ancestral Qwest for our own personal way to keep our genealogy.  It talks well with Family Tree so Dad down loaded it today ( the free trial package) and we are going to start putting information about our family which includes you.  I wish I had my thumb drive from Pickleville with all our families vital information on it so I could put it on Ancestral Qwest.  I might be bugging you again for some dates.  Then if we all use the same program then we can talk back and forth to each other in exchanging information.  We will learn it well then be able to teach you.  In the meantime, whevever you get time, play around with Family Tree on the internet and learn you way around that.  There are some stories about some of your ancestors on there and I am putting on a few more here in a few weeks.

We are happy you are all spending Thanksgiving together.  Have fun!  We are going to the Kruckenburg’s for Thanksgiving dinner then the next night going to the symphony.  We went to Natalie’s last Sunday night and played Farkel and had homemade pumpkin pie.  That was fun.  Nat seems really happy.  Sue and Robyn are coming down to her concert on Dec. 7th so that is fun to look forward to and to spent the weekend with them.

We had the missionaries over last week for dinner.  I can’t believe the Church gives them each mini I-pads.  It is awesome!  They pulled up a little video clip and then we discussed the topic.  They want us to come to a gentleman’s apt with them one of these nights and listen to them have a discussion with him.  Love you all,  Elder and Sister Larsen

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Talk given at the ROC

For The Beauties of The Earth

Presented Oct 30, 2013 by Judy Larsen at the Devotional at the ROC (Record Operations Center)

Since we arrived in Mesa, Arizona, I have marveled at the beauties of nature and God’s creations.  I am so thankful to have eyes to see.  I get much joy and happiness in thinking about the different places we have visited and my amazement in their beauty.  Just in the last year we have enjoyed the beauties of:

  • Rolling green fields of Wisconsin and the well kept farms, barns and houses
  • The big red woods in the forests of Oregon
  • The beauties of the Pacific Ocean and Islands
  • Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the life style of the Amish and their beautiful horses that trot down the roads pulling their unique carriages
  • Pine trees of Island Park, Idaho surrounding beautiful lakes
  • Beautiful Rocky Mountains surrounding Cache Valley, Utah.  The canyon that leads to Bear Lake with the most beautiful blue lake ever. I do miss the Fall season.

M Russell Ballard said:

“The advent of the fall season here in the Rocky Mountains brings with it the glorius colors of leaves transforming from green to blazing oranges, reds, and yellows.  During the fall all nature is in a state of transition, preparing for the cold, austere beauty of winter.”

  • The landscape of the red rock in, St. George and Zions National Park
  • And now the palm trees, orange and grapefruit trees, all different kinds of cactus, lots of blue sky and beautiful sunsets in Mesa, Arizona
  • As you think in your mind and envision the places you have visited, think how you remember certain places of beauty and sat in awe. It is wonderful we have pictures to remind us.  (if you have ever been to the Redwood Forest, it is impossible to take pictures that really see the wonderment of the majestic trees)

In D&C 59:18-20

“Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart.  Yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul.  And it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man.”

The account of the Creation is a testament of God’s love for His children.  He could of given us just the basics needed to live and survive, but, instead, the Savior, under the direction of our Heavenly Father, created a masterpiece of unsurpassed and breathtaking beauty and variety.  Instead of one kind of everything, there are hundreds of varieties of foliage, flowers, fruits and vegetables, birds, animals, fishes and insects, and each is suited to its particular environment.  Instead of one climate and terrain, there are innumerable types of geographical variations that make the earth a tribute not only to God’s creative powers but also to His desire to please our eyes and gladden our hearts.  Where ever we choose to live, there is a special and unique beauty attached to all living things.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie reminds us that the beauties of the earth are a testament to the love and goodness of the Creator:  “An all-wise Creator has structured all the creations of his hands in such a way, not only to call attention to himself as the Maker, Preserver, and Upholder of all things, but to bear record of the nature and kind of Being he is…the voice of his creations declare his divinity… If men fail to live that law which enables them to see the divine face and converse with their Creator in plain words, at least they are obligated to hear the voice of Nature, which is also the voice of God”

Someone wrote that we should find wisdom in the beauty of nature and to glean from each part of creation that which it would teach us about its creator.

In John 1:3 is reads “All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.”

Robert Louis Stevenson offered an insightful definition of an abundant life:

“He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much: who has gained the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task, who has left the world better than he found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; who has never lacked appreciation of earth’s beauties, nor failed to express it; who has always looked for the best in others and given the best he had; whose life is an inspiration; whose memory a benediction.

In Luke 12:15 it reads “For a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth”

I am thankful to be serving our mission in Mesa, Arizona.  I am thankful for the things I am learning every day about myself and about the work that we are doing at the ROC.  I am thankful for the beautiful people we serve with.  I am amazed at the abilities of the members of the church.  The Family History department of the Church is amazing.  I am grasping the importance of this work.

Dallin H. Oaks said:

“Let us not forget that the activity in which we are engaged is to turn our hearts to the fathers.  We should reach out to them.  We should identify with and emulate their great qualities and make them known to our own children.  (also)

When individuals and families search out their ancestors inspiring actions and words, they will receive strength and direction for their own lives.

I am finding stories about some of my ancestors that have been put in Family Search.  I have gained respect for their lives and can see that if they can do hard things, so can I.  I am thankful for my heritage.

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Mission Up Date 10/13/2013

Hi family,

Wow! conference was really good.  We watched it on Elder Larsen’s lap top and it was nice.  Sounds like we have to do all we can to trust in the Lord.  We hope all of you caught the spirit of missionary work.  All of you are great examples of loving your neighbor and caring for others.  People around you love you and admire you and know they could call on you if they needed help.  We love each of you for your faithfulness and goodness.  We know you are trying hard to teach your children about Jesus Christ and how much Heavenly Father loves us.  I am anxious to read each talk again and ponder each message.

We spent quite a few hours in training this week.  My head is busting with instructions.  We come  home exhausted.  It was a nice relaxing weekend.  We each have our Saturday chores so we get them done in the morning.  We have tried coming home from the center this last week and immediately going to the workout room.  If we hesitate, we end up talking ourselves out of going.  It does make us feel better after sitting all day.

We did get a library card this week.  The chairs at the library are much more comfortable to sit in and read.  They do not have many church books like our libraries in Logan.  We did check out a few DVD’s.Queen palm tree

The only thing I can say about the weather is that it is perfect right now.  The summer grass goes dormant and then they re-seed the lawns with winter grass.  Very interesting.  I am learning about the different kinds of palm trees.  We have a queen palm tree outside our apartment.  I will send a picture this week.  The church keeps the palm trees on the temple grounds so nice and cleaned up.  Some around town can look pretty shabby.  At our center they are nice also because the church owns those grounds.

If you go on Familysearch.org and see your pedigree fan and click on a name, a square will come up with that persons name in it with his birth and death date and where they were born.  Also the little boxes at the bottom of the square will show you if there are any pictures or stories about that person.  I clicked on my mother’s grandmother Martha Ann Ward and noticed that she died the day I was born, Feb. 26th, 1948.  That is probably why my mother gave me the middle name of Ann.  She probably told me that years ago but I had forgotten.  The my mother’s Great Grandfather John Lloyd Roberts has some stories about him and how he lived the commandment of plural marriage and 2 of his wife’s nick names were Addie and Izzy.  So it has been fun to search and get to know my way around family search a little bit.  I would love to get the teenagers into indexing.  I think they would enjoy it.

Our prayers are with each of you.  We know you are going through some hard things.  We put names on the temple roll.  We know the Lord love each of you  and will be there for you.  Keep the faith.  Love and miss you.  Love Elder and Sister Larsen

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