Monday, June 25, 2012

July Newsletter Article for Pheasant Ward

14  Behold, verily, verily, I say unto thee, thou art not called to go into the eastern countries (Washington DC), but thou art called to go to the Ohio. 15  And inasmuch as my people shall assemble themselves at the Ohio, I have kept in store a blessing such as is not known among the children of men, and it shall be poured forth upon their heads.  And from thence men shall go forth into all nations. (D&C 39:14-15 with a little modification from Elder Carmack). We believe that this quote has special meaning for our mission here in Ohio. The information that we are gathering will be sent forth unto all nations to help people in search of their genealogical ancestors. We recently visited the Johnson Farm about 40 minutes away from our apartment here in Niles. We were taken on the tour by two sister missionaries who gave us the in-depth look at where the prophet Joseph Smith lived for a period of time. A part of the tour is to bear testimony in the revelation room upstairs. The Spirit is so strong there. The ward recently held a picnic on the country property of a member of the ward. We had fellowshipping, swimming, canoeing, food, and youth games. It was a great success and a big “thanks” goes out to the Ward Mission Leader and all of the Ward Missionaries for their efforts in planning and organizing and making this special event happen. The Ward did such a great job coming together and everyone enjoyed the day. The house that sits on the property was designed by the sister, and was built by her husband. There are acres of ground around the house planted in grass. There is also a large pond area that has large fish, a canoe, and a place for swimming. We had a great time at the fishing hole. We erected canopies to keep us out of the sun. We had plenty of hotdogs and hamburgers to eat, and all the families brought a pot luck to share with the rest of us. Salads, desserts, ice cream and Popsicles. If you'd like to see some pictures of the activities that took place you can go to our blog at  Our Archives work is progressing quite nicely. We are at approximately 4500 to 5000 pictures per week. In the beginning we had rejections of our work because of blurs and out-of-focus. When the work is rejected like that it is returned to us and the entire book, which consists of 400 to 600 pages per book, has to be redone. It is very sad and upsetting to have your work rejected. We didn't quite know what we were doing wrong. We were praying daily for help with our work and one day we had a conference call with our support team in Salt Lake and one of them said exactly what we needed to hear. Shortly thereafter, we began having good results and for the last month all of our books have been accepted. It is a great testimony of prayer. We are so grateful we have this wonderful opportunity to learn so much about taking very high quality photographs and the blessings from being called to this sacred work on our mission. We love working in the Archives and are becoming really good friends with the two women who work there. Another part of our responsibilities as senior missionaries here in the ward is to attend Addiction Recovery meetings, participate and bear witness of the Atonement in the recovery program. Recently a nonmember has joined our group and has attended for a few weeks now. We now look forward to the meetings with a little more enthusiasm because we have a nonmember participating with us. We have had several teaching opportunities this past month and have had several people come to church that we have visited. Our FHE lesson with one of our Focus Families was The Gospel of Jesus Christ and an object lesson on living the  gospel begins at home. We have also seen an increase in attendance by less-active members. It softens and warms our hearts to have them with us. This work is so rewarding. We have been told by several of our less-active members that one of our families in our Ward has visited them occasionally since they were baptized several years ago. We can’t tell you how much that has meant to them. It is so important to follow the counsel of our Prophet in the Rescue efforts. Last Sunday a young man in our ward brought a nonmember friend with him to Sacrament meeting. A beautiful young lady who attends school with our ward member. Whenever we have an investigator in church, we hold a gospel essentials class with our ward mission leader, Ward missionaries, the full-time Elders and us. This meeting the Elders taught a lesson on the Restoration. After the lesson, Sister Carmack asked this young lady if she would like to have the missionaries come to her home and teach her the lessons. She accepted!! The Lord is blessing our Ward for all of their efforts in pulling together for the missionary work that is happening all around us. Our Relief Society is focusing on Missionary Work the next few weeks and the Spirit is so strong. Our Elders Quorum is assigning more less-active and part-member families to each Home Teaching companionship. We are so grateful for a great Ward to serve in. Missions are full of great days, not so great days, and sometimes some sad days. One of the two Elders serving in our Ward was notified that his mother had passed away suddenly. His testimony is so strong and he made the decision to remain on his mission. Sister Carmack and I took on the responsibility of watching over this young Elder. We called him on a daily basis to see if he was keeping busy and that things were going well. He bore his testimony that the Plan of Salvation or sometimes called the Plan of Happiness was instrumental in making his decision to stay. We had a meeting with President and Sister Sorensen to wish them farewell. Several of the Zone Missionaries were in attendance. The day we met, a new Sister who had been out one week learned that her brother has passed away. Sister Carmack and the other Sister missionaries rallied around her expressing their love and testimonies to this young Sister. Elder and Sister Carmack now had the responsibility of being missionary grandparents. Our Mission President and his wife, the Sorensens, will finish their mission here in Ohio June 30th. They are truly great people and their love for the missionaries is evident in all they do. He is also a good friend to Brother Harris. We will be meeting our new Mission President at the end of next week as he makes his tour of the mission. He is Michael L. Vellinga who is Aaron Davis’ cousin. “The world is so big but the church makes it small.” We are so grateful for the gospel in our lives. The church is true and the gift of the Atonement is real. Heavenly Father and His son, Jesus Christ, visited Joseph Smith in a grove of trees and started the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ here upon the earth again. The Book of Mormon was translated by Joseph Smith with the power of the Lord. The priesthood has been restored here upon the earth and gives us the opportunity to perform works authorized by our Father in Heaven. Elder and Sister Carmack know that these things are true and bear witness in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. We love you all!

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