Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Spirituality through Art

On April 7, 2015, 
the Sister Missionaries went on a united expedition to 
the National Gallery of Art 
to explore the spirituality that can come through art.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Family History Turns Into Temple Ordinances

Elder and Sister Knight and Elder and Sister Kendrick 
are senior missionary couples devoted to teaching our entire mission how to use family history as a proselyting tool.  
They are tireless in their efforts.
The Knights (left) and Kendricks (right) at the entrance to the Washington DC Temple

They recently had the wonderful idea to teach each of our younger missionaries how to search his or her own family history for names they could take to our temple for ordinance work.

A couple weeks ago, our missionaries had the opportunity to perform many different saving ordinances for their own ancestors, even including sealings.  It was a powerful way to have the missionaries experience for themselves the principles they are teaching to investigators, new members and less active members.
It also gave the participating missionaries an incredible insight into fulfilling their purpose of conversion on both sides of the veil.

Here are the accounts of a couple sisters who agreed to share their experiences.  
You might want to ask your own missionary about his or her personal journey.

Sister Hailey Maire

Sister Maire (left) with companions
Sisters Bertholon and Whiteford
in front of our temple's
distinctively unique windows
Sister Maire (middle) with
same companions

I had the great opportunity of being able to complete some ordinances
for family members of mine who have passed on! My parents are both
converts, so we have a lot of names. We were blessed however, to have
our immediate family members live long lives so that most of the
people we completed the ordinances for were those who lived a few
generations back. In the last few years we have had a few members pass
on, and when the time was right we would do the work for them. My
sister and I have been researching names to be done, and completing
areas of the family tree that once had holes. When I was going through
the names a few months before my mission, I decided to start with my
name and work my way back one generation at a time, just to make sure
we didn't forget anyone. As I was looking at my moms family, I decided
to double check the siblings of her father. They had a difficult
situation where it was a blended family, and then they had more born
from the new marriage. I wanted to make sure the right children were
under the right parents. When I was looking, I noticed that my great
Aunt Sandra was not on the tree! I had grown up hearing stories about
Sandra, and how my mom would spend summers on the family farm and
visit her farm as well. Sandra was a horse breeder and would breed
paint horses, which we all thought was the coolest, as any little girl
would when they hear about horses. We also got to visit her a few
years before she passed away, and got to see the farm and the place my
mom would visit.
So I added her and her family to the tree. We have a few hundred names
to do, and with it only being our immediate family doing the temple
work, it can take awhile to get through the list. Plus my sister
Isabella finds new names every day! (She's 16 and is constantly
finding names, and then does the baptisms  for the names a few times
per week with her friends. Seriously the coolest kid ever!) When we
were given the assignment to gather some family names for the sisters
temple trip I went through our files. Sandra's work still hadn't been
done! The baptism and confirmation had been done by my sister in
Rexburg but not initiatory or endowment. So I had the great experience
of completing her initiatory for her as her proxy, along with some
other family names. It was such an amazing experience. I had never
done family names of anyone I had personally met before. I had the
most unique experience while I was sitting waiting for my turn. I
couldn't quite remember what Sandra looked like as I was printing the
card out with her name, but as I was sitting in the temple waiting a
thought popped in my head of when I was little and we visited her. I
remember my mom had her arm around her and was introducing us to her
favorite Aunt. I could remember how she looked, and more little
memories of our short time with her. It wasn't a big thing, it wasn't
a moment others couldn't have. I was just remember memories that
before were a little hazy. But I loved the personal connection I felt
with her.
Now my mom has her name to complete her endowment as her proxy as
well. I love the fact that we as a family completed her work together,
my sister with baptism, me with initiatory, and my mom with the
endowment. We all have this great opportunity to grow individually,
but also as a family. As we complete this work we are helping those
beyond this life to have the opportunity to accept the gospel, but
also we are helping our family here on earth become closer as we
experience these spiritual moments together. I look forward to many
more of these moments on and off the mission!

Sister Hailey Maire

Sister Celeste Shannon Black

My mission has taught me a lot of amazing things but one of the most
important is how to do family history. I never thought I would love
and actively research my family history before age 60 but here I am,
age 20, absolutely loving it! I remember my very first district
meeting in February of last year. Elder and Sister Knight were giving
a workshop on how to learn to use familysearch.org and how to use
family history to find and teach people. I was incredibly bored and
less than excited at the prospect of doing genealogy. I was also still
recovering from my recent transition to life in the mission field and
was as a result nodding off during the workshop. However my trainer,
Sister Johnson, took the training to heart and next thing I knew we
were spending an hour every day in our church building's family
history center. She excitedly sped through the online lessons to learn
to use family search while I grudgingly watched video demonstrations
on how to edit an ancestor's profile.

Despite my lack of enthusiasm, I soon began to develop a love for
family history. After a while I could easily navigate the website and
search for records. I also found a lot of old pictures of ancestors in
my aunt's and dad's Facebook photo albums which I added to their
respective profiles. My grandmother also mailed me some hand written
records of ancestors that I was able to input as well.

Sister Johnson and I came up with the idea to start a community family
history class. We started it that May in the small town we were
serving in and had a great time doing it and had some people not of
our faith consistently show up. Sister Johnson and I were also able to
have a part in a short family history video which was shown to our
mission to help move forward the family history initiative.

Since then, my love of family history has grown immensely. I have been
able to send over 30 names to the temple to have their work done. I
have also been privileged to personally do the work of a lot of my
female ancestors. Just a couple of weeks ago I discovered a family on
ancestry.com that wasn't in my tree on family search. Luckily I found
them the day before the elders had their temple baptism trip and so I
sent the male names to them to have their baptisms completed. It has
been so amazing for me to discover family history and how fun and
fulfilling it is. I know that my ancestors are excited as well and
have been helping me to find their information so that they can
receive saving temple ordinances. I am so excited to continue to do
family history throughout my life and I am very grateful to Elder and
Sister Kendrick and Elder and Sister Knight for helping and
encouraging me. I'm also grateful to Sister Johnson for being a good
trainer and missionary and for doing what we were instructed even
though we were the first ones to try it and I wasn't too happy at
first. Family history is the best!!

We reluctantly said "Goodbye" to the Kendricks last week as they completed their service in our mission. 

But the work they have begun will continue.

Charlie Mike !

Specialized Training for March 2015 Arrivals

At the quaint Chevy Chase chapel in Bethesda, Maryland,
our newest arrivals and their training companions
gathered for specialized training
as the very first blossoms of 2015 finally began to open.
Back row L--R:  Sisters Griffin and Kohler next to the Cookes
Second to last row: Sister Chapman (grey & white stripes), Sisters N. Wilson and E. Wilson, Black, Tuuhia and Thurber
Second to front row: Sister Veenker, Griffin, Wu
Front row:  Sisters Buhler, Hermosillo, Liou, Wathen, Williams, McArthur and Edwards

Companion Scripture Chase
(A team may only use one hand from each companion in finding a scriptural answer to frequently asked investigators' questions)

Sisters E.Wilson, Kohler

Sisters Black, Wu

Sisters Veenker and Buhler

Sisters Tuuhia and Hermosillo
Sisters E.Wilson and Kohler

Sisters Williams and Wathen

Reciting the Joseph Smith story by finding (shooting) the phrases in correct sequence from a jumbled board

AP Elder Wilcox explains the rules of the game to competing companionships
Sisters Veenker and Buhler on the left facing off against Sisters Wu and Black on the right

And they're off and shooting, racing to see which team will complete the correct recitation first!

Sisters Black and Wu with Sister Hermosillo watching

Add AP Elder Von Trapp

Sisters Kohler and E. Wilson suffer no handicap from a broken, casted arm

But Sisters Griffin and Chapman were so quick to finish that we didn't even get a picture of them shooting!

The final competition entails finding the applicable rule in the white handbook that addresses a questionable situation acted out by the APs

The final winners with their matching scarf prize

Lunch !

L-R:  Sisters Tuuhia, Wu, McArthur, Griffin
Our beloved member/caterers, Helene and Sam Thornton
Sisters Hermosillo, Thurber and N. Wilson

L-R:  Sisters Black and Kohler with the Pres, then Sisters Wu, E. Wilson, Liou, Edwards and Tuuhia

L-R:  Sisters Williams, Chapman, Buhler, Elder Von Trapp, Sisters Veenker, Griffin and Wathen