Sunday, January 31, 2016

January 4, 2016

Greetings from Thailand!

Happy New Year everyone.  I have a great feeling about this new year.  Wonderful things are going to happen.   We are anxiously awaiting news on where the temple in Thailand will be located and when building will commence.   We have 6 months in country now.  I know we don’t know everything yet but we have at least done everything at least once and have lived to tell about it. 
We really lost track of time over the past couple of months. One big challenge was attending three stake conferences and three district conferences. These are challenging weekends. Generally Kelly speaks at all of the meetings. He speaks in Thai and seems to be doing fairly well. I speak at two or three of the meetings each time, in English with a translator. We ended up in a conference every weekend for 6 weeks. We got thinking about it and realized we had gone all of those weeks without taking the sacrament because we were in conferences every weekend. We sure treasured the opportunity to get back in a regular sacrament meeting.

We had a wonderful experience at our Christmas Devotionals.  We had devotionals in each of the zones instead of a traditional zone conference.  It was the busiest 2 weeks but so wonderful.  It is always a highlight to be with our missionaries.  We started the devotional off with the movie The Best Two Years.  Kelly did interviews while the missionaries waited their turn, watching the movie and eating cookies and milk.  I took one suitcase on the plane to each city that was full of homemade cookies.  It was a Christmas miracle that they survived each trip intact.   The best part about the movie was the translators.  Two missionaries would sit in the back and translate the movie into Thai.  It was more fun to listen to them than the movie.  They were so funny.  When the greenie Elder was practicing his Dutch, the Elder’s would translate it exactly the same way in Dutch, but with Thai tones.  Maybe you had to be there but I’ve never laughed so much ever.  Some missionaries had never seen The Best Two Years.  They were really into it. When the missionaries in the movie placed their last Book of Mormon beating the mission record of Books of Mormon placed in one week one of our Elder’s stood up and started clapping and said, “Now that’s what I’m talking about, way to go! “  We even had a few tears when they were teaching their investigator about Joseph Smith’s Vision.  Okay some of those tears were mine.

 When interviews were completed we started the activity portion.  Santa arrived with gifts making everyone cheer and clap.  We gave each missionary a mission T-Shirt designed by Elder Roberts, and a bunch of candy and a CD of approved Christmas music.  Then the games began.   First was Christmas Pictionary of Christmas Songs and Hymns.  Next we divided the missionaries into teams and did a human Christmas tree.  We gave them a kit with colored paper, garland, tape, scissors ribbon and a square sheet of foil.  They designated one missionary to be the tree then they made ornaments and snowflakes and decorated the human tree.  Some were hilarious.  We had a few themed trees and some groups had professional snowflake makers.  They would just laugh the whole time.  It was fun when the Thai missionaries were chosen as the tree.  They were so proud and loved every minute.  We had a Santa hat in everyone’s Christmas bag.  Kelly would put his hat on and tell everyone to watch him and at some point he would remove his hat and they needed to also without alerting anyone else.  The last 3 missionaries that failed to remove their hats had to perform an impromptu Christmas number.  We had some awesome performances including singing, tap dancing and my favorite:  Some Elder’s performed their own rendition of Santa Baby using Kelly’s name and hoping to be his next AP.  It was hysterical.  Then we played our famous cat and mouse game and had a final round competition.  They seemed to love them all. 

We had a close to traditional (for Thailand) Christmas lunch together.  Each zone chose the restaurant to cater.  We had BQ ribs and coleslaw and hamburgers and hot dogs for the Bangkok zones.  We had turkey and all the fixings including rice and curry in Udon and Thai food in Ubon and in Chiang Mai we had tacos.  (Wait, what happened?)  We gave them a budget for a nice Christmas meal and they had tacos.  (Mexican in Thailand).

After lunch we had the Christmas Devotional in the chapel.  We had the most wonderful musical performances in each of the zones.  Singing, piano, violins, flutes, harmonica, ukulele and trumpet.  It was so enjoyable.  Kelly and I both shared a Christ-centered Christmas message.  We played the chimes and they were a hit.  The departing missionaries were able to bear their testimonies.   Kelly talked about having a testimony of Jesus Christ.  He did the Brazil nut object lesson. This lesson emphasizes that individual components of testimony such as tithing, prayer, scriptures, etc. can all be broken if they stand individually. The only unbreakable testimony is one that is based upon Jesus Christ (Helaman 5:12). We closed with the video clip of Reflections of Christ set to the music, “Come Thou Fount”.   I thought doing so many zone conferences all the same would get old but it only became more and more enjoyable every time and we really looked forward to visiting each zone. 

After the last Christmas devotional we hurried back to Bangkok to prepare for our last District/Stake Conference of the year.  We traveled to Ubon.  We were able to visit a Budhist temple there before the Saturday afternoon training and Adult Session.  We are working on a plan to have Kelly Oram do an Art History Tour here in Thailand.  Some of the mosaics and detailed ceilings and stain glass were unbelievable.  The architecture of some of the temples and palaces are really unique.  Europe is still amazing but so is Thailand.  This particular temple had a circular staircase that was so high I was dizzy.  Climbing up was easier than the steepness coming down, or looking down I should say.  Some of the Thai people were scared to climb the stairs and some that did had to stop and sit down to catch their breath.  I will admit that the next day my legs were pretty sore. 

The conference went really well.  Kelly and I both spoke and participated in the auxiliary training as well.  The highlight of the conference was a baptism after.
Elder Frodsham, (yes from Kaysville), performed the baptism of a beautiful young Thai sister.  The baptism was in the swimming pool at the convention center and hotel we stayed at for the conference.  It was beautiful, outside with a breeze and clear, blue water.  Elder Frodsham bore his testimony and then performed the baptism.  It was pretty amazing that the members who came to the conference and baptism had to rent an open bus with a bench on each side with standing room only for most of them.  They seemed happy as can be.  So many members here are so faithful it just really makes you grateful for your own testimony and the blessing to be a member of the true church. Kelly had missionary interviews after and then late that evening we flew back to Bangkok.
We received 3 of our new missionaries.  15 had to be assigned to other missions until their visas come through.  We still did the same training for them as we do with a large group.  We had them to our home for dinner.  We had a potato bar and breadsticks.  They loved it.  All three are Thai and weren’t exactly sure what a potato bar was until we showed them. 

It is still amazing to me how much we love these missionaries, even the ones that are brand new.  It is hard to explain except I know how I feel and how real it is.

We began transfer week!!!  Kelly spends so much time choosing the right companionships for the right areas.  Our AP, Elder Cooper was going home so we got our new AP.  Elder Paxton, (or Ryan Johnson).  Elder Paxton reminds me so much of Ryan it is funny.  Similar mannerisms and just a good through and through missionary.  We will really miss Elder Cooper.  He was the problem solver, the happiest missionary and so considerate of every detail that made our lives easier.  He always translated for me without being asked and he always made sure we ate when we were on the road and he loved everybody and they loved him.  He was a great teacher and an obedient and hardworking missionary.  We also received a new office Elder, Elder Rodgers.  He is really fun and a talented singer.  I am writing this letter and can hear him singing in the other room even now.    This transfer we had the 3 new missionaries and we had 15 departing missionaries.  I call it the great and dreadful day.  Great to receive new missionaries and dreadful to say goodbye to missionaries you have come to love so much.

The members feel the same way and show up at the airport the next morning when we take the missionaries for their flights home.  They get there at 4:00 a.m. too.  Later that same day we took Elder Cooper to the airport for his flight home to Australia.  There were a few tears on that one.  Then there were a few more tears of joy as Jalynn and Jace walked through the airport to where we were anxiously waiting for them.

By the time we got home and to bed it was 2:00 a.m.  No time for jet lag for the Johnsons.  We got up early Saturday morning and left with a tour guide at 8:00.  We went to the Grand Palace and Wut Arun.  We had lunch at a wonderful restaurant on the river.  Then we took a long river boat ride down the river to another temple.  Jace had to wear “Elephant Pants” because he was in shorts and they want everyone dressed more respectably for the temples.  It was our first official P-Day and it was wonderful.  Kelly even got a picture in the temple with a monk overlooking the Bangkok landscape in the same place he took one 33 years ago as a missionary. 
We had a great full day that wore us all out.

Sunday we went to the Thai speaking Ward at Asoke and attended a baptism.  This sister was so happy and testified that she was able to quit smoking and drinking because she knew the Lord loved her and gave her the strength she needed.  She closed her testimony by saying, “I will never go back and I will never leave the church, ever.”

This Christmas season I was able to see rows and rows of red Pointsettias on every corner. 
Monday the following day we had Family Home Evening with the Young Single Adults from Asoke.
They are the most wonderful group of saints.  One sister is a return missionary from England and one sister just got her call to serve in the Salt Lake City, Temple Square Mission.  We had a great variety of Single Adults.  Some spoke English and some not a word of English.  Jace and Jalynn had a great time with them.  We ate dinner and then played chimes, decorated human Christmas trees again and played the cat and mouse game.  They would get so nervous that their mouse would get eaten.  It was a lot of fun.  We had a Christmas message and all the single adults said a few words or bore testimony.  We finished the evening by decorating sugar cookies.  It was a huge hit.  They were really into it.  One sister decorated a sugar cookie cut like a gingerbread man.  When she finished she said ohhh he is so cute I can’t eat him.  She never did.  When she left that night she said here Sister Johnson I want you to have him.  The others had no problem eating theirs and Kit Kat (nick-name) kept trying to load plain sugar cookies in her back pack.  She kept saying they are so good I want to eat them all.  It is amazing how strong and faithful they are.  Most of them are the only members in their families and are here alone to go to the University.  We will have to find another excuse to have them over again.

Tuesday morning we had the Christmas Devotional at the Service Center for all the senior couples, the Service Center Employees and our guests of honor, Jace and Jalynn.
They started with the Service Center staff singing a Christmas Carol and doing sign language.  They asked Jalynn to play for them about five minutes before it started.  She did great and they loved her.
Then Kelly and I and Jalynn and Jace sang Silent Night.  I played the guitar and we sang the first verse in English, Jace and Jalynn sang the second verse in Spanish, and the third verse in Thai.  They loved it.  (Mind they are not hard to please and they are so kind to us.)  Then we played chimes and boy were they into it.  They were really good actually.

We had a little gift exchange.  You drew a number and that gift was yours.  Jalynn actually won the prize for guessing how many candies were in a jar.  She said she has never won anything and was thrilled.  Then we had the best lunch with ham and funeral potatos and green salad and of course rice and curry and fruit.

That night we took Jace and Jalynn to a Thai Center for Performing Arts.  They have elephants there outside and they have authentic Thai homes that you can go in.  We visited a Thai woman who was spinning silk thread made from silkworms.  She loved that Dad spoke Thai.  She kept grinning at him and was missing several teeth.  They perform an amazing show all about Thailand’s History and the beliefs of Budhism.

The stage is the largest indoor stage and is in the Guiness Book of World Records.  They have water in front of the stage that you don’t even notice until all of the sudden a man dives into it.  They float the lanterns in it showing one of the celebrations they do here in Thailand and they even had elephants come in and go on the stage.  They show their belief of life in this world, life in hell, and life after this life.  The scene of Hell had people beating people with huge clubs and cooking them in boiling pots and pulling their tongues out with flames of fire and loud screaming and agony sounds.    A few nightmares but it was an interesting show. 

The next day Kelly spent the day until 3pm in the office and then we all went to a snake show.  Jace and Jalynn had their pictures taken with a python wrapped around them.  They had two cobras that were just scary as they turned and followed the snake keeper everywhere he went.  They would turn the upper part of their body and their head and stare him down with their tongues going crazy.  We saw a huge snake eating another snake.  It looked like he had the hiccups while he was eating it.  We went to dinner that night with Sister Nonie and some of her friends at a hotel.  She is a wealthy Thai woman with ties to the Prime Minister and royalty here.  She is so kind to us.  She bought all of the missionaries silk scarves and ties for Christmas.

The following day we drove to Ayutthaya to see the ancient city ruins.  We showed Jace and Jalynn the Buddha head that had fallen to the ground and became imbedded in the roots of a tree.  It is an amazing sight.  They were having a celebration there and they had all the ruins lit up and had dancing and other performances going on all over.  Jace tried his skills on stilts.  He did pretty well.  They had two albino elephants and we got really excited until Jace noticed that in their ears you could tell they had been painted.  Still a pretty awesome sight they had the elephants there to put on a show and they were doing fireworks later that night with the ruins in the background.  We bought the yummiest crepes with bananas and sweet and condensed milk in it.  And we bought tons of pineapple on that trip because it was so good and sweet.  We drove to Lopburi and stayed overnight.  The next morning we drove into the old city to see Monkey City.

Honestly the last time we were there to do missionary interviews the monkeys were calm.  This time however they were crazy.  Jalynn and I were getting the creeps.  It really was starting to feel like the planet of the apes.  They were stealing food from people and each other.  They stole Jace’s selfie stick and destroyed it.  One was biting Jace’s hair but luckily he didn’t need rabies shots.  We did get some great pictures though and the baby monkeys are adorable.

Christmas day was wonderful.  We had Jace and Jalynn with us and about 60 or more of our missionaries from the Bangkok area.  We had lots of food and treats and make your own sugar cookies.  Kelly of course planned activities because everything needs to be planned.  We didn’t use any of them because the missionaries just like being together and visiting.  We sure love having them here in our home.  They are just the greatest.  Our open house (pop in for a bit and leave) turned into a full house with no one leaving until everyone had been there all together for a while.

It was fun for the Thai missionaries to see what a traditional Christmas is like.  They took pictures of I think every single ornament on our tree and of the food and our Christmas cards.  Elder Opad, a Thai missionary couldn’t understand why we didn’t light our red candle.  Kelly tried to explain to him that it was just for decoration but he didn’t get it.  They love my collector thimbles and now everyone is looking for them in their areas.  We haven’t had much luck as of yet.  I did get two additional carved elephants to add to my Laos nativity set.  When it was all over and everyone left, we finally sat down to eat some food ourselves.  We were sitting at the table and noticed that there were still people in the office.  We walked over to see our AP’s and the office Elders sound asleep on our sectional in the office.  We took pictures of course and went back to eating.  They finally came out and were so embarrassed.  It was great.  They work so hard so we don’t blame them at all for stealing a quick nap on Christmas day.  I was glad Jace and Jalynn got to meet so many of our missionaries.

The next day we flew to Chiang Mai.  Funny story…our taxi dropped us off at the wrong hotel and left.  We had to walk to the right one with all our suitcases.  We were quite a site.  We checked in to our right hotel and then grabbed a cab to Doi Suthep.  We climbed the stairs up to the temple.  Jace and Jalynn got their pictures taken with some little girls dressed in their Hilltribe clothes. 
Kelly spent the afternoon doing interviews at the Church, including his final interview with the Stokers.  They are a senior couple and Elder Stoker was a counselor in the mission presidency.  They were heading home to Salt Lake City. They sold their home in Idaho to come on their mission and relocate where all of their children were.  So they won’t be far to visit when we’re home. Later that night, we spend some time shopping at the famous Chiang Mai Night Bazzare.

We attended church in Chiang Mai. Dad and I both had to speak and I gave the closing prayer in Thai.  One of our recently return missionaries was visiting with his family.  His mom knew Kelly and Kirk from Weber High. She is a Breitwiser.  The church really makes the world a small place.
Kelly spent a few hours interviewing missionaries, and young Thai members who are completing missionary applications.

We drove to Chiang Rai. We went to a Hilltribe village.  Jalynn became one old old woman’s best friend.  Jalynn bought a woven water bottle holder from her and she smiled without even one tooth in her mouth.  She turned suddenly and started running (I mean running for an old woman, like really fast) up a hill and yelled to follow her.  We did and found that she was part of the show and didn’t want them to start without her.  Jace and Jalynn got to participate by beating a big log back and forth into the ground like a drum.   We were taking pictures of the kids and she would pose like it was all about her.  So funny.  We saw pigs feeding the baby piglets.  I think they were pretty self-sufficient there with chickens and gardens.  We also saw a long-neck hill tribe.  One young girl had the bands on her neck and on her knees.  She didn’t smile and looked pretty sad.  We bought a scarf from her and Jalynn took pictures with her.  Some of the older women in the tribe were weaving these amazing patterns in their scarves.  They had these braces, like a big belt wrapped around their waists while they sat on the floor with their legs straight out in front of them.  They would sit like that for hours.  I probably wouldn’t smile either.

We drove to The Golden Triangle.  (Laos, Thailand, Myanmar).  We had the best Thai Food there by the river.  We hiked all over.  We had some amazing views.  We talked to a monk at the very top of a hill.  Jace wanted so badly to get him to sit in his hammock and take a picture.  He didn’t dare ask him to do anything inappropriate on the temple grounds.  Jace did get a sweet shot with his hammock near a temple.

Jalynn and I became pros at squatter toilets on this trip.  I will however never like them ever.
We got back to the city in time to have Family Home Evening with the ward in Chiang Rai.  Jalynn was a hit with the young sisters who are all friends on Facebook now.  Jace was able to buy some authentic Thai Ties from Elder Weaver.  Elder Smith-Driggs gave Jace the tie he was wearing.  He is awesome.  Kelly and Jace went back the next evening for English class.  Jalynn and I were unfortunately stuck in the hotel with no power.  Poor Jalynn was in the shower when the power went out and the water was freezing.  I had just gotten out of the shower so we weren’t exactly fit to go to the church.

Wow!!  The next day was like Jace’s wildest dream come true.  We did a jungle tour.  We weren’t sure we were going to make it up the steep roads but we did.  Jace’s first question to our jungle guide was, “Do I get to carry a knife?”  He hands Jace this Knife, Machetti looking blade.  Big smile on Jace’s face.

We take off up this hill that is straight up.  I think Kelly and I were both thinking we may not make it and we only got started.  We did make it and I’m so glad.  It was so amazing.  Our two guides cut down bamboo and made us cups and chopsticks.  They were great guides.  We brought them home with us and have them displayed.  (The cups not the guides).  And of course Jace got to use his weapon.  We hiked some more and saw such beautiful scenery.  We stopped and the guides dammed a river and blocked the water in a pool so they could get crawdads and little fish for what I was sure was our lunch.  (Yikes!)  Jace and Kelly were able to catch some too. I couldn’t understand why they would help catch more of something none of us dared to eat.  They also were gathering tea leaves from the bushes for something I didn’t want to drink either.  They had Jace gather a bunch of huge banana leaves so they could start lunch.  It was amazing how they made a table out of banana leaves and a bowl out of leaves.  They cut some fresh bamboo and carved a big ladle spoon and bamboo tubes to cook our food in.  Luckily they pulled out some vegetables and eggs and noodles from their backpacks.  They cooked everything in the bamboo and stuffed the top with a banana leaf to hold in the steam.  We had noodles with vegetables that they cooked in banana leaves in a pit.  It was delicious.  We had an omelet in bamboo and a delicious salsa.  They roasted chilies and tomatoes on sticks by the fire.  They took them and onions and eggs and used a pestle of bamboo wood to beat it all into salsa.  We ate it with leaves they picked off some tree and cucumber slices.  Jace was going for it and slicing and dicing with his big knife.  It was either so good or we were starving.  Jace and Dad ditched the tea and I told them I didn’t drink tea and Jalynn said they never offered her any. 
Jace hung his hammock and had our guide sit in it and hold his machete up.  Jace took pictures and when he was done the guide kept teasing and saying is this mine, for me?

We finished lunch and then hiked some more.  We stopped and they let Jace and Dad try to make cups and chopsticks.  They did great.  Then they gave me a vase they made out of bamboo while we were taking a break from hiking. I’m excited to use it for flowers. 

We finished the hike by hiking to a beautiful waterfall.  Jace got in and braved it.  While we took pictures our guides braided bamboo into rings for each of us.  It was a great day.  We all enjoyed it a ton.

The next day we went to the Queens Garden.  It was pretty spectacular.  I’ve never seen so many orchids or begonias or beautiful flowers in one place in Thailand.  It made me miss my flowerbeds at home.  Hopefully they are still flowerbeds. 

We went to the White Temple.  (Jeremy, you are right, it’s quite a sight).  Even the fish in the water are white carp.  Everything is white.  We were all really surprised when we got inside the temple and the murals had Star War’s characters and other movie characters painted into it.  Hanging outside in the trees were the heads of fright mare characters and they even had a statue of a transformer sitting on a bench.  Just Weird!  The outside of the temple near the bridge is covered in hands reaching out and twisted and agonized faces of people.  A worker told Kelly that they are going to build 9 temples there to depict each stage of progression to nirvana.

We drove back to Chiang Mai.  We went on an Elephant jungle ride people!!  I went with Kelly and he sat on the Elephants neck with his knees behind his ears.  I rode on the Elephants back holding on to a rope tied around him.  Jace “drove” and Jalynn rode behind on theirs.  They are huge and it is unbelievable how much they sway because they are so wide.  We got to feed them bananas and bath them in water.  Our elephants went right into the water and sat down.  We slid off and started pouring water on them with buckets.  They liked spraying water at us.  One poor girl fell off her elephant backwards into the water.  It was kind of hard to hold on when they went up the hills.  I loved it and I think it was Jalynn’s favorite thing we did.  I think Kelly and Jace liked the jungle tour the best.  After we cleaned up and changed out of our elephant riding clothes we had lunch.  It was Khaw Soi, one of our favorite soups with chicken and noodles.

They gave us a flashdrive of all the pictures that were taken and we took the bus back to our hotel.  We got cleaned up and then drove to Tiger Kingdom.  We bought a package to see a small, bigger, and biggest tiger.  It was awesome.  We got some great pictures rubbing their backs and stomachs and Jalynn holding a tiger’s tail while it led her around.  We saw them jumping in the water and playing.  It was something else.

That night was the New Year’s Celebration.  We watched them launch thousands of lanterns into the sky.  They had fireworks all over the main street of the city.  We had an awesome view outside our hotel window at midnight of the firework finale. 

The next day we flew to Bangkok. We took Jace and Jalynn for their last Thai dinner.  We went to the restaurant across the street from us where we have the departing missionary dinners.  We sat outside and it wasn’t even too hot.  (Because it is winter here.  Ha ha.)   Early the next morning we took Jace and Jalynn to the airport.  We are both so grateful that they came to visit us.  We can’t wait for the next group to come.  We are especially grateful that McKinley arrived safely and Jenica is doing well.  We loved skyping with you Jen.  She is beautiful and I can’t wait to see her in person.  Thanks family for skyping the Johnson Christmas party it was great to see our kids and grandkids and all of you.  Thanks for going alone Matt, you’re awesome. We love you all.  You are always in our prayers.  We pray for all your missionaries who are serving and know they are being blessed everyday just as we are.  We love all you Halsteads.  We are so excited Mom and Dad for you to retire and move into your home in St. George.  I hope the warmer weather will do you good.  Hey it’s pretty warm in Thailand too you know.   Thanks friends for all the Christmas cards.  The missionaries think it’s pretty awesome that we got so many and so do we.  Hope this year is the best yet.  Oh and one of my new year’s resolutions is to write a letter every week not a novel occasionally. 

Love you all,

Kelly and Terri

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

October 30, 2015

Greetings From Thailand!
Sorry we haven’t sent a letter in a while.  It has been quite the month.  We have traveled all over Thailand, to Laos, and to two District Conferences. We also fit in our mission tour with Elder and Sister Funk.
Our quick trip to Laos was originally scheduled to be with Elder Funk but he needed to remain in Hong Kong to meet with Elder Gong, who was called as one of the Seven Presidents of the Seventy. Elder Funk will replace Elder Gong as the Asia Area President.
We thought about postponing our trip to Laos but couldn’t bring ourselves to do it.  We had Yongtee’s mission call in hand and promised to bring it when we came.  He is the only member in his family.  His parents left him and his siblings and moved to America.  He has taken care of his siblings and is a faithful member of the Church.  He had many young single adults at the church as well as his siblings, and the 6 Laos Elders.  He is very talented and can speak several languages, including English.  He sings beautifully and his smile just lights up the room.  The entire group cheered when we walked in the door, with his call letter in hand. He is very proud and excited to serve in Australia, English speaking.
We also delivered a mission call to a young sister in the Vientiane branch.  (Nickname Sister Pookie)  She had opened her call via skype from our home in Bangkok to the Church in Vientiane. She was anxiously awaiting her actual call so she could read it over and over again.  She will be serving in a different mission in Australia.  The members in Laos are so faithful!  They have 2 branches in Laos.  Members from Vientiane Branch 2 travel 2 ½ hours each way to attend Church.  They put 28 people each van that should only hold 12 comfortably.  They are wonderful member missionaries and continue to find people for the missionaries to teach.
We love the Elders in Laos.  They are amazing and talented missionaries.  They really love the members and serve the people of Laos every day.  They aren’t allowed to openly contact and find but they teach English classes and get many referrals through serving in the community.  They baptize, teach English and Mission Prep, play a little piano for sacrament meeting, have great activities and Family Home Evenings and support the leaders in both branches.  They are great examples and we continue to have young women and men from Laos apply to serve missions because of their examples.
Our mission tour was a wonderful experience. Upon returning from Laos, we immediately picked up Elder and Sister Funk from the airport.  They arrived from Hong Kong where Elder Funk (Of the Seventy) serves in the Asia Area Presidency.  Both Elder Funk and Sister Funk are very personable and served as Mission President and wife in India prior to this call.  They could relate to the traffic jams and travel difficulties we face here and didn’t look too nervous when we used the GPS to travel home from the airport.  We took them to lunch at a Thai restaurant.  They love Thai food and handle spicy Thai food easily after serving in India and eating spicy Indian curry.
We had 12 Young Single Adults from Asoke over on Monday evening for Family Home Evening.  We had the best time ever!  They are amazing!  They have such beautiful testimonies and range from being a member for several years to being baptized 4 months ago.  Some are the only members in their families.  One young man lived in England for a time.  His English is excellent and it is fun to hear a Thai brother speak with a British accent.   One of the brothers is a returned missionary also. We had a lesson and then we played the now famous Cat and Mouse game.  I remember playing that at home with you kids and all your friends.  I loved playing it with Ethan and Aaliyah and Annee and Ellee and Dodge and Linen and Sailor and Scout before we left for our mission.  Dad would say, “I’m a hungry cat and want to eat some mice” then the kids would scream and laugh and always pull their mouse out just in case he rolled a six or a one on the dice.  So fun.  Now we have played it at another Family Home Evening in Lampang.  The adults loved it as much as the young members.  I think the game is going viral.  Ha.  We had dessert and they loved the treats. I was able to continue visiting with the Young Single Adults while Kelly took the Funk’s back to their hotel.  I got my guitar out and they sang I am a Child Of God.  Kelly and I love it when the Thai’s sing Nearer My God To Thee.  It sounds so reverent and amazing in Thai.  Then I made them divide the leftover treats and they were so happy to take them home.  One sister said she “has never been so happy”.  She loved coming for Family Home Evening and being able to talk about the church and to be with members and have fun.  They just don’t get that at home being the only member in their family.  I just love them all.  Their faith is so strong and they want to be so obedient. 
Tuesday we had MLC as part of the mission tour.  That is a new addition to mission tours.  I loved it.  I learned so much from Elder Funk and Kelly and the missionaries.  Our Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders are incredible.  They have the best comments which you know come from their daily personal studies.  I was able to share my conversion story and my testimony on prayer.  I just love my missionaries still.  I will always be grateful to them for teaching me that I have a Heavenly Father that loves me and has always loved me and that I didn’t need to earn that love, He simply loves me and that I could pray and talk with Him and He would listen.
Obviously being taught that and then doing that and believing that changed my life.  So grateful the message is the same today for everyone.
We took our MLC  missionaries and the Funks on the subway to Lumphini Park where Thailand was dedicated for missionary work.  We read the dedicatory prayer together and had personal dedication time and then returned to the mission office for lunch and the second session of MLC.
The following day we started zone conferences with the mission tour.  Kelly and I spoke on Obedience.   I talked about selective obedience using Jess our dog as an example of selective obedience.  I told how Jess was always more obedient to Kelly than any other member of the family or if you had a treat she was very obedient.  Or how when she was on the trail of a bird it was harder for her to be obedient because she was so excited.  Then I asked the missionaries how many of us show unwavering obedience to everything, with the exception of one commandment or rule?   Then we read from the missionary handbook word for word what it said about socks, about music, about what time to get up in the morning and what time to finish Pday and begin to work.  Some of the rules in the handbook may seem insignificant or not make sense but that is not the issue, the issue is that a rule is a rule and if you want to be strictly obedient you need to keep all the rules not pick and choose.  You are either 100 percent obedient or you are not obedient.   I told the story of Arabian horses and how they are trained and selected.  Those that follow the masters call instead of heading for the water after being kept from it for a time are chosen for the most important work and those that pay no heed and head straight to the water are chosen for less important work.  I compared it to If God’s greatest work is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man then as missionaries the most important work we can do is to share the gospel with all of Heavenly Father’s children.  How sad it would be that when the Master calls and we have not disciplined ourselves to be exactly and strictly obedient that we are only suitable for a less important work.    I had them read in the missionary handbook the page where it tells what is expected of them when called as a missionary and every time it said  *you*  I had them say *I*  and take ownership of their mission and their accountability to follow the rules with exactness.  The last part reads:  When *I* accepted *My* call, *I* promised to live by these standards.  *I* am accountable to the Lord and to the leaders of the church for how well *I* honor this promise.
Kelly gave the definition of the word Always.  He said Always=Always (leaving zero room for words like unless, or except, or if or but).  He gave a great object lesson.
Kelly: I showed the missionaries a bottle of Iceland Spring Water. This water comes from Iceland and is considered perfectly clean. It is filtered through rocks for thousands of feet, removing all impurities. I called up a missionary and asked if they would drink the water. Of course they would agree to drink the water. I then had a bottle of canal water from Bangkok. The canals here are incredibly dirty. The water is actually black. The water is so polluted that it is black. The water is full of garbage and waste. The APs were able to retrieve a bottle of this filthy water for me. I then told them that the Iceland Spring Water had 500 ml of water in it. I then took 5 ml of the filthy canal water and put it in the bottle of perfectly clean water. I emphasized that it was only one percent imperfect now. I then asked the missionary to drink the water in the bottle. There was no way they would drink the water, with even just 1 % of that filthy water in it. I tied this to obedience. Even 1% disobedience taints the entire effort to be obedient. We have to strive for strict obedience.
We held zone conferences in Bangkok, Khon Kaen, and Chiang Mai.
We ended the mission tour with the Chiang Mai District Conference in Chiang Mai.  (Stake Conference for branches).  Sister Funk and I did an Auxiliary Training Meeting for the Sisters on Saturday evening before the adult session of conference.  We split up and went on visits before we started the training.  I was able to go with the Young Women’s president in Chiang Mai and two young women.  We went to visit some of the young women.  It was a great experience to see them with their personal progress books and know that they are setting personal goals and strengthening their Faith and preparing to be worthy to enter the temple.  They loved my young women’s medallion (Thank you Bishop Vincent) and wanted to earn theirs and said they would wear it all the time like I do.  When I was training in the Young Women’s auxiliary I had the young women there stand and repeat the young women’s theme.  It was moving.  They stood and were holding hands and had arms around each other and said it so beautifully and with heartfelt meaning pausing after each value with big smiles on their faces.  Oh the church is true everywhere!!  We truly are all daughters of our Heavenly Father who loves us and we love Him.  I love that I get to be with so many sister missionaries or I would miss Young Women’s way too much. 
We went with the Funks to visit Northern Chiang Mai University.  They loved that Jeremy had been there to meet them and to do so much good with his humanitarian project from Weber State University.  They talked to us about having our missionaries teach English at the University once a week.  They took us to dinner after the meeting to the most beautiful outdoor restaurant.  They had beautiful orchids everywhere and ponds and waterfalls.  Sunday the faculty member (Wiwat) that knows Jeremy showed up at church in the Chiang Mai branch with his wife.  They are both members and would love to have the missionaries at the university. He is so kind and wanted to have our pictures taken together.  Between the university visit and dinner and church we took close to a million pictures.  Ha
Sunday night we said goodbye to Elder and Sister Funk as they departed for Hong Kong.  We loved the mission tour.  It was a very uplifting and testimony building week.
We love spending time with the missionaries.  That is always the highlight of our time here.
Kelly and I stayed in Chiang Mai so Kelly could interview the missionaries.  We were able to spend part of the day with the missionaries for P-day.  We took two songtows (one for the sister missionaries and me and one for the Elders and Kelly) to Doi Suthep. This is a Buddhist temple on top of a high mountain above Chiang Mai. There are at least a 1,000 steps leading up the mountain to the temple on top. It was a beautiful day and even more enjoyable to have a very wonderful but very busy week and a half behind us.  We came back in time to do Family Home Evening with the Young Single Adults in Chiang Mai.  Kelly even did a few interviews for prospective missionaries and Church leaders in the home we were visiting.  We celebrated birthdays including Sister Morgan’s one of our Chiang Mai missionaries.  We left for the airport the next morning to return to Bangkok.
That same evening we had a banquet for the public opinion leaders.  They were able to take a tour of the Stake Center and the baptismal font and to get a tour of the family history center.  They were very impressed and always comment on how much good the church does for the people in Thailand and the world.  They love all that the church offers for the youth to have high moral standards and values.  A funny note:  The dinner was catered by a Mexican restaurant.  The people seated at our table did not know how to eat it.  It was a soft shell taco that was too big to close and pick up.  Kelly was trying to show one man how to dip the tortilla chips in the salsa and eat it.  Maybe you had to be there.  We had some of our sister missionaries that were the entertainment for the evening.  They played piano and flute to primary songs.  It was really lovely.  We showed a film of the humanitarian work the church does and the purpose of the Bishop’s storehouse and Deseret Industries and Latter-Day Saint Charities that do the water projects, wheelchair, eye surgery, infant resuscitation programs and English Classes. 
On Friday, we drove to Lopburi to interview the missionaries there.  They are wonderful missionaries.  You could tell that they were happy and loved missionary work the minute we walked in.  They are so good to each other also.  Elder Reid is an amazing self taught piano player.  He can play anything with any emotion you choose.  While we waited for Kelly to interview each missionary he was asked to play Once There Was A Snowman by Elder Neal.
Elder Neal said, “Play the absolutely saddest rendition of that song.”  Elder Reid sure did.  It was so melancholy that you almost wanted to cry.  Then I said, “Elder Reid could you please hurry and play the happiest rendition of
that song to cheer us up?”  He played the most lifting and happy version you could imagine.  It was all I could do not to skip around the room.  AMAZING!  He is so good at using his special gift and talent to bless the members in Thailand.  He can play any instrument that you don’t blow into he said.  I believe him.
We also were able to meet and interview Elder Hunt there.  His parents brought him to our farewell at home.  His mom knew Kelly from when he served here as a missionary.  She had a letter in a book from 33 years ago that Kelly had written her thanking her for helping him with street boards and missionary work.  This Elder is so happy to be here serving in Thailand.  He grins constantly and everyone loves him already.  We stayed overnight and then the next morning we drove into downtown Lopburi to be part of monkey city which was like being in the movie “Planet of the Apes”.  Unbelievable hardly  describes it.  The monkeys live in some of the ancient ruins in Lopburi and have overrun any abandoned building near the ruins in the middle of the city. As we walked through the area, monkeys would approach and would jump on us, climbing up to our shoulders and one even perched on top of Kelly’s head. We fed them peanuts. It was an interesting experience to be walking right among the monkeys and interacting with them. The baby monkeys were the cutest.
We then drove to Ayutthaya where we were able to see some beautiful ruins and a really neat Buddha head that had fallen and over the years had become encased in the roots of a tree.  It was quite spectacular really.  We saw Elephants  walking down the road which was like …wow!
On Monday, we flew to Chiang Mai and rented a car and drove to Lampang.  The drive to Lampang was beautiful.  Green mountains and lush fields of trees and grass the whole way.  So different from Bangkok.  We were able to teach some new investigators with the missionaries. 
Kelly: I went to teach with Elder Parker and Elder Lindley. We went to the home of a less active couple. The husband was a former branch president. They were happy to receive us. We taught about Christ and the restoration. This home was out in the jungle. It was classic Thailand. The home had cement floors and walls, no carpet and limited furniture. It was hilarious after we taught. The elders were so nervous about running into a snake as we walked back to the car on the small dirt path.

I stayed with Sister Carrillo and Sister Remington at the church.  We taught a sweet sister that was getting baptized the next week.   We taught Joe and Ken (nick names for two Thai men).  They were so humble and really loved reading in the Book of Mormon .  Then we all met up at the church again and had Family Home Evening with some members of the branch.  This is where we played the cat and mouse game.  It was hilarious watching them anticipate getting caught and trapped under the lid.  Many would pull their mouse out before the dice landed.  It was so much fun.  I met two young sisters Tip and Ten.  They were 13 and 7.  They live with their father and the grandmother takes care of them.  Tip is a member and she brings her little sister to church with her every Monday night and activity night and Sundays.  It was all I could do not to take them home with us.     Kelly and I left the church with Elder Parker and Elder Lindley to teach a sister and her brother in law at his dentist office.
We stayed at a little bed and breakfast that only had two rooms for guests.  It had beautiful Teak Wood furniture and looked like the earlier Thai housing Kelly remembered from his mission.  They made us a special breakfast the next morning and watched us eat hoping to anticipate any little thing we might need.
Kelly: Terri didn’t want to eat some of the breakfast, but was too kind to want the cute cook to feel bad that we didn’t eat all the food. So, she sneakily was able to wrap the undesirable food items in a napkin and get it into her purse.
We met the missionaries at the church for personal study time and companionship study.  I loved learning from Sister Carrillo and Sister Remington.  They are so good at applying what they learn from the scriptures.  They have wonderful testimonies.  We had district meeting after studies.  Elder Parker had everyone prepared and it was an excellent district meeting.  We went to lunch with them after the meeting.  We had Som Tom which is a specialty there.  It was delicious and still one of my favorite things to eat in Thailand. 
We left and drove back to Chiang Mai.  Kelly was able to interview Sister Morgan, the only one he missed after the mission tour in Chiang Mai. Kelly then spent the evening planning and setting goals with the Chiang Mai District Presidency. 
On Sunday, we went to church in Bangbuathon. The church is located upstairs in a car dealership.  Once inside it is a beautiful building and looks very much like the sacrament room in our churches.  The members were so kind and we really enjoyed being there with them.  We both had to speak and then we stayed for the other meetings and then they wanted us to eat lunch with them.  We hurried back after for a missionary fireside we had to both speak at.  It was great to be with President Suchad at the fireside.  He is a great leader and excellent teacher.  We were happy to see Sister Hayes and Sister Burbank and to finally get a picture with Sister Hayes.  Her parents are Mission Presidents in Costa Rica.  We had MLC this week.  It was a great conference. 
I know we did things here in Bangkok but it is starting to blur because we were flying off to Udorn before we knew it.  We are just starting all the District and Stake Conferences.
We love Udorn!!  The people there are some of my favorites.  Sister Gaw and her mother Maa Phon and pretty much about every member there is wonderful.
This District Conference was under the direction of Elder Khunukum, an Area Seventy. Kelly called and set apart a new District Presidency and called the newly released District President, President Wonsegon to be his 2nd Counselor in the Mission Presidency.  He is an amazing teacher.  He teaches seminary and is wonderful with the missionaries.  They love him so they were very happy for his new calling.  The new District President will be great.  He is a very humble man. He is a returned missionary, as is his wife.  They have one son on a mission now and a 17 year old son who is preparing to serve.  His wife bore her testimony and said she had an overwhelming feeling when she met President Johnson weeks ago that a wonderful thing was going to happen in their family.  She will be a great support to her husband and the branch.
We were able to go on visits in the branch on Saturday before the Women’s auxiliary training and Priesthood session started.  I went with Maa Phon and Sister Khunakum and our sister missionary, Sister Hoffman.  She was to be my translator but we soon found out that the women we went to visit spoke Mong.  We did the best we could.  I held all the babies at the homes and shared scriptures on living after the manner of happiness.  All the sisters we visited were alone with their babies because their husbands left them.  This happens way too often here and it is heartbreaking.  The Thai babies are beyond beautiful.  I want to take them all home with me but know it is only a wish.  Two of the homes had the babies sleeping in baskets tied to ropes under porches outside.  The grandmother usually sat nearby pulling on the rope so the baby swung back and forth.  Maa Phon thought it was the funniest joke ever when she taught me a song the moms sing to their babies to get them to sleep as they swing.  It goes like this…Ding, ding, ding, ding.   Ding, ding, ding, ding.  And over and over again.  I learned it very quickly ha.  But the funny part was when Maa Phon said she didn’t have time to sing that song so she would just push the baby and give them a good swing and sing …Dings!  She laughed so hard pushing the baby I thought the baby might do a complete spin right over the top of the porch.  She made me sing it and then laughed even harder.  I’m not sure I still get how funny that seems to her but it was Maa Phon and I always laugh because she is so fun and energetic.  She does more member missionary work than anyone I have ever met.  She does not hold back either but just begs people to come to church and to be her friend.  I was able to teach piano lessons to a couple of wonderful young people in the branch.  The one young man (Brother Daft) can play We Thank Thee Oh God For A Prophet with intro perfectly now.  I made him learn Joy To The World to get ready for Christmas because it is the easiest one.
He was pretty happy and whenever I walked down the hall I could hear Joy To The World.  The sister was learning hymns from the simplified hymnbook hoping to play in the branch when Sister Gaw leaves for BYU in December.  They are all just terrific.  We really love it here and are so grateful we have this opportunity to serve with the missionaries and with these people that we have come to love.  We are looking forward to having Jalynn and Jace come in December.  Good thing time flies here so you should be here like tomorrow.  Grandkids we love you so much.  Children you are amazing and we are so proud of all you do and who you are.  Parents you are the best.  Thanks for your love and prayers.  Family we are excited for all the wonderful things happening in your lives.  (returning missionaries, marriages, school events, missionary service, and family highlights).  Friends, thanks for your support and for looking out for our children and for your many kind deeds.

We love you all,

Terri and Kelly

Monday, October 5, 2015

September 28, 2015

Greetings from Thailand family and friends.  

Happy Birthday to Grandpa Johnson and Scout and Dodge.  It is hard to believe that September is over already.  It is hard to keep track of time here, especially when the seasons don’t change.  I love Fall at home and all the seasons but here it seems it is just a very long summer.  We actually did see a little wind storm the other day that blew leaves around but they weren’t red, yellow or orange leaves.  I think they were the leaves a bus knocked off a tree as it came through the neighborhood.

It is fun for us to hear about school and sports and work and everything you are involved in.  We especially love skyping the grandkids and seeing how much they have grown and how happy they are.  We love you all and are so grateful Families are Forever.  I am sad here when I see faithful members who are so committed and converted to the gospel but aren’t married and don’t have families.  This is Heavenly Father’s plan for us.  In Thailand, the culture pressures are to finish schooling, get a job, provide a home, pay a large dowry and by then they are in their late 30’s.  If they do marry it is usually too late to have children.  The Thai women aren’t supposed to approach anyone and have to wait for the men to show interest but they are too stressed about fulfilling Thai Culture first.  Any way enough of my rant.  We are having the Asoke Young Single Adults to our home for a Family Home Evening in 2 weeks.  You can guess what the lesson will be on.

We have been busy again.  We finished our MLC meeting.  We had a lot of new Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders so we wanted to do some Leadership activities at the start.  We did the “Float Your Boat” first.  Using one small flat sheet of foil you make a boat using your own idea in order to float in water and hold as many pennies as you can.  The only instructions they were given were to as a team take 7 minutes to accomplish this task.  We didn’t designate a leader in hopes that they would have a challenge or two with agreeing on one design and talking over each other to make their voice heard.  It was funny to watch the different teams.  Then the second activity was “The Egg Drop”.  A leader was designated and only the leader was told the instructions on what their team needed to use and do to accomplish their task.  Then the leaders went back to their teams and led the activity.  Some leaders delegated really well and used their time of 15 minutes effectively.  Other leaders allowed everyone to have a voice in choosing every decision and were scrambling at the end to protect their egg.  All in all only one egg cracked.  Then we had a great MLC conference talking about the characteristics of great leaders and how to lead in their zones and encourage and help the missionaries accomplish the goals they set and how to implement their plan daily, not waiting till just before transfers to scramble and get balanced in their goals.  Kelly has really emphasized Balance in Finding, Teaching for conversion, Baptizing, Retaining and Rescuing Less Actives.  Our goal here is to have 8 stakes at the end of three years.  We have 3 now and there is so much work to be done to grow and establish the church here in Thailand, Myanmar and Laos.  Kelly and I actually did a companionship inventory in front of all the missionary leaders.  I think they enjoyed it and I know we benefited from it.  When Kelly asked if there was anything that he could improve on or help with I pulled out a paper scroll I had made and proceeded to drop it and it rolled out across the floor.  They got a good laugh out of that but just so you know I didn’t have anything written on that list. Ha. 
We just finished our first round of Zone Conferences.  That was quite the schedule.   We flew to all but 2 of them.  We met in 5 zones combining 2 zones in 2 of the conferences.  First was Udorn then Chiang Mai, then Ubon and Roi-Et, then Bangkok West and we finished with Bangkok East & Bangkok North.  We met with the zones the evening prior to conference.  Our senior couple over Family History did a presentation to all the missionaries to help them prepare recent converts and members to prepare family names for the temple in Thailand.  While in in Chiang Mai, Kelly had a fabulous experience meeting with a member he knew when he served in Chiang Mai 33 years ago.
(Kelly – When I served my mission 33 years ago, I had the opportunity to serve in Chiang Mai. At that time, the Chiang Mai branch was just a very small branch. I have a picture of this little branch 33 years ago and there are 14 members and 6 missionaries in the picture. We are all standing in front of the house that we met in. The Chiang Mai Branch President was a man named Brayoon. He was very young, having just finished his mission in Thailand just a year earlier. He was full of life and full of love for the gospel. Even with his limited experience he tried so hard to serve faithfully. But over the years, he had periods of activity and periods of inactivity. He went to Germany for a while then came back and was inactive for about 5 years. He came back to Church and was put into the District Presidency. Then, he went inactive again. He has been inactive for many years now. The sister missionaries in Chiang Mai went and visited him. It came up somehow in the conversation that I was the mission president. Brayoon remembered me. Given I was going to be in Chiang Mai I decided to call Brayoon. He answered and I introduced myself. He seemed so happy to hear from me. I invited him to meet me at the Church at 6:30pm that night. At 6:30pm I found him waiting outside the Church. I walked to him and gave him a big hug. We sat and talked for more than an hour. It was so fun. We talked about old times, but mainly talked about his life and the issues that had caused him to go inactive. It was so good to see him, but so sad to learn about his life and his challenges. I encouraged him to come back to Church and to enjoy the blessings of activity in the Church and Gospel. We took some pictures together which I surely cherish.)

Then we had an ice cream social and then we played “Minute To Win It”.  It was so much fun participating with the missionaries.  Kelly and I actually won several events for our teams.  The missionaries enjoy being together and getting to know us as well.  The next day we met in Zone conference from 8 to 3.  When conference was over Kelly would interview the missionaries he hadn’t gotten to yet and I would sit out in the foyer with those waiting for interviews or waiting for their companions.  I wish I had a picture.  I sat down on the floor and the missionaries sat around me in a half circle and said Sister Johnson will you tell us some stories.  They wanted to know all about how Kelly and I met and about our family and questions of the soul.  It was wonderful.   Our theme for this conference was Faith and Diligence.  Kelly and I both believe that training is more than teaching it’s instilling a vision in the trainee of what they can become.    Kelly introduced Fractal Geometry.
(Kelly – This is a concept that shows that shapes are really made up of many similar smaller shapes. For example, a triangle can be broken down into many smaller triangles. The large triangle is made up of even thousands of smaller triangles. Then, because the triangle is made up of triangles, it then takes on the shape of a triangle. I used this concept to teach that we become what we are each day. If we are obedient daily, our overall life will take on the characteristic of an obedient person. If we want to baptize during the month, we have to do the things on a daily basis that lead to a baptism, then if we do the daily things, we will be able to baptize.)
We discussed the difference between being converted to the gospel and converted to the church.  The gospel leads us to Christ and the purpose of the church is to help us live the gospel. We cannot teach what we are not.  How do we teach the gospel if we don’t live the gospel?  How can we teach the Book of Mormon is true if we don’t read it and study it and pray about it?  You cannot convert people beyond your own conversion.

“We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day.”
Richard G. Scott

Kelly talked about Faith being a commitment to act.

When Joseph Smith went into the grove of trees to pray to Heavenly Father he didn’t pray just to know which church was true he prayed to know which was true so that he might JOIN.  Diligence in prayer is committing to act not just ask.  We showed a segment from our Mission President’s Seminar at the MTC of 2 missionaries teaching Elder and Sister Cook the Restoration and 1st vision in 4 minutes.  It was so moving and the Spirit so strong that Elder and Sister Cook were both crying.  Elder Cook who is an Apostle and has taught the Restoration many times was visibly moved because the missionaries taught by the Spirit.  We had the missionaries do this same role play.  It was surprising how many couldn’t get to the first vision because of too much of an introduction into the reason for the restoration.  They learned the value of knowing for themselves the truth of the message and being prepared to share it, led by the Spirit in order to speak to the hearts of those listening. 
We had missionaries share their favorite scripture stories of faith and diligence.  Kelly had them prepare these before conference not knowing who he might call on.  They were amazing and all chose different people from the scriptures.

Other points of discussion included the following:
·      We discussed motivators for diligence and that missionaries would become more diligent as they felt the magnitude of the trust God has placed in them.
·      We represent Christ and when people see missionaries they should see Him.
·      The application of Faith and Diligence results in the power to achieve.
·      Trust God in His willingness to provide Help no matter how challenging.
·      Strict Obedience.
·      Be sensitive to the Spirit.
·      Be courageous to implement the promptings received.
·      Patience when God lets us struggle in the process.
·      Our motivation should be our Love for God.

·      Romans 8: 38-39. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

It was a wonderful Conference and I learned and felt so much.  I learned that in Becoming I need to remember it is not just what Christ saved me from but what he saved me for that should motivate me to be faithfully diligent in becoming who God intends for me to be.  I am so thankful for the gospel, I know it’s true.  Living the gospel leads us to Christ and following Christ will lead us home.  I am grateful for the Savior’s atonement.  I know that God’s grace is what makes it possible to not just return home to Heavenly Father but to be at home and be comfortable there.  Repentance is a gift to be used over and over again as we prepare in this life to change and be perfected in Him.  Stay Faithful! We love you all so much!  We pray for you every day and miss you all but wouldn’t trade this great blessing for anything.  Always make sure your children know you have a testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and they see you live it.  Love you all!!

Mom and Dad

Terri and Kelly