The Fourth Article of Faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

"We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ: second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost."

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Not wanting to really commit that our mission here in Michigan would soon come to a close, we hesitated talking about the date we would actually be leaving. In fact, I think this is the first time I have mentioned it our blog although we have known for some time that we would be leaving at the end of the semester. Time never does stand still and on December 10, 2011, by way of speaker phone, President Ron Dillender officially and honorably released us from our mission. Although we longed to see our family and home, it was a sad morning as we did our final packing, took one last walk through the institute, said good-bye to dear friends, took a last look at our cozy apartment, and drove one last time down Grand River Avenue to the freeway heading west. I cried all the way down Grand River Avenue. We were excited to be going home, but sad to be leaving so many dear friends and a place we had grown to love. Michigan really is a beautiful state full of wonderful, kind, generous people, not to mention the tasty ice cream. There was lots to love about our mission and we will cherish the memories we shared there forever.

I went on this mission in order to be of service and to teach others, but I have been the one who has been served and taught. I have been so blessed to increase my knowledge and understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through preparation and studying the scriptures more than I ever have in my life. Also the young people, including the elders and sisters, and others in Michigan have taught me so much by their amazing example of true charity.
My testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ has grown and I have never loved nor learned more about the Book of Mormon than I have in the last year and a half. Every word of it is true and the messages contained in this book offer such hope to the world. In it's pages are inspiring stories of families and people who really share the same problems and concerns that we have today. Its words can help us learn how to best navigate through the trails and tribulations of life. Its message is one of hope for the future. However the greatest message of all is that it is another testament of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Throughout its pages, it testifies of Him and His atoning sacrifice. We can learn that the Atonement does not only work for our sins, but also for our shortcomings, our weaknesses, our imperfections, and our infirmities. I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon with all my heart and testify of its truthfulness.

“Yea come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ……
“And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.” (Moroni 10:32–33).

Winter has definitely arrived at our favorite garden and it illustrates our sadness in leaving Michigan. On our morning walks we loved to watch this ever changing garden blossom during the early spring and throughout the summer and fall. It seemed that it never looked exactly the same. I will think of this lovely garden next spring and know that will fully bloom just as I know the wonderful young people of Michigan will continue to bloom.

Our favorite gardens on MSU campus look so sad.

Our last district

The corn is harvested as late as possible.

The last Friday Forum lunch for the semester.

I was so proud how this Christmas salad looked.

Dear sweet Marcia who kept the institute so clean for all of us.

Sister Keys and Sister Topchiyska

Abby and Daniel

Jonathan and Alisha who are married now.

Kim and Michelle

Cody who always brought us ice cream and who is married now.

Jenny enjoying one of my sugar cookies.

Sister Bogar and Sister Jensen


We spent our last night in Michigan at Benton Harbor.

Missouri River, Davenport, Iowa

Crossing the Missouri River at Davenport,

We had a great visit with Karen and Jim as we spent the night in their home in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Although it was super cold, the roads were dry and the sky blue all across Wyoming.

We spent a night and had a wonderful visit with Jim and Lynnette in their home in Santa Clara, Utah, near St. George. It is getting warmer as we go south and west.

Visiting the beautiful St. George Temple with Jim and Lynnette on our way home.

Christmas Eve with most of our family--such joy! Many of our family were on the sidewalk to welcome us home with open arms as we arrived back in California. Yes, it was bittersweet to leave our mission but such sweetness to be back with our wonderful family again.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Michigan in All Its Glory

We had our first "stick to the ground, huge white flakes" kind of snow last week. It came in the evening, but it was so light outside that it was almost like daylight. Everywhere we looked was covered in a white blanket of snow.

Michigan's glorious trees.

Walking back from the Institute after class about 9:00 PM.

The view from the Living Center looking at the Institute building.

The night view from our balcony.

A serious snowball fight

The birds really loved our bird feeders after the big snow.

Everything looked so gorgeous. Christmas is definitely on its way.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving break....

Well, the days are flying by quickly. We've recently had snow that stuck to the ground - but quickly went away - and the trees are all pretty much bare.

It is Thanksgiving Break, and most of the students are away for the holiday. We were very appreciative that President and Sister Hess invited us for Thanksgiving dinner with them at the Mission Home. They just arrived in July and are very busy. We, and all the other missionaries, really appreciate all that they do.

President and Sister Hess

Also present at the dinner were Elder and Sister Jensen. They are the "Office couple" and take care of all the details. Also very busy all of the time....

Elder and Sister Jensen

Below are Elders Dehart and Ransley. They are the two Assistants to the President, and they are truly inspirational, not to mention fantastic missionaries and leaders....or if I might use a familiar missionary term...AWESOME!

Below is Archie, a very recent convert to the church. He is an MSU student from Shanghai and truly a wonderful person.

A week ago we went to the Lansing "Light Parade" and lighting of the Christmas tree at the state capitol. It was VERY cold but really spectactular, with the capitol lights on, the big tree being lit and fireworks going off all at the same time. There were thousands of people flocking to see the show....

And here's our own modest contribution...our apartment Christmas Tree!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Time Seems to Be Flying By!

Time really is flying by for us. Sometimes I wonder what happened to summer. Most of the trees are bare now and it even snowed a little last week. We have noticed that the weather is very unpredictable here in Michigan and this fall we have really experienced it. We so enjoy working with the young people here and it has been a special treat to watch from the sidelines their growth in the gospel, their growth in leadership and talents, and their relationships and friendships enlarge, some flourishing to engagements and then marriage. We love teaching them and just hanging out with these amazing young people discussing the gospel and various aspects of their developing lives.

Our young elders and sisters are wonderful here and work so hard. We had another baptism a week ago. Archie, as he likes to be called, was baptised. He is from China and I have to say there is something very special about him. I believe he will be a great leader someday.

It didn't take us long to figure out that MSU football is real big here and we decided that we needed to experience an MSU football game while we were here. Our sweet daughter Heather, who loves football, came for a visit and so this was the perfect time to head to the game. For weeks now on our Saturday morning walks we had observed all the tailgate parties, the flags on cars, and the hoards of people heading towards the Spartan Stadium. Having Heather visit for a few days was wonderful!!!

There are hundreds of tailgate parties over nearly every space of ground leading up to Spartan Stadium. They really know how to celebrate football here at MSU.

View from our seats in Spartan Stadium.

Spartie himself

For Family Night, the University Ward had a Halloween Party at the Institute.Some of our special people.

Alli Ryan organized the party.

A tasty picture from Friday Forum lunch.

Fall wouldn't be fall with our pumpkin bars for Friday Forum lunch.

Friday Forum

Our hangout at the Institute

Our friend Roy just received his mission call to serve in the Brazil Sao Paulo Interlagos Mission.