Sunday, July 28, 2013


Referrals in missionary work is somewhat like referrals when someone is looking for employment. I  think that missionary referrals is a lot more fun, and challenging at the same time because it requires speaking to people when it is so much easier not to.  I am in the office most of the time during the week, while my companion goes quite often because of shopping for supplies, matters to attend to at the Area Office, and the bank. President Judd has challenged us as an office couple to still be involved in finding those that are interested in learning about the church. I don't feel that I have that opportunity as much, but Saturday we had what was a unique experience for us. We have Elder and Sister Pack coming in September(I probably have already mentioned them) that will be serving as Perpetual Education missionaries. We volunteered to buy items that they will need for their apartment and we decided to get started doing that yesterday. Through the course of a few hours and three different shopping places, we had three referrals. They were two young men and one young women and they basically came up to us. It is hard to put into words how it actually happened, but when we prayed specifically that morning for just such experiences, then I know that we were in the right place at the right time. We will be passing these referrals to the missionaries who will be contacting them. In fact, we gave one of them yesterday because the one young man only had Sundays off from work and wanted to be contacted by Sunday evening. This reminds me that a week ago Saturday we were grocery shopping and had a similar experience. I was looking to see if I could find something in the way of an air freshener, that was not a spray type, when a worker was just there in front of me and a conversation started. I gave Richard's name to Elder Bagazwaga and he contacted him and then reported that he was grateful as Richard was most receptive. I do keep tract of all the referrals I give to the missionaries and often I find a baptism has taken place. I do remove names often also because of no real interest, but even finding one, out of any number of referrals, is definitely worth it. I think it might be compared to when someone gets 'hooked' on Family History work; simply exciting!

I have started the process of making all the arrangements for missionaries going home in September. I haven't even got the August missionaries in the air yet but these arrangements have to be made 2 to 3 months before the actual departure. I had some unique challenges this time with the African missionaries. As I look back on the last few days, I saw even more how the Lord's hand is in His
work, even in getting missionaries home safely from their missions. I contact the missionaries to see what airport will be closest to their home and who their Priesthood leader is to contact about their coming release. Sister Obeten, serving from Calabar Nigeria, gave me a former bishop email address and phone number and also ask that her aunty Mercy be contacted to make a place available for her to stay as Sister Obeten is the only member of her family. I was anxious to get a reply from the email I sent to her bishop, so after a day I decided to call him and was met most pleasantly by him. He will assist in contacting the aunt for me and will be the one I send Sister Obeten's itinerary to. He expressed gratitude for our concern for this Sister. Elder Belay and Elder Onen are serving from the Uganda Kampala Mission and the mission president is just new to his calling. President Chatfield was not sure how all of this was to be handled when I emailed him. Elder Belay lives in Ethiopia (Uganda Kampala Mission is over this country) in a place called Hawassa and Elder Onen lives in Uganda in a place called Gulu. With a lot emailing to find out how and who would be releasing these missionaries once they arrived in their perspective countries, I now know that Elder and Sister Wall of the Uganda Kampala Mission will be picking up Elder Onen, see that he is released by President Chatfield, and then drive him the rest of the way to Gulu. Elder Belay will fly to Addis Ababa and will be met by a counselor in the Kampala Mission who will release him and then drive him to Hawassa which is a distance of about 4 hours. I feel very responsible for getting these missionaries to their home various homes, so I was very relieved to have all of this settled. There is more details in the finding of all of this information, but too much to explain. I just know that the Lord blessed a simple missionary from Nevada, who had to learn to like computers in the first place, and then helped her to connect all the missing links to find the necessary information. It was a great experience and I am sure there will be more to come.

With love,
Sister Avery (mom,grandma)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Returning with Honor!

Whenever I get over-whelmed with mission life, I remind myself that I want to do the very best I can each day; even to return with honor. I have been reading, a loud, the Conference issue as we travel to Senchi each Sunday. I was strengthened by the words of Elder Scott and Elder Cook when they talked of peace. Each shared important personal insights that I will reflect on each time I need to be reminded of who is in charge. "When you feel that there is only a thin thread of hope, it is really not a thread but a massive connecting link, like a life preserver to strengthen and lift you. We need not worry if we can't simultaneously do all the things that the Lord has counseled us to do. He ha spoken of a time and a season for all things. In response to our sincere prayers for guidance, He will direct us in what should be emphasized at each phase of our life. We can learn, grow, and become like Him one consistent step at a time."  Ugo Betti said: "To believe in God is to know that all the rules will be fair, and that there will be wonderful surprises." I admire people who express that the challenges of life come as wonderful surprises. In spite of the those occasional times of weakness, I know that the greatest assurance we have for peace is to live an obedient life, firmly rooted in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We have in our mission, two dear missionaries by the name of Sister Kalola and Sister Quattara. The first is from Namibia, and the second is from Cote d' Ivoire. Sister Quattara has a beautiful French accent and Sister Namibia is a very striking, tall, woman who is dreadfully afraid of lizards. In describing that their apartment has lizards in it (that puts it mildly), that have not appreciated my companion's humor when he says to make dinner out of them. I gave the suggestion that maybe some of the children in their ward could come and catch them and they liked that better. It was also suggested that they find every possible opening and stuff it with plastic bags or paper. It will be interesting to hear of the outcome of this adventure that adds 'spice' to our mission life.

Elder Caleb, who is from Samoa and helped me with contacting Elder Mauga's bishop, loves to sing and has a good singing voice. One day I surprised him and started singing the Hawaiian Wedding song and in a few seconds, he joined in. I told him that I sang it at my wedding reception, although the setting was not Hawaii. It was delightful few moments in reflection of 44 years of marriage and more to come.

Friday night we enjoyed a meal with missionaries from the area office, the two missions, and the MTC. There was good soups, rolls, and desserts that we all were assigned to bring. We were introduced to the new Director of Affairs and his wife, and President Hill and his wife of the new Ghana Accra West Mission. I was amazed and humbled at the experience these couples have had, and their desire to continue serving the Lord in whatever way they are asked. It was good to have a little diversion from the normal routine and enjoy good company. We also found out that Tema (MTC is located there) is considered the center of the earth. Someone must have done their research because I don't understand all of it. It has something to do with the Equator and that when the two dividing points of the earth meet, it is considered the center of the earth and that is in Tema. I didn't explain that very well, but I challenge my grandchildren to check it out.

We had 4 baptized today in Senchi. I was humbled by a more mature woman, who struggled from the effects of a stroke, climb those steps and then down steps into the waters of baptism. She had those that were helping her, of course, but I feel it took a lot of courage and a love of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The missionaries questioned themselves, as well as the branch presidency, as to whether she should go ahead with her baptism. They were wondering how she will get to church each Sunday and so she would just become another inactive member. Elder Avery reminded them that that is not a reason to deny someone of the blessings of entering the Lord's kingdom by being baptized. He also reminded them that someone on the branch could be given a specific assignment or calling to bring her each Sunday. Brother Adjei brought her today, so the branch presidency needs to follow through on that. It was a tender experience and the Heavens smiled down on her.

Primary continues to have its challenges(part of why I struggled today) but we will continue to press forward. I have submitted a script to consider for a Sacrament Presentation in October and need to keep encouraging the leaders as well as the children. I think language is still an issue but I keep praying that the Spirit will teach them and they will grow in the gospel. The branch is definitely growing and with that comes needed improvements in the old building to allow for that growth. It is good to be a part of it all and to have the opportunity to continue to better myself in the process.

With love,
Sister Avery (mom,grandma)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Many Blessings!

It was delightful to skype Saturday evening with Ruth, Cooper, and Avery. What joy all of my grandchildren bring to me. Cooper and Avery told us they were going to have a baby brother. Now it is too early to tell that it is going to be a brother, but Cooper has been saying, for probably close to a year now, that he is going to have a brother and then a sister. Aren't children simply wonderful and innocent! Cooper was born when we were on our first mission and we will miss another birth on this one, but they come as blessings whenever they come. President and Sister Judd just had a daughter give birth to her first baby. Thanks to technology, they were able to experience it right through delivery. My family needs to be prepared to help these two 'old fogies' get updated on all the latest and greatest so that if we do another mission some day, we will be able to be in touch better.

Angela graduated from UVU this Spring in Behavioral Science, with a focus on parent/children counseling(she needs to correct me if I don't have it quite right). She has been working at facility called "Kids on the Move" and has advanced in positions in her employment there. She recently applied for a position that is for parent/child counseling and we just received word that she got the job. We are so happy for her and Dave and feel this a great blessing in their lives. She and Naomi both have recently attended Girl's camp and I just feel blessed that they sacrifice their time to strengthen the youth of their wards.

Jason just graduated from SUU in the nursing program and passed the State test soon after. After a back-packing trip to unwind from the intense schooling, he applied for jobs(even in Caliente), and was hired at the Red Cliffs Health and Rehabilitation in St. George. He will be in orientation this week and will update us more to his responsibilities. He is excited about the vocation he has chosen and we just feel blessed as his parents.

Nolan has advanced the motel to where people can make reservations online now. Those who are familiar with Caliente and his and Teva's motel, would be in awe of the improvements they have made. The office remodeling is a dream come true of mine and actually better than what I dreamed. They have continually made improvements and I feel blessed to see a family business, that my parents started, be of such high quality.

Ryan will soon be starting his last year of his Master's program. I need to have him put in writing the details of this program because I am not remembering. He graduated with his Bachelor's degree in Psychology, so it is in that field somewhere, even if I don't have it quite right. I am so impressed with his continuing with school to accomplish his goals.

I appreciate being able to talk about some of my children and could go on more about all of them and their accomplishments. My grandchildren have amazed me with their abilities and how they are applying what they are learning to their lives. I just feel so blessed and I just needed to share it.

We attended the temple Saturday with the Senchi Branch. They had two sisters and one brother who received their own endowments, and 15 youth who did baptisms for the dead.There were many who attended the session also.What a choice experience for them and for us. What an accomplishment to come that far to attend the 10:30 session, with all that that entails, and then the trip back in trotros. The branch plans these trips twice a year and that is challenging for them financially. But it could be much farther, so what a blessing to have a temple this close to them.

 Lucas and Agatha Dovi, who were baptized last week with their three sons,Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, were all confirmed today. Lucas and his sons received the Aaronic Priesthood today and then after meetings, Lucas was able to baptize his daughter Esther. With the gentle encouragement of Elder Dayley, he did a great job. Lucas and Agatha need to have callings as I see such potential in them and they speak and understand English well. With the primary president not attending for so long now, and the second counselor so sporadic in her attendance, we can give others the opportunity to serve. It would take time to train them, but if it helped them grow in the gospel and they would be there every week, it would be so worth all the time it would take. It seems like the children are understanding me more and more and love the stories from the scriptures and singing. Sister Duodu is enjoying teaching the small group of young children using the nursery manual and I see how much more confident she is becoming.

Well, it has been a good week, went fast, but was good. It was good to have the Scovilles arrive safely. They may be moving to another apartment, as theirs was broken into while they were gone and had quite a bit stolen. It was quite isolated, but having never been there, I am not sure what that means. We will have to visit them sometime and see what is up in their 'neck of the woods'.

I know I have said it before, but I am learning so much from this experience and it has changed me in so many ways. Even though I miss out on so much with my family, I am glad for the opportunity to better myself and which I probably would not get in any other place than here in Africa. I just simply feel blessed!

With love,
Sister Avery (mom,grandma)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

A good week!

I have to say that it has been a good week. The days go by so fast that I don't have much time to think otherwise. I enjoy the missionaries with all their energy and enthusiasm for the teaching of the gospel, and marvel at their knowledge and boldness in declaring it wherever and to whomever. I have not seen or been told of a single incident where prejudice has played a part. I see young men from England, Samoa, Fiji, Philippines, New Zealand, America, Australia, and Africa serving together and united in the cause of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It really is a blessing to be experiencing this first hand. In taking the time to write about it, I see it much more clearly than if I just do it without much thought.

It is so good to see the growth in Senchi. It has been expressed to us that we have made the difference, but I do not look at it, even for the slightest moment, in that way. President Ampomah and Brother Ahiabor thought it a good idea to split the 6-11 year old children from the nursery age -5. We were given the young women's room next to us for the first hour of Primary. Then we all come together for the second hour for sharing Time and singing Time. Sister Duodu had her first time of teaching the little ones out of the nursery manual and I believe she has found her comfort zone. I praised her for the wonderful job she did and she beamed and said, "I am learning." She wants to continue teaching the little ones which is great. Sister Boateng taught the older children and I did sharing time and singing time. Next week I will teach the older children and do singing time, and she will do sharing time. I started to wonder if it would last because of past experiences and the slow start we have had. But I will not wonder and simply keep praying that we all will continue to magnify our callings. The children are what is important here and that must be our focus.

We had 3 adults and 5 youth baptized today. It was such a glorious sight to behold when I came into the chapel after primary and saw them all sitting there dressed in white (I forgot my camera). Two weeks ago, I spoke of a family we visited that had triplets and twins and he struggled with his worthiness to partake of the Sacrament. They were the ones baptized today along with two from the Kpong Branch. This branch did not have water today to fill the font, so they came a few miles down the road to Senchi and added to our joy. Elder Dayley, who replaced Elder Amumi, is a great missionary and it is interesting to have two white missionaries serving there and see the impact they are having in this choice part of the Lord's vineyard. The only ones I ever hear speak about color, are the Africans, which is quite interesting; It is not in a negative way but just that they are the ones to mention it.

We will get started on the third quarter of apartment inspections tomorrow. It will be nice, but short lived, to have not as many to inspect for awhile; Elder and Sister Scoville will arrive, back to finish serving their mission, on Wednesday of this week. I so admire their desire to come back, where it could have been so easy to stay in the States. I hope they are blessed to have no more medical problems. We look forward to having them back and so do the missionaries; We will be moving into the apartment next door as everything is ready enough to do so. It is good timing, as our water heater did not work this morning, so we were able to shower at the other apartment. With the weather being cooler, it would have been a very cold shower for sure. Thank goodness the couples have the luxury of hot water, as the young missionaries do not. This mission will prepare them in ways that will bless them their entire lives if they remain faithful and are obedient. 

With love,
Sister Avery (mom, grandma)