Wednesday, June 25, 2014

MTC Experience--Incredible!

Our first day at the MTC.
Our few days in the MTC were truly incredible! We were taught by the First Presidency, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, members of the Seventy, and people from the missionary department. Every talk and class we attended were wonderful. We felt very spoiled to be surrounded by the Lord's chosen servants. During our time at the MTC we heard each of the First Presidency and members of the Quorum of the Twelve testify of the Savior. The Spirit was so strong. It was an experience we will always treasure.

The 8 mission presidents and wives going to the Philippines plus 2 of the Seventy and wives.

We also loved being with the other mission presidents and wives. There were 130 couples going to missions all over the world. We were able to meet and visit with a large percentage of them which we really enjoyed. It was great to be able to visit with people who understood your concerns, fears, and feelings of being overwhelmed as well as the feeling of appreciation for the trust that had been given to us to serve in this calling. We pray that all of the things we were taught and the spirit we felt will continue to lift and strengthen us as we leave to the Philippines. It was a wonderful few days and it was hard to leave realizing that it had been a once in a life time experience (as well as knowing we were leaving for the Philippines in the morning).
Our Preach My Gospel Trainer
Our Tagalog Tutor

With Wesley's mission president and wife (he is from the missionary department).

Meeting our one missionary at the Provo MTC.

The traditional photo by the map!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

An amazing experience!

Elder Lynn G. Robbins, Elder Neil L. Andersen, President & Sister Mangum   
     We began the day by attending the Mount Timpanogas temple with my sisters, Sheri and Shana. We had a sweet experience. Then at 4:00 p.m. we met with Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Lynn G. Robbins, a member of the Presidency of the Seventy. They greeted us at the door of an impressive room in the Church Administration Building that we found out was the room where the Apostles meet each Tuesday morning. After greeting Bart and me they asked Bart to introduce them to each of our children and their sweethearts and Bart's parents. Elder Andersen and Elder Robbins then sat across from us and we had a fun visit with them for a few minutes before they each shared some counsel with us. Afterwards Elder Andersen set Bart apart as the Mission President for the Philippines, San Pablo mission and then Elder Robbins set me apart as a missionary and companion to Bart. Both blessings were powerful and it was an amazing experience. The experience was even sweeter being able to share it with our children and parents. I feel our daughter, Brittney and my parents were able to join us as well; although we couldn't see them we felt their presence for this special occasion.

Monday, June 16, 2014

The adventure is about to begin!

     I can't believe in less than a week we will be at the MTC! The last months have been very interesting and we have experienced a wide range of emotions as both of my parents passed away and we received our mission call and assignment to serve in the Philippines, San Pablo mission.

     On September 20, the day after my mom's funeral, I was relaxing and watching my granddaughter Ari when the phone rang. When I answered it was a woman from Elder D. Todd Christofferson's office asking for Bart! He was at work and I called him with the message to return the call and the appointment was set for 3 weeks later. We met with Elder Christofferson on October 11 for an initial interview. Elder Christofferson was kind and personable. It was an interesting and humbling experience to be asked questions by an apostle. At the end of the meeting he asked us both to bear our testimonies. That was an experience I will always remember. Although I was nervous it was a sweet experience to visit with this great man and feel the Spirit during the process.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson
     On October 28 we met with President Henry B. Eyring where he extended a call to Bart to be a mission president in an English speaking mission. He then extended a call to me to be a missionary and companion to Bart in whatever mission he presided in. Wow, talk about a surreal experience! President Eyring was warm and friendly with a great sense of humor. We visited about an hour and had a wonderful experience as he counseled, encouraged, and taught us in his loving manner. What an overwhelming but amazing experience!
President Henry B. Eyring
    We shared the news with our children and grandchildren a couple of weeks later and then with our parents and siblings at the end of the month of November. There was excitement and tears shared. All of our family have been very supportive and encouraging about our mission call. On December 13 with our children and their spouses we opened the letter to read our assignment. Although we knew it was possible that we could go to a foreign, English speaking mission, we all felt it would be the United States or Canada. We were surprised to read that we had been assigned to the Philippines, San Pablo mission!

     Immediately our children were on their phones and iPads looking up facts about the mission area. It was immediately apparent that the area is beautiful. As we have met people during the past 6 months and shared where we will be serving we have heard nothing but wonderful things about the people of the Philippines. We have learned through different meetings that there are wonderful things happening with the growth and establishment of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Philippines and we are looking forward to being part of the work.

      Although this calling and responsibility continues to be overwhelming and it will be very difficult to leave our children and grandchildren as well as Bart's parents and our siblings, we feel humbled to be asked to serve as Mission President and Companion in the Philippines, San Pablo Mission. President Eyring told us we needed to remember that we can not do it on our own--we have no doubt of this fact. We do believe that as we put forth our best efforts to serve faithfully we will be blessed with the enabling power of Christ's atonement and we will be able to accomplish all that our Heavenly Father asks of us. As one friend said, "This is a high adventure mission." We know we are about to have the adventure of a life time that will change our lives as well as the lives of our family.