Called to Serve

Called to Serve

Saturday, May 28, 2016

April Blog

Since this was to be our last month in our Mission, it was a very unusual month for us. We did our usual volunteer work and we enjoyed our District Meetings and our Zone Training Meeting. However, we put in an extra amount of effort to visit the members of the Branch and to help out several others before our departure to Arizona.

Since our Mission was officially over on April 26, the end of the month was especially hectic. We spent time seeing lots of people and preparing for our trip home. Then we packed the car and drove to Marc and Kathy Clay’s home on April 24. The next day, we were thrilled to go to the Priesthood Restoration site in Harmony, Pennsylvania. Then, on the 26th, we joined the other departing missionaries along with President and Sister Rogers at the Palmyra Temple. When we finished there, we drove to visit the Kirtland, Ohio sites on the 27th. After that, we had a wonderful time with David and Gayle Scott in Lebanon, Ohio and concluded the month with a visit to Dave and Nancy Carlson in Shreveport, Louisiana. It was a great month on all fronts, even if it was a little frantic at the end.

What a wonderful experience this Mission has been for us. We have met and come to love so many new people who are now a permanent part of our lives. In addition, we have had so many wonderful experiences and seen a part of the world with which we have been largely unfamiliar. On top of all of that, we have realized just how blessed we are in our own lives. We will be forever grateful for this Mission and what it has meant to us personally. Thus, this Blog comes to an end for this particular Mission. 

Enjoyed a very quick visit with our granddaughter Kyla.

Palmyra temple with all the missionaries headed home.

At dinner with our landlords, the Greene's.

Our district missionaries

Our district missionaries - one final visit!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

March Blog

We had another wonderful month of service as missionaries here in the New York Utica Mission with our assignment being here in Ogdensburg. It most ways, it was a fairly typical month with visits to our members and investigators on a daily basis. We love being of service to others and this Mission helps us do that. In addition, we had a Zone Conference and missionary transfers during the month. That brought Elder Belnap to us and we said so long to Elders Wendt, Crapo and Bench. We spend a lot of time with the Elders, so when they are transferred we are sad to see them go but, of course, excited about the new ones coming our way.

Early in the month, we said goodbye to Crystal Marsh, who passed away at the age of 33. She was a dear and sweet young woman who was born with Spina Bifida and other complications as well. We would go to cheer her up but always came away cheered ourselves because of her wonderful disposition and positive attitude. Jim was asked to conduct the memorial service and it was a sweet experience. We know that she is now free from a tormented body and will one day receive it back in a perfect state.

During the early part of the month we were so excited to be visited by three of our grandchildren, Kyra, Cory, and Toby. While they were here, we had fun visiting, playing cards and getting their help with our technology issues. Of course, they flew into and out of Syracuse, which is a solid two hours from Ogdensburg.

During the middle of the month, we were thrilled to make another trip to the Montreal Temple and had a wonderful experience there. On our last trip there, we discovered a wonderful restaurant that Linda loved. So, we made a special point of eating there once again when we were headed back to Ogdensburg. Another senior couple, serving just 35 miles from us in Massena, joined us there, which added to the whole experience.

We began the month with a small snow storm but the weather was generally nice throughout the month of March. With spring upon us, we enjoyed seeing the snow melt away and to notice that the trees started the rebirth process as they began to come out of their dormant period. Even the grass was beginning to show more green by the end of the month.

Elder Belnap, Elder Foster & Elder Crapo from our Branch.

This was a learning activity at one of our District Conferences.

There is a sister in the Mission boundaries who crochets slippers for every missionary!  She asks for the size and favorite color then delivers them to wherever the missionary is serving. She has made nearly 500 over the past few years. Her son goes with her to make all the deliveries. 
Showing off our slippers!
This is Sister Stevens from the District who crochets all the slippers.

Jim at work at the Salvation Army. He knows the first name of nearly every person (about 50) that comes in on food give away day.

We had a church ice skating party and our granddaughter, Kyra, was here for a visit. She did really good for her first time!

Enjoyed a few days with the grandkids here. Kyra, Toby & Cory.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

February Blog

We had an amazing February! It began with a Temple Trip to the Palmyra Temple with the Gaines Family. We have worked with that family for over a year. We love them and were thrilled when Bro. Gaines was able to get his life in order and to take his little family to be sealed in the Temple. Fortunately, we were able to be an integral part in that entire process. This will clearly be one of the great memories and blessings from our mission here in New York.

In the middle of the month, we were able to make another Temple trip; this time to the Montreal, Quebec, Canada Temple. We are actually quite a bit closer to Montreal than we are to Palmyra. We love the feelings we experience when we go to the Temple and so this month was a good time for us to enjoy the Temple experiences.

Of course, we have our usual routines, around which we build our other activities. As we mentioned in the January Blog, we enjoy our volunteering efforts with the Salvation Army. Nearly every Tuesday evening and every Friday morning, we can be found there doing our little bit to assist so many others whose needs are greater than our own. Serving others has become a real part of our lives and we love doing it. In addition to that work, we spend much of our time simply visiting people in our little Branch and doing what we can to help them with their lives.

Perhaps one of the best things for us is the association we have with the young missionaries who are serving here in our area. We are so impressed by the quality of their lives. They are faithful, hard-working, and dedicated servants of the Lord and we feel privileged just to associate with them.

We did have some really cold weather in a few spots during the month but for the most part it was just chilly with an occasional light snow storm. After last winter, this winter simply seems to pale in comparison. In truth, we won’t miss the cold weather when we return to Arizona. However, we are not all that thrilled with the prospect of the really hot weather during the summer months there and will probably take advantage of friends and family who live in milder summer climates.

Gaines Family at Palmyra Temple 

President & Sister Rogers (seated center) and the Senior Missionaries in the New York Utica Mission at our Zone Training Meeting 

Frederick Remington Art Museum in Ogdensburg - we hosted the Senior Missionaries from our district (New York Utica Mission)

Our Branch President's wife crocheted ties for our elders

Nipper (on Linda's shoulder)

Jim helping the Marsh Family with their genealogy

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

January Blog


Normally, when we run out of things to say, we talk about the weather. However, that is how we will begin our Blog for January. The weather has been highly unusual for January in the North Country. We had a couple small snow storms but by the end of the month the snow was almost all gone. Wow! We are not complaining and know that we still have some winter ahead of us but this has just been amazingly mild.

During the month, we continued with all of our usual routines, which included volunteering at the Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry for the Salvation Army. We have literally learned the names of nearly all of the people who come to the Salvation Army for those services. In addition, we put our usual 2000+ miles on our car going to and from members’ and investigators’ homes. Included in that is a lot of time providing rides for some of the members who don’t have cars. It is a labor of love!

On January 16th, we made another trip to Montreal to attend our Temple there. Then on the 20th, we were privileged to participate in a Worldwide Missionary Conference where we were instructed by three Apostles and several other General Church Officers. With the technology available, we were able to be here in New York while the instruction was being done in Utah. It was a wonderful meeting!

On a more personal note, we began the New Year with our dear friends, Elder and Sister Clay (Marc and Kathy). In addition, we were able to be in touch with some of our family via Skype and emails during the month. Of course, Linda and Michelle text each other almost on a daily basis. Also, with the help of Jim’s siblings and a real estate agent, our little home farm in Colorado was sold. We actually closed the deal on January 20th.

With the Clay's for New Years

Missionary luncheon in Potsdam

Monday, February 1, 2016

December Blog
We had a busy December to conclude our work here for 2015. Our usual duties of visiting members and investigators continued. We also had responsibilities in the Branch during the week and on Sundays as well. In addition, we had a weekly meeting with the Elders and Sisters in our District, which generally required us to travel to Potsdam, NY, which is about 35 miles from Ogdensburg.
This month we also participated in a Zone Conference at the beginning of the month and we had a wonderful Mission-wide conference in the middle of the month. Then we concluded the month by hosting the Elders and Sisters in our District for Christmas Eve, which included a District Meeting, dinner, and some Christmas Caroling. It was a fun evening. Then on Christmas Day, we had the missionaries at our home for a big breakfast, gift exchange and gift openings. After that, we had a nice lunch and provided our computers so the Elders and Sisters could make their personal calls to their respective families.
We love the Elders and Sisters and feel blessed to associate with them. They are wonderful young people with deep faith and commitment to the Savior. While they have contact with their families via email and snail mail on a weekly basis, they only have the opportunity to talk to them on the phone or via Skype on Mothers’ Day and Christmas. Our capacity to help them with their calls was a privilege.

We celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary in Montreal. We were able to go to the temple, see a few sites and then have a wonderful dinner downtown. It's only a two hour drive from our place here in Ogdensburg so it seemed like a fun place to celebrate.

Our Charlie Brown tree and the Missionaries

Jim in front of the Montreal Temple

Group outside on Christmas Eve - not as cold as last Christmas but windy

Our District Missionaries at Christmas

The shoes lined up from largest to smallest - size 13 to 7

Missionary Pyramid

Missionary Pyramid

Friday, January 1, 2016

November Blog
November marked the one-year anniversary of our missionary work here in the New York Utica Mission. It doesn’t seem possible that we have been here that long. Fortunately, we enjoy the time here and the experiences we are having. We have come to love the people in this area and are glad to be here and able to provide some little measure of help and support.

During the month of November we continued with our routines. We visited with a number of people who seem to suffer from the difficulties that life can bring. In addition, we are both involved with helping our little Branch of the LDS Church here in Ogdensburg try to fulfill its mission. We were also able to help members and non-members with their family history research.

Early in the month we were blessed to have our daughter Michelle and our oldest grandson Ryan here to spend about a week with us. It was fun to have them here and Michelle was even able to get her work done while away from her office it Tucson. Technology can be wonderful!

One of the great blessings in our life is the time we are able to spend with the full-time missionaries in the area. These are wonderful young people who give eighteen months for young women or two years for young men of their lives teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are always amazed by their obedience and commitment and we even get to assist them on occasion when they are teaching investigators.

Of course, on November 4th, Jim celebrated the 40th anniversary of his 29th birthday. Then later on in the month we celebrated Thanksgiving by serving a wonderful dinner at the Salvation Army and then enjoying a great meal with the Gaines family from our Branch. It was a wonderful time and we are so thankful for so many blessings in our life.   

One unusual but happy note is that we went through the month of November without any snow, and the temperatures while chilly, were unseasonably warm for this time of year in the North Country. We suspect that condition won’t hold much longer but we will enjoy it until winter inevitably sets in.  

The McKenzies from Gouverneur who spend 4-5 months in their native Jamaica. 
He is 82 and is always outside working on something in his yard or garden. 
They both have such a great sense of humor - we just love them!

Elizabeth enjoying the music.

Our newest member, Ayden. He is just the sweetest young boy!

We enjoyed having our daughter Michelle and grandson Ryan here for a few days. 
We treated them to lunch at Busters. Good times!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

October Blog

Palmyra Temple grounds
We continued to attend to our normal routines throughout the month, which included visiting many members of our Branch and working with the missionaries when teaching some investigators. We also attended our regular meetings during the week and on Sundays so we stayed pretty busy with those activities. On October 23, we took three of our Branch Members to Palmyra to the Temple. It was such a beautiful day and experience with those good people.

Early in the month, we were thrilled to watch our General Conference proceedings from Salt Lake City. It was great. Then we had a mission-wide conference, which was led by Elder Randall K. Bennett of the Seventy, a General Authority of the Church. After that, we hosted Elder Marc Clay, an Area Authority Seventy here in Ogdensburg. We have known Elder Clay and his wife Kathy for over 30 years. In fact, we once lived in the same Ward in Columbus, Ohio. They have remained dear friends for all of these years.

Near the end of the month, we were excited to have one of our granddaughters, Courtney Seymour and her daughter (our great-granddaughter) McKenzie, come from Ohio for a short visit.  We had a great time with them. We were so glad that Courtney was able to make the trip with McKenzie. It was so much fun to have little McKenzie around and to get to know her a little better. She is two-years old and a total delight!

Fall colors & fun...

McKenzie (great-granddaughter)

Courtney & McKenzie at Alexandria Bay

Over 6,000 pumpkins were used for this festival in Canada - about 30 minutes away.