Monday, December 30, 2013

My Grandfather, Joseph Fielding Smith

Two years ago when we met with Elder Oaks to be set apart for our mission, he told us that the curriculum for 2014 would be teachings from the Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith. We were told, however, to keep that a secret until the church released the information publicly. 
Now that it is public, I wanted to take a minute and share some of my memories of this man, who is also my grandfather. 

I come from his second wife, Ethel Georgina Reynolds. His first wive had 2 little girls and then passed away due to complications with her third pregnancy. He then married my grandmother. She had 9 children and my dad was the 9th--so the baby of 11 children. He and his next older brother, Doug, are the only ones still living. Ethel passed away when my dad was only 10 years old.  After her death, he married Jessie Evans and she did not have any children. Although she was much younger than he was (26 years) he still outlived her by one year. 

My grandfather died when I was just a young girl so I don't have a lot of memories of him, but I do have a few. 

First off--I didn't really realize he was the prophet until I was older. I knew it, but it didn't hold a lot of meaning for me. He was just like any other grandfather to us. He came to visit, we sat on his lap and he told us stories. All of his grandchildren called him "Granddaddy" and knew him as a very kind and loving man. 

The one thing that always bothered me is that when he came to church with us, he always had to sit on the stand. He never just walked up there--even though he was the prophet. He would just come in with us and the bishop would run down and invite him to sit with him.  As a child, I always wished the bishop would not invite him because I wanted to sit with him. As an adult, however, I realized that as the prophet he was presiding at the meeting and had to sit on the stand. I also appreciated his humility in not going up there until he was invited, even though it was his right to be there. 

As I have aged, I have also come to appreciate his patience with us. He had a long hall in his house and the family room was at the end of it. There he would often sit in his favorite chair while we visited with him. For some reason my sisters and I thought it was great fun to shuffle our feet up and down the hallway to build up static electricity and then touch his arm to give him an electric shock. I asked my dad recently why he didn't stop us from doing that and he said, "Because your grandfather didn't mind." 

Also, when I was little I called him "Oh Ho". I would get all excited to go to "Oh Ho's" house. My parents thought that was a little odd and didn't know where I got that name until one day when we arrived and my grandfather walked out to the street to greet us. When he saw me he said, "Oh ho ho ho! Who do we have here?" Then they understood. 

My other memory of him is just that it always felt so nice to be next to him. I remember when he broke his ankle on the steps of the church office building and had to wear a cast. I would sit at his side and scratch his ankle with a hanger (not really a very good idea) when it started to heal and would itch. I was glad to be of help but mostly I was glad for the opportunity to be able to sit next to him and feel his spirit. It was always so calm and peaceful to be there. 

There was a time later in my life when I was on my first mission and going through a very difficult time. I prayed and prayed for comfort and had felt the Spirit but still longed for more. Then I felt a very familiar spirit standing next to me and instantly knew my Grandfather was there at my side. I didn't see him but I did feel him there and was very much comforted by it. 

I am so glad to be able to study his words this year! I really hope everyone will read the historical chapter at the front of the book about his life to get to know him better. But more importantly I hope we all can diligently study and apply his words to our lives.

Lori Smith Wagner

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Look Who Came to Visit!!

Elder Brig Jensen came back to visit!! And he brought his very cute family! We were so happy to see him and meet his parents and brothers. They came for dinner and we had a great time visiting with them. It is always such a treat to see our missionaries after they have gone home--especially when they still look like missionaries! :-)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Our Christmas in Mexico

This was our second Christmas in Mexico and our second year to be away from our family and home in Arizona. But we loved celebrating the birth of our Savior here and with the missionaries. We were very glad, however, that our daughter Camille and her family were able to come and visit us from Colorado. Opening presents on Christmas morning is so much more fun with children!

On Christmas Eve, we had our traditional reading of the Nativity Story. Normally we have the kids act it out but this year our daughter Kathryn drew out the story on the whiteboard as it was read.

In the morning we were so glad to see that Santa found us!! And after opening gifts we quickly made breakfast for ourselves and the two senior missionary couples who work in the temple. (But I forgot to take a picture of them!!) When breakfast ended we began cooking for a missionary open house.

Last year we felt bad for the missionaries who told me they had no where to go on Christmas day, so this year we decided to open our house in the afternoon and invite the missionaries in Guadalajara over--if they wanted to come. About half accepted the invitation and we loved having them!

 We spent many days the week before baking Christmas treats and most of Christmas Eve day cooking beans and meat for chili. We knew that chili dogs and nachos aren't really traditional Christmas fare, but with our large Christmas activities last week and the high number of missionaries invited, our budget was limited.

Here are a few pictures from our day:

And our best helpers when it came to cleaning up . . . thank you, thank you!
A big thanks to all who came and all who helped. We love you and enjoyed spending part of our Christmas day with you all!

And I promise that by next week I will have pictures of the Christmas activities.:-)

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Preview

I haven't had time yet to post pictures of our three Christmas activities, but here is a preview:

It included:
*Hours of sorting through over two hundred ties donated by the Peoria Arizona North Stake to find the very best ones to give to the missionaries, hours and hours of making modge-podged journals for the sisters, and even more hours putting together gift packets for all of the missionaries with many items donated by Lisa Nelson of Scatter Sunshine Gifts. We are so thankful for all of the service rendered by others in behalf of our missionaries. Thank you so very much!!

*Santa Drives a Minivan?? Here in the mission he does! There was much more in this car before the picture was taken, along with six people!! It was a tight squeeze but we made it!
And the missionaries got their packages!
*Decorations with lots of snowflakes . . .

*A marriage proposal?????
And some rather interesting moves! Along with great food and singing!
Most of us had a great time.:-)
More pictures later this week!
Merry Christmas to all!!  

I am off to hug some grandbabies!!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

They are here!!

Last Monday we welcomed 12 Sisters and 1 elder. I am so super sorry that I never took a picture of the elder who arrived at a different time than everyone else!! But I will track him down with his companion and add a picture soon.

However, here are some pictures of the sisters!!

First--Monday morning three awesome sisters arrived from Mexico. We are so happy to have them with us and know they will do great.

Meanwhile . . .around the building and in the parking lot . . .changes were taking place!

 The future trainers waiting to find out who their companions will be
Then around 10:30 at night the American sisters finally arrived at the mission office. We fed them soup and salad and sent them to bed. The next morning they met their companions and were trained. Here they are waiting to find out who their companions will be!
With their companions in front of the temple . . .

Then of course we fed them again (they had breakfast at the mission home). Pizza! 

Poor Sister F. Her companion didn't arrive!! She had visa problems but they told us she would be in for sure two days later. However, two days later she was stuck in Boise due to the massive snow storm that shut down the Salt Lake Airport. So here it is Saturday and she still hasn't arrived. Hopefully she will be here soon. 

And they are off to their areas!! Thank goodness for the assistants who helped with all the luggage!
We were able to see them all again within three days of their arrival. There had been some challenges but all of them were still smiling. That was good to see. We now have 46 sisters in the mission with 2 more arriving any day. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Good Things Come In Threes :-)

For just this week we have THREE assistants!! What fun! And what a blessing! Elder Casas will go home soon, but stayed an extra week to help out with changes, Christmas activities and a lot of training. So fun to have them all working with us!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Final Transfer!

Every six weeks we get our hearts ripped out as another group of missionaries leave to go home. Last night we had the farewell dinner for this wonderful group. We are already missing them!! But we wish them all the very best in their lives at home and look forward to seeing them all again some day.

Elder Roberto Cordón---San Pedro Sula, Honduras
Elder Horacio Cisneros---Cosoleacaque, Veracruz, Mexico
Elder David Marroquin--Monterrey, Mexico
Elder Jared Vazquez--Mexico, Mexico
Elder Jose Casas, Durango, Mexico
Elder Mario Lopez--Chilpancingo, Mexico
Elder Jose Ramirez--Delicias, Mexico
Hermana Noemi Flores--Mexico, Mexico
Hermana Kathryn Wagner--Provo, Utah
Elder Kevin Fox--Flagstaff, Arizona
Elder Tyrell Turley--Rockland, Idaho
Elder Wynston Anglen--Fort Bridger, Wyoming
Elder Lee Jonas--West Jordan, Utah
Elder Cody Snyder--Provo, Utah
Elder Corbin Loveland--Henderson, Nevada

Thankfully, Elder Casas will be with us for one more week, and Hermana Wagner will be with us for two more weeks. 

Congratulations also to Elder Ramirez, Elder Casas, Elder Lopez, Elder Cordón and Hermana Flores for taking the English test!! The other native Spanish speakers will be taking it soon at home. Good job everyone!!

And of course we made the work up until the very end. While waiting for dinner they spent their time coloring bags that will be used for Christmas gifts for the elders. Thanks so much!! You all did great!

And a couple more pictures . . .