Saturday, February 21, 2015

End of February

Hello Dear Ones,

Everything is relative.  We have been enjoying the winter here in Seattle, rain and all, because we compare it to Utah snow where we would have been this winter and of course the extreme weather on the other side of the country.  Also, it has brought back the sounds and smells of my youth in Bremerton, making it all the more sweet.

I understand better the whole food thing in working with YSAs.  A CES missionary should be aware that food prep is involved, but the great thing that comes out of it is that it shows them you care.  My daughter Becky reminded me of that as she contributed to the recipe book that my girls put together for me.

We have inserted an unexpected goal for our mission:  Reading the Book of Mormon in 90 days, one of the YSA ward challenges.  We have added it to our study time each day.  And I have loved diving into the resource materials and scriptures for our teaching.  Every time I teach I am grateful for the foundation of truth from previous decades that has prepared me for this time.

We have made progress on the name remembering this week again of our 2 wards and of the Institute kids that do not attend a YSA ward.  Our supervisor told us that these kids don't like any word better than their name.  Truly the Lord has helped us in this goal,

These kids are so great.  It is just so joyful to be with them. Our two classes at Bellevue College are very different, one with older kids and even an RM or two and the second has mostly "high school" kids attending college and on the "Running Start" program, getting college credit for both school and "religion class" at BYU or BYUI.  Our grandson did that at Salt Lake Community College, so we were somewhat familiar with the program. 

We are trying to attend all the 2 wards' activities, including ward temple night or assignments.  We have been given contact lists for "at risk" members and have so enjoyed the visiting that comes with those.  I thought I would step back and let Elder Heath take the lead but my "confidence has waxed strong in the presence of God" (D&C 121) as we approach these youth.

Elder Heath and I have become a good "team" in teaching.  We weren't sure how that would work out but we both love teaching these kids so much and splitting the time is a good model for us and for the kids.  Elder Heath had a chance to teach 70 kids this last Tuesday in the night Institute.  Several told him after that they felt the Spirit as he taught, so the Lord has truly sustained us in this calling.

I have seen so many beautiful mission blogs but not having schooled myself in formatting, posting pictures, etc. before we came (I am sure if I had done Facebook more, that would have helped) I hope you will accept my "stick man" version.

We love the Lord.  We love the associations of the mission, CES, priesthood leadership, and especially the youth.  We appreciate your support and prayers.  We feel strengthened by them.  We pray every day for Steven and for those who care for him.  We thank God every day for this calling,  The church is true.  God lives.  And Jesus is the Christ.  This I know.  Love to all.  Sister Heath.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Launch of Seattle mission blog

Dear Friends and Family, near and far,

I am new to this blog thing, so please be patient with my clumsy attempt.  In the end, I guess it is like journaling in a public way.

Introduction:  Elder Heath and I originally got a call to the Federal Way Mission as CES (Church Education System) missionaries with intent to teach Institute in the Bellevue area.  But the call was changed because Bellevue is in the Seattle Mission.  Because I was born and raised in Bremerton, this is like coming "home."  And I have some family in the area. Bruce lived for a time in Vancouver, Canada, so he has driven through this area and feels "at home" as well.

Because I have sent out a couple of mission reports already, I will not begin again, but will pick up from here.

Now that we know more fully our responsibilities and assignments, we have dived in and just cannot believe how joyful this experience has been so far.  We loved our MTC 10 days and met some truly incredible people.  Brushing shoulders with God's truly faithful ones was a spiritual high for us.  Our district especially was a special group which we were honored to be part of.

One of the things I was most worried about was remembering names of a couple of hundred kids.  I have asked for a special blessing from Heavenly Father, as part of my "mantle," so to speak, and He was been generous in sustaining my memory, as we associate with the 2 YSA wards and the Institute kids.  There is some overlap there, but not all.

We knew that cooking would be part of our assignment, providing snacks and meals.  Part of me was really dreading this, since that has not been part of my daily life so much the last 12 years.  However, with Heather's breadmaker in my possession and the assignments spread out over the week, I have found it fun to cook again.  Though my girls provided me with several big group recipes, I neglected to put in my own cookbook, which I regret.  Have you heard?  CES = cooking every second, or, Come, Eat, Stay.

Elder Heath and I have found that we need to "pace" ourselves.  We have a few hectic days in the week, but respite and recovery time in between.  We are trying to attend all the youth activities in both wards and visiting those the priesthood leadership has listed for us, which keeps us somewhat "on the run."  I have especially enjoyed the study time.  We are teaching the Doctrine and Covenants, and diving into the Seminary and Institute manuals, but are also reading together the Book of Mormon, following a reading challenge by one of the YSA wards.

We are both teaching, typically each taking half the class, teaching a total of 4 classes a week.  I am prejudiced but I do love to hear Bruce teach.  He really knows his stuff and has such a gift, but I am holding my own, as I have loved the doctrines and truths of the gospel all along these many years.

My brother Steve is pretty well known around this area for many reasons.  When some of the priesthood leadership discovered he was my brother, the expectations of us went through the roof.  So hope we can live up to what is expected of us here. 

We have had some pretty rough years of late, with Bruce's health issues, Steven, and a work situation that became toxic to me, so this experience is a bit like a "breath of fresh air" and we feel like the windows of heaven with all its brightness has been opened to us.  We love this work, we love the associations with SO many good people, we love our living situation which puts us right in the middle geographically of all our responsibilities, and we just can't believe every day how happy we are doing this.

I would expect to write on this blog every week or two, if you would like to peek in.  I often consider the economy of God.  Well, in the economy of mission reporting, a blog seems the most efficient way to reach the most people who have interest.  Life is good.  God is good, and we pray He will bless you in all of your wants and desires.  Yours in the Gospel, Elder and Sister Heath