Sunday, June 21, 2015

June 2015

June 21, 2015

Hello Dear Friends and Family,

Another wonderful month in the land of my birth.  We have rarely seen rain this last month and have even enjoyed sitting outside in the sun during lunch breaks and study time.  It was a bright sunny day when we took a Lake Washington cruise with other senior missionaries.  (Highlights:  Bill Gates 124 million dollar home, 66,000 square feet, and Husky Stadium)

We have finished up our quarter at Bellevue College.  Won't resume teaching there until the Fall, but are slated to teach Institute, Pearl of Great Price, on Tuesday nights for the summer at the church behind the temple.  Inserted is a picture of our college students minus one.  It was a rewarding quarter, as we added to our initial class numbers and finished up the Doctrine & Covenants curriculum.  We learned to love these kids.  Most will not return in the fall, so our closing class had a sadness to it, but we gave them our best stuff and the Lord's good doctrine and all of our testimonies grew as the Spirit testified to truth.  With Christ at the center of it all and the plan of salvation to show them what can be in store for them if they are valiant, we found hope and happiness and optimism with them in a dreary and wicked world.  Several are going on missions or going to BYU or BYUI and we hope we sent all of them out a little better prepared for "the places they'll go,"
Students from the Bellevue College Institute with Elder and Sister Heath, Spring 2015

We have found so many funny connections, as the church makes the world small:  missionaries here that know our new friends from the MTC who are in Scotland, a dear brother who we work with in Institute whose aunt was married to Elder Heath's uncle in Idaho, several who have connection to my brother, Steve Bramwell--knee surgery or church basketball or he was their bishop or in their stake or they went to a fireside he presented on surviving his plane crash or UW football, our daughters' Seminary teacher from Boise who heads up Institute at UW and will soon be the regional director of Seminary and Institutes here, a man raised in Plain City, Utah, a little tiny town where the Bramwells started out, a student in our college class that lived in Silverdale and knows and loves my sister Pat Dodge, one of our YSA's grandfathers taught in Seminary by Elder Heath's father in Idaho.
Sister Heath with brother Steve and sister-in-law Lynda
Our replacements from Colorado have received their mission call and we have talked to them.  It is sad to be talking about our replacements but we realize they need to have things set for the next quarter when we leave,  We can tell them how our last 6 months have been but things may be different for them when they come because they will have a new "file leader" and a new mission president.  We will miss Brother Manwaring who has been awesome, in today's vernacular, but is being transferred to the Tacoma Institute.  We look forward to working with our new director, Brother Ron Moore.  The new mission president is good friends with the family of one of our very best friends in Springville, so the connections continue. Our current mission president's next assignment is in the area presidency in the Far East and will be "over" our granddaughter who is serving a mission in Japan.

This next picture is of two precious girls from the Sammamish Valley YSA ward who just recently took out their endowments on the same day.
Mercedes, Sister Heath, and Martha, Sammamish Valley YSA ward

Steven is coming up for a week's visit next week and will return in the fall to finish out our mission, which will wind up the end of November.  He is a "new and improved" version and he says he likes the new Steven.  The girls have been able to work with him on improving his grooming and eating and social skills.  I assured him I would not let him regress when we get home.  We "chat" several times a week.  We will ever be grateful to children who took on that responsibility so we could be here,

Since I am in the land of my birth, I would like to include as part of this post an excerpt from my "Home" essay that I wrote years ago that I shared with our students the last week of class:  "If home is where the heart is, then I am a well-traveled girl, who has been to the heights of heaven and the depths of hell and found love and peace and joy in a seemingly mediocre existence.  You can find "home" again, too.  You can find it as you strive to make your home a refuge from the world.  You can find it within the walls of a church whose only goal is to help very imperfect people be better tomorrow than they are today.  You can find it in the presence of your children as they incorporate the eternal values and await your direction to lead them to a better life.  You can find it in discarding the shackles that bind you when you choose things contrary to the laws of God.  You can find it in the great sisterhood of the gospel where there is instruction and friendship and support.  And most of all, and best of all, you can find it in the loving arms of a Heavenly Father who waits for you, anxiously hoping to hear you say, "Father, I am coming," where instead of walking away from the light, you turn around and face the Son and take that step towards "home."

God bless you all.  Thank you for your prayers.  We are so very happy here serving the Lord teaching this new young generation.  Love,  Sister Heath