Tuesday, September 1, 2015

End of August 2015

Dearest Family and Friends,

Haven't taken many pictures this month but didn't want to miss being in touch.  Just realized I did not write in July so I am already a month late on my self-imposed monthly report schedule,

Elder Heath's mother passed away in July, so we ended up having a sweet reunion with family and friends in Utah and Idaho for a couple of days.  His mother was a good and faithful soul every 92 years of her life.  So many of my good recipes are hers, including the toffee that I make at Christmas and the cran-apple jello I make at Thanksgiving.  She taught me how to make homemade noodles, a mainstay in our home over the years.  She and Bruce's sister taught me how to crochet, which has been a lifetime enjoyment to me.  Elder Heath will miss his weekly visits when we return, but know she is happy to be where she is now,  Again we are grateful for the knowledge we have of good works and eternal reward.
Elder Heath and his 2 best friends at his mother's viewing, Glenn Hansen and Jack Parker

We have had the most rewarding summer teaching Pearl of Great Price on Tuesday nights.  It has been the "high" of the summer for us.  Elder Heath and I continue to improve our "tag teaching" with both of us taking the class time.  The students seem engaged and their testimonies growing, based on their comments and discussion and eagerness to learn.  We have received our fall assignment for teaching at Bellevue College:  Old Testament.  We will teach through the Pentateuch before it is time to head home and take off our badges.  Oh what a glorious 2015 it has been for us.  We know when it is time to be released it will be a sad time for us, as we have loved every minute of this mission.

We have had the opportunity to visit with our new mission president about our CES responsibilities here.  In his mission president training he said they do not really explain about the CES couple missionaries. We are missionaries assigned to the Washington Seattle Mission, but our assignments come primarily from the CES Department of the Church.  The mission president is our ecclesiastical leader (like our bishop or stake president).  We had a chance to re-read our mission calls and they say we are called to serve in the Bellevue Institute in the Washington Seattle Mission.  We do participate in the member-mission firesides put on by the mission, baptisms, and quarterly senior missionary FHE, but our assignments are primarily with the Institute and Young Single Adults where we cook, attend their personal activities, teach, "recruit," and associate with them at their church meetings and activities.  We are given ample time to study, prepare, and research for our teaching assignments.  We typically go to the temple (across the street from us) when the 2 YSA wards that we attend have their temple nights.  The YSAs are typically very busy and sometimes have as many as 4 or 5 times where they get together each week..  It is really different from other senior missions where our accountability is primarily to CES.  And CES responsibilities and activities differ some from mission to mission.
Washington Seattle Mission Home on Mercer Island

Our mission covers 8 stakes and 80 units.  Missionary count will top out at 180 missionaries, though President Scofield told us yesterday he would love to have another 10 senior couples.  Some of the senior couples who serve here live in the Seattle area, such as the housing couples who find housing for all missionaries of the mission.  One of the other Institute teachers is also "homegrown."

Steven is currently in Arizona.  He will finish up here in Seattle with Heather and then travel home with us the first of December.  We will have him more involved in our Institute and YSA activities when he comes the next time, though he will continue to stay with Heather in Issaquah.  He is doing really well and the girls have been phenomenal with him.  Thanks to the husbands and children, too, who have been a part of his care.  They make it possible for us to be here.  We will be eternally grateful.

Teaching like we have has really solidified all the truths I have collected these many decades of my life.  We have found many opportunities to use in our teaching the things we have learned over the years.  It is like we prepared our whole lives for this time and opportunity.  Glad my kids got some of it as we learned along, too.  We all are adding pieces to our "puzzle" with every day and it has been so great to help these young people add pieces to theirs.  We have seen many "aha" moments for them as they clarify and expand a precious understanding.  Truly the Lord has expanded our talents and our testimony.  Thanks to all who follow us and support us.  This is a glorious time for us here,  My father-in-law often said his very most precious memories of his life were when he helped to "build the kingdom."  We are experiencing that as well.  Love to all.  Elder and Sister Heath