Monday, October 5, 2015

October 2015 Winding Down

Dear Family and Friends,

It is hard to type those words in the title, but our reality is that we will be heading home late next month after our 12 month mission.  Oh how fast it has gone!  I have done a poor job this month taking pictures but I will include a few personal ones for interest.

Missionary Mama after 4 miles
We are allowed exercise time each day, so I was encouraged by my Heather here to train for and run in a Labor Day race.  Others ran 1/2 marathon but Heather (after knee surgery), the grandkids, and I ran 4 miles.  I finished 8th in my age group.  At my age and circumstances, I am just glad to have finished.
Miriam Heath
Rylee Quinn O'Rourke
We have had 2 granddaughters born while on this mission, one to Crishelle in Utah and one to Michael in Wisconsin.  We saw Michael's Miriam at Elder Heath's mother's graveside service in Idaho in July.  Anxious to meet Rylee Quinn.

We made an offer on a home in Riverton, which was accepted, and will be able to move in on our return.  Becky took Steven through it so he can look forward to our moving on to a new phase of our lives in a matter of weeks, having seen where he will sleep and live.  The last leg of his travels is here with Heather in Seattle.  We will take him to our YSA wards and Institute on Sundays and Tuesdays while he is here and then home with us upon our release.  He has just done great these last 10 months. Thanks, of course, to dear children who have made this all possible in taking on that responsibility for us this last year.

One of our wards' bishopric held Conference at their home with a big breakfast brunch in between sessions.  Clearly the local leaders are doing all they can to further the work here with these young people in providing safe and happy events. We are so overjoyed to be part of their lives at this time.

We continue to love our mission.  This CES mission was the best for us in so many ways.  We love so much to teach these exemplary young adults and associate with them in their activities.  Several are mission-bound or marriage-bound or college completing or running start at Bellevue College (high school students who accelerate their education by attending college before high school graduation).  We have enough down time to recuperate from the cooking and the teaching and the lesson prep to deal with any health obstacles that have arisen.  Several sets of elders assigned to one of our wards have come to our place many times for ice cream and gospel instruction and discussion. The member-missionary firesides held each month are just glorious as we hear from new converts and the missionary choir sings with heart and soul,  Nothing quite like a missionary choir.

Our new mission president and his sweet wife, President and Sister Schofield, are just great.  Because of their association with our good friends, Jack and Janice Parker from Springville, we have a more familiar association with them than we did with President Choi.  CES missions are a different assignment than most senior missions, as I have mentioned before, and are not in the main flow of mission activities, but as Sister Schofield says:  We each have our own assignments and responsibilities.  As mentioned before, our assignments come from CES. And President Schofield is our ecclesiastical leader.

We were particularly uplifted by all the sessions of General Conference this last weekend.  I loved the support for new apostles.  Some of you may remember that Tina and Jason's wedding was Elder Rasband's first performed sealing after he became a general authority years ago, (He was Jason's mission president.)  I particularly missed Elder L. Tom Perry--his voice, his countenance, his always meaningful message. Clearly the Sabbath Day was a thread throughout the messages of conference.

Because of what we are teaching at Institute this week, M. Russell Ballard's talk resonated:  The "Old Ship Zion" that takes us through the unpredictable waters of mortality.  The church is the vehicle we take to get back to God.  The Plan of Salvation is the map.  No matter our burdens we can be uplifted at church in the associations with God's children who are all trying to progress back to God.  Prophets are neither perfect nor infallible but God's mouthpiece for the direction of our lives.  And, oh, the rewards yet to come.  Sail on.

Thanks to all of you.  We have felt your support and your prayers.  We are so proud to be counted among God's serving missionaries and so very grateful for this assignment.  Love to you all.  Elder and Sister Heath.