Files From the Mission Field

The S's had a one year old child who fell in their pool.  He lived in a vegetative state for 4 years, then one day - inexplicably - he stopped breathing and died at age five.

Sister T's son died in his 50s of alcoholism.

The A's had an athletic son who was married, a student at BYU, who died suddenly at age 25 of an enlarged heart.

Sister H's 11 year old son died in a boating accident.

MC had a son die of multiple sclerosis in his 40's.  She also lost 3 children at birth.

No parent should have a CHILD die before they do; it's not the natural order of things.

I'm glad for the knowledge we have that we will see our loved ones again.

Too Unbelievable to Believe....

I mean, really?????

Hard times are everywhere.

But, Las Vegas has been hit particularly bad.  They are being overrun with homeless people.

So, recently we learned that:


"Just when you think you have heard it all," the Bishop's wife said, "You hear something like this and think....what in the heck?"


A Better Day

Tuesday was better because:

I talked with three people on my list of candidates who have JOBS.  Oh, I love that!  I'm so thrilled for them when that happens.

I helped a lady who was so appreciative of the help we gave her.  I don't know if she will get a job, but she just kept saying over and over how helpful everyone was and how it had made her day to come in to the employment center.

Today was Sister Water's last day.  So, just as we were leaving our home this early morning to head to the center, Allen went outside and picked two of the most gorgeous roses you have ever seen...just BIG, lush pink roses. to give to sister Waters as a parting gift.  He put them in a lovely vase with a big bow and handed them to her this morning.

Several times during the day, she thanked Allen for the flowers.  One time she said, "I've only been given flowers twice in my life...once from my husband and these today."

I liked this Tuesday.

Monday, Monday

1.  "We have to be on the watch today," the director of the family employment center said early Monday morning after our prayer meeting.

"Fred threatened to kill the Bishop's wife last Friday when she had to tell him that they can no longer give one-night motel stays.  He stood over her desk, leaned down to her face and told her he would kill her!"

2.  "I need a job.  I need help.  I'm an alcoholic," the 49 year old man said to RAH with tears welling in his eyes.

3.  "I was discharged from the Navy before the 4 years were up.  It wasn't an honorable discharge; it was just one step below that...a discharge with honor."  What in the heck is that?!?!??!??

4.  "There's a two-year gap in your employment history here," I said to the young man as I helped him fill out his resume.  "You will have to explain that to an interviewer.  Just be honest."  He stared at me with hostility.

5.  "We really have to limit the services we can provide for people now," said the Bishop's wife to me as I stood by her desk asking about the death threat.  "The people are NOT going to like this at all.  But, there is such a great need world wide that the church is cutting way back in our office."

6. Brooke got a job!

We all shouted HOORAY!

And, so went another Monday, Monday.


A House Becomes a Home...

...when it's messy?????

DC hired the cleaning lady to come clean her home before her family arrived.   Oh, it was spotless and felt so good.  The floors mopped, rugs vacuumed, windows cleaned, beds changed, furniture dusted, cupboards wiped off.

When the first child and her family arrived, they deposited suitcases, toys, books, shoes, backpacks, hoola hoops, Wii console - over the entire front room floor.  The children raced to the windows to look outside - putting fingerprints over the entire front room windows.

When the second child arrived with her family of five, they added more chaos to the confusion, by spilling red soda all over the kitchen floor.

When the last and final daughter showed up with her children, there was no place to put the stuff, so it spilled over in the hallways, bedrooms, bathrooms, laundry room, kitchen counters, and out into the garage.  Quickly one of her children managed to spill glue on the computer keyboard causing it to be stuck for a few hours.

And, DC's house was clean no more.

DC should wait until her company LEAVES before having the house cleaned!


The Children....

They come in with dad and mom, but mostly they come in with a single mom.

They are adorable.

They are 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, baby; all ages not in school.

They are often somber.  Some are playful, but many are very serious.

Some play with the toys, some just stay close to mom.  They are beautiful and I wonder....

"IF they could, what stories would they have to tell me?"

Backpacks and Bus Schedules

I was going to count how many men came in today wearing their backpacks.

However, I was very busy.

So, I didn't count.

But, imagine this - having EVERYTHING you own in a backpack.

Today, one man hesitated to even set his backpack down while he went to work next door at the DI....  "It's got all my belongings in it," he said to the transient bishop.

Another man told me he is camping down the road.  I didn't ask, but I wondered if his sleeping gear was in his backpack.

And because they carry everything with them and have no cars, they need the bus schedules.  I hardly even knew there was much of a bus service in this town!!!!

Oh, yes, there are the green, yellow, red, and blue bus lines.  And, these men learn very quickly which bus goes where.  I'm grateful there is public transportation....

I'm learning so much.....

so many things......

and I'm learning just how important a backpack and a bus schedule really is.


The Good, The Sad, and the Ugly....

THE GOOD......

"Hello," I said to the lady on the phone.

"I'm calling to tell you about a job opportunity that was just posted that might fit what you are looking for."

We visited for awhile and then she said, "I'm not Mormon.  We moved here from the South, but I love how your church is interested and cares that anyone - from any religion - gets a job."

She mentioned other things she liked about the Mormons, and then she said, "My husband and I love the values you teach your young people."

Fun conversation and I just hope she gets the job.  It was a bright spot in a challenging day.


Overheard in the office today....the bishop asking a young, homeless man, "Have you had anything to eat today?"

"My wife wants a divorce," the man wrote to RAH....."she is disappointed in me and my ability to provide for us. "

"I was let go two weeks ago.  The company kept the man I trained because he would work for less.  It's all pretty discouraging."

"I still haven't been able to find a job," said the 82 year old man.

I hate conversations like these.


He lives at the homeless shelter, where you can live for 90 days.  He seems like a very nice person.  He is hard-working and has worked hard all his life (he told me he was about 60).  He has been a truck driver and a cook.

But, his front teeth are missing and he has two long fang-looking teeth protruding at the corners of his mouth.  He has some interviews coming up, but when they see him, his smile is going to put future employers off a little.  

Mondays....always something new and interesting at the LDS Employment Center.


A Passing.....

She was my mother's youngest sibling and last living sibling.

And, she was:


She was the mother of five children and matriarch of a family of over 100.  Most of them lived close by her, and they loved visiting her gorgeous home where she waited with a smile, some food, and time to listen to each one.

For many years she was the librarian in Rexburg, Idaho.  Even till the end of her life, she was reading and keeping up on politics, news, pop culture, family, LIFE.

Every winter, she spent time in St. George.  It was such a great blessing to get to spend time with her in her lovely home.

In a word, Gerry Jacobs was

You will be missed!


I Always Wish....

that things would work out just the way:

they are planned,
hoped for,
people want.

If SDF applies for a dream job, I want him to get it.
If BFH wants that person in her life, I want that to happen.
When JHF plans a big event, I want everything to turn out perfectly.

I don't want there to ever be:

car accidents,
cancer diagnoses,
mental illness,
drug addictions,
child kidnappings,
financial woes....

In other words, I really yearn for



But, that is not the way life IS....

and sometimes, that is hard for me.

So, I will try harder to be grateful for the moments in life that are wonderful:

and there are many of those.


Monday and Tuesday


incredibly busy....every computer, every seat was taken from the early morning until we left.

Homeless, helpless, hapless;, they all showed up today.   (Including one guy who told Allen he refused to sleep at the homeless shelter as they have bed bugs there; so, there you have it; even the homeless have high health standards!)


Wow, so much quieter.  We all actually got some work done...we were all able to contact some of our job candidates.

There were still a few job seekers who popped in....including a young man who wanted a backpack from the bishop.


to put his belongings in.   He had them rolled into a tight bundle that at first I thought was a baby.  He wanted a backpack and one other pair of clothes....good thing the DI is just right through the door.  Then, he was on his way....to the next town, the next transient bishop, the next homeless shelter...it's a sad lot for many people.

I heard such a sad story today of a husband and wife, who took out their retirement savings to pay for their son's addiction recovery....$80,000.00!

The day he graduated from the recovery program, there were tears, promises, hugs, resolves, bright future prospects...the parents put him in a nice apartment....start over, they said.  Within a week, he had sublet the apartment to earn some money, and was back into the drugs.....

His parents have finally, after many many times of praying, paying, forgiving; they finally said....it's over.  Don't come back.  So, he's begging the transient bishop now for help.

WHY, WHY, WHY, do people start on that slippery slope?  Satan, I loathe you.

But, there was a fun, bright spot today....

I met RON....in his 50's.  He drove an armored car in California delivering bundles of money.

"Okay, " I asked him...."I want you to be totally honest.  Were you ever tempted - in the teeniest bit - to take some of the cold, hard cash?"

"Never," he said.  I enjoyed talking with him.  He made me smile....

That was a good feeling in a place where the smiles are few and far between.


His Name is Frank...

and he has no home, no car, no job, no money; just a backpack.

He has been a drifter since 2005.

So, when he came to look for a job, filling out the standard resume was a big challenge.

I'm feeling ever more and more grateful for jobs;

for Brent, Jenni, Sean, Janessa, Justin, Jeremy, Carisa, Kristi, Jordan, Janna.


it's good to be employed.

Homeless in St. George

When she and her husband were called to be the Transient Bishop and Wife Couple, she asked herself,

"Well, it won't be too bad of a calling, I mean, now many homeless people can there be in St. George?"

Now, five months later, she is realizing there are really A LOT.

"Feed the hungry, clothe the naked..."

it has taken on a very personal meaning.


Turning the Corner....

it just means that I'm starting with a new attitude.
Because this is where I am.

I'm not sure that I will ever feel like we were actually called by the Lord to serve here, but it is where I am for one year.

So, I will embrace it, enjoy it, work hard, serve with my might, and most of all; love the people we serve and serve with.


Missionaries on a Saturday Morning.....

How to describe these ladies:


and the best part is that we get to work with them every week.

Sister Hill, Sister Taylor, Sister Bassett, and Sister Waterman, whose mission ends in two weeks.

Thanks, Allen, for a great breakfast and thanks, ladies, for your continued inspiration always.


The Challenge

It's a tough one...

read scriptures for

ONE HOUR every day.

That's what Brother Manord asked us to do when we started our mission.

For lots of years, I have tried to read every day, but sometimes when it's late at night, I might only read one verse.....it meets the requirements of reading every day.

But, this challenge...


every day.

Okay, let's do this thing.


Breakfast at Tiffany's

Oh, they were a beautiful couple.

Handsome, well-built father, beautiful blonde mother and one happy 5 year old child.

In my heart, I was praying so hard that they were not there looking for jobs.

They weren't.

They wanted someone to work for them.

I was so happy.

They had just opened a new restaurant...Breakfast at Tiffany's...the mother is Tiffany.

Ah, a teeny little miracle....they HAD a job.  They want to help employ others.

It was all good!



Chinese Food for the Chinese Teachers' Reunion

Oh my goodness; it was SO fun to see some dear dear friends from the 2010-2011 year in China; here are the Paxmans, the Jeppsons, Gladys Farmer, the Hursts, Wendy Powell; there were others at the event, but I didn't get them in the picture....

How do you explain the bond that we all share:

We didn't work in the same city,
we didn't teach the same subjects,
we didn't have the same exact experiences,


we all lived for one year in the incredible land of China.  We all loved our students, we all loved our experiences in the LDS branches, we all spent time together on busses as we traveled to exotic locales, and we all came to be grateful for an amazing year.

Oh, it was short, but fun to see them all again!

Every Once In Awhile....

...you might be blessed to meet someone nearly PERFECT.

Or, you might be lucky enough to meet four (actually five, but she's not in the picture) nearly perfect people from the same family.

Can you see and FEEL their goodness?

I can, every time I am around them...it's inspiring.

They are kind, thoughtful, gentle, good, caring, considerate, happy; and it's a thrill to be where they are.

I might also add, there's one person missing from this photo; it's our darling daughter-in-law, Amy, who  is the sister, daughter, aunt of these lovely women.

I will just say these are good, good women.

Thanks, Heavenly Father, for letting me know and having them be a part of our lives.

I'm forever grateful.


Why Can't Our Government Be Like Our Church?

OKAY, Washington DC, come on to Utah and see how the church does it....

If the budget has run out of money, it isn't purchased.

If the equipment is old and workable, it is still used.

If there isn't an absolute need, it isn't bought.

There is oversight to see that only what is absolutely needed is purchased.

Conservation - not waste - is practiced religiously.

Oh, I want our government to learn the lessons from the

What's Not to LOVE?

Okay, I admit it.

I love our church.

I'm thankful I was raised a Mormon.

Here are some of the things I love about our church:

 incredible programs for children and teen-agers,

emphasis on education,

emphasis on serving others, thus making a person happier,

a word of wisdom, which if followed, will save our health and our pocketbooks,

the people - in general - are good, good, good.  They are happy and raise wonderful children,

additional scriptures testifying of Christ,

opportunity to contribute financially to a good cause.

Enough already.

I just love it.....that's what I want to say.

Cousins Coincidence

Dixie texted; she wanted to meet us for lunch. Dixie is Allen's 2 or 3 COUSIN; who knows, but anyway, they are related.  She is won...