The East European Area President, Bruce D. Porter, his wife and son (who served in this mission 12 years ago) and our mission president and his wife, President and Sister Schwab, were here for our zone conference on Friday. One of the blessings of being in the mission field is being taught in such a personal way by these brethren. It is amazing how our Heavenly preserves and prepares our leaders. President Porter, who you will be familiar with because of his service in the Second Quorum of the Seventy since 1995 and First Quorum since 2003, came out in August. He has had twelve surgeries in eleven years including kidney and open heart. Even with less than perfect health he is happy and positive and gives his all in his service. His talk, Beautiful Morning in the April 2013 conference is worth your time.
President Schwab, after he was called, found out, through a series of small miracles, that he had thyroid cancer that was progressing toward his lungs, but they caught it in time. He had the surgery and the radiation treatments and was only a couple of months late making it out here. And he too gives his all to his calling. Their counsel and teaching and that of their wives is testimony building and life strengthening - and it is good to hear it all in English.
This was a little tiny dog that climbed up this ladder - way high - and then when signaled, jumped from there into the cape/apron that the one clown in the striped pants was using.
She is just getting ready to do some tricks
This is the front of the program. The young man on the top left of the picture did his act, which was a combination of almost every routine you see gymnasts do, but he has the bands which extend from the top of the building on his wrists or legs and he is swinging through the air while he is doing the stunts. It was pretty impressive. Zhenya Markelov and his wife, Lena and two children, and Lena's mom - here from Pocatello Idaho where she has lived for seven years - were with us. The children always make something like this more fun. Andre is only a little over a year and they wondered about taking him, but he was fascinated the whole time.
We have permission from some members to post their pictures - this is one of our Institute Council members and good friend, just set apart for a mini-mission. In this picture President Schwab had just set him apart. He is planning on a mission in August, but will serve a few weeks now until one of our elders returns from a quick trip to the states for an operation on his nose.
Another active young man and good friend. And a Sister Waite who looks a little older, and an Elder Waite who only looks better -- how fair is that. Why do wrinkles look distinguished on a man and make a woman look older.
The young lady in the middle, another who has become a good friend, has been a member a little over a year, she is good to help on lessons, or in this case, to let the new elder - next to her - practice a lesson on her. She will have a great influence in the church here. These youth - and particularly the missionaries - take good care of us.
We went to a wedding reception last night ..if you look really hard to your back left, you can tell me by my dress. Mike was taking pictures. They have special numbers and games and dances, and we did get some dancing. We still think they are a bit surprised that people our age can move that fast. Most of the people here have good rhythm and youth and non-youth can really get out and move.. it is very fun. Reminds us of the parties Dad and Mom Waite used to tell us about when they were raising their families in Bunkerville. We do love and appreciate the people here.
Just off our parking lot is a small playground, you have seen pictures before. The net that divides the two is their volley ball net in the summer. Makes you more grateful for those big lawns and parks and ball fields we have at home.
It is really beautiful here, the trees are full and green. Many people out walking, evenings especially are nice and the sun doesn't seem to go down until around 8:00 p.m.
Pictures, but not many words this time .. got a late start. Thought we would share the scripture with you that Elder Porter shared when they were talking about some of the things the missionaries face on the streets and the protection they have. D&C 84:88 .. "for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you to bear you up."
To close - we received a letter - guess those are called emails these days - from my cousin Alice Lynne who spoke of wanting in her home that comforting, warm spirit. She teaches us all a short clear lesson on the importance and far reaching effects of prayer ..."I tried to have that feeling in our home, but didn't know what it was, until I found out that getting it there was as close as my knees."
Thanks again to all of you for your friendship and your prayers and for all the things you have done for us and out family for so many years.