A new home for Days for Girls Utah! Building Q is soon open for business!

2015-6-29 Team Farewell at QToday I said good bye to more of my dearest friends ever–Debbie Young, Melissa Clark, Wendy Barton and I met in our new DfG digs in north Orem, where we have been moving things from our homes, into beautiful new work rooms.   There are a lot of things about walking away for 3 years that are Not Easy.  This was one.  We finished our MTC training Sunday and had one last day at home before we leave in the morning.  Of course I had to go see the progress being made at Building Q.  It’s going to be fabulous!IMG_9722 IMG_9723 IMG_9724

Below is the workroom, set up with dozens of sewing machines and sergers.  In the next day or two these shelves will be filled with projects we need help with. IMG_9729 IMG_9730IMG_9727These women are absolutely amazing.  It’s hard to believe all that has happened in the last two years, especially in the last 6 months since we formed Days for Girls Utah.  We have each been working around the clock, every day of the week, trying to keep up with the demand.  We’re helping with about 40 girls camps this summer, which is huge.  Thousands of young women are up in the mountains cutting, tracing, and assembling kits.  The work is already coming back to us in truckloads.  We are grateful for these selfless young women and their leaders.

Now we will have a permanent space where people can come to us to help.  We’ll be opening our rooms in Building Q next week, starting on Wednesday and Thursday, July 8 and 9 from 10:00 to 2:00, evenings by appointment.  We are so excited.  We hope to see many of our friends each week.

In the last 6 weeks, we’ve sent out about 6000 kits.  We are sending 900 kits to Kenya this week.  They’ll go to our dear friend Naomi who visited us here in March.  Other kits have gone to Ghana, Rwanda, Guatemala, Liberia, Honduras, India, Nepal, Congo, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Cape Verde, Haiti, Uganda and Thailand.  That’s 23 countries receiving our Utah kits in the last 6 weeks!  Absolutely Amazing!

Here are our friends in Switzerland, who held their first big event last week.  Katharina Odavic, our dear Swiss friend helped to organize this event in St. Gallen Stake.     2015-6-26 Switz 1  2015-6-26 Switz 52015-6-26 Switz 3  2015-6-26 Switz 2

And the photos below came in today from Ghana!  Dear Bernice delivered kits at Kumasi, Oniwaa International school. Look how many girls’ lives changed today!  2015-6-29 Ghana2015-6-29 Ghana 1 2015-6-29 Ghana 2Tomorrow morning we get in a car and drive to Washington.   Leaving this is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.  It tears my heart out to walk away from it all.  I’ll be watching from there, as the joy continues to spread here.  I’ve packed enough supplies to teach the missionaries in our mission about Days for Girls and help them become involved in the communities where they serve.  It’s going to be fun.   Our first big DfG event is already on the calendar!

So, I’m off to start a new adventure.  A wonderful adventure.   It’s going to be a whole new world of goodness.  I’ll be looking in on DfG Utah as often as I am able.  Thanks to all who have been a part of my life here the last couple of years.  It’s been amazing.

See you in Washington!

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The Missionary Training Center Welcomes new Mission Presidents!

2015-6-26 Map 1We are having a fabulous time at the MTC this week.  We have 4 days of training before we head out to Washington.  There are 126 new Mission Presidents attending the 2015 Seminar.  Every year 1/3 of the Mission Presidents change.  There are 418 Missions all over the world.  Imagine being in a room filled with amazing couples who did not volunteer for this–we were called by a prophet of God.  We did not pick the place where we are going–we were assigned.  And we do not know the people we will serve–yet.

All of us are leaving homes, work, family, children, grandchildren and loved ones to go do hard things for 3 years with amazing missionaries.  Some have sold their homes.  Some are leaving a large posterity.  All of us are just walking away from what is familiar and loved for the next 3 years.  We will likely miss many special events in our families and neighborhoods.  We will miss the warmth of children near.  We will give up hobbies and work we love to do other things we will learn to love even more.

It’s quite amazing to sit in a room full of wonderful couples who are consecrating their lives to help bring others to Christ.  It’s a thrilling sight, and an honor to be taught by our Apostles and Church leaders this week.  It’s hard to leave, but we are all excited to go!

Here are Some interesting facts about this year’s couples:

Where They Are From
85 couples were called from the United States.
8 were called from Brazil.
3 were called form each of the following countries:  Canada, Chile, and the Philippines.
2 were called from each of the following countries:  Australia, Cote d’Ivoire, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, France, Germany, Ghana, Haiti, Hungary, Japan, Paraguay, and South Africa.

Of the 85 mission presidents and wives called from the United States:
46 were called from Utah.
8 were called form California.
6 were called from Idaho.
5 were called from Arizona.
5 were called from Nevada.
2 were called from each of the following states: Hawaii, New York, Texas and Washington.
1 was called from each: Alaska, Florida, Maryland, Mississippi, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Where They Will Serve
The 2015 mission presidents and wives were called to serve in 51 different countries.
33 couples were called to serve in the United States.
9 were called to serve in Brazil.
8 were called to serve in Mexico.
4 were called to serve in each: Argentina and Peru.
3 were called to serve in each: Australia, Canada, Colombia, England, Japan, the Philippines and Spain.
2 were called to serve in each: Chile, COsta Rica, Portugal, Russia, Ukraine, and Venezuela.
1 each in: Barbados, Belgium/Netherlands, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Central Eurasia, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, the Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Haiti, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Korea, Liberia, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nigeria, Normway, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Scotland/Ireland, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad, Vanuatu, and Zimbabwe.

Age
The youngest mission president is 38 years old.
The youngest wife is 36.
The oldest mission president is 67.
The oldest wife is 68.
The average mission president age is 56.
The average wife age is 54.

Converts
39 mission presidents are converts.
50 wives are converts.

Children
The mission presidents and wives have a combined total of 599 children.
The oldest child is 43 years old. The youngest is 1.

Previous Church Service
Mission Presidents:
10 have served as Area Seventies.
59 have served as stake or district presidents.
116 have served as bishops or branch presidents.
15 have served as stake mission presidents.
13 have served as temple workers.
4 are temple sealers.

Wives:
1 has served in the Primary general presidency.
2 have served as auxiliary general board members.
41 have served as ward or branch Relief Society presidents.
65 have served as ward or branch Young Women presidents.
56 have served as ward or branch Primary presidents.
11 have served as temple workers.

Previous Missionary Service
109 mission presidents served as full-time missionaries in their youth.
21 wives served as full-time missionaries in their youth.
24 mission presidents have served as a counselor in a mission presidency.
5 couples have served together as senior missionaries.

Lanugages
170 missionaries are native English speakers.
32 are native Spanish speakers.
19 are native Portuguese speakers.
6 are native Japanese speakers.
6 are native Tagalog speakers.

There are 2 native speakers of each: French, German, Haitian Creole, and Hungarian.
There is 1 native speaker of each: Guarani and Tsonga.

As you can see, this is a fascinating group of amazing couples!  We are having a great time making new friends and hearing about what has brought us together.

Here we are with a group of fabulous missionaries we taught yesterday and today:2015-6-26 MTC District 1

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Moving Day!

2015-6-22 Moving to Q with AdamThere’s lots of moving going on around here!  This photo was taken in front of Building Q, located at 1200 North and 600 East in Orem, where our new Days for Girls Sewing Center is being set up.  Adam helped me empty his bedroom and our garage and haul all the fabric over to our new spaces, where we spent yesterday afternoon assembling shelves and moving things in.  It’s an answer to prayer, just like people are, who come to help.

Today is my last day at home before we enter the Missionary Training Center.  We’ll be there learning until Sunday, then home Monday, then we drive off Tuesday for Washington.  We’ve been hanging out with the kids every spare moment, soaking in their goodness and fun.  Tonight we went for burgers and fresh strawberry shakes.  Our last meal together for awhile.  It was fun.

We’re doing a fair bit of moving here at home too–moving piles from one place to the next, organizing our storage rooms and garage, clearing things out of corners and closets, taking trips to thrift stores with things we no longer need, moving here, moving there.  Next week we’ll move into our new Mission Home in Yakima and start all over again.  It will be nice to be there, and to live simply for the next 3 years.

I did take a bit of fabric along.  I’ve already got several groups of women there waiting.

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God, our Father

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Missionary Farewell Talk, 21 June 2015

Happy Father’s Day!

Every month there are more than 100 billion searches requested on Google. Google (and Siri) have become the sources of knowledge and the bestowers of answers to every question. Even when it comes to spiritual or life questions, it seems that many have stopped asking God for direction and instead turn to their devices. Is it possible that man’s trust is shifting more and more from God our Father to Google?

One of Google’s goals is to understand your mind better than you do so that when you search, the very first answer that pops up is exactly what you want to see. Google indexes
20 billion pages a day, resourcing every possible page on the internet into its system to make sure you get the information you desire.

I had an interesting experience two years ago this week, while in Toronto with my cousin Rick Turley. We were doing research on Theodore Turley, our 3rd ggpa. Here’s what I recorded on June 19th, 2013:

Our most exciting find today was a Sunday Plan, or schedule for the Methodist preachers in the Brampton Mission in Upper Canada in 1836. You’ll see Theodore Turley listed there, and where his preaching assignments are for October, November and December. We happened upon this document in an unexpected way. After several hours of cranking microfilms, looking at The Christian Guardian Newspapers, we were bug-eyed and tired and decided to take a walk from the Library, downtown to where Yonge and King Streets cross, about a mile from where we were. That’s where Theodore’s blacksmith shop was from about 1826 to about 1832. Today it’s in the heart of downtown Toronto, feeling much like NYC. We found the busy intersection there and stopped to eat PB&J sandwiches we packed this morning from the breakfast buffet at our hotel. We looked straight up at the towering skyscrapers around us and tried to imagine being there in the 1830s. We walked up and down each quadrant of the intersection, covering all of our bases (and Theodore’s) before heading back to the Library.

We were a bit discouraged about not finding anything earth-shattering this morning, so we sat and re-grouped for a few minutes, with our laptops and search engines purring. That’s when we discovered something interesting. When you do a common search, your computer reads where you are, and it searches items according to that location, as if it’s doing you a favor. It usually is. What we found today is that when you are in Canada, your search engines search Canadian sources that you may never see in America. All of a sudden, a whole new world opened up to us! We started finding things we’d never seen before when searching the same names, terms or phrases back home.

That’s how we happened onto this Preacher’s schedule. It was in a Canadian student’s thesis paper about women preachers in the 1830s in Upper Canada. One of the preachers listed is a woman. It was something about Petticoats at the Pulpit. Bingo! There was Theodore! You just never know what you may find around the next corner, or in the next search. Now I know one more reason to travel to the places you need to conduct your research. We spent the next 5 or 6 hours at our computers finding all sorts of information that will help us in our quest to know Theodore and his family better.

Depending on what you’re looking for, Google actually gives suggestions more than it gives answers. It determines where you are in the world and it thinks it knows you and your needs, but only as far as the coding will go.

But God, our Father, knows each of you from the inside out, from your past to your future. He’s got every answer you’re looking for, every solution to your problems, every comfort for your distress. And yet, we often bypass His counsel for search engine results, which are usually suggestions and opinions, by those less informed than He.

God’s answers are not always instantaneous. Often He uses time to teach lessons and reveal new things. God’s answers are personal and efficient. They are far-reaching, coming from His perspective, not our earthly view. They can be trusted, even when not understood because he knows us (not just as we are at the moment, but as we have been and will be in the future).

James, thought to be a brother of Jesus, recorded a verse we are quite familiar with:

James 1:5
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God [our Father], that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

It’s almost as if he was speaking to us, in our Google day and age.

Bruce R. McConkie said about this verse: (DNTC, 3:246-47)
“. . . this single verse of scripture has had a greater impact and a more far reaching effect upon mankind than any other single sentence ever recorded by any prophet in any age. 

“It might well be said that the crowning act of the ministry of James was not his martyrdom for the testimony of Jesus, but his recitation, as guided by the Holy Ghost, of these simple words which led to the opening of the heavens in modern times.

“And it might well be added that every investigator of revealed truth stands, at some time in the course of his search, in the place where Joseph Smith stood. He must turn to the Almighty and gain wisdom from God by revelation if he is to gain a place on that strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life.”

One of my dear friends, now living with her family in Qatar, in the Persian Gulf, forwarded to me a letter this week from her son, Elder Jonathan Shumway. He returned home on Thursday from the Melbourne, Australia Mission where he spoke Vietnamese . He shared this testimony:
“I now know not only does God live, but He loves us in an incredible, beautiful way. He sees our potential and never gives up on us. I have seen this play out so many times in this mission. I have witnessed hundreds of people say their first prayers and hundreds more see their prayers answered. I have seen people come into contact with different missionaries several different times, [and] eventually, make that step and begin following Jesus Christ by being baptized. I have seen an investigator I taught be baptized after more than a year of meeting. God sees time differently. He is patient with us, quick to forgive on conditions of sincere repentance, and [He] constantly puts people in our lives that we learn from, so we can become more like Him.”

Many of you know I’ve been very involved the last 2 years with some big projects–some relating to family history, and some to Days for Girls, a humanitarian non-profit I work with pretty much full time. These are things that are not easy for me to walk away from. I’ve had many conversations with friends as I’ve tried to figure out God’s timing for us and where He would have us be. I am grateful for faithful friends who have cheered me on and have blessed my life when I’ve struggled to step away for awhile. One dear friend shared with me this thought from Elder Neal A. Maxwell:

“The same God that placed that star in a precise orbit millennia before it appeared over Bethlehem in celebration of the birth of the Babe has given at least equal attention to placement of each of us in precise human orbits so that we may, if we will, illuminate the landscape of our individual lives, so that our light may not only lead others but warm them as well.”

I have watched first hand, up close, the orchestration of a movement. Every day I’ve watched miracles unfold with thousands of women and young women here in Utah, and in countries far from us. I know God’s hand is in the details. And because I’ve seen His work unfold in my life, I trust Him with all my heart. And I trust He knows where we need to be next.

Trusting Him is what I choose to do. Not man. Not Google. Not my own perspective. I probably would have said, “Maybe next year, not now. I’m too busily engaged in good causes.” Perhaps I am too close to my own self to see His heavenly perspective.

–President Hinckley:
“Can you imagine a more compelling motivation to worthwhile endeavor than the knowledge that you are a child of God, the Creator of the universe, our all-wise Heavenly Father who expects you to do something with your life and who will give help when help is sought for?”
“The Dimension of the Spirit,” Improvement Era, Dec. 1964, p.1092.

When I was on my mission many years ago in South Africa, I attended a Zone Conference at a time when I was feeling down, discouraged and unhappy. I wondered why. I loved my mission and the work we did. I loved the people. I was just feeling a bit confused because I felt a bit down. When we read these verses from King Benjamin in Mosiah chapter 4, my life changed. Whenever I am discouraged or lonely or sad, I recite these words and my heart changes:

9. Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.
10. And again, believe that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them, and humble yourselves before God; and ask in sincerity of heart that he would forgive you; and now, if you believe all these things see that ye do them.
11. And again I say unto you as I have said before, that as ye have come to the knowledge of the glory of God, or if ye have known of his goodness and have tasted of his love, and have received a remission of your sins, which causeth such exceedingly great joy in your souls, even so I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and long-suffering towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly in the faith of that which is to come, which was spoken by the mouth of the angel.
12 And behold, I say unto you that if ye do this ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true.

It has become my quest to know and to listen to God, my Father, so that I might always rejoice and be filled with His love. I feel that love when I seek His wisdom and His guidance and His will.

I am grateful for an earthly father, who listened to a missionary when I was just a little girl. Recognizing God’s will in his life, changed my life too, and all of our family.

I testify, as President Eyring, that
“Logical thinking will not be enough to get answers to the questions that matter most in life. We need revelation from God.”

As we embark on this 3 year mission, away from you and our children, and our work, I trust that God is at the helm. He knows us, and where we need to be. And I have no doubt we will be filled with His love and always rejoice as we try to do His work.

Testimony

2015-6-21 Farewell Sunday with SistersThe best part of our Farewell Sunday today was meeting 5 of our recently-called Elders and Sisters.  Here are  Sister  Sandra Atkinson and Sister Madison Averett!  Oh my, this is going to be fun!  I wish I had photos of all of them.  We will be reunited soon in Yakima!

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A Family Farewell Gathering

IMG_9180 IMG_9210   IMG_9216  IMG_9212IMG_9221 IMG_9186   IMG_9176   IMG_9234IMG_9208

IMG_9171   IMG_9178   IMG_9218IMG_9172IMG_9222   IMG_9191   IMG_9196IMG_9248IMG_9209   IMG_9219   IMG_9201IMG_9177IMG_9227  IMG_9160 IMG_9199   IMG_9204IMG_9242   IMG_9213IMG_9256IMG_9272

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It’s a science thing

As You Leave card
This card cracks me up.

Today the moving truck comes to take our things away.

Yesterday was my last Days for Girls event here.

I’m sitting at my computer looking at this card like I have nothing else in the world to do.

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Happy Birthday, Aaron!

Aaron Lewis Birth Day

On this day, 20 years ago, Aaron entered our happy family.   He has been a joy to have around ever since.  We miss having him near us now, but love knowing he’s doing a good work in Chile.  He’ll complete his mission at the end of the year.

From today’s weekly letter:
Hey family!!! wow, sound like you have all had a great week!  Especially special with the setting apart.  It sounds like it was a wonderful experience.  As it was happening, I was on my way to the hospital!…hahha a nice, big dog BIT ME yesterday! right in the upper hamstring.  It took a nice chomp and left a pretty nasty bite mark, so I had to do a bunch of procedures, and we ended up going to the hospital to get it checked out and to get my vaccinations.  (I have to get 6 in total).  The bite isnt bad; he said that it was very superficial, it didnt even rip my pants, but still we have to take all the medial procedures.  So I guess we were both having very unique experiences at the same time hahah.  

Lewis, Aaron, Pre-school

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