Monday, January 30, 2017

Well, we have traveled and been in lots of new states.  We left Iowa this morning and went through, Illinois, Indiana, and are now just east of Cleveland, Ohio in Painesville.  Since Friday - Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio.  Tomorrow - Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Ontario.  In Illinois, this morning, we saw a half ton truck with Alberta licence plates.  Haven't seen those plates in a long time, except on our car, of course.  In Indiana, we went through Elkhart, the home of the Charles Walter Piano Company.  Mike used to be the dealer for them in Calgary.  We have one of their pianos in our home.  We will stop in Niagara Falls tomorrow to look around and take some pictures.  We should be in Brampton, tomorrow afternoon - Our new "Home Sweet Home."  We are ready to be in our new home.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Winter Quarters

We arrived in Omaha, Nebraska - Winter Quarters, on Saturday afternoon.  After a super dinner at Mouth of the South (spicy southern cooking), we went to the Visitor's Center and drove around the temple.  The Visitor's Center has a marvelous 15 minute video about the pioneers.  The temple is so beautiful.  The doors appear to be golden.  Today we went to Church in Papillion (part of Omaha).  We then had a short visit with a couple (Elder and Sister Hunsaker) we trained with in the MTC.  He was our district leader for the first week and Winter Quarters is their assignment.  Then we resumed our trek east.  It was interesting to think of the pioneers travelling west in the same area that we are travelling east.  We are in Davenport, Iowa tonight.  We had dinner at an amazing place - Machine Shed Restaurant.  The food is so good.  The United States has sure been very windy since we hit Wyoming, three days ago.

Friday, January 27, 2017

We Have Left the MTC

It is official - we have left the MTC.  This the door hanger than you hang outside your door once you have loaded up all of your stuff.  We drove through Wyoming today and are staying is Sidney, Nebraska.  Wyoming was something very different.  The landscape was very different, yet beautiful.  We felt like we were in the Wild West.  We went through Fort Bridge (no Rendezvous), Laramie, and Cheyenne.  Lots of roads and shops were named Maverick, Bonanza and even Outlaw.  We saw the sunset of 360 degrees.  There were colors everywhere.  We had sun, blue skies and dry roads.  We also had a lot of 40+ mph winds and a lot of blowing snow.  I had the fun job of driving through most of that while Mike snoozed.  Tomorrow, we will get to Omaha and visit Winter Quarters.  Our first District Leader and his wife got there two days ago to serve there.

Week Two District

This is our Week two District.  All of us are going to mission offices around the world with various assignments.  We had super instructors who were very patient with helping us old fogies learn computer skills.  The young girl in the middle is Sister Stratton, an instructor.  It was another week of brain overload.  I was very glad that I did have some computer skills, but very glad to learn some new tricks with Outlook, Excel and Word.  The program we all had to learn for the missionary stuff is called IMOS.  It sure can do a lot of things.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Weekend of Rest

Saturday was a day of sleep for me.  Mike read and watched some videos. Saturday night, we went to dinner with Bob and Larilyn Dang at Cafe Rio.  Bob and Mike were mission companions many years ago on the Navajo Reservation.  The Mexican food there is really good.  That place is very popular and was really hopping while we were there.
Sunday we went to our Sacrament meeting in the international branch.  Those elders and sisters are so sweet and humble.  We then came back to our room and watched Music and the Spoken Word.  This is always so good.  Mike then went to Priesthood meeting and I had another long sleep.  Mike went to the Sunday Devotional.  Elder Allen is the managing director of the Missionary Department and was the speaker.  He called up about a dozen young elders and sisters and asked each one of them what they gave up to come on their missions.  Some of the answers, I guess, were quite humorous.  One young Elder Osmond, gave up his family.  He is Donny Osmond's youngest son.
Today we started our training for serving in a mission office.  There are five couples and two senior sisters in our group.  This training is all on computers.  I have learned a couple of new tricks in using Word and Excel.  Three more days of training and then we are off!
It has snowed off and on today and there is supposed to be a bad storm coming in from somewhere.  Part of I-80 in Wyoming is closed already.  We will be taking that route on Friday.  We are hoping for much better weather by then.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Mission District January 16, 2017

This has been our mission district for this past week plus two of our instructors.  These are such super people, very humble and so special.
From left to right:  Brother Webber and Sister Rawle (2 of our 3 instructors), Elder and Sister Swendsen, Elder and Sister Hunsaker (district leader), Elder and Sister Redd, Elder and Sister Watabe.  We just love all of these wonderful people.

Mission Group January 16, 2017

These wonderful Elders and Sisters have been our training group that started this past Monday, January 16, 2017.  We are in the top photo - second from the right. Some have finished their required training today and will heading to their mission fields in the next couple of days.  The rest are staying on for additional training next week.  They will finish between Tuesday and Thursday.  We finish on Thursday.  We will leave Friday morning and start the five day drive to Brampton, Ontario.  We have made some wonderful friendships here.  Some of these missionaries are on their second, third, and even fourth mission.  They are awesome.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Life is Amazing

We have finished day 3 of our training in the MTC. Our teachers are young returned missionaries and are wonderful. This pace is a wee bit exhausting but it is so inspiring. I am still feeling very overwhelmed.

Last night was a devotional and Elder Soares of the Presidency of the Seventy spoke to us. His talk on missionary work was very inspiring. We had the opportunity to sing with the MTC choir that night. We sang Praise to the Man, arranged by Mack Wilberg. Brother Egget was our conductor and was amazing.

We are learning how to help others come unto Christ. In our first class this morning, we watched a video called "Because of Him." It is amazing. Here is the link:
Copy and paste it into your browser. There are many other short videos at

Monday, January 16, 2017

Training has Begun

We are officially official now that we have our photo in front of The Map!
There are about 40+ couples in our training group.  A lot of them are from Utah and many are going to foreign countries.  Training is intensive but so exciting. Today was just an orientation and tomorrow we will be getting into the nitty gritty of training. We have met some wonderful people here.  Tonight we saw a video of the message that Elder David A. Bednar gave to the missionaries here on Christmas Morning, 2011.  It is entitled "The Character of Christ".  It was amazing. We are so glad to be here and have to opportunity to serve our Father in Heaven.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

MTC Life

We have been busy on this wonderful Sabbath Day.  To begin with, we slept in till 7 AM.  We rushed to shower, dress and get to the cafeteria for breakfast before church.  We were in the room for sacrament meeting by 7:40 for our 8:00 AM meeting.
We are in Branch 17 which is an International Branch.  There are several senior couples (English speaking) and then young elders and sisters from all over the world who are coming to North America.  Most of them will be speaking English here.  A couple of them will be speaking Mandarin.  We had a wonderful Sacrament meeting with two of the young missionaries as speakers.  After a 1/2 hour break all the couples got to watch Music and the Spoken Word followed by a joint Priesthood and relief Society Meeting.
Our afternoon was free time - short nap for me.  Technology is sure wonderful to have down here.  We first used it the night we were set apart at home so that Tara, Barrett and Kari could hear our blessings.  Last night we did a video call with Heather and Bryan and this afternoon we chatted with Evan, Cameron and Raelyn.
The picture with today's posting is a carving of the Last Supper in olive wood.  It is on the table in the foyer of our floor in the MTC.  It is beautiful.  There is so much gorgeous art work every where.
Training and lots of hard work starts tomorrow.  The spirit here is so wonderful.  We are so blessed to be serving our Father in Heaven as missionaries.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Setting Apart

Mike and I were set apart for our mission in the Canada Toronto Mission on Wednesday, January 11, 2017 by President David Litchfield.  We were given great blessings.  We will be working hard with the young elders and sisters in the mission.  We will work closely with our Mission President and his wife.  Our family will be blessed as we serve.

Present that night were:  Heather and Bryan Andrews, Melodie and Chris Krawchuk, Evan Swendsen, Carma and Leon Florence, John and Cathy Swendsen, Carole and Harlan Sundal, President David Litchfield, President Al Copithorne, and Bishop Bryce Tingle.  We were able to Skype with Barrett and Kari Swendsen and Tara Swendsen.  The wonders of technology made it possible for more of our family to witness our setting apart.

We have been called to serve in the Canada Toronto Mission for a period of 18 months.  We will be serving in the mission office.  Mike will be the Vehicle Chieftain and I will be the mission secretary.  The mission office is in Brampton, Ontario,  We leave Calgary on Friday, January 13th and will be driving to Provo.  We report to the MTC in Provo, Utah on Monday, January 16, 2017.  We finish training on Thursday, January 26, 2017.  We will leave Provo on January 27th and start the drive to Brampton - about five days.