Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Day 4 Self-Reliance - PEF Training

Our pre-field training was completed today, that is exciting and scary in several ways.  It is exciting that we now get to go and do, it is a little scary because now we are on our way to Cambodia.

Most of the training today was a review of the last three days and letting those at Church Headquarters share their vision and letting us ask any questions that popped into our heads.  In many ways they considered our group Guinea Pigs, because the training that we received has been way different than any in the past.  With the many changes, including the initiative name and printed workbooks, the training had to be different.  Now we will see if we really caught onto what they were trying to help us understand.

A point that was emphasized over and over and over, was to develop good relationships with those that we wrk with, the stakes, wards, mission president,  self reliance full time employees, and PEF full time employees.  We need to not get ahead of the priesthood leaders, they have the keys, and we need to work with them to catch the spirit of the initiative.

We need to learn to praise those who succeed and teach and praise those who fail.  We were reminded that a positive attitude gets us through a lot.  We cannot force people to be self-reliant.  Use the learn as you do principle.  Be busy!  Busy missionaries are happy missionaries.  Don't just sit in the center waiting for someone to come in.  Go help find those who need to become self-reliant and help them.  True charity to a poor man is to put him in a situation where he can support himself.

These are some of the Church Headquarter staff that have trained us over the last four days.  They are from left to right, David Roper, Tim Evans, Sister Hunsaker, Fred Hunsaker and Wayne Boam.  They were fantastic.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Day 3 Self Reliance - PEF Training

Today we were given an understanding of the core program we will be working with over the next two years. We were taught the responsibility of the Self Reliance Service Managers, full time church employees, who we will be working with in each of the Self Reliance Centers. We were asked to Be Champions of Self Reliance wherever we go. We also learned that the Receptionist = The Director of First Impressions.

We were given tutorials on the online materials. It is incredible how many wonderful videos and resources are available.  

This is a link to a great video they showed us today. Please check it out:
       First Things First - Video

If you want to understand more of what we will be doing, go to:

This afternoon was spent learning about the PEF (Perpetual Education Fund). We were taught how it works and how members qualify for a loan. We learned that Cambodia and Mongolia are the two countries in the Asia Area that are using PEF the most. That is exciting to hear that we will be very busy on our mission. They walked us through the loan application process. It was simple and easy to understand. 

This evening we went to the Jordan River Temple. This is likely the last time to go to the temple for two years. The temple has been such an important part of our lives for the past 40 years. We look forward to being back to the temple in the future.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Day 2 Self Reliance Training

Today we went to the Church Office Building for more Self Reliance training. This is an amazing opportunity and we are excited to be a part of it. The Self Reliance Initiative is in the midst of changes. The materials that are being produced and provided now are wonderful. But even with the materials it still comes down to the spirit. We have been taught that all things are spiritual, including providing for our daily livelihood, which is an important part of Self Reliance. They showed us the workbooks currently being used and the workbooks to be used going forward.

Here are some of the key points they taught us today:

  1. We want our members to have the best jobs and schools. Find them!
  2. We prepare our saints to be the best employees. Recognize the potential everyone has.
  3. We need to set up the members for the long run, not just for a job.
  4. Use all your senses; take it all in. Don't try to impose your way of doing things.
  5. The one who cares is the one who makes the difference. 
  6. Learn how to kindly nudge and gently pull them along.
  7. REAP the law of the harvest: R-Representation; E-Expectation; A-Action; P-Promise.
An important part of forming a group is to create an identity through a group name. Our group name is "Storehouse Warriors".  We are all part of the Lord's storehouse!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Day 1 of Self Reliance - PEF Training

Our morning started with a Sacrament Meeting at the MTC which began at 8:15,  which was followed by a devotional with Elder Joseph W. Sitati of the First Quorum of the Seventy.  One of the first things he shared with us is the change of the name of our assignment from PEF - Self Reliance  to  Self Reliance - PEF.  This may seem minor, but it is really a major change of the emphasis or our assignment. The Lord wants His children to be responsible for themselves, and not have a feeling of entitlement. Each person has a responsibility to chart their path to Self Reliance. PEF can still be part of that.

Our group was made up of 2 single Sisters and 5 Couples who will be serving throughout the world in the Self Reliance - PEF Initiative. [Elder and Sister Mickelson; Elder and Sister Spear; Elder and Sister Uzelac; Sister  Darby and Sister Murry; Elder and Sister Oveson; Elder Graff (Sister Graff was ill).]  We were told there are currently about 200 Full Time Missionaries serving in this capacity.

Here are some of the principles that touched us this morning:
  1. Invite the members in your area to abide in Jesus Christ and to pull themselves out of their situation.
  2. Self Reliance is having enough in your sphere so that you can serve the Lord.
  3. Don't expect everyone to be at the same level. Bring them to Self Reliance to be the best they can be in their own circumstances.
  4. Teach them how to live in their culture. Let it be good. To be clean in good.
  5. If you can help them grow one inch permanently it is better than growing a foot and falling back to where they were when they started.
  6. Resist doing it for them. Let them struggle to learn to do it themselves.
  7. Be a trainer of trainers. This will work. It is the Lord's work!
  8. It is not what you will do for them while you are there that will make the difference so much as what you teach them to do for themselves. Then when you leave, they will help others and follow your example.
  9. Let them receive from our example so they in turn give service and teach others.
  10. Inspire them to want to lift themselves from circumstances and aspire to serve as we serve.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Our first P (Preparation) Day

With our language Tutor, Joe Hickens, at the MTC
Today was spent washing and packing clothes, running errands, picking up the last minutes things for our mission, cleaning and enjoying our last Saturday in the U.S.  

Marilyn had to order new glasses due to the change in her vision after the cataract surgery, and the optical shop was only open until noon, so we went this morning.  The shop is in West Vally City, so we decided since we were already most of the way to Magna we would go see our friends Ronnie and Cathie Thompson.  Last month Ronnie was in the hospital for a couple of weeks with a serious infection.  It was good to see them, they are dear friends.  

Also since we were in Magna we decided to pick up lunch at El Habanero, our favorite Magna restaurant, Marla was all for that idea.  We stopped and saw some of our friends from the temple, Jim and Tammy Bird, on our way home.  We had a fun T-shirt for Jim.

With our Language Coach, Trever Webb,
at Cold Stone Creamery (his other job)
Spencer, Wendy, Roman and Hudson came to visit this evening and to have dinner. They have a meeting tomorrow night when most of the rest of the family is coming.  

We decided that our pictures for today would be, Joe Hickens, our Cambodian tutor, and Trever Webb, our language coach.  Without these two we would not know any Cambodian at all.  They have been so patient and helpful, thank you both for all that you have done.

Friday, February 20, 2015

 Day 5 - Final day at the MTC

This is our district from the MTC with our morning teacher:

back: Sister Franks; Sister Willets; Sister Oveson; Sister Hartung; Sister Smurthwaite; Sister Kacher (our teacher)
front: Elder Oveson; Elder Hartung; Elder Smurthwaite.

We are sure all of these wonderful  new friends will be phenomenal missionaries in their various areas of service.

We were usually paired in our group with Sisters Willets and Franks. These two widows from Washington, Utah, are amazing. They will be wonderful missionaries as they serve in Phoenix, Arizona as office missionaries. 

Brother Mosley (front left) was our afternoon teacher.

Below is the group of young missionaries who are currently learning Khmer, preparing for service in Cambodia. We have enjoyed getting to know them and eating meals with them. We are looking forward to serving with them in Cambodia in just a few short weeks.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Day 4 at the MTC

Another great day! Marla sent me a text this morning, "Just checking in!" My response was: "Doing great! Meeting lots of people, filling our brains with lots of info, and eating too much. Can't complain!

We have looked forward for all our life for the time when Jim would retire and we would go serve a mission.  It is just crazy that we are no longer in the "sometime in the future" but we are here NOW! We seem to be on a snowball roll! In the past year we moved into a new home, met lots of new neighbors and friends, Jim has now retired and we are on our way to Cambodia!

Today's schedule was much like yesterday. We have continued to learn and do TRC training at the MTC.  One of the amazing things in our training is how quickly the teachers access videos of apostles giving Missionary Training.  We live in a wonderful time of technology.  This evening they showed a video of a devotional where Elder Bednar spoke at the MTC on Christmas in 2011.  It was very powerful, he spoke of the character of Christ and our journey to understand and emulate Him.  He taught that testimony is a witness of the spirit and conversion is consistently living true to what we know.  That consistent living as Christ would, means turning outward when the natural man would tell us to turn inward.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Day 3 at the MTC

We learned today what a TRC is! Our afternoon teacher originally told us that TRC is short for Torture Retired Couples.  All kidding aside, it really stands for Teaching Resource Center.

In the TRC we meet an "investigator" that we are suppose to teach and then come back and critique how we did.  We had prepared to teach The Restoration lesson, but in getting to know our "investigator" we quickly learned that we needed to teach The Plan of Salvation lesson instead.  Our "investigator" was a 70 year old retired attorney, who had been thinking a lot about what this life is really all about.  We had to let the spirit guide us on what to say and how to teach the lesson.  The "investigator" kept throwing us little softballs to hit, which made it far easier on us.  As we critiqued the experience, Elder Oveson spoke way to much and went a little too deep; Sister Oveson, as usual was fantastic.

One of the other wonderful teachings of today was a video clip of an MTC devotional talk from Elder Holland.  He told us to look into the eyes of the investigators, because the eyes are the window to their soul.  We have to take them by the hand and lead them to Christ.  Teaching with the spirit means teaching with understanding.

We were also taught today that we teach people, not lessons.  We have to show that we really care.  If we are focused on the lesson that we want to give, it may get in the way of the spirit, follow the spirit.

Two or three non-spiritual items.  Today was arrival day for 300-400 new missionaries at the MTC.  It was interesting to watch them walk around with a glazed look on their faces, I hope that we did not have that look on Monday.  We got our last immunizations that we needed for Cambodia.  Those shots have been some of my least favorite things.  Today was an important meal day at the MTC: ice cream day.  We had ice cream for both lunch and dinner, what a great treat.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Day 2 at the MTC

We were up at 6:00 a.m. to be back over to the main MTC campus a little after 7:00 a.m. for breakfast.  Our living quarters are at the Wyview Married Student housing about ten minutes away from the main MTC.  They are currently adding on to the MTC but until that is done in a year of so, those couples with vehicles are staying in what they call the West Campus.

As we ate our breakfast, a couple came to sit next to us. I looked at their name tags with the name "Cowdin" on them. Since I knew some Cowdins when I grew up, the questions were asked which led to identifying them as members of that family. (Dave and Debbie Cowdin currently live in South Weber.) Elder and Sister Cowdin are here for their second week of training and head out on Thursday for the Joseph Smith Birthplace Visitor Center in Sharon, Vermont.

Sister Nellie Kacher, Sister Marilyn Oveson & Elder Jim Oveson
After breakfast we had the opportunity of meeting our District Trainer, who HAPPENS to have returned 6 months ago from the Cambodia Phnom Penh Mission. Sister Kacher is an AWESOME teacher, and we are grateful to have made this connection. One important thing she taught us is "The better that you begin, the better that you will end"!

Our day today was filled with classroom learning from Preach My Gospel. We did find the young Cambodian missionaries to eat dinner with again. We figure we need to get to know them as we will be serving with them again soon. This group of about 14 young missionaries are scheduled to fly to Cambodia about a month behind us.

This evening was a devotional for the entire MTC.  Elder Daniel L. Johnson of the Seventy and his wife, LeAnn Johnson, were the speakers.  Elder Johnson taught that as we teach, we NEED to teach about Heavenly Father and his true nature. We need to make sure as we teach, they understand that Heavenly Father is real and loves them, and knows them, and sent His Son. As we follow His Son, we will know the Father.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Our grand new adventure has begun.  Last night President Robison, the First Counselor in the Oquirrh Lake Stake, set us apart as full-time missionaries.  Some of the special blessing that Heavenly Father promised was that we would even learn the language faster now as full-time missionaries.  We were promised that our family would be watched over while we are away.  Also, that we would preach the gospel by our example.

We checked into the MTC this morning at 10:15, and most of the day was spent on orientation.  There were about 80 Senior Missionaries that entered the MTC today. We are in a district with six other Senior Missionaries.

President and Sister Burgess, the MTC President (who we met about 10 years ago at Philmont), reminded us of some very important things.  He told us the MTC is the only place, other than the temple, where everybody has to have a recommend to enter.  Sister Burgess shared Luke 18:29-30, "And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, Who shall not receive manifold more in the present time, and in the world to come life everlasting."  She also told us the best way to serve our mission is "One prayer at a time."  President Burgess shared that the MTC is a sacred and holy place.  He told us to enjoy our time at the MTC.  The spirit is the teacher here, and that we would gain an understanding of who we really are.  He finished with Doctrine and Covenants 84:88, "And whoso receiveth you, there will I be also, for I will go before your face.  I will be on your right hand and on you left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up."

We were also asked to be an example to the younger missionaries, and to especially hold each others hand.  They challenged us to be a little kinder than necessary on our missions.  We were told that the best way to share the gospel is to bring the sprit int the meetings.

Sister Taylor gave some counsel, including Ephesians 4:32, "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Cambodia Phnom Penh Mission

Cambodia Phnom Penh Mission.

Cambodia is 14 hours ahead of Salt Lake City.
We are in for a BIG adventure in just a few days!!!

Profound Fortune Cookies

Tonight we went to dinner with our new friends. In a few months they will also be going to Cambodia as the new Mission President and Mission Mom.  They invited us to a restaurant owned by a friend who is from Vietnam. We had a wonderful visit and good food.

At the end of our meal we were quite amused with the fortunes we found in our cookies. Especially Jim's telling him "YOU WILL ENJOY A TRIP TO THE ORIENT"! That will be happening very soon.