Tuesday, September 15, 2015

JUNE 30, 2015:  We came back into town from visiting our daughter, Jennifer, and her family in Idaho Falls for her and our granddaughter, Jane's, birthdays.  We went to the mail and picked up our held mail.  Sister Wadley will never forget seeing the broad smile on Elder Wadley's face as he came out of the post office with our mail.  THE CALL HAD ARRIVED!  Our journey had begun.  I guess looking back, our journey began several months prior to this when we began the process of applying to serve a full-time mission. Oh, the feelings and thoughts that go through your mind as you contemplate serving the Lord.  What do we do with our house?  How will our family be?  How will Sister Wadley's mom be?  How long should we serve?...and the list goes on and on.  With all of these emotions in tack and knowing this has been our desire for quite some time, we were very anxious to get home and open our call!  We had told the children we would try to Skype with everyone when we opened it. We rounded each family up and found out that the 2nd of July would be a time when everyone was available.
JULY 2, 2015:  We contacted everyone on Skype and the process began.  As we looked into our computer screen and saw all of the faces that we dearly love and cherish, we couldn't help but have tears in our eyes as Elder Wadley asked Sister Wadley to open her call and read it:
Dear Sister Wadley:
You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  You are assigned to labor in the North Carolina Raleigh Mission.  Your primary assignment is to labor in the Fort Bragg Military Installation as a military relations specialist.  It is anticipated that you will serve for a period of 12 months.
Then Elder Wadley opened his call and it read:
Dear Elder Wadley:
You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  You are assigned to labor in the North Carolina Raleigh Mission.  Your primary assignment is to labor in the Fort Bragg Military installation as a military relations specialist.  It is anticipated that you will serve for a period of 12 months.
So, the long, anticipated call had arrived.  Our children and grandchildren knew where we would be serving and a feeling of gratitude and excitement was felt by both Elder and Sister Wadley.  Our oldest child, Kathryn, and her family live just outside Charlotte, North Carolina.  We will be serving near them.  They were elated!  Everyone expressed their excitement for us and as the call was ended, we turned to each other and, as we gave each other a hug, we knew our prayers to serve the Lord had been answered.
Our call said we were to report to the MTC on August 31, 2015.  Wow, just 2 months to prepare.  We needed to get to work...and fast!  What will we do with our house?  Will our car make it there and back?  Everything going well with the kids and grandkids so we can steal away for a year to serve the Lord?  Everything we thought about was answered with a resounding...YOU ARE SERVING THE LORD, EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE WILL BE TAKEN CARE OF.  We had our answer and it came to us LOUD AND CLEAR!  Oh...the sweet and oh so tender mercies of the Lord!  "We will go, we will do!"  Our plan was set into motion.
Throughout the coming weeks, we began finding someone to care for our lawn and the snow removal.  Our sweet Relief Society President, Stephanie Andrew, and her family agreed to do this for us. We checked with our son, David, to make sure he was OK with taking care of our house for us.  Also, our dear friend and next door neighbor, Kim Hill, was so instrumental in getting us out on this mission and she was also just as instrumental in wanting to help out looking after our house.  What would we ever do without all of our loved ones?  Thank you, thank you, thank you a million!
AUGUST 9, 2015:  Elder Wadley and I gave our farewell talk in our Sacrament Meeting.  It was so wonderful to see 3 of our 4 BEAUTIFUL children and 6 of our very very special GRAND babies sitting in the congregation, along with my very special friend from a long time ago, Pam Telford, who's mother served as a counselor to me in the Relief Society Presidency of 23rd Ward in Boise West Stake.  I so love Pat Telford, Pam's mom.  A real humble and loving servant of the Lord.  Also in attendance were our daughter-in-law's parents, Cheri and Brent Hessing, who brought Pam with them.  What a very nice surprise!  Another very special person to attend was my next door neighbor, Kim Hill.  She came with her mom, Lana Black and Kim's little baby, Derek.  We had some yummy food at the house after.  It was so much fun having nearly all of our family there with us to enjoy the day.  Elder Poole also spoke that day and reported on his mission to the New York, New York mission.  What a humble man!  Sister Lee Ann Dailey should be very very proud of her son!  He did an excellent job!  Thank you Jennifer, Michael, David and Leticia for coming and being a part of our happiness!  We had seen Mandi and the kids just a couple weeks prior and got to say goodbye to them.  We will see our oldest, Kathryn, and here family in North Carolina after we finish the MTC!  Can't wait!

AUGUST 31, 2015:  Elder Wadley and I entered the MTC at 10:40 A.M. and our year of serving the Lord officially began.  We were welcomed and given our "official name tags" and some paperwork which directed us where to be throughout the day.  The church leaves NOTHING to the imagination!  It is so very well prepared and organized as was the case when we entered the MTC.  Young Elders helped us from building to building, doing everything we needed to do to check in.  What awesome Armies of Helaman they were!

Our first week dealt with TRC, which translates to Teaching Resource Center, but the joke at the MTC is that the three letters stand for TORTURING RETIRED COUPLES!  That really wasn't too far from the truth, though, as the week went on.  We were pretty much put to the test with classes with Brother Gubler in the morning and Sister Eliason (even though her name tag said Sister Lane, since she was just married 3 weeks ago!) in the afternoon.  What AWESOME teachers!  Brother Gubler served a mission to Germany and Sister Eliason went to Japan.  We were divided into Districts.  In our District were Elder and Sister Kinghorn, going to Graatz, Germany and comprising Germany, Austria and Switzerland.  They are serving an Young Single Adult Mission over there.  Next were Elder and Sister Clark, going to Australia and taking charge of the Institute Program way down in Canberra, Southern Australia, 3 hours south of Sydney. Both Brother Kinghorn and Brother Clark are returning to the countries where they served their missions as young missionaries.  We also had 2 single sisters, Sister McComb and Sister Schwindeman who are both serving in Salt Lake City at the Family History Center.  All of our classes for the first week were in our District.  We learned to give lessons to investigators and were challenged on 2 different occasions by giving lessons:  Once to a couple who had been investigating the church and once to a retired judge from California whose wife belongs to the Assembly of God church but is open to reading the Book of Mormon.  She didn't accompany him the day we taught, but we discussed with the man how they have read 116 pages of the Book of Mormon and accepted our challenge to continue reading and not only read it, but pray about what they read.  He said they would do that.  

We saw a big difference in our first teaching assignment and our second.  We felt much more "together" as a couple teaching with the second one.  We each added to the lesson; whereas, the first go 'round, it was mainly Elder Wadley teaching.  We were critiqued each time and we felt real good about both of them, but a lot more so with the 2nd one!  All accolades to our instructors!!!!

The 2nd week of the MTC dealt with teaching Institute and Military Relations.  Monday and Tuesday we were with a larger group and went over meaningful ways to teach Institute.  We had been asked to remain at the MTC a week longer, just in case we would be teaching Institute to the military members or their family members.  Brother Boyce and Brother Udy (Howdy Doody Udy!) taught us and, again, they were excellent!  Each senior couple taught a lesson to another couple and we enjoyed that very much.  We taught our lesson to Elder and Sister Cherrington who are going to teach Institute in New Jersey.  

Wednesday and Thursday covered what we will be doing as Military Relations Specialists.  It really brought it front and center and to what we will be doing VERY SHORTLY!  Elder Donovan and Sister Donovan taught us along with Elder and Sister Mauerman.  The Mauerman's had returned about a year ago from serving at Fort Bragg!  Wow!  Did we ever feel lucky to have them there.  We had millions of questions to ask them!  We taught a class on Teaching Children to be Resilient.  Elder Wadley had a great idea to give each couple a sponge and have them squeeze it to show that as our children are challenged in life with stress of any kind or other things that might question their testimony, they become more and more "tight" as they found by squeezing the sponge.  We had them squeeze it slowly and think of something that might stress their children or grandchildren out so they are not resilient.  We then had them let the sponge out slowly as we gave them "helps" on ways they can be resilient when these stresses come into their lives and return them back to their original shape (or the way Heavenly Father created them), except they would be different because of the experiences they have had in life - just as we all are in this life.  It went very well.

Friday we were able to go up to the Church Office Building and meet Frank Clawson, the Director of Military Relation Missionaries.  They are up on the 24th floor.  It was a really nice time!  He spoke to us in a conference room and asked each of us what we would tell a group of all different religions if we had 20 minutes to talk to them about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  He then showed three 2 minutes videos that were wonderful!  We also met the right hand man to Brother Clawson, who talked to us about Chaplains, since he served as one for 38 years.  He was then a mission president in Africa.  Again, a wonderful discussion!   We were able to look out the window and see where President Monson's apartment is as well as where Brigham Young is buried.  We had lunch in the cafeteria where Elder and Sister Donovan's Branch President, President Kloepfer, from East Germany, played beautiful music on a baby grand piano in the cafeteria the entire time we were there!  We were told that he came to the United States about the same time President Uchtdorf came from East Germany.  It was a wonderful day there!

One of the highlights of our time at the MTC was the Tuesday evening devotional.  It is not known who will be speaking to us that evening; however, Elder Wadley and I were looking at some of the beautiful pictures in the front hall of the MTC after we had had dinner and before going over to the devotional. All of a sudden we noticed all of the MTC Presidency were standing together with their wives in the hall.  As we kept looking at pictures (we were the ONLY missionaries in the hall at the time), all of a sudden we heard the MTC President say, "Welcome Elder Oaks!  We turned and in walked Elder Oaks, his wife and his oldest great granddaughter.  What a thrill for us!  They were greeted and Sister Oaks gave a gift to each of the presidency's wives.  Soon after this, in walked a young looking missionary who walked up to them and Elder Oaks introduced him as one of his great grandsons.  He is a returned missionary who served in Brazil.  They all left together to go down near the cafeteria and have a meal together before going over to the devotional.  Elder Wadley and I thought it was so funny that everyone around us was wondering who the guest speaker would be...little did they know!!  It was shown live to all the MTC's around the world!  Sister Oaks spoke first.  She is a convert to the church and served a mission to Japan.  Elder Oaks then spoke and both were wonderful.

The Sunday evening devotional was presented by the President of the Provo Temple and his wife.  It was so good!  Afterwards, we were able to watch a special devotional given by Elder Bednar to all of the missionaries on a Sunday Christmas morning sometime before the age change happened for the missionaries. He spoke on the Character of Christ and it was powerful!  We were so glad we came down from Salt Lake to hear it (we opted to spend our 2 weeks with Sister Wadley's mother in Midvale.)

I need to mention an interesting thing that happened to Sister Wadley while she was at the MTC.  2 weeks prior to leaving for the MTC, she was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis.  Her heel really ached.  She went to her podiatrist and he gave her a cortisone shot and a stretch boot to wear in the evening and at bedtime.  The shot only lasted 4 days.  The boot was difficult to wear all night.  She suffered with the pain the first few days at the MTC.  On the first Thursday we were in the MTC, she and Elder Wadley were "hurrying" across the street to the MTC, thinking they could make the light before it changed.  Sister Wadley felt something in her foot that was sort of like a rip or tear.  Needless to say, it pained her a lot the remainder of the day.  When we got back to Sister Wadley's mother's home for the night, the bottom of her foot had turned black and blue.  We decided we needed to get her to the emergency room to have it x-rayed.  As it turns out it was a small tear in the facia and she was given a walking boot, which helped tremendously!

Sister Wadley's sister had made her an appointment with her orthopedic doctor who had done surgery on her foot.  Sister Wadley went the following Tuesday morning (after wearing the walking boot to the MTC for 2 days.)  As it turns out, the doctor said that she had actually "done her own surgery on her foot."  What he meant by that was that if a patient's plantar fasciitis doesn't improve, they actually go in and do a slight slit or "tear" just as had been done when she ran across the street at the MTC.  He gave her another cortisone shot and had impressions made to have her own orthotics made, and said she did not have to even wear the walking boot anymore.  Gradually with each new day, her foot improved to the point that she is about 90 percent healed.  She considers this nothing less than the most tender mercy from our Heavenly Father.  He knew she was going on this mission.  He knew she was serving Him.  He knew she needed to have this healed in order to fulfill her mission, and He answered her prayers.  Such a strong, strong testimony of the love her Heavenly Father has for her as He does for all of His children.  Children and GRAND children, remember this very strong, personal testimony of how much your Heavenly Father knows and loves each one of you!

I have never experienced such a dynamic, loving, organized, powerful, caring, spiritual place in my 67 years.  I would place it right next to the temple in importance.  The people who work there or volunteer there are there because they have a testimony of our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ, and it shows.  I absolutely thoroughly enjoyed my experience there and really hated it to end.

 I asked Elder Wadley to sum up his feelings about his time at the MTC and this is what he said, "I was so amazed at the quality of teaching, the love and the spirit that is there at the MTC.  Both of our sons have served missions, and our son, David, said that the spirit is so strong there.  Little did I realize just how strong it would be.  We both feel so blessed to have had the best trainers in the whole MTC and the instructors and leaders were equally wonderful.  Also, Elder Taylor, our class leader at the MTC, was so kind and understanding and helpful in every way with Sister Wadley's foot problem.  The 3 devotionals we attended were something never to be forgotten.  Before each would begin, the chorister would conduct several "warm up" hymns, which were really sung to help bring the spirit there and boy did they ever bring the spirit!  It was so moving with whatever hymn we sang.  Everyone felt our Savior's love and prepared us for a spiritual feast in the devotionals.  One of the hymns we sang over and over again was Called to Serve and I remember that as probably the one song that I sang the most on my mission to Scotland many years ago, along with Ye Elders of Israel."   I remarked to Sister Wadley how those 2 songs were sung over and over again in my mission and we knew them by heart, forwards and backwards.  She remarked that she wasn't too familiar with Ye Elders of Israel and I said, "don't worry, you will be!"  She said, "well I'm not an elder!"  I said, "it doesn't matter, you are going to sing that song a lot!"  I can't say enough about how great the MTC was, and I found it especially appropriate about how Elder Oaks spoke on missionary work.  The temple president, of course, spoke on temples, and Elder Bednar spoke on the Character of Christ.  We felt like all of those talks could not have been more appropriate.  Sister Wadley and I have wanted to go on a mission for some time and it almost seems surreal to realize that we are now REALLY on our way!