JULY 31, 2016
This month has literally flown by! We have had the opportunity to attend the Raleigh Temple on 2 separate occasions. One was with the full time missionaries who are going home. We took Elder Brown and Elder Christiansen up and went through the session with them. Elder Brown's mission ended the end of July. He lives in Melba, Idaho and we can't wait to see him again! What an awesome Zone Leader he has been.!
We had a wonderful baptism on July 2, 2016! Sister Lauren Palsha in the Cameron Ward became a member of the church! She was supposed to be baptized at the Cameron Ward, but the night before, we found out they had refinished the cultural hall floors and so it was moved to the Stake Center. It was wonderful! Sister Wadley spoke on the Holy Ghost. She used several props: lotion to show how the Holy Ghost can be a "comforter." She also used a flashlight because the Holy Ghost "shows us the way." She also used a compass which also shows that the Holy Ghost "shows us the way." We had cookies and a relish tray from Sam's Club and Sister Wadley made spinach dip. It was a very enjoyable time. President Chandler attended and was pleased with how things ran. Sister Palsha had gone over to his home for a fireside with President James and she and President Chandler had a long talk that night. He told her when she gets baptized, he will be there - and he was!
We left Sister Palsha's baptism and raced over to Charlotte for our grandson, Aaron's, baptism. It was a 4:00. 3 others from the stake were also baptized. We went to Freddy's after for burgers and then came back home and played some cards for a couple of hours and went back home for Sister Palsha's confirmation the next morning.
There has been several families who have needed our help this month. Sister Emily Thornton, who sustained a terrible car accident 2 years ago and has had major complications since then, has needed us to take her to the hospital and do things for her around the house while Brother Thornton has been away for a 3 month school. He returned the last week in July and they are now on vacation to Louisiana visiting Brother Thornton's family. Sister Thornton is such a jewel! She tries so hard to help anyone out she can, even though she is so limited.
Probably the most emotional part of this month has been the downward spiral of Sister Kirby's health. She is no longer swallowing (as of about the 28th of July,) and the hospice nurse told Brother Kirby that it is just a matter of days before she passes on. We have been spending most of our days up with him to keep him company, take him where he needs to go, and help him work out things he needs to do for her funeral. Brother Kirby's health isn't very good either and we have been trying to get him set up with a primary care doctor since he hasn't been to one in 3 years. We are still working on that. He is pretty much all alone, but the ward has been so good to rally around and help him. He has asked Elder Wadley to type up the funeral program and Sister Wadley to launder Sister Kirby's temple clothing. All of this has been done. He has obtained 2 burial plots and we have been over to the funeral home to discuss arrangements with them. One very tender moment this month was when Brother Kirby asked the Osborne children (brother Osborne is Brother Kirby's home teacher) to come in Sister Kirby's room and sing several Primary songs to her. He has asked them to sing at her funeral.
July has also been a month for saying goodbye to and welcoming in several new military families! The summer is always busy for PCS (permanent change of station) moves. We have welcomed in about 6 new families for the Ft. Bragg Military Ward and about 3 for the Cameron Ward.
We had a really fun Pioneer Day Celebration at the church. We had pies, ice cream and homemade root beer. We watched a film on the pioneers and had a fun game at each table about answering questions about ourselves and then shared them with people at our table. The Zavala's came with us. We are teaching Brother Zavala the baptism lessons and had a lesson with him prior to the activity.
We had our Zone Conference on July 8th. It was our last one so each departing missionary was able to bear their testimony and it was a very spiritual time. We had the new missionary couple over health speak and they came up to us and told us that they had just met our friends, Joy and Larry Brough. President Brough is serving as the mission president in the Louisville, Kentucky mission and they said to tell us hello. The couple is over 5 states and serve out of Atlanta, Georgia. They just returned from serving as health missionaries in Jerusalem, Israel. It was so fun to visit with them! The following day we had the "departing missionary temple trip we took Elder Brown and Elder Christiansen to. When it was time for pictures, President James said, "now I'm going to be VERY MEAN. We only want those departing in the picture today. So Elder Wadley and I walk right up and get in the picture, only to realize about 3 days later....THIS ISN'T OUR LAST TEMPLE TRIP! Oh brother, we felt so dumb! We will be going again on August 12th, which reminds me...I need to pause right now and reserve our seats!!!
OK, I just called and they only have 1 seat left, but will talk to President Taggart, the Temple President and see if we can "sneak in!" Usually they have to add about 6 folding chairs to the sessions because they are so full.
We have been helping a single sister who is active duty army. She has 3 boys: Clayton who is 16, David who is 14 and Shane who is 5. She was due to retire after 24 years in the army but due to circumstances (we don't really understand it!) she has to stay in a bit longer. She had already found a job in Alaska as a nurse on a helicopter that goes out on emergency calls in the back country. The company is owned by an LDS man and they have allowed her to come up to Alaska and work until the army will release her. Luckily, she has a lot of leave time built up and she is hoping she can retire by Christmas. We have been taking her 2 older boys to appointments this summer while she has been up in Alaska: orthodontist, counselors, etc. Her little 5 year old Shane has Down's Syndrome. Their grandmother, who lives in Mexico, has come to live with them, but doesn't speak any English, so the boys have translated for us. It has been fun to be with them. David wants so badly to soak up all the knowledge he can about the scriptures. Clayton is the opposite, our trips and visits have been a challenge! We love these boys and want to help them get a good foundation in the gospel. That has been one of our goals. Their favorite thing is to go to Five Guys to eat after an appointment! We are praying everything will work out so their mom can retire and they can get settled up in Alaska soon.
We were able to go out to Camp MacKall one last time and enjoy lunch out there with Chaplain Cottle and Specialist Couto. It was so fun to visit with them about their families and the work out at Camp MacKall. Specialist Couto mentioned that he is from northern Brazil and he said, "you have a lot of your missionaries there!" We told him we have them all over the world! He said he was very impressed with how many we have and the good work they do. We told them how much we appreciate being able to come out to Camp MacKall and serve the LDS military members out there for survival training. Chaplain Cottle said they were very fortunate to be able to have us come out. There is a really camaraderie with us and the chaplain out there and it has been one of the highlights of our mission. Elder Wadley gave each of them a "unit coin." Not sure if we have ever mentioned them in our blog. Military members have unit coins for certain units they serve in. Brother Clawson in the Military Relations Dept. of the Church Office Bldg. designed the coin and we were able to purchase as many as we wanted during our mission. Elder Wadley has given several to special members he has grown to love and admire here. Sister Wadley had some plaques made from Myrtlewood, which is only found on the Oregon Coast and in the Holy Land. On the plaque she had written, "To the Word You Might Be One Person, but to One Person You Might Be the World." She has given these to several sisters she has grown to love here in North Carolina and each time she has given them out it has come with a hug and a tear! There are some absolutely wonderful members of the church here. We will miss them so very much.
The 2nd half of July, sadly, has been spent helping Brother Kirby. Sister Kirby is dying of stage 4 breast cancer and about the middle of July, she has taken a turn for the worse. As it stands today (August 2nd,) she is not able to swallow. She is incoherent and can't open her eyes and the hospice nurse is coming daily. Her heart rate has risen to 102 and Brother Kirby told us that they can't live after it reaches about 120. We have been spending a lot of our days at his home, trying as best we can to not only keep him company, but to help him thru this time. They are such sweet sweet people and we have grown so very close to them. Sister Wadley has been able to sit with Sister Kirby and visit and watch the BYU station with her, but has seen her gradually go down hill to the point she is at today. So very sad. We have helped Brother Kirby plan the funeral. Sister Wadley has her temple clothing here at our house all ready to dress her. Brother Kirby has asked Sister Wadley to dress her. It looks like it is just a matter of days now. Brother Kirby talks about moving to Provo. He wants to be in a ward with members his age, where he can belong to a large High Priest Group and be able to walk to the temple each day. We told him we will do everything we can to help him if this is what he decides he is going to do. He has no family here in North Carolina. His best friend lives in Salem, Utah so he would be closer to him and us. It is such an emotional and trying time right now for him.
We cannot believe how fast this year has gone by! We will be writing our last post in about a month's time. We have had the experience of a life time...one we have loved and one we are certainly going to miss. Each day has been full of faith-promoting experiences with members of the military and the church. We have grown to admire them, to respect them, and to love them! The world is a better place because they are in it!
One of the most tender mercies, and faith promoting times in our mission is the time we've spent with the Kirby family. Brother Kirby has been by Sister Kirby's side day in and day out, 24/7, for 11 months and helped her in every way as she has laid in the bed the entire time. His faithful service and constant help with her has been so touching, and always reminds us of the Savior's promise, that "In as much as ye have done it unto the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto me."
Until the end of our mission.....we send our love and our best wishes to all of our family, to our friends and to anyone who might come upon this blog. We hope you will enjoy reading it and that you might find a bit of hope and love for our Savior for having read it.