Monday, March 26, 2012

Illinois Nauvoo Mission experiences
My Parents Mission Farewell by Rita Flaten
Living What We Believe
When he was 34 years old, George Albert Smith made a list of resolutions that he called his “personal creed”—11 ideals that he committed to live by:
Mom and Dad, This reminds us of you.
“I would be a friend to the friendless and find joy in ministering to the needs of the poor.”
You seek out and befriend the poor in Spirit and help the needy, without judgment.
“I would visit the sick and afflicted and inspire in them a desire for faith to be healed.”
Your Priesthood blessings and prayers have helped each member of our family at some point in our lives.
“I would teach the truth to the understanding and blessing of all mankind.”
You teach the truth through the way you live your lives.
“I would seek out the erring one and try to win him back to a righteous and a happy life.”
“I would not seek to force people to live up to my ideals but rather love them into doing the thing that is right.”
You never give up on people. Your love is felt even while you act to inspire the best in everyone you meet.
“I would live with the masses and help to solve their problems that their earth life may be happy.”
You give away your worldly possessions without a thought and without expectation of something in return.
“I would avoid the publicity of high positions and discourage the flattery of thoughtless friends.”
You prefer to not have your charitable acts known by men.
“I would not knowingly wound the feelings of any, not even one who may have wronged me, but would seek to do him good and make him my friend.”
Your lives are defined by caring words and continual service to others.
“I would overcome the tendency to selfishness and jealousy and rejoice in the successes of all the children of my Heavenly Father.”
“I would not be an enemy to any living soul.”
You are quick to ask for forgiveness when you sense you have offended another, even when you may not be at fault.
“Knowing that the Redeemer of mankind has offered to the world the only plan that will fully develop us and make us really happy here and hereafter, I feel it not only a duty but also a blessed privilege to disseminate this truth.”
You taught your children and grandchildren. Now, it is time for you to go forward in sharing your simple testimonies that are far stronger than the words of men.
February 19, 2012
Mom and Dad were so nervous to speak in Sacrament Meeting. They practiced their talks over and over so they could do their best. They did great! Many were in tears as they felt the Spirit.
After they spoke, Bishop John Chugg said a few words. I don’t recall his exact wording, but here are a few thoughts he conveyed. He spoke of how ill Dad was just a couple of years ago. He recalled visiting Dad in the hospital and how Dad was not mentally well. He told the Bishop that the nurses weren’t taking care of him. He was septic with the infection that was ravaging his body. He spoke of how Mom was burdened with taking care of Dad and Grandma Morgan while both were in the nursing home in Brigham City. He said he never thought they would be where they are today and able to serve a mission, but the Lord makes all things possible that he has in store for us.
President John Watson was the concluding speaker. His was a powerful talk, born of the Spirit into our hearts. Once again, I don’t recall his exact wording, but here are a few thoughts he conveyed.
He quoted Elder Bruce R. McConkie: “Faith is a gift of God bestowed as a reward for personal righteousness. It is always given when righteousness is present, and the greater the measure of obedience to God’s laws the greater will be the endowment of faith.” (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd Edition, page 264)
He quoted a portion of the following scriptures:
D&C Section 1
17 Wherefore, I the Lord, knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth, called upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and spake unto him from heaven, and gave him commandments;
 18 And also gave commandments to others, that they should proclaim these things unto the world; and all this that it might be fulfilled, which was written by the prophets—
 19 The weak things of the world shall come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones, that man should not counsel his fellow man, neither trust in the arm of flesh—
 20 But that every man might speak in the name of God the Lord, even the Savior of the world;
 21 That faith also might increase in the earth; 
 22 That mine everlasting covenant might be established;
 23 That the fulness of my gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and the simple unto the ends of the world, and before kings and rulers.
He said the simple things in Willie’s talk were what this scripture is about. Then he said that “they will have this opportunity while on their mission to testify before kings and rulers.”
Mom said, “Did you feel it when he said that?” She said she felt the Spirit go through her from head to toe, making every part of her body tingle with the truth of his words. I told her I did. I have been wondering on these words ever since.
He told Mom and Dad that as they embark on this journey, may their faith increase as Brother McConkie has said. He commented on how their family has gathered around them and encouraged them, letting them know they can do this.
The sister who gave the closing prayer, Sister Connie Eardley, further touched our hearts and minds. She thanked Heavenly Father for the wonderful example of the Scotts. She prayed that the Spirit may continue to attend to them. She prayed that all of us may complete the duties we are called to do.
Those in attendance at the farewell meeting included Wes and I, Dane, Sarah, Leiona (Corbin was at his Dad’s), Samantha, Kasey, Sarina, Cecil, Ashley, Makki, Shane, Mandy, Mathew, Shanna, Kenna, Joe, Nancy, Walter, Katie, Aunt Geri and Uncle Gary, their grandson Bryler, Aunt Klea, and James Massengale (Shane’s friend who Mom and Dad treat as their own son).
After the meeting, we went to Wes’ and my house for a lunch celebration. Joe, Nancy, Geri, Gary, Bryler, and Klea didn’t come to the house, but Morgan, Kali, and James 3 children joined us 1there. We had a wonderful time eating and associating with each other.
I asked everyone to create a scrapbook page and I’m putting these together with other memorabilia for Mom and Dad to remember this time in their lives. They leave for the mission field March 5, 2012.
We, as Nephi of old, have been born of goodly parents. What great examples my parents are! I love them and hope to be able to visit them in Nauvoo Illinois as they serve the Lord.
Thanks again Rita. I Love you always.
March 6, 2012:
Well, here we are, at the Marriott Hotel in Provo, Utah. We are attending the MTC for our missionary training.
It was a beautiful day yesterday. Not only spiritually, but the weather is sunny and warm. Just right. I even shed my coat for the day. We, Elder Scott and I, had a safe trip to Provo to attend the Missionary Training Center (MTC).
What a wonderful day we had Sunday. President John Watson, our Stake President set Elder Scott and I apart for our mission. I think Rita is typing up some of what he said in the blessings. I will add them later. Rita is so good!!! I have always said, “We wouldn’t have made it without her and I am still confirming that. It was great to have Rita, Wes, Samantha, Kacey, Cecil, Makhi, Shane, Mathew, Joe, Nancy, and President Shumers come to witness us being set apart. Mandy, Morgan, Irene (Mandy’s mom), Walter, Katie, Kali, James Massengale and his wife and daughters joined us at Shane and Mandy’s home for a get together after and that was enjoyable. Thanks, Shane and Mandy. You are great.
I better go back to bed. It’s about 2:30 am.
March 6, 2012:
It’s about 9:30 so this will be short so I can hopefully get some sleep tonight. It’s been a chillier day today. We had a devotional tonight. Elder David Evans from the seventies talked, of course, about missionary work. He said the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion. He told us to stay active in the gospel after our missions. It is so neat to be around so many young people and all the enthusiasm they generate.
We had to buy a new charger for the cell phone. I don’t know if we left it home or what, but we couldn’t find it. We couldn’t find the Verizon store but ran into a T’Mobile store, so I went in to ask where the Verizon store was and they had a charger, so I just bought it there. Two of the clerks ask where we are going on our mission and were quite enthused when I told them Nauvoo. They were both converts. It amazes me how easy it is to ask people if they belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-saints. I’ve always been so hesitant about doing that. It also amazes me how many converts I’ve encountered since we got here.
This young man who helped bringing our luggage up to our room and we now have an ongoing conversation about him committing to be baptized. Yesterday we were coming up to the room in the elevator and I asked him where he is from. He said Kenya. Then out of my mouth comes, “Are you a member of the church?” He said his family has been baptized but he is still thinking about it. Well, at that point, I didn’t have a clue what to say to him. I just mumbled something about was he doing things to work toward it or something like that. I’m not even sure what I said. Well, today, part of our training was how to do exactly what I needed to do last night. I saw him this afternoon and ask him if he had committed yet. He said he was still thinking about it, but sounded more enthused about it. I asked him if he was reading the scriptures and praying about it and he said yes. I told him if he committed before we left he has to tell me and he said he would. I told him it would be really neat if that happened. It’s like we are truly brother and sister, we just talk and laugh like we’ve known each other our whole lives. I am really feeling “set apart” for our mission. I don’t know. I guess you probably had to be there, you know. It’s like our lessons today were exactly what I needed to know how to communicate about the gospel with him.
Willie and I are struggling with the lessons and yet I know we are learning. There’s just not enough time.
Well, I’m going to bed. It’s now 10:10 pm and I am beat. I just wanted to record somethings before I forgot them.
March 7, 2012: 7:00 pm
 I'm down in the lobby using the internet. We actually got some time to breath tonight. We are very busy, but it is great. We taught our first lesson today. People in the area (members of the church) volunteer to come to the MTC and role-play being investigators of the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day-saints. Elder Scott and I were assigned the sweetest couple. I don’t remember their names, but that’s irrelevant. (Insert March 10, 2012; Brother and Sister Black). He is 87 years old. We didn’t ask her age. I was so nervous before we went in to the room, as usual. It seemed like a test to me, if you know what I mean. When we met them, I totally relaxed. They were so close to mom and dad’s age; I’m sure that’s why.
While we were walking in, some of our group were saying that it would be hard to teach them because they already know the gospel. The thought came to me and to Elder Paddock at the same time that; none of us know the gospel perfectly and we all have problems and trials that we face. That we needed to listen to the spirit and maybe there would be something we could help them with through the power of the Holy Ghost. Well, they (the Blacks) were very knowledgeable and it was hard for us and them to stay in the roleplaying mode. Elder Scott and I and they took turns falling out of role-play mode the whole time we were talking. We loved them right off the bat and I think they didn’t mind us either. He is a World War 2 veteran. After the sister gave a closing prayer, which we were all instructed not to role play, the brother said, he knew that we didn’t have time, but if we would have had time, they would love to take us out to eat or have us over to their home. I said OK, we are out of role-play mode and we talked for real and got to know each other better. She and I hugged when we had to go.
The MTC is such a wonderful experience. Elder Scott (I’m trying to get used to using that title because we are supposed to while we are on our mission. It’s getting easier, but we both remind each other once in a while.
March 8, 2012:
We taught our second role-play lesson today. This time the person was supposed to role-play that they had had one lesson by some young missionaries before. We were assigned to a sweet young lady, Amanda. I remember her name because she said, “I’m not a man ‘da because Elder Scott didn’t hear her name the first time. She is in a wheel chair. She got in a car accident when she was 17 and is special needs now. It’s wonderful that she is willing to do this service to help us put in practice what we are learning. We are supposed to teach by the needs of the people we are assigned to, instead of the memorized lessons they used to do. If you have access to the book Preach My Gospel, it explains it in there. Every member is supposed to be a missionary now, not just the ones who are set apart to do it like us. If you’re interested, you can get the book at a book store or through a church ward.
Anyway, back to Amanda. The first thing she asked us was, “What’s this resurrection thing.” So, we proceeded to try and teach her about the resurrection. So far, so good???? or so we thought. About half way through the time we had to talk to her (45 min.), I started to get the impression that she was never doing the role-playing thing. It was wonderful. She is such a beautiful little spirit. After the time was over and we went out of the room, we met her parents and her mother and Elder Scott talked about having her go to a Special Needs Mutual. Her mother thought she was too old, but Elder Scott told her they are never too old to go to Special Needs Mutual. We talked to them for quite a while. Everyone else in our group left and went back to class. Her mother said she would look into seeing if there is something at the institute or in their area. I think and hope her mother and she will follow up on that. We all hugged when we had to leave. I think we learned more from her than she from us. I know I did. She was actually called on a mission to do what she was doing there.
We went and found an America First and deposited the check the church gave us for our trip to Nauvoo. We knew they were going to give us money to cover our travel, but were totally surprised at the amount ($1048.50). When I think about it, it will probably cost quite a bit, 3 nights in motels, gas, and food. Hopefully, nothing else, no surprises I mean.
We called Joe and he was just driving home from the house. We are very grateful that they are willing to stay in our home and take care of it while we are gone. That takes a load of our minds and we know the rest of our family will be right there to back them up if they need help and we are very grateful for that.
March 9, 2012: 5:37 am
Elder Scott and I couldn’t sleep this mourning around 4:00 am, so we got up and went to exercise. We’ll fight sleep during class, but what do you do? Actually, Elder Scott doesn’t fight it, he just sleeps. I think I dosed off a couple of times yesterday also. I’m playing catch-up on my journal entries. I actually typed March 7th and 8th just now.
Our room is wonderful and the food at the MTC is wonderful too. I’m doing pretty good at not eating too much. It’s difficult at times but we worked too hard to lose our extra weight and don’t want to put it back on. Elder Scott is doing great also. We brought the scale with us.
Well, Elder Scott is going to give me a blessing. I think my eye is infected, not just allergied (new word).
March 10, 2012: 1:20 am
We’ve survived a week at the MTC. It’s been long, full, wonderful days. I’m grateful for this experience. I’ve learned a lot and had a refresher course on what I already new.
We went and “found” the Utah Regional Medical Center and Elder Scott had his protime taken. I hope that has settled down. My patience wears a little thin when I think I’m right and he is trying to take us a different direction, but I was driving, so that helped a little. We’ll have to work on that. We didn’t do out and out battle, but it came close a couple of times.
We saw “the porter from Kenya” yesterday on the way out of the hotel. We shook hands and I asked him if he had “committed” yet (that is to be baptized). He said, “I’m thinking on it. I’m thinking on it.” That’s the way we have started our conversations every day. I told him he has to stop thinking on it and just call them (the missionaries who are working with him) and tell them he is ready right now. He just laughed and said maybe he would. He’s been such a good sport, letting me try some of the things we are learning out on him. I’m sure he knows that that’s kind of what’s happening here. And yet, I wonder if he knows that I would love to watch that happen to him. I think he does because I told him that he “has to” tell me if he commits before we leave here. I’m sure his family and others that are concerned for him would love to see that happen also. I guess the matter of when he is ready is between him and Heavenly Father and Jesus.  We didn’t see him last night; maybe he’s off for the weekend. 
Some of our district people (they assigned us to districts when we first got here) are leaving on Monday for their assigned areas. Elder and Sister Paddock are leaving for the Phillipines. He was our district leader. The 18 couples who are going to Nauvoo don’t leave until Wednesday. Some of them have gone home or other places for the weekend. We didn’t have 18 couples in our district, just 8 and they aren’t all going to Nauvoo. Some of the districts only had 3 or 4 couples per district. They said there are 94 senior missionaries in our whole group this past week. We decided to just stay put, go to the temple, get our washing done, get on the internet, call some more of our family, and maybe relax a little. Of course, we’ll go to church tomorrow. We’re not sure where yet. I think they have meetings at the MTC. We need to find out about that.
Joe and Nancy are probably moving in today. I pray that goes good.   
Better get back to bed and get some sleep, it’s 2:55 am.
March 10, 2012: 7:25 am
Good morning world! Elder Scott and I have been done to exercise and to spread our new found wings, so to speak. There was a lady on the treadmill when we got there, so we got on the bikes. Then we started talking to her. She is from Lancing, Michigan, married, has one son (she told us where he lives, but I can’t remember), & is a member of another church. At that point Elder Scott was telling her about our mission call and I had gone blank (imagine that). I said a silent prayer, something like, Heavenly Father, I am thankful for what we have learned at the MTC but I have reverted back into “it’s none of my business mode here”. Are we supposed to introduce The Church to this lady? (I was feeling very weak). I need your help here, as always. Please bless me that I can open my mouth and say the right thing. In the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen. At that very moment, like I said, Elder Scott was telling her about our mission in Nauvoo. You could tell Nauvoo meant nothing to her, so I told her that that is where Joseph Smith restored the Church of Jesus Christ to the earth. Oh, she said, your roots. We said yes, kind of. Then we talked about the Visitor Center and the temple. I pointed to the temple on my bag. I asked her if she was married and she said yes. Elder Scott said something about us being sealed in the temple. And she said yes, it’s for time and then there is nothing. I told her we are sealed in the temple for eternity. She was getting ready to leave and I was going to walk on the treadmill, so I got up, went toward her and said, you love your husband very much, don’t you? And she said, yes. I said wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could be sealed to him and have your family forever. She said, yes.
She left. I wish I would have asked her if she would look up the church in her area and find out more about it. I pray that someone will follow up with her. She seemed like such a nice lady.
Got to go eat breakfast.
March 12, 2012: 5:43 am
I’m going to start with yesterday, Sunday.
We got up and decided to drive to Farr West and go to church with Rita & Wes and visit a bit. We stopped by the house and visited with Joe & Nancy for a minute. We got Elder Scott’s coats that we had forgotten. Everybody was so tied from helping move them in Saturday. They said that went good though so that’s good. It’s a big job to move. We know, we’ve been doing it for 4½ months. Plus, we had to sort what to store and what to take with us.
We then went to Wes and Rita’s ward to church. Rita gave the Relief Society lesson. It was beautiful. She is so very talented. She also asked us to give the opening and closing prayers in Sunday School. Praying in public is not my favorite thing to do, but it was OK. We then went to their home and had a bite to eat. Shane, Ali, and Mathew came down to visit us and Mathew gave us an Elder missionary bank (With money in it!!!). It’s so cute. I will put pictures of it on my blog. It costs $9.95 a day to access the internet, like I said, and we don’t want to spend our money on that. We can access it in the lobby for free, but that takes time and time here is like gold just like everywhere else. Excuses! Excuses!
Elder Scott and I were in the library in our ward at home so we didn’t get to very many (actually hardly any) Sunday school classes. I was looking at the lessons and they go right along with Preach My Gospel. Of course! The gospel is the same no matter where you teach it.
We stopped by Shanna and Matt’s and visited with them and Aaron. Kenna was asleep and Amber was downstairs but she came up & said Hi to us and gave us hugs. I missed seeing Kenna. Hope she’s all rested. They fed us pizza. It’s a good thing because we missed our dinner at the MTC. I told her they will be blessed for feeding the missionaries and she told me she figgers they will be blessed for feeding her parents. That’s true also.
I’m sure we are going to miss everyone. But like Elder Scott says, we go in faith and like our stake president, Brother Watson said, they will be back. So, enjoy your time of from us. Ha! We still have our cell phone! And email! I’m sure we will be very busy when we get to Nauvoo. But I certainly wouldn’t want to go and not do anything.
Monday: We got up and exercised this morning at 4:30 am. The days uneventful so far.
Well, I am going to eat. Seems like we do that a lot!

March 15, 2012, 6:26:
I survived the first travel day heading to Nauvoo! I think! My throat is so soar I can hardly swallow. I hope I’m not getting sick, but it sounds likely.
We traveled from the MTC in Provo to Laramie, Wyoming yesterday and stayed at the Best Western Motel there last night. I wanted to stop and stay in Rawlins, but I am so glad we came on to Laramie. I was impressed to talk to the girl at the front desk a little and found out she has talked to the local missionaries. She is going to college here. She committed to read from of the Book of Mormon and look into the church more and I bore testimony to her that if she read and prayed about it, she would know that it is true and it would help her in her life. After thought, I should have told her it would enrich her life. I gave her the card we got at the visitor’s center in Salt Lake. She said “wow”. She had been told the temple was beautiful, but she said again, “wow”. It had a picture of the Salt Lake temple on it. She said she still has the card the other missionaries gave her, so she could call them. I’m feeling very green. Again, I pray that someone will fan the spark I saw In her by picking up where we left off.
It’s seems so different to me. I don’t feel that far away from home and yet the quest directory for the motel doesn’t even have The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints listed in it. There are 19 other churches listed. Now I feel like “wow”.   

 March 18, 2012, 11:28:

March 20, 2012, 1:31 pm:
Well, it looks like I lost everything I wrote Sunday. I’ll try to think about what I wrote and add it sometime. One thing I said for sure was, I’m always playing catch-up and you can see why. I’m very tired. Nothing unusual!  We’ve been in orientation yesterday and today. So much to learn. So little time to learn it in. Everyone keeps telling us it will get easier but at the moment I’m not convinced. Oh well, smile and move forward, right.
Elder Scott has gone to a Teamsters meeting. I still don’t have access to the internet and I can’t figure it out. I’ve followed the directions. Ohhhh, where’s my guroos when I need them?

March 23, 2012, 4:37 am:
President Barlow, one of the counselors, came by yesterday and tried to get the internet up and running, but was unsuccessful. He had me call tech support later and they guided me through getting it going. Then I couldn't access their site to get our infomation (I thought). President Barlow came back that night to help, started, and it came right up, so I guess I had it up all the time. Wew!!!!!! I'm not sure what day he came, they are starting or continuing to run together.
Hi! We were invited to President and Sister Gilliland's home with 5 other couples for breakfast yesterday. It was very enjoyable. We all told our stories of how we got married. Sister Gilliland was just like me; she couldn't hardly stand President Gilliland when they first met. We went to our first site assignments yesterday. Elder Scott to the Tinsmith shop and I to Land and Records. (Yes, yes, yes!!) I was scheduled to go to Heber C. Kimball's home, but Elder Gustavson called in the morning and changed my assignment.
Then at 4:30, we had teaching demonstrations at the Family Living Center. They were very polished. Made me feel real rough around the edges. But there was a couple of visitors from Oregon there and she (Sister Lens, if I remember correctly) and I talked and went from site to site together (they took the men one direction for the stations the men demonstrate and the women a different direction). When visitors come, normally they stay together in families, but they just happened to come for our demonstration time. We had talked on the way in and they hesitated to come in with us, but I waived them into our group and Sister Gilliland also came over and invited them in, which I was very thankful for. Anyway, it was like she and I had known each other forever. She said they are contemplating going on a mission and I encouraged her to put there paperwork in when it is feasible for them. It was so much fun!
We came home, read scriptures together, fixed and ate dinner, and was of to Rondezvous At Old Nauvoo. We're supposed to go everyday, if there is room. There was no room at the 7:00 showing, so we went to the 8:15 (yes, that's PM) showing. We sing with them, even if we are in the audience. I love it, it's like the "road shows" we did when we were in Mutual when I was younger (a lot younger!). Sometime, we will be assigned to a cast and participate even more. And in April, Sunset by the Mississippi starts also. I'm excited for that. We practice the songs everyday at either 9:30 am or 4:30 pm. We've been catching the 9:30 am practice. The sites aren't very busy right now, so they work around practice schedule. It will get very as summer comes. Although, Elder Scott said they had one visitor after another in the Tinsmith shop and we had several people come to Land and Records.

Catch-up time: Saturday, March 17,
We celebrated the 170th Relief Society Birthday. They had a re-enactment program, "Fabric of Love.....Spread Over the World" in the Red Brick Store upper room (the very room where our Prophet Joseph Smith organized the Relief Society with Emma Smith as the president. Elder Donald L.and Sister Hallstrom, one of the seven presidents of the Seventies were there and talked. He also talked in sacrament meeting Sunday. It was so wonderful to be at the very place that it took place.
Got/get to go walk with Elder Scott. Love you all.
I'm back. It's too cold out there. It's foggy also. Interesting!
Catch-up, Sunday, March 19,
We went to Sacrament meeting at 8:00 am. in the Stake Center, then Sunday School at 10:15 in the Visitor's Center. Came home, ate a bite, then off to Carthage Jail, where our Prophet Joseph Smith was martyred and his brother Hyram was murdered also by a mob for a tour at 1:00. Elder and Sister Morgan were there. He gave the tour. We talked briefly, but didn't have time to find out if we are related. Hopefully at some later point. They took a picture of the whole group in front of the statue of Joseph and Hyram. Elder Scott and I are right in front of them in the picture.

18 Mar 2012: Our group from the MTC at Carthage Jail.

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