Monday, April 6, 2015

First Baptism!

The little girl we tracted in the Veyo apartments got baptized!! Her name is Kenzie—she lives with her grandparents and twin brothers—and her baptism this week was wonderful! They have lived in Veyo about 8 months, and didn't know many people when she started coming to church. The Bishop estimated maybe 15 people would be at the baptism. But there were over 40 there! And they brought her gifts, a candy bar poster, and a baptism book. She felt very special. There were Primary friends, and neighborhood friends and families, and the missionaries. We had a simple luncheon for her (thought we'd have to stretch the food since we only planned for 15), but we had plenty, with leftovers to spare.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Dare We Go Tracting?

Kirk and I decided to jump right into the fray, swallow our apprehension, and go tracking our 2nd week on the mission. Since the Stake President asked us to concentrate our efforts in Veyo (and even transfer our records there), we chose the apartments by the Spanish Trails Store. I was pretty nervous, thinking we’d get yelled at or mashed potatoes spattered on us (like in Elder Holland’s 2014 conference talk).

Well guess what? I was right! (well not about the mashed potatoes). We parked our car across the street and walked up to the front of the apartments where a young man, and a "crusty" older man were taking a smoke break. When they noticed our missionary name tags, they didn’t even give us a chance to say anything before they lambasted us about the church, the general authorities getting rich off our tithing money, forcing our religion on others, corrupt church, corrupt governments, corrupt police officers, rude Utahns, and on and on. And to make matters scarier for me, Kirk turned to the young man and began a conversation with him, leaving me facing the more obnoxious accuser. But . . . . by the end of our visit, they became our best buddies, kept introducing us to other neighbors, and gave us suggestions on which people could use our message. It was fun! We talked with people in six different apartments and met a family who said they were interested in having their daughter baptized.

Kirk says they softened when the older man stopped as I put on my sunglasses and told me I looked like Jackie Kennedy. Hmmm . . . what do you think? I think he definitely had a few too many!!

Veyo is a little farming community about 1/2 way between our condo in St. George and our home in Pine Valley - about 20 minutes either way. It is called Volcano country, and is home to the Spanish Trails gas station (in the famous Horse Crazy movie that Kirk stars in for 20 seconds!), the famous roller rink above the Spanish Trails, lots of tractors, horses, cows, crawdads, and wild blackberries. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Hangin' with the Sister Missionaries

We have the privilege of working with the young Sister Missionaries, Sister Pugmire from Las Vegas, and Sister Rizzo from Kenai, Alaska (yes Elder Smith is trying to wrangle a fishing trip after we are done). We are all assigned to work in the St. George North Stake. They have done an awesome job training us (still a work in progress) and we have loved spending time and learning from them. Part of our responsibilities as Senior Missionaries include being a support to the young Elders and Sisters as they are away from home and sometimes need a Mom, Dad, Grandpa or Grandma type to lean on. We know our sons, especially Mike in India, benefitted greatly from the love and attention of Senior Missionaries. Our time to pay it forward!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go

Kirk and I have planned on a mission pretty much ever since we got married. Neither of us went on a mission when we were young: girls didn't go much in my era, and Kirk joined the church at 19 and went right in the Army and to Viet Nam. But we always knew we would go together when we retired, and we knew we'd say "I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go" even though seniors can request anywhere. We pictured Samoa, or Africa, or Fiji — somewhere exotic. Well, aren't we the luckiest couple ever —— we got called to the Utah St. George Mission!!! Its one of the most exotic, beautiful, places in the world. Tourists come here from all over the world. The mission goes from Manti, south to Mesquite, Nevada, even to Grand Canyon Village, then east over to Moab. It has national parks galore: Zion, Bryce, Grand Canyon, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, and Arches. It has national monuments and state parks, and mountains and deserts.
We are doing a "Live-at-Home" Full Time Mission. Since Scott was diagnosed with M.S. three years ago (in addition to his challenges with high functioning autism), we knew we wouldn't be able to leave the area for a mission. What a blessing it is for us that we can serve full-time here.

Here's a Map of the area our Mission covers:

Saturday, February 28, 2015

BYU Football Recruit Joins Us at the MTC

This giant young missionary was hard to ignore at the MTC. 
As soon as we saw him in the cafeteria, we recognized that he was the new BYU recruit that had been all over the local and national news just the week before. He is Motekai Langi, a 6'7" 410 pound lineman from Tonga, who has never played football. He left a few days later to begin his mission in Phoenix, so he will join the team in 2017.  He was such a good sport to let us take a picture with him. We weren't the only ones. We saw him being pestered everywhere for pictures. He seemed to take it good naturedly though. Would you let him in if he knocked at your door?

Friday, February 27, 2015

Our Mission Begins

We're in the Provo MTC! Its where three of our sons began their missions, so we posed by the famous map just as they did so many years ago (21, 19, & 15 years ago). It was great to experience the things that they did when they were there — yes, the food affected us too :). We LOVED feeling the spirit of all the missionaries at the MTC and interacting with the young Elders and Sisters in the halls, in the cafeteria, and in our classes each day. 

It was fun to see the familiar faces of the Sampsons from St. George in our Senior Couples classes. They are off to Vanuatu near Fiji. 

And we got a few hours off to hit the famous BYU Creamery close to the MTC. The best part was hanging out with the nieces and nephews, Andrew, Ashley, and Tawni. They each had been gone all day in classes and work, but they still made time for us! Love those cute Barretts! 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Hanging Up the Badge

After 33 years in law enforcement, Kirk is hanging up the badge! He will retire as Sheriff of Washington County on January 4th (Mike's birthday). He was sworn in on January 4th as Sheriff 12 years ago, and he was sworn in as a Highway Patrolman on January 4th in 1978. So Mike's birthday has been extra eventful through the years. There have definitely been mixed emotions for us, and especially for Kirk as he has attended many retirement events in his behalf, and has been honored by many organizations, and by many individual people. A retirement open house that the county put on for Kirk had people lined up out of the meeting room, into the foyer, down the stairs and out into the parking lot. He was really humbled by all the attention he received. One night we attended 3 events where he was honored. He's received plaques and statues and gifts (the county gave him an ipad instead of a watch - he's LOVING that), and lots of cards. The most touching to me have been the individual cards and stories that I've read and heard people tell, about how Kirk made a difference in their lives. From a wife telling us that Kirk was the one who stopped her husband from committing suicide years ago, to the man who came into his office and said, "you arrested me 20 years ago, and I spent prison three years in prison . . . and you saved my life" —we heard story after story of his good influence through the years. I think I should write a book about him! I think the comment I heard most often was about Kirk's honesty, integrity, and his "incredible moral compass" (as one person explained it). I am so proud of him and his career.