Sunday, February 28, 2010

First Day at Church - February 28, 2010

We have been assigned to attend and support the Makiki Ward and we now meet in the Honolulu Tabernacle building located in downtown Honolulu. They are a mixture of many different cultures: Hawaiian, Japanese, Korean, Tongan, Philippinos, and others. They are a very warm and welcoming group of members and we know that we will enjoy being a part of them. We met several missionary companions and feel very much at home among them. Today is a much better day knowing that we avoided the pending Tsunami! Weather is delightful so we are going to drive our car back over to the Church and walk back to our hotel room so that will force us to walk everyday to the Mission Office (about a 2 mile walk round trip).

Saturday, February 27, 2010

At Pali Point we had a view looking out towards the distant east coastline. We actually ran into a couple we met on a cruise several years ago (Albert & Diana). We walked back to our car and had a picnic of Dorito Chips, Dates, & Orero Cookies! Then we both fell asleep and took a nap with the sun shining and a cool breeze coming through the car windows.

After a few hours of waiting we could tell that this was "blowing over" so we ventured back into Honolulu (about an hour before the official "all's clear" alert) - the city was deserted, but people are now coming back. It was a most interesting event to say the least. Welcome to Hawaii!!! The good news is . . . WE LIVE ANOTHER DAY!

Lee drove to Pali Point lookout to get to higher ground for safety, and obviously lots people had the same idea. We parked along the side of the road and hiked in.

Saturday, February 27, 2010 Our First P-Day or as we will recall this day - our first Preparation Day for the BIG TSUNAMI

This morning we were awaken by sirens sounding off in the streets and the hotel’s PA’s system alerting everyone of an approaching Tsunami because Chile was hit by a 8.8 earthquake during the night. The Tsunami was to hit the shores of the Big Island around 11:05 a.m. and Oahu at 11:30 a.m. so we quickly located a grocery store, but had to get in line outside to wait for access. Once inside more long lines, but we did get food and water so that we could wait for the impending disaster!

Friday, February 26, 2010 WELCOME

After an uneventful, long 7 hour flight we arrived in Honolulu about 3:30 p.m. President and Sister Peterson welcomed us with hugs & leis, loaded our luggage into the mission van and took us out to dinner. They are a wonderful couple and we enjoyed getting to know them a little. It will be great to work with them as we serve in the mission office. After dinner President Peterson took us over to see the Mission Office and we met the 2 Elders who serve as his assistants. We did get settled into our temporary living quarters which will our home for the next 10 days because we won’t be able to move into our apartment until the Fowlers move out.

Our personal chauffuer Don drove us to the SL Airport. Do you think we had enough luggage! Well - we will be gone a year and a half! Jonathan wanted us to dropped by so we could hug, but because we were running short on time I told him I sent him a "hug" from the freeway as we drove by!
Good Bye MAX - I miss you buddy! You better not forget me!
Friday morning - our last day at home before heading off to the airport to catch our flight to Honolulu. Neighbors Paul & Donna came over to give us some goodies for the trip! We are so blessed to have such wonderful neighbors!

Friday, February 26, 2010

We are so excited for you and so proud of you! You two are amazing people separately, so together you’re even more wonderful! I am sure you’re going to blow this mission out of the water! You’re both going to be fantastic! This will be an amazing experience and we love reading your blog and seeing pictures. What a great way to journal your experiences and keep your kids and grandkids informed about your mission adventures. What a blessing you are.

You will be in our daily prayers and we hope that you find experiences with members and non-members that will lift you up and strengthen you!

I will try to send at least a weekly email about our family’s events and experiences and I will try to do better about updating my facebook! Do you have a physical address where we can send notes or cards from time to time? I know I missed sending Lee a birthday card because I wasn’t sure where to send it. I wasn’t sure if you were staying overnight at the MTC or what you were doing, so I apologize for that.

Best of luck to you! We will miss you and are grateful for technology, so that we can share your wonderful experiences with our children. Thank you for being such wonderful people and for being such great in-laws to me, parents to Kirt and grandparents to the kids! We love you and appreciate you!! Karen

Thursday, February 25, 2010

We only have a few hours left here in the MTC and then our training will be complete???? Why do I feel like we have only scratched the surface? There really is lots to learn and so we know that the process of learning continues. Probably everyday there will be something new. More importantly, is the amazing opportunity we have to Serve and look for opportunities to share the Gospel with others. It is our prayer that we will find some of our Heavenly Father's lost sheep! Keep us in your prayers and know that you all are in our prayers as well. We Love you all and know that our reunion will be here before we know it. Aloha and Much Love to All!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Probably not too hard to guess what day of the week this is . . .
All the new missionaries are checking in and Lee & I are heading out day after tomorrow! Only one more day left in the MTC then we are on our way. It's been a great experience, but the real adventure soon begins!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Today we "played" MTC-0-Poly and learned some of the Church's Finance Program for the Missionaries. This really falls under Lee's duties, but they wanted everyone to become familiar with it. All I can say is that I'm grateful I'm bringing the "Numbers" Man with me!

Monday, February 22, 2010

We started our second week of training in the MTC in the Computer Lab and one of our instructors told us to put our finger on our nose when we understood what was being taught . . .
our Fingers were on our Noses most all the time! We were given an overview of Word and Excel. Only 3 more days then we are on our way to Hawaii!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Lee and I are spending the afternoon packing . . . I wish I could sneak MAX into one of our suitcases! I already miss my buddy but am grateful that our good friend Don, and Allison will take good care of him. Hopefully, he won't forget us!

For Lee's Birthday we got together with all of the Freemans for a Mexican Dinner and Fare-Thee-Well!
Family Pictures are posted on Diana's Facebook. It was a fun evening and we already miss everyone . . . and Mexican Food!

You may all be wondering what we found when we returned home one evening from the MTC . . .
It looked like Spring in the middle of a snow storm!

Happy Birthday Lee . . . ALLISON! We just knew that you were behind this Heart Attack! As we arrived home from the MTC together we said, "ALLISON!" So you do have a reputation and it's a good one! It was so colorful and fun and I just want to leave it up!!! Thank you so much for remembering Lee and making his birthday special!
Dear Diana,
I heard your message and received the pictures of mom and dad. I am glad things are going well for you and Lee in the MTC; I envy the opportunity you have to learn from some of the smartest and most spiritual men in the church. Of course the Lord is pouring out His spirit on you too. Your mission will go by quickly so treasure every minute.
The picture of mom and dad is wonderful and I appreciate having them more than you know. I want you to know how much I love you. I am so proud of you, never more than now as you prepare to serve the Lord for the next 18 months. Your selfless service to mom was amazing. The Lord has blessed you greatly during your life, even as he tested your faith. You are married to one of the best men I know. Lee exemplifies everything I could imagine a righteous priesthood holder would be; I respect him and love him as a brother. And while the wait to marry must have been difficult for you, I never doubted the Lord would come through for you. I also know one day you will be blessed with your own children to raise. If I have learned anything in this life, it is that we are happiest when we seek to do the will of the Lord, unquestioningly. I will miss you, but I look forward to reading your blog. Linda and I pray for you every night. Boston is only 8 weeks away and my running is going well, in other words - I'm not injured. Much love, Mark
* HUGS *

I love you so much Diana and hate to let you go! You and Lee are amazing but I guess I should let Hawaii share you (for a while!)

Have the greatest time of your life. Consider yourself hugged everyday you will be gone!! I'll miss you so much . . . but no good byes!

Just ALOHA! Love, Wendy

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Scripture we submitted to the Ward:

"Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that He may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise." 2 NE 2:8

We have completed our first week at the MTC and it truly was an amazing experience! I wish every member of the Church could go through the training of "Preach My Gospel" . . . they really know how to get you charged up to go out and take on the world! Well, maybe just Hawaii! But it was very much an inspiring week. We have four more days of training next week and that will be with the computer systems that we need to know so that we can run the Office for the Mission.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

We have nearly completed our first week of training in the MTC. It has been an amazing experience but we definitely come home tired and ready to climb into bed! I was totally surprised that we had such a small group of couple missionaries and older sister missionaries. There were only 11 couples and 3 sisters; the church is just not getting the couples like they need. We were told that the statistics for one of the best years for converts was 300,000 and President Hinckley said that he wanted to see that number doubled; but sad to report . . . that statistic is dropping under the goal of 300,000. I believe that is why the MTC is now taking the approach of training all missionaries to learn how to teach the gospel. Most of this week has been spent in learning from "Preach My Gospel." So in addition to our office assignment we have the challenge of always looking for someone we can introduce the Church to, or to be mindful of the inactives. We will definitely be busy! But busy is good!

My Testimony

I have always loved the words that Joseph Smith recorded in his personal History following his experieave alwnce of the First Vision: “For I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dare I do it; at least I knew that by so doing I would offend God, and come under condemnation.” Joseph had gained an unshakeable testimony of God and Jesus Christ that he was true to all his life, and that testimony enabled him to live the gospel with patience and perseverance. It is my hope that we all strive towards acquiring an unshakeable testimony.

I know that the Book of Mormon is a gift from our loving Heavenly Father, and that Joseph Smith was instrumental in bringing us that perfect record. What a blessing it is in all of our lives. I love the teachings found in this marvelous Book, along with many wonderful examples of Prophets and Leaders that we can pattern our own lives after.

I am grateful that this knowledge of the gospel helps us to live happy and fulfilled lives which will brings us closer to our Heavenly Father.

I am mostly grateful for our dear Savior Jesus Christ; for his life, the mission he accomplished while here upon the earth, and for his great atoning sacrifice for all of His children that someday we may live again with Him and our families.

To borrow from Brother Joseph’s words, I want you to all know that I too have a testimony of this gospel. I know it to be true, and I know that God knows that I know, for this the only true Church upon the face of the earth.

One of my favorite church hymns is “Come Thou Font of Every Blessing.” Often those words some to me:

“Here’s my heart! Oh take and seal it, seal it for thy courts on high.”

I am grateful to all of you; what a wonderful ward we have. You are such shinning examples to me and for that I am most grateful. I pray that as Lee & I start our mission, tomorrow morning, that we will represent you well. I dedicate this mission to my Savior and pray that through this opportunity to serve that He will know of my love for Him. I leave this testimony with you, grateful for all my many blessings, and do so - In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Yesterday we were divided into Districts for training of the Lessons. Brother Whitting is teaching our group and he is a great instructor. Brother & Sister Wells (far left) are going to the Marshall Islands and their assignment sounds really primitive - Lee thinks he would be interested in a similar assignment. They know that they will need to make arrangements for about 20 Church members to go to the Temple for the 1st time. They are deciding between Hawaii and Tahiti depending on expense. We told them that if they decide Hawaii is the way to go that we would like to help in making arrangements from our end! Brother & Sister Davis (far right) are going to serve in Winter Quarters - sounds a little cold to me! Lee & I are the envy of everyone in our group of 11 couples and 3 older Sister Missionaries - can't blame them!
Day 2 and 3 - MTC
Now we are having hands on training with teaching "investigators" actual lessons. Yesterday we taught the Restoration and Joseph Smith's First Vision and today we gave a lesson on the Plan of Salvation. Our "investigator" yesterday was golden and was very receptive to our message, but today's "investigator" had all sorts of questions and was taking us off our prepared outline so that was more of a challenge. The Church has gone away from prepared discussions and is teaching us how to teach by the spirit and adjust to the needs of the investigator. We are extremely impressed with the young returned Elders who are teaching us and we are definitely learning so much that will give us skills for any teaching situation! It's been great but we do come home very tired!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Your 1st Day... Hello Diana:

I have been thinking about you and have wondered what I could give you this day as you and Lee begin your new adventure. The only thing I can think of is to let you know how much I love you. You and I have a very special connection. You are a rock in my life; one that I have always been able to count on. Whenever I need something or someone, you have always been there to listen, help, and bring clarity. I will miss you while you are gone, but know that there will be many blessings brought to our entire family because of your service while on this mission. I know that you will find much happiness and and satisfaction in the service you give while in Hawaii. I have always been grateful for the time I had in Denmark. It is a wonderful experience that you will cherish for the rest of your life. I will think of you everyday while you are away, but know that all is well.

What God Has Given Us

"Our Father in Heaven has given us, His children, much more than any mortal mind can comprehend. Under His direction the Great Jehovah created this wondrous world we live in. God the Father watches over us, fills our hearts with breathtaking joy, brightens our darkest hours with blessed peace, distills upon our minds precious truths, shepherds us through times of distress, rejoices when we rejoice, and answers our righteous petitions." -Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Much Love to you and Lee,

Jonathan -

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Can you believe this is really happening? Goodness, but you never know what adventures lie right around the corner for this family of ours. I do believe this is one that we all wish we could come along on so you will have to let us live vacariously through you for the next 18 months. Don't skimp on any details . . . we'll want to hear everything and especially what you are eating, right down to how many macadamian nuts you are digesting. That will make me happy to know you aren't starving or suffering too much. Stay healthy and well. Come home safely and we hope to reap some of those blessings that might be passed around. C'mon, you won't need them so divie them out and enjoy every day you are there because I have no doubt that you will shed many tears the day they send you home. Hawaii will be a happier place while you are on the island. Love you both dearly! Oh man . . . you will be missed. Love, Allison
Dear Brother & Sister Freeman,

Happy Trails! I am very excited for both of you. I cannot think of a better way to enjoy Hawaiya (not really.) Please be sure to take many, many pictures while on assignment (try to avoid any where you are sitting in Buddha's lap, etc. that might offend any of the locals). Just remember, you can never take too many pictures of the Temple to later share with family and friends. Study your pigeon-english so that you might become fluent and street savvy so that you will be able to impress us upon returning with your mastery of foreign languages. Sister Freeman, don't let Brother Freeman go swimming too often with the sharks, we would prefer to have him die of natural causes long after your mission is over, not during it. Brother Freeman, please avoid the public displays of affection, we all know that Sister Freeman is a babe, but please, there are proprieties! You both will be missed very, very much! Love, Phil
Dear Lee & Diana,
I know being away for years in a foreign land, and dealing with harsh extreme climates, natives who speak bizarre languages, and probably have a less than favorable opinion of Americans, not to mention a diet that largely consists of horrible bland and disgusting food can seem like an eternity away from the lush paradise here in Utah . . . do they have beach bungalow housing for senior couples? Well, I am going to pray that time absolutely drags for the both of you. I know I could be quite happy myself selling shoes on the side of the road if it meant that I was living in Hawaii! You two are going to be wonderful out there! I bet I can predict one thing though, being a 19 year old Elder preaching the gospel in paradise is probably pretty maddening with all the um distractions that usually accompany an island paradise, so patience will be quite the virtue for you both! Looking forward to all of the updates and adventures that you are sure to have! We love you and wish you the very best success in all of your efforts! Love, Stephen, Melissa and Maddie
Dearest Lee & Diana! It's going to be a major let down to know when we visit Utah that you two won't be there, but it will be wonderful when we visit Hawaii and hopefully run into you somewhere! Diana, I vote that we go take a dip in the ocean in silly swimsuits (modest of course). I know that Grandma would get a kick out of that! It would be something that she would definitely do if she were in her hay day. Lee told me that you would be able to swim so my hopes are up! We can't think of a better place for you both to serve. I think that the Barrus line has rights to the Hawaiian Temple. I wouldn't be surprised if you get a sense of Grandma Lois and Grandpa Foster walking through those beautiful temple rooms and halls. Our family always feels so blessed when members are serving missions. It give us great comfort to know that a couple as good and knowledgeable as you both will be able to take young missionaries like George under your wings. We are hoping that you will be able to keep us updated on the work and experiences that you have. We love you both so much and wish you the very, very best! All of our love, Aaron, Jessica, Josephine, Max & Ralphy (the dog!)
Dear Lee & Diana!
How exciting! Honestly, can you think of a bigger ADVENTURE that you will ever be able to have in your life? I can't explain how jealous I am of the two of you. There really hasn't been any experience in my life that I could even include in the same conversation as my mission. So many things have been impacted by those simple two years, and every day I am always blessed to be able to look back and see those blessings. You will be missed, don't worry about that! I love you both dearly. You do so much for our family. There will definitely be a significant void with you being gone, but time goes by faster than we realize, and I look forward to hearing how well everything goes! Love you, Brian
Dear Uncle Lee & Aunt Diana!
Ola from Portugal, can I just tell you how much I love this place! I am currently serving in Sintra. I don't know if my mom told you about this place, but I LOVE it! It's so green and beautiful, and full of history. I can so see you both chilling here one day. Well, I can't tell you how much fun it was to get a card from you for my birthday! I loved it and thankyou so much for the 30 dollars, way to much! Anyhow, I hope you are both doing well and are all set for Hawaii! Love you both,
Thanks again, Tchau, Elder Thaut

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Letter from President Thomas S. Monson extending mission call to serve in the Hononlulu, Hawaii Mission for 18 months. We report to the MTC Monday, February 15, 2010

This will be our new home for the next 18 months - the island of Oahu. We will be working out of the Mission Office which is located in downtown Honolulu; only a 20 minute walk from Wakiki Beach!


Missionary Journal

We received our call to serve a full time mission for the Church the day before Thanksgiving 2009 to the Honolulu, Hawaiian Mission!! ALOHA!

What an amazing opportunity for us! We will be serving in the Mission Office with Lee’s duties including Finances for the Mission along with apartments and cars, while I’ll be taking on the duties of the Mission President’s secretarial needs.

We are to report to the MTC on Monday morning, February 15, 2010. This will definitely start a new chapter in our lives, but we are excited to give full time service for the Church. We pray that although we are not proseluting missionaries, we will look for opportunites to introduce the Church to those who do not know about the Gospel.

Lee is ready to walk away from the Art Business which has been all time consuming for the past 8+ years, and I’m ready to have more time with him. We know that we will have lots to do, but are happy that we will be able to do it together! This will be such an amazing opportunity to serve and to grow and to learn more about the Gospel.