They are teaching Institute classes at the University of Canterbury & overseeing several seminary teachers in the area. They will also be helping with the young single adult choir and Mom will teach keyboard lessons. How cool is this mission?! They have been so, so excited.
They have a blog that you can follow on their adventures. It is the ChCh Chronicles. ChCh stands for Christchurch, the city where they are serving.
So, they had their fantastic farewell awhile ago and I wanted to record some of the things they spoke about. Their talks were very dear and special to me. They represent a lifetime of good choices, faithfulness, and doing what is right. They have been rewarded with an amazing family, good health and the means to go and serve at this special time.
She taught us several island greetings and how to respond to them Mawri, Tongan, Samoan. Her talk was centered on learning. She reminded us that it is a commandment to learn and said that she loves to learn.
She spoke of her grandfather, (my great-grandpa Doug) who encouraged her to go to college. She worked and saved for college, and he matched all of the money she saved. She attended BYU for $225 each semester. She was the first person in her family to attend and graduate from college. She received her degree in Home Economics.
She married my Dad in 1972 and moved to Marysvale in 1974. Mom wanted to be a mother and stay home and that's what she did!
When my youngest sister Emilee was 2 or 3 years old, my Dad was out of work (we can relate...). So my Mom applied to teach at the elementary school. She had substitute taught there a bit and had taught me in my Kindergarten year, so they already knew her. (Side note: she also worked really hard and went back to college to receive her elementary school teaching degree and certificate.)
She started working full time and said that she loved it because she got to teach my sisters in her classes, she was with her children during the days and she loved to see what they were learning. She figured that teaching school would be temporary and that she would return home full time once things were back to "normal" once again.
Instead, she went on to teach and also served as the school's principal for a total of 30 years. She was an amazing teacher & helped so many children. She improved the school so much and in turn improved the lives of the children that were taught there and also their families. (last paragraph is my commentary...)
Mom said the hand of the Lord was in her life always. Now, she was able to save money from working and they are able to pay for this wonderful mission. Along with this blessing was the announcement from the church that the couples' mission expenses for housing would be capped at $1400/month. (New Zealand is ex$pen$ive! This was a huge blessing for them.)
Dad spoke about thinking of his grandmother (Mamo, my grandfather's mother) a lot. When he was done with high school and getting ready to turn 19, he told his parents that he didn't want to serve a mission. He said his parents took the news "pretty well" but that they told him he had to tell his grandmother this news herself. He was less than excited about this prospect.
He also talked to his Bishop about his decision and he was simply asked to pray about this. He was working at Dee's (?) in downtown SLC at the time and was finding that every time he thought about a mission, he would get tears in his eyes and want to cry. He said there may have been a few "teardrop pancakes" that he helped prepare....
Dad also talked about how his mission changed his life, working in the temple changed his life in every way these past few years, and how he's been studying the gospel and getting ready to teach Institute. He said he realized they may received this calling because Mom had spent 30 years teaching in the classroom and he has spent 30 years with milk cows. :) (He's an awesome teacher, by the way. I know the Institute kids just love him!)
He also shared the scripture Ezekiel 11:19: And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh. (Love it!)
There is a blessing that comes from answering calls from the Lord, including the calls for missions and temple service.
He also encouraged everyone to keep going when reading the Book of Mormon. "Every holder of the priesthood should participate in daily scripture study" (President Monson) He told a story about how a bullet was shot at a Book of Mormon and it stopped in 2 Nephi. "Even a bullet can't get through 2 Nephi!"
Here they are in their "miracle picture"- 19 out of the 20 grandkids with Mom and Dad. #20 is our cute Matthew... we'll have a re-do at the Resurrection. :)