Hunter Jumper

A year ago, when the  call came to serve as Church Education System Missionaries (CES) missionaries in Charlottesville, VA, we asked ourselves what will we do?  A year later we have lots of answers.  Each day is different.  We pray, study, teach, contact, find, encourage, transport, cook, support, and love.  It seems we daily apply several of these actions to members, non-members, investigators, and missionaries.  It is our mission, we look for ways to serve others, and we like what we do.

One thing we really like is getting to know members of our Young Single Adult (YSA) ward. We know lots of names and a little about each person behind the name.  Often our superficial “getting to know you” comes at church or in an institute class.  Better friendships come with one-on-one time.  Opportunities come in a variety of ways.  An offer for a ride results in a good visit in the car.  An offer to buy lunch is seldom refused and we talk over food.  A service project turns  into more than just working together, it becomes a time to get to know someone.  Some, including students, have invited us to their homes for a meal.  Some of our students are excited about their employment and we have responded to the offer, “Hey, you should come and see me at work.”  This week we traveled to the Ruckersville/Stanardsville  area (you have to love those names) to visit Calberry Farms.

Calberry Farms is a small farm with a nice eight stall barn. It offers horseback riding lessons, custom boarding, and training for hunter/jumpers, equitation, and pleasure.  It is operated by our amazing friend and YSA member J.R.

J. R. with Cumberland

J.R. with Cumberland

J.R. is living her dream and she is doing it in a beautiful area at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  She attended Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in Lynchburg, VA on scholarship and received a degree in Economics.  She has bravely enlarged her entrepreneurial spirit and turned in the direction of horses.  Times are a little lean right now, but who knows, she is really good at her craft.

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Cumberland showing his stuff

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Lift off

J.R. looks good in the saddle, but she looks even better at church.  She is a faithful sister who serves others in her calling as a member of the Relief Society Presidency.  She regularly attends our institute classes and we love being around her with other young adults.

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J. R. and Cosmo the one horse that is not for sale

With ownership of several horses in the barn she has plenty to do.  In good weather each horse gets a daily workout and training.  All are for sale except Cosmo, her horse for life.

When you think about it, a horse is an unusual animal.  They have huge muscles and small minds . . . lots of brawn and little brain.  That is a bad combination when someone wants to climb on their back, the same place a predator would be in the wild.  J.R. deals with the complexities of horse psychology perfectly.  She is the quintessential example of kindness and patience.

As children of our Heavenly Father people are much more than horses.  We need to show kindness and patience to others, just as our Father shows kindness and patience to us, through his son Jesus Christ.

The qualities of kindness and patience are included in the Savior’s instructions to members of the church, given through the prophet Joseph Smith, in the 4th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants:

1 Now behold, a marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men.           

2 Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.

3 Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work;

4 For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul;

5 And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work.

6 Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence.

7 Ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Amen.

D&C Section 4

Elder Ware

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New Life

” . . . I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)

Spring has finally come to Virginia.  Actually, it came a few weeks ago, but timely posts are hard.  We have been busy with institute and seminary and other missionaries.  We did, however, manage to take some pictures to document the fact.  Spring is here.

Spring and Easter remind us that Jesus Christ has paid the price that will bring us all resurrection, and for those who keep his commandments and repent, he offers eternal life.  We see new life all around us, in nature, in new converts, in growth of testimony and conviction in the young people we work with.  Spring is my favorite time of the year.

The first sign of spring was the return of two old friends.  Well, our relationship with them is not that old, we were introduced just last fall.  We wrote about their risky lifestyle in a previous post (Perilous Times).  Our friends appeared, in the same perilous spot, during the last small snow storm of winter.  We wish them happiness and long lives, despite their bad choices.

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The 5th Street Extended Expressway is once again home to this Canadian couple

While on the subject of birds, here is one of the cardinals in our neighborhood.  There are no birds this color in Utah and we find them fascinating.  Their color grabs your eye, even their beaks are red-orange.  They also returned to Charlottesville early and we are glad to have them back.  Their lives bless our lives.

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He looks good and he also has a pleasant voice

Moving to flora from fauna, we recently learned about to jonquils.  One Sunday, before church, we visited the home of a member of the stake presidency for brunch.  They live  on Sugar Hollow Road, a beautiful name for a beautiful place, where this beautiful family lives.  Jonquils (small daffodils with curved rather than flat leaves) grow wild in the forests and on the hillsides.  These lovely flowers are small, and they have short lives, but they make the world a much better place while we have them.

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The wild jonquils of Sugar Hollow

After brunch we headed to church.  As we drove back to Charlottesville we passed this group enjoying a sunny, spring morning on a side hill.   These roaming wild turkeys, Benjamin Franklin’s choice for national bird, have come to life after a cold winter.

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“He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage” – Benjamin Franklin speaking of the wild turkey

The state tree of Virginia is the dogwood.  Good choice.  This is the dogwood in front of the church on Hydraulic Avenue where we attend the Young Single Adult Ward.  In just a little over a week these trees drop their flowers to make way for leaves.  New life on dogwoods is a great welcome sign for those who come to church.

 

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Chapel for the YSA and Rivanna Wards and the Virginia state tree

During an early morning seminary visit in Harrisonburg we were introduced to this little guy.  Home is near the front porch where he lives with his yet unborn siblings.  Mom and dad are near-by.  He is a subtle reminder of how fragile life is.  Life for all of us is a blessing, but life in this world is only for a brief moment.

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Newborn robin

Redfields is a housing development near our apartment.  A short walk takes you to a pond in the middle of the development.  The pond has been quiet for the past couple of months, but that is changing.  These three painted turtles share the pond with lots of relatives.  For now they have obtained a prestigious place on this pond log, at least until a bigger turtle comes along.  What we obtain in prestige and the things of this world don’t last forever.

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The painted turtles of Redfields pond

To begin with, the purpose of this post was to share what early spring is like in our new home.   Hopefully the pictures and their descriptions show our family and friends one of the reasons we love serving in this area.  What we see around us is certainly different from what we have experienced in past springs and, well, we really like it.

As we review the post and look at the pictures another thought comes to us.  Although it is beautiful and pleasant, it will not last forever.  This was brought to our attention dramatically as we drove toward town yesterday and saw that one of the Canadian geese had been hit by a car.  The inevitable happened.  One goose is now standing in the median alone.

Once again our thoughts turn to why we are here.  We want to teach others, and learn for ourselves, that there is life after death because of Jesus Christ.  We know we have the possibility of eternal life, life with our Father in Heaven and his Son.  We want to live there with our families and others that we love.

“And, if you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God.” (D&C14:7) 

Elder Ware

 

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Lions and Lambs, Love from a Distance and Kolob

Each post needs a title – something catchy to seize a readers interest.  The title of this post rambles on.  The term rambling probably applies to the entire post, but perhaps, if you are interested enough to read on, you will make connections.

Lions and Lambs

March is an odd month.  It is not objectionable like January.  It is not enjoyable like May.  It is not spectacular like October, nor festive like December.  Instead, it is an odd month of transition, almost always starting cold, but ending with improvement.  Its changeable nature leads to the expression, “in like a lion and out like a lamb”.

Folklore behind the idiom obviously relates to weather.  The phrase also applies to the movement of constellations.  Looking to the stars you see March begins as the constellation Leo then moves across the heavens toward the celestial meridian.  Leo is the Lion.  As Leo marches away, the constellation Aries begins to rise in the night sky.  This happens toward the end of the month.  Aries is the Ram, a grown up lamb.  Truthfully, connecting dots in the sky is awfully difficult, but you get the picture.

Although March is an odd month, Jan and I like it.  She was born on March 31st.  I was born on March 1st.  She is quick to point out the lion and lamb connection.  Without saying it, there is the insinuation that the personalities of the parties involved correspond to the idiom.  I don’t go along with that idea, although I may be forever cementing the thought in the minds of everyone by writing about it in a blog.

Love from a Distance

Grand-children, and their thoughtful parents, remember our birthdays and other special occasions.  Despite our absence they send us love.  “Love is homemade” applies to the gifts sent by our grandsons (no grand-daughters yet, although that may change).   Here are some artistic offerings.

Within days of arriving in our Charlottesville mission, we received this encouragement.  It came from our pre-kindergarten grandson with the kind help of his Primary teacher.

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First to adorn the refrigerator door

Christmas brought the gift of the best calendar ever made. Each month has a hand, foot and/or finger tip picture.  Here’s the entry for April.

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A hands umbrella protects feet chicks from fingertip rain

The oldest grandson has talent to spare in everything he does.  How about an origami rose?

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Roses are red – sent with love and no thorns

The second grandson is the picture of perfection in his work.  It shows in imaginative art and quality handwriting.   Impressive for a 10-year-old boy.

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Sometimes wisdom comes from young owls

More feet and hands.  When we left these feet could walk; now they run!

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It appears he was still just long enough to get these prints

We’ve seen plenty of feet and hands.  Eyes are added to this gesture of love.

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The oldest signs his name at 3 years old. The youngest just smiles.

The grandson who first made the refrigerator door is now in kindergarten.  His writing skills are skyrocketing.

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Love from our bug

Known as Sister Ware in the mission, but Nana to her grandsons, Jan gets a life-sized cut-out in the mail, two boys who deliver a birthday hug.

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Step up for a hug

Kolob

William W. Phelps has 26 LDS hymns to his credit, including “Praise to the Man” and “The Spirit of God.”  Among those hymns is If You Could Hie to Kolob.  I had to look it up, but hie has Old English roots and means “to go to quickly”.   After we received our mission call we hied out to Virginia.

If you went quickly to Kolob you would go to a celestial body, a star, the place where God dwells as explained in the Book of Abraham (Abraham 3:3,9).

The word itself, Kolob, draws our attention.  It sounds strange.  And, of course, we are all interested in the hard to picture place where God dwells.  The location of Kolob is most likely in some distant galaxy, far from us.  But, just like love coming from grandsons in Utah, love comes to us from the distant Kolob.  It is love with eternal consequences.

The love of God comes to us in the form of his son, Jesus Christ.  The Savior testified of himself:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

Perhaps you made all the connections in a rambling post.  We are blessed.  Love is all around us.

Elder Ware

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A Living Religion

Charlottesville YSA Missionary Blog

We enjoyed the recent Stake Conference.  The association we have with members and investigators brings us great happiness.  Our stay in Charlottesville started last summer.  We now know and love many members of the stake and it was good to see them at conference.

The majority of our acquaintances are members of the YSA ward.  We see many of you not only at church, but also at institute classes held during the week.  We love our mission.  Our life together is ideal as we serve and fulfill our mission call.  Every day we study the gospel through the scriptures and church manuals, we teach an assortment of classes to a variety of institute students, we serve with the companion of our choice, we look for ways to talk about the restoration with the friendly people of Virginia, and we associate with young adults who seek to come unto Christ.  It…

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The Welfare of Children

The welfare of children is more important than the lifestyle choices of adults. 

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Faiths File Amicus Brief on Marriage Cases
Before Tenth Circuit Court

Read about a legal brief filed with the Tenth Circuit Court in marriage cases by clicking here:  News Release

Reading the full brief takes some concentration, but it is worth the effort.  It may help you in composing your thoughts on the subject of marriage.  Read the full brief here
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“And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.” (Mark 9:42)

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Message from the Tower

“And they pitched their tents round about the temple, every man having his tent with the door thereof towards the temple, that thereby they might remain in their tents and hear the words which king Benjamin should speak unto them (Mosiah 2:6)

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Twelve families (seminary classes) pitch their tents with their doors facing the temple (stage in the church cultural hall)

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Look closely and you will see many of the gathered sons and daughters communicate with a new Nephite technology called a “cell phone”

“For the multitude being so great that king Benjamin could not teach them all within the walls of the temple, therefore he caused a tower to be erected, that thereby his people might hear the words which he should speak unto them.”(Mosiah 2:7)

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The tower of King Benjamin

King Benjamin appears on his tower

King Benjamin . . . he’s the one with the crown

King Benjamin addresses the people of Zarahemla (residents of the Waynesboro Stake) from his tower.  He is a prophet, mature and wise.  We know he is mature because he uses Nephite reading glasses.  We know he is wise because he teaches from the scriptures and testifies of Jesus Christ.

He testifies of the mission of Jesus Christ. “And lo, he cometh unto his own, that salvation might come unto the children of men even through faith on his name . . . “

“And he shall rise the third day from the dead; and behold, he standeth to judge the world; and behold, all these things are done that a righteous judgment might come upon the children of men. (Mosiah 3:9,10)

King Benjamin shares advice with eternal consequences. “For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord,and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father. (Mosiah 3:9,10)

The comments about the “natural man” are worth remembering.  This verse is one of 100 special verses.  The collection of verses is given a new Nephite term – Scripture Mastery. King Benjamin’s people (students) are encouraged to locate, understand, apply and memorize the Scripture Mastery verses.

The people begin to pack their tents and return to their homes.  Then, before leaving, Zarahemla cupcakes are distributed by the servants of the king.  The cupcakes are a new taste sensation.  The life of a cupcake is short.

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Zarahemla cupcakes

The youthful subjects, fingers slightly sticky with marshmallow, leave the presence of the king.  Their lives will be blessed if they remember his words:

“And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you.” (Mosiah 2:22)

Elder Ware

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Who Shall Declare This Generation?

. . . who shall declare his generation? Behold, I say unto you, that when his soul has been made an offering for sin he shall see his seed.  And now what say ye? And who shall be his seed?  (Mosiah 15:10)

A royal generation of missionaries serves in the Richmond Virginia Mission.  They are finding others to join them as followers of Jesus Christ.  Who will join in this family of Christ?  Who shall be his seed?

We meet new members of the generation each week at baptismal services. Baptisms are wonderful, simple events.  They bless the lives of everyone.  We see people covenant to take upon themselves the name of Christ and keep his commandments.

There is another way to look at this generation.  It is the generation of the Virginia Richmond Mission.  New missionaries join this mission family every six weeks.  Their arrival corresponds with transfers in the mission.  In VRM language it is not how many months you have served, but how many transfers.

When new missionaries arrive a new generation is declared – often with confusing references.  You hear Elder Smith refer to Elder Jones as his son.  Or you may hear Sister Williams refer to Sister Anderson as her aunt.  Given time everyone understands.

You come into the mission as a child.  You are assigned to a companion who becomes  your father (Elders) or mother (Sisters).  It takes two transfers to grow up.  Your first companion will always be your father (or mother).  Most missionaries have very good parents.  In unusual situations a child is unable to stay with his/her father or mother for the first two transfers.  In these situations they are raised by a step-father or a step-mother.

A few transfers go by and a new missionary is transferred away from father or mother.  The next companion becomes a brother (Elders) or sister (Sisters).  For the most part brothers and sisters work well together to further the work of the Lord.  In our mission we discuss helping others to reach the next covenant in their lives.  For nonmembers it is the covenant of baptism and receiving the Holy Ghost.  For others it is attending the temple and receiving the endowment, experiencing a temple marriage, or having a family participate in the sealing covenant.  For many it is attending church on the next Sunday and partaking of the sacrament.

Back to the VRM family.  With more transfers new relationships are formed in this generation.  A father’s companion becomes an uncle and, likewise, a mother’s companion is an aunt (think about it for just a second).  You can see where all of this becomes complicated.  A brother’s son is a nephew and a sister’s daughter is a niece.  Your son’s son is a grandson.  So, Elder Newton could be Elder Adam’s great-great-great-grandson.  Sister Evans becomes Sister Johnson’s step-mothers sister.  Cousins are everywhere.  We have to stop.

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The Virginia Richmond Mission family. According to missionary language this generation of missionaries is all related.

Additional language skills are necessary to understand what is happening in the mission.  If both companions are transferred out of an area they are “shotgunned” to a new location.    Of course when missionaries are shotgunned out new missionaries must be shotgunned in. This activity causes a “whitewashed” area.

In addition, just as missionaries are born into the mission they must die.  A rather unappealing phrase occurs when you are with a companion during their last transfer, before they are released to return home.  In this case you “kill” your companion.  Recently Sister Palmer killed Sister Tanner in our zone.  The good news is we know Sister Tanner is happily resurrected in Boise, Idaho.

In the VRM we are a peculiar people, with a peculiar language, but we enjoy bringing others to the marvelous light of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light  (1 Peter 2:9)

Elder Ware

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