Wednesday, July 15, 2015

14 July 2015 Some Goodbyes (not all) and other items admissible for the journal.

Using this blog as a journal has helped keep track of the years events, although not as well as I would have liked. The time grows ever increasingly short, so I have added some final pictures from the mission, not final goodbyes. I say that having high hopes of reuniting with mission friends in the future. Below are some pictures of those who have left ahead of us, some who remain.
 This is the last dinner together on the NCCM. Front are Elder and Sister Urban (left 20 June 2015)
Next is Elder and Sister Adamson, they replaced the Urbans. Then Sister Slade, followed by Elder and Sister Hunt. At the far end is President and Sister Craven ( I have never seen Sister Craven with that expression before. It's like we're going home after 3 years).
 Elder and Sister Urban
 President and Sister Craven
 Us with the Cravens
 I liked this one, transfer of authority. No pomp, no election, no fanfare, just President and Sister Craven released and President and Sister Alexander assume the mission duties. Plain and simple. Everyone knows the Lords plan. 
 This is Sister Scott, stake Relief Society President in the South Stake. She was also the person who provided breakfasts and lunches for the missionaries whenever there were meeting and conferences at the mission home. She is a wonderful person, we expect to see her again, because she has family living in Tucson. Anyway she is in the middle of a group of missionaries, who surrounded her and began singing the NCCM song to her (I will print the words to the song when I find them, it is a very pretty song). It was quite touching, she asked Sister Slade to join her as they had become good friends. Sister Slade always helped her in the kitchen.
Here are the words of the song:
The North Carolina Mission Song

We've been called to serve the Lord from every land.
We have left all behind to lend a helping hand.
The true gospel is the message that we bear.
Our Savior gave so much that we just want to share.
And we pray you'll receive His word.
'No place else we go could be finer,
For this is where we've come to serve the Lord.

The Lord's misssion will excel in every way.
Each one of us has pledged to serve the Lord's way.
We love all our fellow men and those we teach.
The highest goals we set are now within our reach.
To us all the Lord has said, "Come trust and teach".
And as his instruments for his elect we'll reach.
Those who sow and those who reap in gathering,
In Zion will rejoice together with our King.

 Sister Scott and Sister Slade, quite teary.
 Sister Dunn and Sister Shepard with Elder Romero and Elder Kemp
 Sister Buchan, she is the secretary to the institute director. Her office is in the same building as ours and is also downstairs as is ours. So we saw her often and became friends. Also, she does a lot of family history, so she found out that we are related through the Lee side. She always talks about family history and was asking me about mine. She asked where do our family ties go back to etc. Anyway she researched and found the connection to her line and the Lee ( John D Lee) line. 
 Sister Phillips, has become family. She has been a constant throughout our mission.
We visit her wherever she gets transferred to. We do love her. Con amor hermana Phillips
 Our dear Elder Herr, until you return home with honor, it has been a pleasure serving with you.
Vaya Con Dios.

Next, is a group of pictures I took at a memorial park called Independence Park. President Thies mentioned it to us and told us it was a memorial to a relative to him. We found it and took some pictures. 

We went with the Hunts on a road trip to Winston-Salem for some church business and then to Boone, NC for fun. Likely the last road trip on this mission with them. We had a grand time, as always
These are the missionaries from Dobson Ward, 
the large one to the left is Elder Masoe (he has a scholarship waiting at USC as a Defensive tackle or outside linebacker) next to him is Elder Seely, then Sister Slade (cutting up as usual) me, then Sister Hunt
While we were out it was Elder Hunt's birthday. Now, Elder Hunt loves everything Railroad. He has many, many train sets and layouts. So I thought I would give him a "key" to a engine, (a reverser). It is polished brass like the old reversers, they were made out of brass years ago. 
He hadn't seen one before, so he was a little confused on what it was. I explained it to him, and I think he really liked it. I told him it was to go on his desk.
Close up of the reverser. It is pretty.
Later we went to a "Mystery House" and on the way I stopped for a break with grandpa.
This slab of concrete is level, so when I stand at one end and Sister Slade at the other she looks tiny,
However when we reversed, she grew taller, or I shrunk.
Me defying gravity
This was interesting, a museum of arrowheads found in the area. There are over 50K arrowheads in this museum and over 200k collected. There were arrowheads for arrows, knives, spears, digging implements, cleaning, scraping, whatever it was there. 
Antinque piano
Finally a mountainside, covered with trees, but a mountainside none the less.
We attended a play in an outside stage area, but also walked around and saw various old cabin set ups and a little history tour.

The two on the outside are colonialist/frontiersmen and the center is a british officer

This young lady was explaining about this cabin, how they cooked, slept etc. As we were walking away I heard her singing by herself. Beautiful voice ringing from the windows.

These were some of the actors for the play, they were prepping everyone for the show. They sang some songs.
Outdoor stage
The story is told by Daniel Boone about how the citizens in this community rallied with the Colonial Army to fight against the British at Kings Mountain (near Gastonia, NC). The story looked like the bases for the Patriot movie.
Daniel shot a bear, 
Closing number, 
that's Daniel Boone in front. The town of Boone, NC was named after him
As we left I had to take this picture of the Flag under the lights.
We had a great time, and will miss everyone and everything here. I'll have some more closing shots, but until then, Keep the Faith

Thursday, July 2, 2015

2 July 2015 NEWS RELEASE — 30 JUNE 2015 Church Leaders Counsel Members After Supreme Court Same-Sex Marriage Decision

Since this event happened while on our mission, I choose to add this statement to my blog. This is not intended to offend anyone or cause contention. It is a statement given by our ecclesiastical leaders, our prophet's on the earth today. I want to record it as history and for clarification. I affirm my faith in Jesus Christ and sustain my ecclesiastical leaders.


Church Leaders Counsel Members After Supreme Court Same-Sex Marriage Decision

The following letter from the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is being read in Church meetings across the United States and Canada beginning Sunday, July 5. (The Church issued this brief public statement immediately after the court's decision on June 26, 2015.)

Full introductory letter, statement and background material below:
June 29, 2015
TO: General Authorities; General Auxiliary Presidencies; and the following leaders in the United States and Canada: Area Seventies; Temple, Stake Mission and District Presidencies; Bishops and Branch Presidents
Dear Brethren and Sisters:
Enclosed is a statement by the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve in response to the recent Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage in the United States. The statement also pertains to the situation in Canada. Local leaders are asked to meet with all adults, young men, and young women on either July 5 or July 12 in a setting other than sacrament meeting and read to them the entire statement.
Also included is background material which may be helpful in answering questions that arise.
Stake presidents are asked to see that bishops receive copies of this letter and the enclosures.
Sincerely yours,
Thomas S. Monson
Henry B. Eyring
Dieter F. Uchtdorf
June 29, 2015  
Because of the recent decision of the United States Supreme Court and similar legal proceedings and legislative actions in a number of countries that have given civil recognition to same‐sex marriage relationships, the Council of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter‐day Saints restates and reaffirms the doctrinal foundation of Church teachings on morality, marriage, and the family. As we do, we encourage all to consider these teachings in the context of the Plan of Salvation and our Heavenly Father’s purposes in creating the earth and providing for our mortal birth and experience here as His children.
Marriage between a man and a woman was instituted by God and is central to His plan for His children and for the well‐being of society. “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth” (Genesis 1:27‐28). “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Strong families, guided by a loving mother and father, serve as the fundamental institution for nurturing children, instilling faith, and transmitting to future generations the moral strengths and values that are important to civilization and vital to eternal salvation.
A family built on marriage of a man and a woman is the best setting for God’s plan of happiness to thrive. That is why communities and nations generally have encouraged and protected marriage between a man and a woman, and the family that results from their union, as privileged institutions. Sexual relations outside of such a marriage are contrary to the laws of God pertaining to morality.
Changes in the civil law do not, indeed cannot, change the moral law that God has established. God expects us to uphold and keep His commandments regardless of divergent opinions or trends in society. His law of chastity is clear: sexual relations are proper only between a man and a woman who are legally and lawfully wedded as husband and wife. We invite all to review and understand the doctrine contained in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.”
Consistent with our fundamental beliefs, Church officers will not employ their ecclesiastical authority to perform marriages between two people of the same sex, and the Church does not permit its meetinghouses or other properties to be used for ceremonies, receptions, or other activities associated with same‐sex marriages. Nevertheless, all visitors are welcome to our chapels and premises so long as they respect our standards of conduct while there.
The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us to love and treat all people with kindness and civility—even when we disagree. We affirm that those who avail themselves of laws or court rulings authorizing same‐sex marriage should not be treated disrespectfully. Indeed, the Church has advocated for rights of same‐sex couples in matters of hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment, and probate, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the traditional family or the constitutional rights of churches.
The Church insists on its leaders’ and members’ right to express and advocate religious convictions on marriage, family, and morality free from retaliation or retribution. The Church is also entitled to maintain its standards of moral conduct and good standing for members.
As members of the Church, we are responsible to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to illuminate the great blessings that flow from heeding God’s commandments as well as the inevitable consequences of ignoring them. We invite all to pray that people everywhere will have their hearts softened to the truths God established in the beginning, and that wisdom will be granted to those who are called upon to decide issues critical to society’s future.
Background Material for Bishops and Branch Presidents 
On the U.S. Supreme Court Decision on Same‐sex Marriage
The Church has provided a statement dated June 29, 2015, prepared by the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision legalizing same‐sex marriage in the United States. The response reaffirms the divinely‐revealed reasons and proper doctrinal context for the Church’s unequivocal position regarding matters of morality, chastity, marriage, and the family. As the response notes, the Church’s teachings on these subjects are grounded in the scriptural declarations of God’s eternal plan for the salvation and exaltation of His children and are framed in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” While the statement stands on its own, below is additional information that may be helpful to you in responding to questions that may arise.
For much of human history, civil laws have generally been compatible with God’s laws. Unfortunately, there have been notable exceptions to that pattern. For example, it is legal in the United States to perform an abortion on an unborn fetus. However, this practice is not morally acceptable before God. (See Handbook 1, 17.3). The consumption of alcohol, while contrary to God’s law, is legal in most nations of the world, but the physical and social toll for doing so is a painful matter of record. So, too, with issues of unchaste sexual behavior, whether it be heterosexual or homosexual in its orientation. As the First Presidency has previously said and as this current response affirms, “Changes in the civil law do not, indeed cannot, change the moral law that God has established. God expects us to uphold and keep His commandments regardless of divergent opinions or trends in society” (First Presidency letter on “Same‐ Sex Marriage,” January 9, 2014).
What is the Church’s Policy on Homosexual Relations?
“Homosexual behavior violates the commandments of God, is contrary to the purposes of human sexuality, and deprives people of the blessings that can be found in family life and in the saving ordinances of the gospel. Those who persist in such behavior or who influence others to do so are subject to Church discipline. Homosexual behavior can be forgiven through sincere repentance. “If members engage in homosexual behavior, Church leaders should help them have a clear understanding of faith in Jesus Christ, the process of repentance, and the purpose of life on earth.
“While opposing homosexual behavior, the Church reaches out with understanding and respect to individuals who are attracted to those of the same gender. “If members feel same‐gender attraction but do not engage in any homosexual behavior, leaders should support and encourage them in their resolve to live the law of chastity and to control unrighteous thoughts. These members may receive Church callings. If they are worthy and qualified in every other way, they may also hold temple recommends and receive temple ordinances” (Handbook 2, 21.4.6).
Does the authorization of same‐sex marriage affect my right to religious freedom? 
Our individual right to religious freedom is protected by the First Amendment to the United States’ Constitution and by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. As we exercise that right, we must also exercise tolerance and respect toward others’ rights but do so without condoning behavior that goes contrary to the laws of God. “While we strive for the virtue of tolerance, other commendable qualities need not be lost. Tolerance does not require the surrender of noble purpose or of individual identity. The Lord gave instruction to leaders of His restored Church to establish and maintain institutional integrity—‘that the Church may stand independent’ (D&C 78:14)” (Elder Russell M. Nelson, “Teach Us Tolerance and Love,” April 1994 general conference). How do I respond respectfully to those who consider the Church’s position on this matter unchristian? Our objection to same‐sex marriage is not based on animosity toward anyone, but on our understanding of God’s purposes for His children. For us, the issues are not simply “tolerance” and “equality.” The issues are the nature of marriage and the consequences of redefining a divinely established institution. In addition, redefining marriage in the law can have profound consequences for society, particularly for children. Mothers and fathers matter, and they are not interchangeable. “On the subject of public discourse, we should all follow the gospel teachings to love our neighbor and avoid contention. Followers of Christ should be examples of civility. We should . . . be good listeners and show concern for the sincere belief [of others.] Though we may disagree, we should not be disagreeable. We should be wise in explaining our position and, in doing so, ask that others not be offended by our sincere religious beliefs and the free exercise of our religion” (Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “Loving Others and Living with Differences,” October 2014 general conference).
What if I have reservations of my own regarding the Church’s position on this subject?
“Members who . . . have doctrinal questions should make a diligent effort, including earnest prayer and scripture study, to find solutions and answers themselves. Church members are encouraged to seek guidance from the Holy Ghost to help them in their personal lives and in family and Church responsibilities.
“If members still need help, they should counsel first with their bishop. If necessary, he may refer them to the stake president. “. . . Stake presidents who need clarification about doctrinal or other Church matters may write in behalf of their members to the First Presidency” (Handbook 2, 21.1.24).