Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Great week

Hi all, 
As some of you may know we had a special fireside for just the missionaries this past Saturday. All the missionaries were together in one building, and that had not happened for the past three years, so this was a pretty special time together - everybody together. We had Elder wilde, and Elder Hallstrom, and Elder Ballard come to our meeting. We were there in our seats about 30 minutes to 45 minutes early listening  to one of the elders play some piano music, mostly Christmas songs. So that was really wonderful also. Many of the things that they talked about were for the missionaries, but they can also be applied to our every day lives also.

Elder Wilde said that our main responsibility is to your companion. When they have harmony and unity they work together better so I was thinking that applies to us as married couples also. Or anybody we work with when we work with harmony and unity we get along better and work things out. Work smarter as a team and as companions. Keep a journal. He was saying keep a journal of the people that you visit because you never know how they may come up again in your life and he told a story about a young missionary who did keep a journal and added the names of some people in the mission and then years later he came across them again. Another point he said is work until the very end. And I was thinking about our elder who baptized us was going home in just a few weeks. So he kept teaching and finding people. So good that he didn't quit early, and found us!! 

Elder Hallstrom talked that he travels with Elder Ballard a lot and what a great representative he is of the saviors love, and joy and happiness he shows. He was saying that when people join this church they're asked to do a lot. We ask them to pay tithing, don't take drugs, stop smoking, give service to others and he said it's kind of a miracle that anybody joins this church. Ha ha. But we and they do because the Holy Ghost reveals that it is true. He said we should all be striving to continually improve in our lives by developing and improving keeping on going. We need to instruct and help others. Also we need to be put ourselves in positions where we can to be taught by the Spirit. Go to church. He said there's always people that will go to church and they say they feel nothing and others to go to the same meeting Will come out and say wasn't that a wonderful meeting. So we need to prepare ourselves to be willing to listen. So then he asked, after this meeting what will you change?  
what will you improve? Maybe it's to give up something up,  you have a habit that you need to let go of- a bad habit.  
Maybe it's something you need to do- study more. Or to be obedient. 
And this is a question he asked the missionaries - am I willing to change and willing to put my life in the Lords hands? 
And I think we can say the same thing of ourselves am I willing to improve and do the things that I need to. And then also said to us missionaries - what you learn here on your mission you can take into your life after your mission , so build strong good habits of study and prayer, and attending church. 
The kind of person you are on your mission will be the kind of person you will be forever. Good mothers and fathers, good companions working in unity and thoughtful of others. 
He also mentioned the missionaries are prayed about or prayed for every single day. By the general authorities by moms and dads, by family members, even those people who are hoping that they will come into their lives and teach them about Jesus Christ. that was pretty powerful for our missionaries to hear.

For our opening song we sang oh come let us adore him. And Elder Ballard used that song as a theme throughout his talk. He said he had a special calling to tell others about Jesus Christ. He said we know about Jesus Christ more than most other people do. We should adore him - it's a privilege to think of heavenly father and Jesus, and the gospel and for the plan of salvation. 
He told the missionaries talk to more people than you do. You have knowledge they want to know. 
I have not had a problem talking to others. But fun to hand someone a card about the church and tell them more. 

He said our confidence builds with knowledge so study and pray. The power of your smile is great also. Your smile radiates from your eyes also. Radiates through your spirit because you adore him! Do all you can each day because you adore him! 

Then he took questions from the missionaries. One question was how do I know if I am doing enough? He said if you go to bed tired and feel you have done your best then you have done enough. 
There will be hard days but don't let those hard days stop you. The lord loves you and cares about each of you! You are never alone! 

It was a powerful 2 hours. 
Then at evening we went to a different stake and they had a stake wide Christmas visit the nativity program. There were over 200 people singing, playing instruments and it was beautiful. Some jazzy tunes, hand clapping songs, spiritual songs. Primary age kids, youth and adults. One guy played a bass fiddle, some one played drums, guitar, violins, trumpet, quite a variety of songs and music. We were sitting mid way into the cultural hall and they had kids and youth along the aisles walking in and scenes along the sides. Really quite a production. Reminded me of all the scenery and people josh and liz had at their ward a few years ago. 

Love you all so much!! 

Friday, December 9, 2016

Thank you and Merry Christmas from the Iversons

Dear friends,
Thank you so much for The merry Christmas letters. It was fun to see so many fun notes from all of you. Sounds like you had a great ward Christmas party. 

We have had an interesting fall here. Maybe I should put fall in quotes. We see a few trees have some colored leaves and the few leaves on the ground and it is getting cooler. It got down to about 55° one morning. So I thought I better wear a sweater. But we are enjoying this beautiful California winter. There are still oranges and lemons growing on the trees, and people in the fields picking strawberries and also lots of other crops. They have three seasons of growing here so they are able to produce lots of fruits and vegetables.
So I will enjoy not shoveling snow this winter. But you are welcome to come visit if you need to get away from any of the snow shoveling. Smile.

We get to work with these cute, fun missionaries. And we just had 12 more arrive from all over the world. It's fun to see their enthusiasm and desire to serve the Lord.
So every six weeks we have new missionaries coming in on a Monday. And then on Tuesday we have transfer days where the missionaries get transferred to new companions or new apartments or new cities. And then on Wednesday we have the returning missionaries departing. So on Mondays we are picking up missionaries from the  airport and and then on Wednesdays we are driving groups of missionaries to the airport for their return home to their families. So exciting times and busy times that week.
Then my job as mission secretary gets busy as I am making new rosters and changing phone directories of all the new companionships. But it's a great job and great people we get to work with.

As most of you know my mom passed away in October and then Steve's sister passed away in November. We will miss those sweet ladies in our lives, but also feel fortunate to have great memories of both of them. We had some very good talks with family while we went up to Minnesota for the funerals. Steve was asked to speak at his sisters funeral which is a very uncommon thing in the Lutheran Church. But he was able to put in a few LDS scripture quotes and quoted some ancient (Mormon) prophets. We were telling some people what we do on our mission and more about our church. So it was quite a missionary opportunity to share our beliefs and what we're doing. One of our young nieces about 12 years old told her mom that if more people shared their beliefs about Jesus like we do, there would be a lot less hate and crime in the world. So she was happy for what we were doing. So that made us feel really good.

We have a missionary fireside coming up this Saturday that we are all excited about. Elder Ballard and brother Hallstrom are coming to have a fireside conference with just the missionaries. So he wants to shake the hands of all the missionaries so that will  be fun to be able to have a general authority come and speak to us. He is also attending the stake conference in our mission on Sunday. But we get the privilege of having him on Saturday, so the missionaries are pretty excited. 

We have another fun experience coming up. We and some of the other senior missionaries in our mission are going on a whale watching cruise at the end of the month. So we are pretty excited to be able to see if we can find some whales  out there. As you may have guessed, the senior missionaries have different rules than the young missionaries. We can go in the water and even in a boat. The missionaries here are not even allowed to go on the beach, unless they are teaching someone at the beach.

If anybody is thinking about serving a mission anytime soon, our mission president has been told that there aren't as many senior missionaries volunteering to serve missions. So he is looking or trying to find people who are interested in serving a mission. We have a senior missionary couple who are going home in April and they work in the office With us. 
  So if any of you are interested in serving a mission or know of  anybody who might be, this is a great place to serve a mission.

We are also enjoying our stake calling as the self-reliance employment specialist. We have helped a number of people find jobs. And that's very rewarding to see the people get better jobs or to find a first new job. We have help people write resumes, given them a class on how to present themselves as you're going for an interview, how to budget some of their money, and what to tell the interviewer as they're being interviewed for a job. But it's really fun to be able to help people in that way. We gave a youth fireside a few weeks ago to the priest and Laurel's about how to present themselves for a job interview and also where to go to find a job. So that was fun to be able to work with the youth again.

Hope you all have a great holiday season and a merry Christmas. Thank you again for all the cute notes that you sent in those letters.
If you are following the light the world 25 days of Christmas, maybe you will recognize on December 16 our son, Seth and our grandson Henry on that video on that day. Thank you for all your well wishes and prayers on his behalf. He is halfway done with his radiation therapy and is doing better. Thank you so much for your prayers and faith on his behalf. We know prayers are answered and miracles have and are still happening. Thank you so very much! 

Merry Christmas! 
Love from,
Elder and Sister Iverson