December 26-Jan 5, 2014

Following our last post we have not been feeling well.  Gail got the flu the day after Christmas (despite the flu shot) so needless to say there was not much celebrating to usher in the new year .  She is still suffering from a very bad cough and hates to be among people.  She has missed two Sundays at church with Paul's tackling the class by himself.  We had an all time high attendance of 11 today in our SS class--however that includes 4 active 12 year olds coming from Primary.

 Paul just has a bad cold but has kept going. It was probably a good time to get sick as the missionary work slows down during he holidays.

The week before Christmas we found an inactive family of two of our students.  In talking to them  we encouraged them to start attending church. The mother said they were thinking about it.  The older daughter, who is not in our class, was visiting her family and indicated she wanted to start back to church as well.  She had a 4 month old baby and said the non-member father was willing to hear about the church--was a good man-- and would probably take the discussions.  So we turned the names over to the elders and they are always happy with that.  The older daughter and what-we-thought-was-her-husband have now had two discussions.  We plan on teaching them a lesson on temple marriage (or just marriage of any kind) when the missionaries are ready to have us do that.   But we feel good about this family.  We have not seen the other two siblings who should be coming to our class but we'll be working with them when we get back to feeling better and can get to work.

We hope to give the elders more teaching opportunities and encourage them to follow up on many of our visits.  It's working well.  Well, we hope to be feeling better and will report more next week.  It's not so cold here now and easier to get out and about.

Despite his cold (which always seems to center in his voice box), Paul accepted a speaking assignment in the singles ward in Sparks.  He was invited to speak by Brian Crane, first counselor in the bishopric.  Brian is a nationally-known cartoonist who draws Pickles.  Pickles is carried in 800 newspapers.  A retired couple named Earl and Opal Pickles are featured.  For three years, Paul described Pickles and a few other cartoons once each week for the Utah Radio Reading Service, then a radio station for the blind.   Not long after arrival in Sparks, Paul had called Brian to tell him about his recording work.  He asked Brian if he and Gail could visit his studio.  He agreed, but Paul felt embarrassed to have been so bold.  Brian recalled Paul's call, asked him to speak, and presented a copy of his latest soft-cover book of Pickles cartoons entitled "Oh Sure!  Blame It On the Dog!"  Inside, Brian had drawn the face of Earl Pickles, with the caption, "Thank you Elder Smith!" with his signature.  Brian invited Gail and Paul to visit his studio anytime.  As soon as we stop coughing and hacking, we're going to do it!

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