June 30 - July 31, 2014

The 4th of July is rather quiet around here--we are used to waking up to fire crackers beginning in the morning hours in Utah.  Ah, it's the ban!  Because Nevada is so dry, all private fireworks are forbidden!  What did we do to celebrate?  Well, we took a ride, walked, then gathered with the Hermansens and other missionaries at the mission office to watch the fireworks show from a casino four or five blocks away.  It's a tradition.  Well, the wind blew with enough intensity to postpone the show.  We left at 10:30 p.m.  The wind died down and the show went on about ten minutes after we left!  The ward had a pancake breakfast the next morning to celebrate.
Red Hill Ward Pancake Breakfast

We have another missionary couple living two apartments away--the Bells from near Idaho Falls.  Dennis was a government employee, working with radioactive materials.  They drive a large, fire-engine red Toyota pickup.  They work in another ward doing the same as us -- member/leadership support and rescue missionaries.  Elder Bell told us that he came to serve as long as it was not in a proselyting role.  This will be good for him.  We had them over for supper one night.

We continue to visit with Jack and Wanda McCartney.  We took them to the Reno Temple early one evening.  We sat down and munched on some cookies Gail made.  Paul spoke with Wanda a bit about the Temple, while Jack entertained Gail with just about anything but religion!  A Polynesian fellow--the Temple engineer--was sitting in a pickup when we arrived.  We had a nice visit with him.  He showed us a large metal trap he uses to trap rabbits who come to munch on the flowers.  He said that he is too kind to kill them, so they are released away from the Temple.  While we were with Jack and Wanda we spotted a cottontail and a jack rabbit!
Reno Nevada Temple

Gail is working with a recent convert named Barbara.  Barbara has several ongoing health problems.  She is blind in one eye, has trouble hearing, has a squeaky voice and can read hardly a word.  We discovered that the Red Hill Ward has a sister who is trained to teach reading skills to adults.  We established a relationship between her and Barbara.  Because of her handicaps she is one slow learner.  Barbara told Gail that she has wanted to have her hair cut for some time.  The professional women refuse to do the job because of a skin condition Barbara once had.  Because of a high forehead, lack of hair, and some evidence of prior damage, Barbara has worn a three cornered scarf everywhere she goes.'''                                                                                      
After cutting her hair, Gail cut her bangs to cover Barbara's forehead.  It was a success.  She looks good.  We frequently take Barbara with us to firesides and other occasions.    Her husband, who, hides when the missionaries come around, has agreed to come to dinner to our apartment with Barbara.  We were surprised he agreed.
Sister Craig from the ward makes aprons for each of the missionaries to wear when they came over for dinner and to keep their white shirts clean.   They  have their names and nicknames on each one.  Cute idea!
She also makes ties for all the missionaries and the Bishopric for special occasions.  These are their Easter ties.
On the left is one of our favorite elders, Elder Swaney, (whom we would like to introduce to one of our granddaughters

Two Sundays ago, we taught a lesson on how the emblems of the sacrament were introduced by the Savior during the last Passover.  Gail had baked two loaves of round bread.  Paul explained about how it was blessed, then broke some of it with his hands.  We invited the students to break off pieces, eat them then drink some grape juice.   We explained that we were not really eating sacrament bread.  The Last Supper was a meal together first and the Savior introduced the Sacrament.

This past Sunday brought about some very significant changes to Red Hill Ward.  Bishop Clinton Brooks Robinson, a new bishop serving in Winnfield Ward, was moved into our ward, along with about a third of the saints.  Bishop Donald Cox had served faithfully for six years, so it was time for him to be released.

Three months ago Paul had been discussing some of the Red Hill Ward's problems with President Joseph Johnson when he revealed that he was going to write a letter to the First Presidency, seeking their permission to make the change.  President Johnson told him that he had discussed the proposed change with his high council on a Thursday.  Friday night, Bishop Robinson dreamed that he was serving as bishop in Red Hill Ward.  Saturday morning, he called a friend on the high council and told him of his dream.  The high councilor then felt justified in telling him that his dream was inspired!

Bishop Robinson is a young man, but filled with the Spirit and very energetic.  We feel that he will make changes in the ward that will help it be successful.  With the changes Red Hill Ward is now the largest ward in the stake.

We are beginning to visit with the youth who have moved from the Winnfield Ward.  We are personally inviting them to join us in our class and also to join us for a class swim party here at the apartment complex.  We have a nice pool.  The rule is that each apartment can have two guests.  Well, the Church pays for six apartments.  If more youth agree than twelve, we will call upon some friendly neighbors to cover the added numbers.  We hope they all come and especially the new youth.  

Healthwise, Paul's left hip is beginning to act up.  Nine months ago he had the problem at home and had some x rays taken.  When Josh Hickman, his surgeon, saw them, he said that he had two dates for surgery--which one would he like?  Paul told him that we were preparing to leave on a mission.  He told Paul not to plan on it, as the hip would fail as we served.  Well, working through Dr. Christian, Paul had cortisone injected using the MRI machine to guide the procedure.  The medication has lasted nine months.  Paul has an appointment with Dr. Johnson to see about getting another shot.  Here's hoping!  Well, we guess surgery is necessary after we get home!

We are anxious for Brandon, Emily and the kids to come see us over Labor Day.  Our mission time is moving along quickly.

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