September 8-October 5, 2014

The Nevada Reno Mission is focusing on using the Book of Mormon to convert,  and having confidence that the Holy Ghost will testify to those who read, ponder and ask.  "The witness of the Holy Ghost that it is true should be the central focus of our teaching".  (Preach My Gospel).

We have begun teaching Wanda McCartney and her husband the lessons.  We've talked about this couple before.  He is an inactive member who was really hurt by some things that occurred with his first wife who was LDS.  Wanda is a second marriage and is a non member.  We have been visiting them since February.  Generally if we find someone to teach we turn them over to the Elders and mainly work with youth and their families or other inactive families.  But we have become good friends with the McCartneys and though we have been moving slowly we are making some progress.  We gave Wanda a Book of Mormon and encouraged her to read. She says it is difficult to understand.   We pray for a vision of how we can use the Book of Mormon more effectively to touch her life and  help her know the gospel is true. One Sunday night we took her and Jack to walk around, and talk about, the Reno Temple.  Recently we asked them if we could give Wanda the lessons (Jack needs them too!) They agreed.  October 2nd we taught the first discussion to Wanda.  She received the concepts well.  We didn't attempt to commit her to baptism.and a second lesson is scheduled for next week.

Paul has been focusing his presentations for the mission couples on the Book of Mormon as well.  In September he taught how the B of M was transmitted not translated through the gift and power of God.  He teaches another class Monday night and this one will be on "Joseph of Egypt and the Royal Lineage of Lehi".

We can't believe we only have four more weeks of this mission.  We would extend but Paul has some major health issues we need to address at home.   We have challenged several in the ward to do things before we leave.  We have quietly challenged one couple to get to the temple.  They are active but they have not received their endowments.  One would never know it to look at (or smell) them, but both are overcoming the smoking habit.

When first married, they were genuine hippies!  They are so good to the missionaries and we love them dearly.  Gail calls Dan "Brother Johnny" in church as he has sung for us on occasion all the Johnny Cash songs he use to perform in the bars!!!  When we are over for dinner he can sing for us, but the Elders have to leave first as they can't listen to music unless it's church music.  Missionary couples have no rules like the Elders and Sisters.

Gail is also trying to get Barbara, a new convert to the temple to do baptisms.  Barbara wants to do the baptism for her parents and other family members.  Her sister just died this week so she wants to do her work in a year.

 Gail also spent a day working with our mission President Hermansen's son, Bradley, as he wanted to learn the Family Tree program and do family history work.  He is a young man who came with the president and his wife on this mission but has some disabilities.  Not on the computer, however, as he picked it up very quickly and you would have thought he had been working with it for years.  All of his  lines have been done, it seems, and includes  Heber C Kimball and also England's King Henry III.   Not like our lines (for Mom, just plain country folks, plantation owners, and Confederate soldiers, it seems).

In September the Elders of our District asked us if they could have another question session in our apartment.  They also wanted to see the Power Point Paul did for the missionary couples on the "Transmission of the Book of Mormon".  They do enjoy the breakfast, especially the "cat head" biscuits,  and can put away a lot of the food.   Now that our ward is larger we don't have many opportunities to feed them.  The ward families book them for dinners for the month.

The month of September our Sunday School class topic was "Commandments".  We had a lesson on the Ten Commandments.  We challenged the students to learn them for a prize.  About half did and we're still working with the others.  We also challenged the students to create ads promoting the commandments.  Several of our Latina girls did a skit on Snow White and the Wicked Witch.  The Come, Follow Me curriculum repeatedly encourages the teachers to instruct the youth to teach their peers the principles we talk about in class.  We have hesitated encouraging that because several are new converts and don't know much about the gospel themselves.

September 24th the Mission had a service project to clean a large local park in Reno.  Over 170 Elders and Sisters were there--the largest group on record for the mission.  There were a large variety of projects.  We clipped suckers off of the trees and cleared out underbrush for about two hours.  We became extremely tired and wondered why we couldn't keep up with the young folks.  Then it dawned on us that we had given blood the day before and weren't yet up to par.  It certainly wasn't our age! The response from the park supervisor was very positive. He explained to Dad that they have had many groups come and do some things but none worked like us.

Elder Guthrie and Elder Corry

Only a fraction of the gang

The highlight of this month was when one of our students in the class got baptized.  We have worked with Mike Decker, and the aunt and uncle he is living with, since moving into the ward.  The family became active.  We pick them up for church when the father was out of town on work.  He is a truck driver, a big guy covered all over with tatoos.  Mike came to our class off and on.  The Deckers are all members,  all eight of them, but Mike was not.
A new Elder now working with our ward just challenged him to be baptized with his cousin, Chantelle, when she turned eight, and he accepted.   We were thrilled.  Even better, both were baptized by Steve, Chantelle's father and Mike's uncle.  Steve is a priest.  He was a bit nervous but performed the ordinances properly.  Paul did the confirmations. Mike is older than most of the students but likes our class because we teach the basics and he needs to learn them.

Mike Decker with neice Chantelle getting baptized
We have two families living in the Reno/Sparks area with a connection to our past .  When Paul served his mission to Florida one of his companions was Douglas Doxey.  Doug and Paul both attended BY High together.  We stayed close to Doug and his wife in the early years but unfortunately Doug died in a scuba diving accident when he was 38.  Carol, his wife, was 6 months pregnant at the time.  Doug Jr., the baby, is now grown and a new podiatrist in this area.  He, his family and his step-sister's family had us for dinner one Sunday night.  Paul told young Doug all about his father.  He shared many stories about those missionary days in Miami.  Doug Jr.  said he learned more about his Dad that night than his family had ever shared.
 Doug Jr. and Paul
Doug Jr and his family

Heidi Jorgensen (step-sister) and her family

Heidi's husband was released as Bishop of the Sparks 1st Ward a year ago.  She is now the Relief Society president.  Paul did his "Emma's Years Without Joseph" presentation for her Relief Society sisters last Thursday night in the Prater Way building.

We were able to see the new Church-produced motion picture entitled  "Meet the Mormons" that will be in the theaters next week.  Six LDS couples from around the world were interviewed regarding their membership.  It is well-done, but teaches no doctrine. The movie's purpose is to show the cultural diversity of our members throughout the world.   But they didn't show the run-of-the-mill type that make up the majority of the saints and the ones we are all acquainted with.  The mission showed it to us because the Elders and Sisters can't attend movies.  We hope it does well and leads to many more teaching opportunities for the missionaries.  We hope the general public will want to go to it.

We hope you all took the advantage of watching Conference and the Women and Priesthoods Sessions.  We were able to watch five sessions in our apartment.  What a blessing to have a living Prophet and God's Priesthood to direct us and remind us of the blessings we receive through this restored gospel. Inspiration remains stronger than ever among the bretheren and sisters who preside over the Church.   How grateful we are to be able to represent our Savior in this work to bring others into the fold.  We have enjoyed this year so much and, on one hand, will be sad to return home and leave these good people.

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