Monday, February 23, 2015

February 23, 2015

Believe it or not we hit our year mark tomorrow.  It doesn’t seem possible but it is true.  We are so thankful we didn’t decide to just serve for a year.  There is still so much we want to try and accomplish.  We haven’t given up on any of the less actives we have been working with.
One of the men we have been working with for several months who had been excommunicated but was trying to come back passed away suddenly on Saturday.    We were really hoping that his family would mend their fences and come together to make the decisions of what to do but it has just become another battle with no winner.  It is so sad to see a family so torn apart over the wrongs they felt were done to them by the other members of the family. 
Our district is facing a major upheaval.  Three of our missionaries finish their missions next week and one area is being shut down because of the drop in number of missionaries.  We also learned that our mission is losing 13 cars because of the falling numbers.  We know it is because of the evening out since the age change but just losing one set of missionaries makes our district seem so small.  We are anxious to meet our new missionaries though and new blood is always good for any area.  I am continually amazed at the caliber of missionaries we have in our zone.  They truly love the Lord and serving Him.  I am stressed for this week’s district meeting as we have been asked to do the training on how we can lead our less actives to the temple( our mission vision is “Leading God’s children to the temple).  We are also to teach on how to get the members to be a part of it all.  We can do everything in our power but if the people don’t feel the love from the branch members we don’t know how successful we will be.  We continually try to include the branch members in our visits and sometimes are successful.  I have learned just how essential we as active members are to the missionary work.  It is just as important to help those who have fallen away to remember the spirit they felt when they first gained their testimony as it is to teach new investigators.  I don’t know about all missions but we have six things we strive to do as missionaries every day.  That is find, teach, baptize, retain, activate and serve and do all six every day.  If we work on each of these every day we will bring souls to Christ and help them get to the temple.  It is not always easy and as a senior couple we focus more on the retention, activation and service than the others as we try to find and help the 100 members of our branch who are currently lost from the fold.  We are each so necessary in this work.
We love each of you and pray you will each catch the vision of hastening the work in your wards or branches, homes, work or wherever you may go.
Elder and Sister Fullmer
Mom and Dad  etc.
Congratulations Sister Hawkins and Elder and Sister Yearsley in finishing your missions and “returning with honor.”

Monday, February 16, 2015

February 9 and 16, 2015

Feb 9& 16
I started this letter a week ago but got distracted and didn’t finish so here is a double dose.
We had an experience we didn’t imagine we would have on our mission this past week.  The only young family we have in our branch asked us if we could possibly babysit for them so they could go to the temple.  We have told them since we got here that we would but they haven’t asked us to until now.  We have no young men or women in our branch so they don’t know any girls they could get to babysit.  We spent 8 hours with 4 boys ages 9, 7, 3 and 2 and it was mostly fun.  The weather was so beautiful that Evan cut wood and the boys stacked it.  They thought it was great fun and after stacking two small stacks they thought they “had enough wood for two winters”.  
There has been a lot of sickness going through our branch again so lots of cancelled appointments.  One of the Elders was also sick for four days and we sure missed him.  Thank heavens I had plenty of genealogy research people have asked me to do so I got to spend time doing that.  I have cleaned up some of the mistakes in the Burst family lines where there were lots of duplicates.
Evan confirmed Sydney in church last Sunday and gave her a beautiful blessing with it.   Sydney called later that evening and wanted to come over and talk.  She said she was disappointed about her confirmation because she didn’t feel the spirit like she did at her baptism.  We talked with her about feeling the spirit and how it was not always a grand big experience but sometimes a still voice.  We talked about how she seems to have been a member so long because she uses correct prayer language and just understands all she is taught.  She told us about sometimes when she is talking to her friends about the gospel that the answers just come to her and she doesn’t know where they come from.  It was so wonderful to teach her from the scriptures about the things she already knows.  She truly is just remembering what she has always known.

I read our good friend Wanda Yearsley’s blog and she had this story in it from their final Outgoing devotional.  They are serving in San Jose California and are just about to finish their mission.   I liked the story so well I wanted to share it. “(President Lemmon is a counselor in the mission presidency).  President Lemmon said that when he was 16, he had a great bishop…..his dad.  After a meeting one day, his dad asked him to meet with him in his office.  His dad then told him things that he wasn’t doing very well at and needed to improve on.  He was being a typical teenager, not looking at his dad and trying to just ignore him.  His dad could tell from his actions that he wasn’t happy with what was said.  Then he said to him, if an angel asked you to do these things, what would you do?  President Lemmon said he thought a minute, and thought of the angels that Laman and Lemuel had seen, and how they just ignored them, and thought to himself, I’m not going to be a Laman and a Lemuel.  Then his dad said, I am your angel now, representing the Lord.  So President Lemmon took the council from his dad to heart.  He said that the Lord’s hand can be seen in all things.  There are no coincidences in life.  We are not God’s Saturday afternoon hobby when He is bored.  We are His work and his glory.”  He surely did “liken the scriptures” to himself.  If we could each think of ourselves as being someone’s “angel” or thinking of those who have and are “angels” to us we would all strive to do as Nephi and “go and do”.

Feb 16
Winter has finally come to Indiana.  We had only had one small snow storm clear back in November which only lasted one day.  The predictions for this past weekend were for lots of snow and cold.  Saturday night at our Valentine’s social the branch President called (he wasn’t there because he had been in meetings with Elder Christofferson) and cancelled church because of the weather forecast.  When we got up Sunday and there was no snow and it was only -6 we wondered about the stamina of these people.  It worked out well though because it gave us the opportunity to go to Louisville and visit Sister Hinkle who had a brain tumor removed on Saturday.  She is fighting lung cancer and now this.  We also took the winding way home and found a less active we hadn’t found before and had a really good visit.  He is from the Sketo family who were so active at one point but now only one out of 10 children is active.
We woke up this morning to snow and it has continued to snow all day.  We probably have about 12 inches and it is still coming.  I had been missing the snow until I looked out the window and remembered that I really like summer better.  The missionaries were told not to leave their apartments until noon tomorrow because of the weather and to not drive their cars at all.  Our Elders called and got permission to walk to our place so they could do laundry.  We live about 10 blocks apart and they were pretty cold when they got here.  Evan is presently digging out the drive so we can take them home later but first we will have a rousing game of Racko.  We do have fun in this mission.
We had the opportunity on Saturday to have a mission conference with Elder Cristofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve and Elder Soares of the 70.  They and their wives each spoke to us.  I especially loved Sister Christofferson’s talk about this not being our home but we are all away from our heavenly home and have an innate longing to go back home.  Elder Christofferson had a Q&A at first and it was wonderful and inspiring to hear his counsel and to feel of his spirit as he taught us.
This has turned into a real epistle.  I just want everyone to know how grateful I am for this opportunity to serve here.  I love every meeting we go to because of the spirit I feel.  I love the Savior and all those who are teaching of Him.  I love to see the changes in not only the investigators but the missionaries as well as they truly become converted.  I highly recommend a mission to everyone who can possibly arrange it.  When we were talking to Elder Roderick who works out of the mission office he told us that there is a shortage of 156 couples right now.  Our branch doesn’t know how it would function without a Senior couple and some of the branches in our mission are now without a couple because of the shortage.  Don't miss out on the opportunity.
Enough for today.  We love you all.  We know the gospel is true.

Elder and Sister Fullmer

Monday, February 2, 2015

February 2, 2015

This week was a week filled with genealogy for me which makes it super.  I was able to help three different people work on their genealogy and get names ready for the temple.  We also found that lots of the work has been done on one line of a non-member man who is married to one of our most devoted members.  She feels that this might help him come closer to being baptized but doesn’t want to get her hopes up.  He really wanted to see a fan chart for him like she has on her side.  I love genealogy work.  To me that would be the perfect mission.

We had District Meeting and so many times I come away with such a spiritual high.  This time as part of Elder Fleener’s training he told us of his best missionary experience.  He said he hadn’t been out very long but was having a really hard time with contacting people.  He was afraid to talk to people and was with a companion who liked to talk to everyone so he just let his companion take the lead.  One day they started to pass a young man and his companion just kind of pushed him to take the lead and so Elder Fleener asked the young man if they could say a prayer with him.  The young man later told them that he was just asking God to help him find the way.  He had been praying for quite some time to know what way he should go in life and they stopped him and talked to him.  He was baptized along with two of his best friends, a young couple he knew and his mother.  Another of his friends is now investigating the gospel.  All because he finally opened his mouth and didn’t let the opportunity pass by.  Elder Jensen than said to compare the joy Elder Fleener felt with the outcome of opening his mouth to what he would have felt to get to the next life and realize the opportunity he had missed and the sorrow he would have felt knowing he had passed this young man by.  We all need to open our mouths.

This Sunday we after church we had such a wonderful baptism for Sydney.  She said to me as she was going to get dressed that we would have to “surgically remove her smile today”.  She is so ready for this step in her life.  It is so wonderful to see someone going from not really believing in a God to where she is today.  She bore a powerful testimony after her baptism.  Evan will confirm her next week in Sacrament Meeting.    She now really knows what the spirit feels like.  Her mother was there to support her and when she asked her mom how she felt about church she said she felt she had been a member her whole life.  It will certainly be interesting to see where it goes from here with her.  She has had a couple of lessons with the Elders and seems very receptive.  We have been so thrilled to be a part of Sydney’s journey.
Elder Evans gave a really good talk on the Holy Ghost at the baptism.  He told of a friend of his from his ward that told an experience he had coming home from his mission a number of years ago.  He got off the airplane and a missionary’s worst nightmare happened.  There was no one there to meet him.  He saw a phone across the hall and went over to use it.  As he walked through the arched doorway he heard a sound like a whooshing and thought it might be a heater vent. He looked around but couldn’t see anything.   He called his mom and found that they had the wrong gate so he said he would come and meet them.   As he went through the arched doorway he again heard and felt this whooshing.  He looked around and again didn’t see anything but as he looked closer he realized that he had walked into a bar where the phone was.  He said it was so real to him that the sound he heard and what he felt was the Holy Ghost leaving.  The Holy Ghost can’t be with us when we are in such places.  Even though he was innocent in the experience it taught him a great lesson.  It is such a good lesson for us all to learn and practice.

As you can read we have had a very great week with some wonderful spiritual experiences.  We also were able to attend the temple last Saturday which is always such a great experience.  The session was so full that one of our sisters who had gone with us didn’t even get in.  She was upset at first but went and did initiatory and said after that it was just what she needed that day.  Another tender mercy of the Lord.
Have a wonderful week everyone.  Share the gospel every chance you get—even if you are afraid to open your mouth.
Elder and Sister Fullmer

Mom and Dad