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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Well, our car DIED!! Now we are 'homeless' and 'carless'

Can't really complain that our car died. About a year ago when we knew we were planning to serve  a mission and knew that our car was getting old and having some issues we started praying that our car would last until we left on our mission which we thought would be in November. 

Well, our prayers were answered and it lasted through November, even December and then on January 16 it finally just gave up as we were driving to town. It started shaking and hesitating and was really scary to drive. We changed drivers and Steve managed to get it to his appointment, to run our errands and to the car dealership to be checked. 3 valves were bad and with an estimate of anywhere between $500 to $2000 to fix we knew it was time to say 'good-bye'. 

Our daughter came to rescue us and Steve skillfully drove it to a friend's car lot where it could be used for parts. By skillfully, I mean putting it into neutral each time he had to stop so it would not die. I guess that is the farm boy in him coming out that he knows how to do
that. Definitely beyond my skill set.

It is like saying goodbye to an old friend. We bought this Buick in the spring of 2001. It been driven only 33,000 miles. A few week later we drove from Brownsville, TX to Kelowna, BC for a family reunion and then through my old stomping grounds in Alberta.  Over the years we have driven to Nauvoo, IL, to Fort Wayne, IN, back and forth several times to Utah, to Star Valley, WY, moved up to Washington State, to Scottsdale, AZ, up the west coast on scenic Highway One, more trips  to Utah, to Banff, Canada, numerous trips to Seattle and Vancouver, plus all of the regular comings and goings
of our very busy life. 

Almost 16 years later our good old car had carried us well over 300,000 miles, often fully loaded with various items to deliver to our various children as we visited with them. 

One summer for our reunion we all posed in front of this car to recreate a family picture from many years ago. It was a great car and did not owe us anything. But it is still strange to be without a vehicle. It is just one more push showing us it is time to leave. Our daughter and her family have been great in giving us access to one of their vehicles when we need one so we are not stranded.   

And we will leave in just 3 more weeks. February 13 we will fly to Utah and visited a few days with our family there and then report to the MTC on February 20. Wow! all of a sudden it feels like it is coming up soon! and I am getting a little nervous.

There is so much to learn and even though we are skyping with the Sydney and Melbourne Self Reliance team for training every week ,and reading so much material, it stills feels like there is so much to learn. I am working on the Sydney Self Reliance page and on preparing the newsletter for the mission which helps me be more tuned in; but I still feel like I have along way to go.

When we enter the MTC on February 20 it will have been 10 months since we received our mission call on April 19. That is a LONG time. We have learned much and accomplished much and are grateful for our many great experiences. We also know that there is a reason or are reasons for us to experience this delay.

Now we are anxious to move forward and serve the Lord and the people in the Sydney area.

Saturday, January 14, 2017


Disclaimer: I thought I published this on January 14 but 5 days later it seems not have have properly published. So, will try again and hope it works this time.

The great news is that we finally have a date to report to the MTC! I thought it would be sooner but surprisingly we do not report until February 20 with other Self-Reliance missionaries who will be reporting as well. Maybe we missed a January intake. So, almost 6 more weeks to go. By the time we report it will have been 10 months since we received our mission call!

Apparently FBI background checks expire after a certain amount of time. A new investigation was required which included another batch of fingerprints. On Tuesday we met with our friend who can take fingerprints. This time I came armed with Corn Husker's Lotion and Tabasco sauce! 

Steve went first while I gave my fingers several applications of Corn Husker's. Then I soaked my poor fingers in Tabasco Sauce a few minutes. After wiping it all off our friend completed 4 fingerprint sheets in the hopes that at least one of them would be acceptable. We thought they looked pretty good and were hopeful.

The fingerprints cards were sent that same day by priority mail to Accurate Biometric in Illinois. They arrived on Friday and WERE ACCEPTABLE!!!! I passed the first "go round" this time thanks to copious use of Corn Husker's and Tabasco sauce!!! and our friend's skill.

Apparently our visa was already issued with our old dates and is set to expire November 11, 2018. With our delayed departure our release date is now in January 2019 which means an extension must be filed when the time comes if we are to fulfill our 23 month mission assignment.

In the meantime we have more opportunities to spend time with our family, attend the temple and visit with friends. Limbo is much more manageable with an end in site. Steve's hip has been acting up and giving him grief so we are hoping it will calm down before we leave and allow him to move forward.

It just seems like we have had a lot of  opposition as we have prepared to serve this mission. We are getting lots of opportunities to learn some things we need to learn - just not sure what we are supposed to be learning. Not sure I am doing very well in learning to be patient. 

Heavenly Father always has a plan for us, that I know. He just does not let us know in advance what that plan is. We are moving forward and hope we will be able to learn/accomplish whatever it is that Heavenly Father requires of us.

This amazing Self-Reliance Initiative is so exciting and we are anxious to begin our work. The various opportunities are wonderful and have such a great impact on the lives of those who participate. The more I learn the more excited I get.

Our plane reservations are set for February 13, leaving Bellingham International Airport about 11:30 AM to fly to Seattle. Then a short layover and a flight to Salt Lake City. We will have a week to visit our Utah family, tie up loose ends and even meet our new niece and her family who live just north of Salt Lake City before we report to the MTC in Provo on February 20.

Thank you for the many prayers offered for the healing of Steve's eye. It is humbling to know that so many people are concerned for us.

Monday, January 9, 2017


Well today was the day we have been waiting for!!! The doctor said the eye looks fabulous and gave his medical clearance. The Stake President has been notified and has already contacted the missionary department in Salt Lake City who will make things happen. Now, we just have to wait for our new date to report to the Mission Training Center. And of course our travel arrangements to Sydney.

Not sure when yet, but I think it will all happen pretty fast now. 

Of course now I am feeling very emotional.

This has  been quite a visit in Limbo. There have been some hard down days when I began to wonder if I was even capable of serving this mission. But as crazy as it has been to wait, in many ways we see the Lord's hand in giving us this extra time. There were just  some things that needed doing. We can immediately say how great it has been to spend these weeks with our daughter and her family. Never will we grow tired of hugs and "I love yous" from everyone in this house. It has also been great to get my photos organized and ready for our daughter to scan. There have been many things, big and little, which would not have happened had we not been delayed. Perhaps one of the biggest things occurred this past Friday.

For some time now one of my younger sisters has been interested in finding our niece who was given up for adoption in 1970. Her mother passed away in 2008 without ever meeting her daughter. There has always been a question of what happened to her.  There has been a void. With the little information we had my sister registered on  Some "search angels" were able to help with more information. That additional information paved the way for my sister to find and contact our niece through Facebook. It has been a time of wonderful emotion. We have all shed many years as we have connected through Skype, email, messenger, text - isn't modern technology wonderful?  Since our niece also wanted to find her birth family it has been great for all of us.

So, all in all this is a time of heightened happy emotions. It also reminds me how much our Father in Heaven is aware of us, our wants and our needs; and how much He is willing to direct the events of our lives if we will but allow it. His timing is always right. And I am always amazed at the great economy the Lord uses in the simplest of events that touch so many lives.

Due to our wait we have experienced some cold winter weather that we did not expect to experience this winter. It is MUCH warmer in Australia right now! [Yes, we will have to adjust to the warmer weather.] But we have enjoyed the beauties of the season. 
a view of Mt Baker as we drove towards Lynden, WA
                                                                                                                                                             We will miss seeing our beautiful mountains. There is something truly beautiful about snow capped mountains ranges. We will miss our good friends and our great  family in this area but we are anxious to move forward and serve the Lord.