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Tuesday, February 21, 2017


As we sang the words of the hymn Called to serve Him, Heavenly King of Glory... at the beginning of our fireside this evening my voice gave out as the tears came realizing we were finally here, at the MTC, beginning our mission. This has been our dream/plan for so many years and despite many road blocks it actually happened. We are missionaries! It has been quite the journey.
We got our missionary badges!!!

Last week was full of great last minute activities. We spent a lovely Thursday with one of our sons and his family in the park. 

Then Friday morning we played with our daughter and her family who had driven over from Colorado to see us. Also great fun! 

Then Friday evening our Utah family was getting together for pizza. It is always great for me when the family gets together. And it is always lovely to catch with them all including those from Colorado this time.

What we did not realize was that our children had planned to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary as well as our leaving for our mission in Australia. We came out of our room to discover the living room decorated for our anniversary and for our Australian Mission with the Australian flag.
Timtams and Pavlovas
We were treated to Pavlova and Timtams which are Australian desserts. What fun! And what a delight to have 5 of our 10 children, lots of grandchildren and some great grandchildren all in one place with us. So Awesome!! 

And of course I was in tears when I realized all they had done to surprise us. One of our daughters had collaborated with everyone and complied a beautiful book with pictures of EVERYONE in the family which will be so great to bring with us on our mission so we can look at the sweet faces of each of our family whenever we want. And there was also a wonderful  gold leaf rendering of the Salt Lake Temple with our wedding date. We felt so spoiled.

We just can't say enough about how loved we have felt this past few weeks.
34 of our 73 member family!!! if I counted right :)

Saturday was also a special day as several of our family attended the Provo Temple with us. It was such a joy to look around the room and see so many of those I love so much in the temple with me. What a lovely day! And Sunday was also great! We sure love being with our family! And now we are on to our next adventure. It is wonderful to know that our family is so supportive. The past several months we have witnessed such an outpouring of love from our family and friends for which we are very grateful.                      
Monday morning our son and daughter-in-law brought us to the Mission Training Center where we were given our missionary badges, our room cards, our departure tickets and our VISAS!!!. They actually were issued.

Can it really only be 2 days ago that we got here???? 

We were immediately taken into meetings and given a lot of information. We were divided into districts for study class purposes. We all took pictures in front of the iconic world map.
pointing to Sydney, Australia
OUR DISTRICT: the couple next to us will also be in our Sydney North mission as office support taking care of all the missionaries; the next couple will go to Nauvoo to help visitors learn about the history of the Church in that part of the country, and the couple on the right will be heading to Italy headquartered in Rome to work with refugees in that country. They are a great bunch and we enjoy our study classes together.
We heard a wonderful talk by Elder Bednar about the Character of Jesus Christ. We talked about faith and how faith causes us to act. And I had such a rush of conflicting emotion. I loved everything but at the same time I almost felt like running out the door because I felt incapable of being a missionary. I realize that I need to develop a closer relationship with Jesus Christ to be able to be effective. By the time we got to our room and did a little unpacking I was exhausted and ready for bed.

Today, Tuesday was fantastic! Although I began the day still feeling totally inadequate I gradually felt like with the Lord's help I would be able to do what I was being asked to do. So onward and upward! There is lots of room in my life for growth.

There is such special Spirit here at the MTC. It just feels fantastic - kind of like we are bathed in warmth. Everyone is so nice. There were about 75 senior missionaries including us that came in on Monday morning. What a delight it is to also see literally hundreds of young men and women who are already here to train for their worldwide mission assignments. The cafeteria is amazing as it functions so well to provide meals for so many.

And of course my tears often flow because I feel it all so deeply. I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ and feel so grateful that we have been called to serve the Lord.

Thursday, February 16, 2017


When we moved to our daughter's home in mid November we thought we would stay there for 10 days. Instead, our stay turned out to be almost 3 months long. What a sweet time for us to enjoy their company and get to know them even better! But sweet as it was, it was still LIMBO as we waited to know when we would leave on our mission.

But we trusted in the Lord's timing and know that for many amazing reasons our delay was needed. We can already pinpoint some great reasons but look forward to learning more reasons. 

On Sunday we were 'set apart' by our Stake President. That means we were given a special blessing with special promises to begin our mission and we are now officially Elder and Sister Jenkins! We are just missing our names tags which we will receive when we get to the MTC. We are excited and anxious to begin our service as Self Reliance Missionaries.

Sunday evening we were able to say goodbye to so many of our great friends!

After packing and squeezing everything into our suitcases we got to the Bellingham Airport to have our luggage weighed and checked in..  Our check-through luggage had a 50 weight limit for each piece. And we were so close!!! They weighed in at 49.7 pounds, 49.9 pounds, 50.2 pounds and 52.1 pounds. Because we mentioned we were traveling to Australia the agent said she would tag our heavier suitcase  as "heavy" but would not charge us extra - so kind of her. But she cautioned us that we had better make sure that we were at or under 50 pounds for our flight to Australia.
We had to line everything up before we went in.

We needed tags!!!

We flew safely to Utah. And all of our luggage made it. Our carryons and backpacks were so heavy I was worried about getting them on the plane. But it worked from Bellingham to Seattle and then since the flight to Salt Lake was only half full we were able to put both carryons and both backpacks in the overhead bins. We have a few things to leave in Utah so our load will be slightly less going forward. but then there will be some printed materials to consider. The rental car was barely big enough to fit all of our luggage!

This will be a busy week leading up to our entry into the Mission Training Center on Monday. We are enjoying our stay with our son and his family. They are always so kind to allow us to stay in their home,  to come and go as we need. Tuesday we had a delightful meeting with a long lost niece and her family. Wednesday  we met  with  "Elder Jenkins" brother and sister and their spouses for lunch. What a sweet experience! And it was our grandson's birthday. Today is Thursday and we will play with the family of another of our sons. 

We are so blessed to have such a loving family. The days are passing quickly but in some respects it still is surreal that we will actually enter the Mission Training Center on Monday to begin our mission. I guess our Limbo will not be officially over until we actually check into the MTC.

Thursday, February 9, 2017


We are actually packing our suitcases today!!! Four check through suitcases to weigh 50 lbs or less, 2 carry-ons and our backpacks which will serve as our personal items. Do you think we can make it? And very important do you think everything will make it to Sydney without being lost or misdirected?
trying to pack through the mess!

I can hardly believe that we have been gathering our wardrobes for over 9 months! Lots of shopping trying to find just the right items in the right size and quantity. And then there are all the little things we do not know if we can live without. Do we have too much of certain things or not enough of others? So, now we are at that point where it all has to fit into our luggage and our weight limits. And there are stores in Australia if we find there is something we have forgotten. So...

The weather has been so cold and WINTERY the past few days. Schools have been closed all week, roads have been covered with snow drifts not to mention the freezing rain. Yet as I sit and write this at 6 PM Thursday evening it is 102 degrees hot in Sydney at 1 PM Friday afternoon. Wow! I wonder if we will be able to breath when we get there. I definitely will not have to worry about my coat!!

We did have one lovely day this week with clear skies and sunshine. After bundling up we took a little time for a walk to enjoy the beauties of nature. Trees and grasses were covered with ice. When the sun shone on them we were treated to nature's jewels. What a treat!

our hike in the back field

nature's jewels 

So just four more sleeps and we are off to begin our adventures. First stop Salt Lake City to visit family. It is all surreal but I guess we are really going.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017


How is it possible for time to fly and drag at the same time?! These past few days have flown by with so much going on and yet at the same time it seems to be taking forever until we are actually leaving. But I am also in a state of disbelief that we are actually going to leave on our mission. There have been so many road blocks and sometimes it seems that as soon as one is removed another takes its place. But I guess that is the nature of opposition. And we will survive!

For the past few days Steve has been fighting a cold/flu issue. Not fun for him and I am really hoping I am not next. Lots of airborne, mucinex, fluids, etc, etc and a blessing and he is improving. We had to cancel some things so we did not share but missed seeing our friends.

Prior to Steve getting sick we were able to take a short trip to Harrison Hot Springs, BC
Hanging out with Sasquatch
with our daughter and her family. We enjoyed our time on a short hike to see Bridal Veil Falls. Water features in nature are so fantastic! We hadn't been swimming in warm pools when the outside air was just above freezing. So relaxing! But chilly getting back to our room.

 Even though it was just a short trip it was nice to get away  for just a little while. The scenery was beautiful which always makes me want to break out my camera.

It was also our 50th or Golden Wedding Anniversary last Wednesday. We never expected to be stateside for our anniversary, expecting to celebrate "down under". But we were still here. We connected with each of our children which is always awesome but did not get together. We decided it would be nice to spend some time in the temple since that is where we began our journey together. Since we were not in Utah and able to go to the Salt Lake Temple we went to the Vancouver Temple. Different building but the same feeling inside. What a delight! We are so grateful for the Plan of Salvation which provides the way for us to be together forever. Now we will begin our next 50 years as we soon leave on our mission.

Outside of the Vancouver B.C. Temple

And WE HAVE OUR TICKETS TO SYDNEY!!! We will fly to  Salt Lake City on February 13 and have a few days to spend with our family- really looking forward to that time to connect and reconnect. Then we will enter the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah on February 20 for a week of training. The next week we will spend 3 days training in the Self Reliance Office of the Church Office Building in Salt Lake City, Utah. Then on Thursday March 2 we will fly first to Los Angeles and then to Sydney. During our 15 hour flight we lose Friday due to the time change and will begin our Australian adventure as we arrive in Sydney on March 4!!!

So, there are amazingly still a lot of loose ends we need to tie up in the next 11-12 days But we really are leaving soon!!