Sunday, October 18, 2009

It's Lucky Seven -

Our seventh grandchild was delivered over the weekend and there is joy over the arrival of this lucky infant. After two weeks of headaches, dizziness, and low levels of critical fluid the doctors decided to help Danica and nature along with a little inducement. About 6 hours after a lunching on patosin Danica delivered a beautiful nearly six pound baby girl named Charlene Hazel McDonald. They are going to call her Charlie for short. She had dark hair and beautiful light skin with a face just like her brother Jensen. I guess that means that the next one will look like Lily. Everything is perfect with Charlie like sleeping through the night and eating well, except a small causality of birth. She has a “windswept” foot which means it flairs out a little too much. That should correct itself with time and is not a worry.

I can’t believe I’m old enough to have seven grandkids until I run head on into taking care of Lily and Jensen for the weekend. I can go biking for several miles (even uphill), play racquetball for 2 plus hours, or swim a full triathlon worth of mileage and come away a little fatigued, but that is nothing compared to watching a 2 and 3 year old for the weekend. It wiped me out and I don’t understand it – but little kids just drain off energy from their care givers. Thank goodness they are cute or it would be twice as much work. How did we ever survive 6 kids with anything leftover for middle age?

I took the kids to the park yesterday and was helping Lily climb on the monkey bars and this boy asked if she was my little girl and I said, “Ohhh.... no, she is my granddaughter”. He said I couldn’t be old enough to have a grandkid. I wanted to buy him an ice cream cone.

I also had a fun missionary experience this week. The missionaries have been working with this one young man for a long time and because of family complications he couldn’t be baptized but they continued to teach him. He was coming over to the house for a lesson and the missionaries were a mess. They had other elders over at the house and were playing risk and arguing with each other. With 15 minutes before the investigator arrived they were fumbling through a pile of CD’s with the BOM on audio and were going to play something for the young man. My father instincts took over and I took away the CD’s told them to find a quiet place to pray for inspiration as to what they should teach. They came back from prayer excited – they had remembered while praying this scripture guide that would be perfect to read with the investigator. I coached them a bit on a few things as the potential member arrived. After the lesson they came in to my office and said the scriptures were perfect and that the young man will be baptized in two weeks.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Don is Deployed

Not much news here except that Don is now in Afghanistan. He has been promoted to 2nd in command in his squad instead of just team lead. He is a little nervous about all the work they need to do and the oncoming winter. He can't get email or internet so he needs your loving prayers and physical letters.
Here is an article about the church in Afghanistan and the military. It is interesting to note that the church meets on Friday there to match the rules of Islam. Gives a new meaning to Friday night dates.

Church News

LDS military district in Afghanistan brings blessings of service

By Michael L. Haller

Public affairs representative, Kabul Afghanistan Military District

Published: Monday, May 18, 2009


Members of the Church continue to enjoy the blessings of the gospel while serving in Afghanistan. There are more than 400 members serving in Afghanistan at more than 40 locations. While they make up only a single district, Latter-day Saint expatriates can be found in virtually all corners of the nation.

"We have been blessed with a special opportunity to serve the Lord in Afghanistan," said Eugene Wikle, president of the Afghanistan Military District. "Our service is needed and appreciated as we serve Him and our respective nations."

Kabul Afghanistan Military District Presidency, from left, Winn Noyes, first counselor, Eugene Wikle, district president, David Andrews, second counselor.

The Afghanistan Military District was created in July 2008 and includes the entire country. It is part of the Middle East/Africa North Area. The Middle East Desk and the Church Military Relations Division maintain contact with the district presidency as they administer the affairs of the Church in Afghanistan.

Latter-day Saints assigned to military, diplomatic or aid and nation-building missions and activities within Afghanistan may find themselves among a large body of Church members or at a remote location. The district includes four military branches and numerous LDS service member groups across the country.

"We've had the blessings of having had LDS chaplains on our district council with the ability to move about the country and meet with fellow saints, as well as others who've taken up the mantle of leadership in assisting Church members when and as needed," President Wikle said.

Bagram Military Branch Members, Interdenominational Chapel, Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan.

In many areas of the country, Latter-day Saints follow the Islamic traditions of honoring the Sabbath on Friday. "Being a bit adaptive is very necessary to being successful in everything we do to help Afghans," President Wikle said. "While we clearly maintain our standards, we've learned to adjust how and when we meet as both a practical matter and also a matter of respect to our hosts. Such courtesy demonstrates our true desire to be of service and speaks more to the Afghans than almost anything else we might say."

Each week Latter-day Saints receive a devotional message and other important news from the Church through the district presidency. To help relieve some of the stresses of serving in a war zone, they also are provided with DVDs and CD recordings of "Music and the Spoken Word," Church devotionals and general conference through the Church Military Relations Division. The Brigham Young University football team has provided DVDs for members from time to time as well.

Many wards or branches "back home," no matter the country, help provide service men and women with generous amounts of special packages of food, treats and other remembrances from members, friends and families alike.

Service in Afghanistan is challenging. "We encourage each member to stay close to the Lord through daily prayer and scripture reading, and to receive the blessings of the sacrament each week," President Wikle said. "Our active participation in Church services and association with other members of the Church helps strengthen each of us. In this manner, we are a positive example with those whom we serve and with the citizens of Afghanistan."

Members deploying to Afghanistan may contact the Church Military Relations Division at: or call 1-801-240-1931.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Thoughts on Conference -

I have been working with the missionaries as they are teaching a young lady about 26 years old. She remembers Tiana from high school. She was raised strong Catholic and for the last two years has been very active in a Evangelical Christian church where she works with the youth and has made several charitable mission trips to Mexico and South America with that group. She is one that is living the religion she has been taught. A whole new world has opened up to her by teaching her the restored gospel. The first LDS church meeting she attended was a very powerful and spiritually rich Stake Conference two weeks ago and she made a very interesting statement after the meeting. As I’m listening to General Conference this weekend I keep on thinking about what she said.
Her impression was one I have heard from a number of investigators or visitors to our church meetings. Their walk-away impression of an uplifting and spiritual meeting has always bothered and saddened me. To summarize her comment she said, “It seemed like a business meeting. Where was the room for worship?” Her comment just blew me away and I wondered about the disconnect, and are we missing something in our meetings?
I think it is all based on the premise of why we attend church. To many in the Christian world, they attend church to “worship” God. To aid in that practice they employ crosses, ornamentation, gowns and robes, participatory services, and lots of “Praise the Lord”. They attend weekly to drop off their few minutes of worship and praise and once that’s taken care of they can go about and live their own lives. It is good to bow in respect and admiration of Heavenly Father and in the Savior, but is that true worship? Almost sounds like the Rameumpton people in the Book of Mormon.
During our “business meetings” the heart of the reason we gather weekly is to take the sacrament. Instead of bellicose external worship our route is one of very quite and individual reflection of our standing within the family of God. What better path then personal introspection into our discipleship and need for repentance to bring us back into at-one-ment. That is the whole reason of Christ’s passion. The ancillary talks are then designed to allow the spirit to direct our thoughts to ways we can live our lives better and draw closer to our Heavenly Father. Our worship is deep and personal but quiet and reflective. What better way to honor our HF then silently repenting and/or resolving to change our lives for the better. No need for drapes or incense or candles or crosses, just a broken heart and a contrite spirit. I like that kind of worship.
As I watch and enjoy General Conference it is a personal experience of worship as we have the opportunity to put on the whole armor of God and put off the natural man. It is a great opportunity and I’m so glad you all are taking advantage of the treasure of listening to a prophet’s voice. Enjoy conference.