Sunday, November 3, 2013

August Letters to Megan about Jake to College and Starting School

Dear Sister Israelsen,
This week has been a week apart. Your mother went to Oregon last week and got home on Sunday night really late and then Monday morning I woke up and took off for my trip to Kansas City and Indianapolis. So, finally we were back together on Friday night. We were both so tired that we were just glad to be back together.
So, Moms birthday was on Monday and I had to leave for my trip. what a bummer of a birthday. I got tickets to the Buell to see "sister act" on Oct. 4th then I found out today that we may not be able to go on that day. We'll see. It is so weird to only have 2 kids at home right now. We just talked to Jake and he is having a great time at school, but he did admit that homework and assignments were getting really hard to keep up with. He also has a Chinese teacher for Calc II and he has a hard time understanding her/him (not sure which). He also said that he only had about 10 guys in his ward and the rest were girls. Either more guys are going on missions right now or its just that the girls are better at attending church. I think more girls attending is more likely the case. He also told us that his roommate called this morning from the hospital because he got alcahol poisoning last night!! Thats kind of scary, a lot of young college students die from stuff like that. I hope hes okay, Jake thinks he is.
I am so happy for you now that the work is picking up! I know that the Lord can work many mighty miracles. You just need to be there and do your best and he will provide the rest. Stay close to your investigators and involve the ward members, this will give them the best chance for conversion. 
By the way on am reading the BoM 2 times right now. I have been listening on my iphone and I am in Alma and then I am reading each day to prepare for my lessons for seminary. What a challenge. I like just listening because it is giving me a much better understanding of the whole book, but then I like the individual reading because I have to prepare to teach it and I am learning the doctrine so much deeper. I love my calling! It may be hard to get up early every day and prepare for my lessons every night but I love learning more about the gospel and its fun to teach the youth. Most of them are in a delicut place, trying to understand if they are really believe the gospel. Most of them know it is true but they have to gain a testimony for themselves. They have to want to acknowledge that they have felt the spirit and understand that it is true. It takes time and effort on their part to get there. I keep trying to tell them that, hoping that they will get there
By the way, I am so impressed with your hard work and knowledge of the gospel. I can tell that you have truly felt the spirit of the Lord and have accepted him in your life. I have known that for a long time, but recently I have felt that through your letters. They are faith builder for me. You have been a shinning example to our family and many people that follow your letters. 
Trent Brown got his mission call this week to Fresno, CA. He announced it in chruch today and he seems really pleased. At first I thought he might be a little disappointed but like most missionaries out there they understand that their call is truly from the Lord and he is sending them were they are needed and there is a purpose for them going to that place at that time. 
Rachel almost got in her first accident the other day. She was driving and someone cut her off and actually scratched the front bumper of the Honda. She stopped but the other guy did not. She was so shaken up that she did not get his license number. Plus she had Elizabeth in the car with her and I guess one or both of them were screaming and had to calm down before they could continue home. It happened on 120th and Pecos, not far from home. Just a quick lesson on defensive driving. It doesnt matter if you are wrong or right when you drive. Its just best to stay out of any accident by trying to anticipate what the other driver is doing. 
I Love you and I am praying for your continued success! I am also praying for your investigators, it takes a lot of courage to make "that mighty change" like it says in the scriptures but when they are touched by the spirit anything is possible. Even the most hardened people can change, when they accept the Lord.

Dear Sister Israelsen,
Well this has been an interesting week! Jake has been out late very night because he is getting ready to leave for school. His last day of work was on Thursday. The dischners gave him friday off so he could get ready for school. An on top of that they gave him a $250 bonus. They said that he was a great worker and if they had more like him that theywoudl be millionaires. I think they are just nice. So, Jake and mom and Rachel went to logan to move him in and then they visited with family in Logan. Then they went to Chris's (by the way they have sold their home and are moving, not sure where yet). Jake is moving in with some guy from Pennsilvainia, I'm guessing that he is not a member of the church because he moved his coffee maker in first thing. Looks like a good missionary opportunity.
We went to Water World with Elizabeth and friends on Monday for her birthday party. They had a lot of fun and a little sun burned. Rachel even went with, which I was glad for because she went on a couple of the rides with them so I didnt have to. I still went on the Zoomerang with Rachel. Elizabeth and one of her friends went on it too. Her other two friends were to scared to go.  WEll, she had a full day of fun. Then on Thursday she went to one of her friends for another birthday party. They went to the mall and got makeovers. She was in heaven. Then on Saturday she went to another birthday party where they played games, it was a sleep over but we had her come home at 11pm. Not fans of the sleep overs as you know. 
Rachel got her Drivers license this week which I am very glad for so when I am gone next time she can drive Elizabeth when needed. She is very pleased with herself because she passed on her first try, which she told Jake about over and over again. Get ready when you get home she will probably do the same to you. I think that she likes to be the first to do something in our family. You know its hard to come behind you and Jake. Its her claim to fame. 
Oh, I almost forgot to tell you about the biggest thing this week. Jake went to get his Patriatical blessing and we all went. The spirit was so strong. I even mentioned how strong the spirit was and Jake agreed and then he said that it was the strongest that he has ever felt the Holy Ghost. What a spiritual experience. What a great family home evening (just not at home). You should ask him about it, because it was very special. 
Your Mom is headed to Oregon this week to do a training for some teachers there. We are going to miss her, and then I have to travel the next week. 
Oh, by the way Bobbi got her mission call this week to Washington, Vancouver mission. I know she is pretty excited. Not only that Bobbi and Nicki are excited to get Jake to school so they can line him up with a bunch of friends of theirs. I think they will keep him busy. 
Today President Toombs asked about you, I told him that you were in Belgium and he asked if you were successful. I told him that it has been hard and he said he know how you felt. In your last letter you were excited that one of your investigators came to church, I was so happy to hear it because that is success!Keep up the good work.
I love you and I miss you.

Hello Zuster!

How are you?  I am writing this email from Kris's computer in Fruit Heights today and we can't get it to read my phone so I am going to send you some pictures one at a time.  I started school this last week with teacher meetings and getting the library ready.  It is always exciting to go back to school.  This year, I am turning my orientations on their head and have placed QR codes all over the library.  The kids will take iPads and follow the clues, do the assignments and prove to me that they know how to navigate the library.  I am doing that for older kids and still doing the regular orientation for the younger kids.  We are proposing a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy to staff this next week so that the kids can bring their own iPads or Chromebooks to school.  We have been working on a presentation and the ability to vote as a staff with a google survey.  It will be interesting but I think it is the way to go.  I was exhausted before we ever left but Jake, Rachel and I drove to Logan yesterday.  We left early and drove and sang our way through Wyoming.  It was a fun car ride and Jake and I took turns driving.  Rachel is behind on her AP homework so she was supposedly finishing that in the back seat but whenever we asked, she was watching something like Chicken Run or an equally intelluctually stimulating movie.  We got to USU and found Jake's apartment.  His room mate and parents were there moving in too.  We moved in all of his stuff and then made a list of everything that he still needed.  Then we went to Desert Book and Wal-Mart to get him rounded out.  He needed a new set of scriptures and a case before he starts his prep classes.  He was hard on his scriptures and many pages are missing.  He also got a highlighter like the one you had because you liked it so much.  We forgot odd things like silverware, toilet paper and hangers.  Also there are two drawers that will lock and his room and his apartment all have hotel like locks on the doors.  I hope he doesn't lock himself out of his room while in the bathroom.  We went to see Grandma and Grandpa but they weren't home - go figure!  We left them a note and stopped by Kelly's.  Sheldon opened the door and didn't know who we were until he saw Jake, then his face lit up...  Grrr.  :)  Anyway, we had to give him a hard time about that.  Brandon was there too and his leg is doing much better. Taylor wasn't there but we saw her beautiful wedding dress.  We couldn't stay long because we had to pick up the scriptures and still eat and take the Wal-Mart load into his room.  We finally left Logan about 10:30 and didn't get to the Beelek's until about 11:30.  We went to church with them today in their new ward in Draper.  We are sending pictures.  The one in front of the Draper Temple was taken just outside of their church.  The church and the temple share the same parking lot.  They are buying a lot near the temple and it is a beautiful area.  The kids seem very excited about their new adventures and new schools.  All will be going to a new school except for Michael who will be riding the train to Ogden to continue going to his nerd school as he calls it.  Tomorrow is their first day of school so we are all getting up very early to leave by 6:30am.  They have to drive to Draper everyday and it is an hour each way.  They are moving out on Thursday so next week should be much better for them.  

I am flying to Oregon this week on Wednesday after teaching the first two days of school.  Hopefully everything will work out and our conference will be worth it for the teachers.  I am a little worried about it but oh well, it is what it is at this point.  Church was really good today, Sacrament meeting was about prayer and then RS was about unity.  I can tell that the Beelek's will love this ward and are very excited to move there.  

Have a good week!  
Love you!

P.S. When you are reading this I will probably be driving through Wyoming again so think of us!  By the way, did you get the money that I taped to the back of your letter?  
P.P.S. I am in denial about leaving Jake tomorrow - sad day for me!  He is ready to go though.

Dear Megan,
Okay now I can respond to you. I had to go back a re-read your letter. Mom even added a picture of Fufu that she found on the internet. Do you have any idea how amazing your mother is? She seems to have so much energy, I just cannot seems to keep up with her. 
This month I have really been working hard to get ready for seminary. Getting up at 5am will be hard to begin with, since I have been staying up late and getting up late all summer. One of the things that I have been drawn to is a devotional that featured the head of the seminary program. He said that it is okay to have doubts. Doubts about the church, doubts about your life, doubts about your situation, etc..... But what you do with those doubts is what counts. If you soften your heart to listen to the Lord, and try to find the answers in the scriptures, and live the commandments, then the Lord will answer your prayers and turn your doubts into Faith. Building faith over time from one trial to the next, until you come to the perfect knowledge of the truth. It doesnt all happen at once but after much patience, then you will receive "line upon line, and precept upon precept". 
In your letter it sounded like you followed the path to gain greater faith, not more doubt. You are an amazing daughter!, and you are a wonderful example to me. In fact, I went back to my missionary journal to see how I was feeling at times, especally when we couldnt get anyone to listen. it seems like after the trial of my faith, then the Lord would bless me when I least expected it. Keep up the good work and He will bless you, when you least expect it. In fact, it sounds like he is blessing you already. Take every small/large blessing and write it down. You will see that he is extending His tender mercies everywhere. And not just for you, but people around you.
Okay, now I want to be less dramatic. I had to travel for a couple days this week, but it felt like a month. I have been back to Hormel so many times. This big account started with a couple problems and then started to be increadably great. Then all of the sudden it started to go bad again. We are having problem after problem with the loggers going bad, the system works great and then we will get a logger that leaks! Arg, the one problem that we thought we would never have. anyway work is....well, work.
The ward had a 40 day fast that ended today. The ward mission leader (bro. brink) got everyone to sign up for a dinner over 40 days and then had the families fast the day the sister came to their house. Then they broke their fast with dinner and a spiritual thought from the sister encouraging us to "open our mouths" and invite our friends. We have been thinking about your last letter and wondering who we could invite. We are waiting for the right moment but I think we will invite our neighbors across the street. They have a girl one year younger than Elizabeth and then we will invite the sister also. We are trying to be better missionaries!
We are also trying to do better at reading the scriptures at night. Jake and Rachel have been reading the BoM on their own so we decided to read the D&C. Still trying to get better at every night. Not the most successful but plugging along anyway.
Jake is getting is Patriarticle blessing tomorrow night. Those of us that can fast, will but I am really looking forward to listening. He leaves next week for School and like you we are really going to miss him. I cant believe that it is hear already. 
Well, that seems to be all the news that I can think of, I know your mother sent her letter again from last week that wouldnt send and she sent some China pictures.
I know the Lord has been blessing you with tender mercies. Sometimes things are hard but keep your chin up, remember what the Lord has done for you and then you will be able to continue with a smile. 
I love you so much, and miss you. Lose yourself in the work and the Lord will bless you. 

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