Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Utah has luscious peaches in the fall.
Instead of canning them we slice and freeze them in ziploc bags.
My family likes them better and it's easier than canning them.
That said, it still takes some work to get the job done.
Eating the peaches is optional but helping is not.

Freedom of expression is always an option
even if it doesn't change the outcome.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Good News

Dear family,

This has been a very good week! Thank you all for your prayers and love and concern; for me and my comp. This week hasn't been all downhill but, it sure has answered our prayers.

Yesterday we had our "Mission Tour," with Elder Amato, he is an area 70 here in Brasil. Elder Borlot and I fasted for him and it seemed like Elder Amato was talking just to us! It was just another testimony builder for me.

Also this week we have been working in an area closer to the chapel and looking for families or married couples; and surprisingly we have been having a lot of success.

We have found 3 or 4 couples that are looking like they have real potential. Now we are also planing a huge lunch for 100 people for Gustavo and Jose!

This has been a really good week for Elder Borlot too. Last Friday morning President Myrrha passed through here and interviewed me and Elder Borlot. President Myrrha is the Man! It appears that my comp. has a lot of doubts and questions still but, he is going to work until he finishes the two years. He is also ready to do everything to try and gain a testimony and, to recognize his, and I have already started helping him in the best way I know how; that is working with diligence and obedience. It has been a really cool experience because I have to be really attentive to the spirit and the ways God is helping us.

Thanks for all of your prayers and support, they have been answered and now were back in business.

Thanks for your love and support!

Until next week!

Love, Elder Rob

Monday, February 23, 2009

Elder Z

No email from our missionary today... hopefully tomorrow.

I hope all is well after his rough week last week.... I'm sure it is.

Ready for my Stats test tomorrow.


pray for our Elder Rob.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Flash Back Friday(ish): Pinatas

One of our first big "have a lot of people over" birthday parties took place when Aaron turned 5.
We had recently moved to Arizona so of course the party included a pinata.

Amy needed a little help but Aaron got right into it

Pinata's are a fairly simple idea. You fill a hollow, brightly colored paper mache figure with candy, give a child a baseball bat or some other instrument that enables them to cause blunt force trauma, blind fold them and allow them to hack away... realizing that as they break the pinata apart candy will fall causing the non blind folded children do jump directly in front of the one swinging the bad who has no idea that the the body they are now making contact with is not made of paper... hmmm I see Brian Regan material here. Who made up this thing anyway?
Please notice we did not blindfold the one with the bat.

As it turns out pinatas are not really made of paper and paste that falls apart easily when a 5 year old hits it. It is reinforced with superglue (or carbon fiber) and requires the strength of a grown man to actually get the candy out by hitting it. I guess that's OK with them, just don't blind fold them!
Even though year after year party goers at our house took their life into their own hands, we continued the tradition of pinatas at parties. However, the year Jen turned 5, she could not bear the thought of anyone hitting her beloved unicorn pinata with anything... so all the kids took turns reaching their hands inside and pulling out a handful of candy till it was gone.
It was just as well... it was raining that year.

Two years later however it was sunny and bright - but a funny thing happened. As the pinata broke spewing candy all over the driveway no one when for it. It just sat there.
Turns out most of her friends' parents were paying them not to eat candy for a year.

That was our last pinata.... and that my friends is the rest of the story.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


I skipped Weight Watchers today.

I set a goal, maybe too lofty of a goal, three weeks ago and knew I wouldn't even be close today.

I just couldn't face it. So I stayed home feeling guilty and trying to recommit...
but more or less just feeling like a failure
and thinking of all the things I shouldn't let myself do as punishment.

10:15 - my phone rang. I should have been half way through my meeting. I contemplated not answering it because of that fact... but alas I did not want to add dishonesty to my list of evils... so I answered.

Lisa: How'd you do? (We often talk after my meeting to offer support)
Karen: Ummm, I didn't go... I just couldn't face it.

So I spun my tale of submission to chocolate and a Hi-Hat cupcake and the carnage that followed. She listened, commiserated and then gently spoke the truth:

Would you walk up to someone and say, "I can't believe you ate that (or did that) you big jerk!? Now you are gong to be as bad or worse than you were before!"
Of course not! That's ridiculous and it's not true!

So why do you say this to yourself?
(How did she know?)

OK, you messed up a little, now what? You can make the choice. You have the power and ability. You can choose not to eat that cupcake (or fill in the blank) next time or choose to eat it (within reasonable guidelines), enjoy it and not feel guilty. One poor choice does not ruin everything you have done or seal your fate for the future. Learn from it and move on.

I cried.
She was (and still is) right.

Even though I haven't lived within 500 miles of my sisters for nearly 25 years we are still connected and today Lisa provided the tender mercy I needed.

Thanks, I love you.

Monday, February 16, 2009


Dear Family,

It seems as though in our moments of happiness and success the Lord sees fit to throw us into a difficult situation.

This week has been one of the hardest in the mission for me!

The first two days passed with nothing but rejection. We have been having a hard time getting the members to think like missionaries and prepare the people in their lives to be taught (because they are feeling like they have already tried sharing the gospel with everyone). Also, the people here in Santo Ângelo have really hardened their hearts.

Then, after the second or third day my companion told me that he didn't have a testimony! I thought that he was just discouraged and assured him that that is exactly what Satan wants to happen. So, he explained more; For six years he has been trying to gain a testimony. He has prayed and really put his heart on the line. Then, he didn't feel like he gained a testimony and hardened his heart. He is very intelligent and says that feelings can easily be manipulated. He has been having a lot of difficulties and has already made the decision to go home. As much as I have tried to help him he has hardened his heart and always has a "logical" explanation for everything.

Don't get me wrong. I know that he was placed with me because I have a TESTIMONY that I can't neglect. I'm doing all that I can and hopefully it will be enough.

He needs your prayers!

The only catch is that he is one of my favorite companions! He is very smart, he doesn't fight about anything. The reason he is still on the mission is that he wants to have the best family he can; a wife that has the same standards as him, with unity and love. He knows that the best family that he can have will be in the church. But, now he is noticing how when he teaches he doesn't have the spirit. Neither can he teach something that he doesn't believe.

Yeah, it's complicated.

Sorry for the headache, but, that's been my week!

Don't worry about me, nothing can take away my testimony. But, I challenge each and every one of you to get on your knees tonight and pray for the Lord to give you a stronger testimony! Also, pray for Elder Borlot! He needs your help!

Thanks for your letters! I need them.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Dedicated to the One(s) I love

Rock Canyon circa 1982

The world was a different place 27 years ago. When I first saw him there was something that drew me to him. He seemed so honest and straight forward... and funny too. He was real... not pretending in order to impress. He really didn't notice me the day we met and looking back that was probably a good thing since I was not quite 18 yet... once he did "notice" though things clicked quickly. We didn't really go on a lot of traditional dates, you know... dinner and the movies... but we spent time together, walking, hiking and talking. My first impressions were right on.

Back then there were two separate individuals, him and me. As I began falling in love I began to realize that I couldn't imagine life without him and that was a scary feeling as we didn't really have any commitments to one another... how much more of my heart could I risk giving him? Yet I seemed to sense that he felt the same way. One day as we were talking he confirmed that he really did feel the same way. Our lives changed.
No longer him and me, we became US.

Now the world is a little bit changed because of US. Five wonderful, amazing and unique individuals have entered this world because of US. Five intelligent, creative and loving individuals to make the world a better place.
My friend says that love does not divide, it multiplies... I would have to agree. And now two of them have found the loves of their lives and are also making the world a better place with children of their own.
Twenty seven years ago there were just two... then there were seven... now the number keeps growing ... along with my heart.
Isn't love grand!
Happy Valentines Day!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Flash Back Friday: Happy Birthday Ruby

One year ago in the wee hours of the morning my phone "chimed" indicating I had a new text. I was instantly awake. Amy checked into the hospital the day before to see if they could get some labor going - no pit or water breaking yet... just an attempt to get her body going on its own that didn't seem to be working. However, during the night she kicked in on her own and the text indicated that her water broke, she was dilated to 4 and got an epidural. I must have sat up quickly or something, maybe I made a stifled excited noise... Mark asked me what was going on. I was ready to get dressed and go to the hospital right then but as the sleepy wise man next to me pointed out - her labor was just beginning, we would rest better at home in bed than in the hospital waiting room and besides Amy requested we not be sitting outside her room while she labored...

I laid down, pulled up my covers, stared at the dark ceiling and smiled. My daughter was having a baby... I closed my eyes thanking God and praying for their safety.

I never really went back to sleep but I rested a little. An hour later another text... she was at a 10... that's my girl! Now.... can we go now? Sleepy voice of reason... "pushing for a first time mom can easily take two hours ".... I lay back down but stared wide eyed at the ceiling, I tried really hard to hold still, to breathe evenly and slowly... five minutes later another text. They could see the head! (I love text messages) That was it. I bolted out of bed... Mark sat up and asked what it said.... I don't care if we have to wait for another hour I wanted to go to the hospital. Realizing sleep was no longer an option we quickly got dressed and made the long drive (7 min.) to the hospital. We sat in the waiting room and saw Jordan's mom coming... this waiting room is so far away... we found a place to wait just outside the labor room (I know, I know but do you think she really cared at this moment... besides it's not like we were peeking in or anything, just wanted to be near). It was still over an hour that we waited but when that sweet newborn cry filled the air I cried too, I wouldn't trade all the sleep in the world for that. I closed my eyes again and thanked God for this wonderful new life... and went to find a tissue. It was still a while before we got to see her. When the nurse finally rolled her out in the bassinet on the way to the nursery she let us hold her for a moment. She was so tiny, 5 lbs., but so perfect... and I was in love all over again. So appropriate for Valentines.

PS She was not born on Friday the 13 and neither was I BUT we will both have our birthdays on Friday the 13 in the same years (until she's 23 or so)... which makes us Friday the 13th birthday buddies ;).

Monday, February 2, 2009

Sorting the wheat from the tares

Dear Family,

Thanks to your prayers and love and support another week has blown by and I have been introduced to a whole different kind of missionary work.

This week was the most productive week that I have had in the field yet. Borlot and I have been working our buns off and it has really paid off! We had 7 investigators in sacrament meeting and almost every day in the week we were visiting with the members.

We had been having a hard time getting the members excited to visit with us until we got our Stake President involved. After he got word from President Myrrha that the theme this year would be missionary work, he went right to work. Pulled out Preach My Gospel and started breathing missionary work!

After our Branch Leader for missionary work got started the plane is taking off!

Gustavo and Jose still haven't gotten married but, have promised they will enter this week. We trust them, but they still need a little push. So, we are going to go in with them and help them out. But, after this week we will know the date!

Ernandes and Tereza are walking on their own feet now. With a friendly visit every once in a while the seed has been planted.

We are working with a few referrals that live really far away from the church. They have been getting rides to go to church for now but after this week there faith will be tried and they'll have to use there own feet too. I sure hope they with have the desire to keep going but we have done what we could.

This week we will work closer to the chapel and start knocking doors and finding new investigators. Pray for us to be guided and I will keep you informed!

Until Next Week!

Pray for us to find new investigators!

Love, Elder Z

Did You Know?

FACT: Sacramento is only 691 miles from Provo.
We could do that in a day!

FACT: Lake Tahoe is between Provo and Sacramento.
So is Yosemite.

FACT: Jordan took a job in Sacramento and they will be moving there
to begin work June 1st.

I see a whole new area in which to explore and plan vacations.

I guess I can live with that.