Sunday, January 3, 2016

Joy and Rejoicing

We are back home in Syracuse, Utah, safe and sound despite the snow and icy roads that we cautiously maneuvered through Wyoming.
Crossing Wyoming in our Rav, grateful for the 4-wheel drive

 Leaving Indiana was hard, emotionally.  We have made so many friends there, and we left part of our hearts with the congregations in Terre Haute and Crawfordsville, with our Addiction Recovery group, and with the men to whom we ministered at the penitentiary.  Ann and I are better for having had such grand opportunities to serve and be served.
Our Last Temple Trip to Indianapolis

We have had cause to reflect on our missionary service, to what end we were called.  Of course our specific responsibility was to preserve records.  And we did!  We captured 872,767 images that will eventually be online for the whole world to view.  The digitized documents are now safely tucked away with 3.5 billion other records in the granite vaults built into the foothills east of Salt Lake City.  Our images document the lives of 10,272 unique individuals who died in Vigo and Montgomery counties.
The Last Click--#872,767

The younger missionaries spend their days inviting folks to come closer to Christ by accepting the message of the restored Gospel.  I have come to appreciate that we have ministered in exactly that same way, opening up the way for thousands of our departed brothers and sisters to make the same covenants in preparation for their eternal exaltation.
Closing up shop, praying that the Lord will send another couple soon.

That exaltation hinges, though, on their descendants doing the research to find our images and the other vital records necessary for the saving ordinances to be performed in their behalf. I can now better understand the meaning of Malachi 4:6 "And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers."
Stuffing the Rav to the roof--a miracle that we got in as much as we did.

Some of our stuff we couldn't stuff--It will find a home with other missionaries.

We had many experiences in our little warehouse closet of receiving guidance from unseen sources--spiritual promptings that facilitated our effectively capturing the images and correctly identifying them.  I don't doubt that the same spirit will "turn" the hearts of the descendants of our 10,000 "contacts," leading them to the images.  What a bond of love that will make between generations!
A Warm (in spirit) Welcome Home

Now that we are home we plan on cementing those same kind of bonds between us and our posterity.  As I've prayed to know where I can find joy and fulfillment in life, it has been impressed upon my mind that joy will come to me as I "turn my heart" in both directions.  Hence, we'll be devoting time to our families and grandchildren, and to our own family history research and the associated temple ordinance work.
A gathering of the family to hear us "report" our experiences.

And more family gatherings over the holidays--a half-dozen parties :)

We have hobbies we intend on pursuing.  Ann has found that she likes photography.  I'm looking forward to more painting.  We both want to read more.  She's been practicing the piano, and I am eager to get back to organ playing.  I'll cook, she'll embroider.  We'll find friends for games, movies, dinners, and hopefully some deeper emotional relationships.  I've already got some early-morning running buddies, and Ann's connecting for lunch dates with friends.
Carols with some great-nephews.  I'll keep up my horn playing.

Above all, though, we know that the fullness of joy is only found in continued consecration to the Kingdom of God.  We were set apart today as Primary teachers (4-year olds) and in music--Ann as a ward organist and me as music chairman.  The first choir practice is next week at our home.  So life goes on, and there will always be a corner of the Lord's Vineyard where He needs us to labor.  Like we wrote two years ago in our application for missionary work, "We'll go where you want us to go."
Our first visit to the "new" Ogden Temple
We started this blog as a way of staying in touch with all of you.  This will be our last post.  We've appreciated your positive comments, encouragement, and support through these 18 months.  Please continue to contact us by phone or email.

Many of the pixels that make up the big picture of our life are the ones that you have contributed, and we'll enjoy focusing in from time to time on each one of them.