Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ranelle's "two-bits" - February 24, 2009

I had not realized how long it has been since I wrote. There have been some great experiences that I would like to share.

Last week's Book of Mormon class was one of the most profound lesson experiences I have had. Our scripture block was 3 Nephi 8-11 where, after His resurrection, Jesus Christ appeared to the people here on the American continent. As I prepared, I continually found myself cutting material I had pinpointed to include in the lesson. More than anything else, I wanted the class members to FEEL something. After making a few doctrinal points, I finally focused only on His appearance. I asked two of the class members who are music majors to present the hymn, "I Know That My Redeemer Lives." One of the students was a pianist and vocalist--the other a clarinetist. It was a beautiful and meaningful rendition. After this performance, we read 3 Nephi 11:3-17. Then we watched a video portraying the Savior blessing and healing the people. The response was all I had hoped for, both within myself and with many of the students.

Saturday the University Ward had planned a trip to the Detroit Temple. The weather forecast didn't look good and to my relief, the excursion was postponed until March 1. The snow didn't start until after 8:00 a.m. and all day long the snow fell and the wind blew. We didn't stick our nose out the door all day--it was a delicious day! I had completed the house cleaning and the laundry in order to be away on Saturday. We worked on our lessons, read, napped, and in the evening we watched a DVD movie on the computer.

For Munch 'n Mingle today we prepared Navajo tacos. It was a little more work than other lunches we have prepared, but it was very well received. I will include the recipe for the buttermilk scones which was the foundation for the refried beans, lettuce, cheese, sour cream and salsa. Better yet would have been to add some quacamole and fresh-picked garden tomatoes; but cost, effort and the season precluded those ingredients.


1 qt. buttermilk, warmed
2 pckgs yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water (to soften yeast)
2 tbsp sugar
2 eggs
2 tbsp oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp soda
9 cups flour (enough to make a soft dough)

Add half flour to all ingredients. Beat until smooth. Add enough flour to make soft dough. Raise double. Punch down. Refrigerate overnight. Roll out to desired thickness and fry in hot oil. Makes 3-4 dozen scones. Dough can be kept for several days in the refrigerator.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Spreading the Good News

One of my thrills is seeing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints streamlining itself. Example: Years ago I sat on the front row in the Salt Lake Tabernacle the night President David O. McKay inaugurated the "Every Member A Missionary" program. The directive: "ask Golden Questions." "What's that," you ask? It means you asked each stranger, "How much do you know about the Mormon Church?" Next question: "Would you like to know more?"

I lived in Utah then, and asking those questions there was futile. But traveling abroad I asked them, and noticed they carried the same soft touch as a sledge hammer. But at that early date, how better could one communicate such a needed and sensitive message? Now-a-days, we approach people with printed "pass along" cards, and they are more discrete.

Accordingly, this very day while shopping, Ranelle and I passed along some "Pass Along" cards. Result: at least one tangible and positive response! The missionaries will soon be calling on that person. As to the others, "who knows?" But as Elder Marion D. Hanks used to say, "You can count the seeds in an apple; but how can you count the apples in a seed?"

And thus the work goes tirelessly along--offering the masses the priceless opportunity, but teaching and baptizing them one-by-one. That's the Lord's plan, and we rejoice so to be involved.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

IT'S BACK 2-14-09
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Friday, February 13, 2009

February 13, 2009 - from Ranelle

Finally, a window in my schedule and I can add some comments to our blog.

We've experienced a mellowing of the weather as you can see from the picture preceeding. The snow has melted--though I doubt that winter is over. We actually had temperatures as high as 60 degrees. In the five weeks we have been in East Lansing we have seen a span of at least 70 degrees in the temperature--greater if you consider the wind chill factor (temperatures were minus 10 degrees in January). The Red Cedar River is spreading and flowing rapidly. Other signs of "spring" include piles of dirt in the lawns (the moles are very active), frisky squirrels chasing each other, and beautiful red cardinals.

Monday 2-9-09 our institute director called to say he had a family emergency, "Could we teach his 11:00 a.m. class?" John graciously let me have the opportunity. So I put my Book of Mormon preparations aside and prepared for the New Testament class. I learned a needed lesson. I spent an hour plus and the class was great! Perhaps I am laboring too hard as I spend many hours reading and developing my lesson plan for the Book of Mormon class. We are both feeling a little more comfortable in the assignments we have to teach and appreciate this challenge to grow.

We are now preparing a Munch 'n Mingle lunch only once a week. This has eased the pressure for me. Twice a week was hard especially on Thursday when I also had to teach.

Wednesday 2-11-09 we drove to Kalamazoo (about 1 1/2 hours south and west of East Lansing) for a zone conference. We had a wonderful morning of instruction from our mission president. Then we enjoyed a lovely lunch prepared by the Relief Society sisters in Kalamazoo. Lunchtime affords us the privilege of socializing with other senior couples serving in this mission. After lunch the missionaries circle those who prepared the delicious meal and sing "Called To Serve"--sweet experience! We left after lunch so John could be rested and ready for the class he teaches that evening.

We are well, and happy in the privilege of serving our Heavenly Father as we teach and mingle with the students of Michigan State University. As we teach, we also come to a greater knowledge of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and His great gift to us. "Conversion" is a continual, evolving process which requires our daily attention. To be wholly converted, we find the "desire for things contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ has actually died (Marion G. Romney)." Hopefully, we all are striving to be converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ and finding rewards as we serve Him.

Thanks for letting us share our experiences with you. We appreciate your emails and comments on the blog.


"Heart Attack"

Valentine's Day brought this "heart attack"Posted by Picasato our door.

Snow is gone--river is rising!

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Sunday, February 8, 2009

Michigan Tourage

For this missionary mankind, time's as scarce, nearly, as money. Thus Week after week one brief pause and the "scrambles" begin. Painful disease.

But not all is work. And here in the fabled land of Great Lakes, one would short himself plenty were he/she not to look up sometimes, and look around. And since Lansing, the state's capital, houses the state's museum, last Saturday the O'Dells teamed up with Elder and Sister Davis of Lehi, Utah, and toured the place. Nice diversion. In case you don't know, lots of good things have happened here in Michigan, among which was manufacturing many of the machines that made America. (And know what? While inspecting the myriad photographs of turn-of-the-century men working amid the cold and mud and mosquitoes, my personal judgement is that the "good old days" is now!)

You and I both have seen that phrase "Six munse ago I could not even spel teecher, and now I are one." And knowing you would scream plagery if I claimed authorship, I'll jus' tel the truth--I dictated it. Reason: for teacherocity, this one falls too far short. I am hoping, however, to ride on Ranelle's coat tails because she excels the ideal. With her clear, lilting voice her comments add lustre to any meeting, and her formal class lessons ring true and memorable. Try as I may to live up to her instant reputation, however, I'm drifting way, far behind!