We suppose the big news of this week is that Grandpa and Grandma Godfrey celebrated their 90th birthdays---and we celebrated with them via a telephone call. For sure it wasn't as good as being there in person would have been, but we have to be grateful that we could be a part in a tiny way and hear their happy voices and share our congratulations too. They truly were sooo happy and we thank each of you that were able to be there to make it a very special day for them.
We love them so much and feel so blessed that they have been able to keep a quality of life for so many years in spite of many difficult health concerns. They have been such an example of keeping a positive attitude and never giving up. We remember how through the years they had their special little quotes of never giving up, and who knew that they would live to not only teach it, but to teach it by example.
So since we were not able to be at the "party of the decade", did we ever tell you how blessed we are to have so many different ways to serve and stay active? It is so true! We think it would be much harder to miss out on great events at home if we weren't really busy. And it would be hard to be restricted to one small area and one assignment, as so many couples in our mission are. We are not saying that mission life is a free time holiday for us, because every day we are so ready for bedtime at the end of the day! But the end of this week is another example of trying new interesting things---and having some fun mission times with some great people.
First of all, on Friday morning we got up early and drove to a farther corner of Ireland called Londonderry to attend a wedding of two YSA members. Weddings in Ireland are quite special events because finding worthy friends to marry is harder with so few members to choose from. Not only are these two "kids" both active, but they both served missions and are working hard on their education. They will be living in the Londonderry area, so we are not likely to see them much, so it was nice we could go and support them.
In Ireland and the UK, a temple marriage must be proceeded by a civil marriage and the temple wedding is usually held the next day, or at least within a few days. Their wedding was held in the LDS chapel, but it was so different from home. It was so cute to see the ladies dressed in hats and very fancy dresses. They also had the whole processional, starting with a little boy ring-bearer, followed by the flower girls and then the bridesmaids etc. The ceremony included talks by family members and friends, then of course the wedding itself. Following the ceremony, there was a reception, but it was not the real reception, just a teaser since people come from so far and needed a snack. We felt very lucky to be invited to the wedding, but were not invited to the family (and closest friends) dinner. The bigger, nice reception, didn't start until evening, so it ended up that we decided to go on to the Belfast and when we realized how far away it was, we didn't go back . We had already been 5 1/2 hours on the road and didn't want to add another 2 hours driving to the day.
So we found our way to the University where the All Ireland Youth Conference was being held. We liked the description of the main building: The Harry Potter University! It really did look like it and it was on a huge acreage of beautiful grounds. Our assigned dorm room was tucked way back out of sight and was so peaceful. The room itself was small and old but clean and warm, --and the bathroom was better than our own apartment, so we felt lucky. We stayed there both Friday and Saturday nights.
We had been asked to make a presentation (actually repeated 3 times) --- so on Saturday morning we located the classrooms. They were also a little older (especially the technology) but quite clean and nice. We had planned a brand new Power Point presentation for the Youth and spent a nervous 20 minutes not getting the connections to work--even with the tech man there doing it. As the time got really close, Grandma said a silent prayer and within the minute everything came alive. We felt so blessed because we honestly know that speaking to Youth is the hardest presentation of any we ever make.
We thought the presentation went quite well. Our theme point was that standards are not just for the Word of Wisdom and morality, but also for becoming the best we can be in our careers, so that members of the Church stand out as an example of industry to the world. We used scripture examples of young prophets, Abraham, Daniel, Nephi, Mormon, Moroni, and Joseph Smith and some cute things from You Tube. Stephen Clyde led us to a fun one about a pig that you grandkids would probably like. Try looking up "Ormie wants a Cookie" and "Stuck on an Escalator" to represent the contrast of how we can either expect others to do everything for us, or we do everything WE can to get what we want.
It isn't unique to Ireland, but there are many people who are satisfied to live on social welfare rather than work for a living. Heavenly Father wants us to provide for ourselves and to be a light to the world by being able to have enough to even share and serve others. On Sunday, the area Seventy, Elder Herbertson spoke. (We get around enough that this was our 5th time of hearing him) It is always a treat.
Elder Herbertson's message underscored what we had presented with one especially great story from his life. He told how after some years into his career he wanted to connect with his school buddies and invited them to a party. One man said, "Don't we all feel like losers! Look at "Herbie." He has a huge house, big cars, and is running for Parliament! Of course that made Elder H quite uncomfortable and he wondered what to say, when another man said, "Yah, but he's had that success because of his Church," and everyone agreed; even though as he grew up he was teased mercilessly for the standards he had to keep and how hard he worked in school and to go on a mission. The doctrine we teach is that if we do our best and trust the Lord, He blesses us to be temporally as well as spiritually strong.
The whole Youth Conference was really good and it was fun to see the young people be able to get together. They had some fun activities, but the one we liked the best was the lip sync at the beginning of the dance. Several kids took a turn acting out how they would dance and sing if they were the live performance. It was so funny and we thought maybe it would be a new idea for some of you at home.
There were about 100 Youth in attendance and they had so much fun making new friends and learning and playing together. Ireland is almost the same size as Utah, so imagine all of the Youth of Utah getting together in one place. Wow! it is not even close to the same here as for our family and friends at home, and again we feel so blessed. We also felt so fortunate to get to have time to visit and get to know many of the leaders from each of the stakes better. Some of them we knew quite well but that much time made it fun to really have time for laughs as well as service. Those who serve the youth always seem to be especially caring and unselfish.
And last of the week, when we got home we were able to have two investigator friends come over for a light dinner. One is Nick and the other a new single lady we met who is so prepared for the gospel. They have similar concerns, being single now, and they seemed to like meeting each other. We did a scripture marking activity with them that we hope will help their study time be more meaningful. It is so nice to be able to meet with such good people and feel their desire for doing the right things and becoming the best they can be. They both have sweet testimonies and we feel will be baptized soon.
One last thing before we end this email: We finally took time today to update our blog photos. You maybe have gotten the emails, but if you want to see photos, they are finally there. We are sorry to be so slow, but it is not as easy as it should be, so we get behind. Thanks for y our patience.
And so August comes to an end. School is starting here now. New students are coming from abroad, and new SR groups are going to be starting soon. Again we are grateful for so many fun and active things to be a part of and the new friends we make each week, but we never forget how much our family and friends at home mean to us. The little song from years ago comes to mind. "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other is gold!" You are our Gold! We may be in Ireland where the pot of Gold is supposed to be hidden, but it really is at home with each of You. We love You, we miss You, we pray for You!--and thank you for your love returned.
Mom and Dad,
Grandma and Grandpa,
Elder and Sister Pettit
|This is the Knight children from Tralee. Their father is the Branch President. We are looking at the June Friend we mentioned last letter, where 10 year old Evan was featured.|
A missionary painted this temple-castle on the wall of the little girl's bedroom.
L-R: Amber Lily, Lauren, Rita, Evan Knight