Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Happy 90th Birthday!

Dear Family and  Friends,
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. 
Having the little children around us, helps to get through the need for "Grandma and Grandpa" time.

A missionary painted this temple-castle on the wall of the little girl's bedroom.
L-R:  Amber Lily, Lauren, Rita, Evan Knight

Monday, August 29, 2016

Tour of Ireland

Dear Family and Friends,
It is always fun to look back on a week and think of what has happened.  Sometimes we have to really think hard to remember what we have done, but this week we were blessed to have the Clydes with us for much of the week and so the memories are pretty clear.  With summer "holiday" time, our schedule was a little less full, so we chose rather than doing very much paper work or planning to go to the appointments we needed to and fill in the gaps with a little sight seeing.  As it ended up we had a  pretty big tour of Ireland.
    We have seen so many photos of the Cliffs of Moher as being one of the great features of Ireland, but we have never been there.  It is quite famous, even used as the setting for movies, such as Princess Bride.   The cliffs run along the western shoreline of central Ireland for about 10 miles.  The nearly straight up cliffs are as high as 750 feet in some places!  It is truly spectacular and very popular to see.  It had a lot of visitors which meant a lot of cars traveling there on fairly small, two way roads.  Not surprisingly the wind was blowing a lot when we were there, but it wasn't raining so we felt lucky.  We were able to get a few pretty good pictures, but besides the beauty and magnificence,  one thing we  wanted to photograph was the people who seemed so careless about the risk of the cliff areas that were outside the developed park barriers.   Even though there were clear signs of warning, quite a few younger people went to the edge of the cliffs not so much, it seemed, for a better view, but to show they were so brave. 
       It really reminded us of the way sin can seem harmless, until something really bad happens.  Ireland's tourist attractions are not nearly as carefully guarded against accidents as the U.S.  The parts that were developed were great and nicely done, but then there was such easy access to a completely undeveloped trail within a short distance of the main tourist area, and with no laws to prevent access, the warning signs were almost an enticement to brave the dangers.   People stood on the sheer cliffs with no barrier, no guarantee that the edge would not crumble, and wind gusting all the while.   We think of our wonderful grandchildren and hope you will recognize the warnings that the gospel gives us  for life.   The "signposts" to avoid the temptations of the world are important.  Even getting close to sin can put any of us in danger of slipping or getting blown away when the trials of life  come at us.  We cannot think we are the exception from  the laws of nature or the laws of Eternity. 
       After visiting the Cliffs, we drove on over to Tralee and the home of the Branch President, the Knights.  We have been able to get to know them quite well and we were  warmly welcomed and had dinner with them.   The kids are so cute with us and we feel the commitment of President Knight growing---- to help bring Self Reliance to his branch, as we spend more time with them.  While we were there the kids showed us that their family, and especially  Evan, the ten year old boy, had a featured story in the Children's Friend in June of this year.   We hope each of your families will either find your June Friend, or go to it on line and find the article about Evan Knight of Ireland.  It is a two page spread, with another article about him on the next page as well.  It is fun that he is featured because they are so isolated from other children who are members  of the church, but they are so faithful and so good. 
         Sometimes we might wonder if the stories in the Friend are real to life,  not a regular way of life.  For Evan, he really is a nice as it makes him sound, and as valiant to share his faith as the story tells.    We are always impressed at how considerate  he is of his sisters, and how much he loves to help others.   They had a young lady live with them for a few months who had connections with the writers for the Friend.  She was so impressed with Evan's desire to do what is right that she took pictures and wrote the story for the friend.  We know their family makes special efforts to share their testimonies of the gospel and we are thrilled that even their Self Reliance finance class has invited two  non-member couples to join them.  This branch is so far away and so tiny, but they are doing their best to live the gospel and help others see their example.   If anyone would like to be email friends with Evan, we could probably arrange that.  This  is the family that built their own designer home over the course of 5 years without getting a mortgage--so we think they are pretty great in many ways.
       That night we stayed in a hotel (rather than with the Knights) and the next day we drove home via another special tourist route called the "Ring of Kerry"  We wish we could say we were thrilled, but the most breathe-taking thrill was the narrow windy two way road!  Pretty, but not worth it.    As we drove, we wanted to point out the many building structures along the way.  We saw  and visited one very old castle that was quite broken down ---and now just occupying part of the cow pasture.   It was fun to climb around on it, and wonder what it might have been like in its glory days.  The Clydes were very fun and good-sport tour companions.  We saw new things, had a great visit with them, and kept our work going too.
      We also always enjoy seeing the many steeples that highlight the skyline as we travel the cities and byways.  Every city has at least one church, and some have more.  In one city of Londonderry, we were impressed by several steeples, all of different designs.   We had gone there after our meetings last Sunday, because Stephen Clyde had ancestors from there , and it was fun to think what the city would have looked like when his family was there before migrating to America.  Many of these churches were built long before the gospel was even restored.  They are often the center of the city and  sometimes the grounds are also the cemetery.   We think of how the people were held together by their faith and it makes us appreciate the church buildings even more.  Grandma has always loved the design of  traditional European churches (remember the Christmas village with the trains?)   It is fun to know that many churches can be quite close together in real life. 
        We know that quite a sacrifice was made to build these churches, especially when the people were poor, so we appreciate their devotion to Christianity even when they did not have the full gospel to bless their lives.  We know we are so blessed now to have the gospel and hope that we can bless the people of Ireland with even greater faith and blessings in their lives.  Our Mission President reminds the missionaries now that times past have been seed-planting times, and that now we are in the harvesting times for gathering in the good people of all the world.   The Work is still more successful with immigrants (the gathering of Israel)  than with the Irish, and we know they have some mistrust to overcome, but we especially love it when we see Irish people  join the church.  We are getting to know one young man who joined the church a few months ago that is anything but reluctant to share his testimony with family and friends.  He is so excited that he will be baptizing his best friend (and girl friend) this Saturday.    We wish we could be here, but we have a Youth Conference responsibility. 
        Another experience this week was our group in little Sligo branch.  This branch is so small and yet the saints have so much unity that they seem pretty strong.   They really know and care about each other.  When we got there, the lady whose home we stayed in last time we were there, told us about the arrangements for staying that night.  (We didn't know if we would be staying, so we brought the necessities just in case we did.)   We had thought we would drive home, but we could see that there would be disappointment if we declined, so we smiled and were grateful.    The people whose home we stayed at came early and waited for more than an hour for us to teach the classes, so they could lead us to their home out in the countryside where no addresses are used.   We wondered what we were getting into, but the home was very nice.  It took us well over an hour to get the complete tour--another self-designed and self-built home.  This man is an interior designer, who did the London temple, so the design was lovely, but also fun.
    When we were finally able to get to bed, the hosts asked us what time we would be leaving.  We told them we would get up early and get off,  because we had a big YSA activity to prepare for.  They then warned us that we would need to have them restrain the dog for us to leave or we might lose a finger!   We believed them because we had seen what a big deal it was to get the dog up or down the stairs for us to get the house tour.   The dog was an enormous English German Shepherd, standing at least to our waists and heavily built.   Then the lady said rather quietly, she hoped the dog would not push the door open into our room.   You guessed it!  the next morning as we were almost ready--and about on time for the hosts wake-up schedules, we heard the door push open and in walked the dog!!  Grandma was quick to get her hands up by her head and still remain calm.  Grandpa just stood there staring.  In a minute or two of "nice dogs" the lady came in to save us--or somewhat save us.  She just stood there talking while the dog fully sniffed us up and down.  She said something like it was good for the dog to get used to us for the next time we come to stay.  They really like the dog because many people in their area get things stolen from their farms, but they don't.   Do you think we should be that brave to come and stay again?   
       And while we are writing about "Beware of Dogs" we saw a sign on a fence near to there that said, "Beware of Ram".   It was a good thing it was labeled, because the ram was in the field and looked  like a huge gentle cow.  
       Well, this letter is getting pretty long, but we wanted to tell you one more event of the week.  We have mentioned Nick before and his desire to be able to get his life in order (mostly stop smoking) to join the Church.  He called us and told us that he had good news and bad news.  The good news was that he was kicked out of his apartment.  ?! How could that be the good news?   He said he had been upset with the way he was being treated and so even though it was going to be hard, he would now be getting his own place.    We were quite surprised with his attitude and perspective that the Lord knew he needed to move and that things would work out--so it was good news.  The bad news was that he  would be stretched with money because he has several expenses now with the changes he is trying to make.    We are concerned for him, but not too much because he has such determination and faith.  This is truly remarkable in someone who has been in more street fights than  we want to know about.  We really have great hopes for things to start coming together for him in the near future.   He has a ways to go, but  he has already come a long way and he inspires us. 
        We close wanting each of you to know that we know the Gospel is such a blessing.  We see many ways that lives are benefitted by the gospel, and the programs that it offers, to help people be happy, but most of all we know that we love you and hope for your happiness in all you do.  
Hugs and Blessings!
Grandpa and Grandma
Dad and Mom
Lynne and Lanette
Elder and Sister Pettit
The round tower at the Cliffs of Mohr

Cannons on the wall surrounding the city of Londonderry

Misty view of the Cliffs of Mohr

Another option of the Clydes for an engagement photo--- at the round tower.

Cliffs of Mohr--over 700 ft droooooooooop!

The Visitors Center is built into the mountain to preserve the landscape.

Size perspective is showing the round tower on top of the cliff.

On the ring of Kerry. Stephen found a remote an crumbling old castle.  No admission fee, so no liability for danger!

Giving more perspective on where this was.

And the farther view yet of the size of the castle and its present condition.  We were probably a little too brave to climb up there!  Climgin

Climbing back out and down.

Grandma climbs up to an old doorway---then falls out.  (not in the photo thankfully)

Yes, raining in Ireland.

How tall do you estimate the castle to be?

Just like seeing a deer crossing, but no deer, we saw the Leprechaun Crossing, but no leprechaun!

 

Riverdance

Dear Family and Friends:

      This mission continues to be a blessing in our lives, and we are grateful for it.  In so many ways, a mission is a "refining" experience because a missionary is constantly having to push ahead, check his or her spiritual strength, think of ways to improve, and put the welfare of others constantly at the forefront.  It is a wonderful, stretching, growing time in one's life, and we are thankful for the opportunity.  Again, our greatest desire is to somehow make a difference, and we are really trying to do that.
      We travelled in so many different directions the week before last, so it was good to take a day or two to catch up on overdue tasks at the first of the week, but it wasn't long before we were back in the travelling mode.  We went to Tralee on Thursday (3 1/2 hours each way) to participate in a My Path devotional with this little branch.  It was good to see things finally get moving here, after some reluctance on the part of branch leadership.  There weren't many in attendance, but we were glad to see it moving, and, once again, we were so appreciative of the support shown by the counselor in the District presidency, and the local missionary couple.  We have a strong feeling that their good efforts will pay off.  We stayed about 90 minutes, and then hit the road for home, getting here well after midnight.  We felt it was very important for us to show our support by being there.
       We were scheduled to drive to Sligo (2 1/2 hours each way) on Friday, but decided that it wouldn't be smart to go, and after phone calls to ensure that they could conduct the classes on their own (which is the goal anyway), we opted to stay home for the Western "hoedown" that was being held in our church that night.  It was great fun. Grandpa and our friend Nick barbecued the hamburgers, and Grandma was the hit of the night in the line dancing.  We honestly didn't know that there were that many cowboy hats and boots in Ireland!
       But the real fun started when our good friends Steve and Emily Clyde from Logan flew in on Saturday afternoon.  We have been looking forward to their visit for a long time, and it is so good to have them here.  After picking them up at the airport, we hurried back for a baptism, had dinner, and then we were off to the theater to watch "Riverdance".  It was absolutely marvelous!  We have seen a version of this show of traditional Irish music and dance in the states, but it was even more fun to see it in Ireland.  They only perform in Ireland during the summer months, so we feel lucky to see them.     The theater was very nice, in the tradition of the classic European  performance halls, with gorgeous boxed seating on the sides and very ornate d├ęcor throughout.  
       The dancing was so spectacular and made us think a lot about why it was so impressive.  Along with the group dancing, the show had some variety with vocalists, instrumentalists, and solo dancers.  The violinist (fiddler) was incredible and some of the couple dancers were specially featured, but even though the variety was nice, nothing could measure up to the group dancers.  It finally came to us why the group dancing stood above anything else: unity.  Unity is the factor that makes other things impressive, as well.  Unity in a choir, to be as one clear voice, so that words are understood.  Unity in an orchestra, with many instruments playing their own part, but working to create a blend of tones that thrills the soul.   And not just associated with music or the arts, unity brings success when  community or humanitarian projects make the efforts of a group more powerful than the sum of the people.   Unity in the wards or branches makes all the difference in our work for Self Reliance.  When the people combine their commitments and care for each other, so many blessings come to individuals and to wards/branches.  And of course unity is a blessing for families.  Unity does not mean that everyone has to be the same, but it means that everyone has to have the same end goal.  Our experience is that unity is not easily attained, but the ultimate prize. 
          Speaking of prizes, we have a special news item for the Grandchildren:  Today while we were up to the Giant's Causeway with the Clydes, we discovered where the fairies keep their money.  You know, like the gold at the end of the rainbow?  We found it!  We were climbing just a little on some rock formations that were like stone pillars all connected and we discovered that it was loaded with money.  Yes, the cracks in the rocks were stuffed with all kinds of coins.  Some of the coins have been there so long that they are corroded, and some have been there so long that they have "melted" .  Melted is the best way we can describe what they look like.  The coin is slipped into the crack and over time it looks like it has become liquid and dripped down the stone.  To be sure it has not been the heat, because it doesn't get hot there, but none the less, it does droop over the edge.  We were a little tempted to wiggle the coins out of the cracks and get a collection to share with all you Grandkids, but we thought it might not be fair if we took many of the coins.  What would the leprechauns, elves, and fairies do for money?
        Well, we are thinking of all of you so much.  When all the fun is finished for this summer, we hope you will have a little time to share your best part with us.    We love you and hope you will be blessed this week as you get ready to start back to school.   Stay happy, stay righteous, have unity.  We pray for you each day, and share our testimony that He is in charge of this Work. 
 
Love to all,
Grandma and Grandpa, Mom and Dad, Lynne and Lanette, Elder and Sister Pettit

On the beautiful bridge at Londonderry.
 
On the rive bridge at Londonderry.  Now often called Derry because folks don't want to be connected to London, since they gained their independence.


Flw

We had to take a picture with he beautiful flower baskets that are all along the walkway by the river.
 This wonderful old architectural landmark must have been a church but isn't now.
 Dated 1539
 Giants Causeway with good weather!
 The Clydes pose at Giants Causeway.  It was so fun to be with them.
 Grandma is checking out a leprechaun house and discovers money in the rocks!
 Notice the coins.  They are so old and even "melting" down the ledge.  We wonder why the leprechauns don't save it more carefully.
 Adding a few coins to the "leprchaun bank".
 Emily found a throne and Stephen Clyde takes her royal photo.
 Near the tip of the Causeway and out to sea towards
Scotland.
 The beautiful day allowed everyone to enjoy the fun natural walkway.
 English Phone booth--it actually works!    Calling the  grandchildren. j/k
 The large yellow crane in the distance are where Titanic was built.
Titanic plackard in the shipyard showing it was built in this location.

Summer Is Almost Over


Dear Grandchildren, all the Family, and good Friends,

Well it is August, and we think that the end of summer is just around the corner for all of you.  We hope you have had a nice vacation and we hope all you grandchildren will write us and tell us the most fun thing you have done during the summer break.  We are happy to hear of some of the fun things you have been doing, but it would be so fun to hear your highlight. 

 Here in Ireland, even according to the natives, the weather has been cool.  May had a few weeks of warmth, and a few people said that it might be all the summer we would see, but we thought they were joking to make us worry, but it has been true.  We suppose that since we have heard how extra hot it is in the States, especially Utah, that we could make you envious of our weather.  Today the high was 61 degrees F.  but the sky was blue (because the clouds got blown away).    That probably sounds wonderful to not have to ever turn on the air conditioners---which don't even exist.   Grandma wishes it would be warmer, but she is doing fine.  On Saturday we even took a walk in Phoenix Park (the second largest urban park in the world) to see and feed the roaming deer herd and Grandma didn't even wear a jacket. ( just two long sleeved shirts, but no jacket)

 
With August we think of three important birthdays:  Archer on August 15, turning 6 years old, Adaline on August 27 (turning the big eight years old!)  and Great Grandpa Godfrey on August 31, turning 90 years old!!   It sounds like Adaline will get to eat Great Grandpa and Grandma's birthday cake on her birthday!   :-)  We send love and best birthday wishes to each of you.

 
For the Grandchildren (and anyone who wants to play) we also have a few Irish word questions.  First of all we often pass by a town by the name of Newtwopothouse.  The question is:  did this town get its name because someone had two new cooking kettles, or because they had two new beautiful flower pots outside, or because they added an extra bathroom?  Oh dear!  What a question we have been having.  The next question is: Can you guess what is a raschursa is?  They have a lot of them in Ireland.  Don't look ahead until you have guessed.   The answer:  race course for horses.  Last questions:  What is a Ringaskiddy or a Skibbereen?   Answer:  really cute names of towns.  Wouldn't you like to live in either one of those?

 
Now for our mission news:  The week has passed very quickly, probably because we had so many fun things that happened.  Monday was quite normal, mostly spent taking care of reports, washing, shopping and in the evening having English Class--which is so fun, but from there on, the week had plenty of variety.

 
For awhile now, we have been planning to act on the Mission President's permission to train the other senior couples in Ireland to be Specialists or Facilitators in Self Reliance;  so on Tuesday we drove to Limerick and met the other four couples in Ireland for a day of training.  Getting some people convinced that Self Reliance classes are not just another program that they can't or don't want to implement, is a real part of what we do, and the group of couples was about split 50/50 with support and not.  The great thing is that the Spirit did the work, and not long into our session, the support turned to 100%.   Resistance that had developed because of some less sensitive District leaders, was totally turned around and everyone became eager to know how they could help.   This was even before we took them all out to lunch!

 
Another success of the week was our trip to Belfast on Thursday.  We began the day with a good returning missionary training (this is about a 3 hour session) , then did 4 missionary flat checks, and last AND BEST,  we had a very good Stake SR Committee Meeting.  For some reason, the same resistance we just described has been a roadblock for a long time in this stake.  The SR Initiative needs to be Priesthood led, so until that could happen, nothing much was happening.   The previous Stake SR Specialist just finally gave up, but a recently released Bishop and his wife were just called and their persistence and testimony were not to be defeated.  Once again, the Spirit prevailed and arms that were defensively crossed, turned to open arms of willingness to make things happen.  It really was a miracle---and so fun to be a part of it.

 
Our third thing to celebrate was a good trip to Sligo, on Friday.   Sligo is nearly 3 hour’s drive and we couldn't leave until we finished the All-Ireland Mission Conference with the Area 70  attending, at nearly 4:00.  In Sligo, we are helping classes in a small branch to get going solidly.  We knew the numbers would be fewer because of "holidays" (summer vacation things) but they didn't want to postpone at all, so we went ahead.  It was fun to feel the commitment of those who were there, who reassured us that things would be fine even if the few moved on alone, because they would in turn teach and help others.   The classes ended at almost 10:00 so we were glad we could stay overnight at one of the member's homes who was out of town.  We were so hungry by that time, so we went searching for the unlikely:  an open pizza house.   (Pubs were of course open, but it was too late in the day to go there.)  To our surprise, the Garmin was right--- and lo----there was a Dominoes!  We ate like hungry hippos and it tasted very American!  We slept well and didn't wake up until we wanted to!

 
After we were rested, we realized that we could possibly meet with Stephen, a young man who is a new member that we encouraged to come to the YSA Convention.  Not surprisingly he was at work, but surprisingly he called back shortly and asked if we could still meet him.  It was such a great time with him.  He is really quiet, but has such faith.  He really wanted to be in the Friday night work class, but had been sick the first time, and had to work the second time.  We spent a few hours with him to get him caught up, and took him to lunch.  He is a hard worker, but wants to participate so that he be sure he is doing the right things to improve his work opportunity.  We had the opportunity to teach him about Patriarchal Blessings and he was so appreciative.  We put his mind at ease to let him know this was not like fortune telling, but based on believing that the Lord will guide his life if he is faithful.

 
Well, that will probably do it for the week.  We had English class tonight with five Brazilians and one Italian, so that brings us full circle again.  We remain busy, but realize that we couldn't do this without the constant miracles - both large and small - that we witness almost every day.  When we look back on things, we realize how involved in this Work the Lord really is.  His angels are hard at work blessing the lives of so many.  There are no coincidences in missionary work:  only miracles.  We are grateful beyond words to be a part of the "grand millennial mission of the Church", as President Hinckley put it.

 
Of course, we pray for you constantly.  You are always in our hearts and in our minds, and we plead with the Lord for your happiness and success.  We look forward to hearing from you.

 

Love,

Grandma and Grandpa
Mom and Dad
Lynne and Lanette
 Priscilla and Carlos, (Carlos was our first baptism).  We try to do things with them from time to time.  they are so nice and such a cute couple.
 Us with a different kind of deer--and plenty of them.
Priscilla actually touches the deer who was hoping she had a carrot to offer.
Elder and Sister Pettit

A "Wellington" Week


Dear Family and Friends,

 

To Start our letter this week, we have a tricky question for the Grandchildren: 

Do they have the 4th of July in Ireland?  

Answer:  of course they do.  They have the 1, 2,3, 4, 5,…..and so on!  

They just don’t celebrate American Independence Day!  J

 

Next question:  Do they have the 24th of July in Ireland?  

Answer:  Of course they do! ---AND they do celebrate Pioneer Day as Saints!  Surprising?  It was to us!   So this week we felt a little closer to home as we celebrated Pioneer Day in the parking lot of the church (right outside our little house.)

 

This is how the celebration went:  For at least two months, a group of people, mostly two old men have been painting really cute pioneer cartoon pictures on old sheets to hang in the cultural hall, and for this entire week they have been working on putting up huge pavilion size tents for the celebration.  We, (but mostly Grandpa) helped a lot to figure out and set up the tents--two of which had never been set up before--so it was a big job!  It all had to be set up ahead for the food and games to happen.

 

The food was as much like an American BBQ as possible, hamburgers and hot dogs---except there seems to be no such thing as hot dogs, ---so they use  good long sausages.  They also had potato chips, juice, watermelon, and Slushies.  Since we had trouble with the Slushy machine we rented for the YSA Convention, they let us have the Slushy machine again at no cost, so it was the hit of the day!  For us it was too cool to enjoy a frozen drink--but the kids came back again and again!

 

There was a fun booth for face painting, and one of the older men is an expert at balloon art.  He made the most elaborate 10-balloon-sized-creations, (and he said he would teach me how to do it).   They had a good Tug of War, but the funniest activity was the “welly toss”.  Try to think what that would be.

 

A “welly” is short for a Wellington Boot, which is the big rubber boots that are worn here for the rain.  The size of the “Welly” you had to toss depended on your age. and boy or girl.  The men had big ones and the kids had little ones etc.  They stood at the Pioneer Day Banner to begin, and threw it down the parking lot driveway.  It was measured off and whoever threw it the farthest (without hitting the spectators!) got the gold or silver “welly trophy”. It was really funny and fun---and certainly a new twist on Pioneer Day Activities.    Grandma tried, but it is pretty hard and she didn’t win, ---and Grandpa was too busy cooking on his little old resurrected grill that saved the day.  Somehow the big grill had not been used for years, so it was not only late getting here, but totally rusty and slow to heat up.   So 80% of the BBQ was thanks to Grandpa!

  

There were about 100 people here, which is a good turnout, and a good mix of people.  Some investigators seemed to have a fun time along with the veteran Irish.  So we did celebrate the 24th of July in style!

 

The morning of the Celebration we had another celebration, the baptism of one of our friends.  Coincidentally his NAME is Wellington.  (He didn’t come to the BBQ party J)   His baptism was very special to us because we have known him since he came to Ireland about 3 months ago, when he requested to study with the missionaries.   We were introduced to him to see if we could help him get a job.  He is very intelligent, from Botswana, Africa, but studied in England.  We really could see the Lord’s hand in the way things developed, because only a few weeks after we started working with him, we met a man in Northern Ireland who is an entrepreneur and he told us he had opportunities for people to work.  When we learned of his options we thought first of Wellington and shortly thereafter took Wellington to Belfast to meet the man with the business opportunity.  Since then they have been happily getting a business started.

 

About a month ago Wellington was able to bring his wife, Polo, to Ireland.  She has not been as interested in the Church, but we do see her interest increasing, when we do things with them from time to time.   One day this week, we spent most of the day with Polo because she is so lonely.  “Wells” goes to work, and she stays at home with no friends or family.  She is afraid to drive here, and afraid to catch a bus for fear of getting lost, so she can only go for short walks.  We had a nice time talking to her, eating lunch, and went to the nearby Botanical Gardens with her.  The baptism was so good.  Grandpa and another man spoke, and the talks were so good, so clear, so thought provoking.  It was good for both Wells and Polo. 

 

The evening of the same day with Polo, we spent a long time with another friend, Nick from Romania.  We hardly ever have days that are not quite busy, but it seemed like this day was planned and orchestrated in Heaven to have time just to visit with investigator friends.  Nick really wanted to talk and share his dreams and plans which are centered around working hard to save enough money to move to a new apartment so he can stop smoking and bring his little daughter from Romania to live here.  This is a huge and hard dream for him, but we reviewed what he knows about the doctrine of the gospel, and he has a good understanding of so much.  We have really tried to encourage him to prepare for baptism because he will need the blessings of the Spirit to help him reach his goals.   He really has faith that the Lord will bless and help him.  Nick has only been in Ireland since February and he feels the Lord’s hand has already been in everything that has happened to him. 

 

Tonight Nick came to our house again because he was off early since it was a “bank holiday” and he wanted to study the scriptures with us some more.  It is remarkable to see the physical change in him and the questions he asks about the scriptures are so full of faith.   He also asked us if we would go shopping with him soon, so he could get some more suitable clothes for church.  In the recent past we have had to urge him to even come to church because although he said he wanted to be baptized we have not been seeing too much progress.  Suddenly now he is reading the scriptures on his own and we think he is becoming self-motivated in all the important things.

 

We will admit that being away from home is hard, but we are being blessed with   dear friends.  We truly love the investigators, and the new members, ---many of whom are, or have been, in our job classes or English class.  We have fun and good relationships with the YSA, and are making some pretty real friendships with the Irish church members.  Irish are nice, but not fully trusting of any foreigners so we feel blessed to be more accepted.  On Sunday we spoke in Sacrament Meeting and combined RS/Prsthd and then went to dinner at a member’s home that we have come to know well, because we have done a lot of things with their ward.  The Bishop and his wife, who are very young, but very faithful, were there too.  It is fun to be able to joke with them and learn their stories. 

 

On Friday we drove to start new classes in a city almost 3 hours away.  It made for a late night by the time we got back home, but we love the great effort of those who came long distances themselves, and also brought food.  We realized a little too late that we had not started the cake we thought we should take, but hurried and made it anyway.  It was just what was needed, and while we were cleaning up the total cake got cleaned up too! J  It is funny how often we don’t hardly taste the treats, but it is ok.  Don’t worry that we are getting too thin since we spend so much time in meetings and in the car--and so little time being really active!

 

And so ends July!  We wore coats on the 30th, turned on the heat on the 31st and were not alone.  Even some Irish were wearing coats on Saturday.  Tonight an investigator from Brazil chuckled that he was wearing his coat that he rarely wears even in the winter in Brazil, and it is summer in Ireland.  We didn’t tell him what to expect when it gets winter here.   Our “bumper crop” of 6 tomatoes are still smaller than cherry tomatoes and as green as green can be.  Green is likely--its Ireland!

 

Well, we shall close for now.  We send our love to you and sincere prayers that you will feel our love, and be blessed with all that makes you truly happy.  

 

Hugs and more hugs!

 Our friend Wellington from South Africa at his baptism.    He is well educated and will be a great influence and leader.
 Some really cute balloon art at the 24th of July party
 Sister Cole and her cute daughter Addison.  We have done quite a few things with them.
 The banner and start line for the Welly (boot) toss.
 Some of our dear Brazilian friends--investigators.

 John Hannon, the man behind the party.
 The pavilion that took a week to erect--with Grandpa cooking the burgers on our small "resurrected" grill since the big was didn't work. 
 President O'Farrell looking casual :-)
More fun balloon art.  The spider is in suspension from the green balloon.
 
 
 
Grandpa and Grandma, Dad and Mom, Lynne and Lanette, Elder and Sister Pettit

Convention Completed!

Dear Special Family and Friends,
Well, we  have  been writing for some weeks now about the YSA Convention, so now we get to tell you the results.  As we reflect on the Convention we realize it is a worry to put in so much time, so much money, and bring so many people together for one event.  It could really put anyone over the edge of sanity, ---except to feel as we did, that the Lord was behind the work--and the fact is, by the end, we had NO doubt that He was mindful of It.  So the trick now is to e able to share some of the Spirit that was so real. 

To give the real backdrop, we have to begin a few days ahead to Thursday.  In Ireland, virtually "nobody" has a truck, so getting all the equipment: volleyball poles, group canopies, decorations, speaker systems, tables, a slushy machine we rented, wood, and food, food, food, up to the mountains is no small trick.  But we do know one wonderful, energetic, 80 year old man, John,  (good name for a good man) who has a big van.  He is the man who brings us Irish bread every single week.  (which is too much for us to eat, but we can't convince him to bring it less often) . So we asked John if he would take a load up and back for the Convention--and he of course consented.  We arranged for him to drive right after his Family History time, 2:00, and we spent the morning getting it loaded.    We were happy we were on schedule and planned for the 1 hour drive, 1 hour to unload, and 1 hour return.   What we didn't realize is that he had a LOT of errands to do on the way AND he refuses t.o use the toll roads!  The trip took 71/2 hours.  We were sssoooo tired and we had much left to do, plus a huge weekend ahead.   But even with that, we were blessed.  Through all the weekend, we were given an extra amount of energy ---all we needed to keep up with all that happened.
 
With the exception of the slushy machine exploding all over the Hostel lounge, and the midges (or no-see-um bugs)  being cannibals, we had such a "clockwork" event.  The YSA really stepped up on all their jobs and things went really well.  We were not in charge of all the food, but we had a lot of involvement in most meals (and were in charge of the breakfasts), and all the meals went really well.  Usually if people are well fed they are happy, even if other things don't go so well, but things DID go well in every way--including the weather. 
 
 We just have to say the weather was more than a tender mercy!  The weather forecast was exactly opposite of what actually happened.   Rain was predicted for the whole weekend even as late as Friday when we were packing, but the only time it rained was Sunday morning when we were having Church, and a light sprinkle right at the end of a fun drone-photo session, to remind us to be grateful.  We can't tell  you enough  how amazing that is, because it rained quite a bit last week and really rained hard today again.  The outdoor activities of Kayaking, Horseback riding and Hiking were so fun for everyone!  And just enjoying the mountains in general was a pleasure.
 
Having use of the whole hostel gave everyone the chance to just mingle, play games, and relax in free time.   On Saturday night they had a fun Hawaiian dance with most of them dressing for the theme.  The decorations were so cool and a lot of fun details made it extra nice.  Both nights ended with a real "fireside" devotional.  As we have reflected on the whole event, we know that the miracles and mercies were numerous, such as no one getting sick or injured, and everyone being so thoughtful and caring. 
 
Sunday was a special time and although everyone was a little tired, it was spiritual and memorable.  We were so pleased that the Area Seventy came to speak, along with the Stake President --and a few others.  Then in the evening we came back to the Stake Center and held a testimony meeting.  We weren't sure that many would be able to come back before they had to go home, but it was really well attended and great.  It was surprising how many people came from other countries.  It was supposed to be an all-Ireland event, but it had YSA from Scotland, England, Wales, America, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, and more--but we didn't keep track of them all. 
 
There would be many highlights to share, but one thing that stands out is how wonderful everyone was to each other.  We never had any drama, nothing rude ever said, including no teasing.   There were great efforts to include those who might have been left out:   the shy, the non-stop talkers, the new members, the not so attractive, and even the senior couples.   We were very involved in everything and the YSA were just darling with us.  They were so respectful, so thankful, so loving, so grateful, and so fun!!  
 
So tonight we are tired, we did get a good sleep last night--not even waking up with anything to add to our list,  but we are still suffering a bit from only a few hours sleep for about three in a row.   We think we will  take a much slower pace this week!
We hope you are all well.  We hope you all know we pray for you sincerely, even when we were so busy, and we always love you!
 
Our best to each of you,
Grandma and Grandpa, Mom and Dad, , Lynne and Lanette, Elder and Sister Pettit
 On our hike we noticed how cream-soda-colored the water was and then a foamy spot and decided this is where the original Guiness (famour Irish beer) must come from.  j/k
 The trail even high up in the mountains was largely wooden planked and in other places railroad tie to walk on. 
 Our 6 and 1/2 mile hike above the lakes at the Convention site.  Good preview , but we didn't do it twice.
 The hillsides were beautiful with Heather bushes.
 At Convention, they played slip and slide baseball.  It seemed way too chilly but a few of them really had fun before they ran for their coats.  The hostel is in the background.
 Great young people having yes, an arm wrestle.

 Kitchen duty for the Seniors.
 Eating duty for the YSA
 Getting ready for the service project presentation.  The size and shape of the room was the weakness of the Convention.  Too small.
 Service Project:  making cards and instruction packets for the lice combs for the refugee camps.

 Beginning the hike, started at an old monastery.

 On the hike.  The forest was thick and beautiful and a short stop on the bridge was a good chance for a photo.

 Grandpa and Sister Reimers in the kitchen
 Hawaiian dance theme was so fun!



 Grandma didn't have time to get in the floral attire, but the Alexandra wanted her to be a part anyway.  Alex is such a great YSA leader and friend.
 Sunday after Church group phot with the drone camera also doing some fun shots.


 Grandpa with some fun Senior couple friends, the Wingets
Us, Wingets and Wilsons--almost time to go home