July 2016

July 27, 2016 – Running Temple to Temple

Moran homecomingPioneer Day, July 24, is a holiday in Utah. Elder and Sister Moran, our Philippine Mission Office Couple, have made it home and gave their Homecoming talks in Draper, UT that Sunday. We enjoyed visiting with them at their home afterwards. They were both glad to be home but dearly missed the missionaries and the Philippine people. We also enjoyed visiting with the Galbraiths, previous-Elder Johnson, and Sister Emily as shown the photo.Temple run start

TempleToTempleBecause the 24 was a Sunday, celebrations happened on Monday. The Salt Lake City Mission’s young missionaries were along the SLC Pioneer Day Parade route contacting and mingling in crowds of spectators. The Provo Mission’s young missionaries were along the Provo Temple-to-Temple 5K Walk/Run route cheering for runners and giving Hi-Fives! For our Prep-day we ran in the race! We think it’s the only place where we can walk/run between two temples in under 40 minutes. What a fantastic experience we had along with 10,000 other participants. One photo shows Sister Jex at the START with the white Provo temple fence in the background. The other photo shows us in front of the Provo City Center Temple at the finish line. Sister Jex’es shirt represents the SLC mission and Elder Jex’es shirt represents the Philippine mission.

Wards and Jexes smlElder Jex’es cousin Sister Ward and Elder Ward invited us to dinner at their apartment across from the church office building and SLC temple. We had a good visit and some good food. Their apartment is above the Temple Square sister missionary apartments. It was transfer day for them but they don’t take a day away from Temple Square to transfer. Instead in the morning they leave their tagged luggage in that garage and at 9PM in the evening when they return their luggage has been moved to the garage of the apartment of their new companion. Some of them just move between floors in the same apartment. How would that be! Quite different than San Pablo mission transfers that take a day of travel, longer if you’re on an island.

July 21, 2016 – Restorer of the Restoration, First Sr Couple Missionaries

Today we visited Wilford Wood Museum2the Wilford Wood museum in Bountiful. We all have our “missions”  or “voice” in life, something that we feel strongly compelled to do or follow. Wilford Wood collected church historical items and property over the years. He loved retro before it became popular. For example, he’s the person who purchased the Tower Hill of Adam-Ondi-Ahman, 8 of the 10 parcels where the Nauvoo Temple stood, and the Liberty Jail in Missouri. He also owns the statue of Moroni delivering plates to Joseph shown in the photo.

His last property purchased was the Newel K. Whitney store in Kirtland, Ohio. At that time it was used as a bar and the tenant worried that Wilford would shut them down since Mormon’s don’t drink. He told them no, he would let them continue till the end of the lease because they were keeping the building in good repair. He only asked that he could add one more sign to the existing collection of neon and lighted beer signs. His lighted sign read, “Welcome to the home of the Prophet Joseph Smith – No Profanity Please”. In 1982 Wilford’s wife sold the Whitney store, as other property and artifacts, to the church for what he purchased it for 20 years earlier. The store was used as the restoration center for the Kirkland restoration period. So Wilford was the restorer of the restoration artifacts.

Wilford Wood also purchased the John Johnson home in Hiram, Ohio. It is the place where 15 revelations were received including the 3 degrees of glory one. It was also where Joseph was tarred and feathered and the next day preached in front of the home. Wilford noted that a lot of older church members were not being utilized in the stakes and wards so he asked the church leaders if he could take some to the Johnson home to tell people of its history and significance. Each summer he would give a mini-MTC experience to two senior couples in his Bountiful home with all his historical artifacts and explain what they needed to know so they could explain to visitors the significance of the home. You could say he started the first Sr Missionary Couple Visitor Center experience.

What is your “mission” or “voice” in life that you feel strongly compelled to do or follow although you don’t know why? How is it progressing?

July 15, 2016 – Touched by an Angel in Wal-Mart

And I saw another angel … – Revelations 14:6

… my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased? Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men. – Moroni 7:29

We met ouBro Mecham, Elder Sister Jexr former Guam Mission President Stephen Mecham this week. He is the SLC Empire Stake Missionary Leader and his Stake had been praying for Sr Couple Missionaries for awhile. We had been praying for a full-time missionary opportunity in SLC after leaving the Philippines. He happened to contact us on Face Book and learned of our situation. He started things rolling and here we are!

Missionary experiences can happen anywhere if you are prepared. We had one at Wal-Mart this week. Sister Jex was talking with Angel, a sales clerk from Thailand. She made Sister Jex’es watches work. Angel couldn’t find anything on her last name at the Family History Center and was very disappointed. Several days earlier she felt prompted to stop at Desert Industries Thrift store where she was drawn to a red book that popped out and said, Pick me up. It was about Thailand royalty and contained many names and dates. Her mom had told her that she was descended from Thailand royalty but she didn’t find her last name in that book either. We said that her last name could be spelled different or phonetically and she should go look again in both places.

Angel has no information past her grandparents. We told her that her ancestors knew where the information was and would lead her to the missing pieces of the puzzle if she continued to search. We said that total strangers would come to her and point her in the right direction. She was getting goose-bumps the whole time we were talking with her.

After we got in the car we realized that it was already happening. We WERE total strangers and had told her to check different spellings of her last name. Wow – we filled our own prophecy!

July 2, 2016 – Flame Tree and Jay

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; – Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

As seedlings of God, we barely blossom on earth; we fully flower in heaven. – Russel M. Nelson, April 1992

flame treeThe tree in the picture has many names for obvious reasons: flame tree, fire tree, Red African tulip tree, fountain tree, flamboyant tree, peacock flower, and flame of the forest. It is beautiful to see when in bloom. First large dark bean pods 2 ft long are seen hanging on the bare tree. Then the magnificent bright flowers bloom. Later the green leaves appear.

The flame tree stands out. While driving the mountainous curvy jungle roads in the Philippines you come around a corner and see this magnificent tree in its blazing glory in bloom. They are a stark contrast to all the green foliage of their neighboring trees of coconut, palm, banana, breadfruit, and such.

They progress fast. The flame tree grows up to 5 feet per year and up to 50 feet tall. They are persistent and resistant. Nothing keeps them down so in many places they are called invasive. The wood is difficult to burn and they withstand fire better than other trees.

Jay photoJay is our flame tree. He blossomed on earth and is now fully flowering in heaven. As most of you know our oldest son Jay  passed away June 2. See this video link for more details: https://www.ksl.com/?sid=40041635&nid=148&title=man-killed-in-ogden-crash-was-weber-state-staff-member

Jay stood out and progressed fast. It was as if he knew his turn on earth would be short. He received his Eagle Scout when he was 14 instead of waiting till almost 18 like many boys. It was a big goal for him and he made it despite many obstacles thrown in his path. He graduated with an college associate’s degree at the same time he graduated from High School shaving 2 years off his college time. He was the first sibling to send in his mission papers. While waiting for his call, his older sister Sandy decided that she wanted to serve a mission and put her papers in too. Her call came first and she was to arrive at the MTC one week before Jay. Jay ended up entering the MTC one week earlier than his papers stated – the same day as his sister – so technically she didn’t go “before” him.

After his mission Jay was the first sibling to get married. He had everything figured out and was following his plan. Jay was the first sibling to get a masters degree, an MS in Library Science. He was the first to get two master’s degrees, the second one just recently received in Professional Communications. He is the first adult grandchild on both sides to pass beyond the grave.

We would be totally devastated and inconsolable if we thought that Jay’s passing was the result of a foolish accident by a joy riding youth that could have been avoided or prevented. However there are too many little things that have occurred before, during, and after this event that let us know it was not. It’s all part of a bigger plan. The series of events that brought us to leave our mission in the Philippines, attend Jay’s “final graduation”, and transfer to a SLC mission was just as important a part of the bigger plan as Jay’s passing.  There is a purpose in it all. We are grateful for the knowledge of the “Plan of Happiness”. We are grateful that we have been sealed together as a forever family. We are grateful for your many prayers that have brought us more comfort and peace than we ever thought possible. Thank you.