Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A tender weekend for us...

Saturday evening we participated in the Calgary West Stake Conference which was an amazing conference.  Steve and President Steele conducted a discussion in the Priesthood leadership meeting, and then Steve and I both spoke in the evening session.  There was just such a great spirit there--they had invited a new young single adult convert to speak and share her story, and then a gentleman who had been less active for over 20 years share his story about coming back into full activity.  It is always so touching to hear these stories.  Following stake conference we rushed to go to the Spanish ward in Calgary to be in their meeting with our Spanish missionaries.  This was so fun--the Latino people have such a bright countenance and are so happy!  Bishop Gonzalez asked Steve to share his testimony, so Steve had Elder Fitzgerald come up and translate for him.  It was great.  After that meeting we had a meeting with Bishop Gonzalez, President Dudley and our missionaries to discuss the work in the Spanish ward.  It was a great meeting.  Bishop Gonzalez is so humble and so excited about sharing the gospel--he was so genuine and kind.  We really feel as we work closely with the priesthood leaders in the work that miracles will happen.
Earlier in the week we had received word that Steve's dad was not doing well and they thought the end might be near for him.  We knew when we left on our mission that there was a real possibility we could lose Dad Miles while we were gone.  It was difficult to face the fact that it was now really happening.  As we said our prayers, we prayed that Dad wouldn't have to hang on longer than is needful.  It was time for him to leave the body and mind that he had been trapped in for almost 4 years.  Early Sunday morning we received the phone call that Dad had passed away.  We shed a lot of tears and tried to compose ourselves to go attend the stake conference and other meetings we needed to be at.  Even though we have a testimony of the plan of salvation, and we know where Dad is, it is still difficult to say good-bye.  But Steve was blessed with a beautiful spiritual experience to know that his dad now knew exactly what he was doing, and would be able to share in this mission experience with him.  So, our hearts have been very tender as we remember this wonderful man who has blessed our lives.  It is especially difficult for Steve as he can't come home for the funeral--he will really miss not being able to participate in all of the funeral events, as he knows these can be some of the most spiritual times ever.  We are so grateful for Dad and for his life of integrity, honesty, and love.  His family was definitely his top priority, and he led by quiet example.  Although he wasn't a scriptorian, and never preached the gospel in word, he lived it--which is perhaps even more important.  We are so grateful that our children grew up knowing their Grandpa Miles and having so many fun experiences with him.  He holds such a special place in their hearts.  He has left a wonderful legacy to follow.
This week we are preparing for transfers next week.  Today, we drove to Lethbridge and attended two different District training meetings..one in Raymond, conducted by Elder Stringam, and the other in Lethbridge conducted by Elder McNeil.  We were so happy to be in both meetings and feel the spirit in both and watch these districts share thoughts and ideas on the different training topics.  We are so proud of our missionaries.  They are really trying to be the best missionaries they can by strengthening their faith, being obedient and working hard.  We know they will be blessed for their efforts.  We have seen some shy missionaries really start to grow and blossom and it is just amazing.
We love being with them.  Many times I am asked by missionaries, 'what is your favorite part of the mission?'  And I always tell them, 'Being with you missionaries!'.  We love to be with them in any setting.  We are so blessed to be serving with them--and very humbled at trying to lead them.  We pray constantly to be guided as to what the Lord would have us do for them.
View of Calgary from the Spanish Ward

Our Magrath district after district meeting

Dad Miles-a classic picture of him with his hat tipped slightly to the side, and no smile.
We will miss him dearly.

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