Monday, September 3, 2012

3 September 2012 Happy Birthday to Mijken, Jean, Carol

We recently wished happy birthday to Mijken and Jean, same day, they are 30 years apart.  We have been keeping up with Dean and Marilyn who have been going through a major health crisis.  Actually all three of Jerry's siblings have been having health problems and we are hoping that the problems ease and disappear soon.  Our prayers are with you all.  Three of our kids have father-in-laws who have had major surgery lately and all are progressing well, and for that we are thankful.  We pray for you all daily.
Our home church ward is having it's problems with health issues and our prayers are always with them.  Some have had surgery, some of the problems are chronic and ongoing, and three deaths.  We wish we could be there in person to give our help and love, but the best we can do right now is pray.
We have been blessed lately to have a baptism in our branch and another is planned.  This young man is a friend of a convert and is from Ghana.  He is a good young man and has great potential.  We were blessed to be there in support of him and hear his humble testimony.  His friend, Joseph, who is also from Ghana, actually conducted the baptism program, the branch president baptized him, and Elder Foutz got to confirm him. The branch is small and there is no branch mission leader. The branch president was doing the baptism, and the other members of the branch presidency were not in attendance, so the missionaries asked Joseph, who is the branch Elders Quorum President to conduct.  The meeting was in English, because Kwame is much more comfortable with English than Russian.  The missionaries translated for the 2 investigators who were present and it went well.
I will tell a story about him and the missionaries.  They asked him who he would like to baptize him and he, I guess, was told by the missionaries that someone in the branch would be nice, so he chose the branch president.  When it came to the confirming he asked if the elders would do it and of course they would, but they asked him to think of someone in the branch.  He thought a bit and asked if Elder Foutz would do it and they said he could, but he is a missionary.  Okay then could Sister Foutz do it!  He really didn't know the members that well so he asked if Elder Foutz could do it and he did.  It is the first time I have been asked to do a confirmation.  Of course, you may not know, but this is a priesthood ordinance, and only worthy men who hold the priesthood may confirm new members.  He didn't understand that at the time, but he will be taught.
 I played the piano for the short program and that was good for me.  We made cookies for the celebration after the baptism,  fudge nut bars, and they were a big hit.  Talk about cookies disappearing, you had to be right there to get one from the first layer and they went fast.  Dad actually set up the refreshment table while we finished the program so it would all be ready when we dismissed.  He set our cookies in the back, off to the side of the other refreshments.  When the missionaries came to the table they spied the fudge nut bars right away and soon the whole container was out in the center.  Dad helped me to make these bars, they have chopped nuts in them and  there is the middle fudge layer so there is plenty to do for two people.  We make a good team.  We usually do the cooking together.  He has been making bread and it is really good.  The missionaries and members love our home cooked food and we feel it is one way we can reach out to them, since we can't speak their language.
We are excited to announce that Hannie, our third daughter, is expecting her first baby.  We are so excited and will most likely be home in time for the birth, but it will be close.  We will miss the birth of our 20th grandchild this January as we did the 19th grandchild last April, but we love them all the same.  We are sure that our sacrifice in missing the family and family events is noted by the Lord.  We hope some of the blessings that we would receive will go to bless these who go willingly without the help of parents who are off serving.
We are excited to have Carmen and my sister Carol come here to visit.  Only 10 more days, but who is counting.
While the USA has been sweltering in the heat, we have had an unusually cool summer.  Really only a couple or three weeks when we needed to use the fans.  This August has been cool, rainy, overcast, and windy.  I doubt that we will get any more hot weather.  As I write this blog the sky is completely gray and it is cool with a predicted high of only 15 C.  We have been wearing jackets outside for the past 2 weeks most of the time.  The heat is not on in the houses yet, so we wear something warm if we get cold inside. The heat comes from a central building somewhere in the city, and it is turned on when they feel we need it.  We do not have a thermostat in the apartment.  It can get pretty cold without heat at times in the spring and fall.  Like anywhere else, spring and fall weather can change dramatically so we can swelter if the heat goes on and the temperature outside rises.  We haven't been uncomfortable with the system much at all, we can always open a window and cool down if we need to.   We stay pretty warm in the winter and only had a few days when we needed the space heaters to help heat the rooms.  We hope that this cool weather does not mean we will have an early winter.  The trees are showing that fall is nearing in the turning of the leaves.  I imagine that it will be very pretty.  We have had a cool wet spring and I think that means a lot of beautiful, colorful leaves that stay for a good while.  We hope so.