October 13, 2019 - In April 2001 General Conference, Elder Ballard said: It is no small thing, my brothers and sisters, to have a prophet of God in our midst. Great and wonderful are the blessings that come into our lives as we listen to the word of the Lord given to us through him. At the same time, knowing that President Gordon B. Hinckley is God’s prophet also endows us with responsibility. When we hear the counsel of the Lord expressed through the words of the President of the Church, our response should be positive and prompt. History has shown that there is safety, peace, prosperity, and happiness in responding to prophetic counsel as did Nephi of old: “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded”.

Long time Branch member, Cecil, did his part trying to help scattered Israel on both sides of the veil by inviting us to meet some of his friends at the Senior Center in Hogansburg.

Cecil & Karen at the Senior Center in Hogansburg. Cecil invited us to lunch to meet some of his friends.
Sisters Wiese & Penrod at the Senior Center
Sisters Wiese & Penrod and Mark at Senior Center (You can tell - they really wanted their picture taken with me!)
Inside the Senior Center: Karen, Sisters Penrod & Wiese and Cecil.
I had to include this picture: "Spotting the Signs of ELDER Abuse" since I happen to be Elder Spear.
Michael, Everette & Dick - Michael is the Elder's Quorum President, Everette is the Assistant Secretary and Dick is a counselor in the Branch Presidency. I also serve as a counselor to President Grady. We came out to visit Dick and update his Ministering Assignment. Dick lives on the St Lawrence River - notice the ship in the background - great timing with the picture! You can also see the end of Dick's Garden. He was going to rototill it when we left. Thanks for all the fresh vegetables that Dick & Janet shared with Branch members.
Karen congratulating Karen C on her birthday with one of her famous birthday signs. We put the sign on Karen C's garage the night before. She didn't have her car in the garage. In the morning, she got up and left and didn't notice the sign until she got home that night. On the way home from District Conference we stopped and got her to pose for a picture using our headlights for lighting! (As a side note, we sent a Marco Polo video to Karen Hawkins back in Spokane - it was her birthday on Friday and since the sign said "Happy Birthday, Karen", we thought that we might as well put the sign to additional use - so we sang happy birthday to Karen H with the sign in front of us! 
Have we told you how beautiful the fall leaves are?
Pottsdam District Missionaries - Front row: Sisters Wiese, Penrod, & Eloff. Back row: Karen, Mark, Sister Gardner, Elder Thornton (our Zone Leader), Sister & Elder St Julien, Elders Kelly (our District Leader), Roper, & Siefried. It's transfers next week - so they always take a picture.
We volunteer at the Nature Center every Thursday and the Nature Nuts craft this week: Showing how the seasons affect the trees. (We helped cut out the trees a few weeks ago while we were manning the front desk at the Nature Center.
Akwesansne - Mohawk word that means: Land Where the Partridge Drums. This is the Mohawk name for Hogansburg. This sign and beautiful flowers welcome you to their city.

Saturday night we had District Conference with both a Leadership and Adult Session. (The North Country has 6 small branches that form the Pottsdam District, as opposed to Wards & Stakes that are much more common in the United States.

President Vest talked about following the prophet:

The fall of 1838 was a very difficult time for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Missouri Governor Lilburn Boggs had issued his Extermination Order which stated in part: the Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the State. As the situation deteriorated, the Prophet Joseph Smith sent word to Jacob Hauns that the people should leave Hauns Mill and come to Far West. But Jacob Hauns did not deliver the message. He tried to negotiate but the Missouri militia didn't keep their side of the bargain. About 240 militiamen attacked and killed 17 Mormons and wounded 13.

The Prophet Joseph later said that at Haun's Mill the brethren went contrary to my will; if they had not, they would have been spared.

In our day we must listen to our Prophet, Russell M Nelson. These are the things that will protect us:
1. Daily Study - Read the Book of Mormon every day.
2. Be a disciple - just go do it. Ask yourself, What would the Savior do?
3. Repentance is for everyone. In the recently changed Temple Recommend questions, it states: As part of your repentance.... We all need to repent daily.

3Nephi 9:13 - Those people who survived the destruction after Christ's crucifixion were more righteous than the ones who were killed.
3 Nephi 10:12 - (This scripture clarifies why the people survived.) The people were spared because they received the prophets and stoned them not.

We must follow the prophet. Elder Ballard said that when we hear the words of the prophet, our response should be positive and prompt!

We are in trouble if we think the prophet is just a wise man with good advice. Or if we think if the prophet's counsel seems reasonable, we'll take it. And finally, if we justify our situation to be an exception to the word of the prophet.

Lucy & Josh - Lucy just turned 8 and was baptized by her father on Sunday, October 13th. Lucy is our granddaughter. We were able to be at her baptism. It was very special. I talked on baptism and Karen talked on the Holy Ghost. My talk ended with Skittles for the kids and Lucy heard this talk when her brother Will was baptized and specifically asked for the "Skittles Talk". I'm sure it had nothing to do with the Skittles and everything with my awesome talk.
Lucy and two other primary children and 2 adults played violin prelude music. There was such a sweet, sweet spirit.
Lucy playing her violin at her baptism.

Listen for yourself to hear the violin prelude music:

Bard and Adele - Josh's parents were also at the baptism. Jessy put up pictures of Lucy showing her at different ages. It was very cute.
Josh, Jessy, Will, Lucy, Jack & Annie after the baptism.

We have 17 grandchildren and only one of them will baptized while we are on our mission. And that one, was Lucy. Since she lives in our Mission boundaries, we were able to be a part of this sweet experience. There is always such a good spirit when people are baptized and especially if is it one of your grandkids. Happy day.

Another busy week in Paradise. Non-pictured service:
Went with the Sisters for a lesson with Danielle on Tuesday night.
Planning meeting with Plattsburg Branch for a BYU PathwayConnect Fireside.
Young Women's on Wednesday night - made signs for upcoming Massena Branch 4th Annual Talent Show
Watched Seminary Virtual Gathering with Young Women
BYU PathwayConnect – Week 5 on Thursday night - We have 21 students who are working hard.
Elder's Quorum Presidency Meeting - Several Ministering Interviews
Attended Bible Study on Friday afternoon
Piano Lessons with 2 of the Massena Branch children
And lots of visits.