May 19, 2019 - Sister White (also know as Malia White now that she is home) who served in the Massena Branch in upstate New York with us, is from Meridian, Idaho where our son Ryan and his family live. Malia went home a few weeks ago and has been to Ryan's house a couple of times, but didn't catch anyone home. She was out running the other morning and decided to stop in to see her old Seminary teacher and he invited her to stay for the class. And lo and behold, who did Malia spot? Our granddaughter Kathleen who attends this very same class!!!

Our granddaughter, Kathleen and Sister Malia White. When I grow up, I want to be just like Malia!
Ryan and Angela went to Sister White's open house today in Meridian. How awesome is that!!! Wished we could have been there.
It's a small world after all....Who should walk into our little Massena Branch in the North Country of New York? Karen Grondel's brother, Daren Francom. Daren's son, President Jeffrey Francom lives in Potsdam which is about 25 miles from Massena. President Francom is the first counselor in the Mission Presidency with President Vest. As a counselor in the presidency, President Francom speaks regularly in the 6 branches in the Potsdam District. His dad and mom are visiting and President Francom roped his dad into coming with him to Massena to speak with him in our Massena Branch. His dad's sister and her family lived in our home ward in Spokane for years and still live in our Stake. It was fun to run across a connection from home.
When we go to the gym at about 6:00am, the parking lot is pretty much empty - maybe a car or two. When we go on Saturday mornings, the parking lot is typically much fuller. We could never figure out why the parking lot was always full on Saturday mornings - especially since the gym was still pretty much empty. 
We were talking to someone and he said that everyone tends to party on Friday night at the bar next door and they get rides home and leave their cars behind to be picked up later on Saturday! Do not drink and drive! Pick your car up on Saturdays after the big party on Friday nights.
On preparation day, we helped recent convert Karen with her huge yard. The riding lawn mower broke a belt, but luckily Karen had her owners manual and we were able to figure out the part number for the belt we needed. We found a shop in Canton (about 30 miles away), so I drove down to get the new belt. Of course when I got back, I discovered that the riding lawn mower had 2 different belts and I had bought the one that wasn't broken, so I got to make the trip back to get the right one!
Karen got a small tripod to hold her camera while she Marco Polo's the grandkids. You can also close it up and use it as selfie stick, so we had to try it out.
We love to read books to our grandkids which we record a couple of different ways. Karen does it via Marco Polo and I record them on my computer. So, Karen needs library books - I use ebooks to make my recordings. The hardest part is picking out the books.
When we were taking this picture, I spotted Sisters Black & Weaver across the street OYMing (Open Your Mouth) a lady working in her yard. It was totally awesome how they were so excited and animated as they talked to her. She declined their invitation and that's too bad, but she was given a great opportunity. It was so fun to see the Sisters in action - they didn't see us until we hollered at them when they were done and walking up the street.

We had Zone Conference this week - it was awesome as usual. President Vest announced that our North America Northeast Area President, Randall K Bennett would be coming to do a Mission Tour at the end of May.

Randall K Bennett, North America Northeast Area President

Elder Randall K. Bennett was sustained as a General Authority Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 2, 2011. Elder Bennett  holds a doctor of dental surgery degree from the University of Alberta and a master’s degree in orthodontics from Loma Linda University and has enjoyed a career in dentistry and orthodontics.

Elder Bennett has served in various Church callings, including full-time missionary in the France Paris and the France Toulouse Missions, ward Young Men president, stake Young Men presidency, Sunday School counselor, bishop’s counselor, high councilor, Provo Missionary Training Center branch president and counselor and president of the Russia Samara Mission. He served in the Europe East Area Presidency in Moscow, Russia from 2011 to 2015. Elder Bennett was born in Magrath, Alberta, Canada, on June 17, 1955. He married Shelley Dianne Watchman in April 1977. They are the parents of four children and grandparents of fourteen grandchildren. He and Sister Bennett resided in North Salt Lake, Utah.

We are very excited to be taught by one of the Lord's chosen General Authorities.

Sisters Weaver & Black practicing their Master the Message points of doctrine.
Thankfully Sister Vest asked us to take pictures - Karen knows everything, but I'm not so sharp.
President Vest gave each of us a copy of the May Ensign with the General Conference talks - you can't quite see it in the photo but he had the Mission Office put a spiral binder on the Ensign that makes it so much easier to use to study the Conference talks. It is totally awesome.

President Vest told us that he wanted to teach us about one word. The word was willing. He started by quoting the Primary Song - Gethsemane:

Jesus climbed the hill to the garden still. His steps were heavy and slow
Love and a prayer took Him there to the place only He could go
Gethsemane. Jesus loves me. So He went willingly To Gethsemane
He felt all that was sad, wicked or bad All the pain we would ever know.
While His friends were asleep He fought to keep His promise made long ago
Gethsemane. Jesus loves me. So He went willingly To Gethsemane
The hardest thing That ever was done,
The greatest pain that ever was known
The biggest battle that ever was won
This was done by Jesus. The fight was won by Jesus.
Gethsemane. Jesus loves me. So he gave His gift to me in Gethsemane.
Gethsemane. Jesus loves me. So he gives His gift to me from Gethsemane,

President Vest then asked us: What if Jesus went to Gethsemane grudgingly or unwillingly? Would it be the same?

He then asked: How does this affect your attitude in what you are doing - serving a mission right now?

Answer: It's everything. It makes ALL the difference.

He spoke of Laman and Lemuel in 1 Nephi 3 when they were asked to go back with Nephi and get the brass plates. They went, but they did not go willingly.

Yet in 1 Nephi 7 they were willing to go get spouses - no murmuring.

Read Doctrine & Covenants 64:34
Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind;

I would invite you to spend some time studying the word: willing. Share with me what you find.

While we have Zone Conference, Elder Lund from the Mission Office checks out all of he mission cars and leaves the keys for the missionaries so they can pick them up and get going after he Zone Conference is over.
Three of my favorite people: Karen, Sisters Black & Weaver. We're getting ready to the Hurrah! Hurrah! for Israel Shout that we do at the end of each Zone Conference.
On the way home from Zone Conference we stopped to eat and tried some Poutine French Fries. Poutine is a dish that includes french fries and cheese curds topped with a brown gravy. It originated in the Canadian province of Quebec and emerged in the late 1950's. I don't think we're going to bring this tradition back to Spokane, but it was fun to try it.
Nature Nuts studied butterflies this week. The black, yellow and white thing is supposed to be a caterpillar.
By turning the caterpillar inside out, it becomes a cocoon.
And then by turning things around one more time, you get the beautiful butterfly. This was a unique way to demonstrate to the kids the process of going from caterpillar to butterfly.
The Sisters had been talking to a man by the name of Chris. As they were going to Church, they stopped at a headlight, they noticed that Chris was walking up the road towards church. They talked to him and he asked if they could give him a ride. They aren't allowed to do that, so they said they would try to get a hold of me. I was actually just a couple of blocks away picking up an investigator for church, so I said that I was close and would be happy to pick Chris up. I headed that way and found him walking along the highway, so we pulled over and asked him if he would like a ride. He asked where we were going and we told him to church. As he was climbing in, he asked us what church we were going to. We told him the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He looked puzzled, so I added that some people call it the Mormon Church. At this point, we are now driving down the road. And he says, well, I wanted to go to the New Testament Church. We told him that he would be welcome at our church and he said that he had made the pastor a promise that he would come to his church today. And then he told us that he was definitely looking for a church and that he would be willing to come to our church next week. So, we gave him a ride to the New Testament Church. I can see their church bulletin: Mormons have thrown in the towel and are dropping people off at our church!!! At the end of our church, I teased the Sister Missionaries and told them that I had to leave to give Chris a ride home!!! Hopefully he will come to our church next week!
So which of these pictures would be award winning? Let me know in the comments on Facebook.
So which of these pictures would be award winning? Let me know in the comments on Facebook.