February 2, 2020 - When Gerald and Ada Lowe from our Stake reported their mission to Mongolia several years ago (I would tell you if I could remember - but it's probably been 20 years), Gerald shared that while they were serving their mission in Mongolia, they went to a Senior Missionary Conference where a General Authority promised them that their families would be blessed for ten generations because of their missionary service. It was a very tender moment for me and I knew that I wanted that kind of blessing for my family. While we have not attended a conference where promises were made of that magnitude, we have certainly been promised choice blessings because of our missionary service.

We would be remiss to not express our gratitude to our Heavenly Father by recognizing some of those blessings - for blessings have truly been poured out upon our family while we have been gone. (I didn't set out to do this, I just have been overwhelmed by everything going on. I am sure that I will leave things out - my children, grandchildren, other family and friends have permission to remind me of those things that I have left out - we have so much to be thankful for and I will happily continue to add to my list.)

Our dear sweet Michelle, married to our son Jon, has received clean cancer free scans every time she has gone to the doctor. Words cannot describe how grateful we are for this miracle. We may never come home - this is one blessing we want to hang on to.
Now that the young men of the church advance in the priesthood in January, we have been overwhelmed with joy in seeing our grandsons receive and honor the priesthood. Brandon was ordained a priest and Cody was ordained a teacher. Ryan, Brandon, Angela, Cody & Kathleen went to the Temple as a family and performed baptisms for the dead. Brandon was able to baptize his whole family while they completed sacred ordinances. When our children and grandchildren are hanging out together in the Temple, we know we have much to be thankful for.
Our grand daughter Katie decided to go through the whole process to earn her Young Women's Recognition Award a SECOND time. She reported her progress to Karen and I. We were so grateful to participate with her and were humbled by her desires to live and act faithfully as she followed her Savior Jesus Christ.
Garret was the first of our Deacon age grandsons to receive the Priesthood and be ordained a Deacon - about a year ago. We were so excited for him - he is such a special young man and we are grateful for his example and desire to what is right.
Our grandson, Will (pictured with his dad), received the Aaronic Priesthood and was ordained a deacon. He is a great young man (also very handsome) who is trying to do what is right. We are so grateful for his desire and willingness to follow the Savior. Josh's parents have recently completed a full time mission in Germany. Plenty of blessings to go around!
Lucy was baptized in October - Lucy is our only grandchild to be baptized on our mission - and since she lives in our mission boundaries, we were able to go!!! We are so grateful for her desire to be baptized and be a part of God's kingdom here on earth.
Our grandson Nixon also received the Aaronic Priesthood and was ordained a deacon. (Pictured: Linda & Scott (grandparents), Nixon, Jon, Michelle, Scarlett, Ike and Sadie. 
Nixon with his friend Cooper are out collecting fast offerings - already honoring his priesthood and magnifying his calling. We are so grateful for his example and willingness to quickly learn his duty and act.
Sadie also earned her Faith In God Award. "She has prepared herself to begin the Young Women Personal Progress program and to stand as a witness of God! Way to go Sadie - that's awesome. Who wouldn't be grateful that one of their granddaughters is prepared to stand as a witness of God?
Ok, this may not seem so special at first glance, but this is a family tradition that keeps the family close. We are so grateful when we see our children and grandchildren doing those things will help them be a forever family.
Cody got braces - he's obviously not thinking this is a great thing. But it is part of growing up for many youth. We are grateful for the young man he is and for his growth and maturity in the gospel. (And maybe with straight teeth we can get him married off some day!!! More great-grandchildren for us.)
Garret got his braces off! I think he is has a chance to find someone to marry him, so I can score some more great-grandchildren!

Katie is turning 16 and got a car. Now she will be able to do even more service and other good things because she can get herself there!
Mattie lost her first tooth. I'm grateful for the sweet little girl that she is. And we are so grateful for each of our 17 grandchildren. We feel so much love and support from them.
Kathleen will be graduating this Spring and going off to college...that just doesn't seem possible. We have been amazed by all the things she has done and for the beautiful young women she has become. One of "our missionaries, Sister Malia White who served with us in Massena, NY" went to visit Kathleen when Sister White was done with her mission. They both live in Meredian, Idaho. We hope that encounter encouraged and prompted Kathleen to consider going on a mission. We know she could be an incredible missionary.
Our grandson Tanner is currently serving a mission in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He has had so many wonderful experiences and has grown so much in his gospel understanding. (He's already 6'10" - I'm not sure if he has grown taller...) I keep thinking that our daughter, Emily and her husband Kirt, must truly feel they have been overwhelmed with blessings - Kirt's parents have recently served a mission in Denmark - What a wonderful experience, with both sets of parents and a son serving missions. 

We know all of our grandchildren are out and about doing good and accomplishing many wonderful things - we have not addressed all of those things in this blog. We see and hear about all that you do and we are so grateful for each of you. So, while our family may not have been part of that original meeting where the Lowe's  family was promised blessings for ten generations, I know that our family will continue to receive  God's blessings for ten generations and beyond. We certainly have been overwhelmingly blessed for 3 generations: Karen and me, our children and our grandchildren. I can see that this will gather steam and continue to roll forward for generations and generations to come - way beyond ten generations. With every fiber of our beings, we acknowledge the hand of the Lord in our lives and express humble gratefulness for His goodness, love, rich blessings and careful watch over our family.

There are probably 100's of brick streets buried below asphalt paving throughout the Buffalo area. This short strip of Niagara Falls Boulevard between Main and Kenmore was saved over 15 years ago after intense lobbying by the residents of the street and neighborhood. The street was actually reconstructed and never had been covered over. This section was constructed in 1913 by Constantine Construction Company. The street was originally paved with RES-type brick, a hard, impervious paving block slightly larger than an ordinary building brick. All bricks were removed and the whole block was reconstructed in the 1990s by the City reusing the original bricks.
Can you say narrow streets? Parking is a crazy thing. Fortunately, this is a one way street - but even with that, it can get crazy. As I drove by this moving truck, he started to back up and I had to dodge him! No wonder our car got hit and totaled!
Yet with all of this Urban craziness - we drive by and see 3 deer in the front yard of this duplex. I have no idea where they would have come from...this home is in a long time developed neighborhood with small yards and no open spaces - for miles and miles.
When we visited a member named Anna in our Ward, I noticed her T-shirt and told her that I had to get a picture of it. She used to ride motorcycles in her younger years.
Of course, Anna wouldn't have a rocking horse, she has a rocking Harley for her grandchild.
Ok, here it is. We replaced our Blue 2016 Toyota Highlander that was totaled while parked on a city street while we visited a Ward family. We got a Silver 2016 Toyota Highlander! This car has room for a total of 8 people and the Swahili group has large families, so we needed something with ample room and our Highlander worked perfectly - so we got another one.
Running total on the miles we drive: Blue Highlander 78,354 miles when totaled. 30, 276 miles when purchased. We drove 48,078 miles. We had a Dodge Caravan rental for several days and put on 1,722 miles. When we bought the Silver Highlander, it had 44,948 miles on it (I didn't take the picture until a day or so after we picked it up.) So, 48,078 + 1,722 = 49,800 miles plus the miles we put on the silver Highlander. Stay tuned - many more mission miles to come!!!
We love Elders Silva and LeBaron - the Spanish Elders. We try to feed them once a week also. And of course, they get to enjoy one of our famous shakes!

We are feeling soooooo blessed: For the month of January 2020, the snowfall in Buffalo is nearly a foot below average at 13 inches. (Average snowfall for the month of January is about 25 inches.) For the cold weather season, we’ve had 41.7 inches of snow, which is 19 inches below the average of 60 inches through the end of January. Last year’s snowy January had us up to 90 inches on Jan. 31, by comparison. Even with some seasonably chilly days this past week, our monthly mean temperature has a large positive anomaly, running 8.4 degrees above average. Watch the local weather report by First Alert Channel 7 from January 30th.

We went miniature golfing last preparation day - they also have an indoor driving range in this huge domed building.
Elder's Nielsen and McOmber - all smiles as we start our miniature golf game.
Elder Nielsen with his positive can do attitude is ready to set a new course record...it remains to be seen if it will be a new 'high record' or a new 'low record'!!!
Action shot by Elder McOmber
Who is going to take an early lead? Go Elder Nielsen
Karen nails a hole in one to put on the pressure.

Watch this video as Elder McOmber putts for the win...he needs a hole in one to get his first tournament championship.

Elder McOmber settles for a 2 on the last hole to finish in a tie with me...we both got 49's which is 3 under par for the course. Karen fell 1 stroke short, even after her spectacular hole in one, closing out with a 2 under par 49. Elder Nielsen closed out with a 4 over par 55. We had a great time and most importantly, I beat Karen!

Another busy week in our NEW Paradise. Non-pictured activities:
• Member visits: Raymond S, Lin K (just got his mission call to Kentucky Louisville – Spanish speaking), Ashley S, Kim M, Reh family, went to breakfast with Linda S, Vrooman’s came for dinner & Arnie. Lots more visits attempted – some not home, some moved, some MIA.
• Missionary Coordination Meeting – the work is going strong – we love serving in Buffalo.
• Swahili Group Council Meeting – first one ever!!! We focused on transportation needs and the Council made plans on to how to they could address solutions to help people help themselves.
• Two people who have been attending church and know members were invited to participate in the Council because of their relationship and connection with the Swahili community in Buffalo. Kasimu (not a member) – asked for help teaching the Swahili community about the church, so they would know who we were. I don’t think he will have to ask twice!
• BYU PathwayConnect – We had great gatherings again this week. There is such power when members of the church gather – this is truly an inspired program.
• Video Conference Igor discussing visits and work that we can do in the ward.
• Lessons with Elders: Alice Mugore with Fatuma, Abdallah with Didas
• Fed Swahili Elders twice
• Fed Spanish Elders
• Gave rides to Seminary
• YMYW rides by Karen
• Food Order Distribution – helped unload the delivery truck and helped Grace get her things home.
• And who knows how many other things – I don’t get them all written down…they definitely keep us busy.