June 2, 2019 - Elder Randall K Bennett, General Authority Seventy and President of our North America Northeast Area visited our New York Utica Mission this last week. We had a mission conference that was very inspirational. There was such a tender, sweet spirit throughout our time with Elder Bennett, who is truly one of God's chosen servants.

Elder Randall K Bennett, General Authority Seventy - President of the North America Northeast Area. Elder Bennett is in the middle with the red tie with some type of pattern on it. Our Potsdam District Leader, Elder Weber is on the far left. 

Elder Bennett asked us: "What desirest thou?" His question focused specifically on what we wanted for the rest of our mission, but each of us can ask ourselves this question, young or old, married or single, etc. Elder Bennett shared the story of Lehi's vision & Nephi's desire to see and hear and know for himself. (Nephi 10:17)
Nephi set a pattern for each of us. (Nephi 11:1)
1. Nephi had a desire
2. Nephi believed that the Lord was able to make know these things unto him
3. Nephi sat pondering in his heart - which is an act of faith.
The angel came and asked Nephi: What desirest thou?
Elder Bennett taught us that desire is foundational? What is it you desire? He recommended that we read Elder Dallin H Oaks talk from April 2011 General Conference titled: Desire. I will recommend the same thing to you!

Elder Bennett continued to teach us:
According to D&C 123:12-15, 17 we have been given authority. Power comes as we exercise faith and act.

We had been invited to spend two weeks reading, studying and pondering our Patriarchal Blessings in preparation for our Mission Conference. Elder Bennett talked a little about the gifts that most of us are promised in our blessings. He told us that we can turn Christlike attributes into Spiritual gifts. He directed us to read Moroni 7:48 and told us that if we have the desire and believe and pray with all the energy of our hearts and then act in faith we can develop Christlike attributes into Spiritual Gifts that will bless us throughout our lives. See Preach My Gospel Chapter 6 for Christlike Attributes that you may want to consider in your quest to become the best disciple of Christ that you can. I invite you to study your Patriarchal Blessing and find ways to claim your blessings and then continue to grow by developing Christlike attributes that can and will become additional spiritual gifts.

About 1/2 of our New York Utica Mission met on Tuesday, May 28th with Elder Bennett in Syracuse, NY. The other half of the Mission met on Wednesday in Utica, NY.
About 1/2 of our New York Utica Mission met on Tuesday, May 28th with Elder Bennett in Syracuse, NY. The other half of the Mission met on Wednesday in Utica, NY.
Hoorah for Israel Shout after our Mission Conference Ended - Bigger group, bigger volume, greater enthusiasm - it was awesome! Sister Black led the shout.
Sister Black led the Hoorah for Israel Shout. Sister Vest and Sister Weaver are to Sister Black's left.
Lots of Mission Cars - our mission is spread out and just about every companionship has a car.
On the way home from our Mission Conference we stopped in Boonville for ice cream at Mercers. The picture in the background is Hillary Clinton - who sent a congratulatory letter to Mercers for their winning wine ice cream. (No, we didn't sample it!!!)
Sister Weaver & Sister Black with Sophie in the background. We talked to Sophie about the church - she had never heard of he Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (nor the Mormons). We invited her to seek out the church in Syracuse when she goes back to college after summer break. There is no church in the Boonville area.
Sometimes you have to have a double to get through the day. I scream, you scream, we ALL scream for ice cream. Every day is a better day with ice cream. Mercers has great ice cream, give it a try if you are ever in Boonville. (This cartoon was on the bathroom wall!)

Taken from the Boonville town's website (I love small towns):
Thus far, the 21st century has seen several high and low points.  In 2002, the dedication of the flagpole in the Little Village Park took place on July 5th, 2002, and the dedication of the old-fashioned covered bridge connecting the Black River Feeder Canal trail to the Erwin Park on September 24, 2005.  In 2004, Ethan Allen closed the Boonville manufacturing plant, leaving 266 without work.  In 2013, Delta Hardwood Flooring took over the plant with the hopes to bring 35-40 jobs to the area.  Other notable events include the reformation of the Main Street – Schuyler Street intersections and the demolition of the former Dollar General on Post Street in 2016.

We went to see Jessy and her family on Saturday. Grammy is entertaining everyone with a video on her phone while she braids the girls hair. They love it when Grammy comes!!!
The finished product! Grammy can come braid hair anytime!
Annie at Will's Soccer Tournament.
Will's jersey number is 91.
Let the competition begin! Will is on the far left.
Looks like it's Will against the whole other team. He played 4 soccer games Saturday.
Looks like Lucy is going to be a teacher. Her class of two is very attentive and Jack even knows the answer!
Karen and I stopped at Lake George for lunch on the way down to Jessy's house. You can take a Riverboat Cruise on the Lake - it looks like fun. We'll have to take a Preparation Day and go sail the Lake.
President Jeffrey Francom is a counselor in the Mission Presidency with President Vest and leads a monthly video discussion with all of the Ward and Branch Mission Leaders in the New York Utica Mission. We had another great discussion last night. It is always very beneficial; we share ideas and challenges and are taught by our Mission Presidency. I serve as the first counselor in the Massena Branch Elder's Quorum and they have assigned me the additional responsibility to act as our Branch Mission Leader, so I am able to sit in on these calls.

President Vest shared an observation that he made in Elder Uchtdorf's April 2019 General Conference talk. Elder Uchtdorf says the same thing 4 times:
1. Talking with others about your faith will become normal and natural
2. Bring up your faith in natural and normal ways with people
3. There are many normal and natural ways to do this
4. In whatever ways seem natural and normal to you, share with people
Elder Uchtdorf also encouraged people to:
Come and See
Come and Help
Come and Stay

President Vest has shared two of the four Come and See Videos during our meetings. I will post one of these videos each week for the next 4 weeks.
1. Inviting Others to "Come and See"
People like being included. They just need to  be invited.
2. Inviting Others to "Come and Help"
People want to help; often all they need is an invitation.
3. Welcome
Come worship with us this Sunday
4. This is Church
Church begins on Sunday, but does it end there?

Inviting others to "Come and See" - people like being included, they just need to be invited. Invitations to "come and see" can be just a normal and natural part of everyday life for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Try it!

They bring a ship into the Eisenhower Lock that is going down the St Lawrence River into the lock and lower the ship 42 feet to meet the level of the river on the other side of the lock. This ship has just finished being lowered.
The ship has been lowered and the lock gates are opening to allow the ship to continue down river to the ocean.

This 30 second video shows the lock doors opening. (I sped it up, so it would be shorter.)

You can see how far the ship has been lowered in the lock. How would you like to climb into that orange escape pod on the back of the ship and jettison yourself off the ship into a storm tossed sea in an emergency?

You can see the ship leaving the lock. And yes, it's finally bright outside - also know as the sun is shinging!!! That hasn't happened a whole lot since we've been here.
The ship leaving the lock.

Hope you have a good week - we'll see you next week. And please give it a try - invite someone to "come and see". Find a normal and natural way that you are comfortable with and invite someone to an activity, a family home evening, to hear you speak in church or whatever works for you!