Monday, November 30, 2009

Is that R2D2?

With Josh's first e-mail he sent a picture. He said he hadn't figured out how to 'compress' it so it was quite large and took a little bit to download. So, I am thinking... a picture of Josh and his companion...a picture of his mission president...a picture of his new I finally open it. What is that-R2D2? Rick thought it was a water purifier, but another return missionary told me it is a washing machine. Now, I realize that Josh knows me very well and wanted me to know that he will have a way to wash his clothes and I am very grateful for his thoughtfulness, but I really wanted a picture of HIM!

Megan's First Area-Palompan

Megan is serving in Palompan on the island of Leyte. She is on the west coast and the mission home is on the east coast. I have changed the map to Palompan and you can read a little bit about her new home here:,_Leyte. The population is around 50,000. When I googled pictures of Palompan I found lots of athletic events and beautiful hotels-not at all what Megan described in her e-mail...but on the brighter side she said, "I love the people here so much! All I do all day it seems is smile at them and give high fives. We say 'up here! And they come running-literally. I feel like I must have something on my face because of how people look at me here. I just smile and say Maayong butang or udto or hapon or gabii...good morning lunch afternoon or night..but all they say to me is 'so beautiful' or 'hi guapa'-and they LAUGH sooooo much at me!!!

First E-mail from Philippines

Megan's first e-mail describes the living conditions of the people in the Philippines. She goes into detail about the things we all take for granted like: 'warm shower from a faucet above your head','a house that you can walk around in without any socks on!! or not to mention shoes', 'hands together under the running water and splash it on your face', 'family of five crunched into this...cardboard box', 'people being carried into the hospital so weak because they hadn't eaten in days'. Then she says,"I have experienced culture shock and it's almost a sickness. Over time it will go away I'm sure, but that first day, I walked out on our little balcony we have and I saw our little town-and I thought to myself-I can do this! That was the first day that we went out and met some people...and that was the moment that my perspective changed-my attitude changed-everything that had been uncomfortable, or unnatural or hard-it didn't matter. Make a commitment to yourself never to take for granted anymore what the lord had endowed you with and what he has blessed you with!!!"

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Last MTC Photo

Megan sent home her 33 pound box and in there was a note and this picture. Wow, they look great!
We still haven't heard from her mission president that she has arrived...he obviously doesn't know how much we NEED to hear! I just keep telling myself, "No news is good news."

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Josh' first teaching experience!

"Monday was amazing!!!! Okay so we rode a bus to see an inactive member, like 20 minutes away. We visited them and challenged them to come to church, they said yes (score! for the lord) and then we went to wait for the bus. The bus comes, it is full! no room....waiting...waiting...waiting...we decide to say a prayer and a bus comes 5 minutes later full of empty seats!!! We go to San Pedro and go to our appoinment and they are not there because we were late! We had another appointment with Julia and went to it. Julia is a less active member and was baptized in May. I usually share the scripture because it is one of the only things I can do and I was going to share the scirpture in Mosiah about our burdens being lifted or Ether 12:27I was really going to share the first one, but I felt I should share the 2nd one. Elder Lugo told me later, that is exactly what she needed. Moments go by and the thought pops into my mind she needs her house dedicated and I began to say my own blessing in my head. Seconds later Elder Lugo says we need to dedicate your house. We dedicated it and it was amazing! I felt the holy ghost so strongly. I consider it sacred because I now have a experience where I was led by the Holy Ghost. Everything worked out to be with Julia. We talked and helped her for an hour! It was a miracle, there is no other word to describe it."

Elder Bednar's Visit to Argentina

Elder Bednar spoke to the saints here! And he spoke in English. It was a question and answer session. It was really powerful and awesome! One question asked is, "What does it feel like to be an apostle?" He said he felt inadequate, but "if the lord wants me to do it, then I will do it with him." That hit me really hard because spanish is hard! Even some things are different in Argentina, but I try not to worry because worrying just wastes time and this is the Lord´s time. We had 5 investigators at church! And at the broadcast we were expecting a ton of people to come. 5:30 came and no one was there. Then at that moment we looked out the door and saw our investigator, Justina! Justina is a tiny little old woman! She had walked all the way there to see an apostle! We were amazed! Also, they only have a branch in San Pedro, it is really small, but growing.

Josh's Stolen Luggage!

"My awesome companion is Elder Lugo from Mexico! and speaks English! What they said about him is true. He is amazing and I hope to be a missionary like him one day. Well, Elder Lugo and I went to the bathroom and came back and my suitcases were gone! Some lady said they were stolen by a kid who was supposed to watch them...we went back to the apartment and met the other elders in our zone/area. Elder Rivera and Huerte! Yep, I am with three elders not from the U.S. Anyways Elder Huerte called me to the back and there were my suitcases! It was all a joke! Elder Huerte was the kid. :) In all honesty I didn´t freak because I knew if my stuff really was stolen, the Lord would provide."
Obviously Josh has more faith than I do, because as I was reading through his e-mail to see the end result I was 'freaking' out!

San Pedro, Argentina

Josh's first area is 2 hours by bus from the mission headquarters, Salta. I changed the map and the weather to San Pedro, and they are interactive so feel free to click on the map and go exploring. He says it is very hot. It is located between Buenos Aires and Rosario and has two rivers nearby. From my research the temperature currently is around 100 degrees and the elevation is near sea level. The humidity is upwards of 80% so I am sure it feels very warm to Josh. According to Wikipedia the population is around 24,000-,_Buenos_Aires_Province

Josh's 1st E-mail from Salta!

Tuesday 11-24-09
The flight was good! The only surprise was a chinese man! I had fallen asleep and he came and sat by me because he was cramped. We flew into Buenos Aires and then were taken by members who work for church travel to another airport which took us to Salta. At Salta was President and Sister Northcutt. They are truly amazing! That night we found out were we serving. I am in San Pedro, which is about 2 hrs away from Salta. It is hot here! But it so worth it. Because it is hot I am red. I put on sunscreen, but it didn´t work very well. I arrived in San Pedro last wednesday. I rode a bus from Salta to here. My first meal in a member's home was mashed patatoes and hamburgers. I also have never drunk so much pop in my life. I also have never seen such diversity. Some homes are very nice and some I can´t believe people live in them. Anyways! Church was awesome! The branch president asked me to bear my testimony which I didn´t know until after Elder Lugo told me. They are so extremely nice and I already love them.

Megan's phone call-Nov 23rd

Megan left the MTC at 1:30 so I thought she would call from the SLC airport, but when I heard from her at the LAX layover, she said they were too busy talking to an investigator in Salt Lake to call. Go, Megan! I kept watching the clock anticipating her phone call and when she called I could see on the caller ID- "pay phone" so I said, "Hello, Megan, I know it is you, hello, hello?" Finally I could hear her and told her I would call her right back, but when I did the phone rang a dozen times and she did not answer...Eeeks! What have I done? So, I waited IMpatiently, and she called back! Whew! (It never rang on her end...) So we talked a long time with Rick on one phone and me on the other. She said she had mailed home a package of clothes she won't need, make up she won't wear and letters she has received in the MTC. In all the package weighed 33 pounds! That afforded her luggage to meet their weight requirements though. We talked about the 36 hours of travel until she reaches her destination and the weather and food in the Philippines and the excitement of being a missionary. She is thrilled to be embarking on this great adventure!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Leaving on a jet plane...TOMORROW!

Megan's 11-18-09 E-mail:
HII!!!!!Oh my goodness! I can't explain to you my excitement for the adventure I'm about to undertake in a couple of days!!! BAh!!!First off, Here's my schedule:
Leave from MTC at 1:30pm
Leave from Salt lake at 4:50 pm
Get to LAX at 5:52pm
Leave from LAX at 10:45pm
Get to Taipe, Taiwan at 5:30am
Leave from Taipe, Taiwan at 9:30am
Get to Manila, Philippines at 11:45am
Leave from Manila, Philippines at 3:40pm
GET TO TACLOBAN AT 4:50 pm!!!!!! on Nov. 25.
I am going to be the travel leader for our small family of 5:) and we'll have nearly 15 hours of lay over!!! Woop woop! Lots of reading because I pretty sure we can't proselyte.I'm soo excited. It's going to be amazing!! The next time you hear from me I'll be thousands of miles away on the other side of the world!!!! AAH!!! :) :) :) :) !!!!

Megan's 11-11-09 E-mail

Wow wow. 12 days left. But nobody's counting....:)!!!!!! I can't even believe it. I honestly think that time must be different for missionaries! Its crazy! I'm soo excited! I feel like I've hardly learned any Cebuano-but it's alright-the best way to learn a language anyway is by full submersion! And I will surely get that sooN!! My teacher was telling me about how when he got home he was so,...almost disgusted a how much stuff people had..he said he feels bad about it now but he was kind of rude about the fact that when he got home his parents had just barely got a new house and he asked them why they had done that?.. He said he didn't understand why before his mission he would buy new pairs of shoes when he had 10 pairs that were perfectly alright.. he said I realized that shoes were made so that people could walk around on this earth without hurting their feet...and that only the poor really wear shoes for that purpose. He said the people in the Philippines are people who are happy and they love to laugh about the silliest things and play games and just love each other. It made me never want to be wealthy!!! I honestly just want to live like that! Live like the pigmies(is that right??hahah!!) in Africa where we do not get clouded by materials and by money and by positions-we are just equal and the gospel is I think, more real. Where we don't have the blinding effects of the media and where relationships mean more than status or whether you wear cute clothes or not. Who cares what job you have? Who cares about whether you have a nice house? As long as you are supporting your family and you are happy-what else matters? Let whether you are coming closer to Christ be your measure of success!!

11-11-09 E-mail Continued

My teacher said that when he first got to the Philippines he felt like he had nobody-but that he learned that the only thing that should depend on our happiness is whether we are furthering our relationship with the Savior and with our Heavenly Father. He said, if you didn't get any mail from Anyone while on your mission-would you still be happY? He made such a good point. It made me think about myself and whether i lean on other things to make me happy other than the light of the gospel. "When Jesus is all you have, you realize he's all you need."

He's There!

Wow, e-mail is priceless! President and Sister Northcutt sent this picture in an e-mail stating Josh was recuperating from a long trip and then he would be sent out with one of the best missionaries in the mission to train him!

Adios MTC

Good-bye sheltered life, cafeteria food, clean water, soft beds (without bed bugs), centralized heat/air conditioning, washers and dryers...

Sun in Our Eyes!

Josh with Elder Anderson. He claims the funny faces are from intense sunshine!

Creative Elders

Josh's Zone

Hermana Rizley

Josh mentioned Hermana Rizley in a few e-mails. She was the teacher who fell asleep when Josh was teaching her when she was posing as an investigator.

Josh's district?

Josh didn't label this photo, but I am assuming it is his district. However, some must have left the MTC before him (and after him) because he only traveled to Argentina with 4 other elders. There sure is a lot of 'stuff' in his pocket?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Good-bye Provo

Josh left the MTC on Wednesday, November 17th for Argentina. He was delayed two weeks but loved staying at the MTC. He traveled in group with 4 other elders and then met a sister in Atlanta, Georgia before flying on to Buenos Aires. I wasn't sure of his travel plans (or available times he could call us) because his e-mail 'kicked him out' on Monday. I used my resources and sent an e-mail to the 'missionary moms' asking if anyone knew the travel plans for this group. I received a reply so I knew the approximate time he could call. So when I got to work I alerted my boss of the possibility of talking to Josh and asked for permission to keep my cell phone on. Of course he said I could (he has his own missionary son) and WHILE I WAS TALKING TO MY BOSS, JOSH CALLED AND I MISSED IT!!!!

Phone Calls!!!

I was distraught beyond all reason when I saw Josh had called and left a message. I quickly listened to it and he said he would call the home number and if he didn't get me there, then he would TRY to call from Atlanta. "No, I screamed, this cannot be happening again!" Then I realized there was a great invention... caller ID! So I called the number back that he had called from and a young man answered. "Is Josh Dustin there," I asked. I heard, "Hey, Elder Dustin, I think it's your Mom..." Oh, I cannot not describe the pure joy at hearing his voice. I clocked out and went downstairs to talk to him. We both had so much to say that we kept talking over each other. I tried to write down everything he said to share with everyone else. He sounded so fantastic! Then I figured out what time it would be when he was in Atlanta and told my boss I was going to leave the office around 4:00 p.m. so I could pick up Rick and he could talk to him too!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Small World at the MTC

Josh saw Marilyn's sister and her husband, Bruce and Marci Dickerson, and he also saw the Olsen's from Hyrum. He wasn't even born when we lived there, but the Olsen's recognized his last name and found out he was our son. Now, Megan writes home and says she met Rodney and Penny Southwick who lived in Craig, Colorado when we were there. Megan was only four years old then so she doesn't remember them, but they asked her if she had a brother named Matt and the connection was made. I'm predicting they will even meet 'friends' in the far away countries they are traveling to.

2nd MIssed Phone Call

We went to the temple last night in St. George and when we got home there was another message from Josh!!! The pain of missing his phone call AGAIN kept me awake half the night. He said he got his flight plans for Wednesday, November 18th and will fly to Atlanta and then Buenos Aires. He will be able to call that day as well, but I will be at work-how I am going to get to talk to him!!!

Cebuano Speakers

Megan and 2 pairs of Elders will be going to Tacloban and the rest are going to Cebu which is west of Tacloban. Cebu is the location for the second temple in the Philippines. It is scheduled to open mid 2010. Wouldn't that be great if the missionaries get to go?

Follow up to the bathrobe story...

We received this note from Megan: "Thank you so much for the robe and gloves and mascara and everything else. They were all perfect. I get at least three compliments every night when I wear that crazy robe! Aaw, it makes me think of you guys. Thanks! I was pulling it out of the bag thinking...Oh, no! What have we got here?? Ha! Ha!""

Sister Lew and Meg at temple

Sister Lew is Megan's 'companion' who she rarely spends time with, but it appears they at least get to attend the temple together.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Josh, The Samaritan

This week we received a letter from an Elder that knew Josh in the MTC. The things he said were no surprise to us, but still very wonderful to read. This is part of the letter, "My first few weeks in the MTC were really hard for me. Elder Dustin went out of his way to be my friend. He'd always help me and support me any way he could. I've never met a more unselfish man than Elder Dustin. He's always doing something for someone, taking our trays at lunch, giving compliments, whatever he's doing it helps someone else. His testimony is amazing, it's so incredibly powerful. He is probably the most Christ-like person I know."

I think everyone that knows Josh would agree with what this Elder said in his letter. What a privilege it is to be his mother!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Megan's 11-4 e-mail

This picture is by Walter Rane and called, "Add to thy faith, virtue". I thought it was ideal for Megan's comments:

I want to type a few lyrics to you of a song I heard for the first time last night. They hit me so hard. If you could heard it in song form, I'm sure it would sink deeper into your heart as it did mine, but as I am not there to sing it to you, these words will have to suffice:
I marvel at the miracle Of God's great love for me.
I try but cannot comprehend And ask how this could be.
For I had left behind my God and lost my way through sin.
Still God loved me and sent His son to lead me back to Him.

I wonder at the grace divine and power to redeem.
That Christ alone could overcome and change eternity
My thanks cannot sufficient be. My praise is incomplete.
For all I pay, my debt remains for God's great gift to me.

We sang this last night at our Tuesday night devotional and I felt the spirit so strongly it was like my whole being was burning! Like every cell in my body was filled with fire! Jesus is my King! I am the daughter of a King! I wish I could express the way I feel right now as tears are rushing down my cheeks! God loves his Children so much! If you are struggling with something right now, Go to Him. Go to your Heavenly Father who wants to help you!

Memorize a Hymn!

Another thing I re-learned this week is we need a giant virtue tank- so big that others can take from it and we still have some left over! To increase my virtue I am memorzing hymns! It helps so much! If you want more virtue, meaning more help to choose the right always, I challenge you to memorize a hymn.

Josh's 11-02 e-mail

The person who needs to approve our visa's is coming on the 14th to utah! which means we should leave the 17th of this month for Argentina. Tuesday L.Tom Perry and Sister Perry came! It was sooo awesome! His message was very simple, but which made it even more unique because by the small and simple things are great things brought to pass. So in my message home (on the voicemail) I talked about Enoch, but I want to talk about it again because it has greatly touched me. So! Enoch received a mission call, Moses 6:27, and Enoch feels very inadequate. He calls himself " a lad", and doesn't think he can do it. The Lord's response is in verse 31. In Moses 7:13 we see the result of Enoch and the Lord. Enoch's words could move mountains. When we let Jesus Christ form us, he can make us powerful and useful like Enoch. Nothing is impossible for us with the Lord forming us.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Josh's phone call home!!!

While I was gone to Provo, Josh called home! He said he might get an 'emergency e-mail' to tell us where he was going to be sent since his visa hadn't arrived, so I was checking my e-mail faithfully twice a day. I didn't check my phone messages until Saturday morning and there was a message from Josh from Friday night. Arrghhhh! Be still my little heart! He said his visa is due to arrive on Nov. 14th so he was staying in the MTC 2 more weeks instead of being sent stateside. He said he loved us so much and that he has gained an additional testimony of family. He also said that he loves it at the MTC and even though he has hard times, he knows,that like Enoch, the Lord gives him power to accomplish what he needs to. He said he would call again in two weeks from the airport on the way to Argentina. How am I going to make sure I don't miss THAT call?

Bathrobe for Megan

Megan e-mailed me to ask if I could send her a bathrobe. She said that it would help her if she could just throw on a bathrobe after her shower instead of taking all her clothes into the shower room. So Bridget accepted the assignment to find her a bathrobe. Of course she had a bathrobe at home, but it was warm and fuzzy which may work fine while she was at the MTC, but in the Philippines it would definitely be too warm. So Bridget shopped around and could only find warm bathrobes UNTIL she ended up at Megan's favorite store... DI! And she found a thin, silky, tropical flowered bathrobe that just screamed, "Megan". So, Bridget and I drove to Provo on Friday, October 30th to get Bridget settled to start a new job on Monday. We found a shipping location that delivers free to the MTC if your package is under 4 pounds. In went the bathrobe, some mascara, a pair of gloves and some trail mix and other goodies and sent it to Megan and Josh at the MTC. We kept laughing as we thought about Josh being called down to get a package and opening it and wondering why we would send HIM a flowered bathrobe!!

Megan's 10-28 E-mail

Family- I want you to know that I want to live in Heaven with you! In learning about the plan of salvation more in depth these past 2 weeks, I have learned about the other two kingdoms in heaven a little bit more and one day I almost started to cry right in front of my elders who are my "companions". We were talking about the existence of those in the terestrial kingdom and how they were good people but they chose not to follow Christ and live the gospel fully. They were saying how they would live alone, to tend to themselves and that they would never live with their family. The motto, "No empty seats," shouted out at me like it has never before shouted at me.

Josh's Devotional Message

This week during our Tuesday night devotional we had Elder and Sister Robbins from the Seventy. It was a great blessing to me to hear from them! Sister Robbins talked about how every person has something to offer, which is more precious than gold. Elder Robbins talked about Ch. 8 of Preach My Gospel which talks about using our time wisely. He talked about how "Success isn't luck, success is planned." Winston Churchill said, " Success is going from faliure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm."

Josh's 10-26 e-mail

I leave a week from today of tommorow! I don't have my visa, but they are re-assigning us temporally in the United States until we get them. I promise you will find out before I leave. I believe they allow us a emergency e-mail and will allow us to tell you where are going. I have no clue where! I just know it is in the United States and probably spanish speaking. I have no idea how long I will stay there! Hermana Rizley (the teacher who feel asleep) said this week, " I hope you have hard moments, but not hard days." I hope the same for you also! We all have hard moments, but I honestly hope during those hard days you find something glorious to be thankful about.