Elder Michael Ellsworth Arrives home on: December 20th, @ 3:17pm

Friday, May 27, 2011

They're back!

 Michael and the rest of the Sendai missionaries are back on the big island.  Mike and his companion, Elder Lundell have been transfered to Furukawa, just north of Sendai, and a little east of the  from the Sendai mission home.  We haven't heard from him yet, but we should Sunday evening via e-mail. I think all the Sendai missionaries were pretty impressed by the Sapporo Mission, and particularly President Daniels and his wife.
   We were particularly delighted that they had a very active website that families could see regularly updated pictures of the elders and sister missionaries during meetings, conferences, etc.  It was nice to see them in the "flesh" so soon after the pictures were taken.  One picture of Michael showed him in a new japanese tailored suit, and we must say he's looking more and more japanese; the haircut, the suit, just the look, pretty humorous.
   As we look back on the whole earthquake experience we can see that it has been a great learning experience for all of us, and our trust and our dependence on the Lord has increased.  Mike's testimony has grown, he's developed a stronger spiritual side, and his confidence concerning his "mission" his grown.
   We as a family have grown closer, (if that is possible), and I think all of us have gained a greater insight into missionary work as it is performed today. I finally can say I'm grateful for the experience, just would not want it to happen again!  We love all of our family, and friend, and those who have followed Michael along through this experience.  Let's hope his last 6 months is productive, personally, as well as baptism wise. The countdown, for us begins.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Got the Call!

   I wasn't sure how to answer the question, when a representative from the Church Missionary Department called and asked us about our feelings concerning Elder Ellsworth returning to the Sendai Mission.  We knew it was likely he'd be asked to return, but, we weren't prepared for a call from the missionary department of the Church. I'm not sure this would've happened a generation ago, so we are very grateful in the decision by the church to provide parents with a voice in the decision making process.
    I have to admit, I was caught off guard, but, at the same time, very appreciative that Church authorities were concerned about the response by parents when asked about their missionary returning to those areas declared safe, after the earthquake, and tsunami
   I thought about our last e-mail conversation with Michael, that he loved the Sapporo Mission, and that he knew that they would most likely return to the Sendai Mission, but, that it was okay, not a big deal
     But, to us it is a VERY BIG DEAL, particularly, on Jeri's part. She has been very concerned about the radiation. Like many of you, we've lived just down the road from the Nevada Test Site, and yes. we remember the above ground testing.  Many, many Nevadans, and South Utahans, are now considered "downwinders", so we have definitely lived with concerns about radiation from the nuclear meltdown in Fukishima.
Since so many in our area suffer from higher than normal risk of cancer, we have worried about the effects of prolonged exposure of radiation on our missionaries. Radiation caused cancer is usually not diagnosed till years later.  So, only after some research,  listening to experts in the field, and pondering, and prayer, I became much more comfortable concerning the risks, but, Jeri is not so convinced, and still has questions.
   Our phone conversation, discussed that the Twelve had approved a return of missionaries to areas that are far away from the affected areas, that the contamination hasn't, and shouldn't affect any of the our missionaries returning to the Sendai Mission.  I guess, we must trust their decision, but, at the same time, pray concerning the safety of not only the missionaries, and the members, but, all those affected.
    Frankly, I really should have told him I'd discuss it with Jeri, who wasn't home at the time, and get back to him later, but, foolishly, I didn't. I kept reflecting on what Mike had said about returning, and, I think he was a little concerned his mom might call and ask that he stay in the Sapporo Mission.   I guess that was reflected in my answer, which was: "it really is up to Mike, not up to us, and, though we've worried about the radiation, it should be his decision." I did express our concern for his safety but, was assured he'd be placed in a safe area, so I agreed.  That is a "Dad" answer, but not a "Mom" one, ha, ha!
   I should have had that discussion with Jeri!!  She was none too happy about my "presumed" approval of the transfer, and boy did I hear about it! I deserved it! So, after conferring with some of our children, discussion about the various options,  and, then more discussion, it was "finally agreed" I was out of the doghouse! I have to say, I was sweating it, felt terrible about the whole thing, and was saying my prayers!
    I guess after nearly thirty-four years of marriage I should have known better than to give my blessing to the transfer, before the mother of our precious children gave her loving stamp of approval, I was humbled to say the least.
A mother's love is not to be trifled with!   I learned a valuble lesson, and, I won't soon forget...I love my son dearly, but... I didn't give birth to him!
 God bless all the mothers of missionaries, who sacrifice those most precious to them, in the service of the Lord, Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Will or won't they stay in the Sapporo Mission!!

Once again we were able to be online with Mike:

Question: Do you think you guys will be transferred back to the Sendai Mission?
 No info about transfers, we figure out on the 23rd of this month. Its been a hilarious random week. Finding, raining like a mad man, almost snowing. Still pretty cold.
  ... Anyway. We had that mission conference that was really cool, then we returned back here. and in a few more days we go somewhere else! haha, its crazy... I`m pretty sure that we`ll go there next transfer... fine with me,... no big deal.
   The phone call home was great! I didnt really get homesick at all,  though. Sure I want to be with the family and do stuff with you guys but I didn't feel that returning back to missionary work was all that hard, though, I really do wish I could spend some time doing stuff with mother. I think I miss those things the most. Just going to the movies spontaneously and bowling or watching masterpeice theatre, those are the most trunky causing ideas. (I have to say I found this adorable, and really showed how Mike feels about his mother)
   I`m really trying to focus on things that are going to help a lot, and its been pretty good.
About the possibility of transferring back to the Sendai Mission:
     Yeah, I have no idea what to expect, but it will be wild.
 Has anything happened with the family? 
 How close is the next little one to be born? (1 month!)
 I cant wait until I can spend time with you guys again.
Question: Did you get our package?
THE PACKAGE!!!!!! yeah, I was soooooooooooooo happy when I got that. I`ve eaten almost all of the beeef jerkey with my companions,a nd all the other stuff in it was perfect! I was so happy, and you even snuck some spikes in there! I couldn't believe it, definitely the greatest gift I`ve ever gotten in my life, perfect, thank you guys so much for preparing it for me! I was really overjoyed when I recieved it.  (I guess care packages are pretty cool)
 I've got to go, its my comp's ( Elder Bigger) turn on the computer. I miss you guys. Our investigators are pretty good, not sure if there are any that are close to baptism right now, but there are a lot of people here that I know We`ll find, so we`ll get them. I can't wait to talk to you guys again. Till next Monday!!!!!!! Have fun and do some stuff, Enjoy doing things you know I cant  do right now haha. Tell the family I love them!
 Love, Mike

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Phone call

From Dad-
   Well we received our Mother's Day call from Michael.  He tells us he is really enjoying his time in Japan, and loves his companion Elder Bigger, and they are having a very good time right now in the Sapporo Mission.  He believes that eventually, they may both be transfered back to the Sendai Mission as more areas are reopened.  However, the areas surrounding Fukashima, and Mayagi Prefecture I'm sure will see limited missionary activity, until the most affected areas are rehabilitated, and rebuilt.
   We had an enjoyable time talking to his as a family, via a speaker setup attached to my celphone, and then Mike had an opportunity to talk individually to Jeri, and I, his three older brothers, his sister Emily via phone, and the rest of the family, and shared alittle about his experiences recently.  It was truly a feast as we listened to him describe some of his experiences, and tell us about some of the things that have happened.  I think he got to talk to 18 people!  This will be his last phone call till his return in seven months.  It was a long drink of water!
   Living a 1/2 mile from the ocean has been rather difficult for him, seeing that we've spent so much time down at the beach in So. Cal.  And the smell of salt in the air is surely very enticing to he and his companion.  He made us promise that as soon as he returned we'd make a trip to Huntington Beach.  I doesn't matter that it will be Christmas time, and winter!
   Everyone agreed that Mike has done a ton of growing up while out on his mission, and his focus has really shifted away from what he wants, to what is expected of him, and what the Lord expects of him, and we can really see that his experiences surrounding the earth quake have strengthened his resolve, have shown how truly the Lord really loves his missionaries, and the members, and how much the church thinks about its young servants.
   We also recently sent a couple of pictures of Mike from when he was a baby to his mission, which was preparing a special Mother's Day gift for president Daniels' wife.  Mike truly loves President Daniels' and his family, and is really enjoying his "vacation" in the Sapporo Mission.
   We as a family are so grateful that the Lord has built a program that takes young, and older members of the church, places them in an enviroment in which they learn to grow intellectually, emotionally, as well as spiritually, and are able to learn to love  others more than they love themselves.  I recall reading the apostles saying that they loved the lord, Why? Because Jesus loved them first.
   When I get an opportunity I'll transcribe some of what Mike sent us in his letter of letters, 19 pages!