Week 31: Elder Renlund

Sunday I got a text from my bishop letting me know he needed to ask me something and would I “tug on his coat tails at some point at church to remind him”.  Oh boy, I should have known…  I’m teaching the 5th Sunday 3rd hour this Sunday.  I couldn’t say no but I knew I was probably going to be a bit in trouble.  I have several projects going on at work that are taking hours and hours as well as we had visiting teaching appointments set up this week.  And Sister Gifford and I were leaving town on Thursday afternoon for Dundee and not coming back until Friday night.

As soon as I got home from church I sat down and started working on my lesson.  I worked the whole afternoon and evening putting together what I want to present and then I put it away.  Monday night I pulled it out again and read through all my notes, fixed a few things and went to bed.  Tuesday morning I was up at 4:30AM so I went through it again and wrote down two questions that I wanted to have answers to so that I could put that into my lesson as well.  Tuesday evening I researched one of my questions and added that to my lesson and then Wednesday I put together a handout to give to everyone at class.  (Not a very good handout, I just didn’t have time but I wanted to have something on paper for them to look at as I knew I would never get a powerpoint put together.)

Thursday I was finishing up my final project that we are calling Points of Doctrine or POD.  This is on a plastic paper and had to be creased and folded and then put into districts to take with me to zone conference.  As I was driving out of the office I thought to myself, well wherever I am is where I’m going to be for Sunday.  It will be fine.  I did what I could do.  But then in the back of my mind came the one red sentence that was still on my notes.  “Figure out a quick and easy way to talk about the Abrahamic Covenant and how it relates to Family History.”  I had neglected to get that done.  I had really wanted to have that done so I could not worry about it and enjoy Thursday night and Friday.  We were on our way to Dundee to a stake meeting with Elder Renlund and then Friday we had him all to ourselves for a special All-Scotland Zone Conference.  I wanted to just relax and soak in whatever he was going to impart to us and not have my mind on anything else.

We had the most beautiful drive to Dundee.  We went the more touristy way and enjoyed the bright green grasses of pastures and farms against the fall-colored trees, winding rivers and streams and beautiful blue sky.  I was so glad we drove that way instead along the highway.  It was so relaxing and we came into Dundee across the River Tay which has a large bridge spanning the width of the river and the setting sun was sparkling on the water as we crossed the bridge.  It was beautiful.  We had just enough time to pull into our hotel and drop our suitcases off and then we were off to find somewhere for a quick dinner and then to the meeting at the Bingham Terrace LDS Stake Center.

I remembered seeing a picture of some of our Dundee missionaries in a Mexican restaurant and so far I haven’t dared try anywhere Mexican as everyone warns me I won’t like it but I had heard this place was pretty good so we thought we would give it a try.  It’s called Mas and it was down a small street.  We parked a couple blocks away and then walked back.  It wasn’t bad.  Nothing like Mi Ranchitos or even Taco Amigo but it had a good taste and it was nice to have chips and salsa.  Then we hurried off to the conference.

The meeting was two hours long.  President Snee spoke, he is the stake president and a really nice guy.  I’ve met him once before.  Then Sister Donaldson spoke and President Donaldson also.  Oh and another lady who was one of the choreographers for the British Temple Pageant.  All of the talks were great.  Then Sister Renlund got up and spoke.  What a great lady.  I really liked her.  She gave a wonderful talk and then of course Elder Renlund wrapped up.  I listened and took notes and enjoyed his talk, then just as he was wrapping up he started talking again, and guess what he talked about!!  The Abrahamic Covenant.  The words that came out of his mouth were exactly what I needed to hear.  They weren’t special words or something new that I didn’t know before, but they were said in a way that I knew I was getting a direct answer to a question that I brought with me that night.  I wasn’t expecting an answer, I wasn’t even listening for one, but there it was none-the-less.  More than anything it was just a realization that when we do our best it is recognized and then Heavenly Father makes up the rest.  It was nice to know that my small, simple concern that was in my mind mattered enough to be answered.  I don’t even belong to the Dundee Stake but I do belong to the missionary force that supports the Dundee Stake and so I guess that was good enough.

I of course have been working on travel all week to get these 117 missionaries to Dundee by 8:00AM on Friday morning which entails ferries, buses, trains, and cars.  As well as who is staying where and who is picking up who at what time and taking them where.  And then the reverse to get everyone back home again.  I didn’t have to plan all that by myself but I did get the transportation bought and fielded phone calls for several days.  And with very few glitches we had two missionaries that didn’t have a way from Greenock to Dundee due to a mixup on where two other missionaries were going to be with their car, so I got them last minute train tickets and then told them we would be waiting for them at the train station.  So Sister Gifford and I left the conference just as soon as Elder Renlund was finished speaking and we headed off to the train station to find our two sisters.  We had no idea where the train station was and my GPS doesn’t do well in small city blocks so we were very confused as we drove around in the dark trying to find the train station.  We quickly drove down a couple small streets the wrong direction because we were very turned around and finally pulled over to ask a construction worker for help.  He showed us the way to get where we needed to be.  Lucky for us we could understand him.  I was worried we would be listening and not really understand anything he said.  We pulled up to the train station just after they came out but there were not two but four sister missionaries standing there in the cold and dark night.  We waited a bit and then made a few phone calls just to realize no one was coming for these other two sisters either so we piled them all in the back and I drove very carefully back to the stake center on the smaller side streets to let two of them out so they could get in another car.

Then after getting lost a couple more times we found the apartment they were going to and we dropped them off and headed back to our hotel.  I called my grandkids since by now it was 11:00PM and I figured they would be home from school.  Now that school is back on I don’t get to talk to my grandkids who are in school as much.  Our hours just don’t match up as easily.

Well, Friday morning came bright and early and we headed right over to the stake center.  I practiced a song with the sister missionaries that we were going to sing during the conference that morning and then we all got situated on the stage ready for Elder Renlund to get there so we could do a quick picture with him.  That all worked really slick.  We were sitting in our chairs and standing on the stage ready for our picture and then his two body guards walked in and then he and his wife walked in – we stood, he told us to sit down and then he came over and sat down in the middle of all of us, we snapped a few pictures and then he and his wife got up with President and Sister Donaldson and went to the chapel doors and we all got to file in and shake his hand and tell him our name and where we were from.  Poor Elder Renlund had just had surgery on his right thumb a month ago or so and after shaking everyone’s hands last night after the conference with the Dundee Stake his thumb was really hurting so he was there this morning with a bright pink wrapped bandage around his thumb to give it support.  So we all shook his hand gently but he was such a good sport to do that with us and everyone last night.

The conference with him this morning didn’t disappoint.  It was very well done and I enjoyed it totally.  He said he came to tell us three things.  1.  Thank you from the Lord.  2. Each one of us serving here in Scotland are here because we are supposed to be here.  If we don’t know that, we need to get that reassurance because we have the right to know that to be true.  3.  President and Sister Donaldson were called by God to be mission presidents and to be placed in Scotland Ireland.

He talked about the first time as a member of the 12 apostles when he sat to assign mission calls.  He told a story about being so worried that he wouldn’t know what to do and he asked the others what they did.  He said they all mumbled a few things that meant nothing and then he was off into the room where they sit to look at each individual person who has applied to go on a mission and he started.  He talked about a Sister that he had pop up on his screen and he knew instantly that she was to go out of the US and to Europe so he assigned her to Sweden.  Then he began assigning other missionaries and he was beginning to feel physically sick.  He knew it was the Sister that he had assigned to Sweden so he went back to her and tried again.  He still knew she was to go out of the US and to Europe but he realized it was Italy that she was going to go to and he assigned her to Milan, Italy.  Again, he started to continue on with other missionaries and he again started to feel physically sick.  Again he went back to her and again he had the same feelings but then realized it was Rome not Milan that she was going to.  Well a few weeks later Elder Renlund met a man.  He didn’t say where but this man said he wanted to tell him about his granddaughter that had just received her mission call.  The Sister who had caused him to be sick at least twice was still in his mind and he remembered her name.  This was her grandfather he was talking to.  The grandfather had no idea Elder Renlund was the one who had given the assignment.  He said when his granddaughter opened her call she had burst into tears.  The rest of the story is when she was nine-years-old she had gone to the MTC with her older brother who was leaving on a mission.  She had walked up to the big world map on the wall and had reached up and said, “this is where I’m going to go on my mission.”  She had placed her finger on Rome, Italy.

I had to get a picture with Sister Hood.  Her grandma lives next to my Aunt Janice in Ivins.  Also, President Donaldson has told me more than once that Sister Hood reminds him of me.  So she must be a pretty great girl!!  I hope to get to know her better.  So far she has been assigned further away so I haven’t had many experiences with her yet.  But I’m sure that will change.  Driving home after zone conference we hit major traffic and it took twice as long to get home as it did to get to Dundee.  But we made it home safely.  And we still have the whole weekend ahead of us.  And it is time to turn the clocks back an hour on Sunday so we even get an extra hour.  I think I might use it to sleep!!  I’m tired.

Wednesday night we had a baptism.  This was a young man that our missionaries in Dalkeith found but he lived in the Edinburgh Ward boundaries so the missionaries in both wards have worked with him.  His name is Kiern McAlpine and he was so excited to get baptised.  I had never met him but afterwards I walked up to him to shake his hand and welcome him to the ward and the church.  I stuck my hand out but he was so elated still that he looked at me and said I’m not shaking your hand, I’m giving you a big hug.  And before I knew what was happening he had his arms wrapped tight around me in a big bear hug.  Oops.  We aren’t supposed to do that but it happened faster than I knew what was going on.  Well, he will be fun to get to know.  I love his enthusiasm.

Today has been filled with grocery shopping, cleaning our flat and just catching up on a few things.  I am trying to keep up with the Book of Mormon study group from home and I appreciate that all the lessons are recorded so I can listen to them.  I don’t want to get behind so I spent a good amount of time today just reading and listening to the lesson and working on a worksheet that was given out for this week on the differences between Limhi’s people and Alma’s people and how they were blessed and humbled.  It was a great way to spend today.  But because of that I don’t have many pictures this week.

I can’t believe it is Halloween this week and Blaze’s birthday on Thursday.  The year is about up.  Time sure flies by fast doesn’t it.  I hope everyone is well at home.  I miss you and think of you often.  I love your emails, texts, and messages.  I love hearing how you are and what you are up to.  Have a safe Halloween.  I love you all.

One thought on “Week 31: Elder Renlund

  1. It’s so good to hear about all of your wonderful experiences and tender mercies from our Father-in-Heaven (Sunday lesson). We do our part he always makes up the rest!
    Love you! Linda Schultz

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