Monday, September 1, 2008

Goat Project

Well the goat project has finally gotten underway and we delivered 20 pregnant goats to ten needy families in a small town called Al Mazar. Hope the goats survive long enough for the families to learn how to take care of them! I learned a lot about how to determine what is a good goat and what isn't. It was fun learning how to pick goats to buy. I won't tell you what I learned to inspect and how to feel for quality, but they were soft!

Anyway, Robin and I (mostly me) are looking forward to visiting the goats and see how they are doing. I might even check on the families and see if they are doing OK also. Enjoy the pictures of some of the goats and people who received them.

Friday, August 29, 2008

August 29, 2008

MarHaBA Dear Family and Friends,

Where to start? So many things going on I really don’t know where to start. Time is rushing by so fast. I started writing this letter on the 15th and then again on the 22nd and now here it is the 29th. I’m determined to get something written today. All through the week we think of things we could share with you and then when it comes to writing it all down, my mind goes blank!

The last few weeks we have attended several ceremonies for the distribution of the Wheelchairs to the handicap and several more ceremonies for the distribution of the Humanitarian goods to the needy. It’s always humbling to be apart of that. But, the thing we enjoy the most, is going into the individual homes, meeting the families and getting to visit with the people. That’s the most rewarding part of our work…….Seeing lives change and hope given to those that have so little. We are blessed to represent all those that give to the humanitarian cause throughout the world and witness those that benefit from their giving.

Yesterday we were in Al Himma making another inspection of the water project. The temperature in the Jordan Valley was way up in the 100’s with lots of humidity. It never occurred to me that Jordan would have this much humidity! But it does! Jordan has such a variety of terrain and weather. It’s one of the things so intriguing about Jordan. The villages we are doing the water project in is within throwing distance of Israel. The Yarmouk River, which is very low at this time, is the border between Jordan and Israel in the north. On Israel’s side is a huge Banana tree Farm. It’s an impressive site. The contrast of green against the brown barren mountains is shocking! It is a perfect rectangle shape on the side of the mountain that you can see for miles and miles as you come over the opposite mountains into the valley. We have been spending a lot of time trying to get this project up and running. It’s finally starting to come together and should be completed within the month! So many obstacles along the way! So many things out of our control! Who would have thought this would have taken this long? Not us! But we have been told by the water specialists that water projects usually take over a year and more. But, you know how dad is? When he starts something he is determine to get it done! We have learned so much about things that we would have never expected to be involved with.

Last Saturday we had another Humanitarian Container come into Jordan. We distributed this one to the villages near the Dead Sea. It was so hot! We had to wait 4 hours for the truck to get there. The truck broke down on the way up from Aqaba. What are we going to do with these truck drivers? It’s always something! But after the truck finally got there we unloaded the whole thing in 2 hours. Our record! Everyone was great! This was the best container yet! Every society working together…. helping each other load their individual trucks to take to their communities to distribute.

We are approaching Ramadan. Starting Monday the Muslims have a 30 day fast which is called Ramadan. They fast each day between sunrise and sunset. During the night they feast and celebrate with their families and friends. I remember last year right after we got here it was Ramadan. No body is allowed to eat in public even if you aren’t Muslim. We heard of several incidents last year of people being put in jail because of being seen eating in public. Everything slows down during this time because most people are home sleeping during the day until it is time to break their fast which they call “breakfast.” All through the night there will be big celebrations in the streets with shouting, loud music and lots and lots of food! Oh well! We are getting use to all the celebrating that goes on around here! We just turn our fan on high, close the windows and sleep with a pillow over our head instead of under.

We pray that all is well with you. We enjoy hearing from you and appreciate getting news from home. It’s nice to feel somewhat connected!
Thank you for you prayers and the support we feel from you. We have been blessed and we have been stretched!
I like this quote.....

“To get you from where you are to where the Lord wants you to be
Requires a lot of stretching ……and that generally entails some
discomfort and pain” Elder Richard G. Scott

We love you!

Love, Your Jordan Missionaries

Saturday, August 9, 2008

August 9, 2008


Another week already! Where does the time go? We just got back from a ceremony in a community call Manda. We were invited as special guests. It’s always interesting to go and see what happens. We were escorted by some of the local police. In truth, we had bodyguards! I ask….do we need protection? I think it was more a gesture of honor. We love these people!

We have been without water for 2 days now. Normally we get water delivered one day a week. It is pumped to the roof and stored in metal tanks. But with the water shortage we haven’t gotten water in 3 weeks. It’s becoming a real concern through out Jordan. We hope we get some soon. We have several 5 gallon jugs of water stored for this very reason. Thank goodness for listening to the Prophets! We have been really pushing to get the Water Project done this month. Not only for the water purification aspect of it, but the project will include several large water storage tanks that will be a major benefit to the people.

It’s late! And I’m tired……didn’t get much sleep last night. There was a loud wedding street party going on last night, or should I say into the early morning hours. All the normal celebrating!

We love and appreciate you all. Thank you for the support and love we feel from all of you.


Your Jordan Missionaries

Weekly Newsletter - page 1

Weekly Newsletter - page 2

Weekly Newsletter - page 3

Weekly Newsletter - page 4

Saturday, July 26, 2008

July 26, 2008

Our Dear Family and Friends,

This week has been one of those weeks that kept us in a whirl wind. We just have to remind ourselves to laugh sometimes! We have come to expect the unexpected, but even when we prepare ourselves for that…… we still are surprised! How do we even begin to describe some of our experiences? I’ll try to give one example…… One of our projects is a Water Project in the very northern tip of Jordan, a very poor area with no clean drinking water available accept bottled water brought in from one of the larger cities an hour away. A real problem! We have been working on this project since October of 2007. Between the research we did, consulting World Water Experts, piles of legal paper work, Lawyers in 3 countries, Banks in 4 countries, the Jordanian Government, LDS Charity officials, Church Leaders, local Municipality, local contractors, the list goes on. We now have the green light to start! Send the money! We wait! And wait! But where is the money? NO MONEY? Somewhere between Salt Lake City, New York City, Frankfort Germany, London England, and Jordan, the money is lost! No one can tell us… or will tell us what has happened to it. With substantial sums of money being transferred from the USA going to a Middle East country apparently gets everyones attention! I mean a lot of attention! It’s probably accurate to say our names are on several agencies lists. After numerous international phone calls, emails and visit with the USA Embassy the money suddenly shows up almost a month later. We ask no questions. So, late last night we drive to Al Himma to finalize the contract with the money now available. Hooray!!!! So, that’s the condensed version!

We were able to finish up two other projects this week that we have been working on for a few months. Another Hooray!!!

  • Audiometer machine for testing the deaf and Sound Room Project for CBRC (Community Based Rehabilitation Center). We are very excited at how that turned out. We had some “opportunities” bringing the Audiometers into the country, but with the help of good people, knowing the right things and the right people, we now have it at the Center ready to train the technicians and start the testing process for the people of North Jordan.
  • The Princess Basima Leadership Training at JUST University. Yesterday we finished up our week at Jordan University of Science and Technology It has been a wonderful uplifting experience to interact with these young people.

Another adventure this week …. Back and forth to Amman dealing with Customs concerning another project. But, that’s a story for another time. We really are grateful for all we have been able to do and learn. It truly is amazing how the Lord qualifies us for His work. We often have to remind ourselves to remember the words of Thomas S. Monson.
“Don’t pray for the task equal to your abilities
But, for your abilities to equal your task”

We thought you might be interested in our Branch Newsletter. Perhaps it will give you an idea of our little group here in this part of the world. We pray that the Lord’s blessings will pour into your lives. We miss you and think of you often. Thank you for your prayers and support!

Your Jordan Missionaries

Weekly newsletter - page 1

Weekly newsletter - page 2

Weekly newsletter - page 3

Friday, July 18, 2008

July 18, 2008 Friday

I was sitting down to write some of our experiences this week. I haven’t been very good over the last few months about just writing. So I thought I’d send some of our journal summary entries. It’s not about projects. Mostly about people and events.

After church (Friday is the Sabbath in Jordan) we decided to visit some of the members. We didn’t have a very good turnout at church and perhaps part of the reason was that it has been around 100 degrees over the last few days. Weather here is often a big factor in getting the people to attend. If it’s too cold and windy they don’t come….if it’s too hot they don’t come. But it is that way with other things. I’m always a little surprised with this attitude. But, I have to remember that it’s part of their thinking and culture. We visited with Samoor and Hooda Tashman family right after church. They invited us for dinner along with the BYU students. I made a good American moist chocolate cake. The Jordanians love chocolate. But, of course who doesn’t? When we are invited for a meal, it’s always a huge feast! They keep piling the food on your plate. If you eat it too quickly they pile more on. If you don’t eat it fast enough they ask why you don’t eat and bring you something else. The people are so gracious. The Tashmans have declared us “family” and we love being with them! We laugh a lot and seem to understand each other even with the language barrier. Ibrahim, one of the sons who recently returned from a mission in Africa, speaks good English so he helps interprets for us when he is there.

We had some disappointing news came up in one of our conversation with one of the members. For the last 4-5 months we had a woman named Amill come to church with her 3 children. The last few weeks they have stopped coming. The children have loved coming to primary and have been wonderful to teach. Very sweet children! In fact, there were a few times that she couldn’t come but the children came anyway, I was a little surprise at that. When I asked Ban if she knew why they weren’t coming any more? She said….. “Oh, sister this is not good! She is a spy.” She goes on to say that she was sent from one of the other three Christian churches in our village to get names of everyone who was coming and find out what we do. I guess she was secretly taking pictures with her camera phone and taking the handouts that we had made for the primary children back to their leaders. So, apparently they are trying to start up a program like primary in their church. The interesting thing about this whole situations is that they preached very heavily against the Mormons, which has caused some problems for some of our members, and then at the same time want to copy some of our programs and activities. In any event, my heart sunk! I love the children and feel disappointed they won’t be coming any more. Who knows, maybe they felt something and some day other avenues will open up for them. We won’t give up on them! Our greatest persecutions come from other Christians not the Muslims. Jordan has a council of Religious leaders that determines what other religions will be accepted in Jordan. Jordan is made up of 95% Muslims with only 3 % Christians and the other 2% other religions. The Christian on this council are against other churches being established in Jordan. There are basically only 3 Christian religions acknowledge in Jordan, the Catholics, Baptist and Greek Orthodox. We exist only under the Center for Cultural and Educational Affairs and LDS Charities. We are in the process of trying to buy a building for the Center, which will be a big step for the Church to own property in Jordan. There have been some obstacles with some legal and Governmental issues but hopefully that will be resolved soon.

A few Fridays ago a young man showed up at church. He is 25 and has been a member for almost 10 years. Ibramhim, our young return missionary, saw him in town earlier that week and invited him to come to church. He DID! We spent several hours talking with him in English. He speaks very well and was excited to use his English. We were very impressed with him. We exchanged phone numbers and he invited us to go to his house to meet his mother and brothers. So, on our evening walk we walked over and had a wonderful visit with his family. This young man had a large envelope in his hands and started pulling out what appeared to be treasured items. He carefully unfolds his baptism and priesthood ordination certificates along with some other papers that he obviously valued, then, he reveals a CD of hymns and asked if we would like him to play it. At this point he begins to share part of his story. He is now serving in the Royal Guard as one of the security guards for the King and the Royal family, which is one of the greatest honors that a young man in the military can receive. I can see why he was chosen. He stands tall with a confidence that is striking, but not arrogant. His overall demeanor is impressive in the fact that he is pleasantly good looking, but approachable, and at the same time leaves you to wonder…. that, there is much more to this young man than meets the eye. It’s a challenge for him to be allowed to come to church because of serving in the Military. Our Branch President was also in the military and several years before he was to retire he was ordered not to attend church or he would be dismissed with a dishonorable discharge and a disgrace to his country and family. So for 2 years he could not attend church. We are so blessed to have the freedoms we enjoy in the States.

A week of events.

· Witnessing a Muslim wedding celebration. One of our members, Virginia, is an American married to a Muslim. Her children are all raised Muslims, which is the law under the Islamic order. Her oldest daughter married 6 months ago but was not considered legally married until the wedding celebration. In the Arab culture the Groom pays for all the wedding. Including getting the brides make up and hair done. The bride is then made up in a full elaborate gown. She is dusted with a white glitter all over her body. During the week of various celebrations men and women are separated. At the final celebration it’s just the woman invited in with the groom and bride, where they sit on a special throne following the wedding march and ceremony. Men wait outside or in a waiting room because the bride is not covered. She is dressed in her wedding gown and only other women and the groom can see her uncovered. The grooms mother and sisters are all dressed in gowns because he is family and they can unveil in front of him. There is music, dancing, chanting, clapping and much celebrating among the women. Outside, the men the same kind of celebrating but add some fireworks, gun shooting and some fighting! This, I’m told! I wished I could have taken pictures, but it is forbidden because of the uncovered women.

· Birth of a baby girl Taakwa. Last Saturday we were working with one of our projects and we get a call from Wigdan, a good friend that is ready to have a baby. She needs a ride to the hospital. She has had 3 of her other children at home, but was having some problems with this one. This is her 6th child. So we left our project and picked her and her husband up and took them to the hospital. She gets examined and told that she will have to be cut. So she tells us to take her husband home and asks if we can cone back tomorrow. We didn’t really know what was going on because of the language barrier. So before we knew it we were driving Abitarik home and leaving her there by herself to go through the birthing without anyone. I cried most of the way home. Just a different culture? We get a phone call at 7 the next morning telling us she had a baby girl and if we could pick up Abitarik and bring him back to the hospital. We do, and when we get at the hospital she is ready to go home. So we load up the cute little bundle and mom, along with the proud dad and take them home. It was a very tender time. I couldn’t help but think of my own grandchildren that have been born since we have been gone. I guess the Lord blessed us with this experience to help us feel not so left out.

This week has had its ups and downs. We have had some set backs with the water project and Audiometer project. But, it’s not an adventure ….unless you have the unexpected. That’s the thrill of the adventure, uh? Oh, and we are having a thrilling adventure! We are blessed in so many ways, and growing in so many. Would we have ever thought we would be here in Jordan? Doing what we are doing? Meeting the people we are meeting? Our lives have certainly been in enriched! We are grateful that we have been willing to take this step and trust the Lord. We dare not to think of what we would have missed…… if we had not taken the step into the unknown and have the thrill of the adventure.

We love you all. We miss you all. Thank you for the support and prayers.

Dad and Mom ....Your Jordan Missionaries.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

June 25, 2008

June 2008

MarHaBa….Keef Hal Leek

This has been a hard newsletter to get off. We have had some wonderful experiences this month along with some very heart wrenching experiences. Sometimes it is so hard to “get on with normal life” when experiences change you! We ask ourselves so often “Why have we been so blessed with so much?” More about that later! To start off …. We had a wonderful zone Conference in Egypt the beginning of the month (see the attachments). When we got back… it was “Catch up”. We have been finishing up some projects and starting others (more on the projects next time). We received a call from the Irbid Director of Social Development wanting to meet with us again. Mr. Ahmad Ishmarat had recently met with the Jordan’s Minister of Social Development, Hala Latoof. Now, you must know that this level of government controls all our comings and goings within the country of Jordan concerning Humanitarian efforts. So, we have been praying and working hard on developing good relationships with the Ministries. The new Minister is a woman and has just recently got back from the USA where arrangements had been made for her to attend BYU’s Women’s Conference and tour Welfare Square in Salt Lake. She was given several opportunities to dine with different church leaders. She has come back excited and educated with a different outlook of LDS Charities. She never imagined how big and world wide our efforts reach. We will be meeting with them in the next week and discussing several new programs that will involve the efforts of LDS Charities and the Jordan Government. It’s exciting to see the work move forward and opportunities open up. We often stand in amazement!

We have been meeting with many communities and their leaders in the northern part of Jordan over the last month. We have had a few very emotional experiences trying to help make changes for the welfare of these people. One, I will share, but will not go into much details, is a man of 68. We were taken to his place of existence, because that is all you could call it. He was lying on the ground in the cave-like shelter with nothing over him but a filthy shredded blanket with flies swarming around his lifeless body. His boney face was covered by tangled matted hair. The smell was horrific! He had evidently experienced a stroke and his family had just thrown him away, so to speak! In this culture one does not step into tribal or family affairs. But in this situation many of the community leaders had been secretively notified and they took us with them because they think we have “wasta” (someone who has pull and power) and no one would question us. What an emotional experience! Well, this man’s life has changed… from being at the bottom of life to having some hope and purpose to his life. I can’t begin to even describe the feelings, the time and emotion that this situation as brought us through. And this is only one person of so many, not only in Jordan, but throughout the world.

We are sending the attached newsletter with some reluctance because of the experiences that have followed our trip to Cairo. We feel so blessed, and feel so much gratitude for the opportunities that have changed our lives and hopefully have changed others.

We pray for you all. “ MaSaLaama”

Dad and Mom (Your Jordan Missionaries)

Weekly newsletter - page 1

Weekly newsletter - page 2

Weekly newsletter - page 3

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

MarHaBa to all our wonderful children and grandchildren.

It's been a busy week. We are just getting over bing sick. A little food poisoning. NO Fun! But we are better now. Just in time to go to Egypt. We will be gone the whole week with training and some sight seeing. Fun Huh? Hope you all are well. We sure love you and constantly pray for you! We will report to you all when we get back to Jordan.

Dad and Mom

This weeks newsletter- page 1

This weeks newsletter- page 2

Friday, May 23, 2008

Friday May 23, 2008

Friday May 23, 2008

It’s a beautiful day today in Jordan…..wonderful weather with clear sunny skies and a slight calming breeze. The warmth of the sun fills our souls with such gratitude and peace. I’ve often wonder why we talk of the weather when we don’t quite know what else to say? But today the weather is a reflection of what I feel inside. The blessings keep pouring into our lives! We constantly stand in awe as we stop and pause to see how our life is unfolding. Over the last week we have witnessed many miracles of how the Lord directs the affairs of our lives and the lives of our family and friends. I don’t know why it surprises us sometimes! But, I feel humbled and blessed to recognize His power and His guiding hand in our life. I am reminded of a quote I recently came across …

You have God who hears you
The power of love behind you
The Holy Spirit within you
And all of heaven ahead of you

Today was our Sabbath. We had a large group of BYU students come up from Amman to attend our church meetings in Al Husn. There are 50 students here for the summer to continue their study of the Arabic Language at the University of Jordan. We will have a group of 15 every week taking turns to attend our branch. You could feel the energy from these young people. It was great! After church we invited those that came up to come to our apartment for dinner. Wow, did they eat! It was fun having English speaking people here, but all they wanted to do was use their Arabic. Oh well! I guess we will have company for “Friday dinners” for the next few months. It reminded us of our family Sunday dinners in Kentucky. It was wonderful! Oh, we sure miss that!

We continue to stay busy. We have finished up a few projects recently and continue working on others. But, there are so many more out there. The hardest thing is to determine what the Lord wants… for this area… for this time. So we constantly pray for His “will” to be known, and how we best can serve!

We think of you all often. We love you and pray for you. Thank you for your support and prayers.

Your Jordan Missionaries

This weeks newsletter

Monday, May 12, 2008

May 12, 2008

MarHa Ba

Just wanted to wish you a "Happy Mother's" day to all of you mothers. Hope you all had a wonderful day.

I've been trying to improve my computer skills. So what do you think? It's late and we got to get up real early in the morning to take care of Customs and Paper work in Amman for a container coming in, so this will be short, but attached is our latest newsletter. Sure love you and pray for you always!

Dad and Mom

This weeks newletter- page 1

This weeks newsletter- page 2

Saturday, April 19, 2008

April 18, 2008 Friday

As Sa lamu Aleekum (Hello, Peace be upon you)

Well, it has been another week already! We are getting ready for our Zone Conference this coming week. We will be hosting the conference here again. We will have the new couple from Egypt, the couple from Syria and the new couple from Lebanon. There is finally a humanitarian couple back in Lebanon. It was very uncertain for a while because of all the unrest in the country. Remember, we were first called to serve in Lebanon. I’m glad we are here in Jordan. We have seen the Lord’s hand in this decision. I am truly grateful for knowing that. Isn’t it amazing how He works things out? I’m so glad He is the one really in charge. That is…. if we let Him!
We constantly look at each other and say…. “We are in Jordan”!

Today at church we showed one of the sessions of conference that was translated in Arabic, because none of the members had seen conference at all. We had to get it separately recorded in Arabic. When it started one of our members started crying because the voice she heard was her son (He was the one translating the Arabic for all the Arabic speaking members’ through-out the world) Houda has not seen her son in almost 2 years. It was such a treat to sit and watch the members listen to a voice they knew once belonged to their little branch. Dad and I followed the speakers with our notes we took watching it in English. When President Monson, President Eyring and President Uchtdorf was first called in February I printed out their pictures with their names and posted them up in the church so the members could see who their new First Presidency was. It was good to see them look at the video and then at the pictures and relate to who was who. We just take for granted what we know and understand.

We are grateful for the experience serving here. We are grateful for the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and to have the opportunities to feel His Atonement in our lives. We have seen it work! We have felt the power that comes in allowing Him to take charge and lead us though our uncertainties. We are truly blessed to feel His love and guidance in our efforts to serve here in Jordan. Particularly we are blessed to know He is watching over you, our children while we are away. That is a great comfort to us, to know you are all in “HIS HANDS” and under Heavens watchful eye.

We love you all so much! We pray for you and think of you constantly!

"The Lord can do remarkable miracles with a person of ordinary ability
who is humble, faithful, and diligent in serving the Lord and seeks to
improve himself." President James E. Faust

Dad and Mom... Your Jordan Missionaries

This weeks newsletter

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Friday, April 11

Keef HaLeek…..

Today was our Sabbath. We had a choice experience today. We had a young man graduate from primary. Yay! He was ordained a deacon this morning. Since our little branch is a little out of the ordinary from some of the other units throughout the world it was decided to ordained and sustain him in sacrament meeting in the hopes to set an example to the others to follow and even some of the older men who have not received the priesthood yet. It was such a sweet experience to look upon his face and see his excitement. As he took his place in front of the sacrament table with much reverence and humility, I was struck with emotion. My thought was…… “here” is the future for Jordan.

These past few weeks have been a “roller coaster ride”. Starting with a three day experience with Jordan’s customs and the “Secret Police”, known as the MaHabRot . This is not your friendly neighborhood policemen. Hours and hours of questioning! I thought for sure Dad was going to be taken away to “who knows where”. We were trying to get some educational supplies that were sent from the USA into Jordan. The Humanitarian Department has a creative program for children and even adults to educate them with health issues. It is a puppet presentation with a fold out stage. The puppets have names such as Alcohol, Tobacco, Drugs ….. do you get the picture? Well, imagine those labels written on shipments papers coming into Jordan along with “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints". Which we are not allowed to send any religious material into the country. No wonder, WE were being questioned and interviewed???? But, finally after opening the package, explaining the contents, allowing the officials to play with the puppets, many silent prayers and holding our breath.... then, a breath could be taken! All is well! Dad was able to “walk”. The supplier was NOT thinking, I guess? We are working with several communities who are planning Health Fairs. We suggested they use their schools and teachers to do this puppet demonstration to help educate their community. This is how it all started! (I know Dad sent you the written statement that he sent to our area office and then was sent on to Salt Lake to the Presiding Bishopric concerning this issue. Just thought you would like to know some of the story behind it.) It has been a learning experience for sure!

A few days after that ordeal we had a car run into the back of us. (That story is on the newsletter page) Then with several other “challenging” (as Granddad use to say) opportunities, we just felt like going home and hiding in our apartment. But we didn’t. We faced the sun …..and moved forward!

Well, enough of that. We sure love all of you and pray you feel the Lord’s love and strength in your daily lives. Thank you for you support and prayers.

Thought: "When you get knocked down....
The only way to stand ....
is to kneel."

Your Jordan Missionaries

This weeks newsletter

Saturday, March 22, 2008

March 21, 2008 Friday


Today is Mother’s day here in Jordan. So, being in Jordan we wish all of you mothers a “Happy Mother’s Days. It’s hard to believe it is also Easter this Sunday. So … Happy Easter as well! We celebrated both today since it is our Sabbath day.

We have been blessed with beautiful spring weather and have been able to take walks after we get home in the evenings. As we walk we like to greet the people in Arabic greetings, but everyone wants to use their few English phrases with us so they greet us back in English. The most popular phrases are …. “What’s your name?” “How are you?” “I am fine, thank you?” It’s so sweet to hear them try to talk to us in English. We have been surprise how many people we come across that know who we are. But, I guess being the only Americans in a small town word gets around, uh?

It’s late and we have an early appointment in the morning. But, I want to express how much we appreciate the love and support we feel from you all. Most important the Love and support we have felt from the Lord as we struggle to understand our role in all this. I’m beginning to understand more and more the role the atonement has in my own personal life and in our family’s life. The miracle is that it works! How does it work? I don’t know? But, when the PEACE comes….. and, HOPE replaces the doubts and fears …… it is the tender mercies of the Lord….. It is the Atonement. The pure LOVE of ONE who has felt it all. For this, I am so grateful for. How could we do this without him? We often try though, don’t we?

We love you all so much and constantly pray that you will feel that. We know the Lord will bless each one of you and help you in all that you do. May we all trust in Him and feel His love.

Remember who you are”

Dad and Mom .... Your Jordan Missionaries

This weeks newsletter

Friday, March 7, 2008

March 7, 2008 Friday


This evening we got a call from our Branch President. He invited us over to visit with him, his family and other relatives. As we drove up we saw chairs and people every where. We looked at each other and just had to smile! Oh, the memories of being back in Kentucky on those warm Sunday evenings with chairs clustered together, good family conversation and laughter. It was an enjoyable evening as we talked… but mostly listening to the jabbering of Arabic and sharing the laughter. We thought of all of you.

Today after church we attended another Muslim wedding celebration out in the eastern desert. After we arrived I was escorted to the women, dad to the men. Of course we were fed and guess what? Yes, Mansif again. The bride was sitting on her throne in a white glittery gown. Yes, they have thrones that they sit on. They place them on a stage-like platform as the other women dance around chanting and admiring the bride. The bride looks like a porcelain doll. They powder the bride down with a white glittery powder and paint her face with heavy make-up. The hair is fixed up and she is adorned with gold jewelry. Most all of the other women will take off their head dresses and let their hair fall loose. This is the one time they can dress in gowns and other party dresses. Of course there are no men allowed. After the celebration everything gets put back on and the women are then covered from head to toe as they leave.

We got two more projects approved this week. One will be a Health Fair in a community called Fayha and the other is another Wheelchair container. We are staying busy and trying to be productive and wise in our efforts. Keep praying for us!

Today was warm and spring is in the air. It’s exciting!
We sure love you all. We miss you! Have a wonderful week!

Quote: "The harder the conflict the more glorious the triumph ......
What we obtain too cheap we esteem too lightly."

Dad and Mom.... your Jordan Missionaries

This weeks newsletter

Saturday, March 1, 2008

February 29, 2008 Friday

MarHaBa ……Keef Hal Leek?

The end of February all ready? Where does the time go? It is so hard to believe we are approaching March with Spring on the horizon. We are told that Jordan is beautiful in the spring with green covering the country side with the accent of beautiful colored wild flowers. It is already starting to get green here. It doesn’t look like the same place. We love our drives through-out Jordan and seeing the different areas that make up this wonderful country, the mountains to the deserts…… the valleys to the rolling hills. But every place has its share of rock and stone. We have enjoyed a few warmer days lately with the sun shinning and the temperature getting warmer. It’s great to feel warmth again.

Great news! We just got our big water project approved through Salt Lake. It first had to go through Germany and the area President then to the Water Specialists and finally to Church Head Quarters. It’s been a long process. We have been preparing and working on it for the past few months. We are excited to get started and put the plans in motion. This will be the first for Jordan in that area. Clean water is a real concern here. If this is successful it will be a pattern for many others through out the Middle East.

Elder Robert C. Oaks our Area President will be here in Jordan tomorrow. We are looking forward visiting with him. We will only have him here a day. He is touring all the Middle Eastern countries. There are some real concerns with Lebanon and Syria. Trying to determine whether putting missionaries back in those countries or not. Remember…. we were first called to serve in Lebanon and then we were changed to Jordan. We will see what happens! We are grateful to be here in Jordan and having the opportunities we have had so far.

We are so blessed. We often ask ourselves….. Why us? We have grown and stretched in so many ways. We have learned a lot and often don’t feel qualified to do the things we have done. But, we keep trying! And keep learning! I love the quote from Pres. Monson. Which has become a constant prayer of ours.

“Don’t pray for the task equal to your ability…..
But, for your abilities to equal your task

We love you and miss you all.

Your Jordan Missionaries

Sunday, February 24, 2008

February 23, 2008 Saturday

Grandparents again! Congratulations to Nathan and Jani. Our 9th grandson and 14th grandchild…… what a cutie! Eli John Cotton. Dad was very touched and got quite emotional saying the name and looking at his cute picture. We are indeed blessed!!!!!

This week marks our 6th month into the mission. We got about 6 e-mails from different missionary couples we were in the MTC with. After reading some of their experiences we feel very fortunate to be here in Jordan. We have had so many opportunities to be involved with many good productive projects. It seems that is not the case in some of the areas of the world. We feel very blessed to be so busy! Even when there are days we might think different.

Our 2nd wheelchair container came with no real problems. The distribution went well with only a few little aggravations. But, after the last one we have nothing to complain about, right? This week has been full with getting the wheelchairs out to the people. We went to a wheelchair ceremony in the Mafraq desert. It was quite impressive. As we drove up into a large field looking out over the desert, there in front of us were huge tents set up with runners of colorful flags flapping in the wind and draping across the ceremony area. Large pieces of carpets laid over the dirt that indicated the path we were to follow. I don’t know where they got all the carpet, but I bet there were many homes in the area with bare floors and empty rooms. We were led to one of the tents with several soft chairs and sofa’s lined up in front with bright red pieces of material placed on each seat. Hands were stretched out with the motion that we understood that this was our reserved seats…… we were 2 of the honored guests! After the ceremony, of course, we were invited to eat a feast. Mansaf …....again! We should feel honored. This is the dish that is to be the meal of all meals. Not our favorite! It is said that….. “it is all in the presentation”. The presentation is quite the ceremony. The meal is brought in on huge round trays that are set before you. The meal is hidden under large thin sheets of bread that are draped over a goat head. The head is set in the middle of a mound of rice as the skeleton jaws gape wide opened. Then with a sudden jerk of the bread being snatched away….. the head is unveiled and the steam from the rice finally escapes. Surprised? Only if the eye balls are still there! Now, that’s when we decline the honor of being honored. We draw the line with eating the eyeballs! We wanted to get pictures but it didn’t seem appropriate at the time. Last night we were guest at another dinner and were offered the tongue. Another honor! We never know what is in store for us. We just smile and take a deep breath!

We hope all is well with you. We sure love you and pray for each of you daily

Thinking of you always!


Dad and Mom

Your Jordan Missionaries

This weeks newsletter

Saturday, February 16, 2008

February 15, 2008 Friday

Hello….. yes, even in Jordan this is a common greeting, but add the Jordanian accent,

Hope all of you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day. I woke up and there sitting on the counter was a red rose from your dad. I don’t know when or how he managed to get it…. I won’t even ask, but I was impressed.

We just got back from visiting some families in the Branch. The Tashmans had invited us for Mansaf. A typical local dish of rice and lamb/chicken with a strong yogurt sauce that usually smells so BAD that it is even hard for Dad to get passed his nose. But we do our best! Like we have said before, the people here are so kind and gracious and always inviting us to eat. After dinner Dad got caught up in a friendly game of UNO. I laughed so hard! What a fun family! We speak very little Arabic and they speak very little English but we seem to understand each other. Some things are universal.

Tomorrow we finally have our 2nd Wheelchair Container being delivered out in the East Desert of Mafraq. We are relieved that this one has come without any real problems. But the real test will be tomorrow. We will start early and it will be an all day project to unload and distribute 250 wheelchairs to all the NGO’s and Societies. Making sure that the right sizes go to the right places will be my job. Dad will take care of un-loading the container. Sounds like fun, uh?

We hope all is well with you. It is so wonderful to get your emails. We enjoy feeling like we have had a nice visit with you. It’s such a great and easy way to communicate. What a blessing to be able to sit down and say what’s on your mind and send it with just a push of a button. Modern technology, Isn’t it amazing?

We send our love and prayers. We appreciate all of you and thank the Lord for blessing us with so much. Have a great week.

Your Jordan Missionaries

Here's this weeks newsletter

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Friday 9, 2008 Saturday

As -Sa Laam Aleekum

Let me begin by saying how grateful we are for the blessings we have.... Our family, friends, health and the knowledge we have of the Savior Jesus Christ. This past few weeks have been a little emotional. I'm not sure why. It's been a time of reflection and soul searching. I remember as a young mother feeling frustrated and wishing I could "be there" for all my children in all that they did and all that they were involved in... But having 8 active children that was not possible, and even now it is still not possible. In every stage of life we come to... there is an "evaluating point", and we have to decide how we go forward. Whether in a physical way, or an emotional way I've come to realize that "change" is an important part of the Lords Plan. We are given those periods to make changes and to improve. To you, my children, how I wish I was there to help each of you. My feelings are much the same that I remember as that young mother. The one difference is.... being so far away I know I can't be there right now. I am constantly praying for each one of you and each one of our sweet Grandchildren. We love you all so much! The comfort that comes to me is I know the Lord is guiding this family in all the changes that are going on in each of our lives. It is truly a blessing to have children that love one another. Who are each other's friends. Who are willing to help and support each other through the "changes". I certainly know it is not always easy or convenient. So, I thank each of you for being the people that you are. I've asked myself.... "if I knew what would be going on during this time would I have gone on this mission?" I won't answer that! I'm just glad the Lord gave us the conformation that it was time to go. Aren't we glad that the Lord knows the beginning through the end? Aren't we glad that it is HIS plan we are trying to live and know it will "all work out for our good?"

My prayer is that you will all constantly feel our love and our support no matter the distance. We in turn are constantly feeling each of your support and love no matter the distance. We are grateful for this opportunity to serve in Jordan. We are grateful to be having the experiences that cause the 'stretch marks' and reminds us that we are growing. Thank you for your good examples. I pray that you feel the strength of the Lord in each of your lives and know He is very mindful of you and what you are going through. He is very near...... and that is the real comfort that I seek for each of you.

Quote "Enjoying each day is an opportunity. But worrying about
the things and events that make up each day is a choice."

ove, Your Jordan Missionaries

Here's this weeks newsletter

Friday, February 1, 2008

February 1, 2008 Friday

As-Sa Laam Aleekum (Greetings, Peace be upon you)

We’re back!...... It has been a few weeks since we have sent out our “Jordan Missionary news.” I don’t know how time can go by so fast. The days are filled with so much to do. This past week as we have been out driving around Jordan we have spent time reflecting on the service that our dear Prophet has given throughout his life. What a tremendous example of service in action. We appreciate all of you that thought of us over here and took the time to email us the news of his passing last Sunday. Thank you!

We had our district conference a few weeks ago with Elder Kopescke. It was wonderful to be instructed and edified! We have had the opportunity to have him here several times over the last few months. I guess the Middle East continues to be of great concern because we are constantly being checked on and watched over. It’s good to know we are being “watched over” as we try to “watch over” and serve the people here in Jordan.

The other missionary couple, the Dews that were serving here in Jordan has recently gone home. We will miss them. They are not being replaced. So we have spent that last few weeks going through all the “stuff” that has been accumulated over the past few years by the different missionaries. What a job! We’ve been sorting through boxes and boxes of papers that have represented the files of humanitarian records, and church related material, not to mention all the other stuff. Being Country Directors of Jordan has had its opportunities! It’s just taken a lot of time and concentration to get everything updated and organized. BUT… I’m beginning to see some noticeable results. You know me…give me something to do when I see the “before” and “after” results…. I’m driven! Dad’s been teasing me about that!

I was reading some words of Dad’s that he wrote down in our “Quote and Thoughts” book today. I thought I’d share one of his thoughts. Remember how Dad is always writing thoughts in his planner?

"I love to fish. I have come to know that Christ does too. If I will let him,
He will take me fishing to lakes that I never knew before." JFC 12/1/07

Just something to think about! We sure love you all. Have a wonderful week and "remember who you are"!

Your Jordan Missionaries

Here's this weeks newsletter

Friday, January 11, 2008

January 11, 2008 Friday

As-Sa laam ALeekum ....Hello, Peace Be Upon You

Can you believe it is already mid-January? This week we have hit the ground running! With the Muslim holiday Eid over and our Christmas and New Year behind us now we are back to work and catching up with reports. We had many good opportunities to give during the holidays with heaters, blankets and Humanitarian kits. So many grateful people! We had asked our church members to think about some families in their neighborhoods that were in need. We told them we had set aside some humanitarian items that we had ordered in our last container so they as families could go and seek out those in need and distribute the items as they saw fit. I think some were a little surprised that they were given that opportunity. We have felt strongly about getting the members more involved and helping them serve others. It is often very hard for them to think past their own needs and their own 'wants.' But by recognizing the needs of others they will realize how blessed they really are, and by serving.... they become more aware of others around them and learn to 'love' with action! It's a win-win situation! The people that live here know the needs better than us.... we just need to help some of them want to reach out and give!

We pray that all of you are off to a good new year and enjoying the opportunities of setting goals and planning "new beginnings" I have always appreciated the New Year tradition of setting new year resolutions. It's like having a new start or new beginning in life. Somehow it brings 'hope' and 'excitement' as we challenge ourselves to be better. I love the statement that Elder Neal A Maxwell said, "God loves you to much to leave you where we are now... He knows you and what you are capable of." I find much comfort in that statement along with other quotes that I
have kept in my scriptures and read often.....

"Remember... Life is a journey.....we are not here to stay. We are not here to stay in the same place, the same situation or the same phase of life. We must move on! So much of who we are is where we have been." -Pres. Hinckley

"The reason why we are here.... is to see if we still choose His plan"

Well, excuse me for getting off on all that. I think it is mostly for me.... to remind myself of what I want to do, and to be, as I strive to become a better person in the year 2008. Thank you all for your goodness and all the support you give each other and us, your Jordan missionaries. We love you all and pray that this year will be your best ever!!!!

Love, Your Jordan Missionaries

Friday, January 4, 2008

MarHa ba.
Hope you enjoy the pictures and our account of the past few weeks with Laura.