Thursday, October 15, 2015

An angel named Rosemary M. Wixom

Sister Rosemary M. Wixom (the Primary or the children´s organization president of the Church) visited us today and it was seriously the greatest experience I have had with a Church leader. She came in the door, I was standing there, and my little 2-year old girl was there too. Sister Wixom came in, the biggest smile on her face, and looked right at her. They both looked at each other like they have been best friends their whole lives. My daughter started jumping up and down and running around, being extremely excited. And so was sister Wixom who just turned to every person there, being so loving, so kind, so full on empathy, so caring, so gentle, so interested, so ... Christlike. She felt to me today like she is truly a disciple of Christ doing His work. I felt the Spirit so strongly. I have not felt so inspired, so excited, so emotionally and spiritually charged for so long. It was amazing! With her were her husband, Baltic mission president and his wife and elder Klebingat who visited us just recently. They all shared wonderful messages and I got so many ideas and felt like I have to jump up and start doing things right there and right now. Man! What a night!

Here she is:

Some great teachings from a training with her (and elder Klebingat sharing some ideas) today:

  • Every person is super important and so is every calling. In our callings our goal is to be a disciple of Christ and help others around us be disciples of Christ. Our aim is also to live with our Father and Jesus Christ. Ordinances and keeping covenants is extremely important for that and we should help others reach those things. We should teach people about the path of covenants, starting from baptism. 
  • Love those you lead. Oh! She is a great example of that. I just felt it!
  • Teach children very early how to pray. Share your spiritual experiences with them. Read scriptures with them, teach them to read and ponder scriptures. Consistently!
  • Klebingat: Think whether church and the gospel are going through you and your children. Is it real!? Is the experience real for your family so that the children and the youth will actually convert to the gospel?
  • For the youth and children whose families are not supportive or who lack spiritual guidance etc: church is crucial - Sunday is the key for them to feel the Spirit. Use every minute on Sunday to make it as spiritual as possible. Do not waste any minute.
  • It is important to prepare well and early for lessons you teach. Start a week earlier to get ideas and to let the Spirit guide you
  • It is important to visit those you lead, children or youth, and you should not exclude their other family members. Visits are a great tool to help and inspire.
  • Youth who go inactive when they turn 18 or so: it is like a baton (teatepulk): at a race at one point both runners hold it. The same goes for the youth: both youth leaders and Relief Society leaders have to work together at that point. 
  • Spiritual success for youth and children comes from there things: Heavely Father´s love is shown through us - show love! Help them feel the Spirit and recognize it. Teach the doctrine of Christ. What ever you are teaching think what is the doctrine. What are the main teachings of the gospel.
  • Expect the youth and children to participate, act, learn, serve... Expectations are important. And never give up when there are problems or defiance. Defiance is just a facade. 
  • Try to find the needs of those who need saving (youth who are becoming passive etc). Teach the plan of salvation - they need to understand the purpose of their life and what their goal in life is (like when young adults do not care for getting married and creating a family). 
  • Elder Klebingat: Seek, knock, pray, fast and never give up.
I am so inspired to do good things! Throw all that negativity out of yourself and just do good! 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Trips to the end of the world... or as far as 30 minutes away

Here are some pictures of all the things we have done lately.
Here is our adorable little baby girl no 2. She has such a cute smile! She will soon be 5 months old.

 I went to see a manor close by in Vasalemma with the kids. It is a school - 1st to 9th grade. What an awesome place to go to school, right? 

There was a monument for an educator there: 

As a family we visited Keila-Joa waterfalls that we love. These stairs take you to a lookout.

The waterfalls: 

Another thing that happened was Keila town baby ball or a reception for all new parents. They give you a little silver spoon, of course, a symbol of prosperous life ahead. Matthew is not in the picture because he is chasing the baby no 1. Who is 2 years old now. You will understand if you have kids. :D

This brings me to her birthday party. Here is a photo of my wrapping skills. Ann, I know you will be disappointed but this is as good as it gets. :D Matthew is as good or even worse. But our daughter did not care less. I mean... they are to be ripped off anyway, right? 

Here is a fruit pizza for her. My secret for the most wonderful, fattiest, richest frosting is using mascarpone. To make it fluffy I add whipped cream. And we have a tradition of making a birthday cake and the next day we bake another cake. If you can eat more then why would you eat less. The cake is mostly for us anyway because she just ate the berries and a little frosting.

A berry being devoured right here:

On her birthday afternoon we went to Padise manor and monastery close by. The view on the lake there. Ann and Monte know this very well.

Inside the monastery: 

 On the way there I saw this beautiful sight of a tree and a factory of Keila in the background. The light was wonderful.

There is also a little abandoned prison in Rummu close to Padise manor.

And the last photo is also next to the Padise manor. I like the fall as long as there are colors. If the colors are gone it means it is November. And November is creepy. So let us enjoy the colors!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Who is it going to be

This weekend new apostles will be called in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day saints.  The recent passing of Elder Scott means that three new apostles will be chosen, it has been over 100 years since that many openings have been at the same time. There is a lot of good material up in the bloggernacle.  This piece takes a detailed look of the more recent apostles and highlights common trends. I wrote a piece that was up at Real Clear Religion focusing on added diversity. It is almost impossible to pick who will be next, but I'll try to do it anyway.  I did this a few months ago, but now with an added opening I'll do it again.  Here are my picks for who I think will be the new apostles.  It somewhat overlaps with who I want to be the next apostles.  I take into consideration who are the most likely in terms of background and service.  The main factor is that President Monson will submit the name to the quorum of the 12 for sustaining.  President Monson has always favored compassion and service, so those are traits I have focused on. I also think that we will see a specific effort to add diversity, yet not anything too splashy. 

1. Donald Hallstrom. We can be sure that at least one member of the presidency of the seventy will be called as an apostle.  Elder Rasband has a very very good chance but I am going with Elder Hallstrom.

2. Gerald Causse. Most people focus on the seventy as the body where new apostles come from, but the presiding bishopric is also an option.  Given the complexity of the Church it makes sense to include leaders who have served in the presiding bishopric.  I've been extremely impressed by Causse, he reminds me of elder Uchtdorf in some ways.

3. Claudio Costa. He is the president of the Brazil area and has been a general authority since 1994, including time in the presidency of the seventy. 

I would be very happy if these three brethren got the call.