We Seek After
These Things
Recently returned from serving the people of Honduras for 3 years

Thursday, January 23, 2014

I have a Family Here on Earth . . .

Maybe you've noticed . . .

we try to make it plain to see that the family is

central to our Heavenly Father's plan for us here on earth.

It's not difficult to see what a wonderful opportunity it is to have the support, love, friendship, camaraderie that come from being part of a family.  That's not to say that it's impossible to achieve success in life without one, but they certainly can bring many advantages, great joy and happiness to this life.  Life can be challenging enough as it is, and with the help of family, it just makes those challenges much more doable.  Our greatest desire would be that each of our children experience the joy that can be found in a happy home.

We know that our Heavenly Father's plan is a plan of families, so that all who come to earth have the possibility of enjoying that happiness and safety that comes from families.  It's the best place to experience and learn to love others unconditionally, as our Heavenly Father loves each of us.

God is our loving Heavenly Father, we are his children, he does have a plan for each of us.  He wants us to return to his presence after this life.  He gives us the experience of families so we can learn to become like him, and return to live with him again one day along with our families.  As we learn and grown and follow our Heavenly Father's plan, we earn the blessings of eternal life after we pass from this world into the next life.  

Tribute to our Grandma Klein . . .

This week we lost an amazing member of our eternal family - an inspiring mother, grandma to 39 grandchildren, great-grandma to 33!  To each of her descendants she was an inspiration in some way. I think it's pretty safe to say that each one felt her influence in many ways in their life.  We all have our own talents and skills that have increased with her nurturing assistance through the years.

We were blessed as a family to have Grandma Klein live with our family for 7 years.  In fact, during the time I was in nursing school . . . . I don't know how I would have ever gotten through those years without her assistance.  It was so wonderful to come home to dinner on the table, apple dumplings in the oven, a clean kitchen, laundry done, happy kids . . . I don't know how she managed to accomplish it all.  But she did . . .

Some of lives greatest lessons I know I learned from Grandma Klein.  Patience with sad, naughty, unhappy, crying or whining children . . . who could not possibly benefit from that one!  To love first and foremost . . . to serve.  That service was the key to almost everything.   Unselfishness . . . she ultimately gave everything away . . . everything.

Today our family paid great tribute to her, in remembrance of the life that she led.

(Thank you to +Cherise Gunter for catching that sparkle in her eyes!)

We were sad to not be a part of this great gathering,  from near and far . . . . her family traveled.  She would have LOVED to have the opportunity to visit us here in Honduras . . . I'm sure that we will be blessed by her presence from time to time . . .

I hope that I can always practice those life lessons learned . . . that have been such a blessing to me.

I wanted to share the sweet tribute that Norm paid to his mother.

It goes like this . . .

My Mother Loved Me

As I write this, I pause to take another bite of my mother´s homemade chocolates.  It brings back so many memories of how she made me feel loved and special.  She sent this last tin box of cashew turtles because she knew that is was my favorite.  It reminded me of when I was younger and I waited for her return from work and she always had some candy for me in her pocket, but it was the gentle smile that I always anticipated the most. 
  She made each of us feel as though we were the favored child. One day I decided to not go to school, third grade was just too hard!  We lived across the street from the school and as I hid under my bed I could hear the last bell ring, school has started and I had brilliantly avoided going.  Then the thought came: “and now, what are you going to do, stay under the bed all day?”  
I realized that my plan was not well thought out; my mother was home and the idea of staying under that bed all day made me wish that I was at school.  Finally, I walked into the kitchen and confessed my sin.  I remember her being surprised to see me, and then quickly knelt down to look me in the eyes and without any judgment, gently said. “Why don´t we go to the zoo today? Just you and I”  

When I had children, I asked her questions, like: “how old is a child when they learn to walk?”  To which she replied “normally one year”.  I then asked how old I was when I learned to walk.  “18 months she answered”, then she sensed that I felt bad and she went on to explain, “But you were such a beautiful child, I wanted to always hold you and so I never allowed you time to learn to walk”.  I believed this answer (and still want to believe it!).  
When she showed up to our home to live with us in Alpine, she had all of her possessions in her little Toyota Corolla.  She had no need for “stuff”, her greatest treasure where her children and grandchildren.

(With Karianne & Kelsie who would go on to become nurses like their
 When Kristin and I were about to leave for our 3 year assignment in Honduras, I looked at my mother and thought, “perhaps this is the last time?”  I didn´t want to believe it.  She looked like an angel to me, and she was.  Sent from heaven to bless and care for me.  I feel so very blessed to have had her and cannot wait until I see her again.  
To those of you who have cared for her in her final days and hours, I thank you.  I wish that I were there with you, I really do.   And to Wayne, I will always be grateful for thinking of me so that I could say goodbye to mom.  That was so very sensitive of you.
 My mother loved me.  ~~Zeke

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

AND . . . it was a VERY Good Year . . . 2013

Well . . .  We don't really know where that year went . . . it seemed to be over in a flash . . .

(Edited note - we didn't plan on this at the time, but this is actually part 1 of a three part series that is based on Mike and Kelsie's wedding here in Honduras and the reception back in the United States.  You'll find part two - The Ultimate Destination Wedding, and Our Family Story - part 3 if you click the links.)

At this time of year in January of 2013 . . . we were just getting used to the idea that our life was about to change dramatically with our new calling to serve a mission in a Spanish speaking country.  We had just sold our family home of 17 years . . . a huge change in our life . . . we had remodeled one home, remodeled an apartment that we then moved into . . . built a new townhouse in Highland UT, and moved again . . . and before we even got unpacked . . .  received a calling from the Church of Jesus Christ to serve far away from family, friends, our new home . . . for 3 years.

And it has been an amazing year.  We're grown in leaps and bounds in ways that we never thought possible.

And we sure know how to end the year in a flurry . . .

As Kelsie, our youngest and last of our unmarried children became engaged to be married about one week before we left for Honduras.  Much to our surprise and delight, she and Mike decided they would travel to Honduras to be married in the Tegucigalpa Temple.  The newest temple, just dedicated in March of this year.  We weren't sure it could actually be done . . . there were a few unusual complications and arrangements that needed to be made before this could actually come to pass.

As the year progressed, we were so blessed to have everything fall into place for them to travel to Honduras, along with other family members for this wonderful event.  We are so grateful for the many people who offered support and help to not only plan a wedding long distance, but who served, and assisted us in a million different ways, some big, some small, yet each of upmost importance to us . . . so that all could be accomplished, and we could still dedicate ourselves to our 216 missionaries every minute possible  :)

And the time arrived  . . . and they came . . .

And it was WONDERFUL!

The Fun begins . . .

Our family members arrived on TRANSFER day . . . so they got to meet our missionaries right away as we had a dinner planned for our departing missionaries.

We all enjoyed Easy Chicken Cordon Bleu with fruit, veggies, rolls and rice pudding for dessert.

Almost immediately the festivities began . . . and they continued on throughout the holiday season.  What a blessing the family is . . .

We know that the gospel blesses families . . . and we are so grateful we can be family forever!  Just this temporary separation physically while we serve in Central America only confirms the importance of forever families, and the blessings of the temple!

The Sights of Honduras!

We set off immediately to share the bounteous beauty of this country we call home currently.  Our first day we headed to Pico Bonito for the day.  A National Rainforest located on the Northeast coast not quite to La Ceiba.  They have a lovely restaurant and plenty of trails to hike to enjoy the beauty of the area.

(Their restaurant is fabulous by the way, and we had the place all to ourselves.  Ooooh! Delicious!)

After a delicious lunch and enjoying the many kinds of beautiful hummingbirds flying about visiting all the different feeders on the patio . . . Norm, Kristin and Kim set off on a hiking adventure with a native guide front the forest.

Just as we were about to leave a storm moved in and the rain began in torrents.  Not to be deterred from our hike, we grabbed some umbrellas and headed off into the forest in the rain!!

Experiencing SanTiago . . .

During our period of service here in the San Pedro Sula East Mission, we attend a variety of Sunday meetings each week, hardly ever attending in the same branch more than twice as we have missionaries serving in so many different areas, we love to visit as many as possible and meet their investigators.  But we knew we wanted to bring all our family to Sacrament Meeting in Santiago.  A lovely little town not too far outside of San Pedro Sula.

You can probably tell from the photos why this church is one of our favorites to visit!

(Here we are with the Branch President - and his family! A wonderful family!
The branch had just returned from their first temple trip, which they had been preparing for, for quite some time.  The branch president and his wife were newly sealed in the temple!  It was wonderful to hear all their sweet testimonies about their experience there - they invited nearly our whole family to participate and share their temple testimonies also!)

(There is no more beautiful place in the world to hold a Sunday School Class!)

And of course we were happy to introduce everyone to our amazing Elders serving in Santiago!

Elders Royer, Christopherson, Miranda, and Benevides.

On the Way to the Temple - 

Bright and early Monday morning we found ourselves in the car and on the road to Tegucigalpa, after miraculously finding the cell phone of Mike's dad Larry in the pouring rain in the parking lot of a store we stopped at on the way, and picking up our spare tire that was being repaired, and a stop at the local bakery for breakfast items . . . . we were on our way!

The weather was rainy and overcast the whole way . . . but fortunately not too many adventures on the road.  We did stop at this fun market to take a look at their handicraft items.

It was beautiful driving through the mountainous countryside mixed with 
tropical jungle . . . the highway was one of the best roads we have seen here in Honduras!

Finally we arrived at the beautiful Tegucigalpa Temple!

With it's incredible views of the city of Tegucigalpa - capitol city of Honduras.

That night we had a family dinner planned . . .

Kelsie and Mike wanted to experience a traditional family dinner of Honduras for the evening meal before their wedding the next day.  It would be our only opportunity to have everyone enjoy a family dinner together . . .

I think we met their expectations . . .

at Asado - El Gordo - it doesn't look fancy . . . but the food was just what we hoped for!

I think we were a little sad to realize this was our last night with our youngest daughter, our only unmarried child . . . tomorrow . . . all that would change.

(stay tuned for part two . . . beginning with  . . .

The Temple . . . 
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