Sunday, September 11, 2016

Innocent is Alive and Well!

Since Innocent left to return to be with his family and the fact that we have not heard from him we began to assume the worst.  In talking with the immigration Attorney that was helping Innocent, she said that possibly his Passport was tagged and upon his return he was detained.

Over the past several months I have sent a few emails hoping to hear from him.  This week I sent another one and the next day I received a reply from him.  The email is below:


Fri 9/9, 12:40 AM


Hi Brother Romney,
Long time ago, 5 months passed and I miss you.
Just to  tell you that you were my big family in America, I will always remember your family in my life.
In fact, I am in Rwanda but it is difficult for me to communicate. Now I am able to send message because I do have access to internet once a month.
I don't have job entitle  now.
Now I have a big problem to put an end on my refugee application case in the USA. So I need your help, just to contact the Lawyer and ask her to send a letter to the Immigration requesting the end of my case.
This will help me to come back in The USA after 2 years. Without this letter, I cant get in USA again.

Also, I want to ask you to give my greetings to your wife Barbara, to the Bishop and the Ward.
I am very grateful to the Bishop. 
Thank you so much for being my great family in Utah.
I was so pleased to hear from him.  He has been on mind ever since he left.  I feel that my prays have been answered and that he is OK.  I am glad that he has found a job and because of that he now has access to the internet.  I am looking forward to our communication and hope that it will continue.  I have inquired about his family and also if he has been able to meet the Bishop in his area.


Parkway 3rd Ward Service Project

Barbara was approached by the Relief Society of our home ward about doing a service project for the Ward we serve in.  The Bishops in the wards of the Riverside Stake each year are in need of school supplies.  We found out that there was already planning going on for the Inner-City missionaries to help provide these needed supplies.  So we arranged for the 3rd Ward to take charge of this service project and they provided 50 back packs full of school supplies. 

The RS organized the project and the ward members donated the supplies and back packs.  The YW assembled the back packs and also personally delivered 26 of them to the youth of the Meadow Ward in which we service.  The other back packs were given to the other Bishops to give to those in need in each of their wards.  We were deeply touched by the generosity of the ward members.  The YW had a wonderful and humbling experience delivering them to the youth in the ward. They expressed appreciation for the experience as well as an awareness of their temporal and spiritual blessings.

This was such a great success that the Ward has expressed they want to continue to help in what ever way they can.

Barbara and I received, the following Sunday, expressions of appreciation from some of the parents of the youth who received a back pack.  It is experiences like this that make serving in the Inner-City Mission such a blessing.

Mission Extension

It is hard to believe that our year is up for our mission. Sister Doxey, an area director for the Inner-City Mission, approached us in July about extending and it was an easy decision to make. We have extended for an additional six months beginning in September. We truly enjoy what we are doing.  The experiences we are having are greatly strengthening our testimonies and love for the Savior. We have a deeper understanding of what Charity truly means and is. We have come to love the members of the Meadow Ward and feel that is our ward now. Bishop Kruger is such a pleasure to work with. He truly understands the members of his ward, and being retired, he is literally a full time Bishop in every way. There have been times when we have called him to bring an issue or concern to his attention and more times then not he already knows of it and has dealt with it. The Meadow Ward members are such humble and faithful saints. We feel their service and testimonies is what has touched us the most.

We will see what the next six months brings.  Bishop Kruger has indicated that he is thinking of making new assignments, so we are anxious to see what he decides to do.  At this point we have not real desire to come home to the Parkway 3rd Ward.

Neighborhood Drama

There is a family in the Ward by the name of Hudson (Jackie and Michelle).  They live next to Alicia.  Jackie suffers from severe mental illness.  He regularly has doctor/therapist visits and is highly medicated.  He has been making progress with his activity in the church and recently received the MP.  His wife Michelle continues to smoke, shows no real interest in the church and is the cause of much contention at times in the family and the neighborhood.  Most recently, Jackie has been building some storage sheds out of pallets and scrap wood for those in the four-plex that they live.  There was a disagreement about the shed that Jackie was building for Alicia and Jackie tore it down in a violent rage and piled the remains in the street in front of Alicia's apartment.  During this disagreement Michelle began to verbally condemn and criticize Alicia which got very ugly and deeply hurt Alicia.  Alicia reached out to us for help of which we immediately came over and calmed her down.  This was bad enough for Bishop Kruger to get involved.  We assured Alicia that she did nothing wrong and people have their agency on how they act or react to difficulties that come their way including how she should act or react.  We assured her that she was not the person that Michelle was claiming she was.  Over the next several days things seemed to settle down but Michelle continued to press Alicia with verbal abuses. 

Alicia decided that she needed to get away so she went to Pocatello and stayed with her parents for a couple of weeks.  During that time Michelle continued to text ugly things to Alicia's phone.  Upon her return we discovered that Alicia had a new cell number.  She told us that she got it changed so Michelle would stop.  Now the interesting thing about all of this is how Alicia has reacted.  We have seen a change in her that we complimented her on.  She is beginning to take responsibility for her life and situation and making good and sound decisions.  We here impressed that on her own she decided to change her phone number.  She also has accepted Michelle and Jackie for who they are and realize that she cannot change them but she can control how she deals with them or any other negative person or situation that comes her way.  Also on her own she contracted the landlord and worked out an agreement that she could get out of her lease early without severe financial consequences.  She wants to move and we have encouraged her to do so.

Keep in mind that those who deal with mental illness and live in poverty struggle with self-reliance because of the limited resources they have.  Therefore we are very proud of Alicia and the progress that she is making in becoming self-reliant with the limited resources she does have.  She is realizing that she does have the ability to make good/positive choices for herself and not blame her circumstances on others.  Her High School Graduation and approval for disability payments have been major turning points in her recent life.

Young Womens Camp

Back in May it was announced that the YW would be going on summer camp and that priesthood leaders were needed to attend.  I immediately said YES.  I have fond memories of girls camp with my girls and also while I was serving as Bishop.  As it turned out they needed help with cooking and I volunteered my equipment and I was the camp cook.  So from June 22-25 we attended Camp Sunrise, which is a girls camp, in the middle of the East Fork of the Bear (Hinckley Boy Scout Ranch).  The camp is independent of the other Boy Scout Camps.  It has it's own lake, archery and shooting ranch, showers, etc.  Brother Merle Keller, first counselor in the Bishopric went with me.  We were later joined by Elder Evans and Brother Neil Weight, high priest group leader and Bishop Kruger.

Since I had a truck I volunteered to haul the trailer full of all the gear.  I must say that I really enjoyed myself.  I was curious as to how the camp would be with the diversity of members in the ward.  We had 17 girls plus leaders attend.  There were 7 different nationalities represented; Caucasian, Pakistani, Native American, Tongan, Samoan, Hawaiian, and African American.  All got along well and actually no real know there usually is.  Great fun and those islanders can EAT!

I have attached a few pictures.  Bishop Kruger is standing next to me.

Alicia's High School Graduation

Well it has been a long time since we lasted updated the blog.  We will start with Alicia's High School Graduation.

Alicia has been working for sometime on completing her requirements to graduate from High School.  Barbara has been helping her with some of the packets that were left to be done.  She was truly motivated to complete all that was needed.  On June 16th we attended her graduation ceremony.  She was asked to speak and part of her message was including all who have had a positive influence in her life.  She mentioned both Barbara and I as well as Bishop Kruger.  The remarkable thing with all of this is that she is 46 years old and has overcome much adversity in this accomplishment.  We are so proud of her.  We had the opportunity of meeting her parents and they too expressed appreciation on how we have helped Alicia.  She was nervous about speaking but stood up there with confidence and presented herself very well. 

There were six others who graduated with her.  The program she was in was sponsored by the Alliance House accredited by Horizante Adult Education.  They help those who struggle with mental illness and addiction. 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Learning To Be Patient

On a previous post "Understanding Poverty" we mentioned how Alicia has been before a Judge several times trying to get approval for State Disability status.  At her last hearing she had asked Barbara to go with her for moral support.  Well the Judge did grant her disability status and she will now be receiving a monthly disability payment.  This is help Alicia so much in making steps toward becoming self-reliant.  Hopefully she will not need to rely on the support from Bishop Kruger as much.  She mentioned that she would like Barbara to start helping her with forming a budget.

Alicia is learning to be patient and that Heavenly Father does listen to our prayers and does answer them; not necessarily in the time frame we would like them to be.  She is very grateful and is learning to trust her Heavenly Father more.