Well it was transfers this week for me. I got my first opportunity in four and a half months to go to Angels and do some shopping at every one's favorite mall SM. The inside is cold and looks just like an american mall. It even has a mcdonalds and a pizza hut. oh and a sbarro cause they are everywhere.We get like two hours there to shop and eat lunch but for us it is a pretty big treat. i was not transfering this time but just getting a new companion to take back to my area. My new companion is Elder Penuela. He is from the south island of the philippines which is where all the terrorists live. So people like to talk to him about that. So far things are going great with him. Well. Besides that I was able to be at another baptism this saturday. His name was bro.Sherwin. He is only 14 but he has a good testimony about the truth. I was really happy to see him baptized. I am in a low baptizing area right now because there are so many inactive members here. We split our time about half teaching investigators and about half teaching inactive members. There are over 500 members in the boundaries of my ward and just about 100 are active. Thats pretty hard. But we try our hardest to do the lords work here. there are so many inactive members here because in past years they did not have very strict standards for people to be baptized. One even described it as " we taught them one day and baptized them the next." Well im not saying they were always wrong but they would have made my work alot easier if they had waited. all well i love the members here. They are always nice to us. I am doing really great lately. I have apparently lost a lot of weight. I was talking to a brand new missionary and he said that if ihad not told him he never would have thought that i was fat. I have lost over 6 inches off my waistline. I never knew how much that was. I had a pair of pants made in my first area and she did not finish them before i left there. so two weeks ago i finally got them from another missionary. They were so big that i could not keep them on. I felt like a little kid trying to put on dads pants. i buttoned them and they fell off. Luckilythere is a lady in my ward who can fix them and she was able to get them to a wearable size for me.Thats kinda crazy for me. well I hope all of you guys are doing well. hopefully you guys recognize me when i get back. well This week i would challenge all of you to find some one that needs help and then do it. It can be as small oras big as you want but find someone that you could give a little service for. LOVE YOU!!!!!Elder Leavitt
Mom (Marjorie) passed away Saturday, April 17, in the early afternoon. Although it is always hard, it's also a blessing because she had been going slowly downhill this last year. She had been doing pretty well until she fell and broke her wrist in July. Then she had lots of recuperation with that, do okay for a while, have an infection, do okay, have an infection or slight fall and then be petrified that she would fall again. Around September we put her in an adult foster care home. A caregive with a maximum of 5 people to take care of. She continued pretty much the same way, and with every setback the dementia (which they called mental impairment) would get worse.
She did pretty well for a while over Christmas but right after acted like she had an infection and just couldn't get up out of bed. When it was evident she was going to be bedridden, we knew she needed more care. So we started looking and they put her on hospice at that time. Just decline -- no disease involved. We moved her to a care home with 4 people that specialized in hospice care.
So we knew we were near the end just not when. Her passing was quiet and peaceful.
I had promised she would be buried next to Dad in Las Vegas so we have been trying to work out the particulars. It will be:
Saturday, May 1st, 2010 12 noon-funeral 10a.m. to Noon -- visitation and viewing. Bunker Brothers Mortuary, 925 Las Vegas Boulevard North. burial will following about 1:30 or so at Davis Funeral Home and Memorial Park (previously Paradise Memorial Garden) on South Eastern).
Hello again family, friends and in particular our beautiful grandchildren,
First we would like to say Happy Birthday to our special long-time friend Susan Johnson, who with her husband Ross, is serving a World Class CES Mission in Ohio. Susan we love love you and will be looking forward to seeing you soon. We had the opportunity to see their son Mark last week, as he came to the Cove to possibly bid on paving our entrance road.
This has been another hectic week here at the Martin Site, and also the Willie Site. Early in the week I had to go to the Willie Center and repair a couple of broken waterlines. This had to be accomplished with the river overflowing it's banks. This meant digging down 7' with ground water pouring in. It also meant pumping water as fast as we could to get down and repair the broken lines. It turned into a wet, muddy, three day challenge.
Friday and Saturday we welcomed the arrival of about 170 more trek leaders who had come to be trained before bringing their youth here for the pioneer experience. We will have two more Trek Seminars over the next two weeks. Sister Leavitt and I had the privilege of leading about 75 of these leaders on a trek up through the Cove and being able to relate the Veil Bridge, and Martin Handcart story to them. What a spiritual and authentic experience. It was authentic because the wind blew and the rain poured down the whole time, (needless to say I had a wet week) but our enthusiastic group handled it very well. My old legs felt a little weary by the time we returned from the six mile round trip journey marching up and down the hills, while being soaked. But we survived the elements and the trek leaders felt they had gotten a little taste of what the Martin Handcart Pioneers went through. (very little, considering those pioneers trekked 1300 miles through wind, rain, snow, with the last 350 miles being through below zero blizzards.) But, I think the experience certainly made them appreciate our handcart pioneers a little more. Another special treat was that our former Bishop and his wife, Earl and Leslie Leavitt (distant relatives and good friends) from Boulder City were with the group. They along with the Hafens and Larsens, who we knew from Henderson were here to be trained for their Stake trek this summer.
We also had the Directors of the Farmland Reserve, Elder and Sister Bretzing, who are over our Mission, come from Salt Lake to visit and critique us. And we also had the pleasure of having a General Authority, Elder Bachman, from the Quorum of the 70 "emeritus", he stated that "when they retire you to emeritus status, it's like going from rooster to feather duster". He was from Church Headquarters, and had come to observe our training techniques. He and his wife spoke to us in church today. They both spoke about the great Mormon Pioneer movement in which 70 to 80 thousand Mormon immigrants crossed the plains to the Salt Lake valley to escape religious persecution and to be able to experience religious freedom. From that hardy core group of saints the church now numbers nearly 14 million. Many of those early Saints came from England, Europe, and Scandinavia. We as present members of the church owe these people a great debt of gratitude for their being willing to leave their Countries, their homes and sometimes families, to travel across the sea, and then across the Country, under the most trying circumstances, for the opportunity to freely practice their beliefs and answer the Lord's call to gather in Zion.
We love you all, and may you have health and prosperity.
An open letter to my children and grandchildren:
I would like each of you to be aware that you have a great pioneer heritage. I would ask you to research and study it. Your ancestors were not only instrumental in helping to settle the west, but this great Country. One of our first ancestors to arrive in America was Captain John Leavitt, who brought his family, along with other immigrants, to help settle the New World in the early 1600's. Our ancestors were instrumental in helping to settle New England, ( many are still there) and some of our ancestors were part of the Plymouth Colony. When our family heard about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints while in Hatley, Quebec, Canada, they were touched by it's scripturally correct principles and, very soon, accepted its teachings. As soon as they were able they joined the main body of the saints in Kirtland, Ohio. Our ancestors were among the first major group of the Saints who came west on an arduous journey which took the life of a several of their immediate family. In spite of these trials they were able to be very instrumental in settling the then primitive Utah territory.
Our direct ancestor, Dudley Leavitt, was instrumental in establishing peace with the various Indian tribes which allowed for settlement of the many valleys in Southern Utah and Southern Nevada. These early efforts helped allow for the thousand of immigrants coming after him to have a place to build settlements and raise crops to support their families. This pioneering spirit by early members of the Church also opened the way for people of other faiths the opportunity to come west and settle. Las Vegas was first able to be settled due to the early efforts of our ancestors and other hardy pioneers like them paving the way.
Dudley Leavitt's brothers also help settle parts of Northern Utah, Idaho, and even Alberta, Canada. One of the trek leaders who came last week was from Leavitt, Canada, settled by Thomas R. Leavitt. This man, from Leavitt, named Jaime Quinton, said he was acquainted with many of our relatives up there. ( He is also the cousin of Sandra Bevans, one of our missionary friends from Cardston, Canada.)
The point I am trying to make, is that you, my beautiful family, have a great heritage and that it is one of my greatest desires that you should try to live your lives as to honor those great ancestors who sacrificed so much so that we might have these wonderful freedoms and opportunities. Our family is from royal linage and has been traced to royalty in England, France, Germany, and Scandinavia. I have personally traced our genealogy, in one line, back to a "King Claudie of Germany", born 6 years after the birth of Christ. It is said that one of our lines through Scandinavia has been traced back to Adam and Eve. But, my dearest loved ones, our linage is of no consequence if we don't try our best to honor our name, our County, and our religion which our ancestors gave their all for, and try to do our best to perpetuate our great legacy. " I know I can't change my past, I can only learn from it, but I can have control over my future".
Dad and Grandpa
Hi Everyone -- I'll add just a few words as "Grandpa" has covered everything very well.
I, too, want to add my birthday greetings to my dear friend, Susan. I love and miss you !! She and Ross will stop by "The Cove" on their way home to Boulder City. Can't wait to see you.
I had hoped to attach a picture of us trekking w/ the Trek Leaders but it was raining so hard I was afraid to take my camera out of case. It was also very cold, so I was proud of both of us that we made it. Charlie did a great job of telling the stories and keeping us moving.
Spring is taking a long time to arrive in this part of Wyoming. It snowed last weekend and parts of I-80 were closed. Today I saw a daffodil just starting to bud outside the Visitor's Center -- so I'm encouraged that Spring is around the corner.
The new Missionaries will be here Tuesday so we're really excited. Lots of work and fun ahead of us.
Well it is the start of another week for me. It is still Sunday for most of you, but it is the end of another 6 week period called a transfer. which means that there are changes in companionships and areas. I will be staying in my area another 6 weeks but I will be getting another companion on Thursday which means that after today I will only have two days left with my current companion. Scary I know but kind of exciting. I have a feeling that the President has something kinda big in store for me and I’m a little nervous. This last week has been a really great one for me. we had the interview for our baptismal candidate and now he will be baptized on this upcoming Saturday. His name is Sherwin. He bore a really sweet testimony about how he knows the truth to us the other day, after we taught to him. Well this week has been one of annoyance for me. It is nearly elections here and for those of you who have ever experienced an election in the Philippines you might know what I am going through. So because some people are pretty poor and can’t afford to watch TV, they strap speakers onto cars and advertise that way. Unfortunately they all feel like putting their name into a song somehow is the best way to campaign. more unfortunately they all use the same song. I’m getting a little tired of hearing the words “I want nobody, nobody but (insert name)" for some reason that song is huge here and now I just can’t stand it anymore. It woke me up at about 6 this morning. Well I’m not sure what else to talk about this week. it seems like almost every week is the same except for whatIi do. sorry its hard to explain. so I’m sorry this is short. but I want all of you to know that I know this is Gods work. that he has given us this wonderful gospel because he loves us. I know that as we follow the gospel and the commandments that God will bless us. We don’t always understand the rules he has given us to live by. Right now I am probably living by a lot more than most of you but I do know they are given for us. I have a challenge for all of you. no matter how many times you have done this before or if you havent then that is even better. but read Moroni chapter 10 verses 3-5. then do it. Pray,. ask if the Book of Mormon is true. That is my challenge for all of you.
The 2nd year missionaries have arrived and are really working hard. We have poured about 18 yards of concrete this week, which included the slab for the Humanitarian expansion, some sidewalks, and the porch at the new missionary apartment. We have put up the new sign for Prairie Park, mowed some lawns, painted the welding shop along with general spring cleaning. The big news this week is that we had our first Trek Leaders Seminar on Friday and Saturday. We had about 112 Trek Leaders arrive on Friday morning and after registration began Their training. My assignments were to assist with the parking, a job I'm somewhat familiar with. I also had the opportunity to give the Ephraim Hanks story (in first person) to two different groups at Fort Seminoe. For those of you who don't know, Ephraim Hanks was one of the rescuers of the Martin Handcart Company and a very interesting individual who led an extremely colorful life. He was man of action and, among the many of his other escapades, had carried mail across the plains, on horse back, from Salt Lake to St. Joseph, Missouri over 50 times. This was before the Pony Express even existed! When he heard about the handcart people stranded on the plains, he rode nearly 300 miles, many of those miles through a blizzard and brought buffalo meat to the starving immigrants. He also made friends with many Indian tribes, and was honored by them at his funeral when several thousand showed up on the hills above the cemetery to pay their respects. For my performances I was able to dress in a handsome frontier costume I borrowed from Ken Simkins a good friend from Boulder City, who along with his wife Donlee also served two missions at Martin's Cove. For added effect I also borrowed an impressive 50 caliber cap and ball rifle from Elder Fenn. These props really get you in character.
It was great to meet all the Trek Leaders who came for training, which is a must for them if they are going to bring trek groups here or at the Willie Site. One of the Trek Leaders was a young lady named Rachel Muir, who we knew as a child from our first ward in Boulder City. Another was a man from Leavitt, Alberta, Canada. His name was Jamie Quinton, and as it turned out, is the cousin of Sandra Bevans, one of our last years missionaries. She and Dallas her husband live in Cardston, Alberta, Canada and were our next door neighbors, and great friends at Missionary Village last year. And we are excited that they are coming back this summer. Leavitt, Canada, which is located about 8 miles outside Cardston, was named after my great-great uncle Thomas R. Leavitt who settled that area back in the late 1800,s.
This week Sister Leavitt and I will lead the trek to Martin's Cove, and tell the stories for the next group of Trek Leaders coming in at the end of the week. We are excited for the opportunity. We are also excited that some of our children and grandchildren and family and friends may be coming to visit us this summer. When you are away from family and friends for an extended period of time it brings great joy when you get to see them. We love you all!
Hi everyone -- it's been an exhausting but exhilarating week. We worked so hard putting on the Trek Seminar and it was very successful, thanks to everyone putting in long hours. I went on a trek and am pretty stiff and sore from the long hike. Eventho I've exercised this winter, I apparently wasn't working the right muscles. I need to do a lot of walking to be in shape this week when Elder Leavitt and I are Trek Leaders. Additionally, we have heard that it could be raining or snowing so that will add another dimension to the trek.
Another emotional element to this week is that the Freeman's (our director's) 5 year old granddaughter has a yet undiagnosed illness. She has been hospitalized since last Sunday and initially they thought she had leukemia and then e-coli. At this point they just don't know but she is doing a little better and is stabilized altho her kidney function is only at 50%. She also had to have blood transfusions earlier in the week. We Missionaries fasted and prayed for her on Wednesday and that was when she started turning the corner and doing a little better. However, please pray for an accurate diagnosis and recovery for this precious little girl named Kaylee.
We continue to experience the tender mercies of our Lord and many spiritual experiences on a daily basis. It's been wonderful having all our friends back. We are all so grateful for this amazing experience we are having here. The Trek Training was powerful and I know it will translate into the trekkers who are coming this summer will have great spiritual experiences. We have 3 more trek seminars in the next three weeks so we will be very busy. However, that's why we're here and we all love being a part of this very important work of educating members of our Church about the handcarts pioneers and what they sacrificed and using this knowledge to make it relevant to the youth of today.
Another special blessing this week was having the Bretzings here -- they are the Directors of the Farmland Reserve and are responsible for missionaries all over the United States and some Foreign Countries who work on agricultural properties for the Church. We love the Bretzings and appreciate how they enter in and help out wherever they can. We also love that Elder Bretzing will yodel with the band. Our band had our first performance this week and we were pretty rusty, but it was so much fun!! I've decided that being in the band is for the band members as we have such a good time but don't know if our audience enjoys it as much as we do :)
That's all for now -- we're looking forward to seeing Earl and Leslie Leavitt (from Boulder City ) this week who will be Trek Leaders in 2011. Dress warm, Leslie, as the weather is forecast to be cold and rainy.
I think that's all for this week -- it been a memorable week for us. We love being here and want to cherish every day we're here as our Mission will soon be over.
My love and prayers to each of you,
Sister Leavitt aka Peggy
P.S. No picture this week but I'll have some of our trek next week.
Spring has not yet arrived on the high plains of Wyoming, but the beautiful blossoms in the form of our returning missionaries have. It's been an exciting week welcoming our old friends, and some new, back to the Cove. They have brought with them a new energy and given us Polar Bears a big boost in our desire to serve. They have hit the ground running and already they have gotten things spruced up and shining. We've already had a trek group of over sixty trekkers show up this week. These brave souls wanted to have a authentic pioneer handcart experience, and they certainly did. After visiting Martin's Cove, they spent the night in tents at the Willie Center. Elder Jorgensen reported that they camped on the snow and then the next day he led them on a trek for 10 miles in the snow which measured an average of 10 to 12 inches with drifts up to 4 feet. At about the halfway mark they were given the option of taking a shorter route back and forgoing the long women's pull directly ahead. This is the part of the trek where the men leave women and wait at the top of a long hill while the women pull the handcarts up the hill by themselves. When given the chance to opt-out, one young women stated that, "I have not come all this way to wimp out". As the young men marched ahead up the hill, on their own they decided to march in two lines to break trails through the snow so that the women's handcart wheels would not get stuck. The young men also took as much of the camping equipment out of the handcarts as they could carry to give the girls a fighting chance. It was still a very difficult pull up the snow covered trail, but they made it, and we were told that there wasn't a dry eye in the group. It's amazing how these treks change lives. It also about did Elder Jorgensen in!
We had a great visit with our family last week and want to thank them for their hospitality and love. It was so much fun to see our grandkids and see how much they've grown. The highlight of the visit was our granddaughter Olivia's baptism. To watch her dad perform the ordinance was a heart touching experience. Her older brother Conner (12) gave one of the most beautiful talks on baptism I have ever heard, and he prepared it entirely on his own. Her older brother Garrett (9) also gave a beautiful prayer. These are the experiences that lift our souls.
Thanks to Al and Jo for inviting me to Jo's birthday breakfast at the Coffee Cup in Boulder City. No, I didn't have coffee, but I did have their fabulous potatoes and gravy.
Although we traveled through blizzards coming and going to Boulder City, Nevada we entered into a whole new world of spring in Southern Nevada with leaves on the trees, green grass and flowers blooming everywhere. Go less than 200 miles north, we experienced the most snow we've seen all winter in Cedar City, Utah. Fortunately we were able to dodge some of winter's worst storms, frequent road closures and with the Lord's blessings made it back safely.
Well, we love you all and appreciate your prayers on our behalf and think of you in ours.
PS This will be the last email we will send to the 2nd year returning missionaries because they are here to live the experience with us.
Hi everyone -- I first want to explain that I didn't know about Jo's birthday until "after" we got back home to Martin's Cove. I had breakfast with my incredible "sissy's" that morning and Charlie didn't let me know until we got back that Jo had had a birthday. MEN !! Belated Happy Birthday to Jo from me.
We had a fabulous trip home despite the harrowing trip down -- we've seen more snow this Spring than we've seen all winter. As Charlie said, when we got caught in the blizzard out side of Cedar City, we could not even see the lines on the road -- it was white knuckle time for me !
Olivia's baptism was so special -- I'm attaching a picture. We appreciate all that our kids did to make us feel loved and pampered while we were home. It was so fun spending a little time with our grandkids and to see how much they have changed even in the short time we have been gone. I loved the sleep-over with my granddaughters and never tire of seeing them play with their dolls and dress up in Grandma's scarves. Many special memories !
Well, our second year Missionaries are back and many of them battled the same blizzards and icy roads we did trying to get back. Thankfully, everyone made it safely. We all love each other so much, our Reunion was sweet and emotional. It's wonderful seeing our friends, catching up on the last six months, and as always, working hard to get prepared for the Trek Seminars and the Trekkers.
I have just one thing to add -- the Bluegrass band had its first practice today. I was determined to be in it this year so Charlie bought me an autoharp for our anniversary. Today was the first time I have played it and I had a blast !! Eventho it is out of tune (Sister Fenn will tune it for me this week) that didn't stop me from strumming away. I know being in the band is going to be one of my favorite experiences this summer. I have visions of joining the bluegrass band in Boulder City if they'll have me -- what about it Ken and Donlee ??
well hello there again. seems like every week is going by even faster. sometimes i have no idea what to talk about. Funny enough that happens to be the case today. Well i will tell you about probably the highlight of the week. It was friday night. That means that here it was holy Friday which is kind of a big deal in these parts. I saw several processions with their.... I cant remember the real english word so i will say dolls. but they marched down the street to the church carrying all of the "dolls" representing saints and of course Jesus christ. Well later that night we were at our investigators house. We decided to try a different approach so we watched. Joseph Smith Prophet Of the Restoration. Well it was a pretty spiritual watching. And at the end my companion couldnt even talk so I had to go on and talk about what we just saw and what we were feeling. I think i did a pretty good job. I talked to them And explained to them that what they were feeling was the spirit and that it was testifying to them of the truth. also mentioned the upcoming conference which has not yet happened here. Well i was talking to them for about 15 minutes. which that right there is note worthy it means that i have come a long way to be able to talk for 15 minutes straight in a different language. well by that time my companion was able to speak again. And he also bore testimony. It was just such a spiritually powerful appointment. If you have not watched it lately or have never seen that movie i would recommend it to you. Well the good news is that those investigators after over two months of promising finally came to church yesterday. It was really good seeing them there and they even brought a friend. We were able to set a Baptismal Goal Date for them. If they continue to come to church It should be in May. It is usually hardest to get some one to come the first time. so I really have a lot of hope for these investigators. We asked them yesterday what was their favorite thing that we have shared and they said The lesson about the gospel of jesus christ. or the first five prinicples of the gospel of jesus christ. Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End. I think they have a really strong tesitmony about the gospel. Well for the rest of my doings for the week. I have continued to be sick although it is starting to get better and hopefully I will be back at full activity by next week. I have heard that Conference was pretty amazing as usual. and i will hopefully be able to give you my thoughts next week. well i love you all.