What's New?

We witness tender mercies and mini-miracles every day as we find joy in pressing forward. We are immensely grateful for our time of service as missionaries in the Georgia Atlanta North Mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Life and opportunities continue. See our missionary and life story in pictures by clicking here: http://rayc.shutterfly.com/

Sunday, February 26, 2012


We hosted a family get-together at Mike and Wendy's home yesterday (Saturday) for both the Connors and Petersen immediate families (brothers, nieces and nephews and their families). Mike and Wendy have not been able to connect with Mike's cousins very frequently for the past 10 years, so it was both a welcome back to Utah and good luck in Georgia event. It was a pleasant few hours. We even got to see niece, Melanie Steele, and her daughters. Britannie will graduate from BYU in April (she's been a student body officer this year) and then is heading to the London England Mission. Her brother Ben will follow her to Birmingham England Mission in May. It was fun to have that common connection. It was especially good to see Ray's Aunt Marcella who will turn 100 in July. A bit confused and needing help, she still hasn't lost her sense of humor. Amazing example! Love all around.

Our grandchildren feel a bit lost among all of the strangers, but it's an introduction to extended family that will be good for them. They are being good sports about it. They have lots of first cousins on the Witt side, but none on the Connors side, so second tier relationships will become important. I was always grateful that I had known three of my great-grandparents. Faith and Hailey have met all four of their great-grandparents, so they are fortunate. When we get back from Georgia, we'll make a better effort to share family stories in an interesting way. We already know that 18 months will fly by, so it won't be long.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

News from Georgia

We received a preparation packet from our Mission President and have talked with the mission office staff, so we're learning more about our destination and assignment. It looks like we will be supporting the Madison Georgia Branch in the Athens Georgia Stake, which is the largest of the six stakes within the Georgia Atlanta North Mission. The Branch serves an area of about 10 x 25 miles, and in googling it we see a small chapel with about 20 parking spots. Having attended small branches during travel, we know we will quickly become well-acquainted with the members. Madison is about 50 miles east of Atlanta. We've enjoyed phone calls with the mission office staff, Brother and Sister Coe and Sister Bolt and already love the warm greetings and Georgian accents! We think they live locally and serve at the mission office during daytime hours as service missionaries. 

We've talked with friends at the temple and elsewhere who have past and current connections with the Atlanta area mission. What we learn makes us even more excited, and we're receiving excellent practical advice as well.  It looks like we'll meet several missionaries to whom we can pass along grandparent greetings. 

We will finish our service as ordinance workers at the Bountiful Temple tomorrow, February 17.  We have loved our time there and will miss our friends, associates, and patrons. We tearfully composed thank you notes to the workers and temple presidency. Our temple service has been wonderful preparation for full-time missionary service.

We will continue to wrap up the house and mission packing and cleaning next week. We have a week of travel planned starting February 28 to see visit family in Arizona and St. George, and spend time with friends in San Diego where we'll take in a temple session. We have started to prepare messages for speaking in Sacrament Meeting on March 11. Next day we'll begin a week of immersion at the MTC. The couple we are replacing in Madison will end their service on March 21, so it looks like we'll head out to Georgia on March 19, the Monday after we finish up at the MTC.  It is, and is going to continue to be, a busy and happy few weeks.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Wonderful Stake Conference

We had a wonderful Stake Conference on February 4 and 5. Saturday began with a small open house for our immediate neighbors to introduce them to our mission house sitters, Nephi and Lilla Szvoboda. We love our neighbors and really appreciate the support they showed to welcome this wonderful young couple and make them comfortable.

Our evening session of Stake Conference, held at the Stake Center, focused on missionary work. Nearly a dozen Stake members spoke, including a preparing 18-year old, a recently returned elder, a mother, a stake member who is a missionary every day, a senior couple who had worked at the Church's Ensign Ranch in Washington State, and the Mumfords, good senior couple friends who just received their call three days before (they spoke about how to go through the application process), and our stake president, David Webster, who is a former Brazil mission president. Everyone did a terrific job. Their experiences were as varied as their personalities. Our attendance was a shot-in-the arm to our anticipation and excitement.

The Sunday session was held in the afternoon at the South Davis Regional Center, and the theme was protecting and nurturing strong families in these difficult times. Speakers included all three members of the stake presidency, John and Colleen Hunt, new friends who moved from Australia 18 months ago and into our ward to help support their recently divorced daughter and three grandchildren, and Linda Jensen, a former ward member and widow of John, a former co-worker of Ray's. The two hours sped by and the spirit was strong.

We came home and traveled to Mike and Wendy's for dinner where we learned the sad news about the Josh Powell suicide and murder of his two young sons. (Details can be found elsewhere). The inspired theme of our conference was reinforced in harsh reality. We are so grateful for righteous leaders and for sons and a daughter-in-law who are protectors of our grandchildren and anchors to our family. We pray daily for their protection and care.