Monday, December 22, 2008

A Burning in the Bosom (and the oven)

Dear Family,
Well, this week has finally arrived!! I've been waiting so long, and now I will get to talk with you this Thursday!! The bishop is having us over for breakfast, they are planning on making a TON of food for us! Which is very important of course, but not quite as important as talking to your family. I believe that we will be making our calls from there, so you will hear from me sometime between 8 and 11:30-ish, I'm guessing. Oh, and that's Utah time by the way, in case you were wondering. Thanks a ton for the package you sent last week, I really loved everything that was in there. Thanks for those pictures and drawings too, and I don't mind having older long as I have photos that's all right with me! Those Ensigns are great to have as well, I'm guessing those are for investigators. Speaking of which, we have 3 who are scheduled to be baptized at the beginning of next month. Bernard Taylor and his fiance(they are living apart) Bridget will be baptized on January 3rd. Joey Riddle is scheduled to be baptized the following Saturday, so we are working hard to make sure they are completely ready when that day comes. Oh by the way, I'm in a 3-some here in Hamilton now. Elder Smith, who covered the east side of Hamilton with Elder Durling, was emergency transferred to a new area. So now Elder Durling is with us, and we now cover ALL of Hamilton, so that means more people to teach and more people to visit!! Elder Durling has been in Hamilton as long as I have, so we get along REALLY well! We've had plenty of laughs since he joined us on Friday, which you can imagine I'm very pleased with. President Robbins gave us some ideas for sharing the Christmas spirit with others, and we've given a couple of them a try. One was caroling, which we've done a little bit of and hopefully we will do more this week. The other one we experimented with was baking cookies for investigators and member families. All I can say is that the cookies didn't taste very good, because we burnt them all! You can't give those to people, so we have burnt cookies all over the apartment! Ah, the life of a missionary! It was kind of weird to see my name in the monthly newsletter, but was also cool at the same time! They need to update Elder Wilbur's information, I'm pretty sure he isn't in the MTC right now. Well, did Cal have a good 7th birthday? Of course I wanted to be there, but I'm sure he had a fun time anyway! I wish there was something that I could've sent to him, but I did send him and Ellie some candy and fruit snacks a few weeks ago. Oh and speaking of fruit snacks, Uncle Kent and Aunt Carol sent me a box of Treetops along with some drawings from the kids. THAT was pretty cool and funny at the same time to get that. A big thanks to them for it! Also, give my love and appreciation to the following for their letters, cards, or packages: The Rowley's, The Brownings, The Johnson's, The Farriers, The Heaton's, The Pulsipher's, and The Simpson's. I hope I didn't leave anyone out, but thank EVERYONE fot their love, support, and prayers on my behalf. It is, as always, very wonderful and satisfying to know that so many people are right there for me all the time. It's also great to have that knowledge that the Prophet and the Twelve, and really anyone at the temple is praying for me. Most importantly, it is the greatest blessing to know that our Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers and that He and His Beloved Son are ALWAYS there for us, and that if we but look to them for anything, the Holy Ghost will show us the way to go. I wish a very Merry Christmas to each and every one of you this season, and also to remember why we celebrate at this time of year. May the knowledge of the Savior's birth burn within us ALWAYS, that we may never forget the author of our salvation! May God Bless You All!!!!
Elder Isaac Livingston

Monday, December 15, 2008

"and mine angels round about you"

We are grateful for the Lord's ability to protect His servants, as you'll read below:

Dear Family,

Talk about an absolutely crazy week!! At least things are still going well out here, but man was there a lot of stuff that went on. Zone Conference was on Tuesday, and it was really good! The best part was when Sis. Robbins called each of us up individually and handed us these big, thick envelopes. I honestly had no idea what was in there, but I opened it up and WALLAH!! There was a bunch of mail from you!! I was so excited to read those, it made my day! I enjoyed the thoughts, feelings, and stories you had to share which I will always remember. So that was an overall good day, because Wednesday brought with it a very scary ordeal.

I don't know if the mission office told you or not, but I was involved in a car accident on Wednesday night. I was on an exchange in Hamilton with Elder Scholes, who serves up in Oxford on the Miami University campus, and we were returning to our apartment for some dinner when it happened. I wasn't driving or anything, but it still shook both of us up a little bit. Thankfully, no one in either car was hurt, but Elder Scholes was at fault because he made a left-hand turn in a lane where you can't do it. The road system out here is WAY different than what both of us are used to (he's from Idaho), but it didn't make any difference of course. The left side of our car was pretty much totaled, but luckily the car that hit us didn't fully smash into the driver's side door, it was only damaged to the point where you couldn't open it. Like I said, no one was hurt at all, and I'm so thankful that the Lord continues to watch over us....even when we're in a car accident.

So that was pretty crazy, but on the plus side we got a new investigator that day so it wasn't all bad. In fact, we have 3 new investigators now in addition to the 4 that we are currently teaching. It isn't all shiny and golden though, as we have decided to push Joey Riddle's baptism back to January 10th. He was going to get baptized this Saturday, but we have too much to teach him and too little time, plus his schedule is pretty crazy. We will be meeting with him this Thursday, and quite possibly his grandparents as well. Joey's family is Catholic, but his grandparents are not very happy with what the Catholic Church is doing, so they've decided to take the discussions from us. So that was pretty cool to find out, and I'm sure Joey will be a big help to us since we've been teaching him for over a month now. In other exciting news, Bernard Taylor is scheduled to be baptized on January 3rd, and he is definitely ready for that. If I could, I'd have him get baptized THIS week, because he's been taught almost everything and is very prepared to make these changes. We are going to review all of the stuff with him, though, and make sure he understands it all. We are reading out of the Book of Mormon with him from the beginning, and he is fascinated by the fact that Lehi and Nephi saw the Savior 600 or so years before He was born! I thought it was good timing in sharing that story with him, since this is the season of the year where we celebrate the birth of Christ. We're having FHE with him and a member family tonight, I think Bernard is really excited for that! So to sum it all up, this was yet another very productive week for our area.

Looks like winter has hit both of us, but then again, all the snow we got last week is gone! It does get pretty cold, though, especially at night!

Also thank everyone that sent those letters, I'll try and respond to them as soon as I can. Especially thank Uncle Michael for those CD's, I absolutely love them!! Your thoughts and prayers on my behalf have made every moment so much better, and I hope mine have for you as well. I am confident it will continue. Hope this week is a good one for all of you, and it's my prayer that each of us will find ways to share the one-of-a-kind message of the Savior's birth with anyone we see.....'cause you never know who the Lord will prepare! Best wishes to you all!


Elder Isaac Livingston

Monday, December 8, 2008

The fruits of work

Isaac was blessed to stay in Hamilton for at least another transfer (meaning until the middle of January.) Here is the latest from him:

Dear Family,

Sounds like you had a very good reunion, and of course I wish I could've been there. That's all right, though, because we are all being blessed as Britney and I are on the Lord's errand. So, winter has officially hit Ohio!! We got a decent amount of snow, and the overnight temperatures combined with some freezing rain make for driving on a virtual ice rink! All's well so far, no accidents to report. I know that the Lord is watching over and guiding us in His work. This was a fairly good week, not as good as we've had but you can't have 10+ lessons every week!

Elder Ficklin and I are putting our ideas together to bring about more success in this area. 4 of our investigators are progressing, and we have a very good possibility of seeing 3 of them get baptized later this month (if all goes well)! We also could have 4 new investigators AT LEAST this week, so it's shaping up to be another good one! We were also able to attend the Ward Christmas Party on Saturday night, and that was a lot of fun, especially when 2 of your investigators are there! We had a great fast and testimony meeting the next day, and a lot of things are really starting to fall into place. By that I mean that we are getting more appointments with members, less-actives and investigators are coming to Church, and we're able to speak with a lot of people and get to know them better.

I've got a great story to tell about one of our investigators, Jodi Goins. Her son Wayne is a member who we work with quite regularly, and he is working on eventually going on a mission. He was in the military for a couple of years, during which time he joined the Church, received the Melchizedek Priesthood, and also got his patriarchal blessing. However, he became less-active shortly after that and lost his way in life, so to speak. We first met him at October conference, which was when he told us all of that stuff. At the end of last month, he invited us to start teaching his mom the lessons, which of course we consented to do right away. We left her with a Restoration pamphlet and DVD, both of which she just loved! She told us during the first lesson that she just always knew there was something more than the Bible. At the end, she turned to Wayne and told him to baptize her! She's been doing well since then, and we plan on teaching her the second half of lesson 2 today as well as the Word of Wisdom. The coolest part, however, is this. She works full-time as the baker at Wal-Mart and is unable to get Sunday's off. Wouldn't you know it, there I am standing in the foyer greeting people, and in walks Jodi! She told us that she called in "sick" for the sole purpose that she could attend Church! Now if that's not someone who's prepared, then I don't know what else it could be! I absolutely marvel at the way Heavenly Father prepares people to accept the gospel, and it's really fun to see the different ways the He does it.

A fitting conclusion to the week was the First Presidency Christmas Devotional last night, which I thoroughly enjoyed! I love and sustain them, the Twelve, and all the General Authorities who work hard to build up the Kingdom of God on the earth. So like I said earlier, this is promising to be another good week, starting with Preparation Day today of course. A member is going to have us try SQUIRREL later today, that should be rather interesting.

Tomorrow is Zone Conference, which is probably my favorite because of all the missionaries I get to see, as well as President Robbins. Well, I don't know if there's anything else to add, so I guess I'll be signing off for another week! May God's choicest blessings be given to all of you!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

A mighty change of heart

We think this is from our son, but a new and even better version!

Dearest Family,

It is currently about 35 degrees and lightly snowing! I can imagine you have snow out there by now, but I hope that the worst of it doesn't get out here. Oh well, I can't control that. I really haven't been paying attention to the weather out here, because we've taught so many lessons lately that I'm so warm inside that I don't even feel the cold. Here's just a brief recap, and believe me, it will have to be brief because there's so much I could talk about.

Current # of Investigators: 10 (Linda, Joey, Bernard, LaNashia, Anthony, Debbie, Eddie, Jeff, Aaron, and Glen.)

Progressing Investigators: 5 (Linda, Joey, Bernard, LaNashia, and Debbie.)

Investigators w/Baptismal Dates: 2 (Joey and Debbie)

Lessons Taught Just This Week: 11

So, as you can no doubt see, the Lord is abundantly pouring out blessings upon this area. I am continuing to pray for direction and am exercising my faith daily, and these are the results. We have also had some success with retaining less-actives, and a couple of them have now been given callings within the ward. We have a solid list of members that we are looking to keep bringing with us to appointments, and it's been a great asset thus far. I plan on continuing to work harder and see even more people accept our message and have a desire to learn more. We've also been planning our lessons using almost nothing but scriptures, especially from the Book of Mormon. The results have been unbelievable and our schedule is such that we have lessons we are teaching pretty much every day. So that's basically a "brief" summary of what's going on out here in Hamilton these days.

I've been somewhat surprised at how many people have been willing to listen to us, and I'm confident that it will only continue so long as I exercise my faith in the Lord. Yeah, I really cannot believe that it is nearly December, my how the time just flies by! We are planning on spending Thanksgiving at a less-active's home who apparently is quite famous for feeding missionaries, especially during the holiday's. I'm really looking forward to that. We have already booked a place for Christmas as well (assuming I'm still in Hamilton) at the bishop's home!

Heck, a lot of people around here have already put their Christmas decorations out, and Main Street is lined with wreaths on all the street lights! Poor Thanksgiving, it seems to be the forgotten holiday to a lot of people, but I know that we have A LOT to be thankful for.

I have my monthly interview with Pres. Robbins tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to discussing our investigators with him and seeing in what ways I can improve. I wanted to thank you again for that little study guide that you gave me, it has really helped me have good, effective personal studies daily. I am also teaching about scripture study during District Meeting tomorrow, and I have a pretty good idea of what I'm going to talk about. Wish me luck!

Also, I have accepted the challenge from Mom to give away a Book of Mormon before Thanksgiving, so I'll let you know when that happens. As always, I can't say enough about how much I love and miss each of you and how often I pray on everyone's behalf every single day. I know that the Lord is pouring out blessings upon you as well, and as we approach Christmas, what a wonderful opportunity it will be to let people know who the center of our lives is. May you continue to stay strong in the Church and thank Him for all things, and I will strive to do the same!

Love Always,

Elder Isaac Livingston

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Conversion Process

Dear Family,
….some FANTASTIC news!! We have 3 people who have committed to baptism, and a good chance of at least 1 more this week!!!! It will be a little while before they are actually baptized, but all we have to do is set a date with each one and we're all set. The first one is an 18-year-old kid named Joey Riddle. He's a real nice guy, but he's really quiet so you have to ask him a lot of questions. He is being fellowshipped by a family in our ward whom he spends a lot of time with. We're going to sit down just with him this week and see how prepared he is. The second one is Bernard Taylor, 29, who the other Hamilton elders saw walking on the sidewalk while they were out and about. It has been nothing short of a miracle. He lives in our area, and we were able to teach him 3 days in a row this past week. From our first appointment with him, he made it clear that he has been trying to do what's right in life and find answers to questions that have been bothering him for a while. We cannot believe how prepared he is to make these changes in his life, and you can hear the sincerity in his voice. He actually cried during our first lesson, and expressed to us that this is exactly what he's been looking for. He had no idea that God had a plan just for him, and is very impressed by the Book of Mormon. We left him a DVD copy of "The Restoration" and he watched it as soon as we left. He told us that he was really surprised that Joseph Smith had the same questions as he does. We didn't even have to extend a baptismal commitment to him, as he asked us straight up what he needs to do in order to get baptized. He also told us that he really needs to find a job so that he can pay the rent for his place and also get his divorce papers finalized. He has another girl that he plans to marry but has to wait until those papers go through. Oh yes, and that's not all. He spotted the picture of the Mt. Timpanogos Temple on my binder and asked what it was all about. I told him, and he got real excited and said that was where he wanted to marry his wife!!!! I've been pretty much flying high this past week, and he had a lot to with that. Make sure you pray for him as well to find a job, and also to receive a spiritual confirmation that this Church is true. He believes that it is, but has yet to pray specifically for that witness. I know he will get it because he is so humble and willing to change. So, the third person that wants to be baptized is an 11-year-old named LaNashia (not sure about the spelling) who lives with her grandma who is a member that we visit every week. We had no idea that she hadn't been baptized yet, since she comes to Church on a regular basis. Anyway, she told us this was something that she wanted, so we're going to teach her the lessons twice a week starting tomorrow, and hopefully set a date around the beginning of December. We were also thrilled to see one of our investigators at Church yesterday for the first time. Her name is Linda Neff, and she is a very smart lady and really willing to learn. She is kind of shy, so we had to earn her trust at first, but everything is just dandy now. She was actually investigating the Church years ago, but her family convinced her to stop taking the lessons for a while. I had been here about 3 weeks when we received a call from Sis. Hobbs (a member of our ward who helps us out a lot and is fellowshipping Linda) that Linda had consented to take the lessons again. She just finished reading the Book of Mormon on her own, and as I mentioned, she was at Church yesterday for the first time. She partook of the sacrament and was reverently pondering its significance. We informed Bishop Hazelton prior to sacrament meeting that she would be there, and so when he announced the sacrament hymn and all that other stuff, he explained why we partook of the bread and water and it's significance. I know that Linda understood it, and so our plan this week is to commit her to baptism and prepare her for it around the beginning of December as well. So to sum it all up, I have been thanking the Lord every night for the success we've been having and also praying on behalf of each of our investigators. I am glad that you are willing to pray for them also; I would really love if you would do that! I really don't like asking for too much, and I know I already mentioned pictures from you guys last week.... but if there is anyone in the ward (well, both the Manila 2nd and SC 2nd) who would like to send some as well, I would love it! I've been looking for something to deck out my wall with, and I am sure that pictures would be the ideal choice. I love and pray for each of you everyday and throughout the day, and I just know everything will be great until I return. May God continue to bless each of you!!
Elder Isaac Livingston

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Learning what matters

Dear Family,

We are very close to having a baptism, and we are planning on extending a commitment this week to an 18 year old we are teaching. He says that everything we've shared with him makes perfect sense, and he is very good friends with a family in the ward who is fellowshipping him. We also have another investigator that just finished reading the Book of Mormon on her own, and we have an appointment with her next week, in which we are planning on committing her to baptism as well. Other than that, we have a handful of potential investigators that we have received through headquarters and, more importantly, from the members. Their desire to do missionary work has increased a lot, and they are putting together a calendar so that priesthood holders can go out with us to our appointments. They're also creating a dinner calendar, which should be very nice because frozen dinners get tiring after a while. Guess I was just spoiled eating prepared food most of the time back home.

So the weather for this week is supposed to be really nice, like what it's been for you all back in Utah. Then on Saturday, it's expected to drop into the 40's, and I seriously doubt it will get much higher than that for a while.

Oh, and could you please tell Cal and Ellie to quit growing so fast, sheesh!! I might just grow a beard watching them sprout like that!

Zone Conference last week was very good, and Pres. Robbins spent some time with Elder Bednar and none other than Elder Jensen! We didn't get to see them, though, but I was still excited to tell President that Elder Jensen was in our ward back home. Well, this week promises to be yet another good one. Then again, I don't think there is such a thing as a bad week in a mission, as long as you have the right attitude and bear your burdens with cheerfulness. President gave a good training about that at ZC, and I remembered that scripture you sent me in Alma 7:11-12. I wanted you to know that it has really helped me tremendously, and has kept me from feeling discouragement and doubt, and especially homesickness. Don't get me wrong, I think about you all everyday, and it has been a source of strength and motivation rather than a time for me to feel sorry for myself.

Hope that this week is filled with happy and memorable experiences for both of us, and I'm looking forward to announcing that I will have a baptism in next week's e-mail!!!!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Transfer Day

Dear Family,

All I have to say is that the weekend of transfers is not very fun. This has been a very long and tiring day, and I am only now getting around to e-mailing you. Just for future information, the end of this transfer will be on December 3rd, so that should save us a lot of unnecessary confusion. First off, some news. Elder Hall was transferred today, I have no idea where. My new companion is Elder Allred from Canada. He has not been out much longer than I have, only a month or so I think. They brought him all the way from the other side of the mission, in Huntington. For that reason, I was stuck at a meetinghouse for 8 HOURS waiting for him to show up. It was truly terrible, but at least I was able to get some sleep, seeing as I have been up since 4 AM. We've been rushing around trying to get things done, so we aren't really acquainted at all yet.

As for the work, I don't remember if I told you in my letter, but we have two new investigators that we are now teaching. We have an appointment with them on Thursday. Their names are Preston and Linda Johnson, and they seem very well prepared to receive the messages of the gospel. Also, on a less-important note (but still important to me) they are VERY big Reds fans, so we talked about that for a couple of minutes last time when we met them! We have plenty of potential investigators that we are scheduled to see throughout the week, so I'm really hoping we can eventually teach and baptize all of them. Nice to hear that the weather out there has been nice, as it is getting considerably colder out here. It's kind of weird because there hasn't been any clouds lately, but it keeps getting COLDER! Well, eventually I'll be able to break in that nice, new coat.

My spiritual moment today came while I was waiting for Elder Allred to get here. Myself and the other elders that were also waiting watched 2 Church films: Special Witnesses of Christ and How Rare A Possession. Those are two of my favorites, and it really reinvigorated me because I was so tired and I was the only elder from my district still at the chapel. The testimonies of Pres. Hinckley and the other apostles, plus that of Parley P. Pratt and Vincenzo really made me feel stronger. I once again realized that my testimony is my most effective tool in bringing people to a knowledge of the truth, so I really do need to be in tune to the promptings of the Spirit. I am very hopeful that in this next month I can have the opportunity of seeing someone I taught enter the waters of baptism. I don't think anything could compare with it; except that is receiving letters from you back home.

I know that the Lord continues to love and care for you as He has for me, and that is only going to continue and get better. So until next week, I love you all and pray for you all!!


Elder Isaac Livingston

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Power of the Word

The power of the word from BIG BROTHERS... We are feeling blessed by the letters home- they strengthen each of our testimonies greatly. Cal has had a harder time than the rest of us adjusting to the absence of his best buddy. It is therefore such a blessing to read him Isaac's letters home.It helps strengthen his fragile little testimony as he hears the joy his big brother has in the work of the Lord.
Oct 13, 2008-I had my first interview with Pres. Robbins this past week, and that went really well. He's encouraging all of us to use the Book of Mormon more when we teach, so I'm glad that I started reading it once again. Amazingly, we have the potential to teach up to 10 INVESTIGATORS throughout this week....that will only happen if we remember to call all of them and set up appointments. I am hopeful that I can eventually see them all get baptized, but it will take a lot of work. The talks at general conference definitely help to strengthen my resolve and motivation to do missionary work, but I have to believe that we can experience success. In other words, success is not just going to fall into my lap, because as James 2:17-18 says, "Faith without works is dead."

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The latest from Hamilton

Here's the latest news from Ohio:

Dear Fam,
I got your letter yesterday!! In fact, I got three!!! One from you, one from Adam, and one from Larry. I really enjoyed them all, especially yours! WOW, six pages!! That was a lot of fun to read. So as you can see, my p-day is on Mondays. Last time I e-mailed on a Tuesday was because of the hurricane that knocked out the power, as you know. The only other times that I will ever be writing on Tuesdays will be on transfer days, and that only happens once a month. We do our
e-mailing at the local library which is only about 10 minutes from my apartment. We usually do it first thing on Monday but we went bowling and then shopping today, so we did it last.

Oh yes, and I have some information that I'm sure will be beneficial to you and a lot of other people. I FINALLY got my new address for the apartment in Hamilton that I'm staying at. It is:
194 Westbrook Dr. Apt #15 Hamilton, OH 45013 This should make mail travel a bit faster, so it won't have to pass through the mission office first. That delays it by a day or two, so we can get information to each other quicker now.

Now for the really good stuff. We are currently preparing lessons for 6 potential investigators, with possibilities for more people throughout this week. Also, the bishop announced a Ward Mission Plan yesterday which was sustained by the congregation. Already the ward is beginning to respond, and have commmited to finding people for us to teach and coming with us when we see them. Also, we have several dinner appointments scheduled during this week. So anyway, I really do believe that this area is ready to open up, so I hope I'm around long enough to see someone I teach get baptized.

Congrats to Kenz on her new calling as ward pianist, I know she'll do great at that! And you were right Mom, my rusty piano skills have already been put to use....but not in any church meetings, thankfully. I hope that never happens, but we'll see.

I am very much looking forward to general conference this week, I think it's always at the perfect time. I am still operating on Utah time somewhat, so it's going to be weird to get out of Priesthood Session at 10 PM!!! Oh well, I'll survive. Something that I've noticed since I've been out here is that even though we plan our days out, it is a lot like the MTC in that we just go from one thing to the next. So therefore, I'm not paying any attention to the time, which means that I'm still busily engaged in the work. It's nice to come back at the end of the day knowing that our plans were carried out....well, not always in the order we would've liked, but at least I'm learning how to make adjustments. There isn't a day that doesn't start or end without prayer, and that sets the tone for everything else.

I am very happy to hear that the Lord is blessing you while I am away, because I pray specifically for that each and every day. Say hello to everyone for me, and let them know that I would love letters whenever they have the time! I love and miss all of you 24/7, but I know that everything will be all right. And before you know it, you'll see me walking down that escalator at the airport just like Uncle John did. Oh, and wish him a happy birthday for me!! I'll write you at some point this week, so until then....I LOVE YOU!!!!


Elder Isaac Livingston

Friday, September 26, 2008

The first day

Here's a letter from President Robbins, Isaac's mission president, along with a picture of Elder Livingston and his trainer, Elder Hall.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Welcome to Hamilton, Ohio...

Yeah! We know where our "missing" child is. Hamilton, Ohio...30 minutes north of Cincinnati.Today (Tuesday) is Elder Livingston's P-day, so he sent along an email giving us an update. Below are excerpts:

Currently I am located in a small Ohio town called Hamilton, about 30 minutes north of Cincinnati. We are still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Ike that caused severe enough winds that our power was out until today. Church only consisted of sacrament meeting for that reason, and so I bore my testimony from a pulpit with no microphone, but I said everything I wanted to say. That is the only ward that we oversee. My companion is Elder Hall from Kansas. He's our district leader, but I'm the one who has to get him out of bed on time so he can exercise because he hates it. We're in an area where elders have not been for some time, so the work is moving slowly but it'll pick up eventually. We're in a car mission so we don't have to deal with biking yet. Yikes, my computer time is running out. I'll go into more details in a letter that I'll write today. Thanks for all the food, it really has helped! I love and miss you big time, but I know the Lord will bless me for what I am doing! Talk to you soon!!


Elder Livingston

His mother is breathing much easier now...I'll post some more info about Hamilton soon. I know it has a part in Church history, just need to find out what.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Somewhere around "here" is where our missionary is today.....
Yesterday morning I received a wonderful good morning from my favorite missionary. He was standing at the pay phone in the Salt Lake international airport for exactly 40 minutes and 15 seconds ( my phone keeps time). We talked about everything and hardly anything since there was so much that needed saying and no way to put it into words. When it was finally time for him to board we exchanged our "I love yous" and he promised to call again, on Christmas. It was wonderful to hear his voice and feel the magnified spirit so present there. He was ready to fly, in so many ways. Later on yesterday I got a second surprise in the form of a call from the Ohio Cincinnati mission office. Sister Stevens was simply calling to let me know that he was safely there, had eaten and would be taken care of. Pretty much everything a mother wants to know. Today is the day he will have interviewed with President Robbins and then given his assignment. 15 missionaries arrived yesterday and so I would imagine this process will have taken a good part of the day. Perhaps before the night is over we will receive a brief e-mail from a tired Elder serving somewhere in Kentucky, or West Virginia, Indiana or Ohio. We look forward to knowing as much as he can tell. We will keep you posted- when the anticipated letter arrives.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Preparation Day

Hey Mom and Dad,
As you can see, I have my own e-mail account now!! So you
can give this to anyone who wants it, and they can send
me e-mails directly to this account.However, I have to
send their replies to you first and then you can forward
them to the appropriate person. I learned this from Aaron,
who has an e-mail account as well.I'm sure you got my
most recent letter,but I figured I would e-mail you today,
considering it's P-DAY!!!!I can't believe I've already been
here for a week.I come back to the dorm at the end of
every day completely exhausted!I love it!!!! My teachers are
so awesome!Their names are Brother Weaver, who served
in the Pennsylvania Philadelphia Mission,and our other
teacher is Brother R.That's what we call him because his
last name is REALLY hard to pronounce. It's Laotian,
which is what he teaches here in addition to our class.
He went to the California San Jose Mission.Oh, and we
just got a THIRD teacher,Brother Bradshaw,who's been back
only 7 months. He went to the South Africa Johannesburg Mission,
and he knew an elder there who went to AF High and
is friends with me!
Ah yes, I just remembered something cool!
My companion, Elder Ewald's dad served in the Arizona
Tempe Mission from '81 to '83,so Dad just missed him!
Well,the days just seem to be flying by, but I want
this one to last because we're going to the temple,
and I'm VERY excited!New missionaries are coming in
today, and it just makes it hard to believe that I
was one of them a week ago! I've learned a ton and
there is more to come, hopefully.
Our devotional speaker last night was Elder
Steven E.Snow and he gave a great talk on recognizing
the Spirit.That was especially nice for me,because
I had told Brother our interview that I wanted
to get better at recognizing the promptings of the
Spirit more often, so Elder Snow's talk was an answer
to prayer for me. Well, say hi to everyone for me and
tell Branson thanks for those Snickerdoodles from
Quiznos. I wonder how he got those.....
So long for now,I've gotta finish my laundry!
Don't worry Mom, I have JUST whites running
in the wash, in case you were curious.


Elder Isaac Livingston

"God will always help those who help themselves...."

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

This just in...

A little video from the big day...

(listen for his mother's anxious sigh about :35 seconds in...)

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Best Letter Yet...

What constitutes the best letter from your missionary? Here are a few clues: 1. You haven't had any contact for a minimum of 24 hours, but more likely days and days. 2. Hearing that he or she is still alive and well (as is verified by having received a letter in the first place) 3. Getting all of the details of his new life, such as mission companions, daily schedules and the like
4. Hearing that he is happy doing the Lord's work and knows he is where he is supposed to be 5. Having him express how much he loves and misses you. This last one had a surprising affect. I thought I would love to hear that he misses us, but it turns out now that he has said it, I hope not to hear it too often in the future
. What constitutes the perfect reply? 1. Any letter, from any loved one will do just fine, but preferably a letter filled with encouragement. 2. A letter from his younger brother which begins, "Dear Isaac at the Umpty Sea." That aught to bring a smile or two. See how easy it is to send the perfect letter? If you have a moment give it a try.......

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

And it begins...

Looks kind of happy, huh? Just moments after putting on his missionary name tag, we introduce Elder Isaac Livingston, a very happy and excited servant of the Lord. It was a wonderful day for our whole family.

When we first arrived at the MTC, we dropped him off so he could take his luggage to a staging area for new missionaries. When we next saw him near the front entrance, his first words were "this place is AWESOME! and I haven't even been inside yet!" We were then greeted by volunteers who got his information and said we had a few minutes to take pictures.

We then went to a chapel and waited for the MTC president and his wife, President and Sister Boone, to arrive. They shared some brief comments, told us that they would take care of each missionary the very best way they knew how, and then departed. We then watched a segment of the Church video "Called to Serve" (time to update it, I think. There are missionaries in that video that I taught in the MTC!) and were then told after the closing prayer it would be time to say goodbye.

As the prayer concluded, Isaac first hugged his little sister, Ellie. Tears began to flow. He hugged me and told me "I love you, dad." I struggled to respond likewise. He then hugged McKenzie, who also began to cry. Caleb was next. He has a very tender heart and it showed on his face. Finally, mom and son embraced, both crying openly. As Isaac let go and began to walk towards that door, he then gripped Ginger's hand with his and wouldn't let go. Neither of them could look at one another.

Then, as if in slow motion, he walked resolutely towards the exit, gave us an Isaac fist-pump, and was gone.

As odd as it sounds, the words of a Tom Petty song then popped into my head:

"Well some say life will beat you down
Break your heart, steal your crown
So I started out for God knows where
But I guess Ill know when I get there

I'm learning to fly around the clouds
But what goes up must come down

I'm learning to fly..."

So tough to let the bird leave the nest. But oh, what beautiful wings...