Friday, October 28, 2016

What a Week!

It is hard to put into words the wonderful feeling and experiences we have had this week!  My testimony has been strengthened to a degree I never thought possible in only 5 days!  I wish I could bottle up this feeling and share it with everyone I know and love!  Mike and I both are pretty tired at the end of the day because we go to classes from 8 to 5.  It is like going to school all day.  We even have homework assignments.  We are absolutely loving this experience!  I know I speak for both of us when I say that if serving in Singapore is anything like being here, we are going to feel as though we have tasted a bit of heaven.


This is only about one-third of our group and it is funny how we’ve become good friends with almost all of them!


Mike was made a district leader for this group.  We learned a lot from one another. The Williams on the left are going to Fort Worth, Texas for their mission;  The Davidsons are going to Tonga and The Kalamas are going to Western Samoa.


The young sister in the middle, Sister Anderson, was one of our teachers; an amazing young lady


The couple in this picture are the Nelsons.  They asked if I knew his niece from Louisiana, Tawnya Richardson. Tawnya and I were very close friends when I lived in Gonzales, so that was pretty awesome.  Well the next day, I found out that Sister Nelson had a niece in Texas, Megan Nylander, who I was also very dear friends with.  Small, small world!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Last Week in Texas

We finished packing up, cleaning up, and moved out of our house on Friday, September 23, 2016.  James and Ashley were kind enough to let us move into their extra bedroom upstairs and to invade their family’s privacy.  It was fun spending more time with their family.  The kids had a blast with Maw Maw (as usual).   We also got to spend some extra time with Melinda, Mike, Dax, and Crosby.  Nelwyn even spent a couple nights at their house.  Dax requested more nights with Maw Maw, but there were only so many nights left in Texas.

This is what I spent my last week in Texas doing….. 

James warned me ahead of time that he had a project he wanted me to help him with while we were staying with them.  They wanted to build a fireplace on a wall shared by their living room and eating area to better define the living room area.  Their idea was to put in an electric fireplace insert with stone around it and bookcases on both sides.  We discussed the details, looked at a lot of pictures and then I drew up a plan.


The Plan

This took me back to my high school drafting and college CAD days.  It reminded me of how much I enjoy doing these types of drawings.

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Target Wall Before the Project Began

James and Ashley had a nice arrangement of pictures on the wall before we began.


Bare Wall

No more pictures or base boards and started to move the electrical, cable and internet connections.


Studs for Back Wall

Too late to turn back now…


Studs for Mantle

Starting to take shape with the walls for the back of the fireplace surround and mantle.


Box for Insert and Mantle Columns

Built the opening for the insert and the support for the columns.


Back of Mantle

Beginning to put the plywood covering


Bookcases in Place, Upper Mantle and Columns

We built the bookcases separately, put them in place and attached them to the wall and surrounds and put the wood on the face.


Crown Molding

Crown molding is in place.  This was my first attempt at installing crown molding.  Thank goodness for the internet and instruction videos. 


The Finish Product (less paint)

James did a great job on the stone front.  Another first for both of us!!  Doors are also in place.  I found it cheaper to have custom doors made and then I used my router to put a decorative edge on them.

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Side View

This gives you an idea of the different depths we tried to build in.

I learned a lot from my Dad growing up on how to build things and I am so grateful to him for all he taught me and that I was able to use this knowledge to help and teach James.  I hope he learned a lot and can use the knowledge in the future and can teach his own kids.  With this project, the shed James and I built this past summer and the table I built for Melinda and Mike, reminded me how much I enjoy building things.  I was very concerned about this fireplace project and if we could pull it off (especially the stone work), but I think it turned out well.  I will have to post a finished picture once James gets it painted (that is one thing I do not enjoy doing…painting).

Friday, October 14, 2016

Open House

Our close friends and neighbors, Tracey and Kenny Borgne, hosted an open house for Mike and me on October 7, 2016 at their home.  It was a beautiful evening filled with laughter and tears with dear friends and neighbors.  Tracey has been like a sister to me and through the years I have known her, she has brought me food when I've been sick, laughed with me when I've been happy, and cried with me during sad times.  I will miss her and all my friends in Plano, Texas.

Tracey had this memorabilia card as you entered her home for friends to write their wishes for us to take to Singapore.


Sunday, October 9, 2016


Singapore / Malaysia
Country in Asia

Singapore, an island city-state off southern Malaysia, is a global financial center with a tropical climate and multicultural population. Its colonial core centers on the Padang, a cricket field since the 1830s and now flanked by grand buildings such as City Hall, with its 18 Corinthian columns. In Singapore's circa-1820 Chinatown stands the red-and-gold Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, said to house one of Buddha's teeth.
CurrencySingapore dollar
Population5.399 million (2013) World Bank
Official languagesEnglish, Tamil, Malay, Standard Mandarin

You can read more here:

Our mission also includes Malaysia

Malaysia is a Southeast Asian country occupying parts of the Malay Peninsula and the island of Borneo. It's known for its beaches, rainforests and mix of Malay, Chinese, Indian and European cultural influences. The capital, Kuala Lumpur, is home to colonial buildings, busy shopping districts such as Bukit Bintang and skyscrapers such as the iconic, 451m-tall Petronas Twin Towers.
CurrencyMalaysian ringgit
Population29.72 million (2013) World Bank

Official languageMalaysian

You can read more here:

Mission Call

We opened our mission call on Saturday, July 23, 2016 while traveling to Idaho.  The call was delivered to our home in Utah, so Katelyn (our daughter) placed it on the scanner at home so I could log into my home computer remotely from Idaho and scan it in.  I then transferred the file to my laptop in Idaho so we could read it.

We were able to have most of the family (technical issues) on a conference call when we read the call from President Monson.  We could hardly believe it when we read that we had been called to serve in the Singapore mission.  We both were unsure where it is located.  Nelwyn even asked "is that in Japan?".  I (Mike) had to admit that I did not know.  The mission not only includes the island of Singapore but also the country of Malaysia.  The map below shows you where Singapore is located.

We are very excited to receive our call and that we have until October 24th before we report to the MTC (Missionary Training Center) in Provo, Utah.  This will give us plenty of time to prepare and to visit family.