Thursday, December 31, 2009

Packing -rh

I'm trying to pack and trying to remember what to pack but I've never gone away for two years before - well not exactly right, we went to Washington, DC for two years, but we had a whole car to fill up with stuff we needed. I didn't go on a mission as a young man, so no reference there. I've never gone more than two weeks on a vacation, so again, no reference. I did pack for a three month bike ride, but again a totally different kind of packing. We'll be in Provo for two weeks, so much of my stuff has to be available and then repacked - groan. Decisions, decision!

I guess this is one of the adventures of this whole thing. Really looking forward to this new service in a new place. Looking forward to learning the customs of South Africa, trying new foods and just being in a totally different environment.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Mission "Farewell" -gfh

Sunday we gave our "Farewell" talks in sacrament meeting. The program was very nice with three granddaughters doing a string trio: Elle Magnusson & Alexandra Morgan playing violas and Rebekah Morgan playing violin. They played "I am a Child of God" accompanied by Chris Kramer, the choir director of our branch. The number was beautiful and especially dear to me because that song is the tune for our Fish Family Forever song and the family sang it for the farewell sacrament meeting for Don and I almost ten years ago. The music was so sweet I'm sure there were angels playing with them. And as an unplanned extra bonus two of my handsome grandsons Tanner and Harris Morgan passed the sacrament. A proud moment for a grandma. They are both so tall and handsome and made an impressive sight performing their priesthood duty with reverence and respect.
I feel our talks went well. Rusty and I both spoke using our scripture we have chosen for our missionary plaque: 2 Nephi 25:25 "...and we speak of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, we write of Christ that our children may know to what source they may turn for a remission of their sins." I used the theme of Heroes and Rusty spoke of miracles.
The entire Morgan family came and Natalie and Elle represented the Magnussons. Our dear friends George and Nancy Nelson from Renton Washington with whom we served in Washington DC also made the trip. We all gathered at our house for a late lunch after the block meeting, played games and visited. It was very special having family and friends there. I wish we could have filled the house with all of the family. We know they support us and are thinking of us but many many miles come between us with other things being important as well.
Next Sunday we will be set apart as official missionaries by Pres Haslam of our Corvallis Stake. And then Thursday Jan 7 we fly out to SLC and will stay will AnneMarie's family for the weekend before we report to the MTC Monday Jan 11.
A special bonus will be that our grandson Aubrey Hatch goes into the MTC Jan 6 for his mission to Berlin! We hope to catch hugs from him in the halls occasionally while we're there.
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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Flight plan -rh

Today, we received our tickets to fly from Eugene to Salt Lake on January 7. Things are falling into place. However, we now have a new complication/blessing - a renter has fallen into our lives so we have to do a lot of clearing out of our stuff and taking care of legal and other problems.

This is not a random happening - there is a reason for all things. This lady needs a place to stay and we could sure use the money. I received an answer to the renting thing from a book I've been reading. The author, Michael Wilcox, had a little section in the book called, "Keep the back door open." He explains that we receive gifts from Heavenly Father in our front door. We sort through them and pick out those things we need most. Now since He always gives us more than we can possibly use, instead of hoarding the excess, we should pass these gifts on to others - out the back door. This is a "paying it forward" kind of thing.

Anyhow, this is a good thing and we will make it happen.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Not on the Most Want List -gfh

This morning I signed for a letter from the Department of Justice. As I opened it I had a brief moment of doubt. Was this a letter notifying me that because of inadequate print retrieval they were unable to give me a clearance? NOT SO!! I am totally Not Wanted by the FBI! Rusty rushed off to the post office to send our visa application material to Salt Lake. One major hurdle LEAPED over! We will soon be on our way. Maybe all the prayers and blessing were not necessary but do those ever go to waste? I think not. I actually feel closer to the Lord because of this experience and want even more to serve Him in South Africa.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Making Progress - gfh

We're making progress! Rusty's sweater is finished(actually two weeks ago and he wore it on our Thanksgiving trip to AZ. We're both pleased with how it turned out. Neither one of us will be embarrassed when he wears it. :-)
And even more exciting is that Rusty's FBI clearance was here when we got back from our Thanksgiving week but pas mine! Rusty called to check the status of mine and was told it was completed but they couldn't say when it would be mailed. Of course we're assuming that I "passed", that is if enough of my prints were readable. So we're still waiting for the second shoe to drop so we can lace them up!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

High Adventure People -gfh

Well the goodbyes have started. We worked in the temple last Friday and many people thought it was our last day to be there. Rusty and I both had several people come up to us to tell us goodbye and wish us well. One sister said that if we presented ourselves in South Africa the way we did in the temple we will do well. That is something to think one area of our life overlaps into the other. It has been said that senior missionaries go into the mission ready to get to work because they have been preparing for their mission all their lives. Every act of service, every growth experience, every calling contributes to our preparation and that's not to mention the wrinkles and gray hair. That's true for all of us but the senior missionaries have had more years to prepare. One of the brothers who bid us goodby said that he and his wife were thinking about a mission but were concerned about all the preparation to leave i.e. house and rental properties etc. I told him if he were "poh folk" like us he could just leave town. Well, he said that when they go he wants to go someplace less exciting than South Africa. He said "we're not high adventure people like you two."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Butterflies, Again! -rh

Well, we were just sitting around today and about 12:30, the phone rings. I answer and the voice on the other end says, "This is President Poulsen of the South Africa Johannesburg Mission." WOW!! I was floored. I expected maybe we would hear from the mission office but since we don't have visas yet (see previous post - still waiting), I didn't really think we would get such a phone call this soon.

We both got on the phone, Sister Poulsen was also on the other end so we had a 4-way conversation for about 25 minutes. Pres. Poulsen said they were calling on Vonage through the internet on a Salt Lake phone number. High tech stuff. We talked a lot about the various things that couples are assigned to do in the mission. He finally asked us if we would be willing to work in the office to begin with. We of course replied that we would do whatever he asked us. He went so far as to say that we are an answer to prayer - a couple serving in the office will be leaving about the time we are to arrive. He was reading from our mission application and said, "You have all the experience that we need for this position." While working in the office we will also be assigned to a ward or branch where we will work with reactivation, leadership training and teaching missionary lessons. He also said that about halfway through the mission, he gives couples an opportunity to then move into a proselyting situation. The best of both worlds.

Well, I was already on a high, but when he said that, the butterflies started up their aerobatics again. This all feels so good and right! Life is good! We can't wait to get on the way. We mentioned to Pres. Poulsen that we hadn't yet heard back from the FBI. He sounded a bit surprised but then said "It will happen."


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Still Waiting -gfh

Everyday we rush to our mailbox certain that "TODAY" our FBI clearance will arrive and we can send off for our visa. We are still waiting! Rusty says that this is worse than waiting for "The Call".
Yesterday we visited with Fred & Linda Cornilles in the Newport ward. They live in Depoe Bay just up the Coast. They returned two years ago from 18 months in the South Africa Johannesburg mission where we have been called to serve. It was a very valuable two hours as we got many questions answered and were able to go through their photo albums and get a very good "look" at what's possibly in the future for us. We saw pictures of the beautiful people and heard stories of their struggles and faith. The area is so "Africa-y"!! Zebras and Lions and Elephants and leopards! They told us that our mission president would be sure we got to go on a Safari and also go to Cape Town. That would be an extra bonus!
As we left Rusty said "I hope our visas come through. I really don't want to go to Boise, I want to go to South Africa!" (we've been saying that if our visas to So. Africa don't come through, we'll gladly serve anywhere the Lord needs us, even in Boise.)
The recommended clothing list for Elders includes a sweater vest to wear under the suit in the winter. Our visit with the Cornilleses confirmed that!YEs, it gets plenty cold in the winter and there is no central heating. Last week Rusty asked me if I would knit a sweater viest for him. I was really flattered. That's quite a vote of confidence. I've made the investment in yarn and needles and am now investing the time! I spend a lot of time while knitting thinking about the women "in the olden days" who kept their loved ones cozy and warm in the winter with the items they knitted for them. Where else would they get their warm sweaters? And while they were at it they carded the wool and spun the yarn. Yikes! I love the feel of the yarn as I am working with it. Very therapeutic but would it be as much fun if it was a necessity of life!! Perhaps this sweater will become an heirloom. Rusty said that our grandsons could wear it on their missions. Now that's something to think about. There is love in every stitch!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

....SO NOW WE WAIT -gfh

The follow up fingerprinting session went well! I returned for the second try Wednesday, Oct. 28Th. I have been faithfully slathering my finger tips with Corn Huskers lotion, drinking lots and lots of water and eliminated any antihistamines (just in case). And before we left home Rusty gave me a blessing.
The "slab prints" of all four fingers (on both hands) pressed down at once turned out great! Then each finger individually was rolled and scanned. (by the way, this is all done digitally) All but one of the prints went well! Two others were "questionable" but the clerk said to not worry about them. We sent the results off to the FBI with all of the other official information they needed. Hopefully the results will arrive in two weeks and then we will send off the other information for our visa. The anticipation didn't stop when we got our official letter from Salt Lake. It keeps building and building. It isn't uncommon to be reassigned to a different mission if fingerprints/visa do not go well. I'm feeling like it isn't officially official until we pass all the tests.
...So now we wait.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

More Butterflies -rh

On Saturday, we went shopping for mission clothing. I was doing fine with Georgia looking for a coat, but then we went to a men's store specializing in two-pant suits. Their private line is called CTR Clothing - guess who they cater to? I tried on several and got to the right size. We picked out the navy blue one and the gray one and had the owner mark the pants for hemming. When I went to pay for all of this, I found that my hands were shaking just like they had been a week and a half previously when we opened "the letter" from Salt Lake.

I guess there will be more butterfly moments as the time draws near.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Preparation Meeting -gfh

Last Friday at temple preparation meeting before our temple shift the coordinator asked Rusty and me to stand and he announced our mission call to South Africa. The temple presidency counselor on the stand acted surprised and somewhat concerned. When he stood he announced the topic of the preparation meeting as "emergency preparedness" but spoke directly to Rusty and me as he make comments expressing concern about the safety of our mission. He introduced the Head of Temple Security to present the instruction for the meeting and before the security brother started his comments he said “Maybe we should change the subject of this meeting from Temple Security to “Henrichsen Security in South Africa”. I spoke up and said “we’ll be on the Lord’s errand”. The president's counselor, now sitting back down on the stand, said “Just keep saying that to yourself morning, noon and night …EVERY day you are there.”
I squeezed Rusty’s hand and we looked at each other. Gulp. I hadn’t felt one bit uneasy about our call until that moment. Why are others concerned for our safety? We're not!


One of the things on our “important to do” list is to get fingerprinted for an FBI clearance before our visas can be issued for our mission to South Africa. Our coastal area Sheriff’s office does fingerprinting only on certain days at certain times. We arrived Wednesday Oct 21st on the morning of the first available day with our digits destined for fame! There was a feeling of International intrigue as we filled out all our forms, paid our money and passed our driver’s licenses and passports through a slot all while talking to the clerk behind a Plexiglas shield which was undoubtedly bullet proof. It was my turn first. I had envisioned messing ink-stained fingers but modern crime investigation technology has advanced beyond that. Now fingers are rolled on a computer screen, scanned and processed (or not) by the computer. In my case it was “or not”. With repeated efforts only 3 of my ten prints could be picked up by the computer. The clerk said that the FBI was very particular and she felt they would not accept that and suggested I treat my hands with “Corn Huskers” lotion and return in a week for a retry. Now this is starting to feel serious. What at first seemed routine was now becoming a concern. We went directly to Wal-mart to buy the recommended lotion and I have been slathering my finger tips with it several times daily. Who would have thought that finger prints would need to be a matter of prayer but they have become just that at our house. I will return Wednesday for a retry knowing that the Lord knows this is an important part of my mission preparation process.
Oh, Rusty’s prints? All but one was a perfect take. Of course. You don’t suppose he’ll go to South Africa without me, do you?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

It's Started -rh

On Sunday, two of the speakers didn't show. The Branch President said as he introduced the single speaker that was actually there that he would call on some folks to bear their testimonies after Brother Ramrell finished.

Brother R gave a great talk telling us that the way to get the Spirit in our lives is to read and study the scriptures, remember to pray and serve others. Sounds like a great formula.

We didn't expect to be called on since we had spoken in Sac. Mtg. just about a month earlier and we were scheduled to speak in a fireside that evening. The President got up and I expected him to call on some of the folks that usually don't share with the rest of us, but he called on the "Henrichsens since they have received a mission call." Between the two of us we had about 15 minutes to fill, so we had plenty of time to express ourselves to the branch.

Guess we need to be ready to speak at a moment's notice from now on.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Opening the envelope! -rh

This process began last spring when we started checking out the requirements for the missionary application. Things began in earnest in July when we returned from our Mississippi River bike ride. Doctors, dentists, shots, interviews, etc. as well as actually filling out the forms on-line. We thought all was done the last week in August, but we found out that my blood type was missing from the forms. That took about a week to resolve, but then after it was all submitted to church headquarters, there was something else missing that needed to be faxed in before things were complete. We got that done and then began waiting.

We had hoped that a call would come before we went to SLC for conference, but due to the delays it had not shown up in our mailbox. We spent a week with friends from our first mission after conference and expected that the call would be in the mail when we arrived home on Wednesday, October 14.

We drove into Waldport about 1 pm and headed staight for the post office to pick up mail before going home. I was going to be calm, but the fact is that the last miles were very nervous and the last few hundred yards were really unnerving. The top envelope on the stack was from Salt Lake - now the butterflies really started. I drove nervously home and Georgia set up the camera on 10 second delay so we could capture the moment for posterity and our own blog/journal. Here is the picture for all to see.

Georgia had been hoping to go to Africa - you can see the excitement on her face as we read South Africa Johannesburg Mission is our assignment for 18 months beginning on January 11, 2010.

The rest of the day was spent notifying family and friends of the news and trying to settle down. We celebrated by going to Grand Central - the local pizza joint (they really do have good pizza and garlic rolls that Georgia just loves.)

Life is good and it is time to serve again!


Why Are We Doing This? -rh

Well, when we married, we promised each other that we would serve missions. That is plural. We have been doing things around our house and riding our bikes around the USA and so it is time to serve again. Service is the retirement plan in our church - we get some time for personal things and then go out into the world someplace to serve the Lord.

The name of the blog is adapted from the last (?) line in the movie - "Singles Ward". The young man received his mission call right at the end of the movie to the Idaho, Boise mission. His exclamation was "I'm goin' to Boise!"

I haven't done this since we came home from Washington DC, so forgive my errors. I'll try to be coherent and spell things correctly. I am inclined to use sentence fragments and dashes in sentences that probably should be separated. I also am inclined to use prepositional phrases at the beginning of sentences a bit too much.