Monday, May 30, 2011

Traveling to Toronto

We left Logan on Saturday May 21st and arrived in Toronto on Friday May 27th.
On Saturday we went to Martin Cove in Wyoming and stayed with Sister Wheelers uncle and aunt John and Karen Peterson who are serving as missionaries there. We were able to spend the night with them and experience the life of "pioneer missionaries".  They celebrated the birthdays of two missionaries that night with a big party (close to 20 missionary couples). They like to party. We then went to church with them at the cove. It was interesting to be with such a large group of missionaries and to be missionaries ourselves. They had a pot luck lunch after the meetings which we were able to enjoy also. After the lunch we headed for northeastern Wyoming and spent the night in Moorcroft.

Elder and Sister Peterson with Sister and Elder Wheeler
 On Monday we went through some beautiful countryside to visit Devil's Tower National Monument, a large rock formation. We took a short hike around the tower. What a beautiful place. Maybe we will move there after our mission (no, we forgot about the 9 month winter they have).

Sister Wheeler at Devil's Tower
We then had an appointment with a few of the Presidents of the United States at Mount Rushmore National Memorial. We looked for the carving of President Obama, but couldn't find it.

The Presidents
We then tracted out the Badland at Badlands National Park. Quite a day for missionaries, Devil's Tower and the Badlands in one day.

Sister Wheeler at the Badlands
On Tuesday we decided to stop at Mitchell, South Dakota to see the Corn Palace. After a trapper commented that nothing could grow in that part of the country, the settlers started using their "excess" corn to decorate their theater. The tradition has continued for over a century with new decorations each June.

Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota
From there we went to see the National Music Museum in Vermillion, South Dakota. They had a good collection of historical musical instruments as well as instruments from all over the world.
Musical Instruments from Southeast Asia
We then entered Minnesota and visited the Pipestone National Monument celebrating the quarry where Native American peace pipes were made. There was a bit of flooding (which we encountered across the nation).
Elder Wheeler sitting on Pipestone rock
We spent the night with Grant and Janus Wheeler. It was fun to see them again and witness the fun personality of Alexis. It reminded us of our visit to their home in India.
Sister Wheeler with Grant, Alexis, and Janus
The next morning we were greeted with the broad Wheeler Smile of Edison when we visited Steven and Kara Wheeler and their three lively children.
Steven with three hands full
Kara and Sister Wheeler with ten hands full

We had a long day of travel through Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan in the rain, ending up at Holland, Michigan.

Thursday brought a lot of memories of Paul's brother, Doug, and his family as we headed across Michigan. We were able to see a wooden shoe and Delft pottery factory. We then went to Nelis Dutch Village. We were there many years ago when we visited Doug and his family in Michigan. The village was closed back then, but we were able to see it this time. We then went a little ways south to Saugatuck to see Peterson Mill. We stopped by Frankenmuth (a German town) on our way to Port Huran where we spent the night.

Elder Wheeler in his new "flood" shoes
Sister Wheeler buying cheese at Nelis Village
Small mill in Nelis Village

Peterson Mill
Covered bridge in Frankenmuth
We went across the border into Canada early on Friday and crossed Ontario to Toronto. We were warmly greeted and were invited to dinner with the mission predisent and Portuguese missionaries.
Elder and Sister Lindsey, Elders Lima, Workman, and Woodruff, Elder and Sister Wheeler, President and Sister Eyer
Well, we are here and ready to get busy with our mission. Best wishes to all of you.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


We entered the MTC on Monday May 16th. We dropped Andrea off in Layton on our way and checked in at about 10:30 am. We had snow through Sardine Canyon.

Here I am as we enter the MTC. It was a week of intensive teacher training. We were told when we pulled in that we had been assigned to the Marriott Hotel downtown. Others commented "Oh, you have soft beds".  We registered and then were given an introduction and tour of the MTC. Missionaries are known for gaining weight at the MTC cafeteria. Paul was told to see the dietician about gluten-free meals, but she had the week off. He was given a menu for the week with all of the foods containing gluten crossed off. He will probably be the only missionary to loose weight at the MTC.

Tuesday we were divided into districts. Ours consisted of three couples. Our morning teacher was Brother Harmer. Our afternoon teacher was Sister Rodrigues. We decided to sing in the MTC choir for the Tuesday devotional. The guest speaker was Elder Richard G. Hinckley. His father (Pres. Hinckley) told him about Adam taking two of his sons to the wall surrounding the Garden of Eden and saying, "This is where your mother ate us out of house and home"

Sister and Elder Rydalch
Our district leader was Elder Rydalch. Elder and Sister Rydalch are from Idaho Falls and are going to the Kenya Nairobi mission, but will be serving in a small branch in Tanzania. Talking to them and their new adventure reminded me of my brother Richard and our trip through Kenya and Tanzania.

Elder and Sister Rowland
Elder and Sister Rowland are from Orem, Utah. They are going to the California Fresno mission. They will be working in the Sequoia area of California,  activating members in the ward there.

Elder and Sister Wheeler
Elder and Sister Wheeler are from Logan, Utah and will be going to the Canada Toronto East Mission, Portuguese speaking (but you already know that).

Sister Rodrigues
Brother Harmer

Our teachers made it fun to go through Preach My Gospel and role-play teaching techniques.

Wednesday Diane played the piano for the general meetings. We had our first teaching experience by giving the first lesson (The Restoration of the Gospel) to a  widowed investigator who moved to Utah from California (at least that was her role). Her name was Catharine Judd from the Saratoga Stake in California. She asked if Paul were from San Jose. He said no, but he had a brother Richard from San Jose. Another mistaken identity. Her husband was a distant cousin of Diane's. We ended the day with Portuguese tutoring. Paul met with Marcel Souza from Curitiba and Diane met with Talita Bejarano from Brasilia. 

Talita with Sister Wheeler
Marcel Souza

 We had two nights of tutoring in Portuguese. Talita set up a learning plan with Sister Wheeler, whereas, Marcel talked to Elder Wheeler in various role play scenarios (in Portuguese, of course).

Thursday we had another teaching experience. This time we taught a second lesson  (The Plan of Salvation) to Joy Lundberg. On the way to the MTC we stopped at the Sister's Missionary Mall and purchased a small wooden puzzle on the Plan of Salvation (the Portuguese version). We used it in the lesson and it worked very well. We often took short breaks to walk around the MTC (in spite of the rain all week). Since we were staying in the Marriott we would leave by about 7am and not return until after 8pm.

Sister and Elder Wheeler tracting with Samuel Smith

Friday was our last day at the MTC. We had role-plays activating members of the church. We also took some farewell pictures of some of the missionaries. Diane especially liked meeting with so many people and feeling the missionary spirit. She could see the gospel spreading throughout the world as she found out where the senior missionaries were going. Paul enjoyed interacting with the younger missionaries. He only used Portuguese, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Mandarin, Thai, and Russian with other missionaries. Two sister missionaries going to the Philippines wanted to give a street contact in Cebuano (they had to do 15 of them to practice). Paul surprised them (as well as himself) when he interpreted what was being said before the companion could translate.

Group picture of those who hadn't left yet
District map picture
 We returned to Logan on Friday afternoon. It was slow going because of multiple accidents on the freeway. Arriving about 7:30 pm we commenced to pack and load up the car. When we were ready to go to bed we noticed a police car in front of our house with its lights blinking. It was not long before there were three other police cars. They stayed for several hours and we didn't get to bed until about 2am. They never came to the door, so we didn't need to be bailed out of jail. Apparently, there was a man with a 17-year-old girl creating problems. The MTC week is over and we will soon start a new phase of our mission.

Ate logo

Paul and Diane [Elder and Sister Wheeler]

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Setting Apart

Today has been a special day. At 8:30 this morning a neighbor that used to live in Hawaii came by and brought us each a flower lei. They were real flowers. They said that it means farewell not good bye. If you throw the lei in the water it will always come back. That was such a special thing for us.

We spoke in church and Andrea surprised us by being the musical number. She played a hymn medley of "More Holiness Give Me", "I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go", and "How Great Thou Art". It was nice to have several family members there. We had Steve and Lisa, Richard and Virginia, Jericho, Garrett and Emilie, and Ken and Kate. Then there were many other friends.

My topic was on the divine signatures of the Lord in my life and Paul's was why he was thankful to have me for a companion. A newly returned missionary from Brazil was the first speaker.

We were set apart in the afternoon by President Wallis and many of the family members were able to stay for it.

We have felt such a wonderful spirit all day. We are now offically Elder and Sister Wheeler. We report to the MTC in the morning between 10 and 11 a.m.
Our leis
with Andrea

with Richard and Virginia

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Honors, Cleaning and Moving

This week has been busy. On Tuesday night the Electrical Engineering Department had a dinner at The Elements restaurant in Logan. It was for the department to honor and to say good bye to Paul. We had a nice dinner but the best part was that the secretaries in the department had searched out former students and others that Paul had worked with and had them write up their memories of Paul. They had them spiral bound and presented them to Paul. It made him feel good when he read them later that night. He decided that maybe he did some good in the department.

On Wednesday I had a doctors appointment to finalize my medications for the mission and when I got home Paul was busy cleaning the windows. He had already cleaned the light fixtures. I then started to help by cleaning the grout between the tiles in our entry, main floor bath, and kitchen. We accomplished a lot that day.

We are gathering, storing and cleaning. Many places look rather bare now. On Saturday we moved the organ across the street to our neighbors for the next 18 months. A member of our ward manages the Bishops Storehouse and brought a cart over to help us move it. We got the organ out the door and then onto a board that created a ramp from the top step to the cart. Once the organ was on the board we slid the board onto the cart. We had some neighbors come help. It was quite a site to see this organ being wheeled across the street.  Cars would slow down and look. We repeated the process at the Francis home only this time we were going up the steps. We then went back and got the pedal board and bench.

The Francis family are excited to have it in their home. We know it will be loved while we are gone. This morning I thanked one of the neighbors and he mentioned that we should have taken a picture. Why do we never think of these things at the time. Sorry there is not a picture for you. We will try to do better.