My parents are serving an LDS Service Mission at Heber Valley Camp. Here's what they've been up to:
Email from July 19, 2014
Just wanted to drop you all a note to let you know we are safe from the "Rainbow" group that is holding their annual meeting up here above our camp. Their camp is a little southeast of our camp on forest land.
There are two other girls camps which are on the direct route to this group's camp which have been temporarily closed. The Church has moved all the girls into our camp as well as some of the missionaries who were serving there. The Church has beefed up security to protect these camps from looting.
As far as our camp is concerned, security has been beefed up as well, in fact all of the missionaries here at camp - not just those serving on the security team - have been asked to serve four hour shifts of "guard duty" in addition to our regular assignments. This extra protection is 24/7. (THE CHURCH EVENTUALLY HIRED A SECURITY COMPANY TO PATROL DURING THE NIGHT HOURS) All the signs for Heber Valley Camp have been covered by tarps, and guards are now posted at the bottom of the hill by Timber Lakes Chapel, midway up the mountain at a place called Hall Road, as well as the regular Welcome Center at the actual entrance to camp. There were two more entrances to camp that border Timber Lakes, but those are now being guarded by Timber Lakes residents.
Dad and I pulled our guard duty Tuesday night from 5-8 during the snowstorm we had up here (yes it snowed in June - 5 inches to be exact). We didn't see any "rainbow hippie like" people though, just a beautiful snow storm.
We are serving at this camp which was dedicated by a Prophet of the Lord. Heavenly Father is mindful of us as missionaries, as well as all those who come to this camp, so we are certain we are safe - but precautions are being taken all the same. Continue to keep us in your prayers and know that we love you!
Excerpts from Newsletter Dated June 23-June 29
A Day in the Life of an HVC Missionary
Thought you might be interested in what our days are like up here on the Mountain:
Monday – This is our P-day. We spend most of the day doing our wash so we will have clean clothes to wear, we try to see as many family members as we can before heading back up on the mountain, and lastly, we always stop at Walmart in Heber and do our grocery shopping for the week. Up at camp, the Young Women begin to arrive about 10:00 am. We haven’t seen it, but I guess cars and buses are lined all the way down the parkway leading to camp – an incredible sight to see.
Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday - Our day begins when the alarm goes off at 6:15 am. We begin with scripture study and a prayer, then shower, dress, eat breakfast, and pack a lunch for the day. We have been rotating through the different challenge courses for now, but should receive a permanently assigned course in a week or so. We have to be on challenge course by 8:15, so we hop into the 4-wheeler about 8:05 and head out for the course.
Once we get to the course, Dad helps get the belay rope ready, as well as the ropes for the lower courses. Mom helps set out the harnesses and helmets as well as makes sure the course is clean and ready to go. We then have a thought and prayer with the 6 missionaries that will be working the course that day. About 8:45 the young women and their leaders begin to arrive on course. Once they are all there, we have an opening (we all take turns opening and closing the sessions), one of the young women offers a prayer, and then the fun begins. A little over 3 hours later the girls have all been on the high challenge as well as six lower challenge courses. We have a short closing and another prayer and then that group of girls go back to their camp. We have a break of anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes, we eat a quick lunch, and then the second group of the day arrives and we do it all over again. Once the second group of girls leaves, we put everything away, tidy the course and then go home – it’s usually about 5:00 pm when we get back home. Once we’re home, we eat supper and then usually read for a few hours before going to bed. We are tired from our work on the challenge course, so most nights we find ourselves in bed about 9:00 – that’s after nodding off while trying to read.
We love working with the Young Women during the week – they are always so happy and uplifting. Yes a few of them are scared to death to do the high challenge, but we ask that they challenge themselves to do a hard thing, even if the hard thing for them is just putting on a harness and helmet. As we bear testimony to them that they CAN do a hard thing, the Spirit is so strong that sometimes Mom feels like crying, but then you know Mom, it doesn't take much to get her crying.
Friday – All the Young Women leave camp Friday morning, so we get to sleep in. We get up about 8 or so, have prayer and scripture study, shower, dress and eat breakfast. Friday is house cleaning day, but after that’s done we will quite often go for a ride on the 4-wheeler. There are some awesome trails that only we missionaries can ride on, and each time we do we are amazed at the beauty of God’s creations!
We eat lunch about noon and then head off for our Challenge Course Team Meeting at 1:00. This is a weekly meeting of all the challenge course missionaries (20 couples plus the Team Leaders) to discuss issues relating to the challenge courses and to get our schedules for the following week. Once this meeting ends, it’s back to our challenge course where we set up for families and youth groups for two sessions – 3:30 to 5:30 and 6:00 to 8:00. It’s usually about 8:30 by the time we get home Friday night – and boy are we tired!
Saturday – We’re up at 6:15 again ready to be on course by 8:15. We run two challenge course sessions for families and youth groups – 9:00 to 11:00 and 11:30 to 1:30. We then take down the course and head for home. At 5:00, the families of the missionaries come up to camp, and by 5:30 we might be running some of them on our challenge course. If we have missionary families, we go back to the course about 5:00 and set it up all over again, run however many they have, then take the course back down again and head for home after another fun-filled day!
Sunday – This is a day of rest – at least from the work on the challenge course. Church starts at 10:00 and we meet in the main pavilion at Camp Hinckley. It is a little cold and breezy, but oh what beautiful scenery we have – better than any stained glass windows! Church ends at 1:00 and then we head home to change back into our camp uniforms for the next meeting of the day which begins at 2:30. We have either a Missionary Meeting with all the missionaries here at camp and the camp leadership, a potluck dinner, or a District Meeting – we have all been divided into 8 districts.
Once the second meeting of the day ends, about 3:30 or so, we can head down off the mountain to begin our P-day. This change will take place this week because we used to have two meetings after church that didn't start till 3:30 and end about 6:00.
The Lord’s Tender Mercies (by Dad)
We have wondered why we were called to serve on the Challenge Course Team. If you will remember, the sister missionaries are required to climb the high challenge and sit in the Eagle’s Nest for 3 hours while they connect people to the zip line. Mom’s doctor told her she could not climb because of all her artificial joints, so therefore, she can’t work in the nest. Mom has felt bad about this and felt like she was not magnifying her calling as a challenge course missionary. Well this past week there was a YW leader at our challenge course who had two artificial hips and she was feeling very discouraged about life in general. When asked if she would like to do the high challenge, she replied that she couldn't because of her hips. I sensed she was discouraged so I sent her over to talk to Mom. In talking with this sister, Mom learned that she had pretty much given up on life. She used to run and bike, but now felt like she was useless. When mom told her that she had surgeries for two knees, four hips, two thumbs and a shoulder, this sister couldn't believe it. She was surprised that we were even on a mission – she had crossed that possibility off for herself. Mom told her that she needed to stop dwelling on what she couldn't do and instead be grateful for what she could do. Mom then pointed out some of the positives in this sister’s life. The sister thanked mom for being a positive role model and for taking the time to help her see life differently. One of this sister’s friends came up to Mom and thanked her for talking to and encouraging this troubled sister. We believe the Lord knew this sister would be on our course that day. He also knew that Mom would be able to touch her heart in some small way, and that Mom, too, would find peace in knowing she was called to the challenge course team for a reason. For that we are grateful.
Well – that’s our week – sorry it was so wordy. Missionary service keeps us pretty busy, but we love it. We are so grateful that we can serve a mission here at this beautiful camp. We feel Heavenly Father blessing us each day to stay healthy and strong so that we can complete our assignments.
Remember we love you and are grateful for the prayers you offer up in our behalf!
Elder & Sister Luke (aka Mom & Dad, Grandma & Grandpa)
Excerpts from Newsletter Dated June 30-July 6
Special Experience of the Week (by Mom)Each challenge course here at camp has two journals, and each week as the young women are on our course, we ask them to write something in the journal if they would like to. Well this week, one young woman wrote that Elder Luke was her “new best friend” because he had helped her get up the cargo net and over the footbridge so she could go down the zip line. I feel so blessed to be serving with this wonderful man. You all know how he likes to tease, but at the same time make you feel loved. That is how he interacts with the young women who visit our course – he gives them encouragement when the going gets rough and tells them they “can do this hard thing”. When they have met their challenge – whatever it may be - he lets them know he is proud of them. Dad will always be my “best friend”!
Yep-That's my Awesome and Amazing parents for you. They're having a blast!
I miss them like crazy.