Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A Fascinating West Indies Mission Blog Brought to You by Dr. Di with a Little Help from Her Husband

I recently received a comment on my mission president series from a Dr. Di who encouraged me to keep going on my blog. Since I seldom get any comments, I was curious as to who Dr. Di was so I clicked on the picture of an attractive middle aged woman sitting on her veranda in her barefeet in some tropical looking place (Trinidad) typing on a (I can't believe it) Macintosh Computer.

The funny thing is that as I looked at her picture I can picture her sitting with a hollowed out coconut with an umbrella straw sipping a pina colada drink on a hot summer day. In my mind I heard Harry Chapin singing the song:

Brother bought a coconut
He bought it for a dime.
His sister had another
She paid it for a lime.

She put the lime in the coconut
And drank them both up.

Called the doctor, woke him up, and said
"Doctor, ain't there nothing I can take"
I say, "Doctor, to relieve this belly ache?"
I say, "Doctor ain't there nothing I can take"
I say, "Doctor, to relieve this belly ache?"

The funny thing is that one of the missionaries serving in her mission field really did have a terrible belly ache so I was actually prophetic.

Bottom row: Cooper, Taylor, Sylie; Middle row: Amanda, Tessa, Emily, Grace; Top Row: Rachel, Dallin, Julia (all left to right)

When I arrived at her site Robison Family Home Evening Guide I am greeted by ten beautiful cherubic blond hair mostly brown eyed children dressed in white. At first I couldn't figure out if she had outdid me in having ten children to my eight children. I wondered for a moment if she had triplets but no they are all too close in age to be from one family, but lo and behold they are her grandchildren. I was startled at first because she doesn't look old enough to have this many grandchildren but she does.

As I read the premise behind the blog I discovered it is co-written by her and her husband Reid Robison, President of the West Indies Mission as a combination mission blog and family blog to help their ten grandchildren learn about what their grandparents are doing. It has a lot of church history and doctrinal stories for the children and their parents to discuss in their family home evenings.

Dr. Di has really spruced up the website with interesting conversion stories and other primary level items such as using colorful birds to relate gospel principles or discussing a young child's conversion and baptism to the church. The truth is that Dr. Di is not only teaching her grandchildren but she is writing at the level of most typical missionaries which is a fourth or fifth grade level. She breaks down complex concepts to a simple form. I can see her doctorate in education and her master's of art in play on her site. There is some really good FHE suggestions for games and activities.

President Reid Robison has only a few posts on the site but they are actually mighty interesting. I especially enjoyed his post on his call to be mission president.

"President Monson discovered they were born in Toronto and then began to tell us his experiences in Toronto as mission president. He came around from behind the desk and showed us his report to the First Presidency of his mission. He turned the pages slowly and quoted from each page. He pointed out the progress going from 2.16 baptisms per missionary to 5.63. When he completed the mission, they baptized 1000 souls -- up from 300 the first year. The 300th Stake of the Church was created in Toronto while he was mission president. He and his wife had signed the report he showed us.

He told us stories of his children in Canda--a sister (nonmember) who taught his little daughter and was impressed that she could bear her testimony of the Church after reading her an article from the Friend magazine. The lady's name was Mrs. Pepper. She visited the Salt Lake Temple Square before she died and left them a note of her impressions. His daughter did Mrs. Pepper's temple work after she passed on. President Monson's son had his first paper-route in Canada. Their cook mixed chocolate cake in with the soup to make it edible. (She was not a good cook). He spoke of a special, private spot behind the mission home at 123 Loma (next to Casa Loma) in a ravine--where he would retire to pray. He made a promise to the Lord to do everything he could to magnify his calling as a mission president and asked the Lord one thing in return--that he wouldn't lose one missionary. One died of lung cancer six weeks after the mission and two or three tried to run off from the mission but came back. He "rescued" one from Arizona (where H. Burke Peterson was the bishop of the boy). He plotted out a route where the elder had a different bishop to feed him and him him fuel his car every 400 miles back to Toronto. He also got a boy who escaped to Ogden to come back. When President Monson told us about the fact that Jamie flies to our mission enroute to BYU, he told of two twins who served in Asia and stopped in Iceland, where their parents served (their heritage)as a mission president couple and completed another mission. We don't think Jamie will want to do that.

President Monson then gave me a memo card with his name on it and had me write three things using his fancy black pen: (These are the words of counsel Harold B. Lee gave him as a new mission president)
1. Whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies
2. When you are on the Lord's errand, you are entitled to the Lord's help
3. The Lord shapes the back to bear the burdens placed upon it.

President Monson taught us about the key to getting referrals from members. He said you don't challenge the wards to get 20 baptisms, but rather 20 home teachers to strengthen the ward. He said members should approach these four types of individuals:
1) those suffering the loss of a loved one
2)those who have experienced a birth in the family
3) new move-ins
4) those who have a troubled teen

Throughout the interview, President Monson would pat Diane's hand as he talked to us. He complimented her red and black colors (it was a Christmas outfit because he said it was the color of West High. He went to West High and his wife with to East High. When I told him I taught the living prophets class and often told how he met his wife, he said his father-in-law (to be) cried when they first met.

He also taught of two types of mission presidents--a mother had twins in different missions. She thought one president was good and the other was bad. The one sent pictures of the mission president and their missionary. The other never did. In essence, the latter was the stronger president, but you could never persuade the mother of those boys to believe that....

Additional insights from the experience with President Monson:
1) Always pray about transfers so you can tell the missionaries you prayed about it.
2) Don't let your zone leaders butter you up to get a preferred choice of transfers.
3) Take time to date your companion while on the mission."

The mission president also has some good goal setting stuff. A few I liked include: Taking Control of Your Life, Let's Talk Make It Happen, and Why Should We Get Up Early. He does a half-way mission report that is informative about what he accomplished as a mission president.

My favorite blog post Stand Still See the Hand of God by Dr. DI is a great FHE story:

"The Story of the Missing Martinique Elders: On Monday December 3, 2007, Grandpa Robison received a phone call from Elder Beck, a zone leader serving in Martinique. Elder Beck reported that two missionaries, Elder Tyson Gray and Elder Thomas Swain had not returned home that evening. This is the first time Grandpa and Grandma Robison had received this type of message in the 18 months that they have been serving. The next morning Grandpa and Grandma boarded a plane and flew from Trinidad to Martinique to direct the search for the missing elders.

The week prior to the disappearance of the elders, Martinique had been hit by a serious earthquake and on August 16th of this year, the island had been plastered by Hurricane Dean. (See Section 43:25 of the Doctrine and Covenants.) The Lord is speaking to the people of Martinique, which has the lowest rate of baptisms in the mission.

Grandpa did not know for sure where the elders were lost. They had been very vague in their report to their zone leader the night before preparation day. The two elders had also been warned about how difficult a hike up Mount Pelee would be because of the difficulty in getting transportation back to their proselyting area by 6 p.m.

Grandpa organized the members and missionaries in their search efforts. He flew in the two elders who had trained the two missing elders from French Guiana. He flew in 4 members from Guadeloupe to search and put 4 missionaries from Guadeloupe on a ferry with their van to assist in Martinique on the search. Members distributed flyers all over the island at every hospital, taxi station, city hall and market place in every village in Martinque. Everything that was possible to do to find the elders was done. Search parties were organized on Mont Pelee and the police had dozens and dozens of men hiking through the woods in search of the two elders. The elders and members were counseled to pray specifically for inspiration as to exactly where to find the elders.

The newspaper put a picture of the elders on the front page. Everyone Martinique was talking about the missing elders. It was at that point on Thursday morning, that the words of this scripture came to mind: "Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie within our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed." (D&C 123:17)

After it it was all said and done....we had done everything within our power...the missionaries and members had held a mission-wide fast...members and leaders throughout the world had fasted and prayed for the missing elders as did their families and the wards of their families...it was a Hindu man who had a vision Wednesday night that he would find the elders on his property in the dense vegetation....and Thursday morning he found them.

The missing elders told us that they had started off the volcano in search of a little village they saw in the distance so they would be home in time to proselyte. They quickly found that there were unseen dangers (crevices, cliffs, etc) for having strayed from the path. They were protected from wild animals such as snakes. They were not exposed to severe weather conditions such as the rain that fell before they left and after they were found. They found an irrigation pipe that gave them clean water. They found an abandoned refrigerator that held some flat coke and a bottle of rum with soaked apricots. By not touching the rum, the media learned about the word of wisdom. Who else would the Lord provide an old refrigerator other than two lost missionaries....is this all a coincidence? Do you see the hand of the Lord every step of the way?

Prayers had been answered....we had done everything in our power to find the elders and the the salvation of God was made manifest."

If you want to read a colorful site with great mission advice and stories check out their site. They even have a great blog for Returned Missionaries of the West Indies. You will have a fun filled time and be spiritually fed.


dr di said...

The information here is not completely accurate. I tried to send you an email response to Dr. B" noreply-comment@blogger.com but I'm not sure it got through.

Dr. B said...

If I have made any errors let me know and I will correct the immediately. I like to have accurate information. You have some nice blogs that are quite well done. Keep up the good work. Especially your home evening lessons which are interesting and uplifting.