Thursday, July 2, 2009

Talk given by Hans Lassen in Primary, June 28, 2009

Sunday, June 28, 2009 Primary Talk by Hans Lassen
Our Theme this year in Primary is about strengthening families.

There are many things we do to strengthen ourselves and our families.

One of these is to try to pray and read our scriptures every day. We do this in our family. Just the other night, I wasn’t feeling well and couldn't’t go to sleep. I had faith that if my dad could give me a blessing, I would feel better and be able to sleep. My daddy is our Stake Patriarch and he gives lots of blessings in our home to other people when they come for their Patriarchal Blessings, but I know that all of our dads that hold the Priesthood can give blessings to their children any time we need them to. So, my daddy gave me a blessing and I was able to fall asleep and the next morning I felt all better again.

Another thing we do to strengthen our family is to work together.

Our Heavenly Father put us here on this earth to learn to work. This life wasn’t meant to be all about playing all the time. As members of a family and members of His church, there is lots of work to do and we must learn to be hard workers.

Pres. Hinckley said this about Work:
“Nothing happens in this Church unless you work. It is like a wheelbarrow. It doesn’t move until you get ahold of the two handles and push. Hard work moves the work of the Lord forward, and if you have learned to work with real integrity it will bless your lives forever. I mean that with all my heart. It will bless your lives forever” (missionary meeting, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 6 Aug. 1998).

Pres. Hinckley also said this:
Most of us are inherently lazy. We would rather play than work. A little play and a little loafing are good. But it is work that spells the difference in the life of a man or woman. It is work that provides the food we eat, the clothing we wear, the homes in which we live. We cannot deny the need for work with skilled hands and educated minds if we are to grow and prosper individually and collectively.

Our Prophet today, Pres. Monson said this:
Let each of us cultivate a willingness to work. President J. Reuben Clark, many years ago a counselor in the First Presidency, said: “I believe that we are here to work, and I believe there is no escape from it. I think that we cannot get that thought into our souls and into our beings too soon. Work we must, if we shall succeed or if we shall advance. There is no other way.”

Yesterday, my own family had a big job we needed to get done in our backyard. We had 3 big bougainvillea bushes that needed to be cut down because they were taking over our yard. My dad asked me to come out and help. My mom and dad worked with me. We put gloves on and used cutting tools and we worked for a couple hours together until the bushes were cut all the way down. My job was to clip the long, thorny branches into smaller pieces so they could fit in the trash cans. It wasn’t fun work. I got poked in the hand and in the arms a lot. I had to wear safety goggles to protect my eyes from getting scratched or poked by the thorns. Even though the work was hard, and I didn’t really want to do it, I stayed out there and helped my parents finish the job. We talked a lot while we worked and my dad showed me that it was probably a plant like this that was made into the crown of thorns that the Roman Soldiers pressed onto our Savior’s head. After we finished our work for the day, we went swimming together and that was a lot of fun.
I know that even though work and chores are not my favorite thing to do right now, our Heavenly Father and the prophets have told us it is a good thing to learn. I need to be a hard worker to do well in school. I will need to grow up and be a hard worker to earn a good living for my future family. I will need to be a hard worker to be a good missionary and to serve in the Lord’s church. Missionaries learn to work hard and serve other people. They give up 2 years of their life of things they want to be doing and work for the Lord. Missionaries who do this receive a lot of blessings from the Lord.
Being a good worker brings much happiness and satisfaction and I am thankful to be part of a family which is teaching me about work.
One of our great hymns in the church is about work. We sing it a lot in our morning family scripture time:
“The world has need of willing men, Who wear the workers’ seal,
Come help the good work move along,
Put your shoulder to the wheel.
Then work and watch and fight and pray
With all your might and zeal,
Push every worthy work along,
Put your shoulder to the wheel…
Put your shoulder to the wheel push along,
Do your duty with a heart full of song, We all have work; let no one shirk, Put your shoulder to the wheel.”

I pray that we will appreciate being in families and the things that we learn help to strengthen us and help us to return to our Heavenly Father some day.
In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Visit from some dear friends, Ray and Joanne Linford

Photo taken by Hans in our front yard

This past Friday night, I was waiting for John to get home from work and fixing a light dinner for us when I got a phone call from Joanne and Ray Linford. They were passing through Camarillo, after visiting one of their sons in Southern California, heading back up to Utah. They wondered if they could come by and say hi and of course we were excited to see them.
They came over and were so kind to sit down to dinner with John and I and Hans. I felt bad it wasn't much of a dinner, but they were so gracious. At least we had some delicious fresh strawberries to serve them for dessert! We had such a nice time with them and so many memories of things we've enjoyed about them raced through our minds. We enjoyed hearing many good stories from Ray and could have enjoyed them all night if they could have stayed longer.
We talked over the time they let us use their swimming pool to have our son, Christian, baptized there. It was during a draught, like we are having again in California, and so the baptismal font wasn't being filled as often. We scheduled the use of their home and pool for the special occasion and the morning of the baptism, Ray's dear father passed away there at their home. Despite the emotions of that, they told us to come on ahead and hold Christian's baptism there that evening, which we gratefully did.

We remember the many gatherings we enjoyed at their home when Ray was serving as Bishop of Camarillo 2nd ward. After Know Your Religions, we would get together for homemade soups and bread there. Joanne was always so kind to open their swimming pool up for anyone in the ward to come on Wednesdays for a free swim! Our children loved that and we took advantage of that so many times. We especially enjoyed seeing the tiles at the bottom of their pool that were designed with the covers of favorite children's literature books! So fun!
One favorite story Ray loves to tell is when they were fairly new to the (then) Ventura Stake. He was serving on the High Council and would come to speak now and then in the Ventura 3rd ward. He would see a single sister with lots of children sitting alone in church near the front of the chapel and kept wondering if she was married to a non member, or if her husband had died, or what? He later came to find out that this sister was the Bishops' wife! I was the eldest of all those children and it was my mother he was talking about! Fun stories like that only endear us to the Linford's more.
In 1996, John and I went over to the Holy Land as part of a BYU Travel Abroad trip and we got to visit them several times as they were serving there at the BYU Jerusalem Center. Our eldest daughter, Kirsten was there as a student at the BYU Center for 5 months at the time and she grew especially close to them. That was one of the highlights of our lives to be there at the Jerusalem Center and it made it even nicer because they were all there, too. They were still serving there when our son Erik went to the Jerusalem Center to attend the next year before his mission to South Korea. They had sadly gone back home when Ditte went to attend there the next year, though.

We love Ray and Joanne and have appreciated their good examples to us and their influence for many years. We love their wonderful children and the posterity they have.We miss them as they have been serving mission after mission and have moved from Camarillo to live in Utah between those missions. They let us know they have turned their papers in once again to serve yet another fulltime mission...we'll have to see where they are headed this time!
Love you, Ray and Joanne! We are so thankful and honored you stopped by!