Thursday, July 15, 2010

A New Family in the Bronx

We are so happy that Elder Rossell and his companions have found another wonderful family in the Bronx.  They were baptized last Sunday and he reports they are a very choice group!  Amazingly, we returned from our mission a year ago last Saturday.  We can't believe it's been a year, but we are so happy our nephew is there serving the Lord, and teaching wonderful new members.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Called To Serve, NYNYS

Here's a great slide show from our mission. How it makes us homesick for New York City, especially The Queens Stake, The Astoria Ward, and all of the Young Single Adults! We love and miss these great missionaries and the inspired work that continues day to day and year to year.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Third Generation

After returning from our mission last summer, we thought we were all through with 18 Months in the Big Apple...Now a new chapter is beginning!

For those of you who remember us and our time in New York City, we are so excited that our nephew, Elder Rossell will enter the Mission Training Center next Tuesday, March 24th. He is the third generation from our family to be called to serve in New York City. My parents served in the New York, New York Mission in 1992-93. The mission was divided shortly after their return to their home. We served (18 Months in the Big Apple), New York, New York South Mission, January 2008-June 2009. Now our nephew from Arizona, will serve in the New York, New York North Mission for the next 24 months.

We wish him the very best and have a feeling he will love the people and work in his mission as much as we did. After serving with many young missionaries, we know he will serve with all his heart. He has every quality that a faithful missionary needs and New York City will love him too! Watch for highlights of his service along the way!

Monday, August 10, 2009


The West Family
Sunday, July 19, 2009, Rexburg Idaho.

After 18 Months in the Big Apple,

we are happy to be Back in the West.

We will continue sharing our life with family and friends.
Please leave a comment or e-mail me if you'd like to view our private blog.

Thank you!

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Friday, August 7, 2009

Westward Ho!

When I say, "We loaded the car," it was Idaho or bust! We prayed for a safe trip home and we had an absolutely wonderful time crossing the country together. We took our time, traveling eight days between Astoria and Rexburg. Each morning we enjoyed a leisurely walk before we climbed in the car. What a beautiful country America is. One of the highlights of our trip was traveling to see my sister, Robyn, in Virginia. Her husband, Fred was in California caring for his 90 year old father, and her BYU age son was on a tour in France. We had her all to ourselves!

Robyn is just 20 months younger than me, a talented homemaker and mother of five. She and Fred built their lovely home just prior to our mission, so this was our first visit. It was so warm, welcoming, and comfortable. We wished we could have stayed longer than just one night!

Fred and Robyn have traveled the world and lived in Saudi Arabia. They have collected treasures that mean so much to them. They are beautifully displayed through out the house and I loved her robin's-egg blue colored kitchen with large, bright, windows all around their dining room that looks out on their deck and lush green backyard.

Robyn is a avid quilter and her good works are incorporated into every room along with

beautiful birds, nests and eggs, her hallmark. All of her friends and family give her gifts around her theme!

As we enjoyed a delicious, fresh, salad from her garden for dinner we watched majestic deer grazing out just past their backyard. Robyn sprays something that smells bad and helps to discourage their wanting to graze on her grass and nibble her garden. Later the three of us relaxed in the theater room and all fell asleep during a movie! In the morning we walked along a stream and explored her friendly neighborhood before we said our goodbyes. Thanks Rob for a real leisurely stay. After moving it was such a treat, the perfect antidote to lift our spirits.

Neither of us had been to Nauvoo since the temple was rebuilt. We first saw it from across the Mississippi River sitting so magnificently on the hill. We had the opportunity to attend an afternoon session. As we thought of many of our ancestors who received their endowment and were sealed in the original temple we felt very close to them. It was a most beautiful experience for us.

Elder West in front of the Nauvoo Illinois Temple.

Hyrum and Joseph Smith, martyred in Carthage, Illinois are remembered and honored with this

incredible bronze statue with the Mississippi River in the background. Joseph Smith was the prophet of the Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Joseph translated The Book of Mormon, another testament of Jesus Christ. Hyrum was witness to the ancient plates of gold Joseph translated from. He was faithful, devoted to the gospel and Joseph even unto death. Hyrum was also an early leader in the Church.

Amazing flowers were blooming everywhere we looked. The temple grounds were inviting and there was a special reverence we felt as we visited with each other about our families.

We went to the Hotel Nauvoo for a buffet style dinner and it was jam packed with tourists as well as people who think it's the best place to eat in Nauvoo. It was laid back and charming.

The Nauvoo Pageant was beginning July 9th and so we knew we arrived too early. We were pleasantly surprised when we learned that we could attend a dress rehearsal being held the evening we were there. We were amazed at how many families and young people were apart of the cast. They were there donating a large part of their summer days to rehearsing and performing in the pageant. We thought of how much our children would have enjoyed that opportunity involving a lot of singing and dancing. Surely, it is a testimony building experience.

In the end the cast and temple shine, truly "a light on the hill."

Each temple is so beautiful from every side. It was glowing at dusk. This is a day we'd looked forward to during our mission and we felt so rewarded and grateful to be in such a sacred place.

The next morning we hit country roads on our way to Independence, Missouri. Don't you just love these great roadsigns? We really wanted to share the road!

We enjoyed some quiet time at the beautiful Valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman.

It is flanked by The Grand River.

As we looked out over this pristine valley, we remembered what David O. McKay said and we knew we were on holy ground. It too was a sacred experience to be here together.

Revelation given to Joseph Smith the Prophet, near Wight’s Ferry, at a place called Spring Hill, Daviess County, Missouri, May 19, 1838. HC 3: 35.

1 Spring Hill is named by the Lord Adam-ondi-Ahman, because, said he, it is the place where Adam shall come to visit his people, or the Ancient of Days shall sit, as spoken of by Daniel the prophet.

Sunday we visited the Independence Visitors Center and the Independence First Ward. We met wonderful missionaries and members and enjoyed hearing their testimonies.

After crossing Kansas, we arrived in scenic Colorado with the beautiful Rocky Mountains. It started to feel like home. My youngest sister Kim and our brother-in-law, Sam, made us feel so welcome after getting their youngest son off to scout camp early that morning, delivering some of their married children and baby grandson to the airport and finishing some major business obligations. We always enjoy time with them and have been to their gracious home several times. They enjoy entertaining and have welcomed their four children and all of their friends often.

Kim and Sam are the queen and king of do it yourself home projects! Sam is a talented woodworker and Kim has the gift of looking at anything, figuring it out, and recreating it, making it look better than it does in any magazine. Notice the fabulous wall sporting a harlequin paint finish on a curving staircase. To me, this exemplifies patience and endurance I've never had!

We relaxed in their twinkle lit gazebo and dined on Sam's grilled salmon, sauteed fresh veggies, rice pilaf, green salad and then roasted marshmallows over the gas fire pit (Sam built) and laughed and talked while munching s'mores...a bit of heaven in the great outdoors!

As you rest in our nephew's fantasy cabin room and look up on the wall it says, "If You're Lucky Enough to Live in the Woods, You're Lucky Enough." Love, love, that thought.

Kim is not a quilter, but our mom is. This is her version of the same quilt my sister Robyn had in her home. They made them together and it's so perfect in Kim's cozy guestroom. I liked the headboards she made. She's finishing up a couple more things and it will be perfection!
The next morning we all went out for breakfast before we headed in opposite directions.

Thanks Kim and Sam for a delightful stay. To both of you along with Robyn and Fred, it's your turn to come our way!

Caroline, Margie, Renee and Charles

So please indulge me as I share a "one in a million" experience. We spent two days in Salt Lake getting needed things done. We were in Dillard's at Fashion Place when a poised young woman asked us if we were Charles and Renee West. We answered, "Yes," and she introduced herself as Caroline, the twin sister of one of our favorite Astoria Elders. We were so surprised when she told us that she recognized us from our blog. I gave her a huge hug, which is how sisters,(especially missionary sisters) in New York greet one another before I remembered that it's not really something everyone does in the West all of the time. I'm sure she was overwhelmed and I was embarrassed. We visited for a few brief minutes and went our separate ways.

We had become friends with this elder's mom through our blog and email and wanted to meet this dear elder's family, but time and circumstances wouldn't allow for it this trip. We finished things up for the day and had just arrived at our hotel when our elder's mother called to ask if it was too late to come and meet us. We were each amazed at what a small world it is and that we'd met Caroline that day. We waited in the hotel lobby greeting Margie, (his mom) and seeing Caroline again. Chas sprang for some delish desserts and we had the best visit and had the hotel restaurant all to ourselves.

As I have thought about this experience, I remember our then stake president, President Moeller setting us apart and promising us that we would make friends we would cherish all of our lives during our mission. We were blessed to meet senior couples in the MTC and New York who are wonderful friends, young elders and sisters who changed our lives and members of the Church all over our mission we love. Our surprise is that we are friends with so many of our missionary's families that we now know. We tried to give our best to NY, but now matter how hard we try, our Heavenly Father always gives back more than we can give when we serve Him.

Lots of blue sky was looking really good to us and we were so excited. For the first time ever we stopped and took a picture of the, "Welcome to Idaho," sign!

The soft rolling mountains and farm lands were so peaceful and we were so thrilled to be back in Idaho...a great state!

This is our exit. Coming up the freeway we saw the temple facing East on the hill below our home. It was emotional for both of us.

We left just before the Open House for the Rexburg Idaho Temple began. The night before we left we had the opportunity to clean the temple and see it. It is indeed a beacon in this town and this is how it looks as you drive up the hill to our home.

Our sweet neighbor, Deby and her grandchildren made a sign, hung balloons, and she planted flowers to welcome us home. We were so surprised. She knew our children would not be here to do it for us so she did. Thanks Deby, you are so thoughtful and we so appreciated it.

A remarkable young man, Nate, who is quiet and responsible, mowed our lawn, shoveled the snow, started our cars and kept our home vacuumed and clean. We heard from our friends, "It looks like you're home!" That brought peace of mind. Nate will be a great missionary in a couple of years. His President will feel very lucky! We couldn't pay him what's he's amount of money could repay him for his service.

We thank Deby,Scott, Ross and Jean, our neighbors, who assisted Nate, his parents and Bishop Webster who helped, calling us when there was a problem. This Spring the Young Men's organization from our ward came and cleaned up all the leaves too. Thanks guys, there's a sweet treat coming your way when you least expect it!

Our neighbors hugged us and welcomed us home. We had a memorable meeting with our new stake president, President Anderson, who released us from our mission. In the next few days our children, grandchildren and my mom arrived for our homecoming and a week long reunion. We have not stopped! Life has been crazy and so much fun. We are so grateful to our family for all of their support and love.

I was worried along with our grandchildren, about leaving all these little creatures behind. When we walked into our dining room and looked out the window, look who was stretched out taking a nap in our tree. This is for you Lizzy and's wonderful to be back home in the West!