Thursday, January 21, 2010

Friends with the Mafia

Scott has connections to the Mafia! Well, not really. This DVD, "Mario's Conviction," is a documentary about a man from Detroit, Michigan who was very much involved with underground crime in the city; that is until his wife made the mistake of allowing two young men in suits to enter their home. This is a powerful story of conversion and sacfrifice and one man's transformation from Mafia to Mormon. Although Mario was baptized even before Scott was born, Elder Butler dined many times in the home of Mario Facione and got to know him and his family very well. Scott and I had a geat time watching this movie, especially when they would interview people from the stakes and wards in the area that Scott remembered from his mission. I recommend this DVD (or the book) to all of you!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Year in Reflection

2009 seemed to slip by without us noticing. It wasn't as adventurous or exciting as 2008, but it still had its good moments and its challenges too.

The toughest challenges of 2009 were the loss of Carynn's dear Aunt Colleen in April, right around Easter, and Scott's sweet cousin Michelle just before Christmas.
Both of these losses, although sad, gave us time to reflect on the meanings of the holidays and remember the family members that are preparing a home for us on the other side. Our testimonies have been strengthened as well as our ties to both our earthly and heavenly families.

But we can't look at our challenges without looking at the many blessings that we also have. The blessings of 2009 include:

- Having the chance to live with Scott's mom for the majority of the year. This gave Jayna and myself a lot of time to get to know each other a little better. We are grateful for Jayna's hospitality towards us and her willingness to put up with us for 10 months!

-Sending out a Missionary! My little brother Riley left for his mission in May to serve in the CLAM! (California, Los Angeles Mission). We love getting letters from him each week and it was so good to speak with him on Christmas. Having a member of the family out serving a full time mission has been a blessing and strength to us. We love you, Elder Groves!

- Moving out of Jayna's home and back into the world of being independent adults. We love where we live and love the friends and ward members that have been so warm in making us feel welcome.

-Scott's new job!! This has been one of the greatest blessings we could ask for at this time. He is doing what makes him happy and it has paid off! Not only does it help our financial situation, but Scott showed so much talent and skill in his first weeks of work that it didn't take long for him to be promoted to a supervising position! I guess all that time and money at a University really does pay off.

- My schooling. It was a tough year for me, but I got through it. One of the highlights of my educational journey so far has been the wonderful chance I had this past year to intern at the Ouelessebougou Alliance. Not only was I able to see the inside workings of a Non-profit organization, I had the chance to exercise my french language skills on many levels, educate the local community on our sister community of Ouelessebougou in Mali, and make some friendships that I know will last for the rest of my life. It has been a life-changing experience I will not likely forget.

Plans for 2010:

We hope to have another year of seeing change and improvement in ourselves. We hope to strengthen our bonds with each other, our families, and our friends. We also hope to do a bit more traveling! And..... graduation! If all goes as planned, I will be graduating in December, finally.

A brief look at 2009