A Little History:
Our story begins in Pocatello, Idaho, circa 1972, when the lovely Debby Christensen agreed to a first, though fateful date with admirer, David Croshaw. Long story-short, he bade her follow him, and they went arm-in-arm to the Logan, Utah temple for establishment of an eternal family unit, Generation 1, on May 23 1973.

From their first blissful summer in Salt Lake City, educational pursuits took them to Provo/Orem, Utah, birthplace of Leslie and Rebecca, and to San Francisco/Oakland California, birthplace of Colin and Matt. Then, for establishment of livelihood, expansion of the tribe with Abby and Dana, and for raising/unifying of Generation 2, it was back to the roots in Pocatello for a rewarding sojourn.

In time, driven by a raging, but commonly shared sense of adventure and independence, one-by-one, Generation 2 escaped the homeland to distant regions of the country and the world, each ultimately developing their own tribal expansions by pairing with worthy mates and initiating Generation 3.

Now sensing fulfillment of their purpose in Pocatello, Generation 1 has also left those roots and transplanted to Cascade Idaho, from which base, they anticipate more abundant contact with The Posterity, Generations 2 and 3, in the future. That contact however, awaits fulfillment of a call to LDS missionary service in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, wherein they hope to help the state of the world by sharing the love of Jesus Christ.

So now, including Generation 0 (Grandma and Grandpa Christensen) home base includes Yuma, Arizona, Pocatello, Idaho, Cascade, Idaho, Vancouver, BC, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Spokane, Washington, Boise, Idaho, Los Angeles, California, back to Boise, Idaho, and on and on (Generation 3+) to infinity.

Our Mission Statement:
This is the blog of our eternal family unit. Initiated years ago, it served well as a journal, but even more so, as an archive of our personal interaction. It was a gathering place, a confabulation instrument, a unifying force for four generations of widely dispersed and progressively prolific posterity, and their valued associates. Though it served these purposes well for many years, it eventually took a back seat to new-kids-on-the-block, Facebook, and Instagram, and was sadly forgotten.

We now move to resurrect this blog with an added functional purpose of archiving the missionary experiences of Generation 1, of their movements and activities as they participate with The Gathering of Israel in the land northward. In so doing, we hope that via their own comments and posts, this blog will again serve to gather and unify the posterity and their friends.

As in the past, that the young and vibrant may know the old and tired, that enduring bonds may be fostered and maintained, that experience and encouragement may be openly shared, that posterity may embrace truth, and that hearts may be knit together, we must resist detachment despite our geographic divergence. We shall do so here.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

A Garden Stroll With a "Little" Fish & Chips

200+ missionaries and 100+ cars can generate a lot of work for senior missionary couples serving in the office.  This week was no exception, so we were happy to see P-day come along.  After doing a little cleaning and laundry, we were ready for a little R&R.  Fortunate for us, British Columbia is home of abundant lush parks and botanical gardens.  So many gardens, so little time...
This week, we headed East to the city of Surrey, home of Darts Hill Garden Park.  It seems that some time around 1920, newlyweds Francisca and Edwin Darts bought a wooded, sloped acreage, and proceeded with their own hands, to build their home and clear the land. 

Over the following 70+ years, they blasted stumps, tore out brush, graded land, installed meandering pathways, and planted and nursed some most unique and beautiful trees and perennials over the entire hillside.
In 1994, still alive, but too aged to manage the garden's demands, the Darts donated it to the city of Surrey, for preservation, enhancement, and development of a horticultural center,

for the preservation, enhancement, and development of the unique plants, to be open and free to the public.  Of course they do accept donations and volunteer work, and they do sell yearly memberships, starting at just $20, which buys you all sorts of garden perks.

So, for a small donation, which we were happy to give, we entered "free" and spent a couple of hours enjoying the work of Francisca, Edwin, and the Darts Hill Garden Conservancy Trust Society.

Then, we headed South to the harbor/beach community of White Rock for some of the best Fish and Chips we've ever had (British style).  Check out the size of those hunks of halibut.  A broad peninsula that juts out into Boundary Bay, between the US and BC, White Rock has a sort of Laguna Beach/Hippy feel with a long strip of shops and walk-up seafood restaurants along

the beach.  We stopped at Coney Island Restaurant, which came highly recommended by locals for its huge hunks of fish.  Also frequenting Coney Island were some interesting characters in interesting garb.  This guy, for instance, remains loyal to the Motherland.

Then we crossed the street onto the beach.  Tide was out, so all you get to see in this selfie is a few tide pools, as backdrop to this contented couple, happy to be alive and to be serving here in British Columbia.  The work is satisfying.  The cause is just and true.  The World needs it.  We are blessed.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Ducks in the Pond Quack a Happy Song

I was walking in the park last week, and I heard this duck quacking really loud. We have been watching the ducks for the last few weeks. The males are really pretty, and the females are mostly brown with just a few colored feathers. We have noticed that they have all paired up. They may have been paired up for a long time, but we gradually noticed it being more pronounced. Sometimes in the early morning we would see them out walking on the lawns, but usually they just go up and down the little stream in the park. A few weeks ago I did notice that there seemed to be one more female than male in the whole group. I wasn't sure, but I couldn't see a male with this particular duck. When I started walking last week, I saw only one pair of ducks. They were on the grass, quite a way from the stream, and I think they were sleeping. They had their heads down under their wings. Then I was over by the steam and heard this loud quacking. It didn't take me long to fid this one duck, all by herself floating down the stream and quacking. I don't know what she was doing, but it made me feel really sad that she was all by herself, since the whole group has gone. Notice, I am avoiding that phrase "flown the coop." In the last two weeks we have had four missionaries go home early. It's really hard. They each, I believe, have some big challenges they are dealing with. Sometimes, no matter what we do, life is hard. There is no way to soften the blow of some of these difficulties. The problem for me is that I love these young missionaries, and I am really sad for them. I will miss them. When I was at the airport a few weeks ago I saw this teeny little bird flying around. There are quite a few of them that live right by the parking garage at the airport. This scripture immediately came to my mind. Matthew 10: 29-31 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. He knows when the sparrow falls. He knows when a little duck is left all my herself. Most importantly, he knows when missionaries have to go home early and they are hurting, and their family is hurting and we are hurting. He knows. He loves us all perfectly. He is there to comfort each of us. Because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, he knows exactly how we feel, and his arms are always stretched out to us. It is a perfect plan, and I am so grateful for a Father and Son who know us better than we know ourselves and love us perfectly. The 'very hairs of your head are all numbered." It is a very comforting plan.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Maggie Rae VanderLouw's Special Day

Our mission president encouraged us to take a few days away to attend a special family event.  So yesterday, we drove South across the border, and then about 6 hours East to Spokane, Washington,

 where today, our beautiful granddaughter Maggie VanderLouw (center, all white) was baptized and confirmed a member of The Church and given the Gift of the Holy Ghost by her dad, Ray.

Then, per our family tradition, we assembled our mock-up Celestial gate... 

...and Maggie added her signature to the gate, symbolizing her qualification for entry into the Celestial Kingdom.

For those who are not LDS, our doctrine stipulates the ordinance of baptism by priesthood authority as the gateway into into The Kingdom of God, or the Celestial Kingdom.   Baptism is symbolic of rebirth, available to those who thereby accept Christ as Savior and commit to follow Him throughout their lives, repenting as often as need be, to allow the saving grace of His atonement to work in their lives.  We believe, and invite all to come unto Christ. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

April 1 Departing Missionaries

The missionaries in front of our beautiful Temple. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Missionary Experiences

A few weeks ago I was talking to a missionary who had left the mission for a while and come back.  About 18 months into his mission, he had to go home for gall bladder surgery.  He went home, had the surgery and ended up being home for quite a few months.  After being home for so long he had gotten a job, and just the day before this experience he had visited with his Stake President and they had decided that it was time for him to be honorably released and move on with his non mission life.  He had been accepted to school and it seemed to be the correct choice.  He went to work a day or so later.   I don't remember what he told me he did, but it seems like it was kind of a handy man.  He went to this apartment complex, and as he was walking in he saw two missionaries going into a house.  He went to his assigned job and again, as he was leaving, he saw these same two missionaries walking down the street.  The Spirit washed over him and he knew that he had not yet completed his mission.  He needed to return to Canada.  He contacted his Stake President and returned last September.  I met him a week or so after we started working in the office in February.  One of my jobs is sending letters to parents and others notifying them of the missionary's return date and other pertinent information.  I asked him about his mom because she lives in Pocatello, so we became Idaho friends.  Last week he was again in the office with all the other departing missionaries.  He told me this story, and said it was a defining moment in his life.  Now, truly, his mission was finished.

These young people are making some of the most important decisions of their lives.   It strengthens my testimony to know how closely the Lord monitors all of our lives.  He will gently nudge us in the right direction.  Even if we don't always go in that direction, He never gives up.  We can never give up either on those we love, for whatever reason.  We should especially never give up on ourselves.

The Church is true.  These missions are training grounds for all of us.  I'm so grateful to be here.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Watching General Conference in BC

British Columbia, and particularly Vancouver and the Lower Mainland have become a prolific melting pot, as people from many lands immigrate here, hoping to find a better life.  Today, when

we went to our stake center to watch General Conference, we found that 5 rooms throughout the building had been set up with monitors for broadcasting all sessions in 6 different languages:  English, Cantonese, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish, and Korean.  Some of the Saints here joined the Church in their homelands, but many others have come from the efforts of our missionaries who are here teaching the gospel in all those languages, except Russian.  Some of them are teaching immigrants from their own countries, in their native tongues, but many more come from somewhere else, and learn the languages from scratch. Off the top of my head, I can think of missionaries from USA, Canada, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Palau, Mexico, Brazil, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea,  Phillipines, Micronesia, Australia, and England.

I think I posted this photo before, but these two are from Taiwan and Hong Kong.  They are companions and teach in Cantonese and Mandarin, and somehow they communicate with each other and with the rest of us as well.  Obviously, English becomes our common bond.  So, some of these young people have to learn to function in two languages that are not their native tongue.
These are our homies, the Korean speakers, pictured here with Mission  President Burt and his wife, Leslie.  On the left is Elder Kim, born in Korea, but moved with his family to Nampa, Idaho when he was about 10 years old.  So he is fluent in Korean and English.  Love this kid.  He keeps me afloat at church as he translates what Korean I don't get, which is most of it.  A funny little story about Elder Kim:  knowing that there are also a lot of Chinese people here, and that it is difficult to tell the two apart, I asked him how they find the Koreans when they are making public contacts.  He told me today's Koreans are quite trendy, and for some reason, they love New Balance shoes.  So, these  Elders just go out among the crowds and strike up conversations with people wearing New Balance shoes.  Next is Elder Okamoto.  That's Japanese, right?  Well,  his mother is American, but his father (never been in his life) was half Korean and half Japanese.  Elder O grew up in Las Vegas where he joined the Church about two years ago.  He arrived here from the Korean MTC (Provo) about 3 weeks ago.  He already speaks better Korean than I do.  Next is Elder Porter, just a good ole white boy from S. Utah, who has been here just over a year, and is doing very well for having started the language from scratch.  Speaking of scratch, he is a scratch golfer who has a golf scholarship waiting for him when he gets home.  Regardless of nationality, language, or assignment, what these young missionaries all seem to have in common is a strong testimony in the truthfulness of the gospel and a deep desire to share their message with the world.  They are much more prepared and focused than I remember  missionaries being when I was in their shoes 45 years ago.  I have yet to meet any who are not intent in their purpose and who do not reflect the joy that comes from knowing the truth and being  confident in your purpose.  With their limited life experience, they can be a little scatterbrained when it comes to driving mission vehicles, sometimes presenting headaches for the fleet coordinator (me,) but they make up for it in spirit and motivation.  I am confident that the future of the Church and the world is in good hands.

Departing Sisters

Left to right, standing: Sisters Lee, Spuhler, Thomson (from Pocatello), Manaso,  Flinders, Larsen, Wood, Heggie, Sanders, me.
Sitting: Neubert, Settle, Pavone.

Love these ladies.

Friday, April 3, 2015


Happy Good Friday

Good Friday is a major holiday in Canada.  Even our gym is closed.  The Burnaby Ward in Vancouver has a breakfast every year for their ward on this day.  It is an annual tradition.  It's a good thing.  It is a day we celebrate (funny word) the suffering and crucifixion of our Savior.  Google says it is traditionally a day of fasting and penance.  It certainly shouldn't be called 'good.'   But, I am really glad it is celebrated and I hope many people reflect on the Savior more today.

However, not everything is closed on Easter, the day we should celebrate as much as any day of the year,.  It is the day we commemorate the resurrection, the day when we are all freed from the "chains of death," thanks to the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.  In fact, part of each sabbath day we should celebrate the resurrection.  The gym is not closed on that day, but has limited hours.  Society does not always get these things quite right, but like I said, I am grateful that Good Friday is recognized.   I am so grateful for the gift of the resurrection and the possibility of eternal life through Him.  Happy Easter everyone.

I am entering a post I made at the airport earlier this week on Facebook.  The second set of missionaries went home and came into the mission since we arrived.  It is all very emotional.  Surprising how much we grow to love people in such a short time.

April 1, 2015
Still at the airport. We have only been here two months, but it is really hard telling these missionaries goodbye. They might think they are leaving the hard stuff behind, but they are not.  I hope they will keep working to make the world and their lives better. The first pix is a statue at the airport. The next two are the Women's Broadcast of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Sister Spuhler and I got a few sisters together and watched it at the Richmond, BC building Saturday night. I am so grateful for my husband, my children, grandchildren, parents and the rest of my wonderful family, which is central to God's plan for our eternal destiny. I am also blessed beyond words to have been able to be a homemaker all the years our children were growing up. Many careers are important to society, but this particular career was very significant to our family. David also was a homemaker as were our children. We did it together. We are still doing it.

Don't have time to add photos this morning.  Will add tonight.  Happy Good Friday! #BCRealMormons