Mama Borsay

In March of 2017 Elder and Sister Mahlum were trying to visit a sister in the Dallas 6th Ward at an apartment complex that appeared to have apartment numbers assigned at random. Sister Mahlum went exploring while Elder Mahlum stayed in the car and tried to impose some order on the numbering system. Three buildings away from the actual member apartment (she was homing in), Sister Mahlum saw a lady on the ground floor out on her balcony hanging up clothes. The woman had such an appealing and open smile that Sister Mahlum stopped, introduced herself and asked if she could retrieve her husband and show a video message about Jesus Christ. This wonderful stranger said yes, and Sister Mahlum hightailed it double time back to the car and breathlessly told Elder Mahlum to hurry up and come, she had found someone willing to listen. They re-found the apartment and were welcomed inside.

There they discovered the name of the lady was Mama Borsay, a delightfully open woman from Liberia, Africa who was babysitting for her four grandchildren. The children’s bible videos seemed appropriate so two or three of them were presented and enjoyed. Mama had a wonderful knowledge of the scriptures associated with the videos and helped explain the lessons to her grandchildren. Sister Mahlum asked if they could return in a week and discuss more of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Mama said yes, and an ongoing saga of weekly discussions was begun.

A panoply of young elders came with those discussions. Elders Bigelow, McCann, Toone, Fafita, Anderson, Shumway, Goff, Sutton and Averette all came to teach and challenge, to bask in the Spirit always present when two or three are gathered in His name. All loved to hear Mama pray, or more correctly, to hear her converse with the Lord and ask her gospel questions and pray for guidance and thank Him for blessings received. Mama did not need to be taught how to pray.

Sister Mahlum told her that on the first Sunday of the month testimonies of the Savior were shared in our church meeting and that members of the congregation were doing the sharing. Mama loved this idea and after several false starts due to her teaching obligations in her current church, she finally made it to fast and testimony meeting in July. She loved attending our church. She said she felt such love there, and that the Holy Spirit was there in that church of love. After that first venture, she has been faithfully attending each week. When she speaks with her daughter in Africa, her daughter laughingly asks if she is still attending her “white people” church and Mama emphatically answers yes. She tells all who will listen that the stories she heard in Africa about the church were lies and tells them to just attend one meeting and they will see.

Many baptismal challenges were issued and rejected on the basis that she had already been baptized. In September she went to the Saturday night adult session of the Irving Stake Conference. President Dalton, the Texas Dallas Mission President, shook her hand after the meeting and told her about the White Christmas program. He told her if she would be baptized then he would attend. She said ok! Sister Mahlum told Elder Mahlum afterward she thought Mama had just agreed to be baptized. Sure enough, the next week when the Elders questioned when she wanted to be baptized, she said Christmas. Later that was changed to the first White Christmas date. Thus, on December 2, 2017 Mama Borsay was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints by President Dalton at the Sunbeck chapel in Dallas TX. One grandchild attended, but they all want to attend and in time they will join. She will truly be a Savior on Mount Zion to generations of her family both past and future. All who know her love her and love to hear her testimony of the Savior.mamas baptism


The 2017 Christmas Newsletter

Dear Family and Friends,

20171020_171800We have been on our mission for over a year now. We are really enjoying it and are so glad that we are here in Dallas Texas. Well, technically we are here in Allen Texas, but 6 days a week we do drive to Dallas so we’re counting that.


We’ve met so many wonderful people and ironically many of them are from Africa. So instead of meeting people from South Africa, we have met people from all over Africa. We had the opportunity to meet and teach a lady from Liberia named Mama. She was baptized two weeks ago:

mamas baptism
Front row: SIster and President Dalton, Mama, Sister Mahlum & Manasseh, Elder Mahlum    Back row: Elders Sutton and Averett.

We also are meeting with two women from Kenya who were baptized several months ago. Recently we’ve had the opportunity to meet a lady from Zimbabwe who is now being taught and the young missionaries just baptized a fellow from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Lord has truly blessed us.

Danielle still works at Optimal Ship. At church she works in the nursery and as an activity days leader for the 8 to 11-year-old girls. She is still enjoying the church single and mid-single adult activities.

Celeste and Rich and their family moved to Salt Lake City, UT this year so Rich can finish a post-Doc training program at the U. Celeste is expecting a boy in February – her fourth child. We are all excited about this new addition and Terry will be going to help for a few days.

We are so grateful for the wonderful experiences we are having on this mission. We love inviting others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. Love it.


The Mahlums

Still Here

It appears that it is time for a semiannual post. For those who have not heard, our visas to South Africa were well and truly denied. The guinea pig the church sent after us with more documentation proving that we don’t get paid and don’t need a work visa, was also denied. So we are now here for the duration of our mission as live-at-home Member Leader Support (MLS – formerly proselyting) missionaries assigned to the Texas Dallas Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We love it.

The people of the Dallas 6th Ward are wonderful, caring and amazing people. Hmm, those young missionaries appear to be rubbing off on us – next I’ll be using “awesome” and “totally” and “freaking” all over. That really is a great blessing of this mission – being able to interact more with the great 18-20 year old young men and young women who are serving with us. We provide a lot of air-conditioned automobile rides for the bicycle riding missionaries. Usually with an hour or two notice. Sigh. But we totally enjoy their dedication and company.

We have taken a few pictures to enhance this rather staid blog, but unfortunately it has taken too long to write this brief amount. So the pictures will be uploaded later. Hopefully sooner rather than much later.



TDM (Texas Dallas Mission) Month 1

It’s been almost a month since we started serving as live-at-home missionaries. We have been assigned to the Dallas 6th Ward in the Irving, TX stake. For those not familiar with LDS terms – the church divides its congregations geographically and a congregation is called a “ward”, while a “stake” (that’s like a tent peg stake) consists of several (10-20) wards. Our newly assigned ward is centered around the I35/I635 intersection here in Dallas. The chapel is about 25 miles from our home and takes from 30-60 minutes to get there, depending on the time of day. The people are wonderful; the commute though, is a bit of a contrast from our Mariposa mission:

We have been making phone calls and visiting folks to get to know them. Well, Sister Mahlum has been making phone calls and we have been visiting. We have met some wonderful people and so far not a single grump among them. This initial meeting of people is the hardest part of the process for Elder Mahlum. Once we’ve met and started visiting them, though, he is hard to shut up. Sister Mahlum is very long suffering.

Christmas was very quiet and peaceful here. Our daughter Danielle is visiting with her sister Celeste in Iowa, so we had the place to ourselves. We stayed busy but found time to Skype with everyone in Iowa on Christmas Eve to watch the Christmas Pageant in the Davis home (great re-enactment by everyone – Celeste and Rich have definitely stepped up the costumes and acting several notches from us) and on Christmas morning to watch everyone (but mostly the grandkids) open their presents. That was fun. Family is a wonderful blessing.

All’s quiet for us on the South African visa front. The church sent another young man through the South African D.C. embassy with additional paperwork a week or so ago. Now we are waiting to see if he gets approved. If he does, we will make another trip to D.C. to resubmit all of our paperwork again with the new and improved stuff included. If he doesn’t get approved, the Church has another plan (C?) to pursue. That’s pretty much all they’ve said about that plan to us – they have one. So in the meantime, we are here enjoying this mission immensely. We get to associate with the young elders and sisters more here than in California, but living outside of their area does obviate the dinner invites to our house. Still, we do get the last minute calls that district meeting has/has not been cancelled and could we bring this or that, or provide rides here or there – so that makes us feel right at home. At 18 or 19 it is apparently very difficult to see more than one day ahead. Elder Mahlum has also suffered from this most of his life, but being on the receiving end is more trying than being on the giving end, he has discovered. Sister Mahlum is a (gorgeous) saint.

Texas Dallas Mission Begins

Monday, November 21 2016 we flew home to Allen to begin our live-at-home mission here in the Texas Dallas mission. We are sooooo excited. We met with President Taylor today and discussed how we can help the Lord’s work here. We will meet again on Friday to finalize our assignment. But today we attended our very first ever Mission Leadership Council. All the young missionary zone leaders, assistants and sister training leaders were there. President Taylor let us sit in since we were already at the building. Those young missionaries are wonderful; so willing to learn and so willing to listen to counsel, both earthly and heavenly. Tomorrow we get to go to zone meeting and meet with more amazing young missionaries in zone conference. Talk about perfect timing.

MTC Week 2

Monday, November 14, 2016 we were supposed to be on a flight to South Africa. Unfortunately, our visas had not yet arrived and Wednesday we learned our visas to South Africa had been denied. We had thought about this possibility and decided that if the Lord needed us in South Africa the way would be provided for us to go, but if not, we knew that we must be needed more someplace else. So we asked what came next and the very nice travel lady told us that was up to the missionary department.

We called them on Wednesday afternoon after classes, and another very nice lady told us the man who handled that was out but that she would email him and he would get back to us on Thursday. Sure enough, Thursday morning we heard from an extremely nice man and he told us we would probably be reassigned to a mission within the United States. Then early in the afternoon he called again and said they had decided to appeal the denial of our visa, and that we would be temporarily assigned as live-at-home MLS missionaries in the Texas Dallas mission until our visa status was resolved and then we would (probably) go to South Africa.  However, that plan was contingent on approval by the Missionary Committee which would, he said, probably take until the next Wednesday or Thursday. Then, an hour later he called again and said the Missionary Committee had expedited the process and approved the plan.

So, we are headed back to Texas on Monday, November 21 2016 to be live-at-home MLS missionaries assigned to the Texas Dallas mission until our visas can be approved.  We are really excited to serve in Texas especially since we have been doubly trained. Which would make sense we guess since we hopefully will serve in the South Africa mission when our visa status has been successfully appealed. Kind of a two-missions-in-one deal.

Our mission to South Africa begins.

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So, we are now entering our second week at the Mission Training Center (MTC) here in Provo, Utah. The original plan called for us to fly out on Monday, November 14. But even the best laid plans are subject to delay from power-hungry government bureaucrats. Our visa to South Africa has not yet come, so we will enjoy the MTC until our visa and passports arrive. In October we made a special day trip to Washington, D.C. to submit our visa applications in person. For every other couple sent to South Africa this has worked splendidly. But apparently all the dotting of the i’s and crossing of the t’s on our application were subject to more strenuous scrutiny. So we wait.

The good news, though, is that we get to revisit our last week’s training with a new and improved version this week.  They are updating the training this next week, so that should be fun.  I’m trying to persuade the MTC that getting this extra training should count towards our next mission, thus saving the church the expense of bringing us back to Provo. That idea hasn’t gained a lot of traction, though.