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February 28, 2006

Dear California Sacramento Missionaries,

Hello from the Grows! We hope this greeting finds you well and happy—we know you are busily engaged in lots of good things! We had planned to hold a reunion in conjunction with April conference, but as things have worked out, President Grow cannot be in Salt Lake at that time. And since it wouldn’t be a reunion without him, we’ll have to reschedule for a later date. We really appreciate all the Christmas cards, emails, wedding announcements, baby announcements and graduation announcements we have received during the past year. We love hearing from you and knowing what is happening in your lives. (And don’t forget we have those adorable baby mission T-shirts we’d love to send!) We will be back in touch when we have solid reunion plans and we look forward to seeing all of you who can come at that time. By the way, there are many missionaries and senior couples that we do not have “contact information” for; if you know anyone that might fall into that group, please email them this letter or send us their email addresses. In the meantime, please keep in touch and let us know how you are. You will always be our missionary sons and daughters and friends, and we will always care about what is happening with you.

If you want to read further, we’ll give you a brief update on us. President Grow is definitely in travel mode, in complete contrast to his mission. He has been working hard at basically three jobs this year (yes, the blender is on!). He continues to practice law for O’Melveny & Myers as counsel for the 93,000 acre Kennecott development on Salt Lake’s west bench which began to move through the public approval process this year. Additionally, he led a team of national experts in developing a 50-year vision for a huge parcel of land near Orlando, Florida. He also serves as a national officer of the Alliance of Regional Stewardship and assisted more than a dozen metropolitan regions of the country in planning their long-range future following the blueprint that Envision Utah successfully established under his leadership over the last decade. In the last two weeks, he has traveled to Orlando, New Orleans and Baton Rouge (Katrina), Tampa, FL, Tallahassee, FL, and Washington, D.C. to consult with regional leaders. He also found time to speak at BYU Women’s Conference last year on--you guessed it!--family history and is once again president of the Jared Pratt Family Association, with another large reunion scheduled for July 2007. (Fortunately, our son David is helping with that project! By the way, are any of you out there Pratts? President Grow is a descendant of Parley but we are also looking for descendants of Orson and their three other brothers.) President Grow and I currently teach a stake mission preparation class for young men and women and will soon start working on the senior couples!

One of the major highlights of our year was the return of Elder David Grow from the Greece Athens Mission. On October 15, 2005, David and Lisa Telford (his best friend and sweetheart from Folsom, California) were married in the Salt Lake Temple. David certainly found “gold” in the California Sacramento Mission! (The picture below is of our family on Dave and Lisa’s wedding day.) President Grow and I were able to travel to Greece with our son Adam and his wife April, which was a remarkable and memorable journey. We had the special experience of visiting the new branch in the city of Pafos, Cyprus, which David had worked so hard to create for the last six months of his mission. The last known missionary to serve in Pafos was the Apostle Paul (see Acts 13) and it was rededicated for missionary work in January 2005 by Dave’s mission president and Dave and his companion. We enjoyed meeting the incredible people that Dave baptized, who come from many parts of the world, as well as the missionaries and couples who serve in that unique and historical place.

To download the orginal (780KBytes) click here, right click on the new image that appears and select "Save Picture as" from the list.

Another highlight of our year was the birth of Jaime Anne Heiner, our seventh grandchild and the first child of Serena (our daughter who came to California with us) and Doug Heiner, on December 20th. Serena and Doug are living in our basement until he starts medical school in the fall, so we get to see our beautiful Jaime everyday.

Some of our travels this year have revolved around our children. Our son Bob graduated from Johns Hopkins Medical School and he is now a resident at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, in emergency medicine. Our oldest daughter Lisa and her husband Karl (who works for Google) and their two children moved to Beijing, China, in August, and we are leaving on March 2nd to visit them and their new country. We also are expecting two new grandsons about the first of June (so we will have a total of nine grandchildren) and our son Matthew will complete his Ph.D. this summer in American Religious History at Notre Dame by writing a biography of Thomas Kane.

We have so many fond memories of you and our mission experiences and we reflect on them often. We are especially looking forward to the completion of the Sacramento Temple and the incredible spirit and power it will bring to that area and the people we all love there. We know that life is challenging for all of you and there is always the next mountain to climb. Remember President Grow’s words: “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans for your future,” because He probably has something else in mind. It is the little glimpses of eternity, and often the small, tender mercies of the Lord, that keep us going through all the ups and downs, joys and sorrows, failures and victories of our life here on earth. Through it all, we are grateful for the foundational and undeniable truths that resonate in our souls: Your Heavenly Father loves you and He wants you to return home to Him; Jesus Christ is our Savior and the Redeemer of the world—especially for you who have served Him so well—and He has illuminated the pathway home. As you and the precious children you are bringing into this world face life in the last days, you can do so with courage, knowledge, hope, and faith, knowing that the Lord loves you, he has a plan for your life, and He offers you His love, His truth, His peace, and His comfort.

“Fear Not, Only Believe.”


President and Sister Grow