Thursday, March 26, 2015

March 1, 2015

At our last zone conference.

We were invited to a special dinner at the mission home on Friday, February 27th.  It was to say goodbye to us and the Hilliards. We will miss all these wonderful senior couples and President and Sister Richards.

We received this beautiful Christus statue from the mission, a special and thoughtful gift that we will always treasure.  

President and Sister Dotimas took us and the elders out to
dinner to say goodbye.  It was so nice of them.
We love their family so much.

Last time at Gino's.  They served cake for the occasion.  

We will surely miss these wonderful sisters.

Our very last district meeting. 

Goodbye elder.

The following pictures are from our last transfer meeting.
It was sad to say goodbye to so many wonderful missionaries. We gave our "one minute" farewell testimonies that turned out to be a little longer.  It was very emotional but we were very grateful for having served with so many valiant and special people.  Our blessings are too many to count.

We attended the temple with President and Sister Richards and all these young missionaries who were also going home.  It was a marvelous experience and one we will never forget. 

We arrived home safely on March 3rd, and this cute grandson and his parents were waiting outside to welcome us.
All is well.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

February 17, 2015

From these pictures it looks like all we do is eat.  We certainly do a lot of that, and it's showing when we get on the scales,  but thankfully we do other things also.  Many members of the branch have been so kind to us and invited us to dinner or breakfast to say good-bye.  

Dinner at Sister Moczulski's house.

Breakfast at the IHOP with sweet Lisa and Julie.

Sunday dinner at our place with the elders.

Five in a row.

We could all squeeze in. 

Lunch with dear family.  Linda is waving hello. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

February 9 , 2015

It's hard to imagine, but in three weeks we will be writing our last post. Our calendar for February is so crammed full that we don't know how we will find time to do it all.  

Last Sunday we attended a special stake meeting in Annapolis, where the ward and branch boundaries were realigned. The result was that the Brooklyn Park Branch will be getting several families and individuals - 38 people in all - from the Glen Burnie Ward.  It's an answer to many prayers and hopefully it will be a blessing to all.  Some times it is difficult to readjust, but we hope everyone will be open and willing to the change.

The highlight from the week is that we are still teaching Karen and we love it. We have also gone with the young elders to visit and teach others and that is always a good experience.  It is so impressive how a couple of teenagers or twenty year olds can be so mature and disciplined. They give two years of their lives to serve the Lord and we always stand in awe of their strength. They inspire us.

Well, what can I say.  We're cold!

It's the small things that usually make us happy.
I had been waiting patiently for many months and here it is.
So beautiful!  

I baked a cake to celebrate all the birthdays in our district.
These two cute sisters were so excited to taste it.  

Three layers of chocolate cake with chocolate coconut frosting.  Trimmed with KitKats and M&Ms on top.  Yummy. 

Monday, February 2, 2015

February 2, 2015

We have been here for seventeen months now.  Most of our time is spent in the Brooklyn area where the church building is located and where we visit members.  

We have talked to several people who have lived here for many years and they tell us how very nice the area used to be.  There were movie theaters and restaurants and shops along the streets.  People would take care of their houses and yards but now many of the properties are rented or vacant.

The whole area of Brooklyn and Curtis Bay is infested with drugs, crime, prostitution and filth, and there are homeless people and beggars on most corners.  There are mainly row-houses here and many have either burned down or have been condemned.  We visit homes or apartments infested with mice, roaches, fleas, and bed bugs.  Rats can be seen outside and they make themselves at home.  

We have never seen such poverty.  Dirty mattresses on the floor are common with nothing else to sit on.  Most people here are getting some kind of assistance from the government, but it is not much.

Drug addiction, in all its ugly forms, is the primary cause of this misery. It will steal your health, your job, your money, your dignity, your hope, your family, and ultimately your life.  It is the devil himself trying to destroy people.  We hate it.  

Yet in spite of all that, there are many good people here who want to have a better life.  They often get discouraged and lose faith, but we try to lift and encourage them by loving them and sharing gospel truths.  Often the Church will step in and assist as needed. It's interesting and faith promoting to see that by keeping God's commandments, so much pain and sorrow can be avoided.  It's really so simple, but it is very difficult for many to change after years of bad habits.

We visited a member of our church on Friday.  She is a recovering drug addict.  She has three children and the youngest is autistic.  Her husband does not help out much with the household expenses so she is carrying a heavy load.  Her oldest son has been getting into trouble but her seventeen year old daughter is getting her GED and wants to go to college.  The mother works nights in a nursing home and only gets a few hours sleep.  However, she is also going to college and is on the dean's list!  She only has one year left before getting her bachelor's degree in psychology and wants to become a drug counselor/social worker.  We are very proud and excited for her.  She can see the end of the road that leads to more freedom and happiness.  The gospel in her life has given her hope and a better understanding of who she is.

We have been teaching a really nice lady in our own apartment building.  It is a wonderful experience to share the gospel with her.  She is well versed in the Bible and it has been fun to open her eyes to other scriptures and more wisdom.  She is soaking it all in and loves everything we teach her.  We hope to continue.
Sending a peek-a-boo to my daughters.

Gas is now below $2.00.  

The tree outside our bedroom window.  It's cold out there.

Lunch at Gino's after district meeting. 


Many seagulls landed and helped themselves to some nuts and potato chips we had thrown outside the church.
We enjoyed the show.

Monday, January 19, 2015

January 19, 2015

We shared the following story with most of the people we visited this week. 

  A member of the Church, who previously had been attending services regularly, stopped going.  After a few weeks, the branch president decided to visit him.  It was a chilly evening.  The president found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire.  Guessing the reason for the president’s visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a comfortable chair near the fireplace, and waited.  The president made himself at home but said nothing.  In the grave silence, he contemplated the dance of the flames around the burning logs.  After some minutes, the president took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember, and placed it to one side all alone, then sat back in his chair, still silent.  The host watched all this in quiet contemplation.  As the lone ember’s flame flickered and diminished, there was a momentary glow and then its fire went out.  Soon it was cold and dead.  Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting.  The branch president glanced at his watch and realized it was time to leave.  He slowly stood up, picked up the cold, dead ember and placed it back in the middle of the fire.  Immediately it began to glow. Once more with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it.  As the president reached the door to leave, the man said to him with a tear running down his cheek, “Thank you so much for your visit and especially for the fiery sermon.  I will be back in Church next Sunday.”

We live in world today, which tries to say too much with too little.  Consequently, few listen. Sometimes the best sermons are the ones left unsaid.

It is when we come together as a congregation, under the protection and warmth of each other and our leaders, that the Lord can bless us.  

After our district meeting we enjoyed a short performance by this elder who is a master at that game.  I forget what it's called. 

Some favorite missionaries.

One elder is going home and the other is being transferred.

Saying goodbye to "our boy".
We never had a son so we claimed him for a while.  

Three wonderful elders.
Funny expressions are also worth saving.
It's very exciting to get packages from home.
We have been missing the tangelos from the trees in 

our back yard at home, and we always love and treasure 
art work from our grandchildren.