Wednesday, November 27, 2013

November 25, 2013

Hi everyone,

Our calling is: "MLS" - Member and Leader Support.  The longer we are here, the better we understand that assignment name or title.  We are here to support and lift where we are needed and we just love doing that.  We are doing a lot of listening, comforting, encouraging and loving the members of the church in our branch.  It's pretty much like doing home teaching and visiting teaching every day.  Seeking out the less active members and trying to help them "return to the fold" is also something we really enjoy.  Many people are burdened with difficult family situations, financial problems, disappointments and discouragements and for some reason, when they need the comforts and security of the church the most, they choose to stay away.  Life can be too much some times and we tend to want to hide, but instead we should come unto Christ like we read in Matthew 11:28-30:

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will      give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

~ ~ ~ ~

Last Wednesday was transfer day.  Our mission received about 14 new missionaries and about that many went home.  It was very inspiring to listen to each one as they said good-bye or hello and bore testimonies.  What a marvelous group of fine young men and women.  As one Elder said,  "I came out a boy and go home a man."  It was our first time attending so we were given the easy job of handing out bunches of fliers for the Washington Temple grounds 36th annual "Festival of Lights."   Sister Hilliard is seen here with me.  She and her husband are serving the cadets at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis. Wonderful people.  In the picture below Sister Orton is standing with us.  We were in the MTC with her and her husband.  They are serving in Petersburg, West Va.  

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  We will be driving down to spend the day with Ken's sister Linda and her family in Lorton, Va., just a little over an hours drive from here.  We look forward to that.

Monday, November 18, 2013

November 18, 2013

This past week turned out a little different than we had planned.   We had forgotten that we had to inspect several missionaries' apartments.  Six to be exact, and they are scattered all over the place from Arbutus to Reistertown and Sykesville. It's fun to meet all these special young people, but not so fun to inspect.  We have to thoroughly check everything and make sure the apartment is "move-in ready".  Ken also has to inspect the cars and add fluids etc.  All that took the better part of two days and we were tired when we got home at the end of each day.  We have to do this before every transfer, every six weeks.  Next time we will make sure we make the appointments a couple of weeks ahead of time so we don't upset the missionaries' schedules.

Sunday afternoons, after church, we usually go to visit an elderly lady at a nursing home. Her name is Gladys and she is 85 years old.  She is so sweet and always grateful to see us.  I think of my own mother when we're there and it brings a tear to my eye.  Some times we bring her a treat or some flowers and she likes us to sing "Nearer my God to Thee".  Today, as we were saying good-bye, she asked me to come closer and then whispered to me, "Will you bring me a fruit cake next time you come?"  I said, "Yes, of course!  Do you want the kind with everything in it or the kind with just nuts and raisins.  "Oh, the kind with everything," she said  :).   She is so cute and we love to make her happy.

On Tuesday we had what we like to think of as a little miracle.  We have been visiting a really sweet sister named Diane every week.  Her nonmember teenage daughter Patty is living with her.  They both have MMR.   Every time we visit, Patty goes upstairs to her room to avoid us.  We had never actually met her, but we have written notes to her and she has answered back. Last week when we were there, I wrote her a note and told her again that we really wanted to meet her and that I was going to bring her a present next time we came.  So, after we took Diane grocery shopping Tuesday afternoon, we were at the house when Patty came home from school.  She was surprised, but so nice and sweet, and we spent a little time with her.  We gave her the present - a pretty candle with some crystals around it, and told her it was a bribe!  She laughed and thanked us.  We hope to spend more time with her again soon.  She and her mother have had a very difficult life, full of abuse and abandonment, and need the peace and security only the Gospel of Jesus Christ can bring.

Last Wednesday we drove to Frederick to attend the Senior Missionary Conference.  When we arrived, Sister Richards served her homemade cinnamon rolls and orange juice.  President and Sister Richards then spoke to us and they are both so grateful for having so many senior couples in the mission.  With 250 or more young missionaries, they need the help.  We said good-bye to one couple and hello to a new couple - so we are not the newest kids on the block any longer.  We then shared experiences, ideas and information and at 12:00 we all drove to Golden Corral where we ate lunch together at a long table.   It was really fun.  See picture below.

Our days go by fast and we are usually ready for bed by 9:00 if not before.  Planning and preparing makes a huge difference and it helps us not to waste too much time.  Ken will start a teacher training class soon on Sundays and also Wednesday nights.  He has been busy preparing for that.  

We received a wonderful card from the Gainesville 1st Ward about a month ago now.  Thanks to Brother Engerbretsen and everybody!  We really loved it.   We also got a nice card from my sister Connie for Halloween.  We love getting mail and hearing from family and friends.  You can still use our regular email addresses.  

Monday, November 11, 2013

November 10, 2013

Our friend Rosalia Rey came to attend church with us today and had dinner with us afterwards.  It was so nice to spend some time with her and to hear the latest from the Gainesville 1st Ward.  We miss friends and family there but are very happy here.  We are already worried about having to leave when our mission is over because we feel so close to the people and have made some really close friendships.  

The leaves are falling and the beautiful scenery is changing fast from gorgeous colors to naked trees.  We still enjoy our walks in the neighborhood but have to dress a little warmer now.

Did I mention that our bedroom window is only about 75 yards from a free-way on-ramp, and another few yards beyond that, another ramp, and again, beyond that, guess what - the free-way!  It's louder now with the trees almost bare, but we have become used to it.  The  constant humming puts us to sleep at night.  

Last Monday evening we attended a dinner and fireside with all the other senior missionaries and President and Sister Richards.  Elder Carlson of the Seventy, and his wife Vicki, were there and they spoke to us in a question and answer setting.  He presides over the Middle East and North Africa area, so he had many interesting things to tell us.  On Tuesday we were at an all day conference with them and all the young missionaries.  It was quite an experience - very spiritual and inspiring.  We each had to come prepared to give a 5 minute talk on "What It Means to Be a Consecrated Missionary and the Culture of Nephi." (1 Nephi 3:7 and 1 Nephi 3:15).  Elder Lewis and I were not called on - thank goodness - but we were ready just in case.  

We spend anywhere from four to eight hours a day visiting members of our branch, active and less  active.  We are currently helping two families and three sisters to get ready to go to the temple and will be going with them in the next few months.  It's very rewarding to share gospel principles and see them embrace them.

Time flies.  On Mondays we spend the day doing chores and shopping.  Then we get ready for Family Home Evening and have had a good turn out.  On Tuesdays we attend our district meeting from 10:30 am to 12:00 pm.  We usually then go out to lunch together with the young elders and sisters.  It's always fun.  This Tuesday, we are taking a sister grocery shopping and visiting another family later. On Wednesday we will attend a senior missionaries' conference in Frederick from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, with appointments later in the evening.  Thursday we have a couple of appointments during the day.  In the evening I am attending Relief Society and Ken is "hopefully" taking a couple of people to the Addiction Recovery Meeting in the Glen Burnie Ward building.  Friday we only have one appointment so far but will find more and Saturday we will attend the temple with the branch members.  Sunday we attend a meeting before the three hour block and then afterwards we go to a nursing home to visit an elderly lady and also take her the sacrament.  We also usually have someone over to dinner on Sunday afternoon.  

That is pretty much how our weeks go, so as you can see, we stay busy.  It's nice though to be able to do what we can and if we don't feel up to it, we don't.

I'm reading the Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt.  Thanks Marsha!  Wow, what experiences he had and what faith and stamina.  I hope we can do just a little of what he did.

Until next time, God bless.