Monday, March 31, 2014

March 31, 2014

Our week in pictures:

Beautiful, but we are hoping for warmer weather.

Wonderful day at the temple.

The Elders love to do service.  Here they are sanding walls.  
We were only there for support and cheering.

They have great hot dogs at Sam's Club.

It's difficult to smile when your mouth is full.

Visiting a friend in the nursing home.

Visiting another friend.

Transfer day:
Love all these girls.

Elder Lewis and Elder Larsen

Elder Urses is leaving us.  

We get to keep these sweet sisters for another six weeks or more.

And also these two.  We love them all so much.

We're gaining Elder Zwahlen - in the middle.

Our newest senior couple.  

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

March 24, 2014

Another week has passed like a whirlwind.  Zone meeting in Odenton on Tuesday until 1:30 and when we got home about 2:00, I was tired and took a two hour nap.  I didn't feel like going anywhere after that so Elder Lewis went for a long walk instead.  Many visits on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.  Wednesday alone, we visited eight families, but that is above the norm.  Friday evening we attended a Boy Scout fundraising spaghetti dinner in the Glen Burnie Ward.  They had a dessert auction afterward, and the carrot cake I bought at the store for $6.00 sold for $25.00.  It was for a good cause and the boys will be able to go to summer camp again this year.  

Saturday afternoon we found out that one of the sisters in the branch was in the hospital with pneumonia so we went to visit her.  Two of the young elders went with us and it was for sure one of the sweet spiritual experiences of our week.  When we arrived at the hospital room, the patient's less active daughter and grandson were also there.  We had met them several times before, so we chatted with them for a little while.  Sister Barley then asked for a blessing and it was decided that Elder White and Elder Latu would do it.  I cannot tell you how spiritual and emotional the feeling was in the room as these two young elders, no more than nineteen years old, laid their hands on Sister Barley's  head and gave her a blessing.  I know the Spirit was present.

Sunday as usual was very busy.  Meetings at 7:30 and 8:30 before the three hour block of meetings.  I taught both Sunday School and Relief Society and really enjoyed both.  The assigned topic for the sacrament meeting was faith.  There were three really good talks,  but first I have to tell you a little bit about Elder Latu's remarks.  He talked about how cold he was his first winter here, coming from Tonga where it is warm and humid all the time.  He did not have sufficient warm clothing and was really suffering.  He got on his knees and prayed to God to help him.  The next day was Sunday, and as he sat in sacrament meeting, listening to the Primary children sing "Heavenly Father, are you really there?", he knew that his prayer had been heard.  Then a lady from another ward, who is from Samoa,  came over to sit by him.  She asked him if he was from Tonga and he said yes.  She replied, you must be really cold here in Maryland.  He told her he was.  She then told Elder Latu that she had felt impressed  to come to this ward today and that she should help him by buying him some warm clothes.  I don't think there was a dry eye in the room.  Elder Latu is a very special young man.  He is so humble and sincere and we are blessed to associate with him and all the other missionaries, young and old.

Wow, this whole missionary experience is really not a sacrifice; It is a blessing and a privilege, and we are slowly coming to realize just how fortunate we are to be here.

Keep the faith everyone!

Monday, March 17, 2014

March 17, 2014

No, not again.  SNOW!  

This past week has flown by.  Monday, as always, was preparation day and at 7:00 pm we had Family Home Evening with one newly baptized member, one investigator, and the elders attending.  Tuesdays, we always attend district meeting in the morning from 10:30 to 12:00, and then lunch at nearby Gino's (see below). Wednesday, I attended the semi annual sisters' conference in Frederick and we had a great time.  I rode up in the mission van with the sisters from the mission office.  Senior sisters help where ever we are needed and that is often in the kitchen.  Thursday and Friday, we again drove to small cities in the area to inspect apartments and vehicles.  We actually did it a week early by mistake this time but that doesn't matter.  In the afternoons we still had time to visit a few humble families and enjoyed some uplifting experiences.  It made me think about when I was a child, my mother,  sister and I lived in a very small apartment.  It was basically one room with a kitchen and no bathroom.  The toilet was in another building across the courtyard and we washed at the kitchen sink.  When we visit families living in very cramped apartments, I am not as shocked as others may be, but I always remember that my mother used to say: "Being poor is no excuse for being unclean!"  Oh boy, she should be here with us.

Saturday and Sunday, we attended stake conference.  The theme was "Hastening the Work of Salvation."  We love the Annapolis Stake and the leaders are wonderful.  Oh my goodness, so many wonderful and inspiring testimonies and talks about that topic.  We feel so very blessed to be able to play a small part in the Lord's work in these latter days.  

So here we are today, Monday, and we are snow bound again, but will try to make it a good and productive day.  There are always books to read, journals to update, blogs and email to write, and lessons and talks to prepare.  March Madness will later probably be a temptation to someone I know, but it's okay to take a peek from time to time :).  Senior couples are allowed to watch TV.  Some do and some don't.  When Elder Lewis was told, not too long ago, that the Gator basketball team was doing so well, and he didn't know, I thought, well, we really are on a mission.  College basketball is his first love.  Go Gators!

At Gino's

Sisters' conference.
Busy in the kitchen getting lunch ready.  
We served hay stacks and had
yogurt with fruit and granola for dessert.

Wonderful and inspiring presentations by President
and Sister Richards and the sister trainers.

For the craft we made key ring shrinkydinks .

Learning together

All the young sisters in our mission;
How very special they are.

Monday, March 10, 2014

March 10, 2014

Senior Missionary Conference time again.

Show some enthusiasm!  

Listening to President Richards.

So fun to get together with friends.  

 A couple of really nice guys with the same hairdo.

We met Brother and Sister Boa who were visiting. They served here in the mission office but had left before we came.

 Great food!  We're so spoiled.

 Elder and Sister Jones (left) are leaving this week. We're all sad.  Time really flies when you're having fun.

  The dessert was sooo good.

We attended a Filipino wedding Saturday (in the  Relief Society room).

Our branch president married them.

The couple and the groom's parents.  Wonderful people.

The food and entertainment was upstairs in the cultural hall.

We were honored to be invited as part of their group of close friends.  What's in your mouth Elder Lewis?

Elder Lewis and the brother of the groom. The shirts are the traditional male wedding garb for family.

Oh my gosh, we loved the food and there was plenty as you can see.

The Elders had fun with the roasted pig.  Elder Latu felt right at home.

Monday, March 3, 2014

March 3, 2014

It's snowing again and we are "stuck" inside.  Hopefully the roads will be safe to drive tomorrow and rest of the week.  On Thursday we will attend a Senior Conference in Frederick and that evening I will attend a Stake Relief Society birthday celebration in Annapolis.

We had a wonderful day yesterday.  There were six investigators at Church and some less actives attended also.  The fast and testimony meeting was so awesome and spiritual, and we both felt uplifted and renewed.  We were in meetings at the Church from 7:30 to 1:00,  gave a couple of people rides to and from Church, visited our sweet friend Gladys at the nursing home, and then checked on another sister who had broken her ankle.  We were then tired and ready to go home, but felt great and very thankful.

Last Tuesday we attended a two-zone conference in Annapolis.  It was a really good day and especially good to see some of the other senior couples.  As we listened to President Richards' words of counsel and instruction to the young missionaries (and us old folks), I kept hearing the theme, "Forget yourself and go to work."  It's so true.  When we dwell on our own shortcomings, disappointments, and aches and pains,  we usually end up tired and discouraged; but when we concentrate on how we can serve and help others, we gain energy, power, strength and joy.

Listening intently..

 Some of the kitchen help.

The two cute sisters in our district.  The best!

 As you can see, we have fun.

Some of the young and senior sisters in the Annapolis zones.

More kitchen helpers...

What do they call it?  Picture hogger?

Two of our own - Elders Urses and Yardley (both from Utah)

The other two. Elders White (Utah) and Latu (Tonga)

I have mentioned before something Sister Richards usually says when talking about relationships and how to better get along with others:  "It doesn't matter if you are right; It doesn't matter if you are justified.  If you have contention in your heart you are wrong."
That attitude can solve so many relationship problems.  If we are willing to be the first to step up and say, "I'm sorry", we will help ourselves and others to be better and stronger people.

The latest on my personal aches and pains are as follows:  My back is much better.  I'm still careful but so far, so good.  I changed my mind about having surgery on my torn rotator cuff and instead had a cortisone injection.  I'm hoping it will give me several pain free months and hopefully have the surgery after we get back home a year from now.

We have learned so many positive things from the young Elders.  Every time we talk to them, either on the phone or in person, they always end by saying, "We love you!"  So, in that spirit I will end.  "We love you!"