Sunday, August 30, 2015

Teaching- August 30, 2015

I have always enjoyed teaching.  I always hope to raise the ability of the students to find answers on their own.  I have had an especially interesting and fulfilling position teaching the Valiant English class at the Branch.  I am constantly amazed at how deeply the students think.  I have had the fun of teaching a new little girl recently.  She has so much enthusiasm in sharing what she knows.  Last week, we were talking about the crucifixion of our Savior and his burial.  When I got to the part about the stone begin rolled in front of the tomb, she waved her hand furiously, eager to fill in the next part of the story.  I told her to save her information for this week.  She then said "Oh, I just wanted to blurt!"  This week, she did a great job with the rest of the story, but forgot a few facts.  She paused and said, "My blurter is just not working right today."  How can you not LOVE that!

Summit Skyride great view of the Memorial CarvingWe took half a day off to enjoy Stone Mountain with the other office missionaries.  We had seen the laser show before, but we hadn't had the opportunity to actually see things in the park.  We rode the tram to the top of the mountain.  It is an amazing piece of geology and of history.  It is the subject of some controversy because of the people depicted on the Mountain.  They were leaders in the Confederacy:  President Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee.  The mural was never finished.  It is enormous.  The buckle on the halter is the size of a small adult.

People here can be so good and so kind.  One of our sets of missionaries called me to say that their neighbor was moving and would be happy to have us take some of her furniture.  We ended up with a washer/dryer set, a couch, a loveseat, a sofa table, a pub-style kitchen table with stools, a bike, bakeware, a coffee table, crock pot, and other items.  It filled a large portion of our trailer.  What a kind, sweet person!

Okay, just another of those "say what?" moments.  See the dotted line?  It is supposed to be a guide for you into your lane, right?  Anyone else see something wrong with this picture?

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Our numbers are increasing- August 23, 2015

The past week was transfer week.  It is such a busy time.  It is even busier because we are enjoying an increase in our missionary force.  When we first came, we had about 234 missionaries, I believe.  Just a few transfers ago, that number had dropped dramatically, the number 172 comes to mind.  Now we have the wonderful experience of growing again.

It really is a joy to have these new missionaries.  Our Assistants especially like to pick them up at the airport because they have such enthusiasm and spirit.  It is fun to see the wide-eyed looks as they begin this new journey in their lives.

For a few days, we get to have three Assistants while a new one trains.  We were happy to have our previous Zone Leader join us.  It is still hard to let go of the outgoing Assistants, though.

Elder Dixon and I had the opportunity of shuttling the new Sister Missionaries.  It was especially sweet to get to have one of our family friends from South Davis area come here as a new missionary.  She will be awesome (as will the others, but we already have seen her as she grew up).  We are missing one in this picture because she had not arrived from Temple Square.  They were able to see our historic Stone Mountain from their hotel.

We have a wonderful opportunity to have Sister Oliveira from Temple Square serving with our Sister Mullins who lives in the next mission.  They both are fluent in Portuguese and are filling a great need in the Branch.  Sister Oliveira was actually trained by Sister Ayala Nogueira, a Sister who was called from our Branch.  We are so happy to have both of our Sisters!  The picture is at the airport when Sister Mullins and Sister Oliveira first met.

On Wednesday night, we had the farewell fireside.  I am so grateful for these wonderful people with whom we serve in the office.  They faithfully work behind the scenes to make things work for these young missionaries.  Sister Nebeker works as one of two nurses, Elder Nebeker takes care of bicycles for the missionaries, Sister Underwood is the Mission Secretary and Elder Underwood is the Vehicle Coordinator.

I have finally figured out that what most of the blog readers want is to see pictures, so here you go (sorry to those we missed, it is hard to get your picture in a crowd):

I especially love this picture.  While they serve, they are not allowed to give hugs to members of the opposite sex.  But in those final moments before they return home, they give hugs in celebration of the friendships they have forged.  
This young man sang.  What a powerful and beautiful voice he has.  His gentle personality hides all that talent!

So we "graduate" another group of fine young men and women.  They are wonderful and have done great things.  We look forward to receiving the wedding announcements, the press releases, the graduation announcements, and we hope, an occasional call to say hello.  Better yet, how about a visit?

Sunday, August 16, 2015

For Kaitlyn and her mini-me

A big transfer ahead- August 16, 2015

Our Branch is now giving free piano lessons.  Love it!  Juliana + Ludimilla + Sister Fukai + Karen + Sofia

Marivalda + MarcellaWe were able to attend 5 baptisms this weekend.  Both of our sets of Spanish Sisters in the Cumorah Branch had baptisms and so did our Clear Springs Branch.  This is a picture of the sweet mother and daughter, Marivalda and Marcella, who were just baptized into the Branch.  They are wonderful, and I was very touched to hear that Marcella was anxious about baptism because "it will change my whole life."  To have that perspective and still go forward with baptism is such an amazing thing to me.  I can assure her, it is a good change.

Such a busy week ahead.  We are blessed that our numbers of
 missionaries are increasing.  In this transfer we will have 28 or 29 new missionaries.  That means lots of effort in where they will serve and with whom.  I have been working hard to get housing in place, but there are amazing challenges to doing so.  Our new missionaries get here on Tuesday.  Two will be allowed to stay here at the house with us because the Mission President's house will be so packed.  They go through a lot of orientation on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning, then they are off to their assigned areas.  I have also worked to free space in the storage sheds for the many bikes that will be needed.  It is great, though.  The picture is one I took off of facebook of our good friend Elder Jessen who was the previous financial clerk.  Love him!

This is a tribute to my two country boys, Elder Flake and Elder McArthur.  Love them both.

On Wednesday, our outgoing missionaries will be attending a temple sesssion.  That evening, there will be a farewell fireside.  It is hard to let them go home.  We will miss these wonderful missionaries.  People bring cookies and the missionaries are like celebrities with the paparazzi.  There are photos and more photos.  This will be the first group to leave a lasting message in our apartment journals.  I hope they leave some terrific words.

We also had a terrific party at the Mullins's home.  I will have to wait for pictures on that one.

We also got to see our sweet Heather Lindsey, who went home 10 months ago.  I can't believe she has been gone that long.  She certainly made a place in my heart while I knew her.  What a kind person.  When we had first come, she would strive to see that we were included in some of their activities because the Senior missionaries are generally left out.  Seeing her brings back sweet memories.  Thanks so much for coming by!

Have a blessed, and safe week.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Changes ahead- August 9, 2015

Transfers are coming up again.  We will be losing another one of our great Assistants to the President.  We will miss him.  He has been a lot of fun to know, and is a great example of hard work.  Seems like so many of the really great Elders have experience driving a truck with a trailer.  I am guessing that experience come with some sort of hard work, and that helps mold them into who they are.  So my counsel to those of you raising young men and young women who will one day serve missions:  let them work really hard.  Let them learn to take care of things.  Let them believe they can succeed.  Don't hover over them or get them out of tough spots.  Let them learn.  You will be glad you did.  And when your missionaries return home, don't treat them as though they are the youth who left on the mission.  They have learned, let them use what they have learned.

 This is our second missionary from the Branch!  He has been called to serve in Manaus Brazil.  He has prepared well for this mission.  He has learned quite a bit of Portuguese from his father and in the Branch.  He has been out with the Elders.  
The video of him opening his call was delightful.  He is eager to serve.

It was a really busy week.  Our numbers of missionaries are increasing, and that is wonderful.  But that does mean that I need to set up new apartments.  Sweet Sister Underwood helped me organize the storage shed so that I can grab a basket of things an apartment will need as I set one up.  It was a lot of work, but should help us as we move towards the transfer.  With the increase in missionaries comes an increase in bicycles and that means we need storage space.

I received a wonderful message from an Elder this week in which he reported the need for some repairs in his apartment.  He said that my words had touched him and that he wanted his apartment to be a place where they could feel the spirit.  These good missionaries have been good about getting rid of things that don't increase the spirit in their apartments.
I just threw this picture in because people like to see the missionaries!

We were invited to dinner with two delightful people in the branch.  What a sweet couple!  They met while on their missions, but didn't get together at all until they both were at BYU.  So, my returned missionary friends, don't forget to look up those with whom you served!

We also were able to go to the Atlanta Temple for baptisms for the dead on Thursday.  We had all but one of our youth there.  Pretty amazing, especially considering how busy these young people are.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

'Nuff said- August 2, 2015

This summed up my week so well, I was going to just leave this as the post, but my sister thought I needed to say a little more!  I never thought my family would EVER suggest I say more!

One thing I have learned in this new assignment:  it is a good thing I didn't do this for a living.  I am not very good at it.  But, I will learn from my mistakes, and, fortunately the missionaries take it all in stride.  I love these young missionaries so much!

We finished up our Zone Conferences.  Our odometer turned to 44, 444 while we were coming home from an assignment on Saturday.  We have doubled the miles on our car since we bought it 14 months ago.  We do a lot of driving.

One of the challenges I have is that we will need to add some apartments in the next two weeks for the incoming missionaries.  Our numbers are increasing.  We are excited to get to know these new missionaries!

Our Branch has its first Eagle Scout.  On Thursday, we went to help him with a patio for a nature preserve.  There were several challenges, but Matt had lots of support and some great help.  I don't know that I say often enough how grateful I am for Elder Dixon.  He is just good at that kind of thing and was a big help to them.  Congratulations, Matt Mingorance!

Matt and his twin sister, Jessica, just turned 18.  They have been a real strength to the youth programs at the branch.  We will miss them.

Our week was topped off by attending a baptism.  I regret not having done that at home.  What a powerful way to recharge.  These people often have been looking for something and when they meet the missionaries they realize what it was.  The baptism was really wonderful and I am grateful I could be there.

This week, I was especially missing family.  My daughter sent a card that was just perfect and it got here at exactly the right time. You see, pink flamingos were a favorite of my mother, and were something I detested.  It became a family joke.  To receive that card made me smile and reminded me of wonderful memories.  Then inside was a special message from my daughter.  How very grateful I am for my family.   Many times a week, we have the opportunity to share the message of the gospel and our belief that families can be together forever.  That teaching was the teaching that brought me to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I could not then, nor can I now, envision eternal happiness without my family.  Okay, sometimes when my son and daughter were yelling "He's looking out my window!" I may have questioned.  Seriously, though, we were not placed here on the earth to learn to love our family and then not have that continue.  Families are eternal.   I am convinced that includes my sweet mission family!