Sunday, September 27, 2015

Moving, Cabins and Apartments September 27, 2015

For some reason, today I felt that I was supposed to make cheese bread to take to church.  I wasn't sure why, but I started making the cheese bread.  Unfortunately, my math function in my brain shut off and I accidentally made six times the recipe.  Before you think I am really crazy, I frequently make four times the recipe.  The problem was, I did not have enough eggs to make that large a batch.  Our Assistants live downstairs, but they were already in church.  I went ahead and raided their refrigerator and left a note saying I had borrowed 5 eggs and it was a long story.  This is the picture of the note they left on our refrigerator later.

We have so enjoyed living with the Assistants.  I will always be grateful to Elder Flake and Elder McArthur for helping us in our adjustment to the office.  Their wonderful, goofy interactions made me laugh and reduced the stress.

And now we have Elder Pond and Elder Gosar with their funny notes!  I am so grateful for the opportunity we have of spending a little time with some of the Lord's choice sons.

There will always be a special place in my heart for these young men.

 While we have been here, Barry and Jana have almost completed a project we have worked on for about 15 years.  Years ago, our two families committed to building a cabin.  We had the idea that it would be a great experience for our children to learn construction and that we would build it large enough that we could have youth groups or family gatherings.  The problem with the plan was that a short time later, all of the boys got jobs, then went on missions, then got married.  As a result, we didn't have much of a work-crew left.  So, every summer we worked hard to complete the cabin.  Every year, there was still too much left to be able to complete it.  I think every year I told the people at work that when it was finished we would have them come up. We left for the mission without it being completed. Since we have been gone, Barry and Jana got the kitchen finished and carpet in.  It is now usable!  I can hardly wait to have friends and family come up.  It is hard for me to believe now that we actually built this ourselves.  This place is filled with so many memories.  I remember making meals in a crockpot when we would work until dark.

This is the view from the loft into the great room.  Up in the right-hand corner you can see the door to one of the two bedrooms on that level.

This is the game room downstairs.  I think it will be a place for a pool table etc.

 This is the kitchen, obviously.  We didn't build the cabinets, but the tiling was a family success story and Jana did paint one of the pieces in an accent color.

The past six weeks have been hard.  We have the privilege of having more missionaries come in than leave, but that does put a little stress on me.  I have had to get 7 apartments ready (finding them, getting leases and furnishing them).  One of our sweet sister companionships ended up without a bed for a night.  I laughed when we went to deliver the beds and they had built a tent in which to sleep.  I am still short one apartment, but hope to get one set up for later in the week. I have cleared out a lot of our furniture from storage.

I know I could not do this assignment without the help of the Lord.  One of the locations where we want to put missionaries is in Greensboro, Georgia.  I had looked for weeks for a place with no luck.  The Branch President was also working on it and his options fell through.  I turned to the Lord and asked for his help.  I found a delightful home with a sweet spirit.  The Branch President is thrilled.  I know the Lord helped us after our prayers and all that we could do.

We got to go to Mara and Leo's home for dinner this week.  Mara makes some wonderful dishes.  I hope to spend some time with her to learn to make them, then have Kaina teach me some things.  I already learned cheese bread from Daniela!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Can you believe. . . September 20, 2015

It is hard to comprehend how quickly our mission is passing.  We are over 2/3 of our time.  I had one of the sisters at the Branch ask me about our release date.  Her husband thought we were going home soon.  It is soon, but not as soon as she thought.  Her husband thought we were leaving at 18 months.  If we had been, we would be leaving in one more transfer.  Wow!

So many good things happen every day in the mission.  On Saturday, we had the privilege of attending the baptism of a man whose wife had joined the church 12 years before.  Immediately when he came up from the water she raised her arms and said "Yes!!!"  She had waited a long time.  The Ward came out in great support.  It was just a wonderful baptismal service.

We had some wonderful things this week.  We had a wonderful evening catching up with Tyler Winegar who grew up in our Ward in Utah.  What a fun time with two terrific people.  I am so grateful that we were able to have them come over.

One of our traditions for many years has been to go to the State Fair around Elder Dixon's birthday.  The State Fair here is not like the one in Utah, so we did not try to go to it, but chose the Gwinnett County Fair instead.  In 20 minutes we had seen everything there that we wanted to see.  There were goats and cows, no other livestock.  There were no vegetables, no crafts, and some jugglers who I saw drop things quite a bit.  No matter, we did our best to keep tradition.  And our children did a good job trying to keep it up in Utah.

 This picture is for my little Lego-lover grandchildren!
We were going to meet Richard to go to the fair, but called him and suggested we do something else.  We met at the mall and went to a movie about a man who died and went to heaven.  The seats in the theater were lounge chairs.  Richard suggested I try milk duds melted in my popcorn.  I should have tried it, because now I am wondering about it.  Had a great time, even though the movie was not great.
Had to throw in this picture for Barry Jessen.  We knew it would make you miss us!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Rodizio de Pizza- September 13, 2015

IMG_3122.JPGThe Branch had a fun activity yesterday.  They prepared homemade pizzas and had invited everyone they could find to attend.  The attendance was not what we hoped but it was a great event.  One of the members told me that if something is edible, it could be put on a pizza.  In Brazil they have this party and bring different pizzas to the tables like Rodizio's does meat.  I had so much fun trying different pizzas.  They had one with cream cheese in the crust (yummy), several with cream cheese on top.  There was one that I would call a "sloppy-joe pizza"IMG_3100.JPG I  because the meat on the top reminded me of my mother's sloppy joes.  To top it off, they had "sweet pizzas", ones made with mozzarella cheese and chunks of chocolate, some with peaches and chocolate.  The Sisters worked very hard for many hours to make it a success.  This time, Elder Dixon and I did very little.  This Branch is growing and getting lots of great people to strengthen the Branch.  They are also great about cleaning up!


IMG_3194.JPGThe Sisters then presented a message.  They had one of the Elders sit on a chair and asked our sweet young woman to lift him up.  She could not.  The Sisters invited someone else up to help her and they could lift the Elder a little.  They then brought up our tiny new convert and together they were able to lift him.  Finally, they invited our sister who does military training (everyone laughed).  Of course, with her help, they lifted him very high.  The message was about how it takes everyone together to lift him.  The Sisters also tied it to the things that we need to be doing in the gospel in order for us to reach high.  It was such a great analogy.

We had one of those "the Lord is preparing His people" moments.  Out Sisters were out tracting and a man pulled over and gave them the information to contact his wife.  They did, and she loved the message.  She agreed to come to the party.  She had some roadblocks that nearly prevented her from attending.  When she arrived, she had an amazing experience.  Years ago, she lived across the street from the LDS church in Brazil.  Every Sunday, she would see a sweet family all walk to church.  One day she didn't see them and she found out they had moved to the United States.  When she walked into the party, that family was there.

My week in the office was spent trying to find housing for these new missionaries.  One of the areas is many miles away (I drove 170 miles round trip that day) but I haven't been able to find anything so I drove there in hope of finding something.  I asked at the County offices and they referred me to the Chamber of Commerce.  On the way, I stopped at a Family Dollar store.  When the clerk asked me if there was anything else she could do for me, I answered "Not unless you know of some place to rent".  She said that it is sort of a hobby of hers to keep on top of such things and she was aware of something so call her back.  Then I stopped at the Chamber of Commerce.  That lady was a sweetheart.  She tried hard to help me, and then just before I left, she asked me if there was some way she could do genealogy without having to pay.  I left her the information for Family Search, and my name if she has questions.  The trip did not result in anywhere to rent, but those two ladies made it feel like there was a purpose.

I have met some wonderful neighbors lately.  There are so many good people in this world.

I was released today from teaching Primary.  It is hard to leave those children.  They are so wonderful.  When I first started teaching them, they were pretty naughty, but we have learned together and I really enjoy them now.  Today, they asked why I was released and I explained that the Branch is growing and that I already have a call as a missionary so they need to let someone else teach their class.  They are so smart and have listened so well.  I teared up as I told them I loved them and one of them said "Do I need to go get some paper for you to wipe your eyes?"  How can you not love that!

We also went to the Temple this week to do baptisms for the dead.  Our two new converts, a mother and daughter, each were baptized.  That mother positively glows.  She has found a family in the Branch.  Love them!IMG_2154.JPG
I don't think I blogged about Elder Cruz being a trainer.  He is in an English-speaking assignment and is training a new missionary.

Elder Castro wrote the sweetest note to Elder Dixon for his birthday.  We really love these Brazilian missionaries.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Happy Labor Day- September 6, 2015

Happy Labor Day tomorrow!  I am truly grateful for the hard-working people in this country who keep things going.  I am grateful for the teachings of my parents and the example of my family.  I am grateful that we have been blessed when we work hard.  I am grateful to live in a country where we have the many opportunities that we have to work and provide for families.

Our friend, Bala, invited us over to meet his friend, Anil, from India.  Anil is a Christian, and he and his family members have been members of the Salvation Army Church for three or four generations. He explained to us that his family belonged to the lowest caste in their society and they were not allowed to have running water, electricity or even walk on certain streets.  It was the Salvation Army Church that helped them to have the services and things they needed.  As a result, his family members have remained faithful despite the difficulties that may bring.  I have so much respect for people of that kind of faith.

Our testimony meeting was also representative of that type of faith.  Several of our Branch members spoke of the loss of the companionship of friends and family members after deciding to join the church.  But every single one of them said that they are glad they have joined the Church, despite their losses.  There is great power and tremendous blessings to those who are willing to put the Lord first and listen to the spirit.  To see people who have been searching for answers be able to find them in the gospel is the greatest.

We have been watching an interesting sight every morning.  In the trees by our house, two spiders create their intricate webs.  Each web seems to match the size of the spider.  Every evening when we return, both webs are completely gone.  I have read a little and apparently they actually eat the web.  I haven't usually found spiders interesting, but this really has been.

We are getting ready for the new missionaries who will be arriving in three weeks.  In addition, three wards just became four.  The work is progressing here.  I just hope I can keep up!

We have had fun with all of the Assistants.  Each brings something special.  Marshall McArthur called us.  It is so wonderful to hear from him and know he is doing well.

Our newest Assistant, Elder Gosar, indicated that he had never cut a watermelon.  (I know, Marshall, it was hard for us to believe either).  We decided that was one life-lesson that we could provide.  Let me warn y'all though, he swings a mighty knife.  He said something about playing too much Fruit Ninja or something!