Saturday, March 26, 2016

The sheep March 26, 2016

This week had two teaching moments about sheep.

We had the "Farewell Fireside" for the departing missionaries on Wednesday.  Sister Gerard, described by the other missionaries as "fearless" bore a beautiful testimony.  It was her final statement that hit me, though.  I may not quote it exactly but it was "I came on my mission to save the sheep and the sheep have saved me."  The wisdom in that statement is amazing.  Parents, be very proud of these wonderful missionaries.

The second lesson about sheep came from a beautiful painting by Liz Lemon Swindle picture called "Seeking the one" .  We had the picture hung in the entry of the office some time ago.  It is a beautiful picture and has captured the interest of people who come into the office.  Elder Cottle was describing the picture to someone and said "It is the one where Christ is walking away from the sheep."  That made me think more deeply about the title of the picture.  Christ was walking away, to find and save the one.  But Christ is a good shepherd, he would not leave the other sheep alone.  He would leave protection for those while he searched for the lost one.  That is why the sheep graze peacfully in the background.  They are not afraid because they trust the Shepherd.

It is a great representation of what he has asked of us.  We need to watch out for the 90 and 9 when he must find the lost one.  We must be their security until the Good Shepherd returns.

March Transfer March 2016

We had transfers this week.  Elder Farr has returned to the field to serve as a Zone Leader.  We will miss him, but we welcome Elder Burrows.

We sent home some wonderful missionaries.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Beware the coyotes March 21, 2016

One of the fascinating things we saw at the Gibb's Gardens was these two-dimensional fabric coyotes.  They are used as decoys to deter deer from eating plants.  Interestingly enough, deer do not eat the daffodils, but they will eat other plants and flowers.  The decoys are moved often to continue the deception.

Seems like there is a pretty important message to all of us.  Something, or someone, can be presented as real.  If we do not look closely, we may be deceived.  They may change positions so that we believe that they are what they pretend to be.  Don't be deceived by the coyotes.

To everything there is a season March 21, 2016

I have always loved that phrase.  To everything there is a season.  We are in an interesting season of life.

We are in my favorite season:  spring.  I love the flowers, the baby animals and the return of the song birds.   There are lovely sights, sounds and even smells.

We found a new place to explore.  It is called Gibbs Gardens.  It is a development of over 200 acres done by the largest landscaper in Atlanta.  He plants millions (yes, you read that correctly) millions of daffodils on the property.  In addition, he has created other gardens that are outstanding during other seasons.  We enjoyed the beauty and peace of the gardens.  Interestingly enough, we were there on their largest day ever and they were well-prepared and handled the number of visitors well.

 There were lovely Japanese gardens that come alive with water lilies in the summer and in bright fall colors as the Japanese plants have their season.
 I was fascinated that one of the bridges was built in a zig-zag pattern.  It is done so because evil spirits cannot travel except in a straight line.  So those of us familiar with the Book of Mormon, it seems a bit backwards.  Nevertheless, I walked on the bridge!
This is fashioned after the painter Monet's bridge.
 This was one of several beautiful sculptures showing the delight of childhood.

We are also in an interesting "season" of our mission.  We are now watching missionaries go home we have known our entire mission.  These last couple of transfers feel different.  Perhaps it is because these are people we know well, perhaps it is because the new missionaries are not ones we will get to know very well.  Perhaps it is because we now have a release date.  What I know is that every day flies by.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Working and playing March 6, 2016

Last week was a little crazy.  While Elder and Sister Underwood were out of the office, Elder Dixon and I had to cover in the office.  Honestly, I felt that we received a blessing from God because the phones didn't ring like they usually do.  We were able to cover adequately (you notice I did not say "wonderfully").  They returned on Thursday and we were VERY glad.  

On Wednesday we were able to see all of the Sisters as they came for a training.

On Friday, there was a training of the leaders, called Mission Leadership Council.
On Saturday, we helped clean the church.  

That evening, we attended a birthday party for one of our sweet young women.  Once again, the Branch made it a celebration to remember.  The thing I was most impressed with was that the young woman's mother made certain that all of the Young Women got a message to dress in lavender or purple and all of them were given plastic tiaras to wear.  All of them were included.  As beautiful as the evening was, that act was more beautiful.