Last Sunday we found out just how small the apartment is. We invited two sets of Elders to eat dinner with us. The power went off 20 minutes before our guests arrived. (The food was all cooked, thankgoodness.) Well, Sister Walker just about melted on the spot. I must admit it got real warm real fast. Part way through the meal however the power to the apartment complex was restored and all was well in ZION. What a blessing to have AC. We had a real good visit with the Elders. Both sets are Spanish speaking and I believe they are the Zone leaders and District Leaders. Really enthusiastic and very fun to talk with.
Earlier on Sunday we attended the Maplewood 2 Ward. That church building is just a couple of miles from our place. They have a real large ward. The Vietnam Branch and the Mandarin Chinese Ward also meet in that building. It was like being at the UN.
The Ennis' got on the webcam with us Sunday evening - that was fun to see the boys - Luke and Ronin are growing and full of life. Jessica also told us their wonderful news - we will be grandparents for the 20th time in February.
We spent a lot time this week contacting those on our "list". We have about 125 candidates. Of course we have not had any contact with most of them in the past, but this week we finally talked with them on the phone or emailed them. Many responded back, a few had jobs (hip hip hurrah), but most were still looking. So we did have some success with candidates being employed.
We had more people come into the office this week which was nice. It is always fun to talk with folks. One fellow came in on Tuesday to the Bering office. He has been unemployed since about March. As I reviewed his Career Assessment Plan (CAP) the thing that jumped out to me was good experience and skill so why no job? So when I ask that question ... he said that his early retirement had provided money and that was about to run out so the past couple of week he got busy looking for work. Money or lack thereof motivates most of us.
A Spanish speaking couple came in on Thursday looking for help. The wife spoke good English and the husband not so good. Anyway she had experience as a clown for events, parties, etc. and wanted to continue with that work. They do not have a computer at home so we spent a few minutes looking on the office computer for clown jobs in Houston. Well, as you might guess there were not many if any available at the current time. But that did not dampen her enthusiasm. She had recently performed for the children at their ward activity. She had made some business cards and handed them out after the social hoping that she might get some business; that is what is called "networking" in job searching! In fact as we were talking she got a call on her cell phone, someone interested in a clown. She seemed to be a real ambitious person, a real nice family. We really enjoy talking with people who are really looking for work and are trying their best - to the best of their knowledge to do what they can. The Church's employment program is very timely so it is great to be able to offer suggestions that will help if followed prayerfully.
We have talked with members from Africa who speak very little English and do not have many marketable skills. Your heart goes out to them as they find themselves in very desperate cucumstances. Others we have had contact with speak multiple languages and have degrees that are very marketable but just do not know the "system" in this country. A car or good transportation, a working phone, and access to a computer is just very basic, yet for many those would be more luxury items. So we offer access to the office computers or tell them about the public library's resources. As you know having a paying job is such a huge blessing - being able and WILLING to work is a blessing.
Another fellow I contacted yesterday had a great list of work experience and a chemical engineering degree with over 20 years of experience. Well from the time I introduced myself he lit into me non-stop. Nothing was working, no one was hiring, no interviews, he had done everything the Marlows (missionary couple before us) asked him to do, I was told I had nothing new to offer, that he had tried everything. He was so rude that I just about did my thing (some of you will know what that means), but I was blessed to hold my tongue and let him vent his frustration. I can understand how he might feel. To have really good marketable skills, a degree, and experience in the oil business and to be here in the center of the "o'bidness" and not be able to find work (guessing he may be about to lose his home, etc) would be very frustrating. Maybe next week I can call some of the folks I have met over the years in this area and see what can be done. I was told by the candidate he was going to have to pay big money to get some "professional" recuriting help. I may be alot of things but I have never been accused of being a professional job placement guy. Anyway even missionaries have to deal with fun folks. By the way he graduated from the Uof U so I had to cut him some real slack.
We enjoy our mission and being able to do what we can do. We are blessed everyday and are so thankful for that.
Have wonderful week and may the Lord bless you
Love, Grandpa, Dad, Steven, Elder Walker and Grandma, Mom, Leona, Sister Walker