Sunday, October 25, 2009

11th Post Sunday Oct.18 - Sat. Oct. 24, 2009

This past week we have enjoyed rather warm weather and cool weather and I prefer the cool by far! A couple of mornings when the weather feels really good to us, we have to smile at the people we pass by on our way to work. They are bundled up in coats, scarves, gloves and knitted hats. I guess they are truly used to the heat (don't understand how that could ever happen) and they are really cold!
We have had a good week and a busy one. We are in the fourth month of our mission already, the weeks are passing by quickly. It was transfers this past week and we are so thankful that our mission president left us together again!

Last Sunday we visited a small branch - Sunny Side Branch. It brought back memories of our days in Anacortes. They meet in a house that has been converted into a church and it is also where institute is taught. A very diverse group of people, Hispanics, Blacks, our kind, old and young. There were four or five young families that are really helping to carry this branch. The husbands are either in school or doing an internship at the medical center. They are a blessing to the branch. It was a nice meeting and the talks were good. I was able to meet one of our candidates that I have talked to on the phone several times. She is an interesting sister. Steven & I went for a walk in the late afternoon - one block the homes are very modest and the next block they are very spacious.

Monday we were at the employment center, it is nice to spend the day working there with the other senior missionaries at the center and the mission office. We started training for the new church employment website. There are a few "bugs" that need to be worked out and change is always hard so one of the managers was having a hard time. When it gets up and running it will be a great asset for the members

Tuesday is our late night at work so getting home at about 9:30 pm makes it a long day for us old people. They have been refinishing the cultural hall floor at the church so there was a very strong smell, at times I thought that I was for sure going to get a headache but we made it. A couple came in for help with a resume and to use the computer. They were there for about three hours it was nice to visit with them, she is a member but he is not. I guess their computer at home isn't the best so they appreciated using ours. It is Michael's birthday today! It sure doesn't seem that he is as old as he is, the years have passed by so quickly. I remember very well that Sunday he was born. We were excited to have a baby boy. After he was born the nurse said, "now you have a girl and a boy - you can quit". I am glad we didn't and that the Lord blessed us with three more! I am thankful for our children and for their spouses and families, they truly are our greatest treasure.

On Wednesday we sent many, many emails trying to get information from our candidates and inviting them to the CWS (career workshop). We did receive positive response from three and hopefully there will be more later.

We had a lot of rain through the night and early morning. Elder Walker is getting a cold so wasn't feeling up to exercise this morning and Sister Walker celebrated! (The no exercise part) Because it was raining so hard we didn't leave the apartment until after 8am, hoping that it would slow down a bit. We were quite a sight, even the Hispanic lady upstairs was smiling at us. We walked to the car barefoot, the water in front of the apt. was up to our ankles. I held my dress up and Steven rolled up his pant legs and of course our arms were loaded with bags (computer, etc). It would of been a good picture. We get this water problem in front of the apt. every time it rains hard for long periods. Thank goodness by the time we returned in the evening the sidewalk was dry. Today we received a couple of emails from candidates that had never responded to our emails before. They thanked us for the job leads and said they were still looking for work. It is nice when we hear back so we know that they are getting our emails and what help they need. Today we received fun notes from a family in Delaware. One of the notes made us smile, it said "My dad is making me write this letter". Family Home Evening lessons and "activities" are great!

Friday was pretty quiet at work. We kept busy on the computer and phone. Two of our candidates are now employed so that makes it a great day for us too! Elder Walker is still dragging a bit but his cold hasn't gotten as bad as they usually get so he has been blessed.

Saturday is our p-day so that means - cleaning, shopping, shining our shoes and get the work done day. The apartment complex had a Halloween party in the evening so we went for a bit so we could see the kids in costume. It was fun to sit back and watch them run around and adults try to get them in one line to judge the costumes!! The adults were more fun to watch than the kids.
We have had a good week, so thankful for this blessing of being missionaries, for our great kids and all the many good things they are doing and the great people that they are. Our grandchildren are wonderful even better than their parents. Life is good.
Love, Mom & Dad

Saturday, October 17, 2009

10 Post Sunday Oct11 - Sat. Oct 17,2009

We drove west to the Katy 2 ward on Sunday. It is about 40 minutes away. We talked with the bishop about some of our candidates from his ward, but was only able to talk with one of them. It is nice to visit a different ward each Sunday but we miss getting to know ward members better. The weather was nice today.

Monday is our day at the main employment office. It is always good to be with the other senior missionaries, not only at the mission office, but also the two senior sisters at our employment center. Traffic was bad this evening so we were late getting home. It rained hard today and the sidewalk out in front of our apartment had about 2 or 3 inches of water on it when we got home (it sits in a low spot).

Tuesday and Wednesday were sorta slow days for us. We did not have anyone come in to the Bering center. We made phone calls, and sent emails to our candidates to encourage them and in some cases provide job leads for them to follow up on. Not many get back with us on their status.

Thursday we had a young man (37 or 38) come into the center looking for help with his employment search. He just got out of the Army after 9 or so years. He has served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and is married with a small daughter. We had a good visit and I believe he will attend our next Career Workshop which I know will help him. He was a medic so I am sure he will be able to find something. I pray we can help him.

Friday we were back at the Bering building. Three of our candidates had found jobs so that was great news for them and for us. It is uplifting for us to know of their success. They are so excited when they tell us they have a job! We had a sister come in this afternoon who wants to work overseas as a nurse. To say it was a challenge to keep her on subject would be an under statement. She is in her 50's and could be a poster child for ADD. Anyway if she will attend the Career Workshop I am sure it will help her. This was a great Friday no BCG treatment.

Today, Saturday after we cleaned up the apartment and did the laundry we decided to go for a ride as the weather was so nice, high 60's with very little humidity. We drove down to Kemah. It is a very small town south of Houston on the way to Galveston. There is a small boardwalk with lots of restaurants, shops and some carnival type rides, including a roller coaster. Landry's Restaurants owns the Boardwalk and all the many restaurants on it. We just walked around and enjoyed the sights. There were a couple of wedding parties walking around getting pictures taken. They were all deck out in their very brightest of wedding clothes. I guess Kemah is the place for wedding pictures?? On the way home I had to pull of the freeway to check out these two large heavy lift cranes I see on our way to the Broadway Center every week. Note the size of the lifting block compared to the "conex" box next to it! It was interesting for me anyway and I am sure Leona really enjoyed it (about like me in the Kemah Christmas shop!). We had a fun day!

We enjoy serving together and doing what we can to help folks. The Lord continues to bless us with good health and energy to do the work.
Thanks for your love and prayers

Love, Mom & Dad (Leona and Steven)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

9th Post Sunday, Oct 4 - Saturday, Oct. 10, 2009

Another week gone by already and all is well in Houston. We thoroughly enjoyed conference last weekend. We watched it on our computer at the apartment both Saturday and Sunday. I am very grateful for modern technology that allowed me to dress "casual" and be at home to see conference. So many words of counsel and powerful testimonies shared. I especially was touched by Elder Holland's testimony on the Book of Mormon. I look forward to reading the talks in the Ensign next month. Sunday evening we went to Elder and Sister Greenwood's apt. for peach cobbler and ice cream and a nice visit. Sunday was also a special day for our beautiful Granddaughter, Jenette Pratt. It was her eighth birthday and she was baptized between sessions of conference. Christine and Derek and their family were able to be there and participate in that special day and we are thankful for that.

Monday, the traffic was bad going to the employment center and it took us about one hour to get there. We enjoy being able to be around the other senior missionaries on Monday. We went to lunch with Elder and Sister Dorius. They are proselyting missionaries and are also over the missionary apartments. We were in Saudi Arabia at the same time but we did not meet them while they were there. Anyway, they knew of this Middle Eastern shop and we had chicken that were very tasty and a nice visit with the Dorius'.

Tuesday, we were up at 4:45 to exercise and to a doctor appointment at 7am! Elder Walker keeps me on the move and a TIGHT SCHEDULE! Dr. Poliack will be our family doctor while we are in Houston. He was very nice and it was a beautiful office. We were impressed by nurses, receptionists and labs. We had blood work, chest xrays, ekg's, three immunizations, EAR WASHES, and we didn't have to wait more than a minute for any of the above! It was quite impressive. I hope that we are not doubly impressed by a bill also! Since Tuesday is our late day it worked well for the doctor appointments that we had. At the Bering building (employment center) we met very nice representatives from BYU, BYUI, and LDS Business College. They came on Tuesday late afternoon to set up for a fireside at 7pm for youth and parents. There were over 700 people that came, the place was packed. The fellow from BYU is not married so I wrote Aimee Vincent's name and phone and email on a card for him! The sister from BYUI visited with us for awhile. She has been working there for about 16 years and lives in St Anthony. She came back to visit after they had set up and brought us BYUI gifts - fleese blanket and small flashlight. She said that she would take a letter back to David and Raquel so we quickly wrote a note and gave her a hug to give to them when she returned on Friday.
After the fireside we met President Perez, Stake President of the Houston Texas West Stake (Spanish). He told of us of his concern for those who are here without proper documentation and their employment needs and welfare. It is sad. He said that a young man in the stake, who is now a missionary did not have the experience of the MTC because he is without proper documentation and does not have a drivers license so can not get on an airplane. He came with his parents when he was about seven years old. His dad was sick so they came on humanitarian papers for medical help. Well, his dad died and he and his mother just stayed. I don't know where he is serving his mission, I assume it is close by and his mission president is giving his MTC training. I am sorry too that he was not able to have the MTC experience. My heart aches for those who do not have proper papers and employment that they need so badly. I pray for them and the many others who have so many needs. We are truly blessed. I am grateful for this mission experience and the fine companion that I have, how I love him.

Wednesday was just a normal day at the Bering building. Read a lot on BJM (between job ministries) and about job leads. It is hard to try to match them with our candidates because we don't know exactly what they are looking for or qualified to do but we keep trying. We did discover that one of our candidates has found work and another is in school full time now so that is good news and of course we celebrate with them. On our way home from work we received a call from Michael telling us that Niki's mother was very ill and had been taken to the hospital. He called back later telling us that she had died. Our thoughts and prayers are with them and Niki's father and siblings.

On Thursday we were thankful to arrive at the Broadway building and find the phones and Internet working! The room was still filled with boxes needing to be taken to the Bishop's storehouse though. A couple came in for help on starting their own business. She had made a small table centerpiece to show us. She had done a nice job and we referred her to Steve Stotts, who teaches that class. On the second Thursday night of each month we have to return to the center for a ward and stake employment specialists meeting. Elder Walker had to teach one of the classes again and he did a great job. It was a full day and a late night.

Friday was Elder Walker's last BCG treatment for another six months. He felt pretty lousy for the rest of the day. He was running a fever in the evening. Kept saying it was cold and we needed more BLANKETS - I knew he was sick! BLANKETS, we did not need! Instead I gave him Aleve.

Saturday, Steven felt a lot better. We did some laundry and then at 11:30 we went to the Clayton Library. This is where Elder and Sister Greenwood work, cleaning very old books and records and scanning them and sending them to SLC and from there they go on line. This is a great tool for family history research. There were other senior missionaries there from the Houston South Mission we had lunch together and had a tour of the process. It was a fun day and we met more missionaries.

We are enjoying our mission and just being here together. We take turns being senior companion - I am very good at letting Elder Walker know when it is his turn. We have had a great week!
Love, Mom & Dad

Sunday, October 4, 2009

8th Post (Sunday Sept 27 - Sat.Oct 3, 2009)

It seems the weeks do go by fast. We are blest to be serving at this time and place. We attended church with Christine and her family today. It was fast day as next Sunday is General Conference. Lots of faithful testimonies spoken today, it is always an uplifting thing to hear others express their faith and testimony. We came home and had lunch. It was funny to listen to the kids as they asked their mother if this was dinner or lunch and would they have something to eat before they went to bed. We got to visit with Jessica and her family on the "computer camera". That is always fun. Carson and Ronin really had a fun time "talking" to each other.

Monday morning we were at the Hafer Road employment office as usual. The kids came to say goodby. We introduced them to the employment staff and took them over to the bishop's storehouse and the peanut factory. Randy the manager took them on a tour and even gave them a couple of bottles of peanut butter. After work today we drove up to the Woodlands and had dinner with Kent & Diane Chamberlain, Leona's cousin. We had a really nice meal and a great visit with them. It was fun to catch up on them and their family.

Tuesday is our late day at the Bering building. Leona had scheduled a hair cut in town so I drove her to the appointment. The traffic was not bad at all and the shop is only about 4 miles away. I know she was nervous about a new person cutting her hair, but it really does look good. The Bering building was busy today. Steve, our employment manager, taught a Self-Employment workshop today, and Alex, the assistant manager, was also with us for part of the day. So it was not as quiet as normal, which is a good thing. We did contact many of our candidates today and two of them had found work, so that was exciting for us and for them.

We had one person show up to our workshop today, Wednesday. Actually there were two, a man and his wife, but his wife completed the workshop last week. He was a bit hesitant to participate, but as the morning went on he got into the class routine more, and seemed to appreciate the information he received. I have really come to appreciate this great employment program of the Lord. The information is so helpful and if practiced so very powerful in helping people in their job search.
Thursday we were at the Broadway building, but the Internet was not working so we were not able to send any job leads or email our candidates. We did make some phone calls however. A couple came into the center today wanting some help on the wife's resume. It was fun to work with them and even though she had been a stay at home mom most of her married life she did have some work experience and the beginnings of a resume that we could work with. I really believe she was thankful for the help and suggestions. It is interesting that this was the same engineer that gave me such a hard time on the phone a few weeks ago and here he is bringing his wife in to see us for help. He was a much different person today. It is always humbling to see how members act in faith. We had a person walk to the center, in the rain, to see if we could help him.
We drove up to the temple to do a session after we closed the center today. We missed the 6pm session so we did some sealings while we waited for the 7pm session. What great blessings are ours when we are sealed in the temple for time and all eternity. It was wonderful to be reminded of those blessing.

Friday and the day for my second BCG treatment at MD Anderson. It went well - thank goodness for good medical facilities.

We really enjoyed watching both sessions of General Conference today, Saturday. We are able to see conference on the computer. The picture is very clear - thank goodness for all the modern conveniences. We enjoyed the talks and messages that are so helpful in our lives. I called Elder Greenwood and he rode over to the priesthood session this evening with me. The Herman Park ward building was packed with priesthood holders this evening. When we sang the intermediate hymn I thought they would raise the roof. A really great spirit at that meeting.

We are so thankful to be missionaries and to be able to serve at this time. We enjoy so many blessings from our Father in heaven, we cannot number them. We are grateful for all our friends and family for their love and support.

Love Mom & Dad (Steve & Leona)