Sunday, November 29, 2009

16th Post Monday Nov. 23 to Sunday Nov. 29, '09

The traffic was light driving to the Hafer Road office on Monday. Not sure why unless folks had the week off. Alex called in sick and Sister Lish is still in Idaho for her sisters funeral, so things were quiet in the office today. I am still fighting a cold but the medication helps. We took advantage of being at the main office to get our questions answered about the new web site. Lots of little issues we needed help with.

Tuesday we had an interesting fellow come into the Bering center. He has a good job and does not anticipate being without work soon, but just wanted some suggestions on his resume. He has worked for the same company for 30 years and is in the process of applying for a different job within the company. He would also like to possibly get a job transfer to Florida which is home for him. We talked about several ways to improve his resume. He was such an up beat fellow and a convert to the church of several years, it was fun to visit with him. We also phoned several of our contacts to see how they were doing (not many ever contact us). We finally got a hold of one non-member who we had never had direct contact with before. We asked about all the job listings we had sent and he said he never received them. Well we knew the emails were sent so we got to thinking and asked him to check his spam mail. Sure enough there were all the emails with the job postings. He now understands how important it was to check his email more closely as at least one job would have been just right for him and probably would have resulted in an interview.

Wednesday we had our west Africa brother come back into the center. He had received the information we sent about the security company (he really wants to work as a security officer). He had started his online application at church but the person helping him did not have time to complete the application process. I told him we could help. Two hours later we were less than 50% complete with the process. He was tired and said he would come back "next week". It is so hard for some people from different cultures to figure out our USA system, but we do what we can to help.

Thanksgiving Day. We meet the other Senior Missionaries at the Hafer Road office for our Thanksgiving dinner. The Chesnuts, Dorius, Walkers, and Sisters Billingsley, Higham, and Young. Mom (Sister Walker) made pumpkin and lemon meringue pies, bake yams, dressing, and a cheese ball. We had turkey, ham, rolls, vegetables, pecan pie, green jello salad, a green salad and all the stuff that make a great dinner. The turkey had been fried so that was a first for us. It was really good. The weather was cool, never got out of the 60's (high). We had a wonderful day and a good visit with the other missionaries.

The employment office was closed Thursday and Friday so we had a long weekend. Friday we did some shopping and looking for candy supplies. We spent 2 + hours in Hobby Lobby so that was a real test for me (I believe I passed).

Saturday we got up and drove to the temple. The traffic was light so it was a really relaxing drive. Not too many on our session. We really enjoyed our visit and just relaxed in the temple for a while. We went to the "This is a Place Book Store" which is close to the temple, it's like the one in DC, just a bit larger.

Today, Sunday we drove down to the Sugar Land 1st Ward. We were there about a month ago but decided to go back as we have two new candidates (husband & wife) that we wanted to meet. I spoke to the husband about how we could be of help, but they want to move back to New Jersey. They have already contacted the LDS Employment Center for that area. Our other candidates were not at church again this time, so we missed seeing them once more.

The combined relief society priesthood meeting was very interesting. The stake YM president made a presentation about gifts, Christmas and the Savior. He talked about special gifts he had received during his life and shared with us the gift of Elder Bruce R. McConkie's last general conference address, what a powerful testimony he bore. It was a very touching experience to see that talk again after all these many years - it truly was a gift to us all. The YM president mentioned he was originally from Lehi, and that his patriarch and seminary teacher was Brother Hakes. I went up after and asked if he knew Russ Hakes and sure enough Russ was the Brother Hakes' son. (Russ was our Stake Ex. Sec, a bishop and former student of Dad's in Lehi). He also graduated with Chris Norman (my brother-in-law) and had taken shop from my dad. He told Leona and I that Brother Hakes and my dad were the two most influential teachers that he had in school. I have met people all over who have had dad as a school teacher and all have commented on his positive influence on their lives. It is really a small world.

We have had another wonderful week in the mission field. Each day we are so thankful for this experience. I have enjoyed reading the Book of Mormon this time like maybe never before. It seems every page has so many "new" lessons and applications for my life. I am so grateful for that wonderful "gift" in my life. I do have a testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.
We love you all and are most thankful for our family and friends.
Love Dad and Mom

Sunday, November 22, 2009

15th Post Sunday Nov. 15 - Sunday Nov 22

We had a interesting Sunday. We always try to decide where we should attend church, normally considering which candidates we could possible help by meeting with them. We print our list of candidates so we can review with the bishop, get the church address, and meeting times and print all this on Friday. Well we decided to go to the Baytown 1st Ward again as we have a candidate who is not making much progress. We had called the Bishop ahead of time to set up a meeting with the leadership and our candidate so we could all get on the same page. Well the church website for meeting times was wrong so we got there after sacrament meeting was over. I was feeling bad, but it turns out that was the best thing. The bishop (who was just called into the new stake presidency) walked into the building behind us so we got our candidate and had a good meeting. It was helpful as now the ward knows what we are doing and the candidate knows what he must do for himself. We were waiting in the foyer when we saw a couple of Elders we had not seen earlier, so we went over to say hello. Low and behold one of them was Elder Braithwaite who is Anna Timothy's son, our friend from Delaware (next to Sister Walker). Leona said I've been looking for you and he said I've been looking for you! He and his companion had just been transferred to the Baytown area, in fact missionaries had been pulled from that area and they were the first ones back for awhile. Anyway he had previously served in the Kingwood area and we asked if by chance he knew Perry Dobson. He said "oh yes, I have been in his home several times and he sure make a good chocolate shake." It is a small world. It was fun to be able to visit with him.

Monday we were at the Hafer Road office. We found out that Sister Lish's younger sister passed away and so she went home for the funeral. I miss her good sense of humor. There were two people who came into the center to use the computers today that were not real computer literate so I spent most of my day going between them. They need to know how/where to search for jobs and to understand the questions on job applications (one did not read English very well). After work the senior missionaries were invited to the mission home for dinner. President and Sister Hansen are such gracious people. The dinner was a farewell for Sister Higham who is leaving and a welcome to Sister Young who just arrived. It is always a good time when the seniors get together. President Hansen gave me a temple recommend interview after the evening activities were over. It was good to get to know him better, we had a good visit (and yes I did get my recommend). While I was visiting with President Hansen Leona helped Sister Hansen wash dishes. Sister Hansen told her about their mission call and family. She said that after President Hansen retired they turned in their mission papers thinking they would be going to Costa Rica because a couple from their stake was serving as mission president there and needed (ask) if they would come as proselyting missionaries. A few days before they anticipated receiving their call they got a phone call from SLC and they were told "when your call comes in the mail do not open it, just send it back" A short time after they had returned the envelope they received a call from Elder Uchtdorf (he was not in the presidency at the time) saying he was going to be in Mesa and wanted to meet them. That took place and they just visited and Elder Uchtdorf told them not to worry he just wanted to meet them! A short time later they received a call from President Monson and they were extended the call to be mission president. They then had to wait to find out what mission when their call came in the mail. They are great people and doing a great job - what a responsibility, they are on the move constantly. We had a nice evening.

Tuesday afternoon we had a woman and her brother come into the Bering building for employment help. She is in real estate and needs to find additional work. I believe her brother has a learning disability. We invited them to the career workshop on Wednesday and they said they would attend. (It was cool running this morning, in the 40's and it didn't get out of the 60's all day - very nice).
We had four show up to our career workshop this morning. A fellow we met last week (he is one step above homeless), and a young man who recently lost his job at a big shopping complex - he was the loss prevention and security manager. Also our sister and brother from yesterday came late, but we got them caught up. It was a good group and they seemed to get a lot out of the material.

Thursday and we are at the Broadway Building. There were three relatives (?) who came in this afternoon. They were young had two very small children with them and were looking for jobs. We talked about what LDS Employment does and how we could help. We only have one computer at this center so we did the best we could at showing them how to log on the new web site and get registered, where to find possible job leads and so on. We also gave them some hand outs that will be helpful for their job search. I believe many people come into the center expecting to get a big list of jobs they can go interview for. We do have some job listings and the new web site does have jobs listed, but some want a job given to them.

Friday we only had our two brothers show up for the workshop. The sister and her brother did call back later in the day and they do want to come and finish next week. It is interesting that our nearly homeless brother rides his bike and is always early (even in the rain - it was raining this morning). Our "west Africa" husband & wife came in late this afternoon. They had not checked their email since I set it up for them 3 or 4 weeks ago, nor had they done much job searching. We logged on and they had two emails from the company that I had helped him apply for work. Of course the emails were about 3 weeks old and same with the job leads we had subsequently sent. I think they got the message about how important it is to check their email at the library or here at the center several times a week. The day flew by even though this head cold is about to do me in.

Saturday and Sunday I have not felt like doing too much so I mostly took my Contact pills to keep my nose from running off my face and slept. It has been a wonderful week with lots of interaction with various candidates. That really make us feel like we are helping. We are so blessed to be full time missionaries, how thankful we are to be here at this time in our lives. Thank you for your love and support and for the autumn leaves from Delaware and the letters from grandchildren.
Love Dad & Mom (Steve & Leona)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

14th Post

Time for another blog post. Elder Walker wrote the last two times only because he has a short memory. Last week when he said "who's turn is it?" I said "go ahead" so he thought it was his turn again. I tried that strategy again this week but it didn't work! Of course you get wiser the older you get so for sure he should be wiser this week!

Last Sunday, November 8th we attended the Houston North Stake Conference. That stake was divided and my cousin, Kent Chamberlain, was in the stake presidency so I wanted to be there. Kent now serves as 1st counselor in the new Spring Texas Stake. Elder Craig C. Christensen, a member of the 1st Quorum of Seventy, was the general authority who presided for the weekend. It was a good conference and I am thankful to have been able to attend. I remember how nice it was when Kent's folks, Uncle Zenneth and Aunt Alta were serving a mission in our stake in Delaware and now we are serving here in Houston not in Kent's stake but in the area. I am sure my Grandpa and Grandma Dunsdon are proud of their grandsons. I believe right now at least two are serving as bishops and Kent in a stake presidency. I am thankful for my family and ancestors; for their faithfulness and sacrifices and the blessings of the gospel. It was a wonderful weekend.

We had a good day at the main office on Monday. Sister Lish and Sister Billingsley are such kind and faithful senior sister missionaries, we enjoy being with them on Mondays. Steven and I have been having trouble getting on the new church employment website but that was resolved for me on Monday and they continued to work on Steven's. We had our weekly staff meeting and discussed problems that we are having with computers, candidates, and etc. so our staff meeting went a bit long. It was a good meeting Alex and Steve (Center Manager) are helpful and knowledgeable.

Tuesday was our long day at the Bering Building. We had a nice couple come in to use the computers for job application and help with a resume. They are very nice and were at the center a few weeks ago. They stayed for a couple hours and then went to get something to eat and said "we will be right back". They said that the last time they were in and it was a month to get "right back". I think that he has a part time job and she must not be too anxious to find work yet. We are here to help and I pray that we do.

Wednesday was Veteran's Day. I am thankful that I live in America and grateful for those who are fighting and serving to keep our freedoms and keep us safe and helping others in far away places. We received an email from one of our candidates, unfortunately we had a misunderstanding. We had sent him a lead on a job a couple of weeks ago and said that we hoped it was something that would be of interest to him. He email back that it looked like a "perfect fit, thank you'. Well, unfortunately he thought that somehow we were going to submit his application but in reality we just send the job postings and the candidates have to apply themselves! So for the past couple of weeks he as been waiting to hear something back from us. We feel bad because it did look like a good job and he had all the qualifications. Steven spoke to him on the phone, I don't know if it is too late to apply now or not. The fridge needed to be cleaned at the church big time so I spent some time doing that in the morning - it looks much better.

We spent the day at the main center because we had training. Gustavo Estrada from SLC was here to spend the day to train and answer questions. It was a pretty quiet day. The new website will be good when it gets up and running - still a lot of questions and "bugs" to work out. It was a monthly ward and stake employment specialists meeting Thursday night, about 15 people attended. Everyone at the meeting registered on the new web site and began their profiles. This is going to be a long tedious process - trying to get all our candidates to do this. We went to dinner with Sister Billingsley and Sister Lish before the meeting. It was a place that "threw" warm rolls. A fellow just walked around and tossed you one if you wanted it, they were SO good. He also had chocolate chip muffins to toss too. Forget the meal - I loved the rolls!

Friday was a busy day. We had two men come for help and a lady wanting help over the phone all at one time! One man was a member and one was not. The member has been homeless in the past. He has been in trouble and is trying to get things back together. He seemed pretty good at the computer and got on sites to see if he could find work as a dish washer for now. He plans to come next week to the career workshop. The second fellow is Hispanic and has done carpentry work for over 20 years. He has a truck and tools so I hope he can find work quickly. His English was good. I asked him how he learned about LDS employment and he said that his wife's friend is a member and she told him to come see us. I told him we were glad to have him and he was very thankful for our help. He got on line and we found a couple of leads for him. He said that he will come to the workshop if he hasn't found a job. A lot of good kind people in the world and we were privileged today to meet two, just hope we can help them to help themselves.
Saturday was Happy Birthday to Steven! He is a year older and wiser. He got his haircut and helped with the apartment cleaning, laundry and grocery shopping, sounds like a fun birthday! We did celebrate in the early evening and went out for dinner. We have had a good day and wonderful week. It is great to be serving as missionaries together, we are so thankful for this blessing.
Love Mom & Dad

Sunday, November 8, 2009

13th Post Sunday Nov. 1 - Sat. Nov. 7, 2009

On Sunday we attended the Clear Lake 2nd Ward. Clear Lake is east and south of Houston on the road to Galveston and right next to the NASA space center. We met one of our candidates and had a good talk with her. She has a teaching degree and many talents so I am a bit surprised she is without work. A sister in the ward got our contact information and she email us job leads from a new motel opening up in the area. We emailed many of our candidates with that info. I hope they will follow up.

It seemed like a slow week as we had no one come to the centers on Tuesday, Wednesday or Friday. We spent our time sending job leads to candidates, making phone calls and reading. Not many responses back. We did hear from one candidate who does have a full time job now. That is aways great news.

Thursday at the Broadway building we had a sister in a wheel chair come into to see us. She did not speak very good English, but her soon to be husband, who is not a member, did speak a bit of English. We tried to call the Spanish speaking elders in our apartment complex but they did not pick up the phone. I thought of Sister Marlow, who with her husband, were the senior missionaries we replaced and she does speak Spanish. Well, we were able to figure out she needed a resume, but after Sister Marlow hung up we still could not get enough details to help this sister with her employment needs. We had a prayer in our hearts that somehow we would be able to help this good sister. Leona looked our the church door and saw a car pull up. It was the Spanish speaking elders who are assigned to the ward that meets in the Broadway building. Their arrival was an answer to prayer. They stayed with us and translated while we got the details to help the lady. Even though the computers would not hook up to the Internet again this week, we wrote a simple resume for her and made copies of many important papers she had with her. She is applying for a job at the Mexican Consulate here in Houston. She seemed so thankful and grateful for our help and the missionaries help. What a testimony of prayer and that Heavenly Father watches over ALL is children. This experience really made our week.

On Saturday morning we met the other senior missionaries at the Mission Office. We then all rode in the mission van to Huntsville. Huntsville is the home of Sam Houston, the "founder" of the republic of Texas, the prison museum, Sam Houston State University and many Sam Houston museums and home sites. Sam Houston was a real patriot and understood the real meaning of minimum government. Just outside of town next to the freeway is a 67 foot tall statue of Sam Houston - the largest of this kind in the world. I enjoyed the museums and learning more about Sam Houston. Lots of pecan trees so we even enjoyed picking up pecan nuts laying on the ground -good eating! The prison museum was interesting also. Made one feel glad not to be in prison. We had lunch at the LDS Institute of Religion. Elder and Sister Marlow are the new directors. They were here as employment missionaries, in fact they are the ones we replaced. We even saw a pomegranate tree (bush). It was a really fun day with the other missionaries.
Saturday evening we went to the Houston North Stake Conference. They are creating a new stake tomorrow and this is also the stake that Kent Chamberlin, Leona's cousin is in the Stake Presidency. Great Saturday evening conference session. Lots about following the Spirit.

A very wonderful day. What a blessing to be missionaries at this time. The weather has been mild with no humidity this week - dare we hope cool weather is here to stay??

We love you
Mom & Dad

Sunday, November 1, 2009

12th Post Sunday Oct 25 - Sat Oct 31, 2009

It has been another week of weather extremes. Hot, humid, wet and then a front moves in and the weather is really nice, just warm during the days and cool and no humidity in the evenings.

Last Sunday we drove west to the Sugar Land 1st Ward. It was their Primary Sacrament Meeting program. The kids really did well. They have a large primary and the kids liked to sing. They even had a couple of them who played the violin. Nice program. The Bishop gave me a few minutes before Priesthood to tell about our mission assignment, so that was nice to have folks know who we are and that they can get some help. The neighborhood around the church was really gearing up for Halloween.

Monday we were at the main employment office. We have our weekly staff meeting which normally takes the morning. I enjoy Mondays as it gives us a chance to see and talk with some of the other senior missionaries not only at the employment center but at the mission office, which is right next door.

Tuesday we had a couple come in to the Bering center that have been on the list for a couple of years. They are originally from east Africa, but have lived in the US for some time now. We have had a hard time getting in contact with them as they do not have email nor do they have a phone that always works and a car that apparently only works occasionally. Anyway they did make it to us. We sat them at the computer and got them signed up with an email account. Went online and found the nearest library to them and printed a map (so they would have access to a computer). Reviewed web sites that have job listings and helped him fill out and submit an online job application. It took awhile but they seem very thankful of the help. I just hope they will follow through. Later in the afternoon we had a fellow come in who is a lawyer. We reviewed his resume and career plan. I think he may be without work for awhile as his work experience is not real routine stuff. Hope we can help him find something.

Wednesday we only had one person come for the career workshop out of all those we had invited. We taught her the class, which was one of the most challenging for me thus far. This good sister is a nurse who's work experience does not include any job that lasted very long. She could be a poster child for ADD. Really had fun trying to keep on track.

On Thursday we had a young mother come into the Broadway building looking for work. She had just completed training as a medical receptionist and billing/coding. We really had a good visit with her. Her English was very good and her enthusiasm was great. She said things will work out for us, we are going to the temple tomorrow and we will pray.

It rained last night so the sidewalk out front was flooded this morning. Ankle deep water makes it a real challenge to get out of the apartment. Friday morning I had an appointment at MD Anderson with the dermatologist, as a followup to the stuff done in Delaware. He really checked me over good and decided to remove 4 more moles and will remove 4 more in 6 weeks and 4 more in another 6 weeks. I feel like I am being skinned a postage stamp size at a time! But I am grateful for the good care. The MD Anderson doctors reviewed the slides from the Delaware pathology and were of the opinion that what they call a melanoma in Delaware was not really a true melanoma, but what they in Delaware removed MD Anderson would have also removed. So good news sort of.

Saturday we drove to the Galleria not far from here. There are about 375 stores anchored by Neiman Marcus, Saks, Nordstroms, Macy's and two Westin hotels. The stores are in three levels with the center open from the bottom to the glass covered top floor. There is an ice skating rink in the bottom of the open area. The stores were having a special Halloween event. Some of the clerks were dress up and passing out candy to the kids who came dressed up trick or treating. It was fun to see the hoards of kids, some of which had bags of candy as big as they were. It was a real popular event. We only had a few kids come by our apartment for treats.

We are doing well. I am getting over a cold and seem to be getting better each day. Most days we wished we could do more for our candidates, but are very thankful to be called to do what we can at this time. What a blessing it is to serve. We are reading the Book of Mormon and how thankful we are for that wonderful treasure of truth. I have a testimony that it is true.
May the Lord bless you
Love Dad & Mom