Saturday, March 27, 2010

33rd Post Mon March 20 - Sun Mar 28, 2010

Another busy week in the Texas Houston Mission. This is transfer week so I have to prepare letters of congratulations to the new district and zone leaders, letters to their parents and their bishops. This was a "small" transfer week, only 27 letters in all to do. I had to go to the Katy area to take a letter of intent to vacate an apartment we rent from members. I hand carried the letter so it was more of a personal thing. The sister did not take it real well, but we talked for a while and I tried to help her realize it is just business. The amount of rent they charge is almost the highest of any of our apartments (not sure why we ever got into such an arrangement). Anyway I called the mission president to give him a heads up that he would get a call. She did call so the president had facts and was prepared to talk with her. I went to the new apartment complex and signed a new lease. It was a full day and after we left the office we went shopping for snacks for the missionaries who will be coming into the office because of being transferred tomorrow.

Tuesday we had a really wonderful day - the office was a real beehive of activity with missionaries coming and going. I rode out to the Bear Creek chapel with Elder Chesnut to take a load of Elders and then bring others back. It was fun to visit with them - we really do have some very good missionaries. This afternoon the departing missionaries went to the temple with President and Sister Hansen and the AP's. Leona and I were there later in the afternoon to make sure the caterer got dinner set up in the temple cafeteria. We then ate with them which was nice and then was able to go on a session. It was very nice to be in the temple.

Wednesday four new missionaries came in from the MTC. Three elders and one sister. It was fun to watch them as they interacted with the other missionaries in the office. I took photos of them and got the transfer board and mission board photos fixed and ready to go. Had a bunch of phone calls to get utilities scheduled to stop and others to start in various apartments we are leaving and moving to.

Thursday more apartment issues to handle, broken washing machine, utilities to set up,
and suggested moves by one of the zone leaders. That means I have to find new apartments. It was late again today when we left the office, but we enjoy our mission.

Friday we went to our office staff meeting. President Hansen is really a good person to be around. It is a real blessing to be associated with such good people. He usually shares a thought at the beginning of the meeting or "invites" someone else to. (Sister Walker always breaths a sigh of relief when her name is not called). He told of the experience that he had just last night after a correlation meeting in College Station. After the meeting he and a ward mission leader went to visit a sister that the missionaries had contacted earlier. It was late when they arrived about 8:45pm. There were no lights on and several newspapers stacked up outside. After knocking twice and waiting they turned to leave and a light came on and a woman came to the door and invited them in. She is from China and is studing at the univerisity (Texas A&M) pursuing a master's degree in education. She has her five year old son with her and her husband is in China. The only furniture in the apartment was a small card table and three chairs. She had prayed for months that Heavenly Father would visit her. President Hansen told her about faith in things that are true and we don't have to have a personal visit to know Heavenly Father is real. She had a great desire to pray like prophets of old and when they told her that she could she was surprised and said "I can!" She explained that she had a special feeling in her chest and knew the things that the missionaries had said were true. President Hansen explained to her that those feelings were the Holy Ghost. He said that the three of them just sat around that little card table and the Spirit was so strong they were silent and tears flowed as they just enjoyed the sweet Spirit in the room. She has a desire to be baptized but is concerned about the problems that will bring when she returns to China and comunism. They encouraged her to pray and promised that Heavenly Father is aware of her and her family and all will be well somehow. We are so blessed to live where we do and able to worship the way we want, we have so many blessings.
I had another BCG treatment at noon today so I spent the rest of the day at home. The 2nd treatment is always harder than the first and the third (next Friday) is harder yet. Another very beautiful day with cool temperatures and lots of sunshine.
Saturday I did not feel like doing much in the morning, but by the afternoon I got feeling a bit better. We popped some pop corn and went over to the pond and fed the ducks and the swan. We even saw some turtles and a few fish. It was warmer today but not bad.
In our Olde Oaks Ward today we had testimony meeting. The testimonies were real testimonies of faith. Our lessons in SS and Priesthood were very well done. We are so thankful for our chance to serve as missionaries.
We love you all and pray for each one of you.
Love Dad & Mom

Saturday, March 20, 2010

32nd Post Monday Mar. 15 - Sunday Mar. 21, 2010

This has been our medical week I guess. We went into the office Monday morning to have prayer with the other office staff, did a bit of paper work and then to see the surgeon at MD Anderson. Since we have moved the drive to the MD Anderson medical center is much more difficult. We go right through down town Houston. The surgeon removed more of a spot on my chest the dermatologist want completely removed. It was "not really cancer", but close enough that the treatment (removal) is like cancer. I am very thankful for the medical care we receive here. So far it has been great and the cost is wonderful. No out of pocket expenses for Shell retirees, we just pay to park the car. After they closed up the incision, about 3 inches long, they called Leona in to go over the wound care procedures. Well, she took one look at the cut and part way through the nurse's explanation I noticed Leona was fading fast. She said "I think I had better sit down". But we made it through the rest of the lecture with no more close calls.

Tuesday I didn't run, but Leona was out there pounding the path (we run around the little pond in the apartment complex). Busy all day with office work. I looked on line for apartments in one of our down town locations. Not much to choose from.

Wednesday I drove down in the area where we are trying locate a new apartment for the Elders. I drove all over the area, the "nice" places were low income only, and the bad places were just too bad, not much luck finding anything. I talked to the Zone Leader over the area and he had some suggestions on where to move missionaries in a couple of areas that seemed to be a workable solution for us. Another very nice day, cool in the 60's and lots of sunshine.

Thursday I spent some time writing up a note for staff meeting as we will be back to MD Anderson's tomorrow. Made some phone calls and found acceptable apartments available in various areas I have worried about. One place we have been working with for a couple of months (even before we arrived in the office) called and all their "checking the Church out" has been done and so we can now lease from them. This apartment was in a portion of Katy that had very little in the way of apartments. When we found this new apartment complex, which was real nice and in the Sisters area, we provided them references and one of the references was BYU Bookstore. Wouldn't you know it - when they called BYU a student, I suspect, working the bookstore phone told the credit agency that the Texas Houston Mission owed them money. The credit agency rejected us and so the apartment would not lease to the mission. It has taken many, many phone calls to get that one cleared up. Anyway lots of apartment stuff fell into place today so that was a real blessing for me! The weather has been so nice the senior missionaries got together this evening and grilled steaks, salmon, and chicken. We had salads and cupcakes with ice cream to celebrate Leona's birthday (tomorrow). We also had ice cream bars in the office at lunch time and we all sang Happy Birthday to Sister Walker. It was a good day and a beautiful evening to sit and eat and visit outside.

We got up early as Leona had a doctors appointment at 8 and mine started at 10:30. Leona was in for a mammogram and I got to do the 6 o'clock news camera up the old pipe line and a BCG treatment. By the time we got home, around 2PM I was wiped out for the day. Leona did go into the office for awhile. Not much of a birthday for her. Another beautiful day, but I'm glad this one is OVER @!%^!!.<>'*^$#.
Saturday we just did our normal p-day stuff. Clean, wash, shop and got our hair cut. That is always a traumatic experience for Sister Walker, especially with a first time hair cutter, but it turned out well. It rained in the morning and was windy and cold by evening.
Our lesson in priesthood and RS today was on the fall of Adam and Eve. There was a good discussion with thoughtful comments. It remains windy and cold today.
We pray that you all will be well and healthy. Thank you for your prayers. We are thankful to be missionaries and for this wonderful experience.
Love, Dad & Mom

Sunday, March 14, 2010

31st Post Mon. March 8 - Sunday March 14, 2010

It seems the weeks go by so fast, does it seem that way to you? Monday I spent time doing tracking sheets for the 4 new missionaries we have coming on March 24th. The tracking sheets have lots of information about the missionaries, like their home contact information, bishop and stake president contact information, family data, education and goals, etc. There is also a place for a photo. I down load the MTC photo and do the best I can to "fix" it with photo shop editor(normally the photos are not very good at all). Anyway all this takes a bit of time and a lot more skill than I have, I then print two copies of each for President and Sister Hansen. The tracking sheets have room to "track" the missionary's various transfers throughout their mission. In May we get 12 new missionaries so I am trying to get a bit ahead. This evening we had family home evening with the other senior missionaries here in our apartment complex, the Chesnuts and Sisters, Lish, Young, and Billingsley. Leona was in charge of the treats and she told me I was in charge of the lesson. It was a good evening to visit and spend time with the missionaries.

Tuesday the apartment complex got our washer and dryer fixed, or I should say they replaced them. More paper work at the office today. Seems like there is always something about apartment leases that needs doing. It rained a bit today and was in the 70's so it is getting warmer.

Wednesday Elder Chesnut rode up to College Station with me. It is about 90 miles from the office. I had 5 or 6 apartments to inspect. When you get away from the big city the country side is nice, lots of big farms and open spaces. One of the apartments is part of a 4-plex and is owned by a young couple who are members of the church. They are both going to Texas A&M getting their PhD's in - I can't even pronounce it. The college is a big part of that town. Their football stadium is very large. In fact on the drive to College Station we went through several small towns. It was interesting that almost every town had a high school football stadium that in most cases was almost the size of the UofD stadium. The country side is so flat you could see these stadiums above anything else as you approach the towns. They do love football in Texas. I got a call from one of the young sister missionaries - their dryer was not working. I arranged for a repair man but the soonest he could come was next Tuesday. When I relayed the information to the missionaries the sister said, "how are we to dry our clothes in the mean time?" Well, Elder Walker had bite marks all over his tongue, before I spoke. Bless their hearts they do know how to have the Spirit and to teach, but some of the other "stuff" is a bit of a mystery I guess. Oh how we love them and so so blessed to serve with them!

Thursday I drove out to Brenham and Waller which is over an hour away from here. We have one apartment in each town. Brenham is the home of Blue Bell ice cream, but I resisted the temptation to stop at the factory to have some of that great ice cream. The weather was great and the flowers were coming out in several places along the road. A great day to be a missionary. After todays inspections I have been to all the leased apartments in the mission (we inspect every 6 weeks). We were asked to help at the employment center this evening, teaching the stake and ward employment specialists (2nd Thursday of each month). I was happy they asked as there is still a bit of "feelings" with Steve and Alex about our leaving that assignment. The ride home following the meeting was much shorter than the previous months!

Friday we have our office staff meeting with Pres & Sister Hansen and the AP's. As I was eating breakfast I had the feeling I should prepare a thought, so I opened the Book of Mormon and opened to Jacob 3:1. President Hansen was conducting our meeting and asked me to give a thought, I had to smile. It is great to be a missionary.

Saturday we hung the few pictures we have, put away the few remaining items from the move, went shopping and generally did our p-day stuff. The weather remains very nice, in fact we open the windows early in the mornings. We had 4 elders over for lunch today. The AP's and one set of elders that live in the apartment complex next to us. They are such great young men. Just a real pleasure and joy to be around them.

We enjoyed our time at church today. Always a blessing to meet with the Latter-day Saints.

We love you all and are so thankful for your prayers and faith on our behalf. Take care of each other.
Love, Dad and Mom

Sunday, March 7, 2010

30th Post Monday, Mar. 1, Sunday, Mar.7, 2010

Another week has gone by quickly. We feel much more settled in our new apartment, more empty boxes so that is a good sign. This apartment is much newer and modern with high ceilings and lots of windows so it is very bright. It is fun to live close to the other senior missionaries in our mission. It was another very busy week trying to figure out what we are supposed to be doing and how to accomplish it. Being in the office, on the computer, answering the phone and questions I am way out of my comfort zone. Every day this week we have been at the office until after 5pm and one day it was 6pm. Elder Walker has spent most every day this week doing apartment inspections so he is gone most of the day. Both of us just continue to work right through lunch. Some days I am so overwhelmed with all there is to learn and what is going on I feel like "Lucy" in the I Love Lucy Chocolate Factory episode. Those who have seen this particular show will remember Lucy and how she was trying to keep up with the chocolates - well that is how I look! Elder Walker has had quite a week getting familiar with more apartments and their locations. Needless to say we go home exhausted and that is a great feeling!
Friday as we left work, the senior missionaries decided to go to Chedders to eat dinner. The 7 of us had a good visit and dinner together (Elder & Sister Chesnut, Sisters Young, Billingsley, Lish, and the Walkers). We do have a fun time together.

Saturday the Sisters all went shopping together. We went to a member's home who makes quilts. She has five or six regular sewing machines, a $7,000 embroidery machine and a $10,000 long arm quilting machine. She has quite the set up with lots of projects in the making. In her spare time she makes jewelry. It was a fun outing and I learned how to make a pillowcase. She sells "Texas" quilts so I might have to have one of those before we leave. In the evening Sister Billingsley and Sister Young invited us all over to their place for ice cream and home made cinnamon rolls. We had a good visit together, it is fun to be close to the other senior missionaries. Elder Walker went to buy a modem today for the computer Internet and turn the rental back to Comcast. Well, he worked all afternoon and still it is not working. So we have no Internet at the apartment.

Today was our fist time attending the Old Oaks Ward. The church house is right next to the bishop's storehouse and welfare offices and next to the mission office. This is the closest we have ever lived to a church building our whole married life.
We are so thankful for each one of our children and grandchildren, they are such a blessing in our lives. I put a small picture of little Renae on the side of my computer in the office. It was the picture that Shawn had sent when she was just a few minutes old. Anyway, President Hansen (our mission president) seen it and asked about it, I told him that it was our newest grandchild. His comment was "she is a beautiful tangable blessing". We are so thankful for little Brayden and Renae and we can't wait to hold them. We have great children with wonderful spouses and grandchildren who are our pride and joy. We are thankful that Debbie and Truman are feeling better, our prayers are with them and their family.
Love to all,
Mom and Dad
(even in Cypress Lake Apartments there are Eagles fans)