Sunday, April 25, 2010

37th Post Mon. April 19 - Sunday April 25, 2010

Boy did this week go by fast! We went into the office early Monday morning as there is always lots to do. I took Elders Whitaker and Martin with me up to the mission home as the President has some furniture items in his garage that he wanted moved. We dropped the tread mill off at Sisters Young and Billingsley's apartment and put the rest of the stuff in the office garage. The Elders are always good to help when ever I ask. Seems like the missionaries have had a lot of bed bug problems of late. We have permethlin (sp) that we order from SLC which seems to help. P-day for the young missionaries today so the office was just buzzing. Happy Birthday to David today, 25 years old - how did he get to be that old already!

Tuesday I left right after prayer meeting to go do apartment inspections. I was gone most all day checking apartments in the south part of our mission. Only got lost one time today as the GPS just could not find the address on a certain road. I called the apartment complex and they gave me another address and I drove right to the place (close to where I was).

Wednesday I inspected apartments in the Montgomery and Conroe areas, which are towns in the north part of our mission. I got back in the mid afternoon in time to welcome a new Spanish speaking elder who just arrived. He seemed real excited to be back in the mission field. His original assignment was to the Dominican Republic, but had got so sick he had to go home for some time to recuperate. He will be with us for two years, so his total mission time is more than most. We were invited to the Johnson home this evening for dinner. The Chesnuts were also invited and the two sets of Elders in our Olde Oaks Ward. They had Texas BBQ, potato salad (Leona made), beans and all the trimmings. It was great. The Elders taught a real good object lesson on faith (using a tea bag!).

Thursday I drove to Brenham and Waller to inspect apartments. Brenham is about 1 1/2 hours away. There were lots of missionaries in the office late this afternoon as they had interviews with the mission president. Just before the Elders left (about 6 of them) started to sing Ye Elders of Israel, they really harmonized well. It was fun to listen to them (of course the Senior Missionary's had them sing more).

Friday I headed out west to the Sealy and Katy areas to inspect apartments. I spent some time in Sealy trying to find another apartment to move the elders into. Not much there in that little town. The apartment manager said he would try to get authorization to fix the old apartment up. I "explained" how important that would be for them to do that - I am sure it will all work out.

Saturday and we got up early to clean the apartment and do some shopping. Leona wanted to get some fabric to make a baby blanket so that was real exciting for me to help pick out the right colors, etc. Later in the afternoon the senior sisters all went shopping at the "big" fabric store but I got to stay home. When the Sisters got back we all got together for water melon and casserole. There are "picnic tables" out in front of the Sisters and the Chesnuts apartments. The evening was so pleasant we all walked over to the pond and fed the ducks (lots of baby ducks), the swan, and the fish. The fish would come right out of the water to get the bread. It was fun to watch.

The elders called us last night to see if we could pick up an investigator for church which we did. He was staying with his grandmother today so it was several miles from the church. Jeremy has cerebral palsy and is in a wheel chair. He is such a pleasant young man. He seemed to enjoy church. What beautiful weather we are having. The days are real warm now, but most evenings it cools down and with low humidity the weather has been great.

Melissa just called and there were lots of changes in the ward back home. Today they created the Newark 3rd Ward which is most of the Christiana Ward and part of the Newark 1st. There is no longer a Christiana Ward (it is the Newark 3rd of which we are now part). The Newark 1st ward Bishop is Karl Fails. The Rising Sun Branch is now the Bay View Ward. And there is a New Castle Ward. So six wards and two branches where there were 4 wards and 3 branches before. More details to follow.

It has been another wonderful week in the mission field. We pray that you all may have this blessing at some time in your married life. We are so grateful to be doing this at this time. The Lord has really blessed us.

We pray all is well with you,
Love Dad and Mom

Sunday, April 18, 2010

36th Post Mon April 12 - Sunday April 18, 2010

Monday and David and Raquel left early for Idaho. It was fun to have them visit with us. The mission office is sure busy on Monday's - lots of missionaries come in on their P-day. I got an appointment with the ophthalmologist this afternoon. He checked my eyes good and told me I "would live". He took me off the drops I got at the emergency room and put me on just regular eye drops. He said my eyes would begin to feel better and the redness would be gone in a couple of weeks. The weather remains really nice, not so humid or hot.

Tuesday we went into the office early so Leona could get some paper work done, and I needed to pick up a check for the new apartment we are moving elders into today. Went by a members home with a couple of missionaries to pick up a sofa. I then drove to Magnolia (about 45-60 minutes away). We have a 4 man apartment there and we are moving one set of elders to Tomball. They were about all ready, good thing I took some empty boxes with me. Anyway we got all loaded up and drove down to the new apartment in Tomball. I signed the lease and picked up the keys, etc. Went to the apartment and NO electricity. This is the only apartment complex I have dealt with where the electricity is completely turned off to the apartment. Anyway I had contacted the electrical company the day before, but when the power is completely off it takes 3 to 5 business days to get it restored. I was not a happy camper, but we moved the elders food stuff into the other elders apartment in the same complex and finished moving in. I called our contact at the electrical company and explained the situation to him and he said for an extra FEE they could do an emergency power on within 24 hours. I told him to go ahead but it must be done before night fall. I took the elders to lunch and by the time we got back the power was on. What a day. Davud called this evening and they have safely arrived in Rexburg and will move into their apartment tomorrow.

Wednesday, after prayer meeting I headed to Katy to move the Sisters from a members home to a brand new apartment complex. The sisters were all boxed up ready to go and the apartment cleaned. They had arranged for two sets of Elders and another set of Sisters to help move. With all that help the move went quick. The new apartment manager was excited to meet the Sisters and asked if we had other missionaries we could move in. Well the other set of Sisters were standing there and said they would like to move but their lease was not due until end of August. It was fun to watch the 4 sister missionaries "deciding" where to set up the beds, the sofa, the book cases, the desks, etc. The elders were holding stuff while the sisters made up their minds - I just told the elder to get use to it!! It is a real blessing to work with such good, faithful young missionaries.

I took work clothes with me today and after our prayer meeting I changed and went to work in our garage at the mission office. It is where we store furniture and other stuff for the missionaries. The garage has not been cleaned out since I do not know when. It was a real mess and you could not get around to get stuff out when needed. Anyway, I worked all day and still more to do. There were 3 "broken" vacuums in the garage that I worked on. I got 2 working after cleaning the filters which were plugged solid and I mean solid. The other vacuum was plugged solid as well but the belt was broken - no wonder. The long hair was wrapped around the "beater bar" so thick that you could only see the very ends of the bristles. They were not vacuuming the carpets they were polishing them with a "hair roller". You got to love the missionaries. We walked around the pond at the apartment complex this evening and watched the baby ducks, turtles all over the place and fish swimming near the surface. A beautiful evening.

After our Friday staff meeting with the Mission President and his wife I went back to work in the garage. Just about got it all organized so we can walk in there and actually find what we are looking for. The Seniors all left a bit early today as we went out to eat to celebrate Sister Young's birthday. Leona had purchased ice cream sandwiches, so every time elders came into the office today we all sang happy birthday and gave the elders ice cream (that helps with their singing). After dinner the Seniors all came back to our place for ice cream and cake. We really had a nice time and enjoy visiting together.

Saturday morning Leona dropped me off at the office to finished the garaged job and she went shopping for a few things for the BBQ this evening. Sister Lish planned to have all the elders in the area of the mission office come to our apartment complex for dinner. There is an area with picnic tables so we have a nice spot to eat. I used Sister Lish's gas grill and we did burgers and hot dog, lots of salads, fresh fruit, soda, chips, and all the fixin's. The 12 elders sure enjoyed the dinner and it was fun to have them. After they all left and the Seniors were cleaning up one set of elders came back and said they were sorry they did not stay to help clean up but came back to help - bless their hearts - their Mothers have taught them well.

Sunday morning it rained, but still a great day in the mission field. We enjoyed church today. It is always good to partake of the sacrament and be reminded of what the Savior did for each of us. We talked to all the kids this week end. With modern inventions we were able to see little Brayden in action - jumping continually on Aunt Christine's lap and sweet Renae sleeping in her mother's arms. We are thankful for each one of you and for the wonderful grandchildren you are raising. Congratulations to Christopher for being selected as an academic scholar and being able to participate for three weeks in that program this summer, we are proud of you. We feel so blessed to have such a wonderful family.

Take care and be careful
Love, Dad and Mom

Sunday, April 11, 2010

35th Post Mon April 5 - Sun April 11,2010

Another new week in the Texas Houston Mission. Elder Chesnut and I went to WalMart to get cleaning and car supplies for Zone Conferences this week. Leona and I actually went to lunch today at a Mediterranean restaurant. It was fun to have a shurama and baklava. They made a mistake with our order so they made another complete order in a take home box for us and when I offered to pay they said no. It was warm and humid today.

Tuesday and 180 years ago today that the church was organized. We didn't get up and run today as we had to be in College Station (1 3/4 hours away) for Zone Conference. I had to give a short speech on apartments. President Hansen said that was the first time he had heard the "doctrine" of apartments before. He said thank you for not just talking about a cleaning list. The subject for zone conference was repentance. Pres Hansen had ask the missionaries a couple of weeks ago to read Alma 5 and a couple of pages in "Preach My Gospel" - to come prepared to discuss what they learned and what they felt. The mission president is very good at setting the tone and inviting the spirit to the meetings. The missionaries really responded with great insights about their feelings and what they learned. The blue bonnets (Texas state flower) and other wild flowers were out along the road side - sure were pretty.

Wednesday and the zone conference was at the Hafer Road building, which is right next to the mission office. Another wonderful meeting and testimonies. Pres Hansen asked Sister Walker and I and Sister Young to bear our testimonies today. That was a good experience for us. David and Raquel got here about 8 pm or so.

Thursday and the zone conference today was in a church building about 45 or 50 minutes away. David and Raquel came about half way through the training session. They had lunch with the missionaries and met Pres and Sister Hansen. The agenda after lunch is to have the missionaries who arrived since last conference and those who will depart before next conference to bear their testimonies. Pres Hansen also asked Raquel to bear her testimony - she did a good job (we had warned them he might call on one or both of them). Alex, the assistant employment manager asked me last week to teach a class for ward and stake employment specialists again this month - which I agreed to do. During the presentation I pointed something out on the screen and when I turned to face the group I was looking right into the projector light. I did that two different times and thought - boy that light is bright!
Friday we did not go into the office as we spent the day with David and Raquel. It was another very nice day, cool and low humidity so we decided to go to the zoo. It was fun to walk around and see the animals and to visit with the kids. A 4 pm we loaded the mission van up with the other senior missionaries and David and Raquel and I drove us all down to Minute Maid Park to watch the Phillies and the Astros baseball game. The other seniors had not been to a major league game before so that was real fun. We really enjoyed the game (Phillies won!) and just being in the stadium. It was Friday night fireworks so that was even more excitement. A real fun day and evening. Getting out of the parking lot and on to the freeway is a piece of cake in Houston compared to Philadelphia. By evening I could tell that my eyes had been "burned" by the projector last night. It felt like there was a bucket of sand in both eyes. Just the same as a welding or arc flash. My eyes hurt real bad.

Saturday I got up real early and went to the drug store to see if I could get something for my eyes. The pharmacist advised me to go to the doctor as they did not have what I needed except by prescription. I went to the emergency room of the hospital just a couple of blocks from our apartment, seen the doctor, got my prescription, back to the drug store and home all by 8:30 am. By late morning we decided to go to the flea market for awhile, it is about 45 minutes away and boy is it huge. It covers a very large area, much bigger that Cow Town in NJ. We came back home and played a few games with the kids. It was cool and nice again today (I even had a light jacket on).

My eyes feel much better this morning (the drops really help), but Leona says my eyes look like I have been on the 3 day drunk. We went to church, but I tried not to look too many people in the eye - didn't want them to ask how the "party" was. We sure have enjoyed having the kids with us hate to see them go (they leave in the morning).
We are thankful for our family. This week it was Grandpa Pack's (April 6th) and Grandpa Walker's (April 10th) birthday we thought of them and spoke of what great fathers they were and the blessing of being born of goodly parents.
Have a safe and happy week. We love ya'll
Mom & Dad

Sunday, April 4, 2010

34th Post Mon. Mar 29 - Sunday April 4, 2010

Monday and the start of a new week in the mission field. I took a mattress up to an elder who called - his mattress had a "hole" in it. Well actually the mattress had no support at all in the middle. I also took our notice to that apartment complex that we would be moving when the lease runs out in a month or so. It is the most expensive apartment in the mission at just over $1000/month.
Suzanne and Allen Smith stopped by to say hello at the mission office. She is my cousin and they are visiting their kids in Houston. Leona and the other senior sisters worked on a quilt that Sister Lish is making this evening. I worked on our taxes, which is always a joy. The weather continues to get warmer but still is very nice.

Went to the mission president's home today and got two beds that were in his garage, also stopped by the store and bought two new mattress. Back to the mission office and loaded the truck and trailer up with sofas, beds and other furniture for the move in Conroe tomorrow. Leona went with me to buy cleaning supplies for the missionaries this afternoon.

I left the office early to drive to Conroe. One apartment in Conroe needed a sofa. The other apartment with four elders is being vacated. I met two of the elders at the new apartment. I signed the lease, picked up the keys and we moved the furniture that was in the truck and trailer into their new place. We then went back to pick up the other elders and the remaining apartment stuff. The elders worked hard cleaning up the old place as best as they could. The refrigerator, microwave and oven looked all most new when they finished. One of the elders went to get the assistant apartment manager so she could do the walk through before we left. Missionaries have lived in that apartment for several years so it was well worn. Anyway she looked things over and as she was leaving the kitchen I said "check out the fridg" which she did and then I said check out the microwave, which she did - I was proud of how the elders had cleaned them up. I said they look great, huh? Well then she opened the dishwasher, just stared in it and then said "who is going to take care of the mouse"!! I about died. We forgot to clean the dish washer. Oh well we got all loaded up and moved into their new place. It was about 1:30 when they finished (I do not lift furniture as instructed by the mission president). I asked what their schedule was like for the next hour and they all had not schedule anything until early afternoon not knowing how long the move would take. I then asked if they had time for lunch with me at Ryan's? Ryan's is a real good "all you can eat place" and there is one real close to their new apartment. I learned of Ryan's with Debbie and her family as there is one in the city next to them in Missiouri. It was a fun lunch with those elders. One elder gave out at least two pass along cards while we were there. He is such an on the ball missionary. This evening we had 4 elders that live real close to us for dinner. They are fun to be around and have such a good spirit. A great day to be in the mission field.

Thursday was another moving day. This time we moved one set of elders out of a real dump (missionaries have been there about 12 years I believe), into an apartment at a members home. The elders who had been living in the members home were moved into an apartment complex closer to their area. The clean up and move went a bit slow as one set of elders were not well versed in cleaning/moving (physical WORK) techniques. But I was there with lots of father type instructions (surprise). Both sets of elders were real excited about their new "homes". The day was spent by the time I got back to the office, unloaded the trash furniture and put the trailer away.

Friday morning was our regular interview with President Hansen. It is a real blessing to be associated with such good men. He is a real inspiration and a faithful servant. He shared with us a letter hand signed by the first presidency granting permission for a particular fellow on parole to be baptised. Pres. Hanson said he did not expect the letter to be positive because of all the circumstances in this case, but that it is a real testimony to him that the Lord is in charge and that the First Presidency are so mindful of the one.

I had my last BCG treatment today - that really takes the starch out of me. Leona went to MD Anderson with me and got me home, then went to the office for the rest of the afternoon.

We enjoyed so much the conference sessions today. Thankful for the Internet that allows us to see and hear conference at home. I felt well enough to go to the Priesthood session this evening. Elder Chesnut picked me up and we went together. Leona and the other senior sisters went to the book store up by the temple and had dinner together this evening.

We were invited over to Sisters Young and Billingsley's for breakfast this Easter Sunday morning. It was a real spread with ham, eggs, sausage, fried potatoes, muffins, cinnamon toast, juice, fresh fruit, chocolate milk, etc. We had a grand time visiting and reminiscing of the days when we were growing up. We came back to the apartment in time to watch conference.

We are so thankful for this wonderful blessing of serving a mission together. We are so grateful for our loving Savior, Jesus Christ, and for the atonement; to be able to repent and to be forgiven of those things that we do wrong and to try again to be more like our Father in Heaven. It has been a wonderful conference weekend. We are so thankful for the words of apostles and prophets. What a blessing to have their words to guide us. We love our mission and can not tell you how we are blessed to be here and how thankful we are for this service and His tender mercies. We know the things we heard and experienced in conference these past two days are true. We are thankful for this Easter day to be reminded of the Lord's sacrifice for each of us.

Each day we pray for your well being and for your continued service in the Lord's kingdom. What a blessing you are in our life.
We love you,
Dad and Mom.