Sunday, July 25, 2010

50th Post July 19th - July 25, 2010

Monday and the start of another week in the Houston Texas Mission. I spent time cleaning up and putting stuff away in the office garage. Missionaries sometimes just leave things so I sort and keep the good stuff and pitch the rest. We store paper goods and 6 electronic key boards in the office closet so I rearranged that so we could find stuff. No one really takes ownership of things so I just jump in and do stuff, then it is the way I want it. We spent some time over at Sister Lish's apartment this evening cleaning out the frig, etc.

Tuesday I took the truck over and hauled a load of boxes from Sister Lish's apartment. She was the last of several single Sisters to live there so lots of stuff just kind of accumulated. I talked to the new couple coming to replace the Chesnuts and finalized with them and Cypress Lake an apartment for them. I spent the rest of the day working apartment and utility items. This evening was sewing night for the senior sisters so I went shopping with a list of items for dinner tomorrow. We entered the MTC one year ago today. What a wonderful year it has been. We have been so blessed and would not trade this experience for anything. The time really has gone way too fast!!

Wednesday Elder Chesnut and I drove a missionary to the airport. He is leaving a week early to get into school. What a nice person and good missionary. Elder Wood is from Blue Bell Utah. As we were waiting for him to get through security and on his way an airline employee came up to us and asked if we were waiting for or sending off missionaries. Her son is in Spain and was just transferred so we talked for awhile about him. This afternoon I make a fast trip to Sealy to drop off a desk to the elders, their old one had completely fallen apart. We had Elders Thomson, Hiatt, and Martin over for dinner this evening. Elder Martin's companion had to go home for an operation so he goes with the AP's for now. We really enjoy having the elders in our home.

Thursday following our prayer meeting I drove the truck and trailer down to Katy to move elders out of an apartment we have been in for several years. The apartment was well worn to say the least. There were 4 other elders and two sisters that came to help, things went real well. When we got to the new apartment complex and started to unload the sisters took an arm load of stuff and then I did not see them again. I suspected what they were doing and sure enough when I got up to the apartment the sisters were putting things away in the new kitchen and organizing it. Bless their hearts, it must come natural. Most of the time you sort of have to remind the elders what to do next, but not the sisters, they just keep working on the next thing. The ZL's came part way through the move so we got all the things moved into the new apartment pretty quickly. I asked them about their schedules and no one had any appointments for a few hours so I asked if they wanted to go to lunch with me. They were way excited about that, especially the part about "my treat". As we were leaving the apartment one of the sisters began to instruct Elder Stone where to put this pot or pan and in which cupboard this box should go, I just had to smile. We enjoy being with the missionaries so much, they really are great examples. It was so hot and humid today, I was wringing wet and I did not do any lifting.
Friday we thought that the mission office would be closed as it is the 24th and all the offices in SLC are closed but transfers are next week and lots to do to be ready. In our staff meeting President Hansen asked the Chesnuts to bear their testimonies. It was hard for all of us to keep our emotions in check. We will really miss them. We went out with Sisters Billingsley and Young this evening to get a shake and pick one up for the Chesnuts. We then went back to the Chesnut's apartment to visit with them. They are about done organizing their stuff to move.

Saturday I drove the truck and trailer over to the Chesnuts apartment and with the help of the elders we moved some of the big furniture into the new apartment where their replacements will stay. The missionaries are so good to help whenever they are asked. We spent the afternoon making sloppy Joe's for transfer week (next week). Got cleaned up and took Chesnuts out to dinner. It is always fun to visit with them. They want to go home yet do not want to leave.

Sunday we attended church and enjoyed the good talks and lessons at the Olde Oaks Ward. All the seniors are going to the sisters apartment this evening for dinner. A real Sunday dinner is a treat for us since we usually have our traditional - popcorn and apples!

It has been another wonderful week. They just get better and better and go by faster and faster! We are so thankful for this blessing. We pray that you are well and that you are safe. Give all our beautiful grandchildren a kiss from us. May our Father in Heaven's Spirit and love always abide in your homes. We love ya'll.
Mom & Dad

Sunday, July 18, 2010

49th Post Monday July 12 - Sun. July 18, 2010

Monday I spent the day doing paper work. Mostly sorting out the many duplicate e-files that senior missionaries have set up over the years. Lots of missionaries in and out all day. They are fun to chat with and a real inspiration to be around. We had dinner with the other senior missionaries at President & Sister Hansens; a going home dinner for the Chesnuts who leave the 30th and for Sister Lish who leaves the 17th. It is always a wonderful time when we get together.

Tuesday we went over to the Hafer building as the mission leadership (AP's, ZLs &
DLs) are in meetings for the next three days. Pres Hansen is introducing the new simplified curriculum. The bases for all teaching is still Preach My Gospel, just some areas emphasised more. We stayed for the introduction then back to the office. The office staff is in charge of the lunch and dinners for the next three days for about 50 people. I went out inspecting apartments again today.

Wednesday I drove out to the west area of our mission to Sealey and Katy to inspect apartments. I stopped by one apartment to sign a new 12 month lease but the new apartment manager got all side tracked on doing criminal background checks on the missionaries. She said she was required to do that, which I said fine go for it, just do not expect the mission to pay for it - we do not send criminals on missions. We have two apartments in that complex and one of them is an old lease (7 years) so we are paying a "high" rate compared to current rates, but she could not see past her rules so she was going to have the regional manager call me - no phone call yet. I got back in time to help Leona and the other office staff set up dinner for those in the leadership meetings and clean up afterwards. It makes for a long day but we enjoy very much what we are doing and love being around the other missionaries. It is wonderful to come home tired each night.
Thursday and another apartment inspection day. I drove up to Magnolia and Tomball and then to the apartments in the mission office area. I drove to the apartments without the GPS system today so I am getting to know my way around some areas. Sister Lish is going home Saturday and her replacement in the employment office will be living in the 3 bedroom apartment with Sisters Billingsley and Young. We are moving out of Sister Lish's apartment. Leona and I took a pickup load of boxes to the office garage (kitchen and cupboard stuff). There have been several senior sisters in that apartment over a few years so there was lots of stuff. It is such "pleasant" weather to move - Leona loved it! The lunches and dinners for the missionaries attending the leadership training for the past three days have been good. The missionaries seemed to enjoy them and we enjoyed feeding them. Leona is thankful for her training as a "lunch lady" and youth conference and girl camps - it all came in handy this week!

Friday Elder Chesnut rode up to Huntsville with me to check on a member missionary apartment. Apparently there was some damage done to the floor some time in the past so I went up to see what the facts were. The current missionaries did not know anything about the damage. Anyway, the couple are selling their home so they would like the missionaries out of the apartment by Sept 1. Huntsville is where there are several prisons for the state of Texas. We drove past one prison and there were several guards on horses watching the prisoners (dressed in white) as they worked along the side of the frontage road. It was hot and humid, but I have to applaud the system that requires some work. This evening the seniors all loaded into the van and drove up to the temple (about 20 minutes away). We then went out to dinner. Lots of tears knowing that Sister Lish was leaving in the morning. It was great to be in the temple with the senior missionaries.

Saturday we went into the office for the morning. Leona worked on bills and I got several vacuums working. We came back and cleaned the apartment and then got ready to go out to dinner. We picked up Elders Hinckley and Maughan at their apartment and then out to dinner. Elder Hinckley was a ZL in the zone around the office when we first got here. He is really a great missionary, really on the ball and so mature. He goes home this next transfer, we had a fun visit with him and his companion. We enjoyed the Tabernacle Choir pioneer program this evening. We were able to watch it on the computer.

The tradition in this stake seems to be to have two members of the high council speak in sacrament meeting. It is good, and so far they both have always had time to deliver their message. We enjoy the Sunday School lessons from the Old Testament, the instructor is always well prepared.
We have had another wonderful week. We are so thankful to be able to serve a mission together. We are eternally thankful to Heavenly Father for this blessing of being here living "our dream"!
Thank you for your prayers, love and support. You are in our prayers too! Be careful and have a good week.
Love Ya'll
Mom and Dad

Sunday, July 11, 2010

48th Post Mon July 5- Sunday July 11, 2010

Monday morning we loaded up the mission van and drove down town with the other senior missionaries. We visited the Natural History Museum which was very interesting. They have an energy section/display that was very educational even for an old oil guy like me. The drilling display and crude oil display was very good. We also enjoyed the large mineral exhibit that had lots of beautiful "rocks". The dinosaur movie was not so great, so we will skip that next time. We then drove over to our old neighborhood to get a bite to eat at Jax's place. It is a Mexican grill that has good food. Then up the road to the Galleria, which is the very large covered shopping center with an ice skating rink in it. It was a fun day to be with the other seniors. Very hot and humid, so a good day to be mostly in doors.

Tuesday I started another round of apartment inspections and was gone most of the day. Leona found out today that there is going to be meetings for three days next week for our missionary zone leaders and district leaders with President and Sister Hansen. There are changes from SLC to be made in some of the mission procedures so it will be another busy week next week. Leona is thankful for her training in cooking for the masses at youth conference and girl's camp because it is coming in handy now!

Wednesday I drove up to Montgomery, Conroe, and the Woodlands to check our apartments in those cities. I got back in time to eat lunch with our office seniors and the office seniors from the Texas Houston East Mission. Apparently this has been a tradition to get together once in awhile. They are all church service missionaries except they have one senior full time sister. It was an enjoyable visit with them and to see how they do things. The one full time senior sister is from Soda Springs, ID and knows Kaye Chamberlain Kawallis (Leona's cousin). We spent the rest of the afternoon doing our paper work. When we left to go home we got caught in a real down pour. It can rain real hard at times here.

Thursday it was raining very hard so I put off my inspection trip to College Station. Lots of paper work to do in the office. We also helped the Chesnuts put together a CD set that the mission president is going to give to the stake presidents. Another wonderful day in the mission field.
Friday the sun was out so I drove to Waller, Brenham, and College Station to inspect apartments. The country side in south Texas is so green. It was a very pleasant drive. I signed another 12 month lease at one of our apartments. The manager told me how much she enjoyed our "boys"and how good they are. That always makes us happy when the apartment folks say those nice things about the missionaries. In our staff meeting this morning President Hansen said there are changes coming for future Zone Conferences and some of the teaching emphasis.

Saturday I had arranged with four elders to move Sister Lish out of her apartment and into Sisters Young and Billingsley's apartment. She goes home next Saturday so we have to get her place all cleaned out. After the move the elders came for breakfast at our place. Leona fixed a real nice breakfast casserole, pull apart bread and fresh fruit. The rest of the day we just did our normal P-day preparations (laundry, cleaning, shopping, and preparing for the evening BBQ). The senior missionaries invited all the elders who live close to the mission office for dinner. We grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, had salads, fresh fruit, and root beer floats. The 14 young elders really seemed to enjoy it a lot. We held it at the office as it is hot and humid and lots of mosquitoes. One of the new missionaries shared a spiritual thought and Elder Hiatt (AP) also took a few minutes to share a scripture. We then sang Call to Serve, lots of tears. A very wonderful day to be a missionary in the best mission in the world!

Today we attended our Olde Oaks Ward and enjoyed our day of rest.
We pray that each one of you will continue to be blessed and know of our love for you.
Thanks for your support.
Love Dad and Mom

Sunday, July 4, 2010

47th Post Mon June 28 - Sun July 4, 2010

I took Elders Lindsey and Astin with me to a members home to pick up a love seat and desk. The missionaries are always so willing to help when ever I ask. We spent most of the day doing paper work in the office. We did walk over to the employment office to say hello to Elder and Sister Thomas. We also drove up to the mission home to take a pasta salad to Pres & Sister Hansen as their family are in town for a visit. More thunder storms today.

Tuesday we were at the Longenbough building for Zone Conference. What a wonderful faith promoting day it was. The subject was endure to the end (the "5th" principle & ordinances of the gospel - faith, repentance, baptism, gift of the Holy Ghost and endure to the end). President Hansen told us of a tender mercy of the Lord. He received a phone that morning from a mother of one of our missionaries, that his grandfather had passed away. This elder did not have his father in his life at all, so it was his grandfather who raised him and was so very close to him. President Hansen worried all morning how he was going to tell this young missionary the sad news and worried just how he would react. In Zone Conferences the AP's write the names of the companionships on slips of paper and before the meeting starts each companionship is pared up with another companionship for the practice teaching exercise that follows later in the morning. President Hansen goes around to the various rooms where this practice teaching is going on just to observe. He found himself standing outside the room of the missionary (& his companion) he was going to have to break the bad news to. This companionship was being taught by two other missionaries. At this point only President Hansen and a couple of the senior missionaries knew of the grandfathers passing. Well, as the teaching progressed one elder told of an experience growing up that had given him faith to endure to the end. He told of being raised by his grandfather and how close he was to him. His grandfather got sick and this missionary prayed that he would get well, within a few days his grandfather died. He bore his testimony of how the Lord blessed him and comforted him to be able to endure the heart ache and sadness of his grandfathers passing. Pres Hansen stood there and could not believe what was happening. About 10 minutes later President Hansen took this young missionary into a class room and told him of his grandfather's passing. He just cried and cried and Pres Hansen held him as he sobbed. After he composed himself this young elder said "I can do this, I will be OK because of Elder so and so's testimony. We all shed a tear, Heavenly Father is really aware of all His children and what they need. I mean really, what are the chances of those two missionaries being put in that exact situation at that exact time for all that to happen?

When we got back to the office later in the afternoon, Sister Young said that while we were all gone Elder Martin came in and asked her to call his mother. When she asked what he wanted her to tell his mom he said "I received a letter from my family and they are planning to go to a water park today and when I was praying this morning I had a very strong impression that my family should not go to the water park today". Sister Young called this mother and told her what her missionary son had said. Sister Young said this mother got very quiet on the phone and finally said than when she was praying this morning she also had an impression that they should not go to the water park, but she put it out of her mind as they were going with other families and what could go wrong?? Well that mother said, "I will call you back after I talk to my husband". In a few minutes she called back and said, "we are not going to the water park". I suppose no one will ever know what might have happened. It is so important to act upon the promptings we receive.

Wednesday - our anniversary - 41 years we have been happily married - what a blessing. Zone Conference was at the Hafer building which is right next to the mission office and employment center. One of the parts of ZC I like best is the testimonies of the departing and the newly arrived missionaries. They are all so very good. What wonderful young people we have in the church. We went out this evening for a raspberry shake to celebrate our anniversary.

Thursday we drove up to College Station for Zone Conference. Sister Lish from the employment office went with us, she goes home on July 17. Elder and Sister Chesnut go home a couple of weeks after that. We have enjoyed so much our association with these senior missionaries. Their testimonies the past few days have blessed our lives (I hate to think of when our time is completed here). Another very wonderful day to be a missionary. The remnants of the hurricane brought lots of rain, but very little wind.

Friday it rained hard most of the day. It is amazing how quickly the water level will rise in this flat place. No flooding for us, but lots of standing water on the roads and in the fields. We had our regular interview with President Hansen this morning before staff meeting. He is such a wonderful man. At the conclusion he offered a prayer and prayed for our children and grandchildren. We felt great comfort for you all. We worked on apartment paper work and paid bills. We are so blessed to be on this mission - it is the best!

Saturday we went in the office for a few hours. We did some shopping and then went up to Kent and Diane's (Chamberlain) for a hamburger cook out. It was fun to visit with them. It was too humid and rainy to go to the outdoor concert that they had planned to take us to so we just stayed home to chat. We had a great evening with them, they have been so kind to us since we have been here in Texas.

Today it seemed the testimonies in sacrament meeting were very good and to the point and short. It must have been the note in the bulletin about bearing testimony. We are going over to the senior sisters apartment in a few minutes for pie and ice cream - we do love to get together.

Thanks for your prayers. We just love this experience. We pray all of you can serve a full time mission with your eternal companion when you get to that stage in your life.
May the Lord bless you
Love Dad and Mom