When we got to the office Monday the Internet was down so we could not get on iMOS (the Church's missionary system). Elder Stringfellow made a few phone calls to Salt Lake and to AT&T. The best guess was the modem was fried so off to BEST BUY we went to find a modem. It took awhile to get the new modem to work, but finally we got the system going. Several missionaries in and out today. The new AP, Elder Galbraith was in and will do well (his grandfather is the new Kyiv Temple Pres). The senior missionaries met this evening at the Sister's apartment for FHE. Elder Stringfellow had the lesson. We reviewed Bishop Edgley's conference talk on faith. We really have a wonderful time together.
Tuesday our day started just after 7 in the office. The van and trailer were about loaded ready to start transfers to College Station and points along the way. One poor sister was late getting to the office and came with all her stuff in the trunk of the car and the back seat, most of which was not packed. It took her about 45 minutes to get loaded up and ready. I play traffic cop during the early part of the morning, trying to keep the mission cars from blocking the drive way and road. Most missionaries just do not think about "abandoning" their cars any place and soon there is a mess. Anyway we got the cars sorted out and the "transfer bus" (van and trailer) on their way. I made the Katy transfer run this afternoon. It is like a boy scout camp out! "Elders do you have your bikes, luggage, backpacks, boxes, etc, loaded and ready???" "Oh yes Elder Walker we are ready". I get to the Bear Creek Church area and the first young Elders after I open the trailer door say "where is my bike?"another says "where is by backpack?" Those who know me well know what "helpful advice" I then provide. Sometimes you just have to laugh. Elder Thomson one of the AP's was transferred to College Station for his last 6 weeks of his mission. We will miss him
Leona and I set up for the departing missionary dinner at the temple cafeteria this evening. After we ate we were visiting with Pres. Hansen when he told us of an interesting experience he had on Saturday. As mentioned in last weeks blog Elder Jensen of the 70 attended the Klein Stake Conference. He asked Pres Hansen to take 25 minutes at the Saturday priesthood leadership meeting. As Pres. Hansen thought about what would be the best thing to review he thought of the simplified Preach My Gospel curriculum, and to have two Elders practice teach the principles for the leadership group. He thought I could have the AP's do it or the Zone Leaders, but instead he called the Klein Zone Leaders and asked them to pray and then call him who they would suggest. They called back the next day with their answer. The two elders they suggested were good missionaries, but were not the dynamic, out going elders, or even the "best teachers". In fact one of them had just returned to the field after being with us in the office for 6 weeks. But Pres Hansen thought I asked for recommendations so I need to take that recommendation and follow up. He called the two elders and told them to meet him at the church 1 hour before the meeting so they could practice teach the practice teaching. At the appointed time the President got a call. The member who was to pick up the elders never did show up - now what?? Well just as the meeting started the elders got there. Pres. Hansen thinking the whole time - here are 250 priesthood leaders and two timid missionaries - this is going to be a "train wreck". When the time was turned to Pres. Hansen he had a few introductory remarks and then ask for two volunteers to be "investigators" for the elders. Two hands in the back shot up and Pres. Hansen said come on down. When the audience saw who one of the volunteers was there was a collective sigh in the group. He came "swaggering" up the aisle, ready to do battle with the elders.....as Pres Hansen described it. Then as he sat down and when Elder Martin got to the part of Joseph's first vision...."I saw a pillar of light"...... Pres Hansen said there was a feeling of profound reverence and spirit that filled that room like nothing he had experienced before. As the missionaries proceeded to bear their testimonies Pres Hansen said the "investigator" who started out as less than golden had tears running down his cheeks as did the other investigator and about half the audience. When Elder Martin paused and asked "how do you feel" it took the man well over a minute to compose himself enough to respond. The missionaries had taught just the way Elder Kikuchi had taught us 6 weeks ago when he was here. When Elder Jensen stood up after the demonstration, Pres Hansen said, he said, "I have been in hundreds of stake priesthood leadership meetings around the church and never felt the spirit any stronger than he did at that meeting". The young elders had done just what the Lord has asked them to do.....Teach with the spirit. Pres Hansen said those in the meeting were truly taught by the spirit by the weak and simple things of God. We are so blessed to be associated with good missionaries.
Wednesday was Michael's birthday, Happy Birthday to you, we are thankful for you. We had 7 new elders (no sisters this time) arrive today. The office staff does a brief orientation for them about what we do in the office and how we can help. We cooked the bacon this evening for breakfast tomorrow and gathered up all the other stuff we need for in the morning.
Thursday morning we got up just after 5 to get ready and load up the car. We do the breakfast at the mission home for the new elders and their trainers. It is a great thing to watch that whole process as Pres Hansen announces who the new companionships will be. What a neat thing that is. We take pictures of the new elders and Pres & Sister Hansen to send to their parents, also do group shots, clean up, load up and head back to the office. The new companionship's, APs and President and Sister Hansen go to the temple. What a blessing to have the temple right in our mission. I worked on the new photos for the transfer board and photo board. This afternoon the APs asked me to take 2 elders to the Bear Creek Chapel to catch their ride to Sealy which I did. I picked up an elder at Bear Creek and took him up to College Station (this was a last minute change to the transfers earlier in the week). Elder Farnsworth and I had a nice visit all the way to College Station. It sure was dry along the side of the road - we have not had rain for several weeks now. I did not get back to the office until 6pm. We are so blessed to be able to do what we do.
Friday in our staff meeting Pres. Hansen asked us to remember Sister Stringfellow in our prayers. She has had a rough couple of days and nights. She thinks it is her MS that is acting up. Pres Hansen gave her a blessing after the meeting. What a wonderful blessing he gave her. Worked on updating the various spreadsheets with the changed companionship's the rest of the day. Helped the APs with some maps as they do not know their way around this part of Houston very well. The mission GPS was stolen out of the truck last Saturday so maps will have to do for now. We went out with the Senior sisters for dinner this evening. We enjoy being with each other and visiting. Another great day in the mission field.
Saturday we did our shopping, cleaning and just stayed close to home. We walked over and fed the ducks, turtles, fish and the swan. That is always fun.
Sunday we enjoyed our time at church. Its seems I get so much more out of sacrament meeting when I really listen and concentrate on the sacrament prayers and the atonement. We are so blessed to have the fullness of the gospel. Where would we be without it?
Sister Marsh arrived this afternoon. She will replace Sister Young in the office. It turns out the Marsh's were in Saudi Arabia, in Al-Kohbar, the same time we were there. Her husband was on the High Council the same time I was, maybe I will remember him when I see a picture.
We love you all and are thankful for all your support and prayers.
Love Mom & Dad