Monday evening we went to the mission home for dinner. All the senior missionaries, even the two couples in Huntsville came down. There were 19 of us including the mission president and his wife. The president tries to get us together when ever any of us are going home. Sister Billingsley goes home this coming Saturday. We will miss her, she is such a good person and a great example. Her husband was killed on the job many years ago so she raised her kids on her own. She was in the MTC with us (employment).
Tuesday we were at the Longenbaugh building for Zone Conference. I take a few minutes at each Zone Conference to talk about apartments. I talked about the school of the prophets in the Whitney Store and the clean up required following those meetings and the subsequent revelation on the Word of Wisdom. President and Sister Hansen always do a wonderful job with their remarks. We got back to the office late in the day with lots of emails, letters, and bills to deal with. We also had three missionaries arrive this evening who are waiting for visas to Brazil, and Taiwan. By the time we finished with a very brief orientation, photos and getting them money for the next couple of weeks, we did not leave the office until about 7pm. Small world one of the missionaries, Elder Alexandre, is Brother and Sister Martin's grandson. The Martins lived in the Wilmington ward, he was in the Stake Presidency. They invited us to their home on Christmas day that first Christmas in Delaware when we were homeless and staying in a motel. It was fun to visit for a few minutes with Elder Alexandre about his grandparents.
Wednesday we drove up to College Station for Zone Conference there. It is about 1 3/4 hours drive from here. We left early as Leona sets out all the supplies the missionaries have ordered. There were some missing cleaning supplies so I ran to WalMart to get the items. The Relief Society's always do a good job in providing lunch. Again the music and the talks and the teaching were all very inspiring - always a good experience. We did not get back to the office until late in the afternoon, but lots to do when we got there so it was another late evening for us. We are tired at the end of day but feel so blessed to be able to serve at this time in our life.
Thursday the Zone Conference was at the Hafer building which is right next to the mission office. Pres. Hansen again answered questions during his part on the program, which was a bit longer today as Sister Hansen was at the hospital with one of our elders who was having a kidney stone attack. One of the questions was how do we respond to questions about the Mountain Meadow Massacre? Pres Hansen has read lots of books including the latest one by the BYU professors on that subject. He also grew up in Ceder City and so was very familiar with the "feelings" to still exist with the posterity of those involved in that great tragedy. His response was very enlightening. After we finished at Zone Conference I went over to the mattress store and picked up 8 new bed sets (this is all I could get in the truck and trailer). When I tried to hook the trailer on the truck the trailer jack finally gave out. What a beautiful day, cool and windy this morning and just nice and warm this afternoon.
Friday and our normal office staff meeting. I was asked to give a thought, which I did (2Ne 22 - these words from Isaiah just sounded like Nephi when I read them the other morning). After staff meeting I headed out with the new beds. My first stop was the Green Tree Place Apt. Sisters Wardle and Smart were so excited to get new beds, "now the springs will not poke me any more" they said. Next stop was to sign a new lease at one of our Katy apartments and then off to Sealy. I had arranged to get there just after the elders district meeting. They were also excited to get new beds (there are 4 elders in the Sealy apartment). After they got their old beds out and the new ones in we went to lunch. I had wanted to get out to Sealy to take these elders to lunch for some time. Their apartment was without power this summer for 2 or 3 nights and they never complained. Anyway we went to a BBQ place in town which the elders had never been before. It was very good and they really enjoyed their lunch.
On the way back to the mission office I stopped at a trailer place to buy a new jack for the mission trailer. I missed the exist and was headed towards the 610 loop when I knew I had gone to far south. I pulled into a very large parking lot at the far end by the fence to see if I could get a location entered in the GPS. A security guard pulled up in his truck and asked what I was doing (no other vehicles in the whole area of that lot). I told him were I was trying to go, and he was a bit helpful. He told me not to stay here as this is a "ghetto" and it was not safe. Anyway I found the store, got the jack and arrived back at the mission office safe and sound.
The office and employment Seniors all went out to dinner to visit with Sister Billingsley on her last night in the mission field. She leaves early in the morning for home which is in Queen Creek, AZ. After dinner we all came back to our place for ice cream and to visit. Sister Billingsley will be missed.
Saturday we got up early and Leona rode to the air port with Sisters Young and Billingsley. We hated to see Sister Billingsley go. The AP's called me this morning and said someone had broken the window out of the truck last night. I told them to call Elder Stringfellow which they did. After running some errands and doing some shopping I went to the office to put the new jack on the trailer. Who ever broke into the truck also took the gas card. Elder Stringfellow called to cancel the card and of course it had been used at 5 am. This evening we took Sister Young (Sister Marsh stayed home as she is not feeling well) and we went down to the Shadowdale building to a Spanish Ward talent night. Alex LaMar from the employment office and his wife were in it so that is the main reason we went. What a night. The adults really are into the singing and the little primary kids are into the dancing. The program was to start at 7 pm but didn't start until about 7:30 and then went until 9:30. Little toddlers were running all over the place. The audience were just visiting with each other and some were putting up chairs during the last two or three numbers. It was a fun experience.
This morning we attended the Old Oaks ward, that is the ward that we usually attend. The last few weeks we have been going to stake conferences in the area or delivering supplies to our missionaries and attending church with them so it seemed like a long time since seeing the members of the Old Oaks ward. You know, I don't even think they noticed we hadn't been there for three weeks! But we missed them! Sacrament meeting was great, two high counselors spoke; in this stake they send them in twos! Our Sunday School lesson was on giving service. Alot of good comments and stories on charity and service. Just as President Kimball said, "God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs." Giving service helps you more than the person receiving the service.
We have had another "perfect week". We are so thankful for this experience and for the blessing of serving a mission. We are grateful for the missionaries and members and investigators that we meet each week. Our lives have been richly blessed by the people we have met and grown to love.
Have a great week. Be careful in your travels. Love and serve your eternal companion and your wonderful children. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. We each have so much to to grateful for.
We love you,
Dad and Mom