Sunday, December 26, 2010

72nd Post Mon Dec 20 - Sunday, Dec 26, 2010

Monday was spent mostly in preparation for Wednesday's mission wide devotional and activity day. I ran several errands and went to the hardware store and got several dowels about 4 feet long. Back at the office "work shop" I taped one end with electrical tape, drilled a small hole and inserted a large finish nail, then used the grinder to sharpen the exposed end. Some of the missionaries will use these "sticks" to pick up trash along Hafer road on Wednesday. The President wanted to do a tug of war on Wednesday so I have looked all over and asked many church members if there was a large rope that we could borrow - no luck - but I found a place on the Internet that sold big rope for ship mooring, etc. They had a 100 foot long, 2" diameter piece they would sell me, so I drove down south of I-10 and east of 59 to their location and got the rope. Lots of missionaries in and out of the office today, mostly looking to see if they had a package from home.

David called and did not get the job he interviewed for in Utah. They have cleaned out their apartment in Rexburg and are headed to Utah for Christmas with Raquel's mother. Jessica called and they are on the road to Delaware for Christmas. We started our mission wide fast this evening. Warm today in the mid 70's.

Tuesday we went shopping for more graham cracker house supplies and putting stuff together to haul to the church tomorrow. The contractor working on the lights around the mission office was back doing punch list items. I guess I am really doing the FM group's job on this little project, but I do not mind as I do like "project" work. We cleaned up the spare bedroom for Elder and Sister Christensen as they will spend tomorrow night with us.

Wednesday - WOW what a day. We started early moving things over to the church and getting set up. Ice in the ice chest and water coolers, setting up tables (the young missionaries do the "work" they just need supervision), and getting the outdoor activities ready. The missionaries had a service project at NAM (similar to Deseret Industries) and Pres. Hansen took the district that is right around the office and they cleaned up along Hafer Road. One of the groups of missionaries did a food drive for NAM in the local neighborhoods and collected just under 3000 pounds of food. They really did a good job with that project. The missionaries all came back to the church at noon to eat lunch. We had 35 large pizzas, green salad, oranges and pumkin bread. Not much left over at all. They were then divided into 3 groups. One went to the YW's room to make graham cracker "houses", one group outside to play ultimate frisbie, and one group to games. The games consisted of the tug of war ran by Elder Christensen (the big rope really worked out well for 25 or 30 missionaries per side), Elder Stringfellow had frozen beef pies to throw as "cow chip" throwing contest, and Elder Thomas ran the stick pull. Every 45 minutes the missionaries rotated between the three main activities. They really had a good time. After the activities we all changed into our proselyting clothes and had the mission picture taken. Let me say that having a family picture taken is a piece of cake compared to getting 170 or so missionaries (including seniors) positioned and ready for the photo. After the photo we quickly set up tables and chairs and had dinner. The sister that does the dinner for the departing missionaries at the temple also did this dinner. It all went well. After dinner we went into the chapel, where Pres and Sister Hansen briefly spoke, and then Elder Gifford Neilson (Area Authority 70) spoke. Following the devotional we went back into the culture hall and the seniors served Blue Bell ice cream and homemade cupcakes. Most all the Stake Presidents and their wives in our mission were also in attendance to the dinner and devotional. It was about 9 pm before we got back to the apartment. But what a wonderful day it was. It is so much fun being around the missionaries.

Thursday Leona fixed a nice breakfast for the Christensen's and we got them on their way. Leona spent the morning at the church cleaning the kitchen and putting things away. I unloaded the truck and put things away at the office. Today the missionaries all went to the temple at assigned times. Leona and I went to the temple later in the afternoon. This evening we went out to get a few things for the BBQ tomorrow.

Friday we got up and ran our 2 miles as usual, got ready and into the office by about 7:40. The office staff fixed a BBQ lunch for the North Zone. Their Zone meeting is held at the Hafer Building so they just came over to the office after their meeting was over. I grilled hamburgers and hot dogs. Others had brought potato salad, jello salad, soda, and all the fixin's. The missionaries really seemed to enjoy the lunch. and even sang a hymn for us. We cleaned up and left about 2:30 so I could get up to the mission home to take a family picture for President Hansen. All their kids and grandkids were there. It was fun to be with them for a few minutes.

Christmas day was a quiet day for us (thank goodness). We got to talk to all the kids which was great for us. The Seniors met at the sister's apartment for dinner about 5 pm. We enjoyed a nice meal and long visit together. We are so thankful for this Christmas season - what a blessing to know the true nature of Jesus Christ and the restoration. We are blessed to be serving this mission together and are very thankful for this experience.
Sunday the weather was very cool, but lots of sunshine. The speakers and the ward choir really did an inspiring job in sacrament meeting. One sister spoke on the light of Christ and how the light will always win over darkness - lots to think about.

We love you. Drive safely, you are in our prayers.
Dad and Mom

Sunday, December 19, 2010

71st Post Monday Dec 13 - Sunday, Dec 19, 2010

Monday we went into the office early, I got apartment inspection forms ready for tomorrow, updated some files, helped missionaries with vacuum issues (how to clean filters, etc) and with cleaning supplies. Leona and I went to Sam's Club to get paper goods for next weeks mission activities. The seniors had FHE at the Stringfellow's apartment. Sister Marsh taught the lesson on scriptures that prove the Book of Mormon is true.

Tuesday I inspected apartments in Sealy and Katy. Most of the apartments were in good shape. The Ashley House apartment had re-carpeted and painted so it looked real good. I am able to find most of the apartments with almost no help (GPS or maps) so I am learning something. I usually get back to the office in the mid afternoon. Worked on file updates and ordered some pictures for President Cue (2nd coun. in the mission presidency). The time goes by very fast, but we enjoy so much our work. It was warmer today, in the mid 60's with lots of sunshine.

Wednesday I inspected apartments in Tomball, Magnolia, and the area around the mission office. Even though I am on the road a lot I do enjoy the work I am assigned to perform. Talking with the missionaries in their apartments and getting to know them better is a real plus. Later in the day I went to the mattress store and ordered 25 more beds for the mission, then to Walmart for mattress covers, and Home Depot for padlocks for the new fence/gates that was recently completed behind the office.

Thursday I was back out to the Katy area delivering a bed for the Sisters and getting a drivers licence form to an Elder before his licence expires (his companion currently does not have a licence). Leona made carmel, chocolate covered pretzels for all the missionaries so I left a little treat bag for each missionary in their apartment. Elder Stringfellow called me on my way back to the office so I arranged to meet him at one of the apartments so he could drop off a car following repairs. This afternoon we left work early, about 4 pm and went to the temple. Just 7 of us on the session, but still a good experience. It is a real blessing for us to have a temple in our mission.

Friday, a great day, David will graduate this evening with a BA in accounting. Our thoughts and hearts are with him and Raquel in Idaho. We are proud of him and all his hard work. Way to go David!
In our office staff meeting President Hansen read 1 Nephi 11, Nephi's vision of the nativity 600 years before Christ's birth. What a sacred event that Nephi was able to see. How thankful we are for our saviour, Jesus Christ, for his life and love and willingness to atone for our sins.
During staff meeting we planned some of the details for next week's mission wide Christmas activity and devotional on Wednesday Dec. 22. Lots for the seniors to get ready. Leona said that she is going to keep tylenol on hand for the day and maybe some of the "special medicine" that was used at girls camp!
I ran several errands, went shopping for more supplies with Leona, and took Elder Stringfellow down to pick up a missionary car.
Much cooler this evening as the wind was coming out of the north.

Saturday, another great day, it is Jessica's 30th birthday today! My how fast the years have gone by. We are so thankful for Jessica. She is so lucky; she gets to spend her birthday preparing for and probably cleaning up their ward Christmas dinner!!
We did our P-day thing - shopping, cleaning and I even got the car washed. Leona sent me out with a long lists of items to get. She made treats for the ward Christmas party this evening. The party was fun, even though I thought it was way unorganized. The high priests did the 12 days of Christmas. They had 3 sisters sing the song and then each of us had one of the days we represented. I had 5 large "gold" rings, Elder Stringfellow was the 1st day. It was fun and seemed to be a big hit with the ward. Lots of people came out. The organizers had set up a table with large glass containers with all sorts of different candy and treats in them. By the time the evening was over the kids were "wired" big time. It was a hoot to sit back and watch the parents chase them!

Sunday, sacrament meeting was very inspirational. We enjoyed the speakers a lot, even the high councilor did a really good job of speaking with the spirit. He talked about service and "good will to all man kind" not just those we know or we think deserve our help; a very uplifting meeting. The teacher in the high priest quorum taught the exact same lesson he taught last week. About half way through I thought I was having an old age attack, but I noticed I was not the only one in the group having the same attack!

We continue to be blessed so much to be on this mission. It is really a grand experience, one we are so thankful for.
Have a wonderful week. We wish ya'll a very Merry Christmas. Be safe.
We love you,
Dad and Mom

Sunday, December 12, 2010

70th Post Mon. Dec. 6 - Sunday Dec. 12, 2010

Monday and weigh in day. We still go over to the employment office on Monday mornings early and weigh in - it is good motivation not to gain weight. I spent most of the day getting the garage cleaned up and a place to put the furniture that was in the trailer. Got the parts I needed to fix a table lamp, showed one set of sister missionaries how to clean the vacuum filters, installed some hooks in the garage to hang electrical cords and air hoses and repaired a desk. Also got the Christmas tree down and in the office so the missionaries could decorate it. It looks real nice.
Doug Taber from our ward back home is in Houston teaching a class at one of the universities. He came by this evening and had a bowl of soup with us. It was fun to catch up on his family and the "new" ward back home.

Tuesday I started apartment inspections again, most looked good. Elder Herrman made cookies for me to take back to the office and Sisters Maxwell and Ferro left me a little bag of treats - apartment inspections can be quit rewarding. I had to take the truck in as it was not starting very well today - just needed a new battery. Leona is making carmel/chocolate covered pretzels for each missionary so I leave them at the apartments as I inspect them.

Wednesday I drove up to Huntsville, Conroe, Montgomery, and the Woodlands doing apartment inspections. I will put lots of miles on the truck this week. When I got back to the office I had a list of supplies to get at WalMart. As I was getting a box down from a high shelf at WalMart it slipped right through my hands and hit me square on the fore head. The edge of the heavy box cut my fore head and for a minute I thought I was going to lose my balance. The box really gave me a whack, I guess shopping can be hazardous to your health.

Thursday I went to College Station, Brenham, and Waller inspecting apartments - over 220 miles. Most of the trees in that area have lost their leaves so the country side is rather drab, but I enjoy seeing the large ranches and farms. At Elder Hiatt's apartment he had left me a note thanking Sister Walker and I for all our work and all we do for the missionaries. He is a very thoughtful young man, we miss him in the office.

Friday I started out with my jacket on as it was cool again, but by the afternoon it had really warmed up. I went out inspecting apartments again today. They all looked good except one was a real mess. I stopped by the office of one of the apartments to sign a lease renewal - I have a few more to sign before the month is over. The apartment assistant manager was telling me how good the "boys" were, how respectful and polite they were. It is always good to hear such kind words about our missionaries. President Hansen asked about our family in our interview with him this morning. We talked about each of you and mentioned that David & Raquel were looking for work and graduate school. He offered to send David's resume to people he knew in this area that have connections with accounting functions. As he closed our interview with prayer he offered a really wonderful blessing on David, by name. It was a very touching experience for us. President Hansen is a wonderful mission president.

Saturday I ran a few errands and got my hair cut and Leona cleaned the apartment and did the laundry. I got a call from the Elders at one of our Katy apartments - he thinks he has bed bugs. I loaded up a new bed, some permethalin and headed down to their apartment - about 45 minutes from our place. Elder Griffiths was very thankful that I was able to help out so quickly. When I asked how long there had been an issue his reply was "a few weeks". Anyway I hope we get the issue handled before it becomes a real infestation.
This evening we loaded up the van with senior missionaries (Thomas, Stringfellows, us and Sister Young) and we headed to Conroe, about 20 or so minutes north of us. We ate dinner at Ryan's Restaurant and then went to the Spring Stake Choir's Christmas Concert. The choir really did an outstanding job. They have an excellent group of very good singers. The music was very inspiring. A really great evening. The day started out very warm, but the wind blew most all evening and turned off cool.

Sunday we had really fine sacrament speakers. We enjoy going to church and are getting to know more people all the time. This has been another very busy week for us, but we enjoy what we are doing so much. It is such a blessing to be missionaries and we are thankful to be here.
Mom & Dad
<-- picture of Spencer and his "gingerbread" house

Sunday, December 5, 2010

69th Post Mon. Nov. 29 - Sunday Dec. 5, 2010

I had an early appointment at the dermatologist this morning. Not a bad drive down town as it was right after rush hour. The doctor cut a spot from my left cheek and left leg and "froze" a couple of spots on my face and ears. Leona had a missionary moment while we were at MD Anderson this morning. As we got on the elevator there were already three or four people on and as we stepped to the back a lady looked at Leona and at her missionary name tag and she said with her hands in the air pointing, "I am going to take it as a sign, I am going back to church. I have been away for a long time but I am going back. I haven't seen one of those LDS Mormon badges for a long time, it's a sign I am going back!" She said that she was baptized 10 years ago but had not been to church for a very long time. Leona told her she was always welcome and hoped she would come back. As we got off the elevator we wished her a good day. Leona said to me, "that was easy, didn't have to say much, just wear my name tag and look like missionary!"

We were back to the office by mid morning. I hooked up the truck and trailer and drove down to the sisters apartment at the Oaks of Wimbledon. There were some issues with their old apartment so we are moving them to a different building in the same complex. There were 6 elders from their district to help so the move went well. After we moved I took them all to lunch, which they enjoy. After I got back to the office Allen Smith (my cousin's husband) stopped by to see us. They leave to go back to Utah tomorrow. After work we we decorated cookies and fixed other little treats for the dinner at the temple tomorrow night.

Tuesday we were at the office by just after 7 AM as it is transfer week. Even though we only have 3 new missionaries coming in there were several missionaries being transferred. Lots of missionaries in the office all day. I drove the transfer van down to the Bear Creek and Mills Road chapels after the van got back from College Station. I got back in time for the departing testimonies. Elder Thomson (was an AP), Elder Lindsey, and Elder Woodruff and Sisters Hastings and Sorensen are all going home. It is sad to see them go, such wonderful young men and women. We left work a bit early to get up to the temple and set up for dinner. We enjoy doing that, but it does make for a very long day. Very windy and cold today.
Wednesday there was frost on the cars when we went out to go to the office. We left early again this morning this time to drive up to the mission home. All the departing missionaries and the AP meet there for breakfast. We picked up Elder Thomson and drove him to the airport because the other missionary's flights left later. We will miss him. Turns out his flight was delayed to Minn/St Paul and so he missed his flight to Hawaii. I know his folks were disappointed. Thanks goodness there was a member of the church working the airline counter that made sure they got him a hotel and meals, otherwise they were going to do nothing for him.

The new missionaries arrived this afternoon. Also Elder Barton returned with them. He went home several months ago to have his foot operated on. Glad he has returned. When the APs brought the van and trailer back to the office they said the trailer came off the hitch at the airport. Elder Stringfellow and I worked to see if we could get the trailer to disengage from the van, but if connected correctly we just could not make it happen. I did drill a hole through the hitch latch and put a pin in it. I also went through the proper hook up procedure (again) to make sure they understand the whole process. Hopefully we have solved the problem. Another long but wonderful day.

Thursday we are up early again and up to the mission home to have breakfast ready for the new missionaries and their trainers. We fix bacon, sausage, french toast, home made syrup, fruit, and juice. There is always plenty to eat. President Hansen announces the new companionship's, I take photos of the new missionaries and the Hansens to send to the parents and also photos of the new missionaries, their trainers and the Hansens for the history. Then they all go to the temple. Back to the office, I hooked up the trailer and truck and went to the store to pick up the remainder of the beds we purchased, then back to the office to unload the beds in the garage. I then drove up to the temple to meet Elders Foster and Reidhead and drove them to their area in Huntsville. On the way back I stopped in Conroe, purchased a small table at WalMart and delivered it to the Elders at the Autumn Wood Apartments. Lots of miles on the road and another long day, but so thankful we can do what we are asked to do - what a blessing.

Friday we were in the office early again. I loaded up cleaning supplies, a vacuum and empty boxes and headed down to Village in the Woods Apartment complex. We moved the elders out a few months ago thinking we may be back, but it appears we are just closing down that area so we needed to clean out the apartment. The Zone Leaders and 4 other elders came by to help me. They loaded the furniture in the trailer and helped clean up the apartment. I worked on the oven as it was real bad. Did not take long to get it all done. As the missionaries were waiting for me to finish checking the place out I noticed one ZL had engaged the Comcast repair man working next door in a gospel conversation. It was fun to watch him be such a good missionary. I signed a new lease at the Discoll Place Apts. Back at the office there were lots of my files that needed updating since the most recent transfers.
Leona drove to the temple at about 11am to help set up lunch for the three mission presidents in Houston and their wives, Elder Gifford Nielson and his wife and the temple president and his wife. They had done a session at 10am and were eating lunch at 12:30pm. Leona had called a lady who caters (Sister Sevy) and asked her about a month ago if she could fix the lunch. It was held in the temple cafeteria with glass dishes and fresh flowers. Sister Sevy served spinach salad with pear slices, cranraisins and candied nuts. Then beef tenderloin, carrott souffle', mashed potatoes (that were very different and good - Leona wishes she had the recipe) and green been almondine and homemade rolls. For dessert she had three things on each plate: small bite size carrott cake, choc souffle and a large strawberry dipped in chocolate. It was very nice and enjoyed by all. Sister Sevy had done alot of work. Mission presidents and area authority seventy eat different than plain missionaries!

Saturday we went into the office for a few hours. I have lots to catch up on so I am ready for next week and apartment inspections. We did some shopping and put out some Christmas decorations in the apartment. It looks like Christmas now! It was cool and breezy today, with lots of sunshine.

Sunday morning was very cool. I suppose it was in the 30's last night. Lots of real good testimonies in sacrament meeting today. Our priesthood meeting got off track as one member is so loud and negative with almost every thing he says. This evening we drove to Kingwood, one of the stakes there has the cultural hall nicely decorated with about two hundred different nativity desplays. They had dark blue fabric hanging against the walls as a backdrop painted with outlines of old world villages. The ceiling was draped with white fabric and strans of white lights. It was very beautiful. We were touched by the music and spirit we felt there, the true meaning of Christmas. There was a small framed nativity picture with the words "We all need a stable beginning" - how true that is.
Have a great week. We love you
Mom and Dad