We held FHE at the Stringfellows this evening and watched the DVD "Only a Stone cutter", the story of John R. Moyle. A story of great faith and dedication. It rained all day and at times very hard.
Tuesday I drove out to Sealy and Katy to inspect apartments. I signed a lease renewal at the Green Tree Place Apts where we have sisters living. The manager was very complementary of the sisters and what good residents they are. They are very good sister missionaries, no nonsense and hard working. At another apartment the elders dryer door would not stay shut. They identified the broken part and had the machine model number etc when I got there. I drove the several miles to the Sears part store and back for them. They are in an all bike area. Yes I did kid them a bit about not riding their bikes to get the part, you know: "when I was a young missionary I rode my bike in the "snow" uphill, both ways for miles and miles" yada, yada - they were not buying it at all. Elder Reece and Reese are hard working faithful, elders, they are our Reese's Pieces! Another wonderful day to be a full time missionary.
Wednesday I inspected apartments in the Tomball, Magnolia areas. Signed another lease renewal today. It is always fun to listen to the apartment manager's positive comments about the missionaries. Another sister left the mission early today. She and the one that left yesterday had come out in the same group. I do not believe some missionaries realize just how "hard" missionary work is going to be. They are on the go physically, mentally and spiritually 24/7 with very little down time. If missionaries come with troubles - emotional or otherwise they have a very hard time. We have had 5 missionaries go home early since just after Christmas, way more than ever before. The mission has set some very high goals and are so close to reaching those goals; I think there has been just a natural weeding out process. We love them all and hate to see any leave; we pray for them and their families and pray they will get the help that they need.
Leona and I and Elder and Sister Stringfellow were invited to Marsha and Paul Johnson's home for dinner this evening. They are members of the Olde Oaks Ward and have been very kind to us since we have been serving in the office. Dinner was great but the visit was even better.
Thursday was my last apartment inspection day for this period. I checked the apartments around the mission office area. Most were in very good shape, however I went into one apartment that was just a disaster (4 man apartment). Not one bed was made, clothes all over the place, every dish was in the sink or on the cupboard - dirty. Someone had cut their hair in the bathroom and had not cleaned it up at all. At first I thought they had put shag carpet in the bathroom, what a mess. I was so disappointed that I called one of the elders and told him they had better get the place cleaned up and that I would be back tomorrow morning (I have never done that before).
Sister Hansen had called Leona yesterday and asked her if she could get lunch for seven people. President and Sister Hansen had invited five Sister missionaries to have lunch with them in the President's office today. These Sisters were companions to the two Sisters who left this week and I am sure President Hansen just wanted time to visit with them and make sure they were each doing well. Bless their hearts, they feel bad for the sisters who went home but they are determined to work hard and stay focused and positive. One of the sisters had made a cake, she wrote on the top "I wasn't born in Texas but I got here as quick as I could". The missionaries are great and how we love them.
We left work a bit early today and went to the temple. We are so blessed to have the temple in our mission and so close to us. We stopped by the post office to mail some mission bills and the laundry to drop off a skirt for one of the sisters. Leona has mended several articles of clothing for the missionaries again this week. Thank goodness she brought her sewing machine.
Friday morning we had our regular interview with Pres. Hansen. He is always so kind and gracious and complimentary concerning our work. You just want to try harder and be a better person after being with him. He was going in to have his knee operated on after staff meeting this morning. Following staff meeting he had his assistants give him a blessing, what an inspiring job they did, truly outstanding elders.
I called the missionaries to see if they were ready for the re-inspection and they said yes. When I knocked on the door the elder I had talked to on the phone yesterday answered the door. I put my arm around him and said I was a bit tough on the phone yesterday and I am sorry. He said no you weren't - we needed to be chastised, the apartment was a mess. They did a good job of cleaning the place up. The missionaries are so obedient. Whenever I have asked them to do something or to help in any way they will do it. They are great young men and women, we are so blessed to be able to work with them. One of the zone leaders was on exchanges and was at the apartment when I got there. He said he had something for me but missed me when I inspected his apartment. He then gave me a tie. That is a big tradition in this mission. Some elders have 50 or 60 ties by the time they leave. I was touched that he would think of me. When I got back to the office there were 4 elders there picking up supplies, etc. Leona told me I should take them to lunch as it is the end of the month and they are probably low on funds. They were out on the driveway talking so I asked if I could go to lunch with them. They really acted excited to have me come along (even more excited when they found out I was paying). Always a positive experience to be with the missionaries.
Saturday we cleaned and did our laundry, then drove down to the farmers market. That is always a fun outing as it is a great people watching place. We got large bags (18 lbs) of oranges and grapefruit, and fresh vegetables. In the early afternoon we drove up to Old Town Spring. The old main street area has been turned into a real tourist trap for antique shopping, and all kinds of nick/nacks, or dust collectors. We ran into President and Sister Moldenhauer of the Houston East Mission. We enjoyed a rather lengthy visit with them. They are such friendly and gracious folks. This was a fun day to be together. It was overcast and in the low 70's so a nice day to see the sights.
It is stake conference next week end so they had fast day today. We enjoyed our fast and testimony meeting. A member of the bishopric always reads a statement on what a testimony is and what it is not and to be brief. We therefore have lots of folks who can bear their testimonies - it is great. They had a combined priesthood/RS meeting and the subject was adoption and the church program. It was very interesting and the video they used has been updated since I last saw it. Good program and a wonderful day. We went over to the pond by our apartment and fed the ducks this afternoon.
We pray all is well with you. We are enjoying our experience here in Texas a lot. In fact Leona said the other day she was glad we are serving a 23 month mission otherwise we would be home by now and neither of us are ready for that!
Lord bless you all,
Love Dad & Mom