Sunday, April 10, 2011

87th Post Mon April 4 - Sunday April 10, 2011

Can it be transfer week already? I left right after prayer meeting this morning to go help Elder & Sister Thomas move out of their apartment. They are the employment missionaries that replaced us. They lived a couple of miles closer to the Bering Church than we did when we lived "down town". Steve Stotts the employment manager had rented a large U-Haul truck to make the move. I needed to get furniture to Elder & Sister Buckway who just arrived and were assigned to the Bryan/College Station area as member support missionaries. There were 4 elders from the South Mission at the Thomas' to load the truck, it all went fairly well. After we got all the stuff into the truck I drove to College Station, about 2 hours north. The wind was blowing hard and it rain some on the way. I felt like I was pushing the accelerator so hard it was into the radiator and still was not moving very fast. What a trip. The gas gauge lay out was very confusing so I was not sure if I had 1/4 of a tank or it was empty. Well out in the middle of no where, on the freeway, the truck started to sputter, then I knew. Way up ahead I could see a gas sign so I pulled off the next "country exit". So off the freeway I went but the sign was up at the next exit (you had to have been there) and right back on the freeway with the truck sputtering the whole way. I was praying so hard just let there be enough gas to make it. The next exist seemed 100 miles away, but as I went down the exist ramp there was a major cross road ahead and a gas station just on the other side. The truck was now stopping and starting. I prayed even harder that no cars would be coming as I knew if I stopped at the stop sign I would never get the truck across the road. I looked both ways and not a vehicle was any where in sight so I coasted across the road and directly into the station and up to the closest pump where the truck died and I almost did too! What a blessing. I put $75 of gas in the truck (the pump cut off at that amount) and off I went. I got to the Buckways and 7 of our missionaries arrived shorty after (3 sisters and 4 elders). They had the truck unloaded in just a few minutes. Elder Scoresby, the College Station Zone Leader rode back to the office with me as he is the new AP. We enjoyed our ride and visit together, until he fell asleep. He had been up most of last night worried and thinking about his new assignment. I stopped and put another $124 of gas in the truck and it was still not full. The wind was behind us and so the truck moved along a lot better, I felt more like I was driving it rather than herding it. The seniors came over for root beer floats this evening. The Thomas are staying with us until they depart Wednesday morning. I went to the store to get fresh fruit for the dinner at the temple tomorrow evening. A long but wonderful day in the mission field.
Transfer day and the weather was beautiful. We always start each day as the office staff with prayer and we always gather in the President's office to have prayer. There were several missionaries in the office early because of transfers so we invited them to join us. Elder Mackey, our ASL (deaf) missionary offered the prayer in sign language. What a beautiful experience that was. At first I closed my eyes but then I thought how will I know when to say amen? So I watched Elder Mackey; his eyes were closed and his hands were speaking. I felt the Spirit and my heart was full of gratitude for my blessings and for the priviledge of serving a mission and having our morning prayer with the missionaries. Elder Mackey's prayer was so pure - I did not hear it with my ears but I saw and felt it in my heart.

We have 10 missionaries leaving, 9 arriving (tomorrow), plus all the other changes, which were a lot. The office is just a beehive of activity all day. The transfer bus was late getting back from College Station so I was late leaving for the Bear Creek Chapel (near the Katy area). I hustled the missionaries with their loading and unloading so I did get back for the departing testimonies. My route is from the office to the Bear Creek Chapel, then to the Mills Road Chapel and back to the office. Loading and unloading luggage, bikes and missionaries along the way. The departing missionaries testimonies were so good. They really have changed during their service. Elder & Sister Thomas also participated, we will miss them a lot. After the testimony meeting they went to the temple. Leona and I went back to the office for a while and then loaded up stuff for the dinner at the temple. We served 19 people; there was one guest, a father of one of the elders come to pick up his son. The dinner was great and Leona's THM cookies are always a big hit (especially with Pres Hansen).

As the missionaries were about to leave the temple cafeteria - the Elders were standing by the door and President Hansen was with them. Leona asked President Hansen if she could give the Elders a hug goodby (it has only been handshakes up until now). He said, "Sister Walker, you can give them a motherly hug", so that is what she did. Elder Barlow was first in line and as she held her arms wide he look at her and then at President Hansen and said "Is it alright?" and President Hansen said "yes" so Elder Barlow gave her a hug and said "thank you for all you have done for me, I love you". Elder Barlow is such an obedient missionary, always wants to do everything right. How we are going to miss these 10 missionaries!

It is late by the time we clean up, take the cooler back the Sister Tamya's home and drive back to our apartment. It was a very cool morning and nice all day. Another good day to be a missionary.

Wednesday the new missionaries arrived about 2 pm. What a wonderful group they are. Eight elders and one sister. One of the elders is from Alpine (Elder Asay). One is from here in Texas (his parents drove him here as he did not go to the MTC). He arrived before the others, so when I went out to the driveway to greet them I put my arms around him and told him how much we had looked forward to having him serve with us. He told me he had looked forward to this his whole life. You could just see how proud his parents were. As a matter of fact when we went into the office we gave him his name tag and he put it on and turned around to face his parents, his mother about lost it as did the rest of us. What a sweet spirit there was at that time. He will make such a good missionary. While we waited for the others to arrive I took this good elder and his parents over to the welfare complex to meet the employment Sisters, see the bishops storehouse and to tour the peanut butter cannery. Randy, the cannery manager, was there and gave us a real up close and personal tour of the operation. Our guests really were thankful for the experience. The peanuts are grown on the church farm over near where these folks live.

After the others arrived, the office staff did our little orientation, had them fill out paper work, and I took photos for the transfer and picture boards. I worked on getting those pictures formatted and mounted until about 6:30. Leona had gone home to start cooking bacon for tomorrow's mission home breakfast.

Thursday we were up extra early and up to the mission home before 7 am. We fix a nice french toast, bacon, sausage, and fruit breakfast for the new missionaries and their companions, etc. There were 28 at breakfast this morning. Five big loaves of bread, 6 pounds of bacon and 4 pounds of sasuage and a very large bowl of fruit. They do love the breakfast. The butter milk syrup is especially a big hit. After breakfast Pres Hansen announces companionships (that is always exciting to see the missionaries reaction), I then take photos of the new missionaries and the Hansen (to send to the parents) and a couple of group shots. This group of missionaries seems so ready to go to work - they are great. One missionary's parents are divorced, father is not a member and mother has asked to have her name removed from the records. Not much support at all but so ready and excited to serve - what a faithful missionary. Another one has been home from his first mission about 10 months (went home early) and is now back ready to finished the mission he started in South America.

Back to the mission office, we stayed very busy getting our photos ready and mailed, updating iMOS and all our other records. We took the letters to the new missionaries' parents up to the mission home this evening for Pres Hansen to sign (he will not be in the office tomorrow). He sat and visited with us for sometime. There were some issues that were weighing on his mind and he just likes to talk things through sometimes. As we left he thanked us for our service (as he always does) and for the wonderful "home teaching visit". What a heavy weight the mission presidents carry

Friday was a busy day of updating apartment files, apartment inspection sheets and just getting things in order for next week. Leona always has much to do keeping up with all the bills and with Sister Marsh gone she is answering the phone all the time. I help a little bit with that and with the mail. It was a long day so we decided to go to dinner with the Stringfellows this evening. After we went back to their place for ice cream and to play Yahtzee. It was a fun evening even though Leona won both games (as usual). Much warmer and humid today.

Saturday we did our laundry, shopping, reading and all the other P-day stuff. We even made flight reservations for our trip to Utah. FYI - We depart PHL Monday July 25 and return Monday Aug 8 (well actually Aug 9 at 1:30 AM !!). We went over to feed the ducks this evening. The pair of mallards have baby ducks and are they ever little.

It is always a blessing to attend church. I am thankful for being born in America and the many freedoms that we enjoy and so often take for granted. I am thankful for those serving our country, helping to preserve those freedoms.

We took a loaf of bread and fed the ducks at the pond. There were five baby ducks last night but only four tonight! They are fun to watch and to watch their mother and father guard and keep them together and safe.

We pray for your safety. Safe guard your families and homes from the worldly influences that surround them. We love you. Have a good week.


Mom and Dad

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