Tuesday - transfer day! We were at the office before 7:30 this morning. Not many being transferred in the College Station area so the AP's drove the truck up there. They scheduled me to drive the van and trailer to make the Katy/Mills Road Chapel run. I had 8-10 missionaries and all their things at each leg of the journey. I depart the mission office and drive to the Bear Creek Chapel in the Katy area and drop off missionaries and pick up others. We then go to the Mills Road Chapel and unload and load others and then drive back to the mission office. There were lots of missionaries in the office today. Many came to say goodbye to departing missionaries. It is hard to get much done with so many in the office, but we enjoy visiting with the missionaries and to see those we do not see very often. Leona made a big batch of sloppy joes for lunch for those going home, but of course others in the office get fed also. The departing missionaries' testimony meeting was very good. We have some really good sisters and elders going home, they will be missed. After the testimony meeting they all go through a session at the temple. Leona and I go to set up the dinner. Leona's Texas shaped cookies are always a hit. We enjoy being around the departing missionaries in that setting. Hard to see them go. The parents and step parents of one elder from Highland, Utah were there (they even traveled to Houston together). I asked if any were from AF and the step dad said he was from Lehi. I asked did he take shop and he looked at my name tag and said Mr. Walker. He did have dad as a teacher and said that Mr. Walker saved him from cutting off his fingers. By the time we clean up and get back home it is late. A long day but so enjoyable - we are so blessed to be missionaries.
Wednesday I spent doing apartment paper work. I have 4 new apartments to get ready (paper work) by the end of the month. The new missionaries came in this afternoon. Four Spanish speaking sisters, and 7 English speaking elders. One elder is from Hong Kong. He has been in the MTC in Provo learning English. The office staff give the arrivals a short orientation of what we do and have them fill out various papers. I also take a picture of them that I use for the photo board and the transfer board in the President's office. Sisters Young and Nance from the employment center were in charge of the dinner for the new missionaries and the missionaries that will be taking them tracking or teaching this evening. We walked over to the church to see how the meal was going. There was lots of food so we ate with them. The sisters had fixed colorful center pieces and things really looked great. This evening I ran some errands and Leona cooked 6 lbs. of bacon, made syrup and got things ready for tomorrow morning.
Thursday we were up early and to the Mission Home before 7 AM. We made French toast and got the fruit and bacon & sausage ready by 8 AM. We fed about 24 or so. The trainers are invited and of course the new missionaries are there. After breakfast President Hansen announces the new companionships, I then take pictures of Pres & Sister Hansen and each new missionary to send home to their parents. I also do a couple of group shots for the history and then they are off to the temple. After things are cleaned up we stop by the drug store to get copies made of the pictures to put in the mail. Sisters Donkin, Ang, Porter, Perez & Ferro (3'some) are all trainers. It seems just like yesterday those sisters arrived in the field.
At breakfast this morning Elder Galbraith was telling of his experience last evening tracking with Elder Yu, our new missionary from Hong Kong. It seems that some weeks ago Elder Galbraith (EG) and Elder Scoresby(ES) tracked this couple out that seemed interested in the gospel, but the husband was very busy and wanted them to come back in 3 weeks. They spoke Mandarin and some English. When Elder Yu and EG were put together for the evening EG thought it has not been 3 weeks but maybe we should go by this couple's home anyway. The woman answered the door and seemed a bit annoyed at which point EG apologized, but told her he wanted her to meet Elder Yu. Elder Yu began to speak to her in Mandarin and she just lit up. She was so excited. She invited them in, the husband was busy, but again when Elder Yu spoke to him he too got excited to have them stay. EG said he did not understand the "lesson", but sure felt the spirit. He said this couple was truly golden. Elder Yu was scheduled to arrived some months ago, but with visa issues and needing more MTC language time he did not arrive until now - AFTER EG and ES found this couple. The Lord has His hand in this work and is so mindful of ALL His children.
Friday we paid bills, sorted out utility issues, updated apartment inspection check lists for next week, and continued working to complete the new tracking sheets for the new mission president. I delivered a package to one of the missionaries that needed to receive it right away. We were on the go all day. What a wonderful experience this is.
Saturday morning I ran to the store and the post office to mail all the letters(and photos) to parents of new missionaries that Leona had prepared. We decided to go down to the Houston Museum of Science. We went to the butterfly exhibit. That was very interesting to see all the many varieties and colorful butterflies and moths. The huge enclosure is made up of tropical trees and plants with the butterflies everywhere. We also went to a couple of the iMax presentations, TRex of the Sea, and Born to be Free (about orphaned elephants and orangutans and those who raise them so they can return to the wild). We enjoyed our day together.
Sunday, a day of rest - thank goodness! The Sacrament Meeting talks were good. A recent convert spoke about going to the temple. She was baptized in April, conference weekend, and has been to the temple every Saturday since doing baptisms and enjoying the peaceful Spirit there. She said each time she goes she does not want to leave. She is so enthused about the gospel. She invites and brings many to church with her that she meets at work and at her apartment complex, she is an example of being a missionary to everyone. Another speaker told his story of conversion, he said when growing up his best friend was a member and invited him often to activities and church ball games. After he married, he and his wife were trying to find a church to attend and his wife suggested one Sunday morning "why don't we attend the Mormon church". He said that it was the small things that his member friend and church members did for him that made him want to investigate the church when he was older. He made the comment that sometimes we do not ever know what influence we have or the harvest that we help to create - by small and simple things, great things come to pass. Great talks, lots to think about and to work on.
Hope you have a great week and a safe week. We love and pray for each of you every day.
Dad and Mom