Sunday, June 26, 2011

98th Post (last THM post) - Mon Jun 20 - Sun Jun 26, 2011

Twenty three months ago today we started our mission.  Where has the time gone.  When Pres. Hansen moved transfer week forward one week we told him we would stay for an extra week to help the new couple.  I went over more apartment items with Elder Bowcutt and how to order office supplies through the Church's national account with Staples.  The Stringfellows took us out to lunch today.  We went to the new all you can eat place just north of us on I-45.  The food was very good and it was fun to visit with the Stringfellows, the Howes (Stringfellows replacements) and Sisters Nance and Young.  Leona stayed late at the office, but I went home with stuff from the office and started to sort papers.   A great day to be a missionary.

Tuesday was transfer day (this is transfer week!).  When the AP's got back from College Station with their load of missionaries I load up a group and head out to Katy.  I always check the trailer to make sure  everything is OK (hook up, lights, etc).  I noticed the electrical cable was hanging way lower than normal and that it had been dragging on the ground and had worn clear through the covering and the copper wire).  We had no break or signal lights on one side.  That could be a real problem as my route is mostly freeway or very busy 4 lane roads.  The new AP, Elder White, knew what to do and how to splice wire, so I did not have to do much except to "supervise".  We got the wiring fixed and the missionaries and their belonging loaded, only 20 minutes late or so.  The route takes us to the Bear Creek Chapel and then on the the Mills Road Chapel and back to the office.  We got back to the office on time so I was able to make the departing missionaries program.  We have attended a lot of those meetings but this one was very tender for us.  It was hard to say goodbye and to bear our testimony.  There are 8 elders, 2 sisters, us, Pres and Sister Hansen (departing July 1) and the Stringfellows (departing July 26).  A wonderful group of missionaries that we have great love and respect for.  After the meeting the departing missionaries go to the temple with Pres and Sister Hansen.  Leona and I went back to the office to gather up paper goods, etc and to our apartment to get other dinner items and then off to the temple.  We set up for dinner for the missionaries.  We had the departing elders and sisters, the Hansens, Stringfellows and the mother and younger sister of one of our departing sisters.  The dinner is served in the temple cafeteria.  Sister Tamayo provided the main course (chicken almondine, potato scuffle, and salad), we do home made Texas shaped cookies and fresh fruit.   The dinner went well, the food was great and the visit with the missionaries even better.  It was late when we got back to the apartment.  We found out that our family reunion reservations at Bear Lake were messed up (doubled booked) by the owner.  We pray things will work out as 32 of us have been looking forward to this for a year!
Wednesday we got to the office early to help set up a quick breakfast for the departing missionaries before they go to the airport (normally the Hansens do this meal at the mission home, but the mission home is being repainted, etc for the new mission president and his family and the Hansens are in a hotel). We said goodbye to the departing missionaries - a sad time, but happy for their faithful service and joyous reunions they will have with their families.  We received word that the arriving missionary's connecting flight had been cancelled.  Later in the morning we heard that SLC was able to rebook and the missionaries did arrive close to the original schedule.  Elder Bowcutt took the new arrival's photos and started that process.  The office staff did our orientation for the new arrivals.  Elder Bowcutt and I drove out to visit a perspective new missionary apartment.  Turns out they wanted us to pay for criminal background checks and wanted SS numbers of the missionaries.  We do not do either of those.  I asked them to double check with their corp headquarters to make sure - last time I went down this path the corporate folks agreed with me.  We left early as we had to go up to the mission home to gather stuff we needed for the breakfast in the morning.  It rain hard today, first real rain we have had since last fall.

Thursday we were up early and over to the church to set up and get breakfast ready for the new missionaries, their trainers, the AP's, the Hansens, and various other missionaries who looked like they were starving.  We fixed french toast, bacon, sausage, juice, and fruit.  We had enough "extra missionaries" that there was nothing left over.  President Hansen announced the new championships which is always an exciting thing.  He does such a good job when ever he talks to the missionaries.  He has such a good spirit about him and the missionaries feel it.  Elder Bowcutt took all the pictures and went with me to get them copied.  We send a picture of the new missionary and the Hansens to the missionaries parents along with a nice letter from the mission president.  We left the office a bit early to go home and get some of our furniture ready to ship down to the Cramers who are new employment missionaries down town (just like we were).  It rained a bit today.

Friday we got up early to exercise.  Leona drove me over to the office to get the truck and trailer.  Elders Gardner and Keliipuleole came by to help load some furniture from our apartment and some from the senior sisters apartment.  It did not take too long and then Elder Stringfellow drove the truck and trailer down to Elder and Sister Cramers apartment.  I changed clothes and went to the office. Elder Bowcutt and I drove out to Katy and Sealy to sign leases for four new apartments (two each at two different complexes).  It was a good day as Elder Bowcutt was able to see what that part of his job entails plus was able to ask lots of questions on the long drive out and back from Sealy.  We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening sorting through stuff getting ready to leave.  We will leave a few boxes at the apartment ( the senior sisters are moving into our apartment when we depart) and a few at Kent Chamberlain's.  How did we accumulate so much stuff!!  The Stringfellows and Sister's Young and Nance came over this evening for a while.  They had made and framed a cross stitch "picture" that was really nice.  Very kind and thoughtful of them.

Saturday we spent all day sorting through stuff and putting things in boxes or piles depending on where it is to go.  This evening the Sulski's took us out to dinner and ice cream.  We had such a pleasant evening with them.  Their only child, a son, is on a mission in Utah.  They joined the church about 15 years ago and Sister Sulski is serving part time in the mission office as the President's secretary, she and Leona have become the best of friends. 

Sunday we went into the mission office before sacrament meeting to take care of some last minute things.  The Hansen's were at church so we were able to say goodbye to them.  What wonderful people they are!! It has been such a blessing to get to know them, so thankful for that association.
We hate to see this mission end, it has been such a wonderful experience and blessing.  We have felt our Father in Heavens's guidance and we have grown to love the other missionaries as we serve together in this great work.  The Spirit makes this such a great experience.  We do not want to leave full time missionary service here in Texas.  We pray we can do this again.  We have a deeper testimony of the reality of our Father in Heaven and His love for us.  We know from a deeper place in our hearts that the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith truly did see what he said he saw and did restore the gospel back to the earth.  What blessed people we are.  We are thankful for our testimonies.  To our friends and family who have provided so much support and service - thank you, thank you.  We love you and so thankful for each one of you and that we are an eternal family.
Dad and Mom


DJW said...

Uncle Steven and Aunt Leona,

Job well done!!! It's been really fun to read this blog and hear the day to day workings of a mission for a couple. Makes it look fun for Darin and I. We love you guys! It was great for you to share your testimony of missionary service through this blog.

Travel home safely.

The Darin Walker's

Jessica said...

The 2 years have gone by much faster than I anticipated. I've been proud to say my parents are serving, and excited to say I'll be seeing you soon. The boys are looking forward to next month. Travel home safely. We love you.

Derek said...

Love you both! Can't wait to see you! We are thankful for your example and look forward to our missions as a couple one day. Well done!