Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spring is right around the corner. . .

      I believe Spring is arriving here in Maryland, trees are blooming, daffodils and crocus and tulips are sprouting everywhere.. we even had temps this week in the mid 80's for a couple days..

     On Sunday we met with Stake President Sakai and the new relief society stake presidency.. President Sakai is expanding our mission assignment, we have been serving in two of the wards in the stake for the last 6 months and now we will be serving in the remaining 7 wards for the remainder of our mission. Since we work under the guidance of the relief society.. they will work out a new schedule for us in the next couple of weeks. So our mission is taking on a new direction as we learn our way around our stake.. which goes from Capital Hill to the tip of Maryland.. the drive North to South is about 2 hours in good traffic and East to West about an hour.

Linda & Blaine Haycock
       Our Sunday evening we were invited to have dinner with Linda and Blaine Haycock.. They are such a fun couple and we had a great evening. Linda is a substitute teacher and works throughout the area and Blaine is a pharmacist for the Air Force on Andrews Air Force Base.  
      On our 6 month anniversary we attended the first ward empty nester's family home evening,  held at the Franklin's home. On our way there we  saw a possum walking along the road and after arriving at Franklin's we saw 2 bright red cardinals sitting on the railing around the deck..These were the first cardinals I had ever seen up close and they were beautiful.  We had 20 people there and shared a wonderful dinner and then a lesson and a very fun game of church history Scategories. The friendships we are making as a result of activities such as this are prized.
      On Tuesday we were stood up for the second time.. We have heard other missionaries tales of being stood up all the time, but we had never had it happen until this last couple weeks. The one sister that was so happy to have us visit and seemed anxious to have us come again soon has fallen off the radar.. her phone has been disconnected and we have no way of getting in touch with her.. which makes us so sad.. She is a very special woman, that was excited to be coming back to church.. we won't give up trying to reach out to her, and let her know how much she is loved and missed.
     A great thing that happened was that we spent the morning making calls to set up appointments for visits later in the week.. We left several messages to a group that we have been calling for a few months and usually don't hear back from most of them, but this week we had several call backs and set up visits for next week.. We were so happy that we finally get to visit some of these sisters next week. 
Margaret Williams
     One of our favorite ladies that we visit on a regular basis is moving to South Carolina with her daughter.. Margaret is the one who has permanent custody of her 14 year old grandson that is currently in lock down detention in Baltimore.  She moved to our area from the district shortly after our arrival in September and we have been so close to her.  Her testimony is so strong and she has such faith.  We told her that we would send her name and address and phone number to my grandson Kelly who is serving his mission in South Carolina, and he would make sure that the elders in her area keep in touch with her.  She loves to have the missionaries visit.. We will really miss her and the great visits we have with her. 
      We had a beautiful day in the temple this week.. I really do love the people I meet there and the wonderful spirit that abides there. It is such a amazing place to be able to spend each Wednesday, being of service.  With daylight savings time, it was still light at the end of our shift... which I love.. driving home..

Our Day in DC
The tomb of the unknown soldiers

 JFK Memorial
Sister Brown, Me & Suz Martin
     Sitting in the large marble chair in the Memorial Amphitheater

      Thursday was our day off this week and we had a wonderful day.. Suz Martin and Stephanie Duncan of 1st ward took us to DC for the day.  We first went to Arlington National Cemetery.  We saw the JFK grave and memorial, and the changing of the guard and placing of the wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldiers. We rode the tour bus and the guides explained all the different parts of the 624 acres that shelter the remains of over 320.000 serviceman and women.  It was so inspirational to be in such a place of honor and remembrance. 

 One of the many beautiful stained glass windows

Abraham Lincoln
     We then drove into DC to visit the Washington National Cathedral. This beautiful cathedral was built in the Gothic style, characterized by the great height and the pointed arches, and beautiful stained glass windows.  I loved walking through this magnificent structure and taking in everything it had to offer. After leaving the cathedral we drove down Embassy row.. where the embassy's of all the countries of the world are.  We tried to figure out which country each one was representing, some were very obvious and others we had no idea.. We passed the Vice Presidents home & saw the white house and lots of monuments and pieces of history in our nations capital.  We are going up again in a couple of weeks to see the cherry blossoms and walk the tidal basin, where the Viet Nam Memorial and other great monuments are .. They should be out in full bloom then, there were just buds on the trees on Thursday.   
     The trees that are out in full bloom right now are the magnolia trees with beautiful pink and white flowers, and the pear trees solid in white blooms.. Driving up the freeway, the pear trees are thick and they look like they are covered with snow.. they are so beautiful..

 Magnolia tree

Pear tree
     Friday we met the outgoing stake Relief Society Presidency and the new presidency at Red Lobster for lunch and then headed over to the stake center to help decorate and prepare for the "Stake Women's Conference" that was held on Saturday.  The theme was "Eternal Life is a Marathon".. The gym was set to serve 250 box lunches and decorated with megaphones and trophies and awards.. The box lunch was a turkey & cheese croissant, chips, a clementine, a cookie & bottle of water. 

Getting lunches prepped
      That evening Elder Shurtleff came over with his new companion Elder Epperson.. who has been out for 4 1/2 months.. We really enjoy the friendships we have with the elders.. just like having substitute grandsons here.. We love that they feel comfortable spending time with us. 

     Saturday the Stake Women's Conference started at 10:00 and we arrived early to meet and greet new and old friends, before it started.  The chapel was full, we were asked to sit on the stand and were introduced by Bonnie Ramon the new Stake Relief Society President and asked to join her at the podium, while she told those in attendance about our mission and explained that we would be working throughout the entire stake and asked everyone to introduce themselves and give us a hug through out the day.  
 There were 6 mini classes held during the morning on these topics:
*Daily Warm Ups: Prayer and Scripture study
*Personalized training: Living by the spirit
*The buddy system: Building relationships
*Getting back on track: Repentance
  *Training Nutrition: What are you feeding your spirit?
*Aerobic Exercise: Exercising the Heart (service project) we made telemetry bags for the children's hospital and flannel stuffed hearts that they put in with preemies that the mothers had worn for a few days so they have their scent on them..
Everyone got to choose "3" classes to attend.. the ones I attended were so inspirational and uplifting. After the classes we broke for lunch and fun conversations.. we had so many come up to us and say they wanted us to start working in their area.. it was really complimentary.. of course those in the two wards we have been in for the last 6 months aren't quite sure they like this new wrinkle in our mission.  We assured them that we were not abandoning them.. that we would still see them often.. After lunch our keynote speaker was Sister Vicki Matsumori ( our mission presidents wife).  I could listen to her talk for hours, she always has the greatest stories and is so motivating. It was such a great day, we met so many new wonderful people and are anxious to start serving in our new assignment.  The talks & the beautiful music that was performed brought such a special spirit to the conference and I know that we all left feeling uplifted and determined to do better in our Marathon Toward Eternal Life....

      We are happy to have appointments set for every day next week, and can't wait to sit and visit with each sister and let her know how much she is loved, not only by us but by her Heavenly Father as well. We also have our District meeting next week, which I always look forward to.. being able to interact with the other two sisters who are serving the same assignment as us in another part of the mission and also with the Noels, our district leaders. Each of them are so dedicated to serve the Lord.

       "Although the world has changed, the laws of God remain constant. They have not changed; they will not change. The Ten Commandments are just that—commandments. They are not suggestions. They are every bit as requisite today as they were when God gave them to the children of Israel."
--President Thomas S. Monson

 May the Lord bless each of you and may you have a wonderful week ahead..

1 comment:

  1. This is my favorite season of the year with all the blossoming bushes and trees . . . my azaleas are starting to bloom . . . then the rhododendrons and then the dogwoods will be next!!!! sounds so romantic and FUN!