Sunday, July 1, 2012

Our Area is changing. . . .

          The end of one area and the anticipation of a new area to serve in. We finished up our 3 months in the Lexington Park and Patuxent wards on Friday.. I have loved serving these wonderful sisters.  We met so many fantastic people and traveled along so many wonderful roads with amazing views.. Our next area is Calvert and it runs north and south between the Chesapeake Bay and the Patuxent River.. It is a long narrow ward and we will see more water than we have before.  We are excited to start there on Sunday, July 1st. 
        We made many phone calls this week trying to encourage many sisters to have us over for a visit before we left the area.. Since it is the beginning of summer, we discovered that many were not home. We left many, many messages and waited patiently for some return phone calls, sadly not happening this week.. I did have one very funny return call..

 Me:  hello this is Sister Harper
Voice:  Who?
Me: Sister Harper from the churc
Voice: what church?
Me: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Voice: I got a call from this phone number and they said to call them back
Me:  Who is this calling?
Voice:  You should know.. you called me
Me: I called over 15 sister this morning and left messages
Voice: Well you should know who you called....dial tone..

So we had a good laugh on that one.

         We met with Bonnie, our Stake Relief President and had a great luncheon meeting. We love working with her and seeing her vision for our mission. We were able to discuss the sisters we had been visiting and discuss our next area, the Calvert ward.  She lived in Calvert for many years and knows so many of the people who live there and is excited to have us serving in that area. 

         When we have a cancellation of an appointment we like to find someone to visit since we are so far away from home..I had a wonderful visit with Pat when Sister Brown was on vacation in Utah and I really wanted her to meet Pat and see the amazing yard they have. So we dropped by their house and both Pat and her husband were home.  We had a wonderful visit with both of them and it was hard to leave their house, but we had to get to another appointment.. On the way out they gave us cucumbers from their garden and some beautiful hydrangea's..

         Our next visit was with Shelly.  She had asked that we come visit her before we leave the area. What a wonderful sister.. They have three darling children.. She has her degree in Bio Physics  and her husband is a mechanical engineer for the Navy.  He is in charge of the hydraulic doors on planes and helicopters for the base. When ever anyone wants to ship a vehicle or large item on a plane or helicopter, he makes sure that it is secure and that all the mechanics are in place for safe travel.  It was a really fun visit.

         On Tuesday, Sister Brown's back was really hurting and she was down most of the day.  That evening Bishop and Suz Martin brought over dinner and joined us.. What a wonderful family.  We love spending time with them.. It was a very fun evening. Sister Brown asked Bishop Martin if he would give her a blessing for her health.. After he finished I asked him if he would give me a priesthood blessing.  It was wonderful.. It is the first blessing I have had since I have been out and I really felt the desire to have a wonderful blessing.. The Martins are such a special part of our lives.  When we served in their ward for 7 1/2 months we became so close to them and I am so happy that we have remained close.

        Wednesday we had a passenger to go with us to the temple.  Rose lives in South Carolina and visits her son who lives near us for a month at a time a few times a year.  She had called and asked if she could ride up with us and we were anxious to have her join us.. What a delightful lady she is.. it was so fun having her with us for the day.. I called my daughter in law Karen and had Rose talk about South Carolina to her.. She asked us a lot of questions about our mission and we think that she is "very" interested in serving a mission.  She is going to talk to her bishop when she gets back to S.C.  about a mission.  The day at the temple was wonderful as always.. just love being there every Wednesday. 

         Thursday was our Zone Conference.. the Suitland and Silver Springs zones meet together in our stake center.. I love being with all those amazing missionaries.  It was very inspiring to be taught by President Matsumori and Sister Matsumori.. We met two of the new senior couples that have just arrived to serve in our mission.. A wonderful day filled with instruction, inspiration and fun.. Our mission is without a doubt the neatest one and our mission president is so wonderful.. I got to have my one on one interview with Pres. Matsumori and I love the time I get to sit and talk with him.  He is so pleased with the work we are doing and so happy that our stake president is really on board with the vision of this new mission.. He said that he hears all the time how wonderful our work is going, from our district leader and also the bishops and stake president..

         I love to walk, but Sister Brown isn't able to do it, since I don't feel comfortable walking alone in the evening .. So now Suz Martin and I are going to walk together. We started on Thursday evening and walked 3 miles in this "hot - humid" weather.. I loved it and we are going to walk 3 to 4 evening a week..

         We met for lunch with Billie, we had never met her before and were so happy we had the opportunity to spend some time with her. She is the mom of "10" from 10 years to 28 years of age.. She has just finished getting her nursing degree and is waiting to take her state boards.  She wants to be a nurse practitioner and work in the critical care area.  He husband is an engineer and doesn't work for the military.. we were so surprised.. he is one of the very few we have met that doesn't work with or for the military in some form.. It was a great lunch with all my favorites.. fun time..

         We have had many storms since we moved here.. Friday night was one for the record books.. We saw emergency announcements on TV about a major storm that was on it's way to the DC / Maryland area.. There was an excessive heat warning and tornados were spotted on the radar.. They were advising everyone to stay indoors if possible.  The temp. on Friday was 104 degrees. Setting a record for the hottest day in June in the history of record keeping.. with the humidity it had a heat index of 115 degrees. The experts say that is the makings for a severe storm called :    A derecho (Spanish: derecho "straight", is a widespread and long-lived, violent convectively induced straight-line windstorm that is associated with a fast-moving band of severe thunderstorms in the form of a squall line. A warm weather phenomenon, derechos occur mostly in summer, especially June and July in the Northern Hemisphere.  The wind was blowing at hurricane force speeds of 70 to 82 miles an hour.. We had lightening was so bright it illuminated my bedroom and thunder was so loud and rumbled forever.. The after effect of this storm that hit the areas of Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania was devestating.  Over 4 million people were without power; 3 people have died due to the storm, trees and power lines are down all over the area.  They have called on another 1,000 teams to help with the downed trees and power lines.. Some trees look like a huge power saw cut off the top halves of the trees.. It is all the TV stations have been covering on Saturday.. We talked to one man who was in his back yard trying to secure the family trampoline and he and the trampoline were air lifted into his neighbors yard.. What a frightening night for everyone in the area.. So glad that everyone we know is fine and no major damage. They have declared many areas disaster areas.. so very sad.

         Saturday evening we attened a bar-b-cue with several couples from White Plains 2nd Ward for a pre- 4th of July celebration.. We met at the home of Doug and Pat Gorley who live at the beach of the Patuxent river.  They live in a darling little house that was built by the Amish many years ago.  Pat and Doug are the couple I went with on Memorial day to Arlington to see the President.  They are the cutest couple ( in their 80's).. We had a wonderful dinner and fun conversation then headed down the street to the beach about 8:00 to gather for the fireworks.. Both Doug and Pat are part of the beach security for the neighborhood, so we got in the back of their pickup and were able to drive through the roadblocks all the way to the beach. It was a beautiful evening, warm but a nice breeze blowing.  I walked down to the edge of the water and put my feet in. The fire department wouldn't let the fireworks start until the wind died down and the crowd that had gathered was very patient and finally at 9:40 the spectacular display of fireworks started.. It was worth the wait.. A very fun evening.. 

            Today was our first day in the Calvert Ward.. they have a membership of 600 and fill the building and the cultural hall.  We were welcomed by everyone and already booked several appointments for the coming week.. After church we met with Bishop Isaacson and shared with him the nuts and bolts of our mission and the vision we have for serving in the Calvert Ward. He had several sisters that he asked us to contact and visit.  The Relief Society President is on vacation but told her counselor to tell us that she is sending us her list of those she wanted us to visit.  So we will start making phone calls tomorrow morning setting up appointments for the week.. and get to know the sisters of the Calvert Ward.

 "To be cheerful when others are in despair, to keep the faith when others falter, to be true even when we feel forsaken—all of these are deeply desired outcomes during the deliberate, divine tutorials which God gives to us—because He loves us. These learning experiences must not be misread as divine indifference. Instead, such tutorials are a part of the divine unfolding."
--Neal A. Maxwell

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