Sunday, August 12, 2012

         Back in the swing of things out here in Maryland on my mission.  I just have to say that serving a mission is one of the greatest times of my life.  To spend my days serving others is such a wonderful feeling.  Plus we get to meet the most amazing women and have some incredible experiences.  Senior missionaries have an easier schedule and can really set their day to meet the needs of the days activities.  We, as you know can go home for special occasions and go on outings and field trips with those we are serving with and those we are serving.  It is really a lot different than the young missionaries serving their missions.. As seasoned (as brother Tate calls us) missionaries we are in charge of our time and our days activities.. I really hope that my mission will inspire other's to consider serving missions, as senior couples or as a single senior sister..
         We drive great distances each day so we book our appointments ahead, so we don't make the trip and be stood up.. but even though we book ahead, it sometimes happens,  it has happened more than once with this sister.. Bonnie sounds anxious to have us visit and then when we get there she won't answer the door.. Her car is in the driveway and the dogs are going crazy in the we leave a little note and move on.. 

 The Beach

 Our friend Tracy's home right on Chesapeake Beach

 Beautiful farms

Quaint church's
Tree lines roads
Beautiful homes dot the landscape

      I know I tell you often, how beautiful the landscape is here.. but each day as we drive by beautiful farms with huge red barns and green fields or beautiful homes with beautifully manicured huge lawns, we are saying "oh look"-"oh look".. it isn't fair for the one driving because she doesn't get to see all cool things we pass thank goodness we switch off driving..
      It is still in the 90's here and they say it is dry.. I really don't think it's dry by any stretch of the imagination.. but cooler than in Phoenix right now, so I'm not complaining about the weather..

       Our first visit this week was with Nina, who serves in the Primary Presidency in the ward and is such a sweetheart.. She has 3 daughters 10, 8 & 6.  They all play musical instruments.. such as the harp, the oboe & the piano.  They are a military family and have lived all over the US. Her husband is a helicopter pilot in the Air Force.  We had a wonderful visit with all of the family.

Nina and her wonderful family

      Chris is a very talented lady.. She sings beautifully, heads the choir at church and they are the best choir I have ever heard.. She plays the organ and the piano and is going to school to get her 2nd degree in music theory.  She has performed with the Washington DC Mormon choir.  She serves in the Relief Society presidency and has such an infectious laugh.. She is always happy and so much fun to be with..  Her husband is a mechanical engineer for NASA.. it was such a joy to spend time with Chris..

       Alaina is a military wife who's husband is deployed in Afghanistan.  He is in Naval intelligence. He left last November and will be gone until this coming November.. I really have to hand it to these wives who have husbands who are deployed.. They are so strong and so supportive.. Alaina herself was in Naval intelligence until her first baby arrived.  She is now the mom of a darling girl and a little boy.  She is living in the home of her uncle right on the Chesapeake Bay.. She is very athletic and loves running and rock climbing.. She teaches in Relief Society.  It was so fun to visit with her and her two little ones..
Alania and kids

 Her beautiful yard

The view from her yard

        When we make appointments by phone we hardly ever know who they are, unless we make the appointment at church.. So when they open the door like Katherine.. we say "oh I know who you are".. We meet so many people and they don't have name tags on.. Katherine is a very busy grama.. She lives next door to one of her children and her grandchildren.. She baby-sits them several days a week.. She works at the DC temple on Thursdays each week.. It was a great visit..

        When I got my schedule for the temple this week, I was very excited what I would be doing as I served in the temple.. I was starting out in the baptistery, one of my favorite places.  We had 3 young women and a family come to do baptisms.  The Rivera family consisted of a husband and wife and the wife's father and their 21 year old daughter who is a senior at BYU Idaho, a 19 year old son and a 12 year old son.  The father told me that they were all so thrilled because their son just received his mission call to the "Mesa Arizona Mission", I was so excited..I said "that is the mission where I live in Arizona, I was just in Arizona a week ago"..Brother Rivera asked why I was visiting Arizona and I told him I was home to see my grandson return from his mission".. He asked "where did he serve"?  I said "Peru", and his jaw dropped and said, "that is where we are from".... I couldn't believe that I got to meet this wonderful family..I told them that since my three children and their families all lived in that mission, I was sure that we would see Elder Rivera at some time on his mission.. He arrives at the MTC on Sept. 12th (the same day I entered the MTC a year ago).. and should arrive in Arizona the end of September.. So everyone keep an eye out for this young man.. I told Sister Gribbin the coordinator of the shift we work on at the temple about the experience and she said that as she was making the schedule she thought a couple of times of changing my assignment but was prompted to keep me in the baptistery.. I am so glad that I was able to share the entire experience with the Rivera family from start to finish.. I got their address and phone number and can't wait to find Elder Rivera in Arizona and take pictures and send them to his family back here..

         We met Jennifer several months ago when we helped her decorate for the Stake Women's Conference.. She was so fun to work with and we knew that it would be a great visit. Jennifer serves in the Young Women, and had a great time at girls camp.. She works part time since her youngest started school and loves her job.  Her husband is in the Stake Presidency. He is a lobbyist on Capital Hill.. We had a wonderful visit with Jennifer.. It is so important to us that we visit not only those who have issues or health concerns but also women whose with husbands have  demanding jobs plus very busy church callings.. Jennifer was so happy that we came to visit her, and so were we..

         We felt it was important to make another visit to Nicole, who we had visited a few weeks ago.. She is so very busy with her many endeavors: She is the founder of a  non profit foundation for helping those suffering with PTSD..she is also counselor for those suffering from PTSD. She has her business of lotions, soaps and bath salts.. and now she is back in uniform for the Army Guard.. On top of being a wife & part time  mother to her daughter Tatania.. Nicole is about to start a cross country trip of lectures for her PTSD foundation..and her daughter is ending her summer visit with her mom & going back with her dad.. Nicole has a lot on her plate and seems ready to take it on full steam.. We wanted to make sure she was ok with all that is going on in her life. She was so happy with our visit and we are wishing her well on her up-coming ventures.

         There was a big storm in our area on Thurs. torrential rain, wind, hail & even tornado warnings kept us home bound.  The storms down here in the area we serve can be very violent.

            Saturday Sister Brown and I were in charge of our mission district outing.  Since the rest of our district serve up in DC, we wanted to share with them the wonderful area that we get to serve in.  The six of us  met at our apartment and headed south to the southern tip of Maryland to Solomon's Island for a lunch of the best crab cakes as noted by the Washington  Post.  We ate at Stoney's on the pier and everyone agreed that the crab cakes were wonderful.  We then headed up the peninsula to Chesapeake Beach.. which is one of our favorite spots to spend time between appointments and have lunch, or sit by the shore and listen to the waves.  We knew that one of the things they wanted to see was some of the wonderful Amish sites.  We stopped at our favorite Amish farmers market.. It was a great success and we each found some produce or baked goodies that we were able to take home.  Our last stop was at the quilt shop of Magadelina Stoltzfus. She is such a sweet lady and so very talented and we love to visit her shop.  It started to rain just as we were leaving her shop and it was pouring by the time we mad it to our car. So glad that the rain waited until our field trip was coming to an end.  We were so happy that we could share our beautiful area with the other missionaries in our district.. we made sure to tell them that we would "not" switch places with them..
 Me, Sister & Brother Noel, Sister Larsen & Sister Wege

Lunch at Stoney's on Solomon's Island

         We have a very busy week ahead and are looking forward to it.  It is filled with a lot of different things than we get to usually do.. So I will be anxious to share it with you next week..

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