Sunday, September 23, 2012

Changes in the wind. . . .

We started out our day under bright blue skies heading north to Bowie for three visits. This was the first time we got to go to this area for visits and we loved the views as we drove.  Each area we serve in has beautiful and different things to see. 

Bowie Town Center Fountain
      Gwen was our first visit.. She had given a talk in church a couple weeks ago and blew me away.. Such a wonderful vision she has of the gospel and serving others.  She joined the church 5 months ago. She said she was raised in a family that attended church each Sunday and that her parents were so involved in their church and she loved it. Gwen is one of eleven children and had just returned from Illinois where she attended a family reunion.. She has two children Eric who is 17 and Erin who is 13.  Her husband is a I.T. tech for banks and is currently working in North Carolina. He also serves in the ministry of a local church.  Gwen has the most amazing spirit about her and we loved being able to spend the time with her.  She said that even though she was raised in a bible church in her later years she had been searching for something more and when the missionaries appeared on her door and were able to fill in the gaps in her spiritual quest and answered the questions she had.  She is so involved in the church and loves the structure of the emphasis on family and service that she was searching for.  She is such a delight and I loved the time I got to spend with her.  I told her that even her voice mail message is so uplifting and if anyone was ever down they just needed to call and listen to her message.. What a joyful hour......

 Gwen with Erin & Eric
        Ginny is just finishing a series of chemo treatments for breast cancer.  Even though she is going through radiation and chemo she has such a fun and positive attitude about her life and life in general. She is always laughing and was very excited to have us visit and spend some time with her. She is a very talented quilter and shared some of the beautiful quilts she is working on. She said it is her passion and she can lose track of time as she works on the piecing of beautiful fabrics together in the intricate patterns. She and her current husband were married in 2007 after many, many years of being single. She had told her children that she would never get married again unless they (her children) approved of the man.  Funny thing is that her daughter introduced them and set up their first date.. She has four children and her husband had 6 children and they have 14 grandchildren together. Both Ginny and her husband sing in the Washington DC Mormon Choir.  She even had brownies baking in the oven for our visit and we enjoyed them as we talked and she shared stories with us. It was a wonderful visit.. Such a strong woman..

       Our last visit of the day was with Shirley. She is in her mid 80's and was born and raised in Maryland.  She and her husband moved to their home in Bowie in 1966 and her husband died 18 months later when he was just 39.  Shirley in her younger years worked for the US Postal Dept. in DC.. She was so cute when we complimented her on her beautiful yard.. She said that she didn't get the cooking, or crafting gene but does love to work in her yard, and it is beautiful.  She has 2 daughters and 1 grandson and 1 great grandaughter.  She is a very shy quite little lady and always sits in the back row of the chapel at church and wasn't quite sure about having us visit, but I know we made a real friend through the time we spent with her.

        Tuesday we had appointments set and then had to cancel due to severe weather in our area. Strong winds and tornado warnings and heavy rains.  We didn't want to get caught that far away from home in a bad storm.. So we will reschedule for next week with each sister.

       Wednesday was a wonderful day in the temple and the drive up was under clear blue skies.. It was such a switch from the day before.. I got to spend an hour working in the office at the temple and I really love it.. I want to work in the office of the new North Phoenix Temple when it opens, so the sisters in the office here are giving me lots different assignments so I can get some experience in all the different duties of the office.   I met a cute sister from Sierra Vista, AZ.  It was really fun to talk to her.. We have a Sister Blades who comes every Weds. to the temple.  I was talking to her this week and she said that her son is serving a mission in Uganda and she promised him that she would come to the temple every week that he was gone.. and she hasn't missed a week..What dedication, and love.

        Thursday was our zone conference and I really do love them.  We get to interact with all the other missionaries in our zone and meet those who are new and say goodbye to those leaving.  We also receive counsel from President & Sister Matsumori.  We get to have a one on one interview with our mission president.  When I met with President Matsumori he said that he was thinking of switching up the companionships.. He asked what I thought of the idea and I said I thought it was a great idea.  It would give us each an opportunity to serve with another sister and in a different area..  He said that he wouldn't switch Sister Brown, due to her doctors all being down here where we live.  We had a wonderful conversation and he said that he was pleased with the work that was being accomplished through our mission. He said that he still had to talk to the other set of sisters and also the mission department in SLC.. I was excited and nervous and couldn't wait to hear back from him in a few days. 
Sister Matsumori
       Friday our first visit was with Tanya, she moved to Virginia when she was 16 from Laos.. ( I talked about our visit to her sister a couple weeks ago).  Tanya has 3 children and works as an interpreter for the courts and hospitals.  They spent several weeks this summer in Laos, Thailand and Japan. Tanya's husband is from Japan and the only member of his family living in the US. He is an IT consultant for IBM.  He was on a conference call while we were visiting, but managed to fix a great pizza for us, empty the trash, take out the mail.. I don't know when I have seen anyone move so fast and doing so many things at one time..& all the time on his cell phone. It was a very fun visit..

      Danielle is a very busy mom of 3, a little girl and 2 boys.. She is a cub scout den mother, volunteers at her boys school, helps her husband coach their boys soccer team. She met her husband while on her mission here in the Washington DC North Mission.  She said that she kept trying to talk him into serving a mission and he resisted and so she tried even harder..until at the end of her mission he proposed.. He has a construction company with his brother.. cute family and really fun to visit.
Danielle & Gisselle
        Courtney and her family just moved to Bowie.. She is a surgical nurse and works 3 evenings a week.. and her husband works for the NSA.  She served a mission in South Carolina and is from Rexburg, Idaho.  They have 2 children, Corbin is 4 and Ayla is 2.  They really were fun to be with and so very busy.. Courtney and her family love the ward and are starting to get involved..

Courtney with Corbin & Ayla
        We received our phone call from President when we were at Courtney's so I told him we would call him back.. my stomach was a flutter and I was anxious and nervous to hear what the decision was.  Since there are just the 4 of us serving this mission in DC, I knew that I would be serving with one of the other two sisters. He said that I would be transferring up to Silver Spring, which is just northeast of DC.. and Sister Brown would stay in our apartment in Waldorf.  Sister Larsen will be moving down here to serve with her.  My new companion is Sister Wege from Louisiana.  When I first got my mission call I was told that my companion was from Louisiana and then it was discovered that she couldn't come on her mission  until October, so they assigned Sister Brown as my companion.  I will be going from the country to the city.. I will be living in a tall apartment complex in the city on the 10th floor.  One of my new assignments will be working a the Washington DC Temple Visitors Center for the months of November and December.. I am really looking forward to that.  I hear that the Silver Spring area is very pretty and has a lot to offer.. I can't wait to share my new experience with all of you. 

      Sunday we went to the White Plains 1st and 2nd wards so I could tell everyone goodbye.. It was so hard.. we have lived here for a year and I have grown so close to so many and have some great friends here.  I sang with a relief society choir in 1st ward, we sang, "As Sisters in Zion", oh let's say I made it through the first verse, but cried through the second.. Then I went to 2nd ward alone, sister Brown was in bed with a headache.  I was doing great sitting listening to the speakers and then right before the closing prayer, they asked me to come up and say goodbye.. Well.. that was sooooo hard.  I made it almost all the way through my comments before I started crying, along with many in the congregation.. It was just a year ago that I was asked to come up and introduce us since we had arrived on Sept. 22nd, 2012.   I know that change is a good thing and that I will grow a lot from this change, but it was still hard saying goodbye.. I got lots of hugs and well wishes and told them all I would be back to visit on February 24, 2013.. The Sunday after my release.. to really say goodbye. 

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