Sunday, October 28, 2012

A storm is brewing here in DC

         We started our week by going up to Baltimore with the Larsen's to visit the Inner Harbor and the National Aquarium.  The aquarium is the biggest on the east coast and occupies 2 huge buildings. It was a very fun adventure, we saw everything from the tiniest fish to jellies & frogs to giant sharks and eels and sting rays . We even got to see a dolphin show put on in the water arena. I am so amazed at how they can train the dolphins to do so many fantastic things.  The Harbor is so beautiful and such a wonderful place to spend a day. We walked and walked and saw so much.  We had lunch at Phillips Seafood  Restaurant, and it was fantastic.  We sat outside right on the water and it was so enjoyable. One of the things I love to visit at the harbor is the 3 story Barnes & Noble Bookstore.. Can't pass one up and this one is amazing..

 The Baltimore Aquarium
 Sister Larsen, Sister Wege & Me
 The view from our table at lunch
      Tuesday morning was our District Meeting and spend a couple hours with 6 great young missionaries.. They are all so dedicated and so in tune with their responsibilities and their mission. 

       Then we started our visits for the week.. One of the sisters we visit is Eva. She is such a hoot.. She is 78 and doesn't let a thing get by her.. She is so fun to tease and gives it right back.. and has the greatest laugh.  Her neighbor Maria was there when we arrived and before we left we were talking about the Trunk or Treat coming up on Weds. night and she said she wanted to go, so we asked if they would go with us.. they agreed.

        That afternoon we went over to the church to clean the bathrooms and clean the church a little before the viewing of on of the sisters who passed away this past week.  Sister Giessler was 93 years old and had lived here for a long time and we knew that there would be a lot of people attending the viewing and the funeral the next day and we wanted the church to be clean.  We then helped set up the room for the viewing and stayed a while at the viewing.

       The Family History Center was fun as always and I just love finding more and more about my ancestors.  I even found some information on my brother-in-laws family.. in the 1940 census.  After our shift at the FHC we attended a session at the temple, which is always wonderful.
The sister missionaries come to the familhy history center to send their weekly e-mail home..
Just love these young women!
       That evening was the College Park Ward's "Trunk or Treat".  We picked up Eva and Maria and headed over to the church.. They had games for the kiddos, a costume parade and contest. A pumpkin carving contest, a hot dog dinner and a dessert contest.. then everyone headed outside for the Trunk or Treat.. We told the elders that we would bring the candy if they would use their car and hand it out, they thought that was a great idea... When we approached their car we saw the trunk was ajar and we decided to put our candy there before we went inside.. When we opened the trunk.... surprise  it was filled with "2" missionaries.. They laughed and thought it was so funny.. How they both got in there, we couldn't figure out.. It was a very fun evening and the kids and parents both had a great time. 
 Elder Watts and Elder Snow.. trunk or treat?
Me with Eva and Maria (baby didn't belong to any of us, we just wanted to hold him for his mom)

        Thursday morning we arrived at the first house and there was a man and woman standing across the street talking, we greeted them and then walked up the sidewalk to the house.  As we were walking I said, " wouldn't it be funny if that is Linda".  Then the lady across the street came into the yard.. we asked her if she was Linda and she said "yes, I am".. We went into her house and had a very nice visit.. The first thing she said was " I just want you to know that I am not a practicing Mormon", we said oh that's no problem,  we just wanted to come meet you and get to know you better.  We talked about a lot of things and she was very warm and friendly.  She is divorced and has a long time friend living with her who is also divorced.  Her friend is a realtor and was on her way to see a new property. So she left and we kept talking to Linda.  When we were getting ready to leave we asked if we could have a prayer and she said yes, and scooted over close to us.  We were so touched by Linda and hope we put a little spark in her to maybe come back to church.  We told her we would come back to see her again and she said that would be great.. I felt so good when we left her home, such a sweet lady.
       We  were watching the news and saw that the hurricane Sandy was going to be coming our way and the experts are saying it is going to be the storm of the century, with the hurricane and a cold front coming from the North and a strong jet stream heading East.. so on Friday morning we started calling some of the sisters who are house bound and not able to get out to get the things they might need to survive a major water, food and flashlights.  We then headed out to the store and shopped for those things on our list for the sisters who did need some things.  Many of the items we wanted to get were already gone from the shelves. The stores were packed and everyone was stocking up on their needs.  Once we had all that were on our lists we  started delivering the food and water to those sisters.. Each one was so appreciative and thankful.  It made us feel so good to be able to help those who couldn't help themselves. 

       On our shopping trip I discovered that the Target here is 2 stories, it has huge elevators that you can take your shopping cart down to the lower level.. so cool and the other cool thing is that the Safeway store has an underground parking garage.. with an escalator up to the store.. and an elevator also..

       I received an e-mail from a sister Beckes who lives in Utah, she said she just received her mission call to the Washington DC North Mission and said that she found my blog and has been reading my entries and learning so much about the mission. She will be arriving in February, when I leave to go home.  We have talked to her on the phone and answered many of her questions.  Then we heard that another sister from Mississippi is the second sister coming out in February to take Sister Brown's place. I am so happy to know that our pilot mission is going to continue, the relief society is so thankful for the help they receive from our efforts and I know that this program could be rolled out across the world and be accepted just as it has been here. 

       Saturday morning we had a mission conference with 2 visiting authorities. Elder Quentin L. Cook and his wife & Elder Matthew Eyring.  It was for our entire mission, young elders and sisters, senior couples and senior sisters. Sister Cook, said she loves to think of the words of the hymns when she is needing help in bringing the spirit into her life and challenged us to think of an attribute of the savior and try to come up with as many songs that sang of that characteristic. She asked for members of the audience to see how many they could come up with for the word obedience.. some were: Do as I'm doing, Come follow me, Called to Serve, I'm trying to be like Jesus & Keep the Commandments.  She loves to sing and has led many choirs, so she had us sing a song and taught us a rhythm to sing along with the song,  then she divided the room and half sang the melody and half sang the rhythm part. 

 Quentin L. Cook
 Matthew Eyring

          Elder Quentin L. Cook is one of the twelve apostles of our church and such a dynamic man. He was saying he used to head up the missionary department of the church and so he wanted to direct his remarks to the missionary effort in our mission.  He also described how the missionaries are called.. that each general authority rotate and their turn used to come around every 5 weeks. But since the announcement of the new age requirements (18 years for young men and 19 for young women if they choose that option) the mission applications have gone from 700 a week to 4,000 a week.  Elder Cook said he had the privilege of assigning 750 missionaries last week. He said that in the very near future there will probably be 4 missionaries serving in each ward and special wards such as foreign language or the deaf branch will have many more.

      Saturday evening was the first session of our Stake Conference with Elder Quentin L. Cook and Elder Matthew Eyring of the seventy who is our visiting area authority. Sister Wege was working in the Visitors Center so I rode over to conference with the Seig's, another senior missionary couple.  It was fun to see so many people that I have met since moving up here.  Some of the thoughts I took notes on during the meeting.

  • President Antoniak of the Stake Presidency: It is critical that we know where we are going and which road to take to get there. Many are like Alice in Wonderland and will take any path because they don't have a goal.
  • Mary Jean Sokolowsky: shared her love for family history work and the joy it brings to her.
  • President Pratt of the temple presidency: talked about the temple and the blessings of attending the temple. He is such an amazing speaker and his stories are always so fun to listen to.
  • Brother Matthew Eyring: He asked is going to the temple a priority for you? Is it on your calendar? If it isn't on your calendar it isn't a priority.  After the meeting, I stopped to talk to him. I asked him if he grew up living next door to Connie and Bob Rose.. He said "I did" and I told him that Connie was a friend that I had grown up with and still kept in touch with.  He said my parents still live next door to them. 
  • Elder Quentin L. Cook: shared some of the things about missionary work that he had shared that morning in our mission conference.  He counseled parents that no young man or woman should serve a mission before they are ready.
     We picked up Sharon on Sunday morning to attend the new member meeting of stake conference at 8:30.  It was such a wonderful meeting, Elder Cook asked all the new members to stand and tell everyone their name and how they came to join the church. There were about 50 there and it was so touching to hear there stories.. We were glad we went early, then we had great seats for the 10:00 session.  The stake choir was amazing and really raised the roof with the beautiful music that they sang.  Some of the things that touched my heart were:

  • What does it mean to love the Lord with all our heart, mind, might & strength?  We should love him by keeping the commandments. To feed his sheep through our acts of kindness and service.
  • Happiness is a choice.
  • Our spiritual lives are like a relay race, we pass the spiritual baton to our children and they to their children.
  • 4 things for a happier life - Pray, Read the scriptures at least 5 minutes a day, Keep the standards 100%, and Smile.
  • We should use the Savior as our primary example
  • Try to build faith in Jesus Christ.
  • Follow President Monson's wonderful example to rescue those in need by giving selfless service. He is always grateful.
       Tigi had called us to say she was in the hospital, so after church we went to visit her. She said that when she went to dialysis on Saturday they couldn't get it started because her blood was clotting so they sent her to the hospital.  She is so fragile and being in the hospital is really the best place for her right now especially with the storm coming.  Her home is not conducive to her good health, because of the filth. We talked to her today about maybe moving into a group home that would be clean, have good meals and have someone to help with her care.  She is pretty independent and wants to get better, but says her mother wouldn't let her move to a facility like that.  She was turned down for her kidney transplant and has to go to dialyses every other day, since she only has one kidney.  Today she said she is so tired of being in the hospital.. I just love her and want things to be better for her.

       I am learning my way around here a little better near the apartment, or I should say I know if we have been on the street before, but have no idea how we got there when we are driving out to our visits. The city driving has been OK, and I am sooooo thankful for my GPS. Sister Wege and I trade off days driving.  Since we each have our own car it makes it really nice.

       We are keeping an eye on the up-coming storm and planning on staying in Monday and probably Tuesday.. from all accounts this will be a bad one and the power lines around here are always doomed in bad storms.. So we are ready. we have water, food and flashlights.. Come on ahead Sandy..

Monday, October 22, 2012

Crisp Air, Beautiful Trees Oh I love Fall


 The streets are ablaze with color
The pictures really don't do it justice
        If you haven't ever been on the East Coast in the fall, you need to plan to do it! It is so beautiful. The hard wood trees are all shades of green, yellow, orange and red.. It is breathtaking and I really am in awe each day as we drive around.  I am constantly snapping pictures..

      Even though I am living in Maryland my car is still registered in's time to renew and I needed to have my car go through emissions.. Lucky for me I found a place just 6 miles from our first thing Monday morning I headed that way.. Wow, I was in and out of there in 10 minutes.. and I passed..
     Then Sister Wege and I headed off to find St. Barnabus Church and hope we could get inside to take pictures.  When we pulled in I saw the church and knew immediately because of the picture I had pulled off the internet.  It is in a beautiful setting and now they have a school on the same grounds as the church and the cemetery.  We met a man who is in the vestry of the church (council) and he called the office to have someone  come down and let us in.  I was overwhelmed to think that my ancestors helped in building this beautiful church.  It is not large by today's standards but the Father said they regularly get about 100 people there each Sunday.  (I am enclosing pictures on my blog, so make sure to go there to see them.) The baptismal font where my 7th great grandfather was christened was beautiful, it had come from England.  We were told that George Washington attended the church and that Reverend Jonathon Boucher who was the rector at the time the church was built was the tutor for George Washington's stepson.   We searched the graveyard hoping to find the headstone of one of my ancestors, but the stone they used back in 1700 was soft and over time had worn away, and you couldn't read the carving's on the stones..  Father Kato the presiding rector of the church today asked us to come into his office and share some of the things I knew with him.  Many of the records of the church had been destroyed in a fire and he didn't know much of the history of the church. We had a wonderful talk and he was so interesting as he shared stories with us too.  What a wonderful way to start our day. 
 St. Barnabus Church
 The Chapel
 The Baptismal Font where my 7th Great grandfather was christened
The Bell Tower
The Cemetery
      Sister Wege had never been to Wegman's gourmet grocery store.. Well I had to take her there, since it is very close to our apartment now.. Anne Giles told me about this fun place before I left Phoenix.. It is truly a foodie's paradise.. She loved it and so do I.. Thanks Anne for the great tip..

       Tuesday morning we had our district meeting with the young missionaries. We have 4 elders and 2 young sisters in the meeting and it is fun to spend time with them..

 Our District

          After our district meeting we went to Holy Cross Hospital to visit Dorothy. She is the sister I talked about last week that had fallen and laid there for 3 days before someone found her. The doctors are still running tests and trying to figure out what is causing her major pain. She is always smiling and so up-beat and loves to joke. She is such a lady and I just love visiting her. She said the doctors are going to move her to another hospital that is better able to diagnose her pain and condition. Sister Wege and I are two of the only people she wants to visit I feel lucky that she loves us and trusts us enough to be there for her.

Dorothy posed for the picture
       I love working in the Family History Center, and this week was fun.  I researched the US Census records for 1920, 1930 & 1940.  I found my mother's and my father's families on all three and got so much information that I was missing for my family tree on my aunts and uncles.. I am so excited to keep researching and finding more.. I am learning so much and finding different ways to look for information. After our session at the FHC we had a meeting with our new District Leaders, Elder and Sister Knight.
Elder & Sister Knight

       This week has been such a whirlwind.. We want to get in as many visits as we can in October since in November and December we are assigned to be working at the Visitors Center.  In November we will be helping get everything ready for the Festival of Lights, setting up the Natavity exhibit and helping with the trees and where ever else we can help. Then from Thanksgiving to New Years we are working at the Visitors Center every day during the Festival.  We had so many great visit's with wonderful sisters.. I want to share just a few with you..

     Thursday we picked up Sharon and went with her to visit those sisters that she has on her visiting teaching route. First we stopped to see Mary.. She is a sister who has schizophrenia & a disability due to an accident at work. It was a beautiful day, so we sat on her porch and visited. What a delight she was.. we talked about so many things and at one point were talking about favorite movies and she was trying to explain one and then started singing the song from the a beautiful voice she had.. I asked her if I could have a picture with her and she said "hey I look like a guy today, with this hat on".. I don't have my I told her I would take another when she had her afro.. She was so much fun to visit with.


     We then went to see Princess, who told us she really wasn't feeling well, but to please come in for a few minutes. Princess is 86 years old and was a little disorientated while we were there.. She has family that lives close and checks on her daily, which made us feel so much better.. She has spent some time in the hospital lately and is still trying to get some things resolved regarding her health.

      Our regular Thursday 3:00 appointment is Barbara and she was feeling so much better this week and was so happy that we had Sharon with us for our visit.  She loves to have us read the scriptures to her and then discuss what we read.  She enjoys our visits so much and said that she really is happy in the assisted living facility she is in.  She always had a big smile on her face and is so appreciative of the diet Pepsi and the spice drops we bring her each week.  She said that they only have coke in the machine at the center and she doesn't like it, so we bring a small bottle of her favorite with us each week. 

       After our visits we stopped to pick up some dinner and then went to Sharon's apartment for dinner and a movie.  We watched "We bought a zoo".. fun movie. Sharon is so giving and willing to do whatever anyone asks of her.. It seems she doesn't have any other friends so we are so glad that we can be her friend and be involved in her life....  Such a talented lady..

       We have a wonderful sister Naomi in one of the wards who is from Africa and only speaks French and so she can't read English. We want her to be able to enjoy all the meetings at church. She is so faithful in coming and I know it has to be hard to sit there and not understand what is going on.. So we contacted a senior couple that serves in the French branch in DC and they are going to go to Naomi's home and teach her English and how to read in English also.  She has 3 beautiful girls and only one is in school, so it would be very hard for her to go somewhere else for her lessons.. We were so happy that she is going to be given this wonderful opportunity. 
     Rosemary started out our Friday with a bang.. what an awesome sister.. So full of life and love to everyone and especially the gospel.  We had a wonderful visit with her and then her friend Maria came over and she speaks Spanish.  Rosemary was a sockial worker and that is how she met Maria. Even though she is retired she is still helping Maria with anything she needs.  What a wonderful example she is to everyone she meets. She called the young elders and asked them if they had a Book of Mormon in Spanish and would they bring it over.. they did right away and she gave it to Maria..
then said OK , elders what is my next assignment..
 Elder Matahela, Maria, Rosemary & Elder Watts

Rosemary & Me

       On Saturday we took our list of sisters and headed out for a full day of visiting.  The very first home we called on was Bridget.  She was so happy to see us and invited us right in. She told us several times how happy she was that we came to see her on Saturday.  She is from Sierra Leone and works as an administrative assistant  for Aspen; and Assisted Living Organization.  She has lived back and forth from Africa and the US. Her husband was the UN Ambassador from Sierra Leone, for many years. He has passed away, but she says she keeps busy with her children and grandchildren. What a pleasure she was to visit with..   

      Saturday evening was our stake temple evening.  We picked up Darlene and took her with us to the temple.  We had a meeting before the sessions in the huge room on the 7th floor of the temple and listened to wonderful talks by President & Sister Pratt of the temple presidency.. It was a wonderful evening.  We had over 250 people attending that evening.

        In total for the month of October so far we have called on 144 sisters.. some not home, some at work, some not feeling well.. but they all know how much we care about them and are thinking of them as we always leave a card on their doors if they are not home saying "So sorry we missed you" with our names and phone number on it.  The sisters we have gotten in to see have been amazing.. Each one is different and as they share their stories I am so touched by the wonderful spirit of the home.. But the one thing they all have in common is the way they treat us and how happy they are that we came to see them..

       Sunday we attended the Laurel Ward.. first time for me in that ward.  After church we went with Sister Lougee the Relief Society President to visit 4 sisters.  Adama was home with her 3 children.. 6, 13 & 18.  It was so fun visiting with the entire family. Her 6 year old daughter Fatama came and sat by me. Joe was watching the football game and I said it was like being with my grandsons.. Tity is the 18 year old and she was telling us about her plans for college and her desire to be a nurse practitioner.  Adama is a  CNA. She and her family have been in the US from Sierra Leone for 11 years.

Me, Fatama & Sister Lougee

Joe, Sister Wege, Tity &  Adama

     After our 4 visits we dropped off Sister Lougee and headed for the Temple Visitors Center for the special fireside.  It was featuring pro golfer Mike Reid and his wife, who live in Maryland.  It was a great evening..


      It was a GREAT WEEK.....

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Fall Leaves and Pumpkin Patches

        We started out our week going into DC with the Larsen's by hopping on the Metro to start our Monday adventure. It was my turn to plan our outing and I selected the Library of Congress and the Kennedy Center.  The Metro is the best way to get downtown.  It has stops right by all major attractions and is such a piece of cake to use.  Our first stop was the Library of Congress.  Wow, I think this building  has the most beautiful interior of any I have visited in DC.  It is amazing and I loved it. There was so much to see and so much history housed there.  It was overwhelming to think of the 150 million wonderful  items that have been collected and on display for everyone to see.  The entire library of Thomas Jefferson of 6,487 books laid the foundation for the library in 1815, and are still on display. I really do want to go back and get an official "library card", and visit the reading room and have a book found and brought to me to look at.. and sit in that historic place and take it all in. We then hopped back on the Metro and headed for the Kennedy Center. Every evening at 6:00 there is a free performance in the Millennium theater.  We saw a musical group from Colorado called  Elephant Revival.  They were a group of 5 musicians who performed music containing elements of rock, gypsy, Celtic, altcountry and folk.  It was a great evening and we really enjoyed the music.  A very fun day..
Sister Wege, Sister Larsen & me

Beautiful interior of the Library of Congress

The Reading Room

 The Library of Congress

     Tuesday we started out our day picking up Linda to go with her on a visit to Thelma a sister who used to be her neighbor who is now living in a nursing home.  We stopped to pick up a beautiful fall flowering plant to help brighten her room. When we arrived at the home, Thelma was in PT, and the staff said to go on down and visit her there. She was very excited to see us and so happy for our visit.  We learned that another sister from the ward was also living there, so we went down to see Anna. She was in her bed, so we just stayed for a few minutes..she too was happy with our visit. It is such a joy to spend a few minutes with these sweet ladies and bring so much joy to their day.

        We then picked up Karen (that I talked about last week) at noon to take her to several appointments.  She was getting the several things taken care of that she needed to do since her husband left, to help provide the means to assistance with her utilities, social security and such.  We finally arrived home about 7:00.  Long day, but very happy we could help Karen out. 

          We were invited to a birthday party for Doug Larsen ( the husband in the couple we have been doing things with on Monday's).. It was a taco dinner and we provided all the fillings for the taco's and the other couple, the Dickey's brought dessert.  Doug was so appreciative of the dinner and for all of us coming to help celebrate his birthday.. fun day.

        Wednesday morning at the Family History Center I decided to see how far back I could get in my family tree.. I was amazed at how far back I got.. It was so fun to see the names and the places my ancestors were from.. It went way..back and can't wait to research and see all that I can find.. I am loving doing the genealogy for my family.  I was looking at my mother's line this week and want to record all that I found before I start on my father's line.. After our shift at the FHC we had a meeting with our new district leaders.. They are a new missionary couple from Utah and just arrived in the mission field.  It was really fun to get to know them and help fill them in on our activities and the work we were accomplishing on our mission. We then went to a session at the temple.. Such a wonderful day..

        Thursday we picked up Sharon, and drove up to Glen Burnie to pick up Sue, a sister from the ward here who just moved there.  Sharon used to be an English teacher in high school and now that she is retired she teaches English in her home to people from Korea, all the residents in her apartment building are from Korea and she is helping them learn English.. She was a wealth of information on so many subjects.. She says she gets all the major newspapers and magazines so she can stay current on all things.. She had several clippings from different media to share with us.. After we picked up Sue we went to lunch.. it was a very fun day and I loved meeting new people.  Sue just moved out of her home, because her husband was being very abusive and threatened to kill her. She called the Police and when they arrived they helped her get her things out and found 9 guns in the apartment of which 3 were loaded.. She is such a darling lady and it is so sad that anyone would treat another person like she was being treated. I am so happy she is now safe and living with her daughter, who is a member of the church and they are both taking temple preparation classes together..    

 Sue, me, Sharon & Sister Wege
     Friday morning at 8:00 the fire alarm went off in our building.. Well you know they turn off the elevators so we walked down the "10" flights to the main level.. It wasn't a fire and we were allowed to return to our apartments.. When it went off, we were trying to decide what to take with us, just in case it was a real fire.. so now we have our bag with all that we need to take in one place, ready to grab and go..

        On Friday we called on 15 sisters.. We got in to see many and I want to share just a few stories with you. When we arrived at the home of Lois, I knew that I recognized her from the temple where she works on Tues. & Weds. I worked on a different shift, but I used to see this sweet 85 year old many times as she was coming in for her shift as I was leaving. What a wonderful visit we had with her.. So happy when we can visit those who don't get out much. She is recuperating from pancreatic cancer surgery and the doctors have assured her that they got it all.  A doctor here in the DC area has developed a procedure that is groundbreaking in this surgery.

     Jinnah is a young sister in her mid twenties who is attending nursing school. She was so sweet when we arrived at her door.. She welcomed us in and we had a wonderful visit with her. She said that she was sorry she hadn't been to church, but she went to school all week and then had to work on the weekend.  We asked her if she was reading her scriptures and she said that she did love reading them but they were stolen. We told her where she could get the kind she was looking for and after talking to her for a while asked if we could end our visit with a prayer and she said yes. Sister Wege asked her if she would give it and she said she would. Wow what a powerful spirit accompanied her beautiful prayer. I just loved our visit with Jinnah.


     Kady was at work when we arrived at her apartment, but her grandmother invited us in. They are from Sierra Leone and she speaks very broken English. She was taking care of Kady's 3 adorable children and they were all just getting out of the tub. So as she dressed each one they would come and play with us.  Tsi Tsi is 5, Dylan is 3 and Su Su was 2.  They loved it when I took their picture and even Grama wanted to get in the pictures.. What a fun visit.

 Su Su, Grama, Tsi Tsi & Dylan
        Tigi said that she was very anxious for us to come today. We missed seeing her the last two weeks. She is 35 and had a stroke that has effected her left side and she still struggles with use of her left arm and her walking is slow.  She is also waiting for a kidney transplant and has to have dialysis 3 days a week. Last week her port became clogged and she was in the hospital for several days. She is doing well now. She is a BYU graduate and has a nursing degree. She has a 10 year old daughter who lives with her dad & she hopes to get papers signed soon so she can see her son more often. She is so grateful for everything we do for her. She loves fruit and we bring some each Friday when we visit. She lives with her mother, who is now in Sierra Leone for 6 weeks and Tigi is struggling with cooking and getting around. So we stopped by the store and picked up some groceries for her. Saturday we took her and picked her up for her dialysis appointment.

       We called on 17 sisters on Saturday while we waited to  pick Tigi up.. Talked to 6.. It was a beautiful Fall day here in Maryland and so the driving around to each sister's home was so nice.  After we dropped Tigi off at home we met with Ann & her husband Craig at the Texas Roadhouse for dinner and then attended the Prince George's Philharmonic opening fall concert.  Ann plays the viola in the orchestra.  This is the orchestra's 47th season. It was held in the Bowie Center for the Performing Arts.  They performed Wagner, Mendelssohn & Tchaikovsky and it was beautiful..

       Sunday I attended my first meeting in the White Oaks Ward.  It was so nice to meet everyone and I was introduced in each class and in Sacrament meeting.. After church we visited a sweet sister in the hospital.  Dorothy fell and was on the floor for "3" days before someone came to see why she wasn't answering the phone. She is 87 and sharp as a tack.. She was happy to have us visit.. and we promised to be back each day she is in the hospital.. That evening we were invited to Ann and Craig's for dinner.. Craig is a fabulous cook and had prepared 3 different soups with all the trimmings.  We brought dessert.. Then we went to a special event at the Visitors Center to hear Rosemary Wixom, the General Primary President for the church..

     Fall is really here now in Maryland, the weather is cooler, the leaves are turning, pumpkin patches and stands are popping up everywhere.. I just love this time of year and all the tastes and smells of Autumn.. One thing we see everywhere up here where I am now are squirrels.. gathering the acorns as they fall and scampering up the trees and running across the power lines (which amazes me, that they don't fall off).

Sunday, October 7, 2012

October in DC

        Starting the new week up here in Silver Spring... Monday's are our free day.. so we go each Monday with the Larsen's to see the sights in and around DC. This week we drove a little ways out of the city to the "Great Falls".. This is a spot in the Potomac River Gorge that is filled with waterfalls and beautiful scenery.  It was a beautiful fall day and so nice to walk and see all the beauty of nature.  Next week is my turn to plan and I have selected the Library of Congress, the National Archives and the Kennedy Center.. Looking forward to that day..

Sister Wege & Me

The Larsen's

Beautiful falls

      Tuesday was a rainy day &  we started out our day with a visit to Leah. She is a young woman who works for the Washington Post and has just started volunteering for CAS, The Children's Advocacy Services.  She is going through a tough time, she just moved here with her boyfriend and now he has moved out and she said that now she wants to spend time on herself. It was a wonderful visit and I think we touched her heart.. and are hoping to visit her again soon. 


  We took Darlene to the dentist.  Her teeth are in terrible shape and she is having them all pulled so she can get dentures.. She can't take antibiotics so the doctor is just pulling one at a time and waiting for her to heal before he pulls the next one. She is the sister that we took to the temple last Saturday. She is the sweetest person ever and is always so appreciative of our service..

       We were invited to dinner at Helen's home.  Her daughter Stephanie is going through a divorce & just moved back home from Arizona. She is the new mom of twin girls who are 2 months old.. such cuties.  We had a great dinner and wonderful conversation. We told Stephanie that we were excellent babysitters. 

        On Wednesday I spent my first day in the Family History Center and WOW do I love it.  We arrived a little after 9:00 and I was given a tour of the facility and then asked if there was any information on the Prince Georges County right here in Maryland. Since I discovered that I had relatives that lived here from 1600 to the 1700's.  I was shown a file area that had all the information on cards that was in the center. I found out there was a roll of microfilm on St. Barnabus Church in the 1700's, so I took it in and started looking through it.. I was so excited to see my 8th great grandfather's name Thomas O'Dell listed and started reading about him.  He was on the council of the church when it was built and I loved reading all about the decisions that were made in conjunction with the building.  I took pictures of the pages of the journal that were hand written by the Priest.  I then started going back on my mothers side and got all the way back to the year 848 and the Duchess of Normandy, Poppa de Valois.  Wow royalty.. I couldn't believe it when I was told our shift was over.. Can't wait to go back next week and do more. 
 The hand written records of St. Barnabus Church

     We then went to the temple for a session and got to see several of the sisters that I had worked with.. It is so nice that we get to go to the temple each week as patrons..

       In total we had "54" sister's on our list to visit this week.. several were not home and some were to busy to have us in, but we managed to have visits with about 20. We were able to listen to those who were having problems and try to help in any way we could. I will share a few of the most meaningful ones with you.

        On Thursday we had gone to quite a few sisters and were on our way home when we were inspired to make one more visit.  We stopped at Karen's home and when she answered the door, she was very happy to see us.  She said that she had been praying that we would come.. Her husband of 31 years had just walked out on her and she is about ready to have her power cut off and lose her home.  She just sobbed on my shoulder and said that she was at a loss of what to do. We listened and talked and decided together that we will take her to social services next week. and any where else she needs to go to get the help she needs.  She couldn't believe that we would do that and was so very thankful. We were so glad that we had listened to the promptings and had gone to her house. 

         Ruth lives in an assisted living facility and when we arrived she was packing to go to her daughters home to help them out.  Her daughter is in the hospital and she is going to take care of the children and cook for them while their mother is not there.  She is in a wheelchair and said that she will be fine and that she can do it.  We were amazed by her strength and ability.. She has been a widow since she was in her late 20's and is mid 70's now..
 Ruth & me
Zula was a delightful visit. She reminded me so much of my mother.  I loved spending time with her and talking and listening to the stories she was telling us.  She is 88 years old and still going strong.  When she was younger she worked in the Coast Guard Intelligence.  She is a beautiful seamstress and showed us many of her things.
Zula and one of her 2 cats

      Wanda fell about 3 weeks ago and broke her foot and injured her shoulder. She is recuperating at home and getting along OK. Wanda also suffers from Lupus and heart problems. She shared wonderful stories about growing up in Southern Maryland and working on her grandfathers large tobacco plantation. Before she was diagnosed with Lupus she served as a policewoman. She is very up-beat and has a wonderful personality and it was so fun to visit with her. She shared her wonderful conversion story with us and I just loved our visit.

     We had stopped on a street that had the names of two sisters who lived very close together and saw a lady in the yard raking leaves. We asked if she was Le Ellen and she said "yes, I am".. We introduced ourselves and started talking to her. She was so sweet and said that she hadn't been to church in years because her husband was against the church.  She told us he had passed away in January of this year.  We spent a good half hour talking to her about all sorts of things and talked about my living in Arizona. She was so sweet and just kept talking and we told her we needed to leave to get home in time to watch conference. We told her we would come back to see her soon and she said that she had some books on Arizona and other wonderful places that we could borrow and she would go get them for us to take with us. She was so happy to have us there, I think she is really lonely and by us taking the books, she knows we will be back to return them. What an awesome lady she was.

     Here are pictures of a couple more sisters that we visited this week..
 Debbie & me
 Zianab & her daughter Sophia
Sophia's new hat
     It was such a wonderful week with many sweet sisters and great experiences.. On Saturday we watched our General Conference from our apartment and then on Sunday we watched it at the Visitors Center in the theater there on the giant screen. In the morning we took Darlene with us to see it and in the afternoon we took Patsy with us. Neither of them have the BYU channel or Internet to get it on a computer.  What wonderful counsel we were given by our leaders.  I love to listen to the beautiful music as well as the inspiring talks each 6 months..
The area we are serving in is filled with apartments

 Homes of all sizes

Trees starting to change into their fall splendor
The area is filled with homes of all kinds, and city traffic and traffic lights and traffic, and downtown areas, and traffic..

       Sunday evening we were invited to dinner at the Dickey's apartment.  They live in the same building as us and serve in the National Archives in DC.. They also invited 3 members of the ward to dinner also.  Alison is from Rwanda, Rafi is from Burma, and Joyce is local & lives in a rehab center, she suffers from MS.  It was a wonderful meal and great conversation..
                         Alison, Sister Wege, Joyce, Brother Dickey, Me, Rafi & Sister Dickey

        It was an amazing week with so many wonderful visits.. We are on the go all day and it is really satisfying to touch so many lives each day.. I love my mission and I love the gospel.