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..

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