Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sunday, December 30
It's still raining here but one day we had a "Sun break."  That's their term for a little sun - here quickly and gone.  During this "Sun break" I actually finally saw for the first time Mt. Rainier.  It is really majectic and just pops up all by itself big and huge.  It took me over a month to finally see it.  I didn't believe it actually existed and tried to think every moutain bump I saw was it.  Well, when you finally see it you have no doubt you are looking at Mt. Rainier.  I told Jerry that now that I've seen it we can go home.  He didn't laugh at my joke, maybe because he was worried I wasn't joking.
We manged to get all the missionaries' packages and letters to them on Monday for Christmas.  It was very hectic with all of them coming and going.  Since it had been transfer day the week before many parents were calling to see where their missionary was and when they'd be calling for Christmas.  The phones were ringing off the hook - "Tell Elder or Sister...... to call between 2:00 and 3:00 because we'll be at Grandma's."  This was the jest of most calls.  All were excited and I knew I was too to see how the family was doing for Christmas.  It certainly was a different Christmas.  After talking to the family and friends we went to a "homeless" dinner that another senior couple in the mission sponsored.  I guess we really fit, as we felt homelss.  They had about 40-50 there - investigators, families away from home, missionaries, homeless, ward members.  It was a very nice dinner.  All brought something and we had turkey and ham and rolls provided.  That evening we put away Christmas.  I wanted to save all the blow ups for McKay when he's off on his mission next year - blow up Christmas tree and Rudolf ring the antler game.  It will add joy to another missionary apartment.
Still working on mastering all the computer programs.  Just when I think I have it down, something doesn't work.  It's very frustrating.  Now I'm learning to find ways around things when they don't work.  The last time I was a secretary was between years in college when we had typewriters and carbon paper.  Boy, have things changed - my brain just hasn't caught up.  Jerry's excerised bike arrived and now we can take our frustration out as we ride to oblivion. 
Saturday we went exploring and drove around the Peninsula and saw lots of the Sound and where the huge old navy ships are docked in Bremerton and went over bridges that have to raise in order for submarines to come into port.  Lots of pine trees, moss, ferns and ivy.  Can't wait to see it in the sun.  Found a darling little coastal town called Steilacoom where we had lunch in a little cafe converted from a post office.  The ferry went out of this town too to some islands and we saw it load up and go.
Still exploring and discovering, so the adventure continues.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sunday, Dec 23  Last Monday was our first experience with transfers and new missionaries.  It was very hectic.  We started at 8:00 a.m. and ended at 7:00 p.m.  We had loads of mail and information to take to the church.  Had meetings and served lunch and ended with a testimony meeting and farewells for those going home.  Only lost one new elder's name tag.  (Ended up finding it in his Christmas mail later that week.  Don't know how it got there.)  Here are some notes from the meeting.  New favorite Christmas song, "O Holy Night" because of the phrase "Fall on your your knees" - new meaning this year.  The sister saying this said, "Today I'm on my feet, but most significant moments on my mission have been on my knees."  Another elder said that "Conversion was a process, not an event."  Another said, "What we are is God's gift to us.  What we make of ourselves is our gift to God."  And then my favorite because I sure feel this way - A elder going home said, "When I got here my senior companion sat me down and said - you don't have the talent, ability, or knowledge to be a missionary (I'd add computer skills) one does - only withe the help of the Lord can you make it.  You have the Savior on your side."  These are awesome young people we work with.
Woke up on the 18th with our first snow of the season.  We had a gift this week.  The new senior couple is going to spend two days in the office helping us.  She loves to do baptisms and worked on them all day long.  She loves genealogy and they remind her of that.  He is going to do pictures and the history of the mission.  This will take a huge load off me.  Now it's just the spread sheets.  The rest of the week we worked on the "infinity lists."  The office elders came to help.  It's been days and it is only half done.  All this is a result of transfers.  I think I will suggest we have no more transfers until we transfer to go home.  Saturday was a welcome rest and we went to see the movie "Lincoln."  Francis' said we could go to movies, so I'm not asking permission, just taking their word.  It was very deep, but very interesting.  Spellburg knows his history.  I never tied the 13th Amendment so much to the ending of the War.  I had always concentrated on the Emancipation Proclamation as the big one.  They had a great program at Church today for Christmas.  Two good talks.  One was themed around "The Law of Witnesses,"  and used the Nativity as the bases and the other one was "Pretend it's Christmas everyday" - give gifts of gratitude all year long.  We have some very accomplished people in this ward.  Hope everyone has a Merry Christmas.  It will be a different one for us, yet the meaning is still the same.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sunday, December 16
We lost our trainers on Thursday and now it's up to us, scary, hun?  They were so good and knew so much, it is hard to follow them.  We will also miss them as they were great people.  They are home now and I'm sure their family is enjoying them.  We had the mission Christmas party on Tuesday.  It was tons of work, but the missionaries loved it and had a great time.  Seeing 180+ missionaires in Santa hats was something else.  Learned another great quote after all our work, "You know you've got it when sacrifice becomes a privilege."  I'm still in the sacrifice mode - but learning.  We got a Christmas card from the First Presidency - that will be a one time honor and a blanket and socks from the mission president.  Kinda tells you about the weather here.  The mission president talked at the end of the party.  They have been challenged to read the D&C this year as it really is all about missionaries.  He said, We know which way Joseph faced - toward the Savior.  Joseph went on a 24 year mission.  As missionaries know that God fights His battles one soul at a time."  We also saw a video that said, "The Greates Gift of all has already been given."  I loved it.  The closing song was "Amazing Grace."  That's the mission song.  It was chilling to hear them sing it. 
Here are some facts about Tacoma.  Did you know it was the home of Almond Roca?  Invented and still manufactured here in a small factory.  Also, get scared and go to utube and hit "Narrows Bridge."  We travel over this bridge all the time.  I will look for wind in the future. 
My first day alone I stayed away from excel and managed to survive.  I did my baptism forms and referrals and answered the phone and did it.  Today in church we had a confirmation and the bishop told the young man he now was a member and had a membership record.  I thought to myself that I enter that baptism to Salt Lake for that number and it made me feel like I was really doing something worthwhile.  I guess I'll keep trying. 
It was also the ward Christmas party Friday night.  They did a nice job.  I'll have to tell our RS about it and they can have some new ideas.  Then another bonus Saturday was a treat for making it through the week.  Gig Harbor, across that bridge, has a light parade and fireworks with their boats all decorated.  We went to a restaurant on the harbor and ate delicious seaford and watched the parade on the water.  It was beautiful.  It almost reminded me of McCall and the fireworks on the 4th.  Can't think too much about that or I'll be homesick. 
Wish me luck this week.  It's transfers and new missionaries coming in.  Don't know how it works, but hopefully won't make too many mistakes.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sunday, December 9  We have finished another week and survived.  We are learning slowly.  Our trainers go home this week and we will really be lost.  They are so knowledgeable, that they will really be missed and we'll be all that's left.  Jerry has a new gps and phone and mission van to deal with apartment hunting and care.  I have notes and notes on how to do excel programs.  I'm not sure who is more dangerous.  I only lost two baptism records last week.  Hopefully the Church sends them back this week so I can make corrections.  I received the mission President's calendar and just as he walked through the office I was printing January and it came out cut in half.  I just told him that I had lightened his burden by cutting his work load in half.  I think he wonders about me.  We had our senior couples Christmas party last week.  There are 18 couples in the mission and all very nice and doing great and various jobs.  One new one comes today.  I'm hoping they give them a double assignment - MLS - member leadership services - and a couple of hours in the office helping us.  By the way we found out our mission president served his mission in Fukuoka, Japan, the same mission as Connie.  That was 40 years ago.  I need to tell him the story of the butt sumo female wrestling champion.  He should really appreciate it.  Jerry celebrated his birthday last week.  He even got his favorite banana cream pie.  I'm finding I don't have all the conveniences of home and try to make due but sometimes it doesn't turn out just right.  For all the friends in Nampa - Connie and Lindsay got together last week and made Christmas candy and cookies.  The tradition continues.  I guess Grandma Mary and I taught them something.  They even sent Craig Castagneto his favorite spritz cookies.  Don't know how he rated.  Got a little view of the area on Saturday.  We had to go out on the peninsula to take drawers to elders and pick up a mattress.  Went to a picturesque town of Gig Harbor.  Beautiful town wrapped around a little harbor.  It reminded me of the east coast towns I grew up around.  Then we drove through a park at Point Defiance just on the south of the Puget Sound.  It was a beautiful area - moss on trees and ferns growing all over pine trees.  It looks just like the movie set on Twilight.  I can't wait to go to Forks, but it's about 4 hours away - up on the western tip of the mission.  I guess the rain makes for green beauty and we have lots of rain.  This week we have the missionary Christmas party.  We have a room full of packages.  It should be an interesting day - party all day with the elders and sisters.  They should be very excited.  Will report next week on the details.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sunday December 2, 2012  
We finally have the computer going.  It has been a trial.  Well, the whole computer world is a trial for me.  That brings me to the mission office and more computers.  The Church has a program for everything - if you know how to work it you are in great shape.  The sister I am replacing was a professional secretary and she is fabulous and knows everything.  Not only won't I be able to fill her shoes, but right now I don't think I even have feet.  We have been working hard all week trying to learn how to do things.  The elder and sister we are replacing will be leaving on the 13th so I have a few more days of help and learning.  Jerry is progressing on the apartments.  This is a very big mission - like 4 hours to some areas.  Yes, Forks is in our mission and the farthest away.  We are getting 14 new sisters in January and probably the same in elders in February and March.  That's alot of apartments for Jerry to find.  I'm at the front desk answering phones and doing referrals and baptism entries.  That I can do.  It's the excel spread sheets that are giving me the problems.  It has rained every day and we had a down pour on Friday.  Saturday we will were ready for a break and went to the Museum of Glass. It was very fascinating.  An artist came to Tacoma a number of years ago and tried to revitalize the city and started this art colony.  It was fascinating to watch them work with glass.  We are starting in the Christmas spirit.  The Stake had a big Nativity display this weekend - thousands of Nativities.  It was beautiful.  We will continue with the update and hopefully more competent news.