Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sunday, January 27 Our treat for the weekend after a week of hard work was to go to the Seattle Temple. It is in Bellevue and out of the mission, so we had to get permission. It's a good thing we went because it didn't look like anyone in Seattle was going. There was one other man and 5 other women in our session. We loved it and the Temple was huge compared to Boise. It reminded me on the inside of the Provo Temple, meaning I was turned around and lost as to where to go. After the Temple we stopped at Deseret Book. I can always find something there. Then our next treat was a visit with Terah Young. She was up here on a medical conference so we picked her up from her meetings and went to dinner and had a fun visit. I love my laurel connection that just continues. She gave us a taste of home and we ate it up. Even with a GPS telling us where to go, we still got messed up twice. That is really frustrating especially with the roads and traffic around here. We survived and ready for another week. It's transfers again so things will be turned upside down as missionaries move and new ones arrive. We have 24 new ones coming. We get them welcomed, teamed up and fed and say good bye to the departing missionaries. It's a big week. After last transfers I decided there shouldn't be any more transfers until after our mission is done - it's too hectic. Don't think it will happen that way though. Here's a bit of science for you. We are in the capital of "gooey ducks." They are actually called Geoduck and live in the Sound off Whidbey Island. They let them harvest them according to a quota and certain times of the year. They had it last week and they are ugly things. They look like clams with long fleshy growth out of the clam that can grow over 3 feet long. They sell them in the Orient for sushi and one clam can go for over $60. They live in the mud on the bottom of the Sound, so that doesn't sound very appealing to me. Then some live to the age of 100, and right there it indicated "tuff" meat to me. Look their pictures up on google. They are strange. This is a unique tidbit from Washington State. Sign language class was very interesting this week. We learned LDS signs. They were fascinating and my favorite was Jesus. I'll show it to you when I get home. My new desire is to work in the Primary and teach sign songs. See, they don't care if you can't carry a tune when you sign. Any one in a position to let the Bishop know for me to prepare him for my next calling, feel free to deliver the news. These signs were so different that we will do two weeks on learning and reviewing them before we go on. I practice on the office workers and Jerry all the time. I am very slow though. A package arrived this week from Connie's family in Japan. The interesting thing is that our mission president opened that area in 1968 on his mission. I gave him the cookies that arrived and sent the folders, sticker, pens, etc. on to the grandkids. They look forward to this every year. I kept the big calendar and now our walls have decoration on them. I feel like a teenager with posters on the walls. I sent them Almond Roca. Did I mention that Almond Roca is made in Tacoma - their home town speciality and it's the 100 year anniversary for them. I need to visit the factory before we leave. Our good weather has ended and we are back to rain. It was beautiful while it lasted and people are planting primroses already. It's usually in the 30's and 40's. I'm looking forward to the daffodil and tulip festvals that come in March and April. Have fun with your ice and snow. The internet from the Church was down all Friday. Don't know what happened, but when you don't have SLC on your side, you don't have anything. I think there is a correlation there. We shopped for the big lucheon for the missionaries. Yes, a great day at Costco again. Never thought I'd love going to Costco. Jerry has been shopping for furniture and apartments - getting them ready for the incoming missionaries. I think our roles are reversed. He knows where all the stores are - he just won't let me in. He's really learning the area and feeling more confident in his calling. We won't talk about mine. I did find the center bar on excel this week. You might laugh and say, "elementary," but I was thrilled with my new knowledge. I only have 6 missing baptims left to track down. The missionaries call them in but don't send in the paper work and it's like a detective investigation looking for these names. Next week I will give you totals of baptisms as I am almost there. Hoping at transfers I get the missing papers. Have a good week and we'll try to survive too.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

January 19, Saturday
  Another Saturday posting as we have a Fireside again Sunday in Elma, about an hour away.  Yes, it's the choir for me again.  I guess no one heard me sing last time.  We'll see south tomorrow and today we saw west.  Jerry had to check out two apartments in Sequim - about 2 hours NW from here on the Olympic Penninsula.  A beautiful drive to a unique small town that John Wayne thought was the best place for salt water fishing.  Yes, the bays here are salty.  Not as salty as the ocean, but salty.  We got to visit the tribal center for the S'Klallum American Indians.  There is a casino there too, but we just went to the museum and art gallery.  I need to read some of their forktales as they are all about animals and overcoming nature.  All the nature elements live in the Olympic Mountains and the wolf, bear, raven, etc. fight the wind and water to control them.  Everything has a story.  We saw lots of totem poles and hopefully the girls can post our pictures.  Then we went to Port Angles, just another half hour to the north, but big ships there and many take the ferry to Seattle from there.  They call this area - "Where the mountains meet the Sea."  We saw them both. 
  There were Zone Conferences three days this week.  It made for quiet days.  Time to organize.  Yet, I made a big booboo.  I ordered 10 cases of Book of Mormons and we waited eagerly because we were almost out.  Well, one box with 10 Book of Mormons came.  I checked the wrong box.  So I got right on the computer to order more and thought the first one didn't go through so I hit it again.  Now we will be getting 20 cases of Book of Mormons with 40 in each case.  Good thing they are free and the missionaries will go through them so I'm not in too much trouble - just dumb looking.  What's new? 
  Did two things with the Ward this week - my Sign Language class.  Learned 2 1/2 pages of phrases.  I've been practicing on Jerry.  Then the RS had a service auction.  I took an Abelskiver pan with the recipe and a bag of frozen ones that they sell at Trader Joes.  I came home with a promised girl's baby blanket and seasonal hand towels - one coming every month.  We had to answer questions about the history of the RS.  I guess my years in the Stake helped me out - even though I only answered 14 out of 30.
  The missionaries continue to delight us.  They are a spark of light to a hard day.  Had a stolen bike and lost medicine to deal with, but those are nice things to try to help them through and I get to call their parents and add to the call the special message that they love their parents and their parents love them.  I even cry then too. 
  Wish me luck singing tomorrow.  Jerry doesn't need luck.  He has a great voice and it's getting stronger.  He is being blessed.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sunday, January 13, 2013
  Greg reminded us that yesterday was our two month anniversary of being out, only 10 to go and according to Kyle who keeps track of percentages, that's 1/5 down.  Does it sound like we are counting?  Actually we have had some good experiences this last week that help us stay positive.  Sunday night was the fireside I was telling you about last week.  And yes, I sang in a choir.  Of course with 80 other voices I didn't ruin things.  The missionaries really sing with gusto.  They sang a number of songs, Call to Serve, Battle Hymn of the Republic, Because I have Been Given Much - with special added mission words, and Amazing Grace the mission theme song and it was amazing.  The missionaries going home bore testimonies, the President and his wife and Tacoma Stake President talked too and then there were also a sisters double quartet and an elders double quartet.  There was also a solo by an elder accompanied with violin, cello and piano.  They were all fabulous musicians.  People were invited to bring investigators and the chapel and cultural hall were filled.  This was only half the mission and we will do it again next weekend with the other half of the mission.  I will get to sing again!!!  Maybe I should practice, but there is no hope.  I'll just keep saying "watermelon, watermelon" with a smile on my face.
  This week I have been scheduling mission conferences and lunches and the corresponding buildings.  A lot of e-mails and calls.  Then since it's the end of the year there are baptism reports for the wards and stakes.  Since the missionaries aren't always the best in getting the paper work in, I have had to make a lot of calls.  Even the Mission President was calling them to find the records.  I guess they are still kids you need prompting.  Jerry has been frantically looking for apartments for the new missionaries coming in in January and March.  We get around 40 new ones, so that is alot of housing and furniture.  We get two new senior couples too.  
  Tuesday we started our sign language classes.  It was very interesting and we have been working on memorizing the alphabet all week.  We also learned some phrases and my favorite one if "Slow Down" and "Repeat."  Today at church we are suppose to go great a deaf person and tell them our name.  I hope I don't swear at them in the process.  Finally more people in the ward talked to us and I found out one girl was a roommate to Erin Start, one a cousin to Judy and Doug Holladay, one a mission companion to Dan LeDuc.  Amazing world.
  I've had a bit of Carolyn Jones world instead of Sister Jones.  Had to go to Costco for office supplies, Ashley Furniture for apartment furniture and Macy's for nylons.  Who'd have thought I'd love being in Costco, now Macy's a given.  It certainly was a break back to my worldly ways (even though there was a mission purpose).
  Friday was a special day.  We got to go to our first baptism.  It was with the elders and sisters assigned to our ward who had been working on a family and this was their youngest son.  In the afternoon three sisters ran into the office looking for a bowl and towel because they had brought one of the sisters in to get a blessing and she was having a case of Meneiers.  I understood what her vertigo was all about.  Jerry and the other senior elder in the office went out to give her a blessing and that night she was looking good and feeling better.  She'd gone back to their apartment and slept and woke up able to stand without spinning.  What a blessing as she only has three weeks left on her mission and had worked with this family and really wanted to be there to see the fruits of her labors.  Our mission president's favorite word is "miracles."
  We've had sun for a couple of days and more than just "breaks."  It's been cold, in the 20's and 30's and the people here think that's really cold.  I just love seeing the sun and no rain.  It's been staying lighter long and I love not going to work in the dark and coming home again in the dark.  We hear Idaho and Utah have had a lot of snow.  Keep warm and we'll keep dry.  Miss and love all of you.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Mt. Ranier in the distance....this is Connie's lame attempt to add pictures to our blog.
We are still trying to learn how to do it.


This is the tree the kids sent us!

The Harbor and Restaurant

These are the lights from the Zoo
We are proselyting to the animals!


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Saturday, Jan 5, 2013
Wow, a new year.  We are starting our second year.  That seems strange since we've only been here two months.  I guess it just seems like a year since we are missing all of you so much.  We started out the week with a great missionary experience.  Since we have to get most of our missionary moments vicariously we really eat it up when the missionaries come in with their stories.  (By the way we were told in the MTC that when the mission president interviewed us when we arrived, if he asked us if we knew the imos computer program and we said, no, then he'd put us out proselyting.  Some days in front of the computer I wished I would have said that "no.")  Back to the story, two of the Spanish elders came into the office so excited.  The night before they had knocked on a door where some Spanish people were holding a religious meeting.  They were invited in and even were asked to bear their testimonies.  They were asked to leave some Book of Mormons and found out that a number there couldn't even speak the Spanish, let alone English.  They spoke Mam.  It is a language from the hills of Mexico and Guatemala.  It's Mayan in origin.  There are actually some translation of the Book of Mormon in Mam and the elders knew they had at least one copy in their trunk.  They went out to the car and in the trunk there were 7 copies of the Book of Mormon in Mam, just the number they needed for those in the meeting.  They were so amazed and were in the office to have me order more copies in Mam.  I felt like I was part of the miracle and I ordered more quickly.
  We had a fun New Year's Eve and Day.  We went to dinner at a seafood restaurant on the Sound with the two other office couples and ate great salmon and watched the ferries go in and out and other boats.  It was beautiful because it was clear and not raining for a change.  Then we went up to the zoo where "Zoo Lights" were displayed.  It was beautiful, kinda like our Botanical Gardens in Boise.  Then on New Year's Day we went to a Mexican restaurant for one of the sister's birthday and then to see Les Mis.  Well, it was sold out so we saw Parental Guidance instead.  It was so funny.  I'd recommend it.  Even Jerry stayed awake.  Today we are going back to see Les Mis.  Everyone has recommended it to us.
  This week in the office I have been trying to clean up baptism records.  The missionaries call baptisms to the AP's on Sunday nights and then they send in the paper work.  Well, sometimes the paper work doesn't make it so we have to match up the call ins to what we actually get and send to SLC.  The way the elders spell from these call ins leave much to be desired.  It's like detective work and sometimes quite funny.  I'm still searching for over a dozen.  I make calls and the missionaries promise to send them in.  It's like working with children all over again.  I also have to schedule all the buildings and lunches for the year.  I'm waiting for the President's calendar and he's waiting for dates of incoming missionaries from SLC.  We are all waiting.  Hope I can get all next week and start the scheduling.  Jerry has been busy looking for sisters' apartments.  We get 26 new missionaries this month and most are the sisters.  It's good they have Jerry because when he goes out to look at apartments, if he wouldn't put his daughters in them, he won't put the sisters there.  Some places are bad.  He makes sure they will be safe and happy.  He had a bonus this week.  The Church has extended their cell phone contract and so the missonaries won't get new phone this Spring.  They will get them the end of September.  That night mare has been put off.  Maybe by then he thinks he might know what he is doing.
  Well that has been the update.  We are learning slowly and progressing - not making as many mistakes.  Miss you all and are thankful for your prayers and support.  We need them.