Wednesday, October 29, 2014

It's Official Now

October 27-29

We arrived at the MTC (Missionary Training Center) in Provo, Utah at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, October 27, 2014.  The group of "old" missionaries that checked in this week is 92.   One of the first things that happened was that we received our missionary tags.   Seems kind of strange to go around all day with my name on my clothing, but it helps when I am trying to remember names of the other "old" missionaries.

The 92 couples are from all over the United States and even a few from Canada.   Their assignments are taking them all over the world.....from Zambia, to Germany, to The Netherlands, to New Zealand, to Fiji.   We are in a small group of 4 couples and spend most of each day studying with them.  Included in that group are couples going to Fiji, The Netherlands, Sandy, Utah and us to Chesapeake, Virginia.

We felt like we needed to take the standard picture of us in front of the world map pointing out our area of service.

They are keeping us very busy this week....we are in class from 8 a.m. to about 4:30 p.m. with a few 10 minute breaks and time out for lunch.   We eat all of our meals in the same cafeteria as the young missionaries......and there are lots of them.   I heard one employee say today that there are approximately 2500 missionaries here now - they got about 400 new missionaries in today.   It is interesting to see how much energy and excitement the young missionaries have - whether it be in the morning or at the end of the day.   I have a little pep in my step in the morning, but by the end of the day when I have climbed about 10 flights of steps that day and walked from building to building, I am dragging a bit.

This is our home away from home for the next 10 days.   We live a little over a mile from the main training center but they warned us not to walk because the incline is steep and they had one man a few months back who had health problems after walking that steep incline (I'm guessing some heart problems).   We drive over to the main training center at 7 a.m., get some breakfast and then stay the rest of the day until we return about 5:30 or 6:00 after dinner.

I think our apartment looks like a typical college student/missionary apartment, even down to the bicycles stored in the kitchen :)

As you can see, some things never's Elder Ashton ready for a bike ride :)

So far we are having a great experience and although I am missing family and friends fiercely, I find that most of the 91 other couples are feeling the same way, so we commiserate together and enjoy talking about those we hold dear.   We're thinking of you and hope you are having as much fun in your life as we are having in ours!

The Adventure Begins

October 23-25

We finally got everything packed (it took several attempts to get it all to fit) and headed out at about 5 a.m. on Thursday, October 23.   We drove........and drove.....and drove and finally made it to the Utah border
And drove a little farther until we came to the red cliffs of Southern Utah around Kanab.
We finally made it to Provo about 4 p.m. and since we had lived there in 1971/1972, we felt pretty confident that we knew our way around that city.  However, within about 5 minutes I had navigated us to an unfamiliar road - luckily that road ran right into the one we should have taken so we continued with the driving toward Evanston, where my Mom and brother live.  On the way we saw some beautiful scenery.

We arrived about 6 p.m. and enjoyed 3 full days with my mom who will turn 91 in about 7 weeks and my youngest brother.   I took my mom shopping for some new pots and pans and a new vacuum.   When we got home from the store I was thinking how amazing it is that my mom can still live by herself and cook, clean, exercise, and enjoy life. 

I also had the opportunity to see some of my relatives (aunt and cousins) and a number of people that lived in the neighborhood and attended church with me as I was growing up.   I met one girl I went to high school with and she looked like she was about 40 years old - NOT FAIR!!!!  I loved getting to see and visit with old acquaintances, but most of all it was great to spend time with Mom and Mike!! That visit with them made it a great start to a great adventure :)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Preparing for the Adventure

October 19, 2014
Well, we are at days minus 3 and counting!   After many days, weeks, and months or waiting we will set out on our Excellent Adventure to serve a mission.   We will be leaving on Thursday to begin training and will ultimately serve in Chesapeake, Virginia.  

We spent a WONDERFUL weekend with most of our family - only missing 1 who lived too far away to make it.   I can't remember a time when I have been more happy and sad at the same time.....happy to be setting off on this adventure and sad to be leaving our family behind!

We are beginning to pack up....
 Packing the truck.....hope we get it all in!
 I must take my mixer - else how will I make cookies?
Who says women take too many boxes and bags?