The last few days have been very busy and we have had a variety of adventurous experiences-the ones I love best are meeting new people!
On Monday morning, I was walking to our classroom and passed a beautiful young sister missionary who had a dazzling smile on her face. She immediately wished me good morning and I responded a little slowly because I was so busy admiring her braided hair. I saw her around the campus two other times that day and on Tuesday at lunch I finally got brave enough to ask if I could take her picture. She was with a small group of other missionaries and I decided to just take a picture of all of them....they are all going to Spanish speaking missions, one to Montana, one right here in Provo, and the others to different parts of Mexico. The boy in the picture is the one going to Provo and said he just came here from Mexico 2 weeks ago......and could not speak a word of English when he arrived here but is speaks quite fluently now. I asked if he had taken any English classes while in Mexico and he replied that he had not....everything he knows he learned in the last two weeks. I was very impressed with that! Don't you love the braids on the girl in the front left of the picture?
New Senior Missionary couples arrived on Monday and we have had opportunity to meet quite a few of them. They come from all over the world (but mostly North America) and are going to be serving all over the world. I have talked to two couples this week who will be serving in Australia and one couple that will be serving in Armenia. When we met the couple this morning that will be serving in Armenia we found out that they have lived in Evanston,Wyoming for 40 years. I asked them if they knew Grammi/my mom and they indicated they did know her but not really well. Then they noticed our name tags and said we knew some Ashtons that lived in Evanston and they were about the nicest people we have ever met...in fact they were in our ward. I said, "Were their names LaMar and Ila? and they immediately got big smiles on their faces and said, "yes, we just loved them." I told him they were Elder Ashton's parents and that we loved them too! We chatted about things related to Evanston as we were eating breakfast and as we were getting ready to leave and go to class, the man stopped Elder Ashton and told him again how much he loved LaMar and Ila and what great people they were. Made me feel nostalgic and miss them today.
At lunch time today we met a young Elder with his hand all wrapped up in a soft cast and Elder Ashton asked him if he had an accident and he replied that he had an accident with a wall....hmmmm-sort of sounds like some Ashton boys I once knew. He said he broke the bone in his hand that comes down from the middle finger when he got mad and slugged the wall. Guess he got a stern talking to and has been assigned to attend Anger Management classes. He was feeling pretty frustrated because he is scheduled to leave for Australia on Tuesday and he will find out tomorrow if the hand requires surgery. If surgery is required he will be sent home to get that taken care of and may get assigned someplace different. I felt bad for him having to learn a hard lesson about controlling his temper :/
Yesterday was an interesting day......first thing I thought of when I woke up was that it would have been my sister's birthday. She would have been 70 years old.....she's been gone 21 years but I still miss her and think of her often - especially on her birthday and on the anniversary of her death. I'll be so glad to see her again when I reach the other side.
When we went out of our apartment yesterday morning to go to the cafeteria for breakfast we noticed that the windows on the truck were completely frosted over. It's a good thing Elder Ashton prepared ahead of time and bought an ice scraper while we were in Evanston last week.....he had to scrape ice off the windows for the first time in nearly 40 years and I was reminded of why I like living in Arizona!!! Then, as we were coming back from running an errand at lunch I looked up and noticed that there was snow on the tops of the mountains. It was beautiful but made me think of how much more of that is to come soon. I heard there was snow on the east coast last weekend so maybe there will be snow when we arrive there next week. Guess I better get used to wearing stockings and closed toe shoes or boots - no more sandals for me for awhile!
This week we have been attending computer classes to learn the software we will be using when we get to the mission office in Virginia. The classes have reminded me so much of teaching AZTEC/court software for 16 years that I have wanted to give the instructors a few tips.....especially about giving adult learners a break every hour to 1.5 hour......they just go on and on and we have to ask for breaks! And they go pretty slow for those that are having a hard time catching on so Elder Ashton has decided to use the spare time he has in class and begin preparing a PowerPoint presentation to teach the young Elder and Sister missionaries in Virginia and North Carolina about caring for a car, including how to check the oil!
After talking to the young Elder with the broken hand and watching Elder Ashton prepare the presentation with VERY basic information, it made me think about what a huge job it is to train and prepare so many 18 and 19 year olds to go out in the world to teach people about the church! I love seeing the energy,enthusiasm, and joy of the young missionaries and have come to appreciate more over the last week and a half how awesome they are to be willing to step so far outside their comfort zones to share what they know with others.
So far, our experiences/adventures have been great and I feel like I am learning a lot and am being strengthened to do more than I ever thought I could do. I have walked up and down more stairs in the last 1.5 weeks than I had walked in the last 4 years combined. It is getting easier to do the stairs most days and I think that is a really good thing! I know I am being blessed with more energy and improved mobility.
Missing all of you!