Whoaa......I can hardly believe we are halfway through July already! Seems like the days and weeks go flying by - even when we are not crazy busy. When things are a little slower, even us oldster missionaries can find time to have a little fun!
I may have mentioned that Elder Ashton had one new VW Jetta that was giving everyone problems. In fact, it had to have a new engine put in before they even drove it off the lot. The set of missionaries that had that car assigned to them said it smelled like it was burning oil so the car was brought back and went back to the dealer. To make a long story short, the dealership said there were no problems and Elder Ashton wanted to keep the car close so he could keep an eye on it and it would be easier if it needed to go back to the dealer, so he assigned the car to the set of Sister Missionaries that work right here in Portsmouth. They were not super excited about getting the Jetta even though it was a fairly new car with less than 1000 miles on it----they wanted to keep their Chevy Cruz. So, they decided to have some fun with it and named the car, Jetta-Diah, the Jetta. They frequently come into the office with some tale/complaint about Jetta-Diah. A couple of weeks ago they came in and the senior companion said, "Elder Ashton, I don't know what to say but a bear attacked our car and scratched it all up." She seemed pretty serious about it and since the office secretary had just told us the day before that she had seen a bear walking across the road in her neighborhood (that's what we get when we live in a marshy area with dense forest), Elder Ashton thought it might be true so he headed outside to take a look at the car. He found some really deep scratches in the right front aluminum wheel.....but it looked more like it came in contact with the curb than with bear claws ;-) He said that to the sisters and they just started laughing and asked if he was mad at them. He told them no, but they needed to be more careful because the new wheel cost $300. They got the new wheel and had it put on and brought the old wheel back to the office. Elder Ashton decided to have a little fun with them so he took the wheel and put a "Beware" sign on it and set it up on the front counter so the sisters would see it on Monday when they came in. However, the President and his wife came in and both got wide eyes when they saw the display and then laughed when they heard the story....so we had to take some pictures.
Sister Parry and Sister Tegan survived the "bear" attack :)
The sisters decided they wanted a picture of the perpetrator of the joke and his accomplice. Note that Elder Ashton is pointing out the "claw" marks :)
The mission office was quiet this week and Elder Ashton spent most of his time getting caught up - he says he thinks he finally made it. I spent one day paying the rent and spent some time looking at apartments on line. The other office couple will go home at the end of the first week in August and we still don't know what is going to happen.....will we get local people to become service missionaries and take on the responsibility, will we get a full-time couple coming through the missionary department in Salt Lake, or will we have to divide up their responsibilities between the three of us that are left. My guess is that we will be dividing up the responsibilities at least for a short time so I am trying to familiarize myself a little bit with the housing end of things.....we'll see how it goes. I told the other couple of Friday that since they will only be here 3 more weeks and 1.5 of those weeks will be taken up with transfers and leadership conference, maybe we should ask the President if he wants us to get "down and dirty" about cross-training in the office. We'll see what he says on Monday.
I'm still amazed at the vegetation back here. Things are so dense and grow so fast that it is a constant battle to keep things trimmed back out of the road. There are a couple of interesting "tree scultures" on one of the main roads in Portsmouth - the one that we travel every day. I don't think these were originally designed to be tree sculptures but turned out to be that as they were trimmed back.
This one looks like it almost forms an arch with the crepe myrtle that is blooming in the median.
This is one of my favorites - I think it looks like the head of one of the Canadian Geese that make their home in this area :)
I believe we are witnessing a mini miracle in our ward over the last 6 months or so. About the first of the year, a young man who looked to be in his mid-30's showed up at church and indicated that he was a member who had been inactive for some time and had decided it was time to come back to church. He came by himself every week and rarely said anything to anybody. A few weeks later, a woman who looked to be about the same age also showed up to church and said she had been raised in the church but had totally fallen away. She moved back here to help out her brother who had health issues and was needing to be in a wheelchair and his wife....she was a nanny to their 2 year old when mom was at work. She also indicated that she had just recently decided it was time to come back to church. She came by herself, every week. She went out sometimes with the Sister missionaries and she also brought her nephew to church with her. In a few months, she mentioned that her brother's wife was taking the missionary lessons but her brother was not interested at all (don't know if he is a full brother and if he was raised in the church or not). About six weeks later, the brother started taking the lessons and they both started to attend church so the sister was not longer coming by herself. Besides coming with her family, some of us noticed that the man who had indicated he had decided to get active again, was sitting with her.....and now they are an "item", Her brother and his wife are scheduled to be baptized next Saturday and I wouldn't be surprised to see our Brother-coming-back and Sister-coming-back making their relationship more permanent.....mini miracle, I say.
One day this past week I realized about halfway through the afternoon that I needed to get up and walk around for a bit to loosen up my muscles. I made a couple of rounds through the church and then stepped outside into the courtyard. I found these dainty little flowers and fell in love with them.
I also noticed these flowers.....I think my Grandma Bower used to call them "pinks" and she had quite a few of them planted by her house on the farm. She really seemed to have a green thumb and as I looked at these flowers I started reminiscing about her and realized that this coming Wednesday will be the 126th anniversary of her birth. She saw and experienced much in her 103 years of life!
Elder Ashton got up early again on Saturday and went for a bike ride so I slept in a little and then got up to get busy on the laundry and cleaning. I also had an appointment to get my toenails done since I can't bend over far enough to do them myself and they felt like they were 6 inches long....I was so glad to get that taken care of and the grocery shopping done that I came home and did some more cleaning and ironing. By the time I finished all that I didn't feel like cooking dinner so Elder Ashton suggested we go get some fast food and I readily agreed. As we got in the truck it started to sprinkle just a bit. By the time we got 1 mile down the road this is what it looked like.
It was pouring and I told Elder Ashton I didn't want to get soaked twice so we ordered at the drive through and drove slowly home because we couldn't see more than 5 feet in front of us. And when we got back to our apartment (1.5 miles) the rain had turned to a sprinkle. I guess it is really true that the weather can change on a dime in Virginia!
When we arrived home from church today I noticed these two "bikes" sitting next to our parking spaces. I think we should get some like this when we get tired of the shiny red truck. Can you see me on the blue one with my combat boots that I bought for the snow last winter and my missionary skirt flying out behind? Bet that would draw more than the usual missionary stares ;-D
We're doing good and still find satisfaction in what we are doing.