Sunday, August 9, 2015

A "Thirty-something" Adventure

Sunday, August 9

Some of you may be wondering if I have discovered the fountain of youth back here in Virginia and been able to turn back the hands of time.......OR.....if I am going to relate some experience I had a few years ago while I was actually in my 30's.   Well, keep reading and you will see what the "Thirty-something" adventure is all about :)

Last Monday morning we were getting ready for our weekly meeting with President Baker and his wife when as I returned from a short trip down the hall, one  of the other ladies in the office told me that President Baker wanted to see her and I in his office right away.   I immediately wondered if I had made a huge mistake in paying the bills and was only a tiny bit relieved when we entered his office and he told us that the planned replacement for Sister Shaw who would be leaving to return to Utah on Thursday was not going to work he asked if the other woman and I could pick up her duties along with our own.    She was responsible for obtaining all supplies, recording all baptisms, all referrrals, forwarding all mail that needed forwarding, sending out birthday cards to all missionaries and organizing all dinners for incoming missionaries.   I hesitantly said we would give it a try but expect that I will feel a little overwhelmed at times.   It was already scheduled to be a busy week so I had only 2 hours to sit with Sister Shaw and learn the computer programs she uses......this should make for an interesting few weeks!

One of the things I have noticed about Virginia is that many of the drivers sport personalized license plates.   I noticed this one as we headed home for lunch on Monday and thought it was a good reminder :)

Did you figure it out yet?

I saw a few more during the week.....see if you can figure them out.


Who would have thought that license plate messages could give a person an important message about how they should choose to live.    Thought it was pretty interesting that I ran into these messages without even spending any extra time looking!

Tuesday morning we sent 14 missionaries home......and Tuesday afternoon we picked up 30 new missionaries.   Because there were so many missionaries, we needed to use our truck to help haul them...Elder Ashton was driving a rented van and I was driving our pickup truck.   At lunch time on Tuesday we drove to a different part of town to pick up the rental van.....and saw this pretty home/yard with healthy banana plants growing.   I didn't get up close enough to see if they were producing any fruit but was surprised at how healthy the plants looked and thought the home and landscaping was quite picturesque.

Before we left to go pick up new missionaries, we needed to make sure all was in readiness for them.

Bedding lined up against the walls ready to go.....A new bike arrived just in time and needed to be put together.

An order of supplies arrived and needed to be put away in readiness for filling orders for the missionaries.

More bedding!

Sister Shaw setting out the mail that had arrived for new missionaries and moving boxes of Books of Mormon along with her feet......she got pretty good at that!

We went first to the ward building in Norfolk that is close to the airport and helped set up place settings on eight tables, then traveled about 2.5 more miles to the airport.   It was a VERY humid day and as we stood waiting for them to come down the concourse in the airport, I felt a little shiver of excitement as I saw them walking out.  At first I thought the shiver might be a breeze of cool air flowing over my perspiration that was dripping, but soon decided it was related to the energy and enthusiasm these 30 young people carried with them.

What a sight!   I heard a few murmurs from other patrons at the airport as we walked by and I had to smile to think of the stir these young people were making......there was no terror or panic in the airport around these young people - just feelings of happiness!

We gathered luggage for 30 young people and headed out to the parking garage.   As the wheels on their luggage rolled across the concrete, I though I could hear the words of a favorite Primary Song, "We are as the armies of Helaman" in the background.   And this time the shiver could not be mistaken for anything other than confirmation that these young people are well prepared to bring Virginia residents a message about Jesus Christ!

We loaded up the truck to head over to the church and four of the young lady missionaries rode with me.   Imagine my surprise when I learned the front seat passenger grew up in Holbrook, Arizona!  It really is a small, small, world!  I talked to her a little about St. Johns and she remembered that they had a great girls soccer team but couldn't specifically remember my granddaughter Sydney who played on that great team ;-)

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New missionaries waiting for dinner at the Norfolk building.   The girl from Holbrook is in the gray dress.
After feeding dinner to the missionaries and waiting while they taught lessons to some investigators and new converts, we finally made it home at 9:45 on Tuesday night.....picked the missionaries up at 8:15 on Wednesday morning to take them to the Portsmouth building for a day of interviews, training, and more teaching.

At least we fed them - Subway sandwiches for lunch...

and Pizza, salad.....

and Rootbeer Floats for dinner.   Those Rootbeer floats sure brought back memories of my dad bringing me one of those several times a week when I was confined to bed part of the summer when I was 7 with rheumatic fever :)
Wednesday night we finally left the church at about 9:15 - as Elder Ashton was busy with car and bicycle issues for a couple of hours after dinner trying to get the missionaries ready to go for the night.   As you can see from the pictures below, Elder Ashton is still loving what he is doing and has even commandeered a mechanical closet in the church to use as a bike shop :)

Thursday we had a special training/conference for the entire mission.   This does not happen very often and it was a GREAT experience.   It was held at the Stake Center and there were about 204 missionaries there (including Senior Couples and President and Sister Baker).   President Baker gave some powerful observations about the atonement and there was some beautiful music.   The mission hymn is #335 - Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy, with verse 4 being written specifically for this mission.  It goes like this:
#1.  Brightly beams our Father's mercy, From his lighthouse evermore, But to us he gives the keeping Of the lights along the shore.
Chorus: Let the lower lights be burning; Send a gleam across the wave. Some poor fainting, struggling seaman, You may rescue, you may save.
#2.  Dark the night of sin has settled; Loud the angry billows roar. Eager eyes are watching, longing, For the lights along the shore.
Chorus:  Let  the lower lights be burning; Send a gleam across the wave.   Some poor fainting, struggling seaman, You may rescue, you may save.
#3. Trim your feeble lamp, my brother; Some poor sailor, tempest-tossed, Trying now to make the harbor, In the darkness may be lost.
Chorus:  Let the lower lights be burning; Send a gleam across the wave.  Some poor fainting, struggling seaman, You may rescue, you may save.
#4. Chesapeake, your faith is shining, As the lights along the shore, Reaching out to Father's children, Guiding each to Him once more.
Chorus verse 4: Let the lower lights be burning: Send a gleam across the wave, Some poor fainting, struggling seaman, You have rescued, you have saved.

The words to the song hit me.....and made me think that I have an opportunity to help others and if I do help just one, it will be worth being away and missing family and friends!

Following the meeting we all gathered outside for a Mission Photo.

Then on to a nearby park for a Southern Tradition - a "Pig Pickin".   Except for the blistering, humid heat we had a GREAT time!

A great sight to see - a long line of missionaries marching across the park!

Three of the missionaries with Brother Slatter who was responsible for cooking the half pig in a LARGE barbecue grill.....You can see a little of it behind him.   He had been up since 4 a.m. fixin that pig for us....nice guy and the meat was GOOD!

More pictures of the pig pickin - young missionaries

More missionaries getting to know one another at the end of the pig pickin.

Some Senior Missionaries mingling with young missionaries at the pig pickin.
Finally made it back to Portsmouth about 4:15 and Elder Ashton had missionaries at the office waiting again for help with cars and bikes....but I was done in.  He dropped me off at home and I took my shirt off (it was so wet it felt like I was removing it from the washing machine)   Instead, I dropped it in the dirty clothes and laid down for just a few minutes - 2 hours later I woke up when Elder Ashton finally made it home!

Friday it was time to head back to the "normal" routine at the office - with one less person.   Things were busy but not chaotic.  And we had a little entertainment in the afternoon when approximately 30 canadian geese wandered back and forth across the parking lot and the street over to the school yard.  

This parade of geese was very entertaining as they tried to watch for traffic and hurry across the road when they thought they had enough time.   A nice relaxing break after the very busy week we had.

We are struggling with an infestation of spiders here right now.   Recently I noticed that some of the leaves on many of the trees were turning brown.  On closer examination of those trees and other plants, I noted that they are getting covered in spider web and it is killing the leaves on the trees.

Lots of brown leaves on the tree.

Leaves wrapped in spider webs

Ground cover with webs covering the top

Bushes with webs covering the top

I am not at all fond of spiders and am constantly feeling like something is crawling on me with all the webs around our apartment complex.   I left a message with the office asking them to come spray our apartment but didn't hear anything back from them :(
However, I did find one thing I thought was pretty associated with all these webs - the web captured the morning dew on this plant.


And some of the smaller plants sent up lovely little purple flowers this week.

And so ends the "thirty something" week with the arrival of 30 new missionaries and all the associated activities and the parade of "30" geese across the parking lot.  

Although the week was busy and exhausting, I think I may have found the fountain of youth....working with all these young people makes me wish I was "thirty something" instead of double that!

We are having a great experience!

1 comment:

  1. Glad your horde of new missionaries arrived and you survived it! And now new duties to add to your list. You are thriving back there, Carol! Both you and Denis look and sound happy and fully, fully involved in what you're doing. They're never going to be able to replace you, you know! Love hearing your reports!