Last Saturday as I leaned back in the chair at the nail salon with my eyes closed while my toes were beinh pampered, my phone rang. It was Elder Ashton asking for assistance in finding the right information to contact Salt Lake and let them know that a Tiwi (Tattletale) card and a missionary support fund card had been stolen and needed to be cancelled. We got that taken care of but as I was driving home I started to worry about the missionary. I thought her entire wallet was stolen and she was supposed to fly home on Tuesday so it was a great relief to me when I got to the office on Monday morning and called her and learned the thiefs only took the missionary support fund card - did not take her $100 cash in the wallet or her ID......Yea - she could still get on the plane and travel home!
Once I learned that the missionary was good to go home, I got busy printing out baggage receipts and boarding passes. I always try to have that done before we meet with the President at 10:30 at it is quite a challenge because the flights are usually at 9:40 so that only gives me about 50 minutes to get all that done. Monday I really struggled to get one of the boarding passes printed out - I kept going back and trying to figure out why it wouldn't print out. I finally read the page that was displayed on the internet more closely and realized that it would not print the boarding pass because the missionary was from Canada and the airport needed to see a passport before they would issue a boarding pass.
After those two crises, the rest of Monday was just normal....paying bills and answering phone calls :) - except for the workmen that were in the building working on replacing a couple of sewer lines.
Tuesday - started out just like the supervisor of the work crew had warned us it would......
JACKHAMMERS!!!! two doors down from the office - started at 8:00 a.m. and continued steadily until we left (me with a HUGE headache) to go to Norfolk building and greet and feed arriving missionaries. I was really glad to get out of the noise and was so glad that they finished most of it up that day!
This was a rather small group of arriving missionaries so it made the prep of the meal and the clean-up relatively easy.
Arriving Missionaries. The sister third from the right side of this picture is from Gilbert, AZ. I talked with her for a few minutes and she said she lives in the Area of Crismon and Baseline. I'm thinking it must be on the west side of Crismon to be considered Gilbert. We also received a new Sister Ashton - she is the one on the left end in this picture.
Sister Ashton is from California and I got the privilege of calling her parents to let them know she had arrived safely. It was kind of awkward and kind of funny to say, "Sister Ashton?, This is Sister Ashton from the Virginia Chesapeake Mission calling to let you know that Sister Ashton arrived safely." We had a little laugh over that and then I went on to tell her that I was the "senior" Sister Ashton and that it was good to meet her daughter. It was especially fun to take a picture of three missionaries with the last name of Ashton :)
Wednesday turned out to be a very busy day....with transfers and new missionaries being assigned to trainers and areas. We had about 65 missionaries in and out of the office and 4 cars that needed to be taken to repair shops for a state inspection. I've been married to Elder Ashton long enough to know that he can move at a really good pace when he needs to get alot done, but I've never seen him quite as busy or going in as many different directions as he was on Wednesday. Somteimes I act as his chaffeur to help him deliver or pick up cars and sometimes Elder Wright does that. It just so happened that on Wednesday I did most of the assisting - which meant I got a little behind on my work. About 1 p.m. all the missionaries and most of the bikes had left the building and Elder Ashton was outside helping a couple of Elders trade out a bike rack on their car. Because of all the rain and salt water back here, the safety pin for the bike racks tends to rust and get stuck....such was the case on the one he was working on Wednesday. After working on it about 20 minutes he came in the office looking like this-
He worked hard to get the pin to break loose and before that happened the plastic cap broke off leaving a sharp point that smacked him in the head when it broke loose. By the time he went to bed that night, he had quite a goose egg, a cut and a bruise. Now it is mostly just the bruise and a tiny scab.......the dangers of being a senior missionary!
After all that busyness, Elder Ashton decided he still had a couple of bikes that needed attention and left to go work on bikes. I turned back to my desk to get busy with my work - - - my mouse would not work! I tried to get it working again but was unable to so we stopped at Office Depot to get a new one on the way home from the office.
The construction in the church continued - not just the sewer but also on the heating and cooling system.
Cords and plastic running down the hallway
Thursday was Mission Leadership conference and we had about 40 missionaries in the building most of the day. When I came in Thursday morning this is what the office looked like with vacuums, blenders, missionary supplies, etc. all boxed up and marked with the area they are supposed to go to. It is quite a production each month to get the supplies out, especially to the far reaches of the mission.
I was anxious to start on my work since I had a new mouse that was working. I was working along at a pretty good pace when the supervisor for the construction crew stopped in to tell us they would be trenching outside that afternoon. I looked up to tell him that we wouldn't have so many missionaries in the next day and he got a big grin on his face and said, "They are great kids. I've never seen a group of kids that age that look so happy," I couldn't help but think how evident the happiness is in our countenance when we are living the gospel....it gave me a warm fuzzy feeling to know that our missionaries were impacting lives even without setting up teaching appointments! We sent a text to Sister Baker who was in the meeting with the missionaries so she could share the favorable impression with them :)
Sister Slatter figured out a more efficient way to move most of the food and supplies for the lunch down to the kitchen. We laughed because we thought this made her look like a "bag lady" :)
When lunch was over, I really needed to get to work and get some bills paid and some spreadsheets and checks created........Arghhh! - the mission software was almost totally unresponsive. It took me 2 hours and 6 times of logging in to get 3 little payments created - so I gave up for the day, feeling sure it would be better on Friday.
Here's the trenching that occurred right outside on Thursday afternoon.
And wouldn't you know it - it rained most of the night Thursday night and on into the morning on Friday. This is what the trench looked like with all the rain water in it.....so, they can't do any more work there until it drys out. Thankfully the forecast for this coming weeks is sunny and mostly dry!
It was so cold and damp on Friday and people were in and out of the building that my feet nearly froze! When we went to the apartment for lunch, I grabbed a blanket to take back with me and wrap up my feet - once they got warm I was wishing for a nice soft bed to curl up and take a nap ;-)
Saturday dawned and it was only partly cloudy....so after Elder Ashton completed the sale of a car at the office while I slept in a little, we headed out to get groceries. As we came out of the apartment, I noticed two squirrels chasing each other in the tree.....one jumped right over to the evergreen tree and from there to the roof of the apartment building, but this one was not brave enough to take the leap and turned around to try and find a safer way.
I think this little guy is afraid of taking that "leap of faith" - maybe like some of the investigators we have :)
Don't know if this is the same squirrel, but when we returned from the grocery store, this one was sitting at the base of the next tree, chewing on a straw wrapper.
I put the groceries away and was busy doing laundry and starting to clean out some things I don't plan to take back to Arizona with us when Elder Ashton came in and asked if I wanted to go for a ride. He had just gotten a call from a set of Elders that were at a church 30 miles away and had locked their car keys in the trunk. So, we went to the office and picked up the extra keys and headed over to Newport News.
This is one of the first buildings you see as you are doming off the bridge. It is the Hampton Colliseum. I think it is an interesting architecture for a government building - to me it almost looks like crosses in each kite shaped area and makes me think of a church.
I enjoyed keeping my eye out for signs of spring.....I spotted a few "red buds" beginning to come out - a sure sign that spring can't be too far behind - YEA!!!!!!!
We also noted a couple of little trees beginning to bloom
And one more tree in the median by our apartment complex getting ready to leaf out and bloom. I'm hopeful we will get to see a little of the glorious spring colors around here before we head back to Arizona.
We had a great Stake Conference this weekend and they had several people speak who have joined the church in the last year to year and a half. I realized those people had all joined the church while we have been back here and it was interesting to hear about the changes it has made in their lives. It's good to know that our service to the young missionaries can ultimately make a difference to some people's lives.
Looking forward to sunny days and more signs of spring in Virginia this next week!