Sunday, March 25, 2012

March 25, 2012

We made it through our first transfers!!! It started last Monday with the arrival of our new missionaries--6 elders and 1 sister. Had a great dinner with them at the mission home with President and Sister Wilkey. Got home about 8:45 p.m. Then Tuesday we all met at the Manchester ward building for transfers. Since 5 missionaries were going home the next day, changes had to be made with companionships. So all day Tuesday all the missionaries who were affected by the new ones coming in and the returning ones going home met at the ward building. There was a nice spiritual meeting with Pres and Sis Wilkey in the morning, then lunch, then all the office couples and the Pres and Sis Wilkey and the missionaries who were going home the next day all went to the Boston Temple for an endowment session (which was very nice) and then ate dinner in the temple cafeteria. After the temple we all went to the mission home. We had a few duties that we had to do and got home about 9 p.m. Wednesday was at the office as usual doing all the paperwork for the new missionaries. It was so nice to meet them. They are fine young people from all over the U.S. One of the Elders is a red headed Matt Damon. I'm not kidding!!!

Arrivals, Transfers, and Departures occur every 6 weeks. Just when you get done with one, it is time to get ready for the next. Such fun really. Dad has gotten to go out with the President's assistants (2 elders) and teach lessons to a family from the Sudan. There are many different nationalities here. The office has a copy of the Book of Mormon in about 20 languages.

We Skyped with our friends the Larsens who are in Georgia on a mission. It was so good to chat with them face to face since we haven't seen them for over a year. We were happy to hear that their mission is going really well. Except maybe for the mosquitoes that chew them up when they go outside.

Something really gross happened yesterday at one of our favorite restaurants. If you have a queasy stomach don't read any farther! We ordered our dinner and this place brings out some homemade chips and sauce for dipping. So we started eating the chips, and I sort of saw something under the chips and was going to check it out when our dinner came. So we started eating that and put the chips aside. Once during dinner I glanced at the chips and thought there was a funny looking chip under a few other chips but didn't check it out. After I finished dinner I went back to the chips. I ate two of them and then decided to see what that was under there. Well, it was a band aid. Not just a clean band aid, but a deep fried bloody band aid. Needless to say we were totally grossed out. I didn't barf, but I thought about it. We called the manager over and she couldn't believe her eyes either. Bottom line--we got the meal for free with dessert. That was worse than the red hair wrapped around the steak I had at another restaurant a month ago. Dad and I can't remember having these kinds of problems back home. Dad said that we were just lucky at home. That it probably happens there too but just to other people! I wanted to hold out for a year's worth of free dinners, but we didn't. I'm sort of afraid to go out to eat around here!

We are missing all of our kids, grandkids, family, and friends, but we feel blessed to be able to serve a mission here and are so thankful for all the support. Take care and know that we love you and would love to hear from you.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

March 18, 2012

Today is our 36th wedding anniversary. And here we are on a mission spending everyday from morning till next morning together. We get up early and get our morning things done and start at the office by 9. Work all day in a great environment. Go home between 5:30 and 7:30. Eat dinner, study, go to bed and get up and start all over again. Ah, the life of a senior missionary couple.

Our apartment building is quiet and safe so we are happy about that. The laundry is downstairs which is convenient. We have a small deck off the small living room. It's 80 degrees today and the birds are chirping and the lady bugs are a buzzin and many people have gone to the parks or golf courses. But of course, Dad, is still not golfing. He said he may try on a Saturday once in a while over the summer. I've been to one yarn shop and it was a really great one in Derry. Also found a nice chocolate store, but not the same as See's dark chocolate almonds that I love and miss!

I've been down with a miserable head cold the last few days and didn't even make it to church today. But Dad got me some generic Claritin and it really helps. I can breathe! I have to get well cause tomorrow is our first go at Arrivals and Transfers and Departing missionaries and I have to be on the ball for my duties. I've finally gotten a handle on all the responsibilities I have to do. Dad worked at the office yesterday for about 6 hours getting himself ready for the part he plays in transfer week. Neither one of us has made any big mistakes so I think we will be invited to stay!!!!

A few nights ago while I was sitting at my desk--about 6:15--Gloria, the cleaning lady, came into the office and said, "Ola." Well, you know how weak my Spanish is, but I managed to say hello and how are you. She asked me what the name of our church is. So I told her in Spanish the best I could. She asked me if we used the Bible and I said that we did. She told me she is Catholic (which is very common here) and asked me if we had a bible. I told her we had the Book of Mormon and I asked her if she would like to have one in Spanish. She said, "Oh yes, I would." So I went to the storage room and got one for her. She put it in the pocket of her cleaning cart and walked down toward the President's office. Sister Wilkey opened the Pres's door for a minute and I jumped up and ran down there and told Sister Wilkey that Gloria had requested a Book of Mormon. Sister Wilkey told here that we had a couple of Spanish speaking young men who could teach her about the Book of Mormon. She said that she would love that. So I got all of her info and turned it over to our Spanish speaking Elders and they called her the next day and she is having her first lesson this evening. Who'd a thunk? I am so happy that we can do some proselytizing in the office. We will get word back from the Elders after the lesson. We are praying.

We have heard from our friends the Martins who were in the MTC with us and are serving in Czech. Working with the young single adults there. They are enjoying the work tremendously even preaching on the corners of the city. They are the kind of people who will be very successful in missionary work. We wish them our best there.

We do enjoy working with the Elders and Sisters here in the mission. They are all wonderful young people and so dedicated to the work of bringing the gospel to the people here.

I have not had my hair cut since Eleni cut it last in January. It is getting long and I have to do something. I hate taking chances on new people, but I have only one name given to me so far. I'll just have to press on and ask for a very slight trim!!!

We are praying for an Elder who had to go home after only 6 months in the field. He had leukemia when he was 14 and had 3 years of chemo. Well, the leukemia came back with a vengeance and he had to go home and start chemo over again. Also, President's Wilkey's first counselor has about 5 different infections in his right shoulder that was previously injured and has to have surgery on that. We do pray for their recovery.

Well, we are going to get some things done this evening and prepare for another week in the office. We sure love you all and hope to hear from you. Oh, we were able to Skype with Grandpa and Grandma Benjamin yesterday and also Kortni, Ryker, and Kaydence who are visiting Diana, Ian, and Payton for the weekend. That was so great. We loved it.

More next week,
Love, Mom/Grammie/Karen

Saturday, March 10, 2012

March 10, 2012

Hello Family and Friends, We are sorry that it has taken us so long to be up and running with our blog, but we have moved twice and finally got Comcast hooked up and all the technology wired. We laft home on January 12 with the help of Andrea, Blair, Cèlin, Holly, Cliff, Kate, Lilly, and Eli for Idaho Falls to spend a few days with Diana, Ian, and Payton. We had a great time there and enjoyed visiting. But we will not miss the cat, Bridget, trying to claw her way into the bedroom in the middle of the night!!! (No offense, Bridgett, but you are a little neurotic for my tastes!) Then we left for Tony's and Annette's for a few days in Farmington, Utah. We had a great time there as well with them and Jared, Breanna, and Grant. Then on to Paul's and Kortni's and Kurt's for a few days to visit with them and Ryker and Kaydence. Had a great time there also and then checked in to the MTC for two weeks. We enjoyed seeing Alexis working in the MTC cafeteria a couple of times a week. What a great place to be and to feel the spirit. We loved the other senior couples, teachers, classes, devotionals, and food. Elder Nelson and Elder Holland were speakers at the 50th anniversary of the MTC. That was a very special treat. The first week we were at the MTC there were 40 senior couples. The next week 30 more couples came. It was the most they have ever had there. Everyone there including the young Elders and Sisters treated the senior couples so nicely. Dad and I commented that if all the members of all the wards could spend one week in the MTC learning how to teach the Gospel, the Gospel would spread like wildfire. We left the MTC for New Hampshire on Friday Feb 3rd, but because there was a blizzard raging in Denver and areas around it, we chose to drive down through Albuquerque, New Mexico. It was an extra 10 hours of driving, but we didn't want to get stuck in a snow storm. Personally, I'm glad we went down that way--now I know that I never want to live in the dry, ugly, desert south. Yuk, it was ugly. I have got to say one thing about a higher elevation, though, my arthritis didn't bother me as much. We arrived in Bedford, NH on Tuesday, Feb 7th and moved into the a small motel with a kitchen, But I think the place was built in the 1950s. It was dark inside and the can opener mounted to the kitchen wall looked like it had been there and never washed since 1950! The bed was the hardest I've ever slept on besides a concrete floor. So we moved to the Marriott Residence Inn in Merrimack, NH for 2 weeks until our apartment was ready. The Franklins (the office couple we replaced) were still living in the apartment. Residence Inn had a hot breakfast every morning and free dinner Monday thru Thursday nights. That was a real bonus. We finally got to move into the apartment on Saturday, Feb 25. We have been having to shop every few days for stuff we need--like, a toaster, cookie sheet, cutting board, pot holders, and on and on, but we are finally stocked up with the necessities and able to cook and bake what we need. Dad set up a 6-foot table in the living room and hooked up our desktop computers and printers. When you walk in the front door and see that all set up it looks like we have got some sort of business going! But, you know how we are about technology! We have even ordered a new iPad 3 for each other!!!!

The office work goes really well. We are responsible for the operation of the whole office. Dad takes care of all the finances for the mission and all 140 missionaries. He also has to make sure that apartments are rented/leased for all the missionaries. He does all the shopping at Staples, Sam's Club, Costco, and anywhere else he has to go to keep all the supplies and apartments furnished. My job is as confidential secretary to President Wilkey which means that I take care of all the paper work for all the missionaries and the mission office. The other couple in the mission office is Elder and Sister Hymas from Green River, Wyoming. They are going home the end of this month and will be replaced by the Davises. The Hymases had us over for dinner two weeks ago and we are having them over tonight for dinner and Mexican Train dominoes. They are great people and we do enjoy working with them. Elder Hymas takes care of the fleet of cars for the missionaries (that includes selling any cars that get to the 50,000 mile mark. I can't believe how may vehicles the mission sells. Sister Hymas takes care of all the ordering for missionary supplies, ie., Books of Mormon in all languages, teaching supplies, manuals, teaching kits, etc. The list is very long. We will miss them, but have talked with them about stopping in to see them on our way home in Jul-Aug 2013.

There are about 20 apartments in our building. We are on the second floor. We have been here since Feb 25 and have only seen one person who lives on our floor! I guess we will just have to go knocking with cookies in hand. We have only had one person in our apartment--and that was the Comcast installer. It is very strange to be in such a small home, but it is cozy and clean.

Dad was able to go teach a family from the Sudan the other evening with two of our Elders. It went very well, but Dad was really impressed with how the Elders taught the 10-year old boy about the Prophet and Apostles. The boy was just not interested when Dad and the Elders got there, but as soon as the Elders pulled out the picture kit and started showing how the Apostles are part of the foundation of the church, he tuned right in. Dad loved it.

Every six weeks missionaries get transfered because of new ones arriving and those going home. We have been warned that for Monday and Tuesday of Transfer week we will have very long days and not much sleep at night. Our first transfers start on March 19. We will be very busy, but we get to go to the Boston Temple with the departing missionaries. We are looking forward to that.

We do miss all of you and love you. Everyday I get the mail in the office and go thru it hoping to get something other than a bill or statement. With the exception of a card from Eli and one from Sister Barbara Ives, we have received no good mail. I know--call the whambulance!!! We would love to hear from our fabulous children and grandchildren though.

Tomorrow we will be attending the Manchester Ward. We have visited the Bedford Ward and Derry Ward twice each. After two Sundays in the Manchester Ward we have to tell President Wilkey which ward we want to attend regularly. We have enjoyed the other wards so far. But, I've got to say that Woodland 1st ward is very dear to our hearts as the best ward on the planet!

I will post pictures along the way after I figure out how to do it.

All our love, Dad/Mom/Grandpa/Grammie/Mike/Karen, etc.