Sunday, January 25, 2009

New Territory

We have been asked to attend the Ft. Lauderdale Ward. We met Amber's friend as soon as we walked into the chapel. It is a small lworld.

We have one of the most diversified wards around. The high councilman spoke to us in the hall and said "You are in for an experience. This ward is a zoo." We have a lot of young couples who are going to NOVA - I guess a university where future dentists and psychologists go. The noise was about the level of Amber and Everett's ward. Lots of little kids and it starts at 11:40 a.m. so they are all hungry and tired.

A couple we sat next to is from Murray, Utah. They had identical twin girls about 18 months old who really gave them a run for their money. The couple had brought their neighbor and her teenage son and daughter for their first time at church. I'm not sure how much they listened because they were playing with the little girls. They were darling! Just as the meeting started, the mom pulled out a great big tupperware bowlful of macaroni and cheese and began feeding the girls. She would put some in one of their mouths and the next would be waiting for her biteful. They ate for about the 1st 1/2 hour and then started pulling out toys, including a slinky that she showed them how to use. I looked over and the teenage boy had 2 juggling balls he was throwing into the air and catching. After a while, the little twins got cranky so mom pulled out a bag of popcorn for each of them. The teenagers ate right along with them. I would rather have her at church feeding her kids though than not coming to church at all. They have only been on this schedule for 3 weeks so I am sure they are getting used to it. I heard from the Elders tonight that the teenages had a positive experience and want to have the missionaries continue going to their home. I think they have met with them once.

Pres and Sister Hale had us over for dinner tonight as well as the new AP and his companion. She does a really cool thing. She has a tablecloth underneath the regular one that is like a sheet on the top of the table and then quilt-like fabric where it hangs over the edge. She has all of the missionaries who eat at their home sign the sheet with markers at the place they are sitting at. They usually have them eat there when they enter and mission and then again when they go home. She said she would bring it to our missionary reunions so we could see it.

Pres Hale told us that he develops condos in Kauai and his goal was for all of the couple missionaries to meet he and Sister Hale in 2011 when they are released and spend time together at their condos with each other. He told us to start saving our money for the airfare. Sounds like a plan to me!!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

We're here in Florida!

We made it safe and sound in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida yesterday after 4 days of traveling for from 8-10 hours each day besides the time it took us to stop for gas, stretch, eat. We had absolutely perfect weather. One day we had a few clouds but that was good so that the sun wasn't as bright on our eyes. It was windy and cold, especially through Wyoming and Nebraska, but we had clear roads the entire way!! What a blessing to us. I will have to admit that Wyoming is not much to look at, at least the area we went through but I loved Nebraska, Missouri, Tennessee, and Georgia with all of their rolling hills and farmlands. Parts of Florida were okay up North but I don't think the middle of it was so hot. As we neared Ft. Lauderdale it got to be very tropical and very nice. The weather is gorgeous here. It is about 72 degrees.

We spent a couple of hours at the office yesterday and then our mission president, Pres Hale and Sis Hale took us, along with the other couple from the office, out to dinner. Pres and his wife are wonderful people. He seems to be friends with most of the 12 apostles and has traveled with many of them as well as Pres. Hinckley and Pres. Monson. We're not sure how that all came to be but we know he lived in Pres. Jeffrey R. Holland's home when he and Sis Hale were first married and I'm sure got to know several of the apostles through him. He is on 1st name basis with them. He said Pres. Hinckley called him "Nate". His name is Nathan Hale. We are in for a great experience.

Our 1-bedroom apartment is about 15 feet (in the back) from a great big pond in the apartment complex. There are palm trees all around as well as ducks, funny long-necked birds etc. There is a little screened patio on the east side of the apartment looking out over the pond. It has a little chair and table out there so we can watch the ducks while we eat our meals.

We listened to 24 hours worth of the CD, Jesus the Christ, while we were traveling. It is an amazing book.

Friday, January 16, 2009

What an experience!!

I can't begin to tell you how wonderful the MTC was. The spirit is so strong there. There is nothing like seeing 20 missionaries at a dinner table stand while the sister missionaries sat down or to hear about 1,000 missionaries, all in suits, sing. We thoroughly enjoyed it and met so many great people all excited to serve our Heavenly Father. Below is a picture of 6 missionaries we met at the MTC who are going to our mission in February. They are studying Spanish. We really had a fun time with them when we would see them at meals. We have 5 languages in our mission: English, Spanish, Haitian, Portugese and sign language.

We are home for 3 busy days getting everything closed up, the house cleaned, the laundry done, and ready to leave on Monday morning. It will take us about 4-5 days to get there. It is over 2,500 miles.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The MTC is now home

We made it to the MTC Monday just 2 hours before the big snowstorm hit. Because they are overcrowded there, they sent several of the 35 couples to the Super 8 Motel to stay. They were also overbooked there so they upgraded us to a "Theme Room" with a Jacuzzi. It looks like a log cabin inside with pine trees and a pine tree bed, etc. I know you are really feeling sorry for us but trust us, it is okay.
Our days are filled from 8 a.m. until 4:15 pm and then we are finished for the day. I am learning that I need to learn more.
Tim is so funny sometimes. Yesterday we had a couple pretend to be missionaries and give us a discussion. Tim introduced us as Bro Art and Sister Handi Craft. We don't think they understood the humor in it because after asking me if I did handicrafts, they went right into the discussion. The Elder gave a prayer and said, "Please bless Bro and Sis Handicraft that they will ......" It was more than we could do to keep from laughing outloud until the prayer was over and then we let go. I apologized and they continued. During the lesson, the Elder said, "Brother Art, what do you think about?" There were no comments made at the end of the lesson.
We now think that they may have finally caught on because everytime they see us they say, "There is Bro and Sister Handicraft!" They told us they couldn't remember our real names. It is fun to have such a fun companion.
We have now met 9 of the missionaries headed to our mission. Six are studying Spanish and 3 are studying the Haitian language. They will arrive in 2 weeks and 6 weeks. We have been eating some of our meals with them. They want to become Tim's friend because he will be the one handing out their money each month.
We are having a great time! We are thankful that we were called to our mission after hearing where others are going and what they will be doing. One couple was told to be thankful for the boa constrictors because they eat the rats in Micronesia, I believe a place in the Fiji Islands. They said the children there like to run their fingers through your hair and it gives you lice. They were getting a whole bunch of shots today.
Please keep praying for us.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

We are now official missionaries! We were set apart this morning by our Stake President, Daken Tanner. They were beautiful blessings and it sounds like the Lord has a lot in store for us. We were blessed to have several of our children and grandchildren here for the setting apart as well as our dear long-time neighbors and friends, Gloria and Bill Simpson. In just a few hours we will be on the road to the MTC. We'll keep you posted.