After last week's visit by Gladys Knight, we returned to the office on Monday morning to continue entering the requests for a CD and a visit into the computer. By the time it was all said and done on Tuesday, we had 112 requests for missionaries to visit and bring a CD by. I got those all entered and started sending emails on Tuesday to remind the missionaries that they needed to take the gift by. That kept me really busy and it was exciting to hear some of the associated stories. When the Tempe Mission President brought some requests for our area by, he said they had a lady show up on the doorstep of the church last Sunday who had attended the Gladys Knight fireside and the first words out of her mouth were "I want to be baptized. What do I need to do to be baptized?" So the missionaries had already met with her once on Sunday and were going to be teaching her more on Monday. The lady said she felt the spirit so strongly that she cried through the whole fireside. In our mission 35 people who made requests have been visited so far and of those, 10 are actively being taught now. I have certainly felt an increase in energy and enthusiasm coming from the younger missionaries.....and I believe it is due to the increased missionary activity but could also be due to the temperatures that are finally staying below 100 degrees.
When I came home from the office on Monday, the southern sky was mesmerizing to me.
I loved the wispiness of the clouds and the glow of red from the lowering sun.
In an effort to do a little bit to keep myself healthy, I try to get out of bed at 5 a.m. on Tuesday and Thursday and a little later on Saturday and go to the gym. I am in no way a morning person and really detest getting up early but know exercise is something I need so I generally get up and do a bit of grumbling as I am getting dressed and heading out the door to the gym. It is even harder now that it is not yet light outside when I leave for the gym, but arriving home to this picture was almost too much for me on Tuesday morning.
Even when I arrived home from the gym at 6:30 a.m., the night blooming cactus across the street was still in bull bloom and I muttered to myself......"If the night blooming cactus is still blooming, no wonder I'm grumpy about getting out of bed to go exercise." :)
Wednesday and Thursday were busy days at the office filled with tasks - preparing binders for mini-missions that would start on Friday, still dealing with a larger than normal number of referrals, placing orders for supplies, etc. On top of that, Elder Ashton went to the Southwest Eye Clinic and they confirmed what the optometrist told him a couple of weeks ago - he needs to have cataract surgery on both eyes. The first surgery is scheduled for October 25th and they will do the second one a couple of weeks later if all goes well. Guess we can't stop the aging process no matter how much we would like to!
So, I have decided to try to find at least one beautiful or inspiring thing each day. My thing for Wednesday was this daytime moon.
Not only was it picturesque, but it got me wondering about seeing the moon in the daytime and I did some research on good old google. I learned that the moon is regularly in the sky during the day, but we fail to notice it because we don't look up that often and it is often covered by clouds and not visible. I invite you all to stare at the moon for a moment and contemplate the wonders that surround us.
When we got home Thursday afternoon, I noticed flowers on the rose bushes again. We had some landscapers come in a few weeks ago and drastically trim everything back, but the rose bushes seem to like the cooler temperatures so they have decided to put on a display of flowers again.
I love these red with white small blooms. Not only are they pleasing to the eye, but the fragrance is delicious.
A perfect example of the creator's handiwork.....
And a little closer up to better show the color variation in the petals. BEAUTIFUL!
For the past 5 months as I have driven to and from the mission office, I have noticed this palm tree that I have affectionately dubbed the "fuzzy" palm. It is rare to see vines that can survive the summer heat and actually cover the trunk of a tree, but it happened with the "fuzzy" palm that stands guard beside the railroad track.
Wednesday and Thursday were GREAT days for referrals. On Wednesday morning a Sister Olsen called the office with a story about two sister missionaries who had knocked on the door of her son's house in Florence. The lady said her son has been less active for many years and is married with 3 kids, the youngest one a baby just a few months old. As parents do, this mother and father had been praying for their son and his family for a number of years and the wife had told them she was not interested in learning more about the gospel whenever they offered. Sister Olsen reported that her son had called her on Wednesday morning to report that Spanish speaking lady missionaries had knocked on the door of their house and that they had a nice visit. After the lady missionaries left, his wife told him she was ready to listen and learn more about the gospel and she wanted to know if she could be taught by those missionaries who knocked on her door. Since they are assigned as Spanish speaking missionaries I needed to check with the President. As soon as I explained the situation to him he said, "Yes, of course". If she is asking to learn more lets accommodate her!" I called the sisters missionaries to tell them that I had a referral for them and it was a family whose door they had knocked on the day before. They were both very excited and emotional because they had felt such a strong connection to that family while they visited at the door. They got a little emotional and so did I as we talked about how Heavenly Father loves each one of us and controls how things happen. After I got home on Wednesday I got 3 text messages from those sister missionaries of other people whose doors they had knocked on or who they had contacted on the street. They are super excited and just energized with the love of sharing the gospel with others!
These are a couple of our Spanish speaking sister missionaries but not the ones referred to above. The girl on the left is from Venezuela and the one on the left is from New Jersey. They both have really strong personalities but the companionship seems to work well. The sister from Venezuela always tells Elder Ashton it was not her fault that she got an agressive driving warning while driving.....it was a bump in the road, the car in front or her, a sharp corner or something. We just love to listen to her excuses with her strong Spanish accent :)
Friday was a quiet day in the office because 93 of our total of 150 missionaries were helping with the Special Olympics. Not too much going on that day and we generally close at 3 on Friday so we left the office at about 3:10. I have lived in Gilbert for 18 years and have never visited the Riparian Preserve so I decided to go a little out of my way and visit that on the way home. I think the next time I visit I will try to make it in the morning or the evening because the sun was too hot and I was soon sweating. I did see a few native animals......
I saw several little bunnies but they were almost all faster than I was.....just barely caught this one ducking under the bush.
And speaking of ducking......there were lots of ducks and they certainly knew how to splash about in the water and cool off.
I loved how the sun made the head of the mallard such a bright green.
One just turned upside down in the water - he was quick! Wonder if he caught anything.....
More ducks coming to join the group
I found the ripples in the water that reflected the reeds along the bank really interesting.
The mission will be receiving 6 new cars tomorrow so Elder Ashton has been busy trying to line up helpers to go to the dealership with him (about 8 miles away) and drive the cars back to the office where he will switch out the Tiwi devices when the missionaries bring the old cars in. However, he won't be required to don his plaid sport coat and sell the cars.....The church offices in Salt Lake City have arranged for some dealer to buy then all. It will be interesting to see how this new program works.
What a great afternoon we had today. We had many of our family members come and join us for a meal. And for about 30 minutes we had all 8 of our great grandchildren here......but guess who didn't think to snap a picture :/ Darn! Each time I prepare a meal for our large group in my new kitchen I can't help but get excited and I just have to tell Elder Ashton how much I love my new kitchen! It makes it a pleasure to cook for loved ones in a convenient and roomy new kitchen :)
Happy Fall to one and all.