Thursday, December 22, 2016

A Winding Down of 2016 Adventure

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Yea!   The days will begin getting longer now.   My body tells me when it is dark I should be in bed asleep so I have really been struggling to get out of bed at 5 a.m. and make it to the gym.   I think I have only made it 2 or 3 times so far this month.   Guess I know what my New Year's Resolution better be!

What a fun and busy few weeks....with lots of departures.   We had one Sister go home Dec 5, one Elder on Dec. 10, 7 Elders and Sisters go home Dec 12, two Sisters went home on the 17th, one Elder who had served a two transfer mission received a full-time call to Dallas Texas so he went home on the 20th to be able to get ready to arrive at the MTC on January 4, and 5 additional Elders and Sisters leaving to go home or to their originally assigned mission on the 27th.   Seems like all those departures have kept the office busy and exciting.

Three sisters dropping off one of their companions to go home.   They were having a great time and Elder Partridge was, too!

When I arrived home from the office, I was taken with the sky painting.   I stood in the driveway for several minutes and watched it.   Is it rain falling between clouds....none was hitting the ground.   Not much wind was blowing so there was not much movement in the clouds, but I thought it was unique and beautiful.

My older sister who was killed as a result of domestic violence in 1992 loved this type of roses - I think she called them Talisman Roses.   My neighbor across the street has a bush in front of her house that has been loaded with blooms and every morning as I back out of the garage I see the beautiful roses and am reminded of my sister...

...she was a brave and beautiful woman who shared her love with everyone around her.   I miss her every day but am so glad I know I will see her again!

The first load of luggage to arrive at the office for Sisters going home on the 12th.    They weighed the luggage and found that one was overweight so the sister quickly changed some things to the lwer weight bag and just made it.... one bag weighed 49.6 lbs and one weighed 48.9 lbs.  Yea- both under 50 lbs!

Lots of empty spots on the magnet board and the first few missionaries went home.  It is interesting to see other missionaries look at the board, gasp and say, "oh, no!   I can't believe 'so and so' is gone"!
They really do learn to love each other like family and are sad when those they have grown to love go home.

More luggage arrived at the office to be weighed before the missionaries went home.   You might also notes the tree with presents under it.   We had a couple of people who live in the area call the mission office and ask if they could bring "Elder" and "Sister" gifts by to be shared with missionaries who may not get much from home.    There really are a lot of good people in the world who reach out to others!

Sister Kranc and Sister Young - both ready to depart for home and having a hard time holding back the tears.   Great misssionaries!   Note Elder Kearns with the photo bomb in the back.

Sister Bailey and Sister Purdy......both going home and they will be missed.   These smiling young women were very successful in bringing people to the gospel :)   And they were so excited when Elder Ashton assigned them a Frontier Pick-up to drive along the roads in Florence that they litterally jumped in the air.

Half these sisters are going home (the four on the left) and half are staying.   I think those that are staying look just as happy as those that are going home.

On Saturday, December 10th I got to enjoy one of the perks of serving a mission from home.   Our 13 year old granddaughter, Addison (on the left) has always been precocious and she was in a play.   She played the part of "sarge" to the Elves......I think she's got the attitude down pretty good ;-)

For all my friends that live in cooler climes, I took these pictures to prove that we actually have fall colored leaves in the desert.....they just show up about the middle of December instead of in October.   This picture was taken at the park by my house.

A different view of the autumn leaves.

This view of Autumn leaves is in the parking lot of the gym as I left one morning (one of the few mornings I made it).   Don't know what kind of tree is shedding right now but wherever those trees are they are leaving a carpet of little leaves.   It has become a daily task around the mission office to blow the leaves away from the entryway.

December 13th attended ASU nursing school graduation for our granddaughter.   She completed her BSN program in 7 semesters with a 4.0 GPA.    What a great accomplishment for her!

The newest nurse with her proud parents :)

We have a Hong Kong Orchid tree in our backyard.   A few years ago it was doing really well and was covered with blossoms, but this is the first time it has bloomed since we got back from our mission in Virginia.   I was so happy when I looked out the back window and saw a glimpse of purple that I had to run grab my camera and take a picture.

A closer view of the "orchids".

Last week was a very interesting and rewarding week.   Since I am the referral secretary in the office, if we get calls of people that want a blessing, need help, want to meet with the missionaries, or requesting media, I get to take that call.   One day I had a call from a gentleman that was literally in tears and said he really needed help getting some heavy furniture moved.   He was not a member of the church but sounded like he really needed help.   I am usually very soft hearted and even more so at this time of year.   Sometimes I probably get taken advantage of.....but all this guy wanted was some help lifting furniture.   I told him I would try to find some missionaries that could help him.  It was quite a challenge but we finally got a couple of Elders to meet him at the storage unit and help him.  About an hour after they helped him, I received a phone call from the man thanking us profusely for helping him.   Even though I wonder if he really needed the help as bad as he sounded like he did, I try to remind myself that the Savior probably would not have required him to quantify how badly he needed the help.

A couple days later I received a call from a missionary on temple square who was manning the phones when a young man called in requesting a Book of Mormon.   The address where he requested to meet the missionaries was right on the border of our mission and the Tempe mission and I couldn't tell where the referral should go so I called the young man to try to get further information.   I ended up leaving a message.   In the meantime he ran into a couple of our missionaries and asked them personally for a Book of Mormon and they didn't have one with them.   A day or two later the young man called me back and Elder Ashton and I decided to take him a Book of Mormon and try to get his home address so we could assign missionaries.   We didn't get a home address but we were privileged to spend approximately 15 minutes with a very nice, serious, interested  young man of 13.   We gave him the Book of Mormon and he thanked us several times for making the effort to get it to him.   He said his parents are not religious at all but he has always been interested in religion.   He just finished a study of the history of Judaism and wants to start studying Mormonism.   I asked him what caused him to be interested in Mormonism and he said, "I have some friends who are Mormon and they are pretty cool guys so I want to learn more about what they believe."   Wish I knew who his friends are so I could compliment them on being a fine example!

It is experiences like this that warm my heart  and increase my love of what we do!

This unique Christmas card arrived at the office in a mailing tube.   It is for one of the Assistants to the President and I was really impressed with how much time it must have taken his family to put together this Christmas Card for him. :)

This Santa Sleigh is on the front lawn of one of the "fancy" houses down the street.   I thought it looked pretty realistic when I first drove by so stopped to take a picture and found it wasn't quite as realistic as I thought but still eye-catching.

These two Spanish-speaking Sister Missionaries come by the office on a regular basis.   One day they came by and said they were trying to learn how to "rap" and had been practicing.   I challenged them to perform one for us and they said they didn't have one ready but they would get one ready and come back in a few days to perform it.    They did!

It was a "rap" about Elder Ashton....and went something like this.
Elder Ashton - yo.   He likes the cars - yeah!
Check your speed - yeah
Don't wreck the car - yeah
Etc.,Etc., Etc.,

As you can see, Elder Ashton just ducked his head.   What you can't see is how much he was laughing.

What fun we have working with these missionaries!    So, from our house and the Arizona Gilbert Mission Office, we wish you a very Merry Christmas!!!  Our joy is full :)

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