Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Beautiful End to a Wonderful Experience

I wish I had a picture to blog about right now BUT my camera is dead and the charger and the cord to put pictures on the computer and packed away somewhere in the car.

First things first! Yesterday morning we had our departing interview with President Pingree and it truly was so beautiful. He is such a loving, caring man and we felt that. He said that he felt impressed to tell us that the Lord wanted us to know that our service was accepted by Him and He was pleased by our efforts. We are so GRATEFUL that we have been able to have this experience together.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Feeding Frenzy!

All of a sudden towards the end of June I realized that I only had a few weeks left to feed all of the missionaries! I wish I could have had them all to my house, BUT I know that they only have so many miles and I only have so much energy. PLUS Scott (Elder Stringfellow)keeps reminding me that we're not running a restaurant here, you know!

1st of July Elders Scoresby, Tobchan, Trotter, & Keliipuleole
5th of July Elders Austin, Schultz, Mackey, Barker, Lewis & Jepson
8th of July Sisters Perez, Brookey, Cramer & Rodriguez
11th of July Sisters Porter, Casaday, Donkin, Coogan, Rivera, Perez and Pacific
13th of July Elders Scoresby and White
15th of July I didn't make this dinner but I got to help Sister Pingree serve dinner to all of the Stake Presidents and their wives, plus the counselors in the Mission Presidency and help clean up. That was fun to help with, Sister Pingree is going to do so great here! But I keep telling her she doesn't need to do it all, she's got to be sure to have people help her! Her girls were a big help cleaning up as well.

July 13 was also my last big group lunch for Zone Leader Council, it was held at the mission home, but that one doesn't really count because Sister Hansen and Sister Howe made the sweet n' sour for our Luau in June and we had so much left-overs that we used it for this meal and only had to make rice and salad. Sister Howe made the dessert, plus we had it at the mission home and it seemed easier for some reason. (Probably because the Howe's were helping with it also, they are our replacements and we showed them everything we do all of last week!) I never thought I would cook as much as I have this past year but I can honestly say I have loved it. There's just something about serving the missionaries who are serving the Lord that makes it just so worth it!

This is Sister Carrie who was baptized the first of April. We have become great friends and she calls me a lot to ask questions and advice. I don't think missionaries are supposed to give advice and I try not to say much but I do try to be supportive of her. She's got lot of adversity and obstacles in her way. I just try to love her. Today she gave me her very old red bear that her god-mother made for her many years ago. I really did not want to take it because it must have been very special to her, but I didn't want to affend her either and I know that she doesn't have much. She will always hold a special place in my heart and I will pray for her always, she represents to me what many people give up to join this church!

Here are the Pingree boys, they are so cute! the younger one is hilarious! At the dinner Friday night one of the Stake Presidents asked him his name and he told him a different one, totally straight faced and then told him he was a few years younger when asked his age! I think he's tired of answering those two questions! At ZLC meeting on Wednesday he kept climbing over the counter several times to get to the brownies, it was just refreshing for those of us who miss our grandchildren so much. It's going to be a little different around here, but different is good!

Elders Moreno, Hill (from Rexburg), Trotter, me, Elder Esplin, Sorenson and Reece. (We have 3 Elder Reeces, soon 2 Elder Trotters, 2 Elder Matthew Curtis', an Elder Segal and Elder Sagal! I know there are others with the same should be the mail secretary, it gets interesting!

Sister Ang and Sister Brookey. Sister Brookey was with Sister Perez but there was an emergency transfer because one of their recent converts fell in love with Hermana Perez and she had to be transfered to a different area!

Here's Sisters Coogan, Rivera, Perez, Casaday, Porter, Pacific, me and Sister Donkin. they are all Spanish missionaries. sister Coogan's parents have disowned her for joining the church and especially for choosing to go on a mission. Sister Rivera, next to her had been working as a Sheriff's deputy in San Diego for 4 years before she came out on a mission! Every single person who is serving a mission has a story of why they are out here! Scott and I have a tradition that after dinner we ask each missionary to share their favorite scripture and to tell us why. It always ends the time with a very spiritual feeling and gratefulness that we get to spend this time serving our Savior as His ambassadors. It's all about LOVE, loving each other and loving our Heavenly Father and his Son.

Sister Cramer and Sister Rodriguez. I am so lucky to have been able to serve with so many fine young men and women as well as a few that were not so young! ;) he,he! I only regret that we are not able to serve with the Pingrees a little longer because they are just so wonderful. I must admit, now that it's closer, that I am getting a little trunky to see my family. I have missed my kids and grandchildren so much. Not being there to be with Angie and Elise at her birth, not being Jonah's preschool teacher, not being able to be more supportive of David and his family with all of his health challenges this past year, not being there for Sarah, and now with Pete moving just a few days after we get home (BTW Pete, congratulations on your job promotion and move to Chicago!) have all been sacrifices to my Heavenly Father but I'm grateful that we got to serve a mission at this time. It's been the best thing we could have done. I HIGHLY recommend it!!! A great BIG THANK YOU to my family and friends for their loving support.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Pingree Introductions

Last week was our first full week with Sister and President Pingree and their children and I am excited to have them here in Texas leading this mission. What a love for the Lord and a love for us the missionaries (young and old a like) they have. President Pingree expresses gratitude ALL OF THE TIME for all that we do.
We heard them speak on the 4th day of the Zone meetings and they still had an enthusiasim for telling about each other and sharing their testimonies of being called as missionaries. I guess I didn't really think about the children being called on a mission, but they were along with their parents!
Sister Pingree gave a great object lesson with 2 missionaries in running jerseys passing the baton. She talked about their differences and the ways they were alike and how they were in the race together working for the whole team. On the back of the jerseys were the names HANSEN and PINGREE and how the one did all he could for the team in running his laps and now he has passed the baton to the next runner to continue the race and he will do his best for the team. That's how I remember it. He had the runner with the Hansen jersey on run as fast as he could for 3 laps and then passed the baton. THEY ARE GOING TO BE WONDERFUL!

Elders Trotter, Moreno and Ordaz with President Hansen. You can just tell how much he loves these missionaries.

This is the Houston and North Zone (can you see me on the front row? I wish I had sat up a little straighter!)

Katy and West Zones

Cypress and Klein Zones

College Station and Spring Zones

Monday, July 4, 2011

Let Freedom Ring!!!

I am so grateful for this country and to all the men and women who have sacrificed so much for the freedom's I have! I am grateful that I can worship who, what and where I want; I am thankful for the safety I feel and for the laws of the land that help keep it that way. I know that our country is not perfect and it's definitely not run by perfect people, but I believe that we are all doing the best we know how with what we have at the time. There will always be those who tear down, try to get a free ride and step on and hurt whoever they have to to get what they want. But I believe that the majority of people just want to love their families, provide for them and live in a safe society. I AM GLAD I AM AN AMERICAN. THANK YOU GOD THAT I CAN LIVE IN THIS GREAT COUNTRY!!!

Fireworks curtesy of the Astro's baseball game we went to in May! There's a major drought in Texas and pretty much all fireworks have been banned this 4th of July! (Except downtown where I don't want to drive and fight the crowds. I'm missing my firework show in Farmington that I can see from my front yard!)

The Last and First Pictures of Presidents!

Just before President Hansen was taking President Pingree to his home, the AP's asked if they could get a picture of the two of them together! I was so glad, some historian I am! I forgot to get any pictures of the change. This church is so wonderful how change happens in leadership positions with much love and good will. Everyone wants what's best for the Lord's work to roll forward. And it will with much faith, love and charity.

What a beautiful family! At our first staff meeting on Friday morning President Pingree stated that the #1 thing on his mind is that the missionaries know how much they are loved; by their Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ, and by my him. Everything we do in the church is done because of love and with love. When the missionaries feel that love then they too teach with love and feel love for their investigators, their companions and for all of God's children! I know the missionaries are going to love President and Sister Pingree as much as they love President and Sister Hansen.

Thank You Sister Hansen for the Flowers

Our sweet Mission Presidents wife gave each of us a beautiful minature rose plant with a very nice thank you note. What a wonderful experience it has been rubbing shoulders with President and Sister Hansen and feeling their spirit and gleaning from their graciousness. We have learned a lot from them and love them dearly!

Above is me with Sister Bowcutt and Sister Sulski. Sister Bowcutt and her husband are taking the Walker's responsibilities with finance and the apartments. Sister Sulski has been here since mid April and is the President's secretary. Below are the Howe's who will be taking over for me and Scott. They are a local couple who have been called as Service Missionaries and will start officially on July 11th but have been to the May and June transfer as well as Zone Conference in June to see what we do. It seems so weird to think about training our replacements next week. I think I'm starting to get a little "trunky"!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

A Luau without the Hawaii June 18th

President and Sister Hansen with me and Scott. President Hansen served his mission in Hawaii many years ago. The sister who came and cleaned their house is from Tonga and she wanted to give them a Luau for a going away present. She also made Sister Hansen's lei from fresh flowers and leaves, it was so beautiful.

Sister Young and Sister Nance with the Hansen's.

Sister Young and Nance were asked to bring the paper goods, they always decorate the tables so cute! It was very festive. They do the dinner for the arriving missionaries the week of transfers and the tables are always decorated with pass a long cards, Book of Mormons, candy and confeti. When I do meals the missionaries are lucky to get food, I don't do the decorations! I only have so much energy!

President Hansen's grandson was at the Luau, his son Robby and family are going to school in Huntsville so they see them quite often! I am just drawn to little children, I have missed my grandchildren so much and my preschool kids as well. It has been a nice sabatical from all of that but I am definitely ready to get back into the swing of children! But I do have to say that the sister missionaries give as good a hug as I get from any child! I don't ever hug the Elders, unless they're going home, Elder Atwood below and in the middle went home in June and I had to give him a hug before he went, he felt like one of my sons. I think I saw him every day for the last 8 months, he lived right by the office and loved to stop by for this or that it seemed. He's from Raymond, Alberta, Canada and loved to quote Bruce R. McConkie.

Elder Galbraith (the tall one below) and Elder Scoresby (the Assistant's to the President) with Scott and Elder Walker. Elder Galbraith was also near the office for the last 8 months. I've seen quite a few AP's come and go but Elder Galbraith never forgot his purpose! He is a missionary, he didn't really like doing the office stuff he had to do because it took away from prosleyting and teaching. He was ALWAYS HAPPY, if he felt discouragement he never showed it, and HE LOVED HIS MISSION. He goes home in August and was transfered back into the field for his last transfer, he was so happy about that! Elder Scoresby is such a happy young man also! Whenever he comes into the office he always spreads his arms and does this little jump that reminds me so much of when Pete was a little guy and one morning when he woke up he comes into my room and spreads his arms like that and says to me, "I'm up!" It was so cute. I just love my children, even now as grown ups! It will be nice to be back home with them. We have missed our parents so much as well being out here! When you are away from family for a time you realize how important those relationships are. I HOPE with a brightness of hope (2 Nephi 31:20) that I can spend ETERNITY with my family...up and down the line.

Elders Scoresby and Galbraith, President and Sister Hansen, Sister and Elder Walker, Scott and me! It felt so different in the office last Friday because the only one out of this group that was there for staff meeting was Elder Scoresby and us! But the work moves forward! I always say that you know the gospel is true because if it wasn't a bunch of 19 year olds and "Senior" missionaries would have messsed it up a long time ago! BUT IN ALL REALITY, these missionaries out here, young and old alike are just doing the best they can to teach others about Christ as their testimonies of Him grow and as they practice those very things they teach.

Here's me and my friend Sister Walker. She has been so loving and caring to me, I am so grateful for all the friends I've made out here in the Texas Houston Mission . Isn't this quilt so beautiful? the Sisters that went to the Louetta building several years ago pieced it when they built the Houston temple to put in the R.S. room.