Sep. 25, 2011
Our First Month in the Mission
Sep. 5 - Labor Day For
Labor Day, 2011, we were invited to a cookout with our dear friends the
Kiltons for whom I wrote the song mentioned in my previous web page.
We got to see the whole family plus we got to see my two
See that lovely smile? This is "Friendly Food!"
Some were smiling for a different reason. This is a birthday cake made in the shape of a hamburger.
And some were smiling just because they're happy. We LOVE this family.
why I wrote the song for them.
Our families went to church together when our children were growing up. We sang together back then too.
enjoyed the song my daughters and I sang for them.
Later, we gave them lyric sheets so they could all join in.
When we got home that night we saw a flock of California Quail at the entrance drive to our apartment complex.
little guys used to nest amongst the shrubs. They've raised
several flocks there. But now all the shrubbery is gone.
The apartment complex had to redo all the drains and irrigation
system so the birds ran into the street.
Sep. 6 - In the Training ZoneWe
only spent a few days in the Training Zone at the beginning of our
mission. After that, with our September group split in half, half of us received our zone assignments early.
Linda and I were assigned to the Data Quality Zone so we left
this training environment on the 3rd floor for a 6th floor cubical.
Sep. 7 - Lunch with friendsBecause
our group of September missionaries was so large that's why we were split in half.
Here, we're having lunch with the Speidels who have become good
friends. They're in our half of the group which was delayed in
receiving training. These friends went to the Training Zone
to work rather than to receive training. Elder Speidel helped write the training manual back in 2005-2006 on their
last mission here. This time around they've asked him to edit the manual for training the trainers.
Sep. 10 - Another Cookout!They invited us over for cookout that Saturday.
He introduced us to his grandson who just returned from his own mission to return to college.
Here, I'm chatting with Elder Haymore, the Executive Secretary for our mission, another friend of the Speidels.
The Speidels are great hosts. Here, they are chatting with Sister Haymore, the mission's housing director.
Leave it to me to be the first to reach the food table.
The Speidels were good cooks on their little portable grill.
Sep. 12 - Hail and FarewellEvery
other month the Salt Lake 2nd Branch (our local congregation) has a
"Hail and Farewell" party for all the missionaries who go to church
there every Sunday. This branch consists of 100% missionaries, so
we have no youth. That's why we're a branch and not a ward.
Linda and I sat at a table with some folks from Idaho. We
saved two chairs for the Speidels.
In our branch, there are
missionaries who come from all over the United States, Canada, and
several foreign countries. Some come from Mexico, some from
England, Germany, and other countries in Europe. We have a few
There was a chili cookoff where judges awarded prizes.
Here, one sister is receiving her award for the spiciest chili.
called a "Hail and Farewell" meeting for a reason. Here, we're
saying farewell to all the departming missionaries. Once every
two months, somewhere between 15 and 30 or so branch members leave to
replaced by newcomers. Each of those departing is given a minute
or two to speak.
Here, those who are just coming in are being "Hailed."
Sep. 17 - ShoppingWe've
had to do a lot of shopping since we arrived. We had to leave
most of our belongings back in our home state so we shop to buy nearly
everything. On Sep. 17th, Linda and I went to shop for
scrapbooking materials so she could make a memory book for our mission
photos and experiences. After shopping I turned down the
opportunity to "Eat At Joes" ...
... Instead we ate at our favorite Mexican Restaurant, "Cafe' Rio", where they serve some of the best Mexican food!
Sep. 19 - Back in the Training ZoneAfter
the other half of our group received their two-week's training they were
given their zone assignments and sent to their zones. Then it was
time of our half of the September group of missionaries to receive our
one-on-one training for two weeks. I'm the lucky one. They
assigned me to Sister Pethel who is perhaps the best trainer they have!
Linda got a great trainer too.
I spent all last week
getting some of the data entered into software for a book on the Blake
Family that I wrote in 1991. I completed two books back then, one
on dad's family and one on mother's. But I've never taken time to
enter all the names of my kindred from those books into the online
database so all relatives can share my research. Finally, I'm
getting to complete the task.
(I hope my cousin Eddie is reading this)
be in the Training Zone another week then we'll go back to our Zone,
the Data Quality Zone, where we'll spend the rest of our mission
helping correct database problems so the information entered is as
correct as possible.
We had the pleasure of entering this
mission with an impressive group of retired people from many places and
from all walks of life. Most are from the U.S. Some are
from Canada. Two were born in Mexico. Among our September
missionaries there are:
was Fast & Testimony Day, the one Sunday a month we fast for two
meals, bring the money we save, and donate to the poor. Then,
rather than the usual Sunday talks, those who wish to do so step up to
the microphone to give their testimonies.
- 3 former mission presidents, numerous former bishops, branch and stake presidents, stake and ward relief society presidents.
- several homemakers, 3 former school teachers, a
couple of former college professors, a surgeon, a lawyer, a corporate
executive, a bank vice president, a high school cafeteria manager, 2 or
3 engineers, an insurance adjuster, a librarian, and the wife of a
former U.S. Congressman.
- 14 have bachelor's degrees, 6 have master's degrees, and 2 have doctorate degrees.
- At least 2 have lost children and 6 have lost their spouse. 2 sold their homes to serve a mission.
- Many have ongoing health problems such as serious hearing disabilities, trouble walking, etc. But they serve anyway.
- More than half of them have served two or more missions lasting from 1 to 2 years. One has served 6 missions.
- All are paying all their own expenses except for the transportation here and their return trip home when they leave.
- All have a sincere testimony that what they're doing is for the Lord.
There were 18 people who
bore their testimonies today in during the meeting. Some had
homes nearby, others were from far away. One came here from
Germany and spoke with a beautiful German accent. Some joined the
church within the last 20 years, some nearly 60 years ago, and some
were born into our church.
All are missionaries serving
here. For many, it would be their last opportunity to give their
testimony before leaving the mission for home. One summed it up
by saying, "Since we've been here we've had spiritual experience after
We are most honored to be serving alongside them.
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