Feb. 11, 2012
It’s Saturday and Elder Curtis is at the office. I’m home doing laundry and catching up on things around the apt. that we have a hard time finding time for. Next Monday, which is P-day, we will be up in Huntsville. As I’ve said, it’s hard to follow the schedules the Mission sets for all missionaries. This evening we will pick up the Sisters and go together for a ward “Chili Cook-off”.
This has been a week of waking early, traveling, and carrying out our assignments at Zone Conferences. We spent Monday getting things ready and then were up at 3:30 Tuesday in order to make it to Tupelo, MS by 8:00. It’s a pretty straight shot once you get on the right freeway. In fact, it’s the same freeway we took when coming to Georgia on our first mission and then again coming here to Alabama. You’d think we couldn’t miss, but we did and ended up out in the country somewhere at 4:30 in the morning. Groan. We did finally get on a road leading us the right way, only through a lot of small towns and slow traffic. Eventually we connected with the main freeway and were actually able to arrive on time.
We had never been to this part of the mission or met with one Zone at a time. The other two conferences we’ve attended were made up of Multi-Zones so they only evolved two days. With two of the Zones being combined after the last transfer, we have or will be attending five different conferences in five locations. The one in Tupelo was the farthest away….about a three hour drive. One nice thing about attending individual conferences is being able to have more one on one with the missionaries. Also, with only that Zone’s cars to inspect it is much easier and takes less time leaving us the chance to sit in on more of the meeting. Even though the same topics were covered each time, there are some new thoughts added here and there and we always leave having been spiritually fed.
We left the meeting in Tupelo early and on our way back drove through downtown to see where “Elvis” was born and lived until he was about13. We walked around the museum area that featured the house he grew up in and the church where he first started singing. We didn’t go in but got pictures outside.Wednesday the meeting was at the Birmingham Stake Center which is only about 20 min. from the office so we didn’t have to get such an early start. At each of the conferences they invite the Stake Pres. in that area to take some time for a message. Pres. Harmon told of some of the events that took place during the most recent tornadoes. His stake was the hardest hit and many members as well as some of the missionaries were called to help with the clean-up. He shared ways that the church has prepared to step right in with not only service but materials. He spoke about the tornadoes that were so large and destructive in Alabama last spring. He said the stake had been asked before hand to have a clothing drive. I don’t remember the numbers, but enough clothing to fill all the rooms of one of the branches had been donated and sorted into sizes. It was only a week later that the destruction took place. Members were called on to distribute the items, but weren’t sure where to begin until they learned of a relief effort by another church right where the greatest needs were. They were ready, but lacked the clothing. When the church contacted them with the offer of clothes from their efforts, prayers of thankfulness were given. When the church is able to step in with help, the people they serve as well as the other churches “know we are Christians and followers of Christ”.
We left early again and went back to the office to take care of some other assignments that had been put off because of these meetings. Elder C needed to get the Jan. miles and gas report into Salt Lake. He has still been dealing with arranging the accident repairs as well and we ended up not leaving for home until after 9:00. This “felt” like the longest day yet. Sigh!
Thursday morning we were headed south to Montgomery. Again, we needed to be there by 8:00. For each meeting I would have the missionaries call in orders for any media materials they needed and then would gather the items to take with us. This is helpful to them, especially the areas far from the office who aren’t able to come by there. I have given out many, many cases of Books of Mormon, both in English and Spanish, as well as the other items used in teaching. This is just one of my responsibilities and I also take care of ordering and keeping all supplies available. Thank goodness we have the mission van to transport the orders on these occasions.
Hello again….it’s Sunday evening and we are getting ready for an early start to Huntsville tomorrow, but I wanted to finish this up. After church today we had lunch with Rick and Mary Ellen Harmon from the ward. They are around our age and we were looking forward to getting to know them better, however, we had the Sisters with us and they had an appointment set for all of us. We did enjoy lunch and a short visit then were on our way the other direction for a final teaching appointment with Zachery. We were glad to be there as he is getting baptized THIS Wed. I told you our Sisters are good. This is the first baptism for Columbiana since last March. This is a hard area. We also went to two other places with the Sisters and didn’t get home until after five. It was a good day.
Back to Zone Conferences, as I said, Thursday was Montgomery’s. These conferences have been special for us as we had the head of Church Fleet Coordinators here from Salt Lake to explain the purpose and use of the “Twi”, the black boxes that were installed in the cars at the last Zone meetings. He presented a power point at the first two conferences and now this time in Montgomery it was Elder Curtis responsibility take over and finish up with the final Zones. It is quite a program and when explained there were definitely questions from everyone. It is late and I’m tired so I will write more about it in my next letter. It’s really quite interesting what technology can do these days. This was a big event for the mission and missionaries.
This was another good meeting, nice lunch and more flowers – Pres Holzaphel has called up the couples that are in attendance in each Zone to sing praises to us and present the Sisters with flowers. Since we need to be at all the conferences, we are now surrounded with beautiful flowers. It is a little embarrassing, but we remind ourselves that we are with a different group each time so they don’t know we went through this three times last week and will two more times this week. The Pres. does like to show gratitude to those who serve and encourages us to do the same. He is a great example.
My mind is slowing down on me….it’s been a long week. We did take the opportunity to see a few sights in Montgomery before heading home. We discovered there is a lot to see there, more so than Birmingham as far as history goes. This time we only took time to go through the first Confederate White House where Jefferson Davis lived at the beginning of the Civil War. We also took pictures of the Capital Building which was built when Montgomery was the first State Capital of Alabama. It was a beautiful building. We picked up a map with other places of interest from early life in the South, the Civil War, on to the Civil Rights’ movement in the 60’s. There is also the Water Front on the Alabama River with a lovely walkway. We could probably find enough to keep us busy for several days if we can ever take the time. I’m sure we’ll figure out a way to see at least some of it.
My mind has stopped on me….guess it’s time to say good night and get some rest before tomorrow. We have a busy, but fun day planned with the Senior Missionaries. I’ll tell you about it next week. We send our love and prayers to each of you. Blessings to all…..
Love, Mom and Dad Elder and Sister Curtis
PS I’m sending this without proof reading it so please overlook my mistakes.