Jan 29, 2012
It has been a nice Sunday. For the last two weeks we have taken the Sisters in our car after church to visit some of the less active (or inactive) members that live in the far reaches of the ward. Last week it was dark and raining (it still gets dark around 5:00) We were able to meet two families that haven’t been seen for some time. One I wouldn’t really call a visit, although we talked on the front porch for maybe ten minutes. The second couple actually let us in. They are in their 60s, are converts, but haven’t been out for nearly ten years. He went through two bouts of cancer during that time. It was hard to visit as the wife was cooking in the kitchen and the man was hard of hearing. They did seem like a sweet couple, though, and when the Sisters asked if we could come back they readily agreed to have us return this Sunday. This week we stayed for a youth baptism after church and then again went with the Sisters to visit the couple. We felt it went much better; they were expecting us and we had a nice, sit down visit with both giving us their full attention. We talked about their conversion and why they had stopped attending and then Elder Curtis led in a very bold, yet gentle invitation to begin the steps that will bring them back into activity. The spirit was there as we all shared scriptures and thoughts along with our own testimony and asked them to remember back to the reasons and how they felt when they joined the church. We left them with a commitment to begin reading their scriptures, pray and attend church next Sunday. It most likely will take more than one visit to see all these things take place, but they welcomed an appointment for us to return next week and for the Sisters to call on them during the week. Our other attempts for visits today didn’t come through, but we came home feeling good about the time with this couple.
Our work at the office the past two weeks as been a little unusual – at least for me. I just haven’t had a lot to keep me busy and I’ve decided I like ‘busy’ much better than down time. Paul has had plenty to do and I’ve helped where I could. One day we had another Senior Couple, the Smiths, help us take three cars that needed body work to the shop we use up in Boaz. The Smiths and I each drove a car and Paul drove the mission van so we would have a way home. This is the same shop an hour and a half away that we got lost trying to find a month ago. This time we went straight there with no problems, but it is still a long drive. Paul wonders sometimes if it’s worth it, but when looking at the bill he can see that it is. Also, it is owned by a member and it’s nice to give him the work. Salt Lake is really cracking down on any damage to the cars. In the past the mission used to just take them in when pushed to, usually when they were ready to retire and sale a car. Now Salt Lake wants an accident report on all dents or scratches the size of a golf ball or larger. This becomes difficult as every missionary reports, “Oh, that was there when we got the car”. No one wants to take responsibility. We have had an unusual amount of activity lately when it comes to accidents, and admittedly, many aren’t the fault of the missionaries. There was one car parked at the library while the Elders were writing their weekly letters. When they came out someone had backed into their trunk completely smashing it in. Another car, one of the brand new ones we just gave out, had a six inch scratch down to the metal on the side when the Sisters returned to it. Of course, both were hit and run. Grrrr Some are more serious like the two earlier this week. Thur. afternoon Paul got a call from a very shook up Elder in Miss. that had come to a T in the road, looked both ways and then turned onto the street only to be hit on the passenger side by a car that had come up over a rise. Thank goodness, neither Elder was hurt, but the other car had a woman and four children in it. One of the children was taken to the hospital with injuries (we think a broken arm). The poor Elder that was driving was so distraught and worried. He was afraid he would be sent home, that his family could be sued and all other imaginings. I was proud of Elder Curtis as he calmly talked to him and reassured him. Even after we got home he was back on the phone with him. We actually don’t know the end of this story. The Church has already heard from the other lady’s insurance, but until all the reports are in we don’t have answers. In the meantime, these Elders that are out in the middle of nowhere three hours from us are without transportation. Elder Curtis had barely hung up from talking with them when another set of Elders called and reported they had hit a deer. There was some pretty major damage to this car as well and it is out of commission. Thankfully again, neither Elder was hurt. They are also in the middle of nowhere up north, so tomorrow (our P-day) we are going to take them one of the cars we just had repaired and then drive theirs on up to Boaz to be worked on. We are doing a good job keeping the member owned body shop in work.
When it’s not cars or accident reports or just reports that Paul’s working on, it’s BIKES. We have five missionaries coming in on Tuesday. Once again Elder Smith spent a day helping Paul put together bikes so they would be ready when they arrive. Elder C also arranged for some used ones as he wants to help the missionaries and goes beyond his assigned duties to do so.
One last thing and then I’ll leave this subject….. Remember back in Nov I mentioned that the Missionary Department was having black ‘safety’ boxes installed in all the mission cars, but they wouldn’t be activated until the first of March? We have since learned that they have been randomly monitoring cars and Elder Curtis got a call two weeks ago from the SL Department saying that two of our Elders had been caught going “#@#” miles an hour on a back road. What were they thinking? The President called them in and there were some emergency transfers made and we’re told driving privileges will be taken away. One of those things that would make a Mission Pres pull his hair out. Thankfully, the good we see makes up for these kinds of issues.
I’m trying to remember what else we’ve had going on. On the 21st we took the Sisters from our area with us to attend a baptism in the Oak Mountain ward. The Elders there are our Zone Leaders and we have become good friends with them. The Sister being baptized was so ready she had asked to have her date moved up a week. It was a sweet and spiritual evening.
We have had two special evenings with President Holzapfel. The first was a conference call on the anniversary of the Prophet Joseph Smith receiving the vision of the Celestial Kingdom. With his great knowledge of Church History he told of the events leading up to this vision and of many things that took place in the Kirtland Temple. He gave answers to some questions that we had always wondered about as to what parts of the endowment were performed in that temple. It was a very enlightening presentation.
The second evening was this past Saturday when Pres and Sister Holzapfel invited all the Sr Couples to their home. We spent an hour or so listening to Pres. H speak of the temples starting with Moses and on through Herod’s temple in Jerusalem. He gave us drawings that he had made for a book he wrote on this subject and we discussed each part of these temples and the importance of what took place. If there’s an interest ask us to show you the drawings when we return home. Once again we were taught and enlightened. We would have loved for him to go on longer, but Sis H had prepared a delicious meal for us which we also enjoyed. Elder Bluth, the Area Seventy over several Southern states, was a guest and we were privileged to have him and his wife sit at our table. A lovely and interesting couple.
Another guest of honor that evening was a new missionary couple, Elder and Sister Johnson, who had arrived earlier in the week. They will be serving in Miss. so this was the first chance for the rest of us to meet them. We didn’t have much time to visit, but prior to their coming we had heard that he is the inventor of the stem that hangs down letting you push your cup against it to allow the drink to fill your container at a soda fountain, or any fountain for that matter. He hasn’t retired, but took a six month leave of absence to serve a mission. We probably won’t see as much of them as they are three hours away, but hope to get to know them better. We will be going to their Zone next week for Zone Conference. Our first time to that area.
Let’s see, am I forgetting anything? Oh yes, the TORNADOES! A week ago Alabama was once again hit by tornadoes. The damage wasn’t nearly as bad as the storms of last April, but for the people who lost their homes and businesses, I’m sure they felt it just the same. Two people were killed and hundreds injured. Two different areas had extensive damage along with smaller patches of damage along the path as the storm moved from southwest out of Miss. to northern Alabama. We were never in any real danger as we live about 30 – 40 miles from where it first touched down. In fact, our weather radio never even came on. It was stormy when we went to bed, but that has become so common that we actually slept right through it and weren’t even aware of what had happened until the Sisters knocked on our door to see if we were alright. It seems we had slept through a text message telling us to report to our District Leader. Later we learned that Pres H and his wife had been up since about one a.m. tracking the storm and checking on missionaries in its path. Fortunately no missionaries were harmed and no church property was damage. I mentioned before that Alabama is one of two states that have two tornado seasons. This one started a couple months early. Surprisingly the morning brought sunshine and it was one of the nicest, most mild days this winter. We pray for those with losses.
I’m at the end of the page so I’ll say goodnight for this week. Blessings to all. Love, Mom & Dad