April 6, 2012
We had a typical Alabama Spring storm today…..foggy on our way to work, a clear morning, hard rain and winds mid-afternoon followed by a beautiful clear sky and everything looking it’s best from the fresh rains. Then tonight we were rushing to beat the severe storm advisory blasting us on our way home from the office. The rain was so hard we were soaked just running from the office door to our car. When we got home our weather radio was still calling out warnings for our area, but we were blessed again to be spared anything more than rain. Unlike Arizona, when they predict rain, it does rains.
We’ve had some nice activities. Last Wed. Pres. and Sister Holzapfel hosted a potluck luncheon for the couple missionaries. (We are told we are no longer called ‘seniors’) They provided grilled chicken and the couples brought various dishes and desserts…..all very good and we had our share and then some.
While on the subject of the mission, I’ve wanted to share a little about how the Alabama Mission came about. Up to 1978 Alabama was included in the Georgia mission. What change that? Believe it or not, it was the civil war in Iran. The missionionaries had to be immediately evacuated. Did you even know there had been a Mission in Iran? It’s hard to believe with the conditions there today. Anyway, that Mission Pres. expected that he would be released but was sent to start up the Alabama Birmingham Mission instead. A mission home was found, purchased and ready to move into within a week’s time. They started with only the 22 missionaries that were already in the area. Others were soon brought in from Georgia and Florida. We have had two former Elders who served back then visit the office and it’s interesting to hear of that time and the changes that have taken place in the years since. The mission home still has a large painting on the wall of a scene from Iran. I’m sure that first Pres. felt he’d gone from one cultural shock to another. The membership has grown since then and so has the mission, but in many ways it still has a new feel as the church is not always welcomed here. There is change in the air though.
We made another trip to our body shop in Boaz to pick up a retired car that had been repaired. A lady was coming from MS to look at it and since it is lime green and we had been sure it wouldn’t sell, we were willing to drop everything and make the hurried drive. I do have to say that the drive has become so beautiful now that all is lush green again. And the best part….the lady loved the car and bought it on the spot. Whew! We really hadn’t expected that. We gave out four new cars at last transfers and have three more new ones ready to pick up from the dealer. That means retiring cars and more cars to get ready to sell. It’s been nice not having to worry about that. More work for Elder C. He is so, so busy.
Both Elder C and I gave short presentations at the Zone Training meetings last Thurs. We planned to take the day off on Friday and attend a “Spring Antebellum” event in Columbus, MS with a couple from our ward. We have been planning this for five months and now the day was here and the couple couldn’t go because of a family problem. We talked of still going, but when both our phones started ringing at 7:00 that morning with missionaries needing help, we decided it just wasn’t working. Sigh! It was a disappointment. They have beautiful 1800’s plantations there and this week were having many special events including people dressed in period costume and several different tours. I’m not sure we’ll ever have a chance like this again. We missed out, but perhaps can still see some of the homes another time.
On Thurs of this week we picked up six more visa waiters. All six will be going to Argentina…..nice, nice young men. One of the group is from Snowflake, AZ where several of our children live. He said he meets in the same building as Lynn and Ben and has heard of their families. Another one is from Lilburn, GA which is right next to where we lived. He is in the same stake as Sis.Findlay whom we worked with and he knows her well. In fact, his mother used to volunteer at the Employment Center where we served. It’s always fun to make connections. We were invited to share dinner with them at the mission home as it was late by the time all their paperwork and interviews were finished and we needed to transport them to their motel for the night. We always enjoy that time with the new missionaries. Out of the eleven visa waiters that came a few weeks ago only two have left so our mission is bulging now, but that’s good. Our mission takes in more visa missionaries than all others combined thanks to Pres. Holzapfel. We also have our first “Couple visa waiters”. Elder and Sister Beckstead are waiting for their visa to New Zealand and didn’t want to just go back home so asked to come here. He is a retired Rocket Scientist and has worked in Huntsville in the past. Their son is also married to Holzapfel’s daughter.
Of course, we so enjoyed General Conference last weekend. We went to the Birmingham Stake for the first session then, other than Priesthood meeting, watched the rest on our Internet. So many good subjects were covered and we learned from each. What a blessing to hear from the leaders. The music seemed extra beautiful….we loved watching the Elders and Sister from the MTC and looked closely to see if any of them might be ours, but then realized our next group wouldn’t be going in until later that week. I’m sure for those who were able to perform it will be a cherished memory.
We are looking forward to Easter weekend. Our ward is having a breakfast and Easter Egg Hunt and then we were invited to Sunday dinner with our dear friend, Sis Tipper. We will also have a phone conference devotional this evening with Pres. Holzapfel. May you all have a wonderful Easter as we remember that God’s greatest love comes to us through Jesus Christ. In Jesus’ life, teachings, death, and resurrection, the love of God becomes real; we know that God loves us deeply and completely. No matter where we are, we can be filled with joy as we praise God and give thanks for the gift of His son and His unending love for each of His children.
Blessings and love, Sister and Elder Curtis Mom/Dad
P.S. The pictures are of the Mission Home and office and our apartment in Calera