April 21, 2012
I was just thinking the other day of the varied experiences you have while on a mission that would probably never happen if you’d just stayed home. Like trying to find a parking space in downtown Birmingham when you’re rushing to an appointment. Or going to a Jefferson County Court House to register three different sets of new cars and each time finding there is a new procedure from the last time that must take before you can complete the task. You may remember the aggravation we had in the fall at the main Birmingham office. It took over three months and countless trips to finally get those five cars tagged and on the road and then the only way we made it happen was to go to a smaller court in Bessemer. This time we thought we’d found the trick so went back to the same court with the three new cars that just came in. Surprise! No registration or tags could be issued until they physically inspected each car. Where did that come from? There was no convincing them that we had never had to do this in the past and these were brand new cars right off the lot. No, they had to see for themselves which meant another sixty mile round trip and enlisting Elder Greenland’s help to take the cars there. They took a quick look and said, “Yelp, they all match your paperwork”. This took less than five minutes, but that was only the beginning because the next process was to stand in a long line for our turn. You may have heard that Jefferson Co. has declared bankruptcy and are short on workers. To make a long story short, over three hours later we walked out with the tags. It would have been shorter, but just as the clerk was ready to hand us the registrations she noticed an error and had to start all over. The error was to our good, but at that point we probably would have just paid the extra if given the choice. The good news, we will be giving these cars out for missionary use next week.
As for the parking…..that never changes, but this was the first time I’ve been all by myself. I had a dentist appointment and didn’t want Elder Curtis to have to wait (he always has so much to do). I was just glad it was a dentist I was seeing and not a doctor that would be taking my “blood pressure”. I do have to say, though, that the whole dentist experience filled me with gratitude for kind, generous people that give of their talents to serve others. It started with my having a tooth that was bothering me. I called our mission nurse to see if she knew a good dentist. That very day a dentist from her ward called me back saying he would see me the next day even though it was Sunday. I didn’t really feel that was necessary, but he insisted and met me at his office between meetings. After x-rays he felt I needed to be seen by a pariodontist (sp?) and arranged for another member who is in dental school to see me a few days later. Again, to make a long story short (hmmmmmm) I had some specialty work done and neither dentist charged me for it. It would have cost hundreds even at the school so I was very thankful to these two good men. I need one more procedure done, but have been referred to another student that is training in this area so even if I end up having to pay, it will be at a reduced cost. We have been blessed again. I feel like I need to send both men’s wives flowers for the time I took them away from home.
We have made several trips up north to our car repair shop. There is a dealer that is buying four of the cars that have been recently retired so we were back and forth dropping some off for repairs and picking up the ones that were done. We take Elder and Sister Smith with us when we have several cars and it’s always pleasant to spend time with them. It is also nice to be able to sell these cars so easily. We will have five more that will need to go through this same process after next week. Selling cars isn’t one of Elder Curtis’ favorite jobs. He has also been busy getting ready for the ten new missionaries coming in next week. We have eight going home as well. This transfer will be another time of “hellos and goodbyes”. Five of our visa missionaries are also leaving so there will be a lot of movement in the mission. As I’ve said before, time flies and it seems that we were just doing this. Transfers are every six weeks. Some of the missionaries that we have become close to will be going home this time.
One of the hardest parts of this coming transfer will be our goodbye to Elder and Sister Rugg. They were the first couple to greet us after we got our mission call. He contacted us in Arizona to tell us about our housing and a little of what to expect in the mission. His wife is the mission nurse. They live in Utah now, but she is from the south and is very “southern”. Her accent is about as thick as they come and she keeps us entertained. He has been over the mission housing so he and I interact with all the changes involving that as I keep it updated on the computer. We have enjoyed serving with them and having them as good friends. They will be missed. Last Thursday Pres and Sister Holzapfel had all the couples to the mission home for a going away luncheon in their honor. There is a new couple arriving in May to replace them. They will have big shoes to fill.
Last but not least, our ward has another convert baptism tomorrow morning before church. We will pick up Miss Julia early so she can be ready. I will write more about her and the baptism next week. Our Sisters are very excited. They are such devoted and sweet missionaries. Our Italian, Sister Narduzzi, is so full of life….she finds something to get excited about in everything. She never has a bad day even when it has been filled with doors shut in their faces. The Sisters stop by our apartment most every evening to report on their day. They also enjoy the fact that we can bring their mail from the office so they don’t have to wait. We make big points with that service : -) We love being able to work with them as well as all the young missionaries.
I can’t close without at least a couple pictures. The first is one taken near our apartment. The woods here are filled with wild honeysuckle. The roads and freeways are lined with it and it smells heavenly. The other picture is of me trying out one of the new bikes that Elder Curtis has ready for a Sister. I can’t remember the last time I rode a bike. There are few ‘flat’ places in Alabama…. not even the office parking lot. Our missionaries put in a day’s work when out biking on the rolling hills. It probably wouldn’t hurt Elder C and me to try it now and then. Whew! Pres Holzapfel tells a funny story of him trying to keep up with the missionaries on his bike when he first came here. He assured them he wasn’t dying while laying on the grass huffing and buffing halfway to the church. That would be me for sure. It was fun for a minute or two around the parking lot today.
Have a nice Sunday tomorrow. We send our love and blessings.