Thursday, April 5, 2012

                                                                                                      March 26, 2012
We’re in Alabama and its SPRING!  Sometimes it feels like we are driving through a movie set or even a dream and it has only just begun.  Everyday nature brings new surprises. We’re remembering why we loved the south.  This is the beauty that we fell in love with and much of it just grows wild in the woods.
The first half of the weeks was busy with Zone Conferences.  You might ask, “Didn’t we just have Zone Meeting?”  And you are right.  This would have been an off month, however, Elder Smally, who is the doctor for the Southern states, was visiting and wanted to speak to all the missionaries.  Holding two multi conferences seemed to be the best way to accomplish this.  Elder and Sister Smally live in Georgia and don’t get this way often.  You can imagine how busy they are covering several missions.  They spoke for a good part of the two morning meetings, but we were out with the cars so didn’t spend much time with them.  I did visit with Sister Smally and enjoyed meeting her.  They live in Peach Tree City which we loved while in Georgia and said if we ever went back that is where we would want to settle.
The first Conference was in Huntsville which meant getting up at 4:00 in order to pick up the van and make the two plus hour drive to arrive and be ready at 8:00 am. We spent Monday putting together supply orders and setting everything else up for the trip. In fact, we were at the office Saturday as well so there had been no break from our last busy week.  It’s a good thing we love what we’re doing.
        Assistants helping to load the mission van             Elder and Sister Smally visit from Georgia
I had also been asked to give a short training on how to receive, act and report on refurrals during the meeting as well as put together another clothing exchange.  It’s amazing that we can keep doing the clothing and household items exchanges so often.  Most are things left from missionaries, but there are also a lot that are donated.  The missionaries seem to appreciate it.
Elder Curtis had put in a lot of time the weeks before the conferences making arrangements to finish up the TIWI program that I wrote about a while back.  We couldn’t give out the five new cars that have been sitting in the parking lot until they each had one installed and there were several others that had been missed from the first instalation as well as several that were having problems or not working at all.  Salt Lake would only arrange one day for this to be taken care of so it involved getting all those cars in one place on that day.  That place and day was during the second conference held in Birmingham. Huntsville had gone so smoothly we had even been able to join the afternoon portion of conference. As always, we enjoyed and learned from listening to Pres. Holzapfel.  Birmingham was another story.  Not only were there three times as many people, but that many more cars to inspect as well as the TIWI issues.  To top it off we were also exchanging out some of the cars for the new ones.  Everyone wanted a piece of Elder Curtis’ time. We have already seen benefits from the TIWI use, but there have also been some headaches. This was a big step for the Church to take adding these to so many missions at the same time.  It seems the company wasn’t prepared for such a large undertaking, but it is slowly working out the problems.  Someday having the divices in all the cars will probably be as natural as having all the missionaries wear bike helmets.  I remember when that change was made and now no one even questions it.  In the meantime, this is a big job for the church and for Elder Curtis.
Pres and Sister Holzapfel had a couple from their home ward in Utah here visiting and they both took part in the conference.  She spoke on getting a proper diet and he spoke on the scriptures. They both were very knowledgeable.  Elder C and I were invited to join them and another mission couple for dinner after the conference.  We warned them that it is usually hard for us to get away, but they insisted on waiting and it turned out to be a very nice evning.  It was nice to be able to visit in a relaxed setting.  The friends (I’m not using names) were interesting to get to know and it is unusual to visit with the President in this kind of situation.  We felt priviledges to be included and hope to be able to continue our association with the couple . They attended our office devotional the following morning and then he met with Elder Curtis and presented a sizable donation for the use of buying and repairing bycicles for those who can’t affored this. What a  blessing as we have been told mission funds can no longer be used in this way.  We have already had to figure out ways to get bikes for several missionaries and we have three more coming from Africa that will need help so this was a gift of great value.
Since Wed. things have settled down for us…..we didn’t even go to the office on Saturday!  We did, however, attended the “second” convert baptism in Columbiana since the Sisters have been here.  Every- one is excited about their work and accomplishments.  We love our new Sister.  She is not only knowledgeable, outgoing and sweet, but is delightful with her fun personality and Italian accent.  She stepped right in with Sister Robinson to finish teaching Bobby Jo Davis.  Sisters Robinson and Albright had tracted in to him.  He is a kind, gentle man who takes care of his invalade mother.  Although it was difficult for her, she did attend the service.  There was a strong spirit there.  Bro. Andrews from the ward baptized Jo and Elder Curtis comfirmed him during the Sac. Meeting this morning.  Nice day.
We hope this has been a nice Sunday for each of you as well.  We send our love and blessings.
       Mom and Dad      /    Elder and Sister Curtis

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