May 5, 2012
Well, we made it through transfers, two trips to Boaz to drop off and then pick up repaired cars, selling four of those cars, making the transfer changes on IMOS, getting the monthly miles report ready to send to Salt Lake and even threw in a couple of fun activities. Whew!
But before I get into all of that, I left off by telling of an upcoming baptism in Columbiana. It was held Sunday morning before church on April 22nd and was a sweet experience. I had written about Jo Davis’ baptism a few weeks before and this was his 79 year old Mother, Miss Julia, who had now accepted the gospel. She is quite frail and will have a hard time always attending, but her mind is as sharp as can be and she was grateful for the blessing of repentance and learning of God’s true church. She is a joy.
That same Sunday afternoon we attended a stake wide meeting for all missionaries in these boundaries as well as ward Mission Leaders, ward missionaries , Bishoprics and any others that are called to work with the mission efforts in the stake. Besides hearing from Pres Smartt, who is a wonderful Stake Pres, we heard from Pres. Holzapfel, then Elder Bluth who is the Area 70 over the southern states. All gave good messages, but one thing that stood out to me was something Elder Bluth addressed. He said that when bringing people into the church you will have those who will come ready to serve and others that will need to BE served, but they are all God’s children and deserve to receive the truth. Miss Julia and Jo fit the “need to be served” category and I have to admit I had thought about this. Here was my answer. We are all God’s children and he loves us equally. Who knows what lives will be blessed just for knowing these two newest members. It was a very uplifting meeting.
While on this subject, the mission has made arrangement with the temple for every 4th Friday at 6 pm to be set aside for new converts to do baptisms for the dead. We have made plans several times to take Columbiana ward members, but it always fell through until finally last week when we took Bro. Davis. Again, it was a very sweet experience. There was a large turnout from all over the mission and Jo appreciated the opportunity of being in the temple. It was nice for us as well. We have gotten to know Pres VanCamp and his wife (the temple Pres) and enjoyed his remarks to those attending.
Transfers. This was a big one with lots of movement taking place. We had eight new fulltime missionaries that we met at the airport on Tues the 24th. There was supposed to be one more Sister but an ongoing health issue became more evident at the MTC and she had to return home. We had visited with her several times and had even purchased a bike with funds her father sent so I know this had to be disappointing for her.
We followed the standard procedure of doing the new missionaries’ paperwork at the office then drove them to the Mission Home where we joined them for a welcome dinner and then on to the motel where they stay that first night. Afterwards we were back at the office loading all the media that had been ordered by different units to be picked up at transfers. Lately I have had to order twice as many supplies as in the past. I don’t know what brought it on, but the missionaries are requesting so much more – they are working hard. Bless them. By the way, our mission baptisms are up by 10% from last year and last year they were up from the year before.
Transfer day is always busy, exciting and just a little crazy on our part. Once again we were dealing with tiwi problems and had someone there from the company. We were replacing four cars with the new ones so that required taking the tiwi out of the retiring cars and installing them in the new ones. We also had some that weren’t working and others that had fallen off the window and were just hanging which causes all kinds of problems as it reports the driver as being aggressive or even being in an accident. This is an ongoing problem, in fact, three of the ones that were installed that morning had already fallen off before the meeting was over….good grief. We don’t know if it is the heat and humidity, the glue or what, but nothing seems to work and it is getting old having to deal with it. It isn’t easy getting all the cars in one spot with the mission so spread out and they don’t want Elder C to fix them. He has spent hours on the phone over these problems. Probably when we are about ready to go home they will finally have the kinks worked out. Groan.
As for the transfer itself, there was a lot of movement with nine new missionaries (we picked up a Temple Sq Sister that afternoon) and sending eight of our fulltime missionaries home. We were happy to see that our two Sisters were staying together here in Columbiana. We also had mixed feelings as we saw our names on the transfer list. We have known for several weeks that we will be moving to an apartment just five miles from the office. This will be such a help not having to drive that extra hour a day, but it also means leaving our dear friends here in Columbiana. We have been treated so well here and have learned to love the ward. Our new assigned area is not far from the office, the Cahaba Heights Branch, which also means being assigned to a new stake. We will be in the Birmingham Stake and attend church in their stake center. We have met the Branch Pres and heard good things about him. We were impressed. We will also be living in “the city”. None of this will happen for another few weeks, though. We are moving into another Sr Couple’s apartment and they won’t have their new place until the middle of May. In the meantime we are still attending church here.
Our new Temple Sq Sister is from Brazil. We picked her up at the airport then she hung out with us at the office since her companion was going to be a visa waiter that wouldn’t arrive until the following day. She is so cute and a ball of fire. During transfers it’s hard to get much work done at the office with all the comings and goings. Having four visa missionaries come in on Thur. prolonged that. We picked them up at the airport then went through the process all over again. We had also sent four visa missionaries on their way earlier in the week – lots of trips to the airport. We have two more leaving this coming Monday. With school being out the summer months will be full of even more hellos and goodbyes than usual. After being here nine months it’s getting harder to see some of the missionaries leaving.
One day this week we went with the Assistants to teach a Sisters they baptized a few months ago. She is Spanish so we couldn’t understand a lot of what was said, but could feel the spirit. We had gone with them to teach when she was investigating the church. Like so many of the Spanish members, she has some legal issues to work out, but she is a lovely lady who wants to do what is right.
I mentioned that we had taken a little time to mix in some fun things. We took Elder and Sister Smith with us on our last trip to pick up cars. They have become our official helpers it seems, and we enjoy their company. One of the towns we drive through has turned the whole downtown area into Antique Shops and Sis Smith and I talked our husbands into letting us walk through some of them. They were full of such interesting things. I’ve always heard you need to go south if you’re really serious about antiques and if we ‘had’ been serious, we would have hit the jackpot. It was fun just looking.
I already sent pictures of Orr Park with all the tree carvings. That is near our apt and we didn’t stay long, but enjoyed checking it out and will go back when we can.
Two weeks ago I went to a Baby Shower for a lady in our ward here. It was at the McDaniel’s lovely old historic home. Besides seeing sisters from the ward and stuffing myself with all the delicious food, I got to wander through the house taking pictures. There are some lovely old homes in Columbiana.
This week I ‘made’ Elder C leave work early (before 7:00) on Tuesday so I could attend a RS activity. It was a cute theme. Everyone was asked to bring a shoe that best described them. It’s amazing what you can learn about a person through their taste shoes. There were several that I realized I had a lot in common with….like the cutest yellow heels that the lady said what she liked best about was she paid $1 for them at a yard sale AND they were comfortable. I thought of Jeanette who loves shoes and has a closet full….all bought on sale. If you’re looking for an activity for your RS this was a fun getting to know you one.
Like always, I have spent too much time with this. Elder C went off to the office earlier and for once I stayed home to get a few things done….so far, cleaning the bathtub and writing this letter is all I have to show for it. It has been nice to be home, though. This evening we are going with our Sisters to a teaching appointment. Monday we will be getting things ready for two weeks of Zone Conferences. Actually, Elder C is already working on that today.
We pray all is well with each of you. Our thoughts have been with Cheryl, Paul’s sister-in-law, and we pray she will continue to recover. We aren’t very good about sending personal messages and calling, but all of you are in our hearts and thoughts. Have a good Sunday.
Love, Sister and Elder Curtis Mom/Dad