May 26, 2012
Dear loved ones…. We are almost at a point where we can take a deep breath again before starting on the next assignment which will be ten new missionaries arriving and near the same number leaving. This also means getting ready for transfers. Actually, Elder Curtis has already started with so many new ones coming. The end of the school year brings out missionaries. We have had to fit preparations in between other busy activities so haven’t done much sitting around.
First: Five Zone Conferences in five different locations from the top of Alabama to Montgomery as well as east and west of the state and then one conference in north Miss. These were early morning starts and long days, but enjoyable. As I’ve mentioned, we are only able to catch small sections of training from each conference, but we learned from what we did hear. One thought Pres H. shared was directed to the young missionaries on the importance of their taking advantage of study time, but it could apply to all of us. He said this is the time when we become the investigator and the Lord is our teacher. Interesting thought. He asked the missionaries how they feel when they have a teaching appointment arranged, but arrive to find no one there. Pretty bad. How does Heavenly Father feel when he has asked us to meet with him to study the scriptures or other assigned materials and as He waits for that chance to teach us, we don’t keep our appointment with Him? And even more, what are WE missing? There were many other subjects covered and the missionaries were well instructed.
Second: The Friday following our last Zone Conference my son Lynn and his family arrived for a short visit as they were passing through Alabama. Lynn is enrolled in an on line course to get his nurse practitioner license. Before he has to start his clinical they are traveling via camper throughout the US and parts of Canada. He can do his studies and also made arrangements to pick up work as a traveling nurse along the way. They got here late Friday which was good as it gave us a chance to do some catching up at the office after being gone so much. Paul also had five cars to get ready for a broker that was coming for them. That meant a quick trip to Boaz with the Smiths to bring back four that were finished being repaired and being sold.
We had such a nice time with Lynn, Cameo and their four children, Cora, Granger, Jonah and Ezra. They are good grandkids and love to travel as much as their parents. While here we spent time at Orr Park (the one with the tree carvings) where they had fun finding the carved trees then spent ALL afternoon playing in the creek. Sunday they attended church with us and we enjoyed being able to show them off and also have them meet some of the members that we have come to love. The Primary leaders were quick to give compliments on how sweet they were. The following day was spent seeing some Civil War and Civil Rights sites in Montgomery. They also liked spending time in our apartment pool (we had never even walked over to it in the nine months we’ve been here) and Lynn used the internet center to do his homework.
They had planned to only stay four days but had some problems come up with their camper and ended up being here a full week. Elder C and I had to get back to work on Tuesday so we didn’t see a lot of them the rest of the week. They were busy during that time taking care of their issues which included buying a whole new camper and leaving their old one here to sell. I won’t go into all the details. It was stressful for them, but in the end they had a better camper which insurance helped pay for and were very thankful for us giving them a place to stay while working through it all. We loved seeing them and wish them well with the rest of their travels. If you want to follow along check out their facebook or blog at:Vagabondgenes.blogspot.com
Third: We attended our last Sunday as part of Columbiana Ward. As we were introducing our family we were also saying our “goodbyes”. This has been a wonderful ward and we have made many dear friends. We will miss them and I think we will be missed. Changes aren’t as easy at our age, but we see this as an adventure and opportunity to serve and meet new friends in the Cahaba Heights Branch. It will also be a big help not having to drive that hour a day to the office.
Forth: The move….. With all that was going on, there was a Sister’s training and also the office was packed all week with the Pres. doing interviews, we hadn’t had a chance to even start packing. We left a little earlier on Thurs. Paul drove the van and trailer so we’d have it the next day and I stopped by our new apt. to see Lynn’s new camper and visit a minute. It worked out for them to stay there while figuring things out. By the time I got to Calera Paul had already loaded the heavy couch and several other items by himself and was ready to head for our new area. We were expecting help the following day, but he was anxious to get the job done even if it meant breaking his back. Anyway, to make a long story short, Lynn helped carry these heavy items to the new place and then Paul and I were back to Calera emptying cupboards and closets, etc. The mission has a newly arrived couple that has been assigned to housing, which includes helping with moves. They had told us they would be at our place on Friday morning with some Elders to help. By the time we got a call from them at 9:30 Paul had already been up for hours and loaded the van once again with heavy furniture. (The apt is being closed so has to be emptied.) They didn’t get to our place until 10:30 – without any missionaries – and said they had to be back in Birmingham at 11:30 for their District Meeting which, by the way, was our meeting as well. Goodness. The travel time is at least that long. I think being new; they haven’t realized how long it takes just to get from one place to another. Then to top it off, some Elders from the District in Birmingham called and asked them for a ride. “Ooops….sorry, we have to leave.” We were limited on time ourselves and needed to get the job done that day so there was no waiting. First we unloaded all the furniture we weren’t using at the storage at the Mission Home and then tackled getting things into our place by ourselves. Have you ever moved a washing machine down stairs? Paul was bearing the weight and I was trying to keep it steady so as to not crush him. We did finally get everything we needed into the apt, but not without a lot of groaning and sweating (it was the hottest day of this year) and walking probably three or four miles making trips from the car including up and down the stairs. Paul counted them. Seventeen. If he had his way every missionary would live on the bottom floor. Whew! It didn’t help that he has a bone spur on one heel and an ingrown toenail on the other foot. All is well, though. We’ve spent the night here now and think it will be a good place. It isn’t as big or new as our last one and sits way in the back on the bottom of what would be a day light basement with three apartments overhead. You kind of feel like you’re going into a cave, but once inside it is nice and we look right out into the forest without other apartments blocking our view. If we can get past the long walkway and steps leading to it, it is quiet and private and stays cooler. This will be our home for the rest of the mission. Monday we will make one last trip to Calera to pick up what is left there and to clean the apartment. It will feel good to have this over and hand the keys to the new housing couple to close it up. By the way, we do like them a lot and think we’ll be good friends. This was their first move and they are learning. They also don’t know Elder C and that he likes to just get in and do the job NOW. He is a hard worker and I’m thankful for this characteristic in him. It will be good to be settled and on to the next assignment. (I guess that really wasn’t making a long story short was it?)
We don’t have our Internet set up here yet so I’m not sure when I’ll get this sent. We hope you have a nice weekend and Memorial Day. We did have two other wonderful events take place this week. On Wed night Larisa’s step daughter, Sarah Cummins, graduated from Sahuaro High School in Tucson and tonight Jeanette’s oldest daughter, Marlee, is graduating from Snowflake High. These are some of the special occasions we miss out on being away, but we are so proud of them and wish them all the best as they move forward.
Blessings and love, Elder and Sister Curtis Mom/Dad