Yesterday afternoon we close the office at 1:30 so we could go to Senior Training Meeting. Most of the meeting was getting to know one another. Aside from the 3 couples and 1 sister in the office, the rest of the couples are pretty much out on their own - all over the mission. One couple, the Calders, are in Mrytle Beach and had just over a 3-hour-drive to get to the meetings. They are from Canada - British Columbia.
One couple, the Schallers are from Stillwater OK. They are in an Edmund Stake - don't know if it's the same one as Danny and Dalena.
The Wichmanns have only been married for two years. His first wife died, and her husband, after they had been married for 30 years, left the church, her, and their five children. She's from Uruguay, and has the coolest accent. The Wichmanns met online. :o) Sister Wichmann has been very instrumental getting Spanish Branches going in their area in SC and getting less active members coming to church again.
The Boyaks are from St. George, and have known President and Sister Holm for a long time. Sister Boyak told the cutest story. I'm not sure where she was, but she was helping some little black children get ready for something at the church. One little guy was 12 years old, and a deacon. His clothes weren't straight and his hair wasn't combed, and she was telling him how important it was for him to look the part of a deacon. She was fussing with him for several minutes when his friend asked, "Is SHE your grandma?" She said the little kids were very black and she is very white. It made her laugh to hear the question. She said, "Apparently, the kids are color-blind - which is a good thing!"
I mentioned on FaceBook about the Polands, working with a chaplain at a hospital in Sumter. He is a Baptist Minister, but he told them he can say anything he wants and do anything he wants as a hospital chaplain. I guess he is a big fan of the Book of Mormon. Although he's not ready to be baptized, he loves the book, and accepts it for what it is...another testament of Jesus Christ - a companion to the Holy Bible. He says he loves reading it because it makes him feel good inside - and that's what he wants for the patients there. I love it when people are willing to just outside the box and look for and accept good things no matter where they come from. The whole scenario reminded me of when Danny and his companion introduced the Book of Mormon to a congregation of Episcopalians in Moscow Russia. They also loved the book and used it in their weekly services. :o)
Sister Barlow is the mother of 9 children and has been widowed for many years. She was honored as American Mother of the year in 2007. She's from Corvallis, OR where she was director of their annual Nativity Display for 5 years. She is such a wonderful and capable woman!
The Fentons were both widowed. She was single for 5 years, and he for 13 years. I'm not sure how long they've been married - but they are a great couple! They have two of the hardest jobs in the office, in my opinion - he's vehicle coordinator and she's over housing. But they are doing an amazing job! Love the Fentons!
Jack has known Elder Brenchly for years. They were in the National Guard together in Utah for a long time - in the early years. The Brenchlys are serving at Ft. Jackson.
The Milbergers and theWichmanns are going home soon - the end of November and the first part of December. President Holm asked them to bear their testimonies at the close of the evening. I am really going to miss the Mihlbergers. I've only known them for 3 weeks, but I love them! Sister Mihlberger bore such a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon. She's been studying it every morning for an hour and she says she looks forward to waking up every morning, so she can get into it again. Elder Mihlberger said when he first came to the mission, President Holm talked to the senior missionaries and told them they needed to become one. He said, "I didn't want to be one with the rest of the senior missionaries. I didn't want to be old." He laughed, and admitted that he looks older than anyone there (which he doesn't), but he feels young inside and he IS one with all of us. Tears glistened on his cheek as he bore his testimony of the gospel and told us how he was going to miss us and the mission.