Monday, October 7, 2013

September 30 - October 6, 2013

This past week flew by!  Highlights of the week were the Leadership Training Meetings, The Elders' sleep-over, General Conference, and church services at Fort Jackson.  Oh - and a trip to The Shed.  :o)

I'll start with The Shed, because it's a small, but not insignificant thing.  Transfers are a time when missionaries leave to go home, when new missionaries come, and when many of the missionaries are transferred from one part of mission to another.  We have a transfer coming up on October 16th.  We are sending 9 missionaries home and getting 28 new ones.  Sister Fenton, who is in charge of housing, has been responsible for arranging for 9 new apartments all over the mission.  This is not an easy task!  She has to travel a lot to check out apartments and find ones that are suitable, but at a reasonable cost.  Many landlords will not rent to us because President Holm refuses to give out the missionaries' Social Security Numbers so they can do background checks.  We have great references from landlords all over the state, but some still insist on background checks - and that's their prerogative.  Once the apartments are procured, they have to be cleaned and set up with furniture and household goods.  The Shed holds the household goods.  I went to The Shed this week with Sister Mihlberger.  As she started to lift up the door to The Shed, she said, "There's a little lizard who sometimes runs out from under the door, so don't be alarmed."  :o)  He wasn't there that day, so I didn't get to meet him.  Inside The Shed are utility shelves filled with dishes, pots and pans, cooking utensils, carbon monoxide detectors, dish racks, toilet bowl brushes, shower curtains, etc. - all manner of things that one would need to see up housekeeping.  The Shed is fairly orderly, and we were able to gather what we needed quickly and get back to the office.  It was interesting to me - just one more facet of what it takes to run a mission.  If you ever wonder what happens to your tithing's one place,it's used.

During the two days of Leadership Training Meetings, which were held at the church building we go to on Sundays, it was pretty quiet around the office.  The President wasn't in for two days, nor were the traveling sisters or the APs.  But when the training ended on Thursday - the office was flooded with Elders and Sisters!  They came in to get media orders, to see if there were any packages or letters for them in the day's mail and just to say hello.  I'll bet there were 20 missionaries in the front office at one point that afternoon!

The Training Meetings were held on Wednesday and Thursday.  Wednesday night, around 9:30, 4 Elders showed up at our door.  They had come to spend the night with us.  We had 3 roll-away beds for them. The fourth one slept on the couch.  I had made tortillas that night, so we made a bunch of quesadillas for the Elders - as a bedtime snack.  I think we made 20 of them, and they wiped out all but two.  It was fun having them over - we got to visit with them for a few minutes as they ate.  We retired to our bedroom just after 10:00, and by 10:30 - there was silence in the apartment.

Elder Arrington made pancakes for breakfast, and used up a whole box of Hungry Jack pancake mix.  I got a cute picture of the four Elders before they left - just before 9:00 AM.
           I don't have names for these Elders - I'll have to check at the office and try to figure out who they are.            
 I know their areas are up in the northern part of the state, and that it took them 2 1/2 to 3 hours to get to Columbia.
General Conference was wonderful - again!  It seems that I felt this time, more than every before, that the Lord is speaking to us through his servants, the prophets.  (Amos 3:7)  The things we heard in conference are things that He wants us to know RIGHT NOW!  I loved conference!  We went over to the Irmo Chapel, where we attend on Sunday, and watched both Saturday sessions.  Saturday night, while the men went to Priesthood Meeting, the Senior Sisters went to Carabbas for dinner.  It was delicious!  I'm sure we'll be going back - it's almost right across the street from our apartment complex.  I had Pollo Rosa Maria.  I thought I'd be all fancy and pronounce the double "l" as a "y."  Oops!  That's in Spanish - but not in Italian. So much for fancy!  :o/

Sunday morning, we drove to Fort Jackson for church services.  We met in Anderson Chapel.  The time for our church is 9:30 till 11:00 - then a Protestant group moves in.  There was a large group of soldiers there - we estimated about 150 - way more people there than we have at the Chapin Branch for services. About 2/3 of them were young men.  The APs said that about half the people there each week are baptized members. They other half are either investigators or soldiers who just come with their buddies to have something to do.

Servies began right at 9:30 - but before the meeting started, the Branch President went to the lectern an announced all the college football scores from Saturday night.  :o)  Sacrament Meeting was pretty much like any Sacrament Meeting, but before the blessing and passing of the sacrament, the Branch President read a little spiel about what the sacrament means in our church - the bread and water are eaten and drunk in remembrance of the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ - who was crucified and atoned for our sins.  Then the President invited everyone who would like to partake of the sacrament, member or non-member, to do so.

After the sacrament, since it was the first Sunday of the month, the meeting was opened up for testimonies.
All but two soldiers who bore their testimonies were young men.  Of the two women, one was a new member - just baptized last Sunday at the base.  I loved hearing the testimonies of those young soldiers! Many of them spoke of how their religion and especially prayer are now such an important part of their lives! There are some strong young men and women at the Fort!

After Sacrament Meeting, there were two baptisms.  Two young soldiers - one male and one female - were baptized in a portable font on the front lawn of the chapel.  A darling little blond woman named Katie - and a beautiful young black man who had a name I can't remember or couldn't spell if I did remember.  Elder Fenton conducted the baptism - short and simple.  I loved the outdoor setting.  We all gathered around the font (there were only about 15 of us who had come out for the baptism).  The birds were singing and the sun shone brightly.  It was a beautiful thing!.

Sister Fenton took pictures of the two baptismal candidates and the Elder who baptized them.  If I can get her to send me a copy - I'll post it.  They were just two beautiful young people!

Back in the church, the soldiers divided into groups.  Relief Society met in a room down the hall and then the rest of the soldiers met in different areas of the chapel (the sanctuary).  We sat right-front where there was a group of investigators being  taught by one of the traveling Sisters.  Other missionaries were scattered throughout the room teaching and answering questions.  In the back-left of the chapel, a larger group gathered for Priesthood Meeting.  At the front of the chapel - soldiers who wanted Priesthood blessings were getting them on either side of the podium.  The service following Sacrament Meeting was pretty much organized chaos - but it was thoughtful - and it was reverent.  It was very different than any meeting I've ever attended.

Tonight - after the last session of conference - we had four Elders and the Fentons over for dinner.  I got a recipe from my friend, Tanya, for a yummy pork chop casserole.  It was delicious!  I think everyone enjoyed it immensely!  We had biscuits, peas, salad and for dessert - Grandma Arrington's yogurt pie.

Left to right - our dinner guests.
Elder and Sister Fenton, Elder Billeter, Elder Stadel, Elder Brimhall, and Elder Loos.

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