Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Best News EVER!

When we got to the office this morning, Sister Barlow checked the email.  We were all thrilled to find out that Elder Lumpkin will be staying in the SCCM for another 18 months!  Elder L. was sent to us two transfers (12 weeks) ago as a short term missionary.  He is legally blind and needs a lot of assistance physically.  I think the Brethren wanted to see how he'd do with the rigors of missionary life.  He has been stellar!  A real trooper!  And the young man has such a giant spirit!  You meet him and just fall in love!  What a special missionary he is!  He has been assigned to two amazing companions, Elder Bowen and Elder James.  They have been a real blessing to Elder Lumpkin, but I'll bet they'd both tell you that HE was a greater blessing in their lives!
Elder Lumpkin with Sister and President Holm

More New Cars!

Seven more new cars in the mission as of today!  These Elders came by to pick one up.  I thought it was for them, but they were taking it to the Sisters in their area.  What a gentlemanly gesture, right?

Elder Lee and Elder Boberg.  I love how their ties match the color of the SISTERS' new vehicle!  :o)

Sisters to the Rescue!

The four Sisters who live with Sister Barlow stopped by the office on their way home from grocery shopping Monday.  They helped me out in two ways..
Sisters Call, Law, Schauerhamer and Lester 

#1  They each consumed a piece of the chocolate cake that was left-over from our Sunday Dinner.  Now that we've only got two Elders coming for dinner, instead of the five we used to have, I need to cut my dessert recipes in half!

Just LOVE these darling girls!!!

#2  Just before they got there, we got a TON of mail!  There were about 250 cards and letters, and these WONDERFUL ladies helped me alphabetize all of it!  Bless their hearts!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Our 4th Transfer

Wednesday was our 4th transfer.  That means we have been in the mission for over 24 weeks!  March 2nd will be 1/3 down!  Unbelievable!

This transfer was just like the others.  I love transfers!  I've said it before - but it's the only comparison i can think of.  Transfers is just like Christmas!  So many of the missionaries gather, and the anticipation is HIGH! Only a handful of people know where everyone is being sent and with whom everyone is being paired.  It is such a fun and spiritual time!  It's spiritual, mostly because all of the missionaries who have completed their missions - all who are FINISHERS - get to speak to us and bear their testimonies.  All are so strong!    As usual, I jotted down notes as the finishers spoke to us.

Sister Meier told about the goals she and her companion had for her last week on her mission.  They wanted 100 contacts and ___ lessons.  At this point, I'm not sure of the number of lessons they wanted to teach, but I'll ask the STLs.  I think they'll know.  They were close to reaching their goals, and then the storm hit!  They were pretty much grounded for two days!.  They had something like 45 more contacts to get, and 15 lessons to teach.  They were devastated - but they were not going to give up!  On the last day, Sister Meier said they were literally running from house to house - trying to make their goal of 100 contacts!  At noon, they had three more lessons to give - but they MADE it!  She said \she'd never worked so hard, nor felt so close to the Spirit during her whole mission.  She LOVED the feeling!

Sister Garlick

Elder Peterson

Elder Tanner

Elder Tonga

Sister Gale (testimony read by Sister Holm)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Three New Sisters Spend the Night

Monday and Tuesday nights we had three of the 9 new Sisters here.  We had such cute girls!  One was from Portland, one from Seattle and the third from Sandy, UT.  When they were telling us about themselves, Sister Call, the one from Seattle, said that she had family in Pleasant View.  We have two sons who live over there!  She asked if we knew any of the Joneses.  Of course we did.  We lived in the Pleasant View Stake for 10-15 years/  Turns out her Grandpa is Bruce Jones, whom Joyce Wheeler married when they both lost their spouses a few years back.  What is really cool, is that she's staying in this area.  She will be trained by Sister Lester, and they're assigned to the Irmo Ward.  She'll be having dinner with us once a month on Sunday.  Fun!

Here's a picture of the three of them just before they headed over to the church for transfers...
Beautiful Sisters Call, Archibald and Millet!  

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Elders in Play Clothes

I glanced out the front door Monday afternoon and saw these four heading to the office.  Their apparel took me by surprise!  It's not very often that you see Elders in play clothes.  Monday's their p-day, and I'm not sure where they'd been, but I thought they were so CUTE!  Elder Thatcher, on the left, has just returned to the mission after about 8 months.  We got to pick him up from the airport last week.  Such a handsome Elder!  Really, all of them are!  Just look at them!  :o)

Elders Thatcher, Roetker, Collins and Adams

Everyone got mail but Elder Collins.  He said, "I'd  be surprised if there was mail for me!  I'm an old missionary."  I asked him what he meant, and he said he'd been out over a year.  "Once you hit a year, everyone at home kind of forgets about you."  What???  He said he did get emails, so I guess that's okay.  

Last Supper with These Sisters...

Transfers are tomorrow.  I'm not sure about Sister Schauerhamer and Sister Law, but Sister Lester will be training a new missionary and Sister Davis will be sent to a new area.  Sister Davis was Sister Rogers' companion when we first got to South Carolina.  I'm going to miss her!
Sisters Schauerhamer, Law (who is wearing her "eating skirt"), Lester and Davis...
Notice Sister Schauerhamer and Sister Davis.  They're going to take their pie home where they can work on it.  haha

Monday, February 17, 2014

One of these things is not like the other...

Elders Hutchinson, Loos and Wadsworth showed up at the President's Sunday night wearing pink ties.  :o)  I took a picture, but it was from a bad angle.  When I get a better one, maybe from Sister Holm, I'll post it.  I can't remember why they said they decided to all wear pink ties on Sunday, but there was a reason.  Sister Holm asked the President to get a picture with them.  He had on a yellow tie.  :o)

Elders Hutchinson, Loos and Wadsworth will be gone after tomorrow.  I'll miss them, along with Elder Stadel.  He is being sent to train a new Elder, I think, out in Charleston.  He was AP with Elder Brimhall when we got to SC, so he and the three other will be missed around these parts.

Goodbye Sister Gale and Sister Garlick

Sister Gale was scheduled to go home with the other departing missionaries on Thursday, but due to a family emergency, she left 3 days early.  President wanted to give her a proper send off, so he invited the office staff and the three Sister Training Leaders over for cake Sunday night.  Sister Gale and Sister Garlick were our first Sister Training leaders.  I have great respect for both of them.  We got to hear Sister Gale in action out at Fort Jackson on Conference Sunday in October.  She is a powerful missionary.  She will be missed!  Sister Garlick left with the other missionaries on Thursday.  She will be missed also!  But, she's from Centerville - and I'm  hoping we haven't seen the last of her!  :o)

Sister Gale and Sister Garlick - our original "Traveling Sisters."
Sister Gale ALWAYS wore a flower in her hair.  She's from Hawaii.  :o)

Should have set the table with a hammer and chisel!

I made my recipe for "Pink Velvet Company Pie" on Sunday, but I made it with lemon jello, which I like better than "pink."  I didn't want to run to the store for a ready-made crust on Saturday night, and I had graham crackers, so I made my own crust.  I've made LOTS of home-made graham cracker crusts, but I've never had one turn out like this one!  2 cups of graham cracker crumbs, 1/3 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of butter I think I used.  I pressed it really, really hard into the glass pan.  I didn't want it to crumble and fall apart when I cut it.  I baked it at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, let it cook and piled the fluff inside.  Yum!

I noticed that it was kind of hard to cut, when I was serving it, but I didn't know how hard it was till I looked over at Sister Law, who was using both hands to cut into her piece of pie!  That crust was hard as a rock!  It was delicious, but next time I won't press it into the pan so hard - either that, or I'll serve it with hammers and chisels!  Hahaha
Seriously?!?  That was One Hard Crust!!!  In fact, two of the four Sisters opted to take their pie home and eat it later.
 I don't know if they were too full to eat it, or just didn't have the energy.  :o)

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Yeah, We're Classy!

When we got home Friday night, it was almost 8:30.  I didn't feel like going out, and besides EVERY restaurant was overflowing with the Valentine's Day crowd.  So, after we gassed up the truck at Kroger's, we stopped at KFC for a bucket of chicken and THREE sides...ALL COLESLAW!

As I was sitting in the car waiting for Jack, I couldn't help but laugh at our "romantic" and classy dinner fare.  :o)

But, on the OTHER hand...  Jack has always been big on flowers, and this year was no exception.  He had ordered this beautiful bouquet before he found out we'd be gone all day on February 14th, so it sat at the office till we got back into town.

What a special Valentine I have!   Love him with all my !  :o)

A Very Busy Valentine's Day!

We got to the office at 9 AM and left almost immediately for Conway.  We drove the mission truck and pulled the trailer, which had been packed with furniture for missionary apartments.  With the continued influx of new missionaries, we are creating 4 packs in many of the existing apartments.  Where there has been one set of missionaries, there will now be two companionships.  So, we needed more beds, chairs, desks and dressers.

Our first stop was Conway, where we met Sisters Stanley and Anderson at their apartment.  The two Conway Elders were also there, parked AWAY from the girls' apartment and sitting in their car.  It is so funny to see the extreme care they take not to mingle with missionaries of the opposite sex.  It is almost laughable, until you realize that they are just trying very hard to be obedient - and to keep their minds (and hearts) focused on the Savior and His work.

Here are the wonderful Conway missionaries...

Sister Stanley and Sister Anderson

Elder Wilbert and Elder Ah Kuoi

At our stop in Marion, the Sisters were not at their apartment.  They were working in a nearby city that day so we left the desk on the front porch of a member neighbor.  We didn't get to see the Sisters, but we left them a couple of cookies.  Hope the dogs, or squirrels, or the neighbors didn't eat them.  Haha

Our last stop was Florence.  By the time we got there...SURPRISE!  Elder Wilbert (one of the Conway Elders) was there with Elder Lavulo.  He and Elder Davis had gone on exchange.  So Elder Davis was back in Conway with Elder Ah Kuoi and Elder Wilbert was in Florence.  Jack did a double-take when he saw him.  He told us..."I just came back for more cookies."  Haha.  He did get another one.  Shhh.  Don't tell.  We also left some for the Florence Sisters, because one of them is sort of Jack's cousin...Sister Kate Jorgensen.

Here is Elder Wilbert again...with Elder Lavulo.

Elder Lavulo and Elder Wilbert....again  :o)

Snow and Ice Pics and Back to the Office!

After the day off on Wednesday, we went back to work.  Lots of people stayed home another day, but we only have to drive a mile or less to get to the office, so we ventured out.  I took pictures all along the way.  Here are some of them...
although this isn't our car, it show what ours looked like before Jack deiced it.
The WHOLE car, windows and all, was encased in about 1/4 inch of hardened ice

This is the drive out of the apartment complex.

The drive along Columbiana...

The drive along Lake Murray...

And my favorite shot!  The parking lot at the office!  It was a veritable skating rink!

A Valentine Tradition

Every year, since I can remember, I've made and decorated sugar cookies for Valentine's Day.  Since we were grounded because of the storm, I decided to bake.  I had everything I needed for the cookies except a heart shaped cookie cutter.  So...we made one.  I had a number 2 1/2 can of tomatoes in the pantry.  That was just about the right size.  I opened it up and put the tomatoes in a quart jar, then took off the bottom lid as well.  Jack helped me, and together we shaped that can pretty good!
I'm surprised the tongue's not wiggling here!  :o)
Not bad, eh?

I tweaked them a bit after I cut them - but they look pretty good, I thought.

When I was finished, Jack cleaned up the mess.  He's thoughtful like that.  He's great!!!

The finished product.  I felt that decorating them and writing on each one was too time consuming,
so they just got spread with icing and sprinkled with little candy hearts this year.

Snow Day!

February 12, 2012

Today was a snow day.  The governor ordered a state of emergency because of all the snow and freezing rain.  We stayed in almost all day because our parking lot and the the roads were bad!  It was interesting to listen to the freezing rain come down.  Snow falls silently, but the rain kind of tinkles when it falls.  I noticed when we were in all that day, that I didn't see ANY birds or squirrels in the wooded area behind our apartment.  I always heard that birds fly south in the winter, so I wondered where they had gone now???
Here's a picture of our back yard just after the snowfall.
It's starting to feel like home around here.  :o)

I Can See Clearly Now...

February 8, 2014

I LOVE clean windows!  Jack knows that, so he bought a squeegee a while back at Home Depot and Saturday, he washed the windows for me.  Yay!  I had to grab the camera and snap a few pictures of him as he worked, because he ALWAYS works with his tongue out - and wiggling!  It is hereditary.  Some of his grand kids do it too.  :o)

Sometimes Mail is Fun

February 8, 2014

Got four fun pieces of mail this week.  The first was a post card, cut out of a Cheerios Box.  I thought it was pretty clever.

This piece made me laugh.  It was tire-tracked and shredded and what was inside?  Personal Driving Record Forms.  Haha

One of the Sisters sent in money to pay for name tags she ordered.  She sent it in this colorful little envelope, which I will keep and treasure.  :o)
See the two Sister Missionaries - with name tags?  So cute!!!

This last one is the kind that drives me nuts!  It actually wan't hard to figure out, once I thought about it.  I figured the smelly sister must have been named Melanie and we only have one of those in our mission.  I called her and asked if she knew the sender, and she did, so I labeled it and sent it off to her.

She'll be Smelly Melly to me forever more.  :o/

“Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God.” Ephesians 2:19

February 4, 2014

We attended our second No More Strangers fireside on February 2nd.  We were lucky, because 4 out of the 6 scheduled firesides were cancelled because of snow and ice-storms!  Bummer!  I love those firesides! President and Sister Holm usually speak, a member of the Stake Presidency speaks, and the rest of the hour is taken by recent converts to the church.  The whole fireside only lasts an hour, but it is a great night of testimony and fellow-shipping.

One talk that really stood out to me this time was given by a guy who is about 37 years old.  He was actually born and raised in Utah.  At the age of 17, he rebelled and ran away to South Carolina.  He said, "I basically ran away from the church."  He said, "I went to South Carolina because I knew there were no Mormons there."  :o)

About 20 years down the road, things were no going well in his life.  "Everything was falling apart," he said. He knew in his heart, that he needed to go back to church.  He no sooner made that known, when a pair of missionaries appeared on his doorstep.  They re-taught him the Gospel, and this time, he was ready for it and knew that it would be a blessing in his life.  He was re-baptized into the church in January.  I think he has a ways to go before he regains confidence, but in time, I think he will be a marvelous testimonial to the truthfulness of the Gospel and the way it blesses lives.

Sister Holm spoke of a family who moved to SC from Tennessee.  The missionaries happened by while they were moving in and helped them.  After the move-in, they taught them a lesson at President and Sister Holm's home.  At the end of the lesson, they asked a nine-year-old son to pray - asking Heavenly Father if they should be baptized.  At the end of his prayer, he stood up and asked his parents' permission.  He said, "I know God wants me to be baptized in this church."  :o)

President Shurtliff spoke last.  He stood up and said, "Tonight, I'd like to talk about my father."  I'm sure that everyone there thought, as I did, that he was going to tell us about his father.  Many of us have great dads who have taught us many things.  But then Presiden Shurtliff said, "He's your Father too."  He then proceeded to explain the Plan of Salvation - plain and simple.  Great talk!  I love President Shurtliff!

Mission-Wide Conference Call

February 1, 2014

Our President is a fan of conference calls.  He used them for years in his business and has made them part of his tenure of president of the SCCM.  Once a month, we all call in to the same phone number, but in a code and listen to the APs, the Sister Training Leaders, President and Sister Holm, and every once in a while, a special guest.

February 1st, we had a special guest.  Sister Johnson, wife of a member of a Stake Presidency in our mission, talked to us about the mission she served several years ago. She said that first of all, a mission is NOT all fun and games!  Missionaries tend to share only the fun, spiritual and uplifting parts of their missions. They don't tell about the rejection, the sadness and discouragement.  Then when WE are sad or feel rejected and discouraged, we think it's a personal thing.  And we feel like WE are not doing it right.

She said that missionaries should share their ups AND downs with their companions and their leaders.  We are all in the same boat, and the Savior is on our side.  With HIM on our side, how can we fail?

She said that we should appreciate the fact that we work had and that we are obedient.  That counts for a lot.  We may not baptize the most people, but perhaps we touch people's hearts when we don't even realize it.  We need to trust that The Lord is using us in His own way.  I really liked that line.  Our ways are NOT God's ways.  He sees things that we never see.  He knows The Big Picture!

She said that we are stronger when we show our weaknesses.  Satan wants us to believe that we are not good missionaries.

We have to know that EVERYONE has problems and discouragement, but we cannot let it get us down. Jesus Christ will always be by our sides to strengthen us.  This is HIS work.  It will NOT fail!

I KNOW this is true!  I am so grateful to be a part of this great work of bringing souls unto Jesus Christ. We are preparing the world for His second coming and it's going to be SO great!

How Did They Know?

Someone posted a quote that one of the speakers used recently in conference a few weeks ago.  I looked it up to see exactly where it came from.  Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, who lived from 1881 to 1955, said this...

"We are not human beings having a spiritual experience;  we are spiritual beings having a human experience."

Wow!  Was this guy a Mormon?  Nope!  He was a French philosopher and Jesuit Priest.  But smart guy - how did he know that we, indeed, are spiritual beings having a human experience?  It's all part of the Plan of Salvation, according to the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Another quote is a stanza of a poem, by the renowned poet, William Wordsworth, who lived from 1770 to 1850.

"Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
 The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
        Hath had elsewhere its setting,
        And cometh from afar;
        Not in entire forgetfulness,
        And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
        From God, who is our home."

I've always loved this.  And again, how did Wordsworth know that, indeed, we came from our heavenly home, with our Father, God, who placed us on this earth.  A veil was drawn between here and our heavenly home.  He sent us to earth to try us and to test us, to see if we, by our faith, could find our way back to Him. It is in and through the Gospel of His Son, Jesus Christ, that we can get back to live with our Heavenly Father again.  Faith, repentance, baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost are the tools we need to get back to Him. And because none of us can make it there on our own merits, we have been given a Savior - God's Son, Jesus Christ - to atone for our sins.  If we will repent and rely upon His atonement, we may return to live with God.


A Little Catch-up Please!

It's been almost 3 weeks since I blogged, so I'm going back through my notes and pictures to catch up!

This coming week will be transfers again!  Six weeks time passes so quickly out here!  Yesterday was Valentine's Day, and we got to travel the route we took in December to pass out Christmas packages - Florence, Marion and Conway.  This time we were delivering furniture.  With the continuing influx of missionaries, we are having to turn lots of the apartments into 4-packs, so we need to take extra beds, dressers, chairs and study tables.

Now, back to the start of the activities since the Stake Conference on January 26th...