Sunday, October 27, 2013

Fall is Here
 We enjoyed some good missionary experiences this week.  This is us at the ward Halloween party.  We took an investigator with us.  I will tell you more about that...They had some really good chili there and it was accompanied by rice.  Yes, RICE.  (Our ward has about 12 families that are Korean).  Actually tasty!
 Today is Sunday and we took a drive to try to catch a couple of families the Bishop assigned us to visit.  We did not find anyone home, but traveled 30 miles and saw some colorful follage.

 So for our "P" day, Dad went with the Sister Missionaries to teach "Sassoun".  He randomly called the mission office on Thursday wanting to be taught.  He had left his job and traveled back home to PA to start over.  He had apparently been to Temple Square and had contact with Mormons at some time, because he mentioned how good he felt they were and that was what first sparked his interest.  He walked to the Mission office and Dad, along with the 2 Sister Missionaries there taught him for about 1 hour.  We then took him home.  Dad and the missionaries taught him again on Saturday.  Then we took him to the Halloween party and again today for church.
While dad was teaching, I went shopping and found myself a winter coat at Macy's.  It is gray and I really like it.  I wanted to get it because we are going for a field trip with the other senior missionaries in 2 weeks and will be walking outside while seeing the temple construction site.

We are working more with the Sister missionaries in our ward.  Also, we will be getting a set of Elders on Wednesday for the ward.  That will be great.  We attended a Ward Missionary Coordination meeting on Thursday and received an assignment to contact a couple of people.  I was to meet one today, but she left before anyone could introduce us.  However, we did have 6 investigators and 2 less actives who are all being currently taught at church today.  The meeting was about the Book of Mormon and the talks were exceptional.  I really liked them and the investigators did too.  One of the investigators is Diane.  I met with her for the 2nd time this week with the missionaries.  They brought her to the office and we had lunch together.  She is very sweet.  She committed to live like a Mormon for a month and see how she felt.  She even brought her inactive spouse with her today.  He is from Idaho.  Thursday we attended District Meeting and Dad had to leave early because of a phonecall, but I got to role play a missionary with Elder Taylor.  He is really nice and we have been companions twice during roleplay.  Friday we had a leadership training for zone and district leaders.  Dad presented some car safety information and I helped make a lunch for them.  It was a busy day.  Tomorrow begins transfers.  We take 2 to the airport (Dad and I get to take an Elder who finally got his VISA!) to go.  That night we have a dinner honoring all those leaving to go home.  Early Tuesday they go to the airport.  Dad had to rent a U-haul for their luggage.  Then transfers take place and the companionships leave for their new assignments.  Then we all go to the airport in the afternoon to greet the new ("Golden") missionaries.  Dad has to interview each one (we get 21) regarding driving privileges.  I help in the kitchen to feed them.  Then Wed. they get assigned to their companions.  Then they leave and things calm down.  We are so lucky to get to know all of these terrific young men and women.  We are striving especially to work hard to make the Mission President's job easier so that he can focus on the things most essential for him.

It looks like we will permanently be serving in the Mission Office.  The couple who were to work in the office arrived Friday and the President sent them up to the Hometown area and explained that his original intention was for them to work in the office, but they delayed their mission due to the marriage of a daughter so we were asked to step in and now we are trained and doing a good job, so they would receive a change of assignment.  They seem to be very nice people who are just fine doing whatever they are asked to do by the President.  We receive another Senior couple this coming Friday.  They are from Logan area and will be working at the county courthouse filming records in Cape May, NJ.

Just a short testimony from me:  I testify of the power of the book "Preach My Gospel".  It is a wonderfully complete guide to missionary work and by using it I can see that it is truly inspired of God.  We love our Mission!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Valley Forge
Aunt Chris is in New Jersey again (this time it is for the last time) and after our shift of collecting food at the local Trader Joes for the local shelters we headed for Valley Forge.  I did not realize that Valley Forge was so very close to us.  I should have, because we are in the Valley Forge Stake and the Valley Forge Mission Zone.  It was only about 13 miles from here.  We first went to the Visitor's Center and Chris insisted we pose for you.
Valley Forge is named so because it is on the Valley Creek and the forge af the Schuylkill River.  Washington chose this location because of its proximity to Philadelphia, the river, the many hills which would allow him to fend off any attempted attacks and the fertile farmland which he hoped would yield food for his soldiers.  That turned out to be a problem.  After much hunger a man named Greene was named quartermaster and he finally was able to procure the necessary food for the starving men.  Washington planned to winter his troops there and prepare for the coming spring and the battles that would ensue.
When the men arrived they constructed log cabins for their housing.  The officers had 2 men to a cabin and the enlisted men had 12.  The bunks looked to me like you would have to find your position and not roll at all because there just was no room.  The men revered Washington.  He was a very good general--concerned about his troops, tactical, kind.  Even though the circumstances were difficult the men were happy.
This arch was erected to honor all those encamped at Valley Forge and their sacrifice for freedom.  It reminds me of the Arch de Triumph in Paris.  I really liked it.  You will notice that there is a hint of the fall folage in the background.
When the camp originated there were 2000 of these little cabins built.  Another reason Washington chose this site was the abundance of timber for cabins.  At one time there were over 12,000 troops located at Valley Forge.  They did ok through December and January, but the next two months were harsh.
Yes!  We found another Covered bridge.  This one is quite unusual as it has open sides, is white and actually has been restored recently.
This was Washington's headquarters.  It was the home of the original owner of the land.  He was wealthy and actually lived elsewhere but used this home for the overseer of his large farm.  George Washington rented this place and Martha even came up from Mt. Vernon to spend time with him.  It was interesting to see the rooms inside and to think that the strategy of the war was formed there.
Volunteers reenact various parts of the story of Valley Forge.  This man told us all about the guard cabins.  Only 2 guards to a cabin.  Washington had 49 guards originally and when General Von Stueben, A Prussian who came to Washington's aid asked for another 100 guards Washington had very strict requirements for those guards.  He wanted clean handsome young men and nobody foreign born.  General Von Steuben worked these guards vigorously to form them into an actual fighting regimen and the rest of Washington's army was modeled after these guards.  The army spent 6 months total at Valley Forge.  The war itself lasted 8 years.  How thankful we are for these committed patriots.
This is a stained glass window in the George Washington Chapel.  It is an actual church, having services each Sunday.  Valley Forge is a National Park that extends about 2000 acres.  It is covered with walking trails and pets are welcome.  We saw lots of dogs.  Also, there were many bicycle riders enjoying the trails.  It is a beautiful park.

About our week:  We got a bit more missionary work.  We are picking up an investigator this morning for church.  I picked her up this week after she had been involved in a car accident.  Also, we went to visit a less active member.  We are going to be visiting him each week with the Sister missionaries.  So we are getting to do some REAL missionary work.  This week we will be having a planning meeting to prepare for the missionaries leaving and arriving next week.  We will also be getting some visa waiters headed to Brazil.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

My Mission Week

For those who think that because we have been having such great fun on the weekends that we are not on a mission but are actually on a vacation, I want to relate just a bit of our mission week.  

Last week both Elder Jones and I attended a Zone Conference and had the opportunity to give some instructions to the young missionaries.  He instructed them about cars, accidents, reporting, gas receipts and I instructed on commissary ordering and baptismal records.  Then I volunteered to make them a treat for their Zone activity this past Monday.  They enjoyed lemon cake and 7 layer dip and chips.

Our job at the office is often quite busy, but sometimes there is not much to do, so I have been cleaning out closets, organizing things, etc.  This week Elder Jones joined in, deciding that he did not like the way his desk was situated.  So we moved his desk and credenza that houses his files and supplies.  This was not too easy as the credenza got caught on the heater vent that it had covered for so long and Dad just kept trying to lift it.  We eventually thought it must be bolted to the wall or floor, but by that time Dad had grunted and weight lifted it many times.  That night he could hardly brush his teeth for strain to his forearm muscles!  Anyway, the result was that he swapped positions and now faces the wall like the other desks in the room and that gives the room much more room.  We moved unused items to storage and atop cupboards and now have a decent work space. 

Last week we were told that on Monday we would meet with the President--all of the office staff.  We were happy because we had some coordination issues that we wished to discuss.  As it turned out the purpose of the meeting was to introduce a new service missionary who will be doing apartments.  This is a very big headache so we are happy he will be taking on this challenge.  For instance:  We learned just last Friday that we were getting a new senior couple in our mission transfering from Washington DC North.  They microfilm records and had apparently run out of work so are coming to Cambridge, DE to work there.  That necessitates a place to live, so this new missionary has worked all week on this.  Meanwhile the couple is in a hotel.  Until working in the mission office I never realized all of the details that had to take place in order for missionaries to be able to accomplish their work.

Corry was approached this week by the mission president and asked to put together a presentation about stress.  Each week he has a conference call with all of the missionaries and Corry will take one of these 30 minutes in November for his presentation.  Elder Jones has been working diligently on this assignment ever since.

Thursday we have a district that meets and we may attend.  Sister Smuin and I attend.  This week they had some zone leaders there as well and we went through the training and then role-played presenting the discussion on the Plan of Salvation.  It was fun.  Elder Taylor and I traded off doing the teaching.  I do so admire these elders and sisters and their confidence and fluency in presenting gospel discussions.  They are amazing!  It is good practice for me because the Sisters assigned to our ward have asked me to teach with them on occasion.  

Friday we received 4 new cars for our mission, so I drove our car and took 4 missionaries to pick up the cars.  I will do the same thing again on Monday as we receive 4 more cars that day.  I even was able to find my own way back to the office (with the aid of "Scout").  We went through some lovely country, including the Marion Golf course where the US Open is played.  

We have a young Elder who has worked in the office until just after we arrived and has automated nearly everything.  He will be going home the end of this month and he has decided that I am the most logical person in the office to show the complex spreadsheets to.  So Friday my brain got really challenged!  It was a spreadsheet and its application through e-mail that enables all of the information in the Church'es missionary data base to be transferred into a cell phone.  This way the president and others who need it can have all of the phone numbers, medical id, address, etc. of each missionary (270) at their disposal.  The problem is that every time they do transfers, this data base must be formatted and imported, etc.  I took copious notes and then had to quickly type them all up while I could understand what I had learned.  

This week there is a conference of all of the Mission Presidents in the Northeast United States and it will be held here in Philadelphia.  Russell M. Nelson will be the visiting authority.  They will tour the missions and will use a bus and one of our mission vans, so Dad had to make sure it was in tip-top shape.  It had been in an accident and was missing a mirror.  Long story short, Dad got it all in shape but did not know that if it was over $175 authorization from SLC was needed.  OOPS!  So he had to do one of those forms to ask permission post haste.  

Through all of this I have learned great respect for the Mission President.  Apparently our mission has the second highest amount of missionaries in the USA.  Boston has just a few more than us.  The mission president interviews these kids regularly and in our case, it takes him quite some time to get this all done.  This last week he was busy all week with interviews and in fact had to sent one elder home.  He was feeling the stress.  He told us he has lost 12 pounds just recently due to the stress.  He is a fine man and a good mission president and we just want to do whatever we can to alleviate any stress he has over the running of the office.  We are thankful for this opportunity to serve and are especially grateful to our children for their love and support, even financial support.  We love you all!      Elder and Sister Jones

Our Trip to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
     For our P-Day activity this week we decided to take a trip to Lancaster County, PA.  An elderly Sister in our ward had given me a book about the covered bridges there and it looked like a really cool place to go.  We teamed up with the Holloways and the Smuins who also serve near us and took this trip.  We went first to a Mennonite Visitors Center to learn about the Amish and the Mennonite peoples, their beliefs and ways of life.  We found that religiously they are about the same, but Amish are quite strict, and the Mennonite are conservative and modest, but wear more regular clothing and do believe in modern conveniences.  They believe strongly in the importance of Moses' Tabernacle in the wilderness.  Just below is a typical Mennonite Farm (they have a car).  They each had a huge garden and many were selling their produce.  We did buy some tomatoes, broccoli, and apples.  They take very good care of their farms and they were quite tidy.
 I especially liked the Amish horse and buggies.  We saw them everywhere, but it was hard to get a good photo of them.  Their buggies are very shiny and black and the horses quite fast.
 Another way to tell if the farm was Amish was to look for the laundry hanging.  It had been rainy all week, so they had been unable to hang out their clothes to dry.  So each Amish farm had a very LONG clothesline full of drying clothes.
 A good shot of a horse and buggy nearing the local car dealership.
      We then headed for the Shady Maple, an extremely large smorgasboard (it seats 1000 persons!) where we visited their 200 foot line of food.  I especially liked the grilled salmon with dill sauce.  Dad liked the bratwurst and we both liked the walnut pie.  This place makes Las Vegas smorgasboards look small.
      This is the second covered bridge we saw on this day.  I really liked them and want to return and see more.  They are off the beaten path, however.  We found one more but it had recently been torn down.  Some you can travel through (as this one below) and some you can walk through only and even some you can only view.
      Sister Holloway is a CES missionary, Sister Smuin works in the office with us, and me, also working in the office.  We had a most enjoyable day.  The only thing we missed was the fall colors. Apparently there has been too much rain and the leaves are now just starting to drop even before they turn color.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

If you have not taken the time yet, be sure to TRY to answer the questions about Philly.  Here are the answers:
1.      William Penn
2.      President
3.      The first newspaper
4.      flag
5.      University of Pennsylvania
6.      mustard
7.      brains of famous people
8.      Philly cheesesteak, cream cheese and pretzels
9.      Sesquehannah
10.  Mushroom capitol of the world
11.  Declaration of Independence
12.  1st capitol, 1st newspaper, 1st public zoo, 1st public library, 1st computer

32 hours, but it took us even longer
5 mph

Only Corry
Our Trip to Vienna, Virginia 

Friday we left the Mission office at noon (yes, we had the president's permission!) and headed to Vienna Virginia to visit our daughter, Jennifer, and her family.  It had been Dana's 13th birthday during the week and we were happy to visit.  We added a new state to our list of "we were there states".  Delaware--we were only there for a very few minutes, as our route took us just through the top corner of the state.  We did see a beautiful bridge that went from Delaware to New Jersey, but I was unable to take a photo while we were driving.
This is the Susquehanna River as it comes to the ocean through Maryland.  It is very wide and lovely at this point.  We have some converts up in Susquehanna that have had the privilege of being baptized in this river.
 Brad and Diane Neibaur are some of our good friends from Rupert, ID.  They are on a mission in the Washington DC North mission and work in the mission office.  It was such fun to have supper with them and compare mission office stories.  Corry came away with some good ideas to think upon...
It was absolutely awe inspiring to come around a curve in the highway and see these spires in the sky.  The most surprising and awesome sight we have witnessed.  Washington DC Temple.
 I told Jen to get lots of apples and I would help her can them.  She did, and we canned apples for about 7 hours.  Even grandpa helped.  Dana was our big help.  We canned 101 quarts of applesauce and apple pie apples.  They sure were yummy.
 Dana made these 2 apple pies by herself.  They were delicious!
 After watching conference and then having a delicious meal of salmon tacos and Spanish rice and birthday cake we headed home.  Yes, Pennsylvania is now "home".