Snow, Transfers, and Constitution Hall
Sunday, January 19, 2014
The Week in Review
After accomplishing all of the needful work on our P-day, the Sisters headed for King of Prussia Mall and Wegman's. This is a very large market filled with wonderful food, health food and regular food. As it was explained to me it is a chain on the east coast. If you lived near this store you could just shop daily and choose things already prepared or almost prepared. We were told by a mission trainer out of SLC that we just had to see this store.
We got to do some pretty unique and interesting things this week. We got word this week that 3 of our visa waiters had received their visas and would be flying out tomorrow. One had to ship some things home, so his mom sent us a debit card and we had to take it to him. So we went right down to South Philly and met him at the church, which was in a beautiful office building with an attractive glass front. Then, since we were so close, we headed to "Tony Lukes" a legend in Philadelphia. His specialty is roast pork sandwiches, but he has all sorts of hot sandwiches. We had the roast pork and mine had broccoli-rabe on it. Delicious. It is located right under a train route so it is quite noisy. That night the local hockey team was playing, so there were many people getting a sandwich before the game. The stadium was just a couple of blocks away.
We have been given the assignment to inspect apartments within our area of the mission. So this month we had been assigned 2 apartments out near Valley Forge. We traveled out to them and were very pleasantly surprised to find the older apartment (with 2 elders who we were told were pack-rats) spic and span clean while the next apartment, in a newer location (housing elders we were told had the cleanest apt. ever) was very dirty. We will be given about 2 apartments per month to inspect. We got to visit a new part of town and that was interesting, plus we stopped at the famous Zwalen's Ice Cream--local frozen custard eatery owned by members and gives the missionaries 50% discount. We did enjoy our afternoon.
Elder Jones worked all day yesterday. We have 275 missionaries in our mission. This week is transfers and a total of 76 companionships will be affected. That meant that on Saturday Elder Jones had to organize the service elders to go to the parts of the mission where only public transportation is available and pick up their luggage and bring it to the mission office. I do not think he slept well Friday worrying about it. Anyway, he had developed a complex diagram of the locations and the route and had it all ready. The suitcases were all retrieved before 5 pm. After transfers they will do all of this again, only with different bags...
Transfers are quite interesting. Monday we send the 3 Visa waiters on their way. That night we honor the 7 departing missionaries who have completed their missions. Next day: take the departing missionaries to the airport, pick up the new missionaries (only 4 this time). They have dinner with us Tuesday, sleep at the mission home and then on Wed. the transfers take place, the Golden's get assigned and those training Golden's receive training. Elder Jones has to interview each new Golden to determine their eligibility to drive while on their mission. For me the only complication is getting the phone numbers all correct and applied to the i-phones. It seems that our mission is going down in numbers. With the changes mentioned we will be closing down 3 apartments this month. All of this makes the office busy and life complicated for our president. We love it, though!
Sunday, January 12, 2014
We have had about 3 days of rain and fog. Everyone tells us that this winter is unusual, but we have nothing to compare it with, so we are amazed at the moisture! We finished off the week by having our Ward Conference today. It was very good. It was all about the Spirit of Elijah in doing work for the living and the dead. We ended with dividing up into small groups of 5 and a stake representative helped us log on to "Family Search" and locate our ancestors. Then we had our Pot Luck meal and put together Missionary Preparedness kits. In a zip loc bag you have materials that will help you share the gospel. You keep it in your car so as to be always ready. Inside the bag--Book of Mormon, pass along cards, pamphlets, etc. It was a great push by the Ward Mission Council. After that we attended the baptism of Regina. Afterwards we were visiting with members of the Widener ward who had come to support her and met the bishop's wife. She is an Ovard from Bloomington! Her mom is Liz Ovard, a guidance counselor from Pine View. I think John and Jen will remember her. She lived just up the hill on the way to the church. It is truly a small world when we are connected by the gospel.
Sunday, January 5, 2014
First we said goodbye to 2013 by traveling to Camden. That is right across the Delaware River from Philadelphia and we parked in the parking lot of the Aquarium and stood on the bank of the River to see the 15 minute firework show that Philly puts on at 6 pm and 12 midnight New Year's Eve. It was a wonderful show. We took in the 6 pm show (of course!) and truly enjoyed it, although it was very cold as you can see from the photo. The second photo shows the Philadelphia skyline in eht background. We were with the Smuin's and Holloway's who serve with us in this mission and we ended up at their home for games and food where we officially welcomed in 2014. New Year's Day we teamed up with the same people for the show "Saving Mr. Banks" which we really enjoyed and then we had a lovely dinner together. Even our mission president and his wife joined us and we played games too. Their job is so very stressful that it was wonderful to see them relax, even for just a brief time.
This week it has been all about the weather. We had a snowstorm of 6" on Thursday night. Elder Jones was getting phone calls from the missionaries regarding their cars, driving in the snow, etc. all evening. He contacted the mission president and all missionaries were told to stay in for the night. That call probably saved some accidents...I think my favorite call for the week was a Sister explaining why she scraped her bumper. This is her story: I was making a U-turn and they did not make the street wide enough so I had to go up over the curb and onto the grass and I hit a snowbank and scratched the car. To avoid having your companion back you up they just keep moving forward...Back to the weather--It was very cold yesterday so the snow did not melt. Then today it rained early this morning and that made the roads icy and slushy and just very messy. They delayed church til 2 pm and we just had Sacrament Mtg. We have to travel 10 miles to pick up a member at a retirement center and we did see a car off the road that hit brush and scraped up his car. Then in 2 days it is supposed to get only to 19 degrees, so we shall see what that does. I ventured out Saturday afternoon and purchased boots--waterproof and fur-lined. Not really attractive, but just what I needed. This is what it looked like on our way home from church today.
As we look back on 2013 we feel so very blessed. We know that Christ lives! We know that his gospel has been restored! We LOVE serving in the Pennsylvania Philadelphia Mission! We love each other! We love our family and so appreciate their support while on this mission. We look forward to the challenges of 2014 and the tender mercies and growth that will come. May you experience this same blessing.