Sunday, March 30, 2014

Snow, then Rain, Rain, Rain
We are truly amazed at the weather here!  The above photo was taken last weekend with Sisters Holloway, Smuin and I at the Orchid Show.  (They both go home in May and I will miss all the fun we have had with them.)  That was the last lovely day we saw.  After a winter of lots of snow, we are now experiencing rain.  And when rain is predicted, even if it is only 20% chance, it RAINS!  It has been raining nonstop for 2 days now.  The ground is sopping wet with puddles everywhere.  I sure wish I could send some of this rain to St. George!  On a happy note, it has been in the 40's for a couple of days, so we have turned the heat down.  The week has been good.  Elder Jones has had 2 teaching experiences and Sister Jones 3.  We LOVE going out with the missionaries.  I am getting much more confident in teaching lessons.  It helps that I attend district meetings each week and we must practice using role playing.  We were able to attend part of Missionary Leadership Training on Friday, as Elder Jones needed to speak to the leaders about "designated drivers" and I did their lunch along with Sister Smuin.

Tonight we are headed to a homeless shelter in Downtown Philadelphia where we are feeding about 300 people dinner.  Our ward does this several times each year and we enjoyed participating so much last time that we signed up again!  We feel so very grateful to have always had food and shelter.  What a huge blessing that is--and so easily overlooked...

Sunday, March 23, 2014

 Monday morning early we were awakened by the phone.  Elders had arisen early and headed to the local church to play basketball and on the way they had a car accident.   Elder Jones instructed them to take pictures and fill out the accident report, and then we headed out in the snow to inspect several apartments south and west of our apartment.  We Googled the locations and the instructions took us what seemed "over the river and through the woods" and we came upon this old mill on the edge of a creek.  It was so picturesque that I had to take a photo. We enjoyed meeting the 2 sets of missionaries and seeing where they lived.  They had kept their apartments clean and that pleased us.  Then we headed to Downingtown area to visit with a couple of Sister missionaries.  We visited with them for a time and then took them to lunch.  We did enjoy a total of 2 spring days that were lovely and worth being outside.  The snow is
 almost melted except for parking lots.  Now to explain the rest of the photos.  On Saturday two of the other Senior Sisters and I headed to Longwood gardens.  I spoke of these before.  It is a large preserve that is owned by the founder of DuPont.  This is a very large property and they ad an Orchid display going on until the end of March.  We (the 3 sisters) thoroughly enjoyed wandering around the various displays, taking our time, and viewing these beautiful creations of our Heavenly Father.  We decided that if you were put on the flower committee during    
  the creation, you were very lucky.  I was definitely not on that committee, but I do appreciate what they created.  Some of the displays reminded me of my grandmother, Ethel Evans.  I saw a large display of nasturtiums and grandma always had those.  We especially learned about the vanilla bean.  It comes from a vanilla orchid and after pollination these long lovely orchids put forth a cluster of beans.  These beans are harvested, then dried.  The reason that the real vanilla is so expensive is that the real beans grow in Madagascar and the                                                          
pollination yields only a small amount.  So they are grown commercially by pollinating by hand.  It is labor-intensive.  Bottom right is a photo of a vanilla bean stalk.  While we did our flower watching, our spouses went out to see Brother Herr.  He makes the mission rings and he also raises racing and homing pigeons.  Elder Smuin is planning to take home 4 of his baby pigeons with him when they leave in May.  The problem:  where to put them.

We also had Stake Conference.  The visiting authority was Lynn G. Robins of the 70.  He was a most dynamic speaker and so very easy to listen to.  Saturday night he spoke all about hastening the work of salvation and all members doing their part.  Elder Robins was John's mission president in Uruguay in 1995.  After today's conference, we had the baptism of DJ and Dominic Taylor, ages 10 and 14.  It was a marvelous day and we did so enjoy this baptism.  Afterwards their friend Maggie Mortimer and her friends put on a large lunch.  Maggie is from Haiti, so there was lots of Caribbean food.  

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Atlantic City, New Jersey
     Yesterday was our P-Day.  One of the things that I have to learn to do when I take over from Elder Smuin is to trade out phones that do not work and then take them to the missionaries, activate them and transfer their contacts.  Those who know me know that I am really not mechanical not technologically advanced, so I have been nervous about this part.  Anyway, for some reason, we had several phones last week that needed to be replaced .  We have decided that it has to do with their age and we are fearful that many will now begin to go bad.  So we decided to head over to Vineland, New Jersey, to trade out the Sister Trainer's phone.  It was a lovely drive.  New Jersey's southern part is very nice.  Quite rural with small towns and bedroom communities.  After struggling for 1 hour to program the phone (now I am even more nervous about them...) we turned it over to them in good working condition and headed for Atlantic City, NJ.  Below is the Absecon Lighthouse in Atlantic City.
      The missionaries have been telling us for several months that we just had to go to Tony Baloney's for a Philly Cheesesteak.  So we did!  Guy Fieri, in his show, "Diner's, Drive'Ins and Dives" this restaurant won the cheesesteak battle.  We did have the cheesesteak, it was good, but we still think the ones at "Mama's" are better.  We did agree, however, that Tony Baloney's qualifies as a "dive".  The inside was small and basic and we were shown the watermark where Hurricane Sandy was.  This was about 4 feet up the wall.
      The amusement park is not open.  I imagine that the salt ruined the working parts and damaged the pier.
      So below is a photo of us standing on the "boardwalk" in Atlantic City in front of Donald Trumps Taj Mahal Casino.  Dad and Elder Smuin found a bench, but Sister Smuin and I did walk the boardwalk down until we found a candy shop and bought some of their famous salt water taffy.
     We have enjoyed a busy week in the Mission Office.  This week the President is going all over the mission interviewing each missionary (about 270 now).  This is very time consuming.  Sister Anderson meanwhile visits with them about their meals, their health, etc.  We did have a missionary end up in the hospital this week.  He experienced bad intestinal problems for almost 2 weeks, even going in to insta-care.  They just kept telling him it was the flu.  So Wednesday night he ended up in the ER.  It ended up to be that his appendix had burst.  The appendix was then removed, along with some of his large intestine.  He is one very sick missionary.  He is even today still in ICU.  He will be over a month recovering and may even need to return home.  So we have been praying for him as a mission.  
     Friday we enjoyed lunch with Sister Josephine Chavez.  She is the sister who takes wonderful photos of nature.  For any who have received a card from me, she took that photo.  She is quite elderly, yet is a delightfully vibrant woman.  Today we had a baptism after church.  Helena Lollis, 8, was baptized.  I had the privilege of going with the sister missionaries once to teach her.  Next week we have 2 young boys being baptized.  Our ward is growing.  We are enjoying the new sister missionaries in our ward.  It is sometimes good to get fresh perspectives for the work.  We are having them to dinner tonight.  Elder Jones had the opportunity to meet with a couple of the missionaries President asked him to look after this week and he is hopeful that he can help them to help themselves.  Tomorrow we are heading out to inspect apartments that the missionaries live in, and then to visit some Sister Missionaries.  This is so much fun!  We are so pleased to in some small way help the work to move along and help the Mission President be able to concentrate on the weightier matters that he encounters.  We expect snow again tomorrow, but hope that spring will soon follow.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

First Week in March 2014
 This week was transfer week.  That is always a big week in the mission office, because we get to participate closely with the outgoing, incoming, and transferring missionaries--and all of the busyness that accompanies that.  We love it!  This transfer we went home 7 missionaries and forwarded 3 VISA waiters to Brazil.  The next day we received 1 sister missionary and 1 VISA blessing, going to Russia.  So our count is slowly going down from the 275 young missionaries we have had.  We get to go to the farewell dinner and hear the mature testimonies of the outgoing missionaries.  We marvel at their stories and their strong testimonies and we also realize that some do not go home to supportive families.  The photo above is all of the missionaries who were affected by the transfer--either going to a new place or getting a new companion.  These missionaries are so excited to see old companions and fellow missionaries that they arrive very early that day, hoping to have time to renew friendships.  They check for mail, packages, commissary items, and it can get a bit hectic.  There are some awesome missionaries represented in this photo, and the more we get to know them, the more we love them.  Elder Jones is pleased that he will get to meet with some of them and help them on a weekly basis.  The president has given him this assignment.  We did get 2 new sisters in our ward and we did accompany them on the very first night to a teaching assignment, so they are on the ball missionaries.  Sister Handy and Howard are their names.  Elder Jones received 3 new pickups this week and we hurried out to get them so that they could be traded out at transfers.  One of the pickups went to a set of sisters in Montrose, PA--way north.  The sisters scared us Monday night with a call that they needed help.  They had been teaching a family and on the way home their gps told them to take a different road than they had taken to get there.  They knew they were in trouble when the road they turned onto was unplowed.  They immediately got stuck in about 18" of snow and slid off the road trying to drive.  The whole process with them took over 4 hours.  They got stuck.  They called a member for help.  It was getting dark so Elder Jones got their coordinates in case we had to call search and rescue.  Members arrived--an older couple--and got them out of the ditch.  The sisters were able to drive to the top of the hill and were safe, but now the older couple was stuck and could not get out.  Elder Jones had them stay atop the hill and wait.  They could not see the older couple and cell phone reception was spotty, so they had to wait.  They called another member with a tow truck and finally they were all OK.  The sisters then came on Friday to pick up their new truck.  They took 6 hours to drive a usual 3 hour trip.  They called and explained that they had no cash so had to keep plugging into the gps to take NO toll roads (which in PA are hard to find if you want highways or freeways).  Elder Jones handed them some cash and they made it home in 3 hours!  Friday night 2 elders in NJ had a wreck involving another car and Elder Jones had to take a quick trip to Cherry Hills area Saturday morning to get their report, give them instructions, and get photos of the car.  We were so happy, though, that nobody was injured.  We surely do know that Heavenly Father must use hundreds of angels to help watch over these young missionaries!
Saturday was John's birthday and we celebrated our 46th anniversary a day early by going to the 76ers versus the Jazz.  The Jazz won!  The game was quite fun, actually.  Here is a shot of 10 senior missionaries (President and Sister Anderson in the foreground) having fun in each others company.  Being on a mission as a senior missionary is lots of hard work, but also LOTS of fun, enjoyment, laughter, friendships, etc.  Did I already say that we are so happy to be serving this mission?  We are!  

Today was a wonderful Sacrament meeting on missionary work.  The talks were not your usual "we should all be member missionaries" talks, but were just how we could readily accomplish the admonition to take the gospel to all the world, starting right in our own sphere of influence.  Then we had a pot luck lunch after church and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  Tomorrow we are in charge of our monthly Senior Missionary get-together.  We did it last month also, but tomorrow is just soup, salad, bread and dessert and the games that we did not get to play last month.  It will be easy, yet fun.

I was approached today by the Relief Society to participate in the Birthday Celebration.  It seems that someone was assigned a 10 minute presentation on "A woman's sphere of influence" and now cannot do it.  So it looks like I will be scurrying to plan for this program in 3 days.  This will stretch me, as I prefer to plan and prepare, but this will need to be fairly spontaneous.  I can do this.....

One last thing--we hit 50 degrees twice this week so the snow is melting!  Someone today said that they were happy to finally welcome spring, so we are hopeful they know what they are speaking about because the forecast calls for snow and rain this week.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

One Week Closer To Spring!
     Sorry, no photos from me this week, so I have a professional photo of downtown Philly.  I do like its skyline.
     As I began this post, it is one week closer to spring. This coming week we are expecting another few days of wild wintry weather in the form of ice storms, snow and rain.  We do not know what to expect.  We only know that this continual bad weather makes it hard during a transfer week as the missionaries have to fly home, fly to us and drive to the mission office to the transfer meeting.  If the weather is too bad the planes and cars are all grounded.
     This week we gave a family home evening lesson to the older singles in this area and they assured us that this winter is longer and more severe than they ever remember.  We gave them a lesson on the Pennsylvania Philadelphia Mission, what it is, some facts about it and what they can do to help the missionaries and the missionary work.  It was lots of fun.  We also had 4 teaching appointments teaching lessons with the elders or sisters.  Both of our sisters are being transferred this coming week, so they were a bit sad to part with members that they had become attached to.  We wish them the best in their new assignments.  The president has developed a level of trust with Elder Jones (plus he and his wife are stretched very thin) so he is assigning Elder Jones to counsel some missionaries who are experiencing difficulties.  They will be transferred this coming week to areas closer to the mission office so this can happen regularly.  Elder Jones is happy about that.  I am getting ready to learn about mission finances so I can take over as the finance secretary when the Smuin's go home.  Today  I stayed several hours after church as the mission finances were audited.  It seems that both Elder Jones and I are both constantly learning as we are on this mission and it is reassuring to know that we can still do that!
      We do so appreciate all of the support and love of our family.  We thank you!  We are so happy serving together--and relieved that we will not be transferred AT ALL this week.  One of the benefits of being a Senior Missionary Couple...
      I must write about our last Sunday evening meal with the Jungs.  We have about 12 wonderful Korean families in our ward that are very strong and valiant--and like to feed the missionaries.  When we arrived at the Jungs with the Sister missionaries we found that all of the Korean families were there and it was a Korean FEAST.  The food is really very good and we are developing a taste for the wonderful flavors.  They eat lots of rice, spicy meat, and vegetables and more vegetables.  I think that is why they do not get fat--they eat lots of veggies and fruit for dessert.  Anyway we just love these Korean families and have had such a positive experience with them.  They are full of love and humility.