Sunday, June 29, 2014

Fireflies and the End of June

Tomorrow is the END of June.  Time is flying way too fast.  We have had a busy week and I really cannot think of anything stupendous to write about today.  The best thing about the whole week was that we got to eat REAL Mexican food this week.  Annabelle and her 2 children are investigating the church.  Angel, her 8 year old son is going to be baptized next Sunday and we are happy for him.  They are a nice family who live on the outer limits of our ward.  The dad passed away about 3 years ago with cancer and Annabelle cleans houses to support her 2 kids.  The Elders had an appointment to eat late lunch with her last Monday and needed a chaperone, so we got to tag along.  It was well worth it.  She had made many different dishes, including Chicken enchilladas with green chile sauce.  So yummy!  She had salsa, chips, Rice Milanessa, beans, salad, fruit drinks from pineapple and strawberries and something that looked like spaghetti with a Mexican twist.  Everything was so very delicious.   Annabelle is also wanting to get baptized but is waiting for her older son to get baptized at the same time.  Then yesterday we again had to chaperone the elders at a single sister's from Honduras and we went to dinner with them.  She made a wonderful fresh pico de gallo and we enjoyed the meal and company very much.  We took the Elders back to the church and met sisters there, as well as the president and his wife.  So we visited with them and then took the elders and sisters for an ice cream.  (I have pictures of all of this, but not on my phone.  I am supposed to get an e-mail with them). I do have the photo below.  It was exactly 1 year ago last night that President and Sister Anderson arrived at the mission office to begin their term here.  We sure love them!  Last week he admitted to Elder Jones that he had mistakenly placed his keys in the refrigerator...Lots of stress at this job!
Tomorrow we meet to get ready for transfers.  It will be a busy week.  We are also vacating about 6 apartments and moving into others, so for me that means lots of checks, changing things in IMOS and paperwork.  It makes the job interesting...  Tomorrow afternoon we are taking a tour of downtown Philadelphia (again) but with a professional tour guide who wants to treat the senior missionaries.  We just have to pay parking.  Then we will all get a bite to eat with each other.  We have another new senior couple to meet.  The Eylers are only here for 6 months as they have a special needs son on a mission currently and want to be home when he returns.  Bro. Eyler works for the Church (CES) so he has taken a leave of absence to to this mission.  

Last night we saw fireflies!  They are rather magical.  We determined that when we were young we both thought they were not real.  But they live on the east coast and it is fun to see them.  What a beautiful, wonderful, varied, exquisite world Heavenly Father has created.    

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Another Trip to The Bishop's
We were privileged this weekend to take another trip to Vienna, VA for some Bishop family events.  But not before we stopped in Wilmington, DE to deliver a phone to some Elders.  I have had 4 phones go bad this week.  One got left on the bus, one got left in the rain, one completely died and one stopped working so I ordered a new one and then their phone miraculously was working again.  I am pretty good at transferring the contacts and activating new phones these days.  Elder Jones has about 7 elders and sisters that he is counseling these days and he really enjoys that.  We got to attend an "A" swim meet for Hannah and Dana  and Scotty came with us.  Hannah and Dana both did exceptionally well in their meet.  Hannah has a tear in a muscle in her shoulder and took a 2nd and third and a first in her relay.  Dana got a 1st, 2nd and a 1st on her 2 relays so we felt very happy to see them do so well.  It rained almost the entire meet, but the swimming continued.  Jen was a timer for the meet.  
This is Jen's back yard.  It was the site of 2 parties this weekend.  Very nice weather for eating outside.  Tom and Heidi--you will probably remember Rob who went to Alaska with you last summer.  He is getting married and they had a party for he and his fiance.  Jen and I had to skip most of the party in order to take Mikey to BWI airport to go to a basketball camp with Uncle John and some cousins and their friends.  Then today (Sunday) we enjoyed a bbq chicken dinner outside.  Our whole reason for this special trip this weekend was that Cole David Bishop (pictured below) graduated high school this past week and received the Melchizedek Priesthood.  We were happy to be there to participate in this ordination.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

In the Middle of June, Family and Friends
Oh how we are enjoying our experiences here in the Pennsylvania Philadelphia Mission!  What could be better that being in the mission field, working each day with missionaries and the excitement of that, and then getting to have family around!  What a bonus!  Tom, Heidi, Riley, and Brady Jones returned from a week of Delaware, New Jersey and New York City to land for about 24 hours in Philadelphia.  We got to go to dinner with them and then breakfast the next day at the Cambridge, in Chester, PA.  The food was GREAT, the area a bit sketchy, and the company divine.  We had an interesting experience while in the Hilton Philly Airport hotel.  There was a convention of Masons going on and I have never seen so many African Americans in fancy white dresses and purple and the men had purple aprons and hats and jeweled bandalos.  Very interesting.  Our sister-in-law, Chris Jones, is back in the east doing work again and she came to visit as well, meeting us at Tom's hotel after a side trip through the woods.  We took her to breakfast (which ended up to be brunch) too.  We said our goodbyes to Tom and family and headed next to the construction
site of the Philadelphia Temple.  Last weekend we watched them place the top-most steel framework that will hold the Angel Moroni.  Later in the day, unbeknownst to us, the steel workers placed the flag and a live Christmas tree atop it.  We learned this week that the steel workers always place a flag on the top-most part of a building, and the live Christmas tree signifies that no lives were lost in the steel framing of this building.  Below is the mock-up of the tower atop the temple.  They mock it up, cutting the granite and making sure each piece fits perfectly.  Then they will disassemble it and put it where it belongs on the temple.  The granite is beautiful.  It is a grey, with flecks of black, white, and crystal.  It is much like the other old buildings in town.  They want the temple to reflect the period of the rest of historical Philly.  It will have painted woodwork inside, just like Independence Hall.  There was a clean up of the construction area around where we are standing so we got to see some missionaries that we haven't seen in awhile and give them hugs. 
 After the temple we headed to the Franklin Institute where we saw lots of scientific items and displays and loved all of that!  There was a display of OLD things--typewriters, weights, TV's etc.  Among the display was a "Commodore" keyboard and floppy disk reader.  WE HAD ONE OF THOSE!!!!!!  Does that mean we are historic--or pre-historic?  Below is a photo of Dad and I in front of the Ben Franklin Statue. 
 This is another photo of the Franklin Institute, the Sports Room.  It is an amazing museum of interactive scientific things.  Wonderful for kids and something we will go back and visit.  There is also an IMAX Theater where we watched a documentary on sharks.
Aunt Chris spent the night with us and attended church with us today.  I had planned to make whatever Dad wanted for dinner but we got invited to go to Ridley State Park and attend a Korean BBQ with our special Korean friends.  It was a fabulous dinner with some awesome people who treat us so nice.
Us pictured with Sister Kerry.  She is such a sweetheart.  Her mother and son both attend our ward, too. 
Brother and Sister Jung.  We have eaten at their home twice.  She is a wonderful cook!
 This is Sun Ok Kim--we call her Sunny.  She owns the Cambridge Restaurant where we ate yesterday morning.  She is a sweetheart.  We visit her at the restaurant about once each month.
 This is "Granny"--Song Park.  She is the mother to Sister Kerry and is 94 years young.
 More or our Korean friends.  Center right is Bishop Kim (just got released) and on the left are Brother and Sister Han.  Brother Han is extra funny and teases us always (along with Bishop Kim) and Sister Han is a wonderful cook.  She prepared the spicy Korean Pork that we bought.  
Elder Jones eating some pork belly with bean paste atop.  For this meal they did not bring ANY forks, so we ate with chopsticks the entire time and actually got along pretty well.  What you cannot pick up you can stab...

Our week at work was good.  Elder Jones has been working with many sisters lately to help them with stress, getting along with companions, etc.  He has been doing a wonderful job and so enjoys the interaction. I had a particularly interesting week with phones.  When a missionary looses one I have to e-mail the church (who have a Sprint and AT&T rep just for that purpose) and they send me another one.  I then have to swap the phones, saving the contacts from the old phone to the new, activating the new phone,  Meanwhile, we take them a sub phone until the new one arrives.  So last Sunday we went to Wilmington, Delaware to give out a sub phone--the mic won't work.  Wed:  Head to downtown Camden, New Jersey as another missionary left his phone in the rain and it won't work.  Yes, he tried the rice trick, still does not work.  Thursday send a phone to a missionary who left his on the bus.  So this week I will be going back to all of these places to give them the new phones.  I have learned SOOOO much about phones the last 2 weeks!  Also we inspected 3 apartments this week and have decided that Elders do not know how to use a mop or simply do not want to.  We think that a Swiffer would be a good move for the mission in each apartment...Elder Jones also had his 3rd call this week for Elders locking their keys in their car...We have to keep remembering that we are dealing with 188-21 year olds.  But we love them all!  It makes our jobs varied and exciting.  One last item.  It rained 5 out of the past 7 days.  That is why it is green in Philly...

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Family, Forge, Philly, Fun!
 Elder Jones and I worked very hard Monday-Wednesday so that we could take some time off to enjoy Tom, Heidi, Riley and Brady Jones this week.  We took a trip to downtown Philadelphia to ensure that some sister missionaries had electricity.  We had word that the electricity had been turned on, but the Landlord had not flipped the switch.  Apparently a maintenance person had to unlock the place where it happens...But Elder Jones was determined to get them electricity, so we headed down to the basement, opening every door that we could, then walked 5 blocks to personally visit with the landlord and get this problem resolved.  The end result:  We took the sisters to lunch and ice cream so they were happy, and within one hour the electricity was on!  YEAH!  My part was to initiate the process to get the electricity turned into our name.  I seem to be on hold with many utility companies lately as the mission opens new and closes old apartments.  Tom and his family arrived early Thursday morning (they took the Red Eye).  We took Brady with us to the mission office where he played basketball and helped in the commissary and stamping and stapling bills.  Meanwhile, the rest slept til noon and then we headed to Valley Forge.  Above are Riley and Brady as colonial children.  This is at the Valley Forge Visitor Center.  We thoroughly enjoyed the grandeur of Valley Forge and the fact that it was about 75 with a cool breeze made it even nicer.  Then we headed to dinner and our favorite ice cream place, Zwalen's.  Besides frozen custard, they make the best caramel apples ever!
 The Jones family at the statue of Ben Franklin.  The statue is made of bronze and many, many keys.  This statue is right around the corned from the U.S. Mint, where we enjoyed a tour of the institution.  I highly recommend it to people coming to Philly as it is free, well done, and you get to see $$$$$!
 Brady at Betsy Ross' home.  He liked the flag.  This was taken Friday.  We spent all day in Philadelphia, after a slight detour to show Tom Merrion Golf Course where the U.S. Open is held.  We drove straight down West Chester Pike into Philly so they could get the feel of the city.  When you travel this way you go through many suburbs and then the slums, inner city, then lots of universities and finally the downtown and historic places.  We sure love Philadelphia!
 Elfreth's Alley.  This is the oldest street in America that is still inhabited.  The homes go for about one million.
 Tom and Heidi in the very room where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed.  The only piece of furniture still original is the chair in between them where George Washington sat.
 Riley at the Liberty Bell.  I thought it was interesting that much of what both John's kids and Tom's kids knew about Philadelphia was from the film "National Treasures".
 Saturday we headed straight to the Philadelphia Temple site.  What we saw when we got there was a gigantic crane placing the top on the tower.  One more Octagonal, but shorter and wider piece will go atop the one pictured, then Angel Moroni.  We got to watch the entire placement.  What timing!
 Riley and Brady in front of the temple.  In the background is the billboard of what the temple will look like.  It will blend in nicely with the other historic buildings.  It is similar to the Nauvoo or Manti in style and is just right in Center City Philadelphia.  It is scheduled to be done in late spring 2016.  We plan to come back and see it when completed.
Jones Family at the "Rocky" statue after just running up the Rocky Steps.  We certainly enjoyed our time together.  We had some awesome Philly Cheese Steaks and Philly Pizza as well as a Rita's water ice.  We welcome any family to come and visit us.  We ended our time together by attending church today and then staying for our ward "potluck".  Then Tom and his family headed to Dover, DE to continue their trip and we headed for Wilmington, DE to take a phone to 2 missionaries whose phone had stopped working.  A side note to the week:  Elder Jones had 2 calls from missionaries who had locked their keys in their car.  One missionary is headed home tomorrow about 4 months early as he blew his ACL playing football at a member's home...  We will miss you, Elder Taylor!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Memorial Day, Transfers and the Weekend
What a busy week we have had.  And we have enjoyed some wonderful experiences.  On Monday, Memorial Day, Elder Jones got permission from the Mission President and took 2 elders and 2 sisters to see a world famous horse show that was only about 7 miles from here.  Above are sisters Oveson and Fiso all decked out in their "go to the horse races" clothes.  They were excited to go and they all had a very wonderful time.  That evening we participated in a farewell dinner for the 13 outgoing missionaries.  We have become close to several of them and it was hard to say goodbye.  The next day we had rain, as usual, and transfers for 120 missionaries.  This means that Elder Jones organizes his service elders the Saturday before to pick up their luggage if they live in Philly or Camden or Atlantic City (they cannot take that much luggage on the subway, bus or train).  Then he repeats the same process on Tuesday afternoon to take those being transferred into those areas and all of their luggage home.  My only job was to give them their Missionary support funds (a credit card) and explain its use.  Later that afternoon we received 7 new missionaries and had dinner and a testimony meeting with them where we were asked to bear our testimonies.  Wednesday morning we had further training with them.  (We don't try to train much Tuesday night because they have been up since 2 am getting from the MTC to the SLC airport and some even coming from the Mexico City MTC.  They are mostly just hungry and sleepy that night.

Thursday Elder Jones had a wonderful experience teaching a first lesson to an investigator.  Dave works at the local Pep Boys where we do lots of business.  He is very nice and has a great personality.  Elder Jones, of course, teases him.  He has challenged him to take the missionary discussions several times.  Dave was quite an independent child and he loved ordering things off the TV.  He saw an ad for a free Book of Mormon and ordered it, received it, and began to read it.  His mother got ahold of it and took it away.  Dave has not kept his commitment to meet with the missionaries so Elder Jones told him that we would take our business elsewhere if he did not show up to meet with him.  Anyway, Dave showed up, on his day off, all clean and pressed with his dread locks in order.  When he came he informed Elder Jones that he had been on his knees for 2 hours that morning pleading with Heavenly Father for guidance and that things would turn out OK.  He had a sense of peace as he came to the appointment and Elder Jones thoroughly enjoyed teaching him and feeling the spirit as he did so.  Dave has another appointment this coming Thursday morning!

Another interesting experience:  This morning in Relief Society a girl stood to bear her testimony.  She had returned to her home in the Los Angeles area on business and told of going to church there.  Afterwards I asked her where she grew up and she said "Whittier".  As we talked, we found out that I went to Jr. High and High School with her dad and grew up in the same ward.  She had also grown up in that ward and knew my mother.  Her name is Stacy Plummer.  What a very small world this is...

We testify to all of you who might ever read this blog that going on a mission as a senior couple is not just a suggestion by the General Authorities, but an opportunity to receive untold blessings and also to have a most wonderful time serving in such a meaningful capacity.  We love it!  We so appreciate the support of our children in this endeavor and love to keep in close contact with them!  What a bonus to have seen 2 of our children so far with a third one coming this week!