Sunday, September 28, 2014

End of September 2014
Boy, time is passing way to quickly!  We had a good week--as usual--last week.  I have mentioned before that by default we seem to plan most of the Senior monthly activities.  Elder Jones is very much aware of our senior missionaries who serve in outlying areas--far from other senior missionaries with whom they might associate.  So he posed the idea to all travel to Cape May, NJ to see the sights and visit with Lowell and Joyce Johnson, who serve there as MLS missionaries.  We ended up renting a van, plus the mission van and had a total of 19 senior missionaries plus 5 others.  We had a very good day.  The weather was absolutely perfect and the scenery and company was exceptional.  Elder Jones drove a van and it was a pleasure for us to better get to know the Symes who are serving in the Philadelphia Historical Society as records missionaries and also the Wrigleys, who are serving downtown Philly as MLS missionaries.  We had lunch at the Mad Batter (remember that place, Chris and Linz).  It was really tasty.  Then we shopped down the street in the middle of town and got some good salt water taffy.  Then on to see the WWII bunker, the lighthouse, Sunset Beach, the sunken ship and the Victorian Houses.  Cape May is a very quaint and lovely place.  The best part was to see how excited the Johnson's were to show us around.  Below:  Us eating lunch at the Mad Batter.
 This is a photo of Elder and Sister Jones with the sisters who serve in Cape May.  Sister White on the left is a trainer and her Golden is Sister Asi.  Great Sisters!  We love them!
 The week progressed as we have been preparing for transfers this coming week.  We will be losing one elder and one sister from our ward.  Sister Whitaker, below left is going home on Tuesday.  Sister Maybury, right will stay.  It is her birthday this week so we had them to dinner tonight for an early birthday dinner.  She asked for German Chocolate Cake.  It reminded me of Jana--she is an October birthday who likes the same cake...We will also lose Elder Brown who will be transferred.  He has been a delight and has served faithfully as one of Elder Jones' service elders.
Both of us have had a chance this week to accompany the sisters or elders to teach.  It is always fun to get to do that.  We both really enjoy it.  I was able to attend the General Women's Broadcast last night.  The very best part was the music--simply angelic.  I did so enjoy the arrangements and the enthusiasm of those who participated.  I was interested in the sister who spoke about the Living Christ document and those YW up in Alaska who memorized it.  Sister Diane Prince challenged us about 3 years ago in her RS lesson to memorize it.  I took the challenge and although it took a long time to do so, I memorized it.  I still repeat it--usually during the passing of the sacrament.  And I have it posted above my desk at the Mission office to remind me to repeat it so I do not forget it.

Fall is in the air.  I have found it interesting that the NORTH side of many trees are turning colors, while the rest of the tree is still green.  It is quite lovely, actually.  The weather has been in the mid 70's to low 80's with a day of rain in between.  Perfect!  I hope we enjoy another long fall season as we have been warned by the weatherman that the winter will be even more severe that the last...

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Busy, Brisk, Birthday
This week was such perfect weather.  The days were in the high 70's with cool nights.  I love this fall weather in Philly!  The leaves are beginning to change color or fall off.  This is a terrible photo as I caught Sister Johnstone on the right running into the picture as I took it, but these are some of the cute sisters that were here on Friday for Golden retraining.  What that means is that they are now 5 weeks into their 12 week training so they meet at the Mission office and get trained by the Mission president and his wife and the AP's.  It is our job in the office to feed them lunch.  This is an easy assignment as we always get pizza and then have a salad or fruit.  This time there were 38 to feed, which meant 13 large pizzas.  And they all got eaten.  Luckily I have found a place very closeby that makes decent pizza.  On days like this we get to the mission office very early, as they inevitably have things to give us, problems to solve, or items they need.  The same thing recurrs when they finish for the day.  We have some AWESOME sister missionaries.
After we got all done for the day, we headed to the Wilson's for a night of games.  This is a picture of Evan Wilson and Corry Jones who played football together at Dixie College.  It has been fun to get to know this couple (Evan and Darlene) and do things with both them and the Ballards.
Saturday, September 20 we took a trip to Quakertown where we met up with (left to right) Sisters Simmons, Bischoff and Zeller.  Sister Zeller and Elder Jones share the same birthdate, so he promised her we would come up and take them to lunch.  What a fun trio to enjoy sharing a meal with.  Sister Zeller came out 6 weeks after us.  Sister Jana Bischoff goes home in Feb, I believe.  Sister Simmons just came out this summer.  Her brother died a month before she came to the mission field in his sleep.  Last month her Dad was taking his last Chemo treatment and went into a coma.  He was not expected to live, but a miracle happened and he is slowly regaining his strength, although he is still up at the Huntsman Center.  She has a very good attitude about all of this and is a sincere and determined missionary.  Did I say that we have AWESOME sisters?  We do!

Happy Birthday to Elder L. Corry Jones.  He is a completely wonderful missionary and so well loved by the young missionaries.  No matter how old he gets, he is young at heart and relates very well with these young missionaries.  Monday we are headed on a field trip with 26 Senior Missionaries to Cape May, NJ to see the sights and have lunch.  Just a year ago we were able to go there for the first time and meet Chris and Lindsay Jones for a birthday celebration...

Sunday, September 14, 2014


What a surprise this morning to hop in the car and see that it is only 55 degrees at nearly 9 am!  So YES, it feels like Fall!  Yesterday it rained nearly all day, so that was another indicator that fall is coming--because it was a cool and not humid rain.  I loved it.  Plus, the air conditioner has not been working properly this weekend, so the cool temperature was most welcome.

The week, as usual, passed quickly with mostly normal occurrences.  We were pleased to have Elder Wilfred Andersen and his wife arrive for the Mission Tour.  They arrived Wednesday night and spent 3 full days with us.  They are a very nice couple.  They have most recently been area supervisors for the South East part of North America.  He is a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy.  It was, however, a bit confusing to have 4 Andersons/Andersens speaking at each conference.  Thursday morning they met with the office staff.  We did not know what to expect.  They simply asked us about ourselves, thanked us for serving, and instructed us to enjoy our time in this mission and to take advantage of the country and historical sites.  (And we certainly have!)  Then they spoke to the Mission Leader Council and we got the opportunity to serve them lunch.  Then they spoke to the Valley Forge East and West and Philadelphia North zones at our building.  We enjoyed their teaching.  Friday they traveled to Nazareth and then Cherry Hills and spoke and Saturday morning they traveled to Dover to speak.  Then back home...

It was our stake conference this weekend and we did so enjoy the adult session last night as well as the Sunday session.  I felt that it was one of the most inspiring conferences I have ever attended.  I am amazed at the wealth of leadership in this area.  Today we got to hear some tender talks.  One in particular was very good.  It was Bishop Ard reporting about the tragic fire that happened in his ward July 4 weekend, killing 3 small children in his congregation.  He talked about baptismal covenants and how he saw that play out in the aftermath of this tragedy.  His talk was very tender.  Last night the meeting was all about missionary work and how we could hasten the work.  I enjoyed it so much.  In the east they just simply have so many more opportunities to share the gospel because LDS members are such a minority.  And it is also very interesting because so many of the leaders are converts.  The perspective is just different--and refreshing.

We are enjoying the Wilsons, our most recent senior couple to arrive in the mission.  They live near us and love to play games, so Friday the Ballards, Wilsons and us all got together for games.  We had lots of fun.  Then last night we got together again and went to dinner before the conference meeting.  We are grateful for friends!

Tonight we are feeding the AP's.  They ask for the same menu each time they come--homemade burritos.  They do enjoy them and they do seem to be able to eat lots!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Day in the Mission--Tender Mercies

The week began last Sunday night as we went to feed the homeless in downtown Philly.  We had 7 to help in the kitchen and we fed 290 this time.  It is quite humbling to feed them and to realize just how blessed each of us is that we are not among the chronic poor.  They are for the most part quite thankful for the meal and express that to us.  This time, however, 2 younger yet large adult females were unhappy with each other and each tried to out-smart and out-talk the other.  We felt grateful that a cat-fight did not erupt...We were also pleased to feed both our elder and sister missionaries this week.  We enjoy having them come to dinner and getting to visit with them and also having them leave us a message.  They are always prepared to leave us uplifted.  One of the messages this week was for us to take a hard look at the story of the Anti-Lehi Nephites and burying their weapons of war.  We were encouraged to look at just what our weapons of war were--things that we needed to give up and then choose one to give up, or bury.  I am working on that...

This was our Thursday afternoon.  Nothing happening all day long and the other Senior couple left to run some errands.  That's when it all began.  A set of Elders called.  They had lost the credit card that is kept in every mission car for gas purchases.  In one year (Yes!  we hit the one year mark on Tuesday.  No!  We did not burn anything...) nobody has lost their gas card.  So Elder Jones had to call Salt Lake to get the procedure.  They cancelled his lost card and we had some extras, so it was then a matter of changing things in the computer "CARS" program to reflect that.  I put the new one in the mail.  The only bad thing was that they would have to use their MSF card (the one they use for food and personal items) to fill up with gas, save the receipt and get reimbursed.  Not 15 minutes later another Elder called to tell me that he had lost his monthly bus pass.  It is only the 4th of the month, so that is a lot of $$ wasted, plus he just lost one in July!  OK, now time to go home.  We enter the apartment and another Elder calls to tell us that he has locked his key in his car.  (This is not really that unusual as it has happened about 6-8 times so far).  He is not close, so Elder Jones instructs him to find a local locksmith.  A couple more Elders and Sisters call with regards to getting new tires, etc. and the Elder with the key problem calls back.  They have the situation under control.  They were standing outside of their car looking sad, trying to figure out how to retrieve the key when a local locksmith drives by and stops.  He retrieves the key for them and does not charge them.  (tender mercy #1)  We have arranged to pick up some special bread for Jen from a sister in our ward who has celiac.  It is 8 pm and we have finished our laundry and need to now go get the bread.  They live at the far end of the ward, so not really close.  We cannot reach them...I talk Elder Jones into going anyway and by the time we actually find their apartment in their large complex they have JUST returned from dinner.  (tender mercy #2)  After visiting with them for some time we arrive home and get ready for bed.  It is 10 pm and one of our sister missionaries calls.  She is in tears and admits to breaking off her apartment key in the lock.  We get dressed again and are about to head out the door when Elder Jones looks up a 24 hour locksmith.  We find one and he agrees to help the sisters.  Over the next 2 hours Elder Jones is in constant contact with the locksmith or the Sisters (it is WAY past their time to be in for the night).  The locksmith was unable to get the key out so he had to drill through the doorknob and replace it.  $320 later and with much relief on the part of the 3 sister missionaries, all is well and Elder Jones and I can actually sleep. (tender mercy #3) 

Friday at noon we got to head down to Vienna, VA to spend the weekend with our Bishop grandkids.  Jen and Brant are in Africa on a 2 week safari for their 20th wedding anniversary and the kids have had a tender all week and we are to spell her off.  This was our checklist:
  1. Bake Cinnamon Rolls
  2. Make dinners
  3. Catch up on laundry
  4. Grocery shop
  5. Play games
This is Dana finishing homework so we can play games.


  1. Throw at least 100 passes to Mikey and Scotty
  2. Take Hannah to lunch
  3. Watch football
  4. Play games
This is Grandpa Jones taking a break from the above.  Doesn't he look peaceful napping with the remote control right handy...

And yes!  We accomplished everything!  We enjoyed the grandkids and even got to talk to Jen for a bit this afternoon.

We are looking forward this week to Wilfred Andersen of the 70 coming to Philadelphia for a Mission Tour.  He will be here for 3 days.  We will only be involved one of the days.  He wants to visit with the office staff and then we will fee he and his wife and some of the Leadership council lunch.  It will be great!