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We witness tender mercies and mini-miracles every day as we find joy in pressing forward. We are immensely grateful for our time of service as missionaries in the Georgia Atlanta North Mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Life and opportunities continue. See our missionary and life story in pictures by clicking here: http://rayc.shutterfly.com/

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memories for Memorial Day

It's Memorial Day 2012 and a quiet day for us. Church Headquarters is closed so the Mission Office is closed as well. We took an hour's drive earlier in the day to see the Conyers Zone area of the Mission. It lies south of Lilburn and hooks a bit around towards the Atlanta Hartsfield Airport. For the most part, the landscape is much older, less hilly, and more rural than the other areas we have visited north of Lilburn. At some point, we'll drive to the outer reaches in Hartwell to have a Saturday lunch with the couple out there. We're told the Dahlonega and Helen areas are great tourists spots, so of course, we'll make visit there but not on Memorial Day Weekend. The atmosphere on Memorial Day felt strange to us - we don't know where all the people have gone. Maybe that's it. They're gone. We encountered uncrowded roads, and closed strip malls, even the parking lots at the grocery stores and major retailers and restaurants are quiet. There are few people out and about in the parks as well. Cemeteries here are associated with the Churches rather than municipalities and are most always filled with silk flowers. We noticed a few flags in subdivisions, but nary one car in the many cemeteries we passed. We missed taking flowers to the parents and grandparents graves, but their memories are in our hearts and minds today. Maybe holidays are nap times or escape times in Georgia. We'll have to learn more.

The greatest memory we will have for this weekend is that our sweet investigator, Dana Roca, who felt the spirit so strongly in an earlier meeting was baptized yesterday. Just two weeks ago she said she needed to defer possibly until July so she could make new living arrangements with her boyfriend and feel good about her baptism. Earlier last week she had a bit of a meltdown which led to many prayers and her taking up the courage to move housing and commit. She asked Elder Connors to baptize her. What a compliment. Her rambunctious daughter and friend, Sarai and JoJo, quieted right down after the baptism. The spirit caught their attention. Sweet Jasper (7 months) stayed contentedly with Sister Wolfert. Dana brought the children's father, Will, to Church and he is expressing interest in learning more. Dana also bore a very powerful and sure testimony of the truthfulness of the Church and a witness of the influence of the Holy Ghost. Sisters Scott, Harnish, and Thomas have taught her well. She is trying to find a place to live within the Lilburn Ward. That would be wonderful so we can continue to see and work with her.

We took the Assistants to lunch today and are doing some housecleaning. Our P-days have been busy with yard projects, and we've had long days (11 hours on Friday) at the mission office this month. There has been more teaching with the sisters, too. It was sweet to meet with the Knudsens again with them and learn that Johnathan is making slow but gradual improvement from his brain trauma.

This Saturday evening as we were learning how to ammonia soak the red Georgia clay stains out of our work shoes and clothes and relaxing after a grocery shopping trip, the Clarks invited us to a high school graduation open house in Alpharetta with their good friends. So off we went with them, finding new routes north into newer, upscale neighborhoods. When we arrived, we saw two bikes at the front door and predicted we'd meet missionaries inside. Sure enough. Elder Dalton and Elder Miller were there. It's wonderful how members invite the missionaries whenever they are having a party or social gathering. Life is very different here in the mission field, but the large group environment is great for the missionaries. We rarely invited missionaries to dinner in Utah because we knew the larger families were more enjoyable for them than a visit with empty nesters. We'll have to be more imaginative when we return and make it a "block" party! This afternoon we're attending a social for the empty nesters and Young Singles in the area at the Kotters. We'll finally learn what that trash can dinner is! (It turned out to be meat and veggies cooked over the coals in mini-aluminum trash cans. Yummy sides and great company, too!)

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