We decided to explore Georgia a bit on Father's Day weekend and got permission to spend Saturday night in Augusta (outside our mission boundaries), then attend Church in the Elberton branch (in our mission) about 90 minutes north. We tried to take a peek at the Augusta National Golf Course while there, only to find trees and screened fences and learn that the course closes for six months every summer for maintenance. We found no "elite" areas in Augusta and were surprised this exclusive course is located where it is. The references to "tradition" must be real. We enjoyed a stroll along the Savannah River Walkway Saturday afternoon in downtown Augusta.
We awoke early and drove through the woodsy countryside to Elberton. We felt a sweet spirit in the Elberton branch. There were about 70 attendees in Sacrament Meeting and 20 sisters in Relief Society (although they had only 9 the week before). Senior missionaries, Elder and Sister Lee, serve there. She leads the YW and rarely has anyone show up. Elder Lee is in the branch presidency.
We could feel how connected and close members there are. We returned home through Athens, completing a circle of travel and dropping by the Institute Building at UGA to deliver some books to the sister missionaries and zone leaders. We enjoyed wonderful Father's Day phone calls from Dave and Michael and his family. We ended the weekend refreshed and motivated.
Linda enjoyed weekly evening team ups with Sisters Scott and Harnish, and this week, also with Sister Lapin, who was here on an exchange. I'm feeling more confident participating. Last week we had a visit with Dana's fiancee,Will, who is anxious for baptism. He is meeting his Word of Wisdom problems head on, and we anticipate he and Dana (our recent convert) will marry next week, followed by his baptism the Sunday following! His humble prayers are giving him witness and our prayers stay with him and that sweet family. We look forward to more spiritual highlights with that family in the days ahead.
We continue to stay busy in the office, taking on new projects. Last week was a calm week, and we were able to catch up on many things and explore some new ways to contribute. Linda is now devoting Monday mornings to preparing the spreadsheets and reports that follow the call in of key indicators. The task has kept the Assistants in the office until nearly midnight on Sundays. So with several hours for those reports, mission staff meetings, and heavy mail, Mondays are busy! The connections between pieces of information, communication channels, and knowledge are starting to come together, and it's a good feeling. Ray spent some weekday time helping Don (our landlord) finish the final preparations for laying down sod where the former sink hole resided. The sod arrived yesterday morning (Saturday), and we spent four hours helping Don and his granddaughters and friends lay the new turf. Linda loved getting down on her hands and knees in the dirt and setting sod! It was a 95 degree day, but rain last evening helped wet the grass down. We'll continue to help the Clarks spruce up their property. They have pruned enough trees and branches to fill nearly 4 dozen green trash bags, opening up the backyard.
Well, it's off to Sunday services, and anxious for them.