What's New?

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/

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Each Day Brings a New Experience

It's been just two weeks since we posted, and another holiday is on the horizon.  However, the 24th of July in Georgia will be a full working day. To celebrate, we hope to take the Howard family on a picnic after the office closes (if the thunderstorms don't spoil it.) We will explain the reason we celebrate the holiday in Utah and continue to fellowship them. The family has a 6-person baptism scheduled for July 29.  Both Elder and Sister Connors joined the Assistants in a teaching appointment a week ago. Jerry and Marcy are great spiritual leaders for their children (age 8-14), and we are so excited to have them join the Lilburn Ward and Church family. Jerry's father has some "preacher" background, and Marcy was the one actively looking for a new congregation when Elder Hanny and Elder Astel met them. They are learning and accepting the gospel in word and in spirit. After the lesson we reaffirmed the invitation to be baptized and challenged the Howards to join us in the Atlanta Temple in a year. The same evening we also met with Richard. He is from Guinea in Africa and has been in the U.S. for about 12 years. He's been a member of the Catholic Church since the 1950's and is cautiously proceeding. We really enjoy his happy, gentleman-like personality and enjoyed picking him up for Church last week. We feel he will continue to attend and learn and feel the spirit with continued support.

Richard with Elder Astel at the Howard Baptism
The evening of those appointments was the end of a rainy day, and we got soaked running from car to front doors. We've had a lot of rain in the past two weeks. After a dry spring and record setting heat, we seem now to have rain every day or night. Last night around midnight, we had a lightening and thunderstorm that roared for about 40 minutes. Storms move faster in Utah. We laid in bed and watched and felt the room-lightening jolts until after 1 a.m.

This (preparation day) morning was dedicated to housecleaning. We vacuumed and cleaned; then Ray walked back into the living room to repair a loose bolt and watched dry wall tape slowly peel itself off the ceiling. Somewhere water has been coming in, and the saturated drywall could take no more. We helped Don open a relief hole and clean up; he called a friend who has helped him in the past to come and check it out. Unfortunately, we can't locate the source easily; it's raining lightly again tonight, so no repair can be made until the leak is sealed and the ceiling dries. Fortunately, the forecast is promising a drier week ahead. We have lawns to mow, additional fixes to the flooding runoff water, and now a ceiling repair to assist with. 

I'm typing on a new laptop and having a hard time keeping my thumb off the pad, so the cursor frequently skips around. (Hopefully the resulting typos have been corrected with after-mission edits.) Son Dave was good enough to find and set up a new laptop for us; an expensive battery was dying on our old laptop so it was time to replace the entire system. As we have time, we'll put photos on the internet now and include a link to them from the blog.

There will be no more teaching appointments with Sister Scott. She returned home this week along with nine other of our missionaries. We surely love these missionaries (Elders Anderson, Caplin, Maughan, Ryan Smith, Wasden, Sisters Scott, Coleman, Taylor, and Williams). As Sister Scott prepared to leave for Arizona, I called her "mi teacher." She showed Sister Connors what preaching the gospel is all about. The Assistants are showing Elder Connors, and we really look forward to teaming up with them. We have come to know Sister Taylor better in the past few weeks due to a change in assignment and will miss her a lot, too. She wants to study Human Resources at Utah State, so I hope we will stay in touch. Last Saturday Sister Connors drove Sister Bulouniwasa (from Fiji), Sister Scott, and Sister Taylor back to Monroe for a baptism. Nine missionaries who have been involved in teaching Sister Reusmann or others in her family who have joined the Church were at the service. Patience is required for conversation; nine missionaries equates to a lot of transfers with change of companions. New member Brittany is a new mother; her dad who is also a convert said they were targeting her husband next. The spirit was very strong and sweet.

In addition to the evening fireside and busy duties in the office associated with transfer week, we substituted for the Clarks this week in teaching their Stake Missionary Prep class so they could take their daughter Jackie to the airport. She is off to Dubai to spend ten days with her husband. Her daughters were at girls' camp. A week ago Friday, Jackie, Cami, Maddie, and Izzie stuck their heads in the mission office and invited us to go to Chick-Fil-A with them for dinner. "Sure," we said; then learned we were going dressed as cows for free dinner on Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-Fil-A. The girls provided us with a white t-shirt, blotched with black spray paint and cow ears. We saw dozens of ward members at the restaurant, along with hundreds of other cows.  It;s hard to imagine the cost of the thousands of free $7 dinners given throughout Georgia with fun and cheerfulness. We're impressed with the management of Chick-Fil-A. All that success and they are not open on Sundays!  And for us, it was a fun and memorable "new" experience for sure!

On Thursday, the Wolferts invited the Bolts and us to meet them at Kurt's Bistro, their favorite German restaurant, for a "thank you" dinner. We enjoyed amazing red cabbage and a re-introduction to authentic German food. We laughed and shared mission stories and decompressed a bit. President Wolfert has a great sense of humor. We'll long remember his recounting the story of having to keep his head face down on the table in front of elite general authorities at the MTC because of eye surgery. It was great to get better acquainted with these eternal friends, several of many our Stake President promised we would make while on our mission.

Preaching the gospel, helping new and seasoned missionaries to be successful, serving where and whom we can, and discovering more in the roadways of Georgia, we're anxious to see what new experiences await us in the weeks ahead.

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