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/

Sunday, October 28, 2012

What a Treat

It's Sunday evening, and we find ourselves very tired. It's been a very busy two weeks - all part of the blessings of missionary service. A rare quiet afternoon has allowed us to finally get the balance of our missionary photos quickly labeled and a link for them placed on this blog page. That's a treat! In looking back at Transfer Week, we realized it really was a big month. We had our first experience towing the utility trailer and driving the 12-passenger van to the airport to pick up missionaries. It was delightful. The ride on MARTA for a first contacting experience in Georgia usually takes the Assistants and new missionaries 1-2 hours. Elder Bolt convinced us to stop in downtown Atlanta for a quick lunch at the landmark Varsity in the 12-passenger van with the tow trailer behind. The Varsity is an indoor fast food franchise with drive-in atmosphere of long time renown. We can now say we've had our experience with the Varsity hot dog and hamburger. Sorry Georgians, the atmosphere was great, the food was school lunch quality. It was another Atlanta experience checked off. We then drove to the Doraville Station to pick up our load of missionaries, just in the nick of time.We're going to love this new assignment, and the driving is no problem.  It will be a treat!

Another new task for Sister Connors is to edit the photos that we take of the new missionaries at the mission home on arrival night. We print them and post them on a large board in the Mission Office. It's a favorite stop for all visiting missionaries to see the faces that go with the names of missionaries they hear about but rarely or never meet. The editing process was a bit stressful since I'm not an expert and had to learn new software, but next time will be easier. After editing the photos, I then take down, add, and re-arrange all the photos on the board in alphabetical order. Followed by that, I add the photos and baptisms into the Southern Star newsletter, publish it, mail it, and email it. The final step with the photos is to print two passport size photos of each new missionary and create index-sized magnetic transfer cards for each missionary to go on the transfer boards at the mission office and mission home.

Last Sunday was the baptism of Aeriel Chase and 11-year old Victoria and 9-year old Matthew. Dad, Tyler, prepared his worthiness to do the baptisms. Mom and dad were nervous, but there were few corrections and all went well.  Elder Casey Williams gave a talk before the baptism and did a great job. He bears a strong, yet quiet testimony in a confident and assured way. You could tell that this family had really touched him. His mission will be over in November.  "I've never been happier than I am at this moment," he said. And he was sincere. He had us in tears.

The Chases bore their testimonies after the baptism. Victoria read scripture with confidence, and from her words and spirit we know she reads daily. Matthew was grateful for the Book of Mormon; that God gave us another testament of Christ. Mom is sweet (probably experiencing the biggest life change). And Dad, from Brooklyn, is a talker who retold the following story Matthew had shared with us during our car ride the week before. Matthew had recognized the spirit when he heard the missionaries, and told the family who had struggled finding a Church that worked. "I think God is giving us one last chance."  I was so touched by the spirit of the baptism that I actually posted Matthew's observation on Facebook. If we look at it personally, or as a society, Matthew listens to the spirit as we all should.  He is the most amazing young man.  Typical is most ways, he is blessed with a special spiritual awareness and curiosity. The family just moved from an apartment to a rental home this week. It puts them closer to the meeting house, which is good. They struggle, as do many, with finances in today's world. They will need our support. Mom was ill today so they could not be confirmed. We plan to visit them this week and share a Primary CD as a baptism memento.

We enjoyed another spiritual treat connected with the spreading of the Gospel today. With the Presidential election now just 9 days away, the Mormon Moment continues to gain momentum. We get invitations to talk about politics everywhere we turn. We politely listen but hold back engaged opinion (we are missionaries), but it is everywhere. My Visiting Teacher is a Public Affairs Coordinator for the Southeast Region. She has been very busy helping the Priesthood Leaders to organize public affairs callings over the area, train leaders, and screen requests. In just the past two years, the Public Affairs assignment has grown from a newly created calling to become a major responsibility and opportunity. 

The Bolts had a family vacation planned for early October because they thought they would be released, so we held down the office solo that week. Sister Connors has a big spike in tasks and correspondence associated with the week of transfer and the week after. We added some new assignments, had a routine medical screening, flu shots, and much more!  Last week we had four new cars to pick up and more fun with vehicles and bicycles. Elder Connors phone rings constantly. We drove to Athens last Saturday to deliver a new bicycle to a missionary.We were treated to the most beautiful week of fall weather. Temperatures are in the 70's, with clear skies, and colorful, falling leaves. Friday night we enjoyed the Lilburn Ward and Stone Mountain Spanish Branch (Halloween) dinner and trunk or treat. It was great fun and a well-attended traditional event!  And for a change, my chili was a big hit; it was an on-the-fly recipe I'll need to save.
Yesterday we attended the BYU / Georgia Tech game in downtown Atlanta with the Clarks. We saw many ward members there and a large contingency of BYU fans. BYU played well, winning 41-17, and it was a fun experience. We're glad we agreed to buy the tickets and go along. On the streets and in the top rows of the stadium we saw several dozen missionaries from the GA Atlanta Mission. They were definitely noticed by the fans, and they represented their role and the Church well to the crowd. We went incognito of sorts, a senior missionary preparation day exception with our president's encouragement.
Tomorrow we'll return to a more normal routine in the office. The weather has cooled significantly. In missionary life, not-normal is the normal. Love it!  May the Lord treat any and all who read this blog with His love.

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