Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Departing Missionary Interviews

Today, Tues. September 29, 2009 were departing missionary interviews.  This is a very special interview.  They come to the mission home and get their final interview before finishing their missions.  It is an emotional and touching time.  We have 9 missionaries leaving this Friday morning.  They were all here by 11:00 a.m. and I had the pleasure of visiting with the rest of them while the interviews took place. 
They missionaries departing are:  Sister Bunker, Sister Thompson, Sister Capps, Elder De Hoyos, Elder Porter, Elder Withers, Elder Benson, Elder Nelson, and Elder Swenson.  Every one of them was delightful and excellent missionaries. 
Our tie wall is growing.

Sister Ferry and Sister Capps love each other and everyone will miss Sister Capps.
Our 3 departing sisters, Bunker, Thompson and Capps
Elders Searcy (an companion), Elder Benson, Nelson and Porter
Saying goodbye to sis Thompson and Bunker
Elders Searcy, Porter and DeHoyos

Elder DeHoyos and his companion Elder Miller
Elder Porter and Searcy (his companion)
Elder Wither, Swenson and Nelson

Mission Home Fireside

Sunday evening we had our monthly Mission Home Fireside.  This is one of my favorite meetings.  They are always inspiring and spiritual.  We invite a recent convert to share their story and then one of the mission presidency speaks.  Missionaries can come if they have a recent convert or an investigator with them.  Each time, I worry that we won't have anyone attend, but it is always overflowing.  We had about 60 attend this week.  We had a beautiful program.  First, Sister Donna spoke. She is a recent convert from China.  She bore a sweet and humble testimony.  She was a nanny for a family who brought her from china and were using her as slave labor and not allowing her to go to college which was the arrangement.  The missionaries found her and she accepted the gospel so easily.  She loves the idea of a Heavenly Father who loves her and knows her.  She gets excited about everything she is learning and it is fun to watch her progress.  A wonderful Family, The Salmons, have had her move in with them and are helping her get into school.  

President Albright conducting the fireside. 
Donna bearing her testimony.
The Morris' Family.
Brother Morris was our main speaker.  He was great.  He had written out his story and he gave me a copy of it.  What a wonderful man. He told about seeing "Mormon" commercials on TV when he was a kid and a teenager and feeling so warm and wondering if their were really families with lives and relationships like the ones in them.  He is educated and really bright and has grasp the gospel so well..  He loves everything about the church.  A wonderful story and testimony.  The 10 or so investigators were really touched by his words. 
Sister Ward played a beautiful violin number "Oh How Lovely Was The Morning".  She is just a beautiful and elegant woman. 
President Ward accompanied his wife on the piano.  So many talents!  Then he spoke about repentance.  He too is a gifted speaker.  I love to hear both of Marks counselors speak. 
Pres. felt inspired to ask Pres. Oryang to take a few minutes.  His story was fascinating.  He is in the stake presidency in one of the Woodbridge Stake and was the ride for one of the investigators and missionaries.  He told about growing up in Uganda and how the church leaders said his ancestors could not be saved because they hadn't accepted Christ.  He said he thought there must be a way to save them.  He also said he wondered about why there were only prophets in the middle east and he and his friends would talk about how there should have been prophets in other places too.  He came to the US as a student.  His mother came to visit him and allowed the missionaries in to teach her.  He listened from the other room (spied he said).  When he heard them telling about how his dead ancestors could hear the gospel in heaven and be baptized by someone here he was amazed and then when he heard about the Book of Mormon and that it was about another Witness of Christ, he decided he better listen.  He is an incredible man, a great leader in the church here.  
Elder Brunstad, Oryang, and Leippman.
Sister Donna Son and KT
The Morris, cute little boy who was with them
Elders Ozaki, Lewis, Ross, and Redford
Sister Hahn, Wilmer ( an investigator) and Sis Lau
Victor (an investigator getting baptised this Sat) and Elder Gannaway
Elder Hoffer, an investigator, and Elder Langi
Elder Forsberg, Bro Oryang, Elder Sowby and James Nelson 
Elder Redford and Metcalf with the Christie family ( the member family they live with)

A Real Honor-- Dinner with the Senator

After the baptisms on Saturday, President Albright and I drove to Washington DC to meet with Senator Harry Reid and his wife, Landra.  We feel very honored to have such an important man call and invite us to dinner with them. Senator Reid is from Nevada and was in our ward when he lived in Las Vegas.  He and his wife were good friends with both Pres and my parents.  But they have been in Washington for many years.  Senator Reid called Pres. Albright when he first received this call and congratulated him.  And we were surprised and delighted when he called last week and invited us to meet them for dinner.  We went to a lovely restaurant right near the White House.  We spent a wonderful 2 hours visiting and enjoying their company.  We were also accompanied by Bishop Faust and his wife.  He serves as a Bishop in our mission.   He is the son of Elder James E. Faust.  What an honor to be among such great people.  


This weekend was just perfect.  We had 12 scheduled baptisms and the only problem was deciding which ones to attend.  Since they are in all different directions and a lot of them at the same times we try to attend baptisms of missionaries that we haven't attended before.  The earliest scheduled one was at 11:00 a.m. and so we went to baptisms at 11:00, 1:00 and 3:00.  They were all wonderful and we had a day you dream of in the mission field. The first baptism was for James Nelson.  He is a wonderful young man found by Elders Brunstad and Forsberg while tracting.  Elder Brunstad performed the baptism and Elder Forsberg gave a talk on baptism.  This young man had about 6 non-member friends attend the event and it had a beautiful spirit.  Elders Brunstad and Forsberg are really great missionaries.  Super good at tracting because they are always smiling and enthusiastic and so people are very attracted to them and comfortable visiting with them.  This baptism was in the Wakefield ward. 
Elder Brunstad and James Nelson

Elder Brunstad, James, and Elder Forsberg
Elder and Sis Sowby teach a institute class that James has started attending. 
President and I join the group
The second baptism was at the Colonial 2nd ward in the Mt Vernon Stake.  
It was for John Collins.  Sisters Arnett and Murray met John while street contacting at the metro station and John was there on a skateboard.  They stopped him and introduced themselves and he accepted an invitation to be taught.  What great sister missionaries.  So courageous.  Sis. Larsen sang a special musical number and Sis. Arnett gave a talk on the Holy Ghost.  They both did a great job.  They are so sweet and have a wonderful spirit about them.  In the pictures are Sister Larsen, John Collins, Ryan Anderson (who performed the baptism), Sister Arnett and Sister Murray. 
The third baptism was for a lovely sister named Tran McKay.  She was a member referral.  She had just moved to Virginia and was at the city library with her little girl for story time and met Sister Turner, a member who had also just moved to the area.  They met at the library, exchanged numbers and became fast friends.  That was 2 years ago.  Sis. Turner has loved her and told her all about the gospel, she has taken her to ward parties, enrichment nights, and answered many questions about the church.  Sis Turner kept telling her that the missionaries could answer her questions better than her and for along time she only wanted her friend to tell her.  But eventually she let the missionaries come and teach her.  They were Elder Sackett , Elder Hall, Elder Hardy and Elder Ockler.  She loves the gospel and was very ready to be baptized.  This story is a beautiful example of how members can and should befriend nonmembers and then be great member missionaries.  Her husband and daughter were there to support her in her decision to be baptized.  (The missionaries hope her husband will be next).  It was a wonderful service with Elder Sackett performing a great musical number and Elder Hall giving a talk.  Elders Ockler and Hardy were the witnesses.    What a wonderful way for President and I to spend the day. 3 baptisms, all filled with the spirit and  our missionaries doing such incredible jobs.  I cried at each one of the services and feel so honored to be able to witness these events. 
Elder Sackett, Elder Hardy, Tran McKay, ElderOckler, and Elder Hall
Elders Sackett and Hall and Tran with Brother Turner who baptized her.

Friday, September 25, 2009


This weekend we have 12 scheduled baptisms and we are so excited about it.  President Albright and I are beginning at 11:00 a.m. and hope to be able to attend 3 or 4 of them.  We are so proud of our missionaries.  They are so incredible at this work.  


Elder Holmgren  (chef extraordinaire) cooking the bacon just perfect.

Sister Holmgren gets a second pan going. 
The office Elders: Hill and Robbins and the Assistants: Elders Gannaway and Gifford eat with us on Thursday evenings.  While we were doing apartment inspections Elder Holmgren had told us about a favorite meal of his --BACON AND PEANUT BUTTER SANDWICHES.  And so I invited the Holmgrens to come and fix us all this delicacy for dinner and it was fabulous.  We all enjoyed them and had fun company too.


I think this Zone Leadership Council meeting is one of my very favorite. It is held once each 6 weeks. All the zone leaders (16 of them) attend and our 2 spanish assistants and the 2 mission wide assistants. This is really an amazing. I get to watch as young men demonstrate the ability to council together, teach one another, discuss ideas and problems and come up with solutions.

They really show concern and love for the missionaries they are serving with and want to do what is best for everyone. They are going to be future leaders in the church and I get emotional everytime I witness this event. They all get up before the sun, play Basketball from 5:30 to 7:30 a.m. and then descend on the mission home to invade all the showers and get cleaned up for the day. Meanwhile I get up at about the same time they do to start breakfast. Todays menu: cinnamon peacan pull-a-parts, egg chilli breakfast bake, fruit, sausage, drinks. After the long game they were hungry. After breakfast they begin their meetings. After 2 hrs they take a break and have drinks and treats, and go back to meetings. Each Zone leader companionship gave a presentation on an assigned subject and all did masterful jobs. President Albright spoke at the beginning and end and does a wonderful job leading them in decision making. After the meetings are over its time to lunch. We had barbecued pulled pork sandwiches ( I'd been cooking 3 roasts for 12 hours and they were great). A hugh salad, chips, drinks, fruits, and dessert. They are all so kind and complimentary and always say thankyou. They are quick to offer to clean up and help. I really love everyone of them. Our mission is in good hands with this bunch.

Our faithful leaders. back row: Pres. and Sis Albright, Elders Redford, Langi, Bell, and Leippman, Johnson, and Gifford. Middle row: Elders Newton, Ross, and Sill, Elton, Esplin, Baldwin, and Elton.
Front Row: Elders Cuevas, Ozaki, Hardy, Withers, Shattuck, and Gannaway.
The whole leadership group trying to act silly.
Elders Newton and Sill
Elders Esplin and Lewis
These guys really love each other. And they all give hugs when they are leaving
Elders Ross and Esplin
Elders Gannaway, Langi, and Leippman
Elders Baldwin and Johnson
Elders Metcalf and Ozaki
Elders Bell, Shattuck and Gifford
Elders Gannaway and Metcalf

Elders Withers and Lewis
Elders Ross, Gifford, Elton, Leippman, Shattuck, Johnson, Langi, ?, Sill, Redford, and Esplin.
Lunch time (pulled pork sandwiches) in the 2nd dinning room.
Lunch in the dinning room. Elders Cuevas, Bell, Withers, Newton, Metcalf, Gannaway, Ozaki, Baldwin, Pres. Albright and Hardy.

The Council meeting in the Living room. I took this pictures from upstairs. These 20 young men sit here and council together and make presentations and it is remarkable leadership training.
Elders Melcalf, Ozaki, Langi, Johnson, Leippman, Newton, Lewis, and Bell at breakfast.
Breakfast in the dinning room. Elders Newton, Lewis, Bell, Cuevas, Hardy, Elton, Ozaki and Johnson.

Elder Metcalf getting breakfast.
The next 5 pictures are the early (5:30 a.m.) basketball the Zone leaders play on ZL Council day
Elder Gannaway looks like he's concentrating pretty hard.
Elder Johnson
Looks like Elder Newton has the ball.